Okie dokie. Next subject. “What was it like, when you first realized you could mess with electricity?”
“Like what weird? What happened?”
A long sigh that might put off a lesser woman, but Danika persisted. “What?”
“I thought I was having a heart attack, shorted out the electricity in my office. Went home, played with it, figured out what I could do.”
“How did it feel?”
“I told you, weird.”
For heaven sake. “I know you’re a big tough guy and all, but can’t you give me more details, about the actual sensation of when you realized what you could do?”
“No. Can’t you sit and be quiet for ten minutes?”
“I can, but I figure since this is the first time I’ve had another ‘freak’ as you call us, to talk to, I’d take advantage of it. And you’re the one who came looking for me down here, remember?”
“So don’t you want to share stories? That’s why we’re looking for the machine, right? To find others, see if we can figure out what happened to us. You want to get rid of those headaches, don’t you?”
“Yes, I do.”
He did, but something else motivated this guy. Danika drew away from him and leaned her chair back. Riley had another agenda, her intuition told her. A reason for his search. And he wasn’t sharing with her. She jumped as the burner phone rang.
“It’s Travis again. I should talk to him.”
“No, let him leave a message.”
“He left me two already, asking where I was. Sounded pissed.”
“Let him leave another. He’ll get anxious, give away information.”
“I should answer.”
“What are you going to say?”
“I’ve got it worked out. I’ll say I chickened out at the last minute at the bar, got worried about meeting him.”
The phone stopped ringing.
“I don’t know, depends on his response. I guess he’ll want to meet again, and I’ll tell him I had to leave. See what he says after that. I think quick on my feet.”
“Did he leave a message?” Riley held out his hand. “Give me the phone.”
“Yes.” She shoved the hand away. “I’ll pick it up.” Bossy man. He would not bark out orders and expect her to obey like a puppy.
“Come back here, where it’s quieter.” He stood and motioned with his head. “We’ll both listen to it.”
“Don’t trust me?”
He raised an eyebrow, and she almost laughed. “Yeah, fine, I don’t trust you either.”
In the relative quiet of the back area of the terminal, she punched in the code to pull up the message and put the phone on speaker.
“It’s Travis. Wish you’d return my call. I’ve got the machine. I didn’t tell you when we talked before. Charlie gave it to me to make modifications, last time I saw him. Charlie and I plan to sell it. Except I’m pretty sure Charlie took off. I can’t get ahold of him. Look, I need money and need to get out of town. I’ll sell it to you, for my share. Charlie can pay you back. Fifty thousand dollars. Get with me soon. Other people are asking about it.”
Danika hit the button to save the message. “You think he’s for real? That someone else is interested in buying the device?”
“No, he’s full of shit. He wants you to get in touch with him, doesn’t know how to operate the machine and wants to make money off it. Knows you can’t ask Charlie anything, but he’s still not mentioning that he’s dead.”
“What an idiot. Like I won’t suspect something is wrong? Try to reach my uncle? Fifty thousand dollars. He’s whacked.”
“Guess he figures start high. Maybe you want it bad enough.” He pulled out his own phone and checked the time. “My shuttle’s almost here. I’ll dig around, see what I come up with on Travis.”
“Keep me updated, about whatever you find, promise?”
“Tonight. Call me tonight and give me an update.”
He leaned his head back and growled. “Damn woman, give it a rest. I’ll get with you when I learn something of interest.”
“And in the meantime, I shouldn’t worry my pretty little head? You’ll take care of everything?”
He shook his head, a half-smile pulling at his mouth. “I’ll contact you. Don’t worry.”
Oh, how good it would feel to smack that grin right off his face. Patronizing asshole.
She watched him head down the platform. He moved smooth, sure of himself, arms swinging easily, his stride even and strong. Like a tiger who’d claimed the world as his kingdom.
Fuck. She closed her eyes and rubbed them with her knuckles, erasing the momentary lust. There would be nothing between them. At all. His only use in her life was finding out more about Travis and getting that machine back.
She trudged to the other end of the terminal to wait for her own shuttle. Damn it, if she had to find a person cursed with power, why did it have to be an egotistical jerk like Riley? Why couldn’t she have encountered a guy with some empathy?
Riley was all about himself. He’d do what he wanted to improve his life, no matter the cost, she suspected. If it coincided with helping others, he’d go along, but wouldn’t make any special effort. Lots of people became that way, after The Annihilation. Selfish, scared, distrustful.
Shoving her hands in her pockets, she let out a breath. So maybe she got a little pushy with Riley. A little demanding. Danika did her best to not let anxiety rule her moods, but some days, fear won out.
With Riley, she needed to stay sharp, not let him run over her like a stampede of wild horses. He wanted to be in control, wasn’t comfortable working with a partner.
Too bad. She hitched her backpack up as her bus pulled in. He had a partner now, and better get used to it.
With the aid of an inexplicable but opportune super-power, he’s determined to conquer any hurdles to gain back his freedom. Except one hot mess of an obstacle he can’t get around.
A terrorist attack poisons the water and leaves hundreds of thousands of Americans dead. Countless more are left with diminished brain function. As the government seizes control, order is restored in the country but freedom is taken away. A nation is quarantined, all citizens regulated to stay within the borders.
For Riley, a genius hacker, that lack of freedom, particularly travel restriction, is not acceptable. When he suddenly develops a bad-ass power and learns he can manipulate electricity, he sets out to use that power to gain back control. The discovery of a murder forces Riley to team up with Danika, an enigmatic woman with her own freaky power and scary secrets. When they find that the dead scientist was working on a machine to uncover more people with superpowers, the adventure begins as they attempt to track the device.
Death and danger shadow the pair as they travel to the waterways of Florida, the mountains of Colorado and places in between. With each of them following their own agenda but compelled to work together, they search for answers in a world shaped by devastation, and discover buried pieces of themselves along the way.
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