I jerked awake, thoroughly tangled in the space blanket, my legs numb, and looked into a pair of amber eyes that stared back at me along the blade of a big, scary military-type knife pointed at my throat. I swallowed hard. Boy, had I screwed up.
"Hi," I said.
She didn't blink. My God, she was beautiful in the pre-dawn light glowing through the windows. No human looked that perfect. Was she real? I freed my right hand and ever so slowly raised my index finger to the tip of the blade while she watched. When I pressed lightly against the point, it pricked my skin. I pulled my hand back. Blood welled from the tiny cut. Yep, real. Shit. She'd taken me prisoner.
"We're surrounded by cops," I said. "If you stick me, I'll scream like a girl."
Ah, crap, why'd I used that expression? She probably screamed like an Amazon warrior. How'd she even lift a knife that big? She was such a tiny thing. All the cops I'd met were big louts. But she had the drop on me, and the knife was a lot more threatening than her wand thingy.
"Who are you? Where are we? How'd I get here?" she asked. The taut muscles around her eyes telegraphed fear, and the knife trembled in her hand.
I rubbed my prickling wrist tattoos against my jeans and caught a whiff of something burnt. I glanced around the kiosk. Up near the ceiling, a trace of shapeless sooty cloud leaked out through the crack around the door. My mouth opened, closed.
"Do you smoke?" I asked, hoping she'd tell me she did. The cloud could have been cigarette smoke even if it didn't smell like tobacco… purposeful cigarette smoke, on the dark side. A hallucination. Not real.
A frown joined her stare. Oops. I'd wandered off topic. What had she asked? Who are you? But her team had that tracking device that reacted to me. How could she be looking for me but not recognize me?
"I brought you here so they wouldn't shoot you. I had to hide you while I led him away." I gave her a tentative smile and waited for her to gush her thanks for saving her life. Maybe she'd be so grateful, she'd tell me about the tracking device—and point that big knife some other direction. Then I could get away before she figured out who I was.
She added narrowed eyes to the stare and the frown. I chewed my lower lip. Maybe I wasn't communicating as well as I'd hoped. I felt woefully inadequate talking to someone as lovely as her, especially someone carrying a dangerous weapon. It could have been worse—at least I hadn't degenerated into word salad or spoken in rhymes.
Light bulbs talk to River Madden; God doesn't. When the homeless schizophrenic unintentionally fractures a dimensional barrier and accidentally steals a gym bag containing a million dollars, everyone from the multiverse police to the local crime boss—and an eight-foot tall demon—are after him. Can he dodge them long enough to correct his mistakes and prevent the destruction of three separate dimensions? If he succeeds, will the light bulbs stop singing off-key?
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Genre – Contemporary, Urban fantasy
Rating – R
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