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Raze vs Snatchers: Raze Warfare, #1
Raze vs Snatchers: Raze Warfare, #1
Raze vs Snatchers: Raze Warfare, #1
Ebook265 pages

Raze vs Snatchers: Raze Warfare, #1

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"Razes, Razes, everywhere ... snatchers, snatchers all beware ..."

Hato's gang must go up against an underground system trading in the lives of youths, or risk losing the kid brother of their group forever.


Kiddo prefers to be a wallflower. But being a ten out of ten on a looks scale makes that impossible … Especially when snatchers are out to find and sell the most aesthetically pleasing, most vulnerable youths they can snatch this season.
Yet Kiddo has also caught the attention of the mysterious Raze. A snatcher hunter, Kiddo's new protector, and an irresistible flirt who is very interested in keeping Kiddo alive.

A gritty urban backdrop, gang warfare, a vigilante hero, a corrupt system, and a bisexual awakening. Join the action and enjoy the ride.


Interview with the Author:


Q. What could readers compare the 'Raze Warfare' series to?

A. It has a similar tone to 'The Outsiders,' with a gang like a family of very different people who need each other.


Q. What makes this series different?

A. Girls are kick ass members of the gang. Sexualities are open (there's a bisexual triad romance – why choose?). There are diverse racial backgrounds. There's some gender bending. The enemy is more covert, but widespread – a corrupt underground system. And the gang members enforce vigilante justice, while battling their own demons – ranging from trauma to learning difficulties.


Q. What do you love most about this series?

A. I love that Kiddo and Raze are so different – opposites attract. Their deepening, first time gay romance felt so intimate and sweet and real to write.I especially loved including so many diverse kinds of people without feeling the need to centre the story on their race/gender/sexuality/difficulites, because people are people. I loved having them there, as they are, rolling with the punches as people do – rather than the storyline centring on any stereotypes.


Q. What do you want your readers to know?

A. Hearing from you feeds my soul.

PublisherShelley Cass
Release dateAug 30, 2021
Raze vs Snatchers: Raze Warfare, #1
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    Raze vs Snatchers - Shelley Cass


    I’m fine, Kiddo stated. I’ll get it done. He slouched in his chair, his leg bouncing up and down rapidly. Yes. Definitely fine.

    Kid silenced his phone and lightly tossed it onto a pile of open books, picking up a pen to fidget.

    Hato doesn’t normally seem the type to check up on people, a curious voice mused, and Kid stiffened.

    Sorry, Kiddo muttered. Thought I was alone. He glanced over his shoulder with a slight frown.

    He should have been alone. This was a private library. It was night. And he did not recognise the stranger, seated comfortably in the large arched window’s sill.

    Oh, I’m not shushing you, the stranger quirked a smile. His sharp featured face was half in shadow from the dimness of the library, and half illuminated by the moonlight outside.

    The moon’s face was so full, it seemed it was nearly pressed to the window pane, as if it wanted to hug the stranger.

    Are you really fine, or did you want Hato to think you were? the stranger asked, shifting a little where his back leaned against the large frame.

    His long legs were stretched out across the wide sill, as if it had been made to be this person’s own rest stop, though Kid had never given the sill a second glance.

    The stranger looked like he was framed in a photograph.

    Kiddo blinked, still frowning. Are you new?

    I’ve been around here a few times before, but I’m new to you, the stranger answered, tilting his head to regard Kid.

    Kid didn’t recognise this young man as a friend of anyone else’s in the gang, but Hato collected people from all over, even if not all of them came to live in the fold.

    Nobody got in without being welcomed or forced to be in. So Kid shrugged, turning back to his books.

    He twitched his pen between his fingers, trying to focus, but feeling the stranger’s eyes on his back. He could feel his leg jiggling and tried to stop it.

    So, Hato doesn’t normally check in on people, the stranger repeated with interest. What’s not fine about you?

    Kiddo rubbed at his face, messing the thick hair that swept over his brow.

    I’m fine, Kid answered again.

    Definitely. From what I can see. The young man waited expectantly for greater elaboration.

    Kid sighed. He’s making sure I get my homework done.

    The stranger gave a startled chuckle. Hato? Checking you’re doing your homework?

    And then the book work. It’s a school night.

    You’re up late for a school night, the stranger commented.

    And that’s what Hato said, Kid remarked dryly, clicking his pen. I don’t sleep much.

    Teenagers love to sleep, the stranger grinned. Don’t they?

    Kid pulled a face, hunching lower in his seat. This person had to be just a year or two older than himself. Eighteen or so.

    You’re the one they call Kiddo, is that right? the young man asked. He arched his spine like a slow, luxurious cat, getting the kinks out, before sliding down from the sill. He crossed to the large table covered in Kid’s books, and sat against it so that they could talk more easily, without only seeing angles of each other.

    Kiddo gave a nod, but watched the stranger warily, aware that this was in fact the most he had talked to anybody in as long as he could remember.

    As the ‘kid’ brother adopted by the group, he rarely had a voice to contribute when planning or revelling was taking place. He didn’t take part in the same things that the rest of the gang did. And he preferred to lone it at school.

    Is that why the boss man is checking up on you? the stranger asked. They baby you. And put you through school – to make you a better life than theirs?

    Hato had paid generously for all of them to up-skill or complete courses if they’d wanted to. Each member had come with some valuable contribution they could make to the group – like Jingle, and her incredible tech skills. But as Kiddo was the only one still sticking with high school, Hato definitely watched him closely, and with high hopes.

    Kid consciously stilled his jumping leg. I’m a sloppy student. But they’re not a bunch of disappointed mums.

    It was odd to think of the other gang members, all tough as nails, as babying anyone. But he supposed they did.

    "They would be disappointing mums, all down there in the underground club, letting off steam with their youngen up here alone, the stranger remarked. But you can’t be too bad with classes if Hato trusts you with the books to his enterprise. You must be quite brilliant."

    Kid was fidgeting again. He scowled and stopped himself. I have a head for numbers and a way with words, when they come to me. But I do not have the ability to concentrate or sit still.

    You don’t mind being left up here while they party down there?

    It’s their business. Up to them how they run it. If this person didn’t know what the gang were up to, Kiddo didn’t feel the need to get into it.

    The stranger crossed his arms, the moonlight making his black leather jacket glint with silver. They seem to get the fun side of things.

    I don’t find fights and liquor to be that fun.

    The stranger leaned closer. And the other side of the business?

    Like I said. I don’t find fights to be that fun.

    With a slow nod, the stranger pressed a finger to Kid’s chest. There was a small lotus flower tattooed on the side of that finger, unfurling.

    I can see why they collected you. Why Hato keeps you safe.

    Then the stranger straightened suddenly, and headed through the aisles of bookshelves towards the doors. I’ll let you focus, so you don’t stay up too long into what’s left of the night.

    Kiddo blinked after the stranger, non-plussed to find himself so quickly alone and enfolded in quiet once more.

    His leg was jumping again, and despite the young man’s words he had no idea himself why the gang kept him around – aside from charity. He spent most of his time keeping out of the way. All he could do to try to make up for being a chaotic mess all the time was to do his best to run things behind the scenes for them.

    Kid tried to ignore the stranger’s musings, and tried instead to take his advice – to focus.

    As usual, concentration was an elusive state he could not quite achieve. It wasn’t that he was slow. But his head worked too fast. Sensations, ideas, thoughts, numbers, words, letters all came at him too quickly and sharply, and he had to consciously rein them in one at a time to address them. Pulling them all together until they made sense as a bigger picture rather than just whirling by like throwing stars.

    When he had finally wrangled together the streams of numbers, and the letters into words into paragraphs and pages for an inventory report, he had half forgotten the stranger, and managed to pass out on the library couch for the hour or so before his alarm was set to go off.


    I’ll man The Lair tonight, Quicklips announced, pushing his plate toward the stack that Kid was piling up.

    Quicklips had either got a smudge of sauce on his muscle top, or somebody’s red lipstick had rubbed on the white material. Kid rolled his eyes, dumping the plates by the sink and then gesturing for the singlet.

    Flip’s back in town. He’ll be working with us tonight, so he and Seethe can be your brawn, Hato agreed, nodding slowly.

    Quicklips grinned unashamedly and dragged the singlet over his head to hand to Kiddo. It was lipstick. A much harder stain to get out.

    Kid had blotted and tossed the singlet in with the other whites, and pulled the door to the laundry room closed again in time to hear Velvet speaking.

    Underage night is our best chance to pick up any scouts checking out the young talent, Velvet drawled. We need someone truly ripe for the picking to be the bait. Her dark eyes cut to Kid. Young, fresh meat.

    Kid glowered at her, and snatched her plate as he passed, headed back to the sink.

    "He is really growing into his looks, Seethe tipped back his beer, boots up on the table, leaving dirty marks. All youthful abs and metabolism."

    Kid plonked the dishes into the soapy water, glaring at the pair of them.

    Velvet was like a Somali queen, while Seethe was an ash blonde block of ice.

    Kid had a strange kind of total trust and complete dislike for Velvet and Seethe. Velvet because she was sly, and Seethe because he hated everyone and everything. Except when it came to gang loyalty. They were both totally committed.

    Not that that would keep them from offering Kid up as a sacrifice to whatever their cause was.

    Tiny, Jingle and Trix have bait duty covered, Hato glowered. They can still look like ditched kids, and pack a punch.

    You betcha, Trix snickered. She lovingly ran electric blue nails over her new knuckle duster. Her fringe of afro curls was tied up sweetly by a pink scrunchy, revealing an edgy undercut. The ensemble was completed by a geisha style pin poked through her do, which Kiddo knew was actually a rather lethal skewer blade.

    The always grouchy, but inarguably innocent looking Tiny blew a smoke ring up over their heads. I’ll wear a cute jumper, he rumbled.

    He would need to hide his brawn to seem younger, or his short stature would not be enough of a cover.

    And chew a stick of gum, Jingle suggested in her light voice. Her eyelids and lips were already glittering with silver sparkles for the club. She smiled up from her laptop and pinched Tiny’s round cheek. No pre-teen smells quite so nicotine addled.

    Did Flip have any success finding out what’s going on out there? Seethe asked, after swilling a mouthful of his beer. Why things are stirred up right now?

    No, Hato’s face was grim. He’s also had no luck finding that ‘Raze’ expert Miss Lotus recommended when he was in Japan.

    The name ‘Raze’ isn’t much to go by, Trix grimaced. Especially if that’s the only thing even Miss Lotus really knows about him in the way of contact details.

    Flip’s heard some pretty mad stories about this guy, Quicklips stated. And I heard things back in Mexico too. He would be an asset.

    Jingle shrugged. I tried searching for him online. There are stories from all over. But he would of course go by different names too, and I can’t find a pattern to pin him down. Too many Raze rumours without concrete sightings.

    We’ll go on as best we can as we are, Hato replied. Start has drawn up some routes on the map for tonight at least. Hato nodded at where Start was setting out his laminated poster, which had red marker on it. He’s worked out which directions the worst hits seem to be coming from. And soon we might just narrow down where a base could be.

    Kid stopped paying them any attention as they worked out which streets Frazzle, Start and Hato would cover on their bikes.

    Kiddo grimaced as he stared at the foamy bubbles in the sink, sloshing plates and glasses clean with a cloth. One element of dinner had not been a great success.

    Potato mash. Undercooked. He’d got distracted by the microwave, by the dryer finishing its load, and by a receipt that he’d forgotten to pencil into the budget book. The potato mash had turned out lumpy. And most of the group had left it on their plates.

    He half missed the rack now, clanking a glass down to dry too noisily.

    More butter. More mashing. Next time. And he hadn’t finished folding that load. Because the receipt system needed to be better. He needed to –

    Kid felt a strong hand frame his jaw and tilt his face to the side so that he was facing Hato instead of phasing out over the bubbly water.

    A bowl dropped back into the sink with a splash.

    You have dark circles under your eyes again, Hato stated coolly.

    He always does, Sparks grinned, swatting Hato’s hard grip away, and patting Kid on the cheek. She gave a pointed glance toward where Kid had let the dishwashing liquid tip over. He quickly righted the bottle and stooped to mop up the slowly growing green slick.

    Sparks was the group’s mechanic and weapons master. She was down to earth. And she was Kid’s favourite. She described her style as ‘classic grease monkey’, with her preference being for blue overalls and black tank tops that Kid always went the extra mile to iron out.

    She was tough, like the others. And once he’d seen her booting someone’s teeth in before his very eyes. But she was a gentle soul, especially toward him, and Kiddo always saw her as if she were surrounded in a hero’s glow.

    Well? Hato pushed.

    Up late, Kid muttered, eyes down as he wiped at the last of the puddle. Talking to your newbie.

    Newbie? Hato frowned. We don’t have anyone new, or any guests at the moment. You taking your meds? Hato pulled Kid back upright by his arm, and peered into his eyes.

    Yes, Kid pushed Hato’s rough hand away again defensively.

    Then get more sleep tonight, Hato ordered. And good grades tomorrow.

    Kiddo found that fault with the c-gars the other day, Sparks looped her arm through Hato’s and led him away. Kid blew upward at his fringe in relief.

    He took one apart, Sparks went on.

    He was probably fidgeting and daydreaming, Hato rumbled dourly.

    "And, Sparks ignored him. We noticed they had stiff trigger connectors."

    Did he manage to put it all back together again? Seethe smirked.

    The group slowly made their way out of the living space and up the stairwell to the sleeping quarters to get decked out for the night.

    Those shooters aren’t cheap, Seethe added.

    Course he did, Sparks lied, her voice disappearing as the warehouse door slid closed.

    Kid had got distracted, swivelling on her wheelie chair while watching her work to fix the other c-gars, and then to service the team’s vehicles that night. His c-gar had been left in a pile.

    She’d had grease streaks on her forearms, and her short hair had been falling from its tie as she’d leaned under the bonnet of a car. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. And it was always easy to phase out over her.

    Kiddo glanced down at the still mostly full sink. Glowering at how easy it seemed to phase out over the bubbles too.

    Once he finished the half done dishes, the less than half done folding and the almost finished budget, he resolved to put the c-gar back in shape.

    He had to wipe where Seethe’s boots had been too.

    And shit! Feed Duncan Jr. The fish.


    The pulsing throbs of the music thumping from the underground club were audible from the ground level – the garage and training rooms.

    With each pulsation from The Lair, Sparks’ tools jangled and jumped where they rested.

    Kid didn’t mind. The muted chaos radiating up through the floor, thumping under his shoes, made his leg jitter and his head bounce in time. It all reflected the jumpiness he always felt inside.

    He clipped the last piece into place, quickly and efficiently soldering it together permanently.

    Then he pushed off with his wheelie chair, launching down the long aisles of cars and bikes and skidding to a stop at the firing range part of where the training room began.

    Noise, noise, noise, he muttered, walking the last steps to an empty stall and twirling the gun.

    Rocking back and forth on his feet, he squinted at the target down the end of the run, and then fired off five accurate shots in quick succession.

    He whistled between his teeth, checking the weapon still looked in good shape under the pressure.

    Fixed it, he congratulated himself, rocking back on his feet.

    And you sure killed that silhouette poster, another voice congratulated. But I thought you didn’t find violence very fun?

    Kid whirled, eyes narrowed, gun ready.

    The stranger was seated in the wheelie chair that Kid had left empty. His elbows on his knees, leaning forward to watch the show.

    I did say I don’t enjoy it, Kid said quietly. I didn’t say I’m not good at it.

    Ah, the stranger nodded. I see.

    Kiddo could see a red welt-like scar twisting like a flame behind the stranger’s ear, met by the lines of a tattoo on the left side of the stranger’s neck, but it was too hidden by his collar to make it out.

    It’s not a great idea to sneak up on a guy with a gun and a precise shot, Kid went on. He felt the heat of adrenaline rushing in his veins, in time to the music thumps from below.

    It seems you would be right, the stranger agreed, still totally unbothered. But you wouldn’t want to make a bloody mess for Sparks in here.

    Hato said we have no guests. You’re probably not real, Kid shrugged. Sleep deprived brain and all. I conjured you up.

    You did well, then, the stranger said amiably. I’m very detailed. And you’ve put me in my favourite jacket each night.

    Kid scowled. You’re not that detailed. My brain hasn’t even given you a name.



    There you go. A name. And Hato is wrong – he does have a guest, and I am very real.

    Dom … Kid put the safety on and placed the gun on a nearby bench. He leaned on the bench distractedly. He had heard that name before.

    He was certain Dom was one of Hato’s friends. An old one, from way back.

    Why’re you here talking to me again, Kiddo asked. Instead of hanging out with Hato or helping the gang?

    I’ve been helping in my own way, Dom waved a hand. And they’re not as interesting as you.

    Kid realised he’d picked up a small screwdriver, and was twirling it over his fingers. He put it down.

    Interesting case, Kid folded his arms and arched an eyebrow. Great.

    "Oh, the whole gang is interesting, if you don’t feel like flattering yourself, Dom reassured him. He lifted his weight for a second and swivelled the chair so that he could drape his arms over the headrest as he sat. Hato’s collection."

    "A rag tag group of kids that

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