Authors: Lea Griffith
The GenTech Chronicles: Book 1
Published by Liquid Silver Books, imprint of Atlantic Bridge Publishing, 10509 Sedgegrass Dr, Indianapolis, Indiana 46235. Copyright © Published 2013, Lea Griffith. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Liquid Silver Books
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues in this book are of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.
Skylar is the hunted. Fashioned for the sole purpose of destruction, she has spent her entire life running from the evil scientist who created her, her father. When a team of retrieval experts hired by her father track her down, neither Skylar nor the team’s leader is prepared for the magnetic attraction that will not let them go. In the midst of danger, with their lives on the line, they forge a bond so tight only death could break it. Together they will fight an egomaniacal scientist as well as their explosive desire for one another to discover what true power is.
You know why.
How many people does it take to write a book? A whole helluva lot in my case. I just put the words down, but the following people actually made this work what it is now. (This might be kinda long—it’s my first book, bear with me.)
David Bridger—mentor extraordinaire; there are just no words, Obi Wan. Without you, this book would be languishing in my laptop. Your wisdom and willingness to work with a newbie gave me hope and more knowledge than I could have dreamed possible. You are the reason this book is seeing the light of day. Thank you.
, you’re amazing. Thank you for not giving up on me and pushing me to be the very best I could be.
Team Awesome—for being exactly as the name implies. Alice, Carolyn, Jessica, Linda, Rebekah, Sidney, Sophia, and Suzan, you invited me in, and you are never shaking me. Seriously, don’t try.
Georgia Woods, Jennifer Hassani, and the entire LSB family—for taking a chance on me and putting up with my never-ending questions. You guys hang the moon and stars as far as I’m concerned.
My family—what you guys have to deal with when I write deserves a medal of some sort. When I hit it big, I’ll buy you all a nice shiny one, pinky promise. I love you, always and forever.
My mother and brother—you can’t ever read this book. I’ll never be able to look at either of you again. Just kidding. You both better buy it, and make your friends buy it, too. Yeah, I’m not kidding.
I have been incredibly blessed with my editors. For my first time around the block I hit the jackpot.
Rory Olsen—what you’ve done with my words is a beautiful thing. You took my fear and smashed it, just made it so damn easy.
Deirdre Mursch—I’m glad you read it first. I’m glad you were invested. I’m glad I got to end this book with you. You have made her shine.
I could be so lucky to work with the two of you again. Thank you.
And lastly—to all of you who read this book, it’s for you. Thank you for letting me spill my words into your mind. I hope you enjoy the hell out of it and come back to me for more.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Skylar had pulled thirty-six hours straight, cutting, sewing, setting, and diagnosing so many patients she couldn’t even remember why she’d agreed to do the extra shifts in the first place. Still something nagged at her, pricked at that part of her that was always prepared for the unknown, even as weariness slowed her steps and made her vision hazy. She rubbed her gritty eyes.
Her stomach rumbled as she passed items that looked like food, but had long since congealed into disgusting mounds of colored goo under the warming lights of the hospital buffet. Nausea or true hunger, it was hard to tell. She loaded a tray with bread and juice.
“What’s up?” she asked her sisters as she sat down at their table. Her body wilted into the hard plastic chair beneath her.
“Not a damn thing. The question really is: What’s up wit’ chou?” Raina asked in her best Sly Stallone voice.
Her impression was horrible. A cross between a New York boxer gone bad and a laid-back Southern rapper gone good, it wasn’t pretty, but it was effective because it made Skylar laugh most days. Today all she could muster was a tired sigh.
“We heard from Kinsey today.” Piper dropped that bomb as Skylar opened her juice container.
“Yeah? She’s good?”
“Said she was, but you know how Kinz is. She’s the understatement queen of the world.”
“So, when’s she coming in?” Skylar asked.
“She’ll be in later. Said she’s looking forward to some peach cobbler and—” Piper was cut off by Skylar’s raised hand waving between them.
“Not cookin’ this evening, ladies. You’ll have to scrounge for grub on your own.” She drained the entire contents of her juice container in one gulp.
“Come on, Sky,” Raina whined, “I don’t want takeout again.”
“Shut up, Raina,” Piper said in a low, threatening voice.
“No. You shut up, Piper,” Raina returned in an equally terroristic tone.
“Ladies, why don’t both of you shut up and occupy your mouths with the food in front of you for now.” She was saved from having to say anything else as a nurse from the hospital’s ICU walked up to their table.
“Incoming,” Piper murmured.
“Hey, guys.” Julie Everett’s tinny voice was nails on a chalkboard.
“S’up?” Raina asked as she reached over and placed her hand on Skylar’s arm.
Neither Piper nor Skylar acknowledged the woman’s presence.
“Well, you know I’m having that party tonight? You’re all gonna be there, right?”
The woman turned away for a split second, and Skylar shook her head furiously at her sisters. She was about to voice her apologies for not being able to show when a movement to her left caught her attention. A premonition of danger swept over Skylar. Before she could stop the impulse, she’d enfolded her sisters in a protective shell of energy. Unnoticeable to others because it was clear, the shell was nevertheless impenetrable and completely effective. You could still see them—they didn’t disappear behind the unseen wall of energy, but it stopped projectiles like, oh say, bullets.
“What the hell is it, Sky?” Piper questioned as she moved her body into a more defensive position.
“I don’t know. Raina put out your little feeler thingies, and tell me what’s up to my immediate left, please?”
Raina’s face scrunched up in concentration. “I’m not getting jack. You’re shielding too hard for me to pick up anything. What’s up with using
feeler thingies? Yours on vacation or something?” Raina snorted. She refocused her attention to the left of her sister.
After a few moments, Raina’s face cleared, and her attention drew down.
“Um, I got nothing, Sky. All’s clear.”
“Okee dokee. Guess I’m wound a little tight. So, that’s it then, I’m gonna let it go. Oh, and Piper? That’s a big fat hell no to hitting that party. I’m tired and not in the mood to do anything with that loud-mouthed, falsetto’d up, freakishly small woman.” She let her shield drop.
Her sisters had spent their entire lives feeling the distinctive pop when their big sister dropped her shields. They didn’t blink an eye, even though it was something they’d never quite gotten used to.
“You got it, one big fat ‘hell no’ to the party thrown by the freakishly small, falsetto voiced woman behind you. Oh, shit. Do you think she heard me?” Piper asked with a smirk.
Raina’s hand tightened on Skylar’s arm, her normally silvery white gaze, amber bright and rueful as the connection between them gave her sight. “Not a chance. I don’t think she heard a damn thing. She’s moved on to bigger and, oh my sweet goodness gracious, much better things than you, Piper. Look. At. That.” Raina pointed in the direction Skylar had wanted her to feel out just a few seconds ago.
Curiosity got the best of Sky. She half turned in her seat to peer in the direction her sister pointed. Skewered by the most intense set of blue eyes she’d ever seen, her breath deserted her. His gaze was a punch to the soul.
The cafeteria faded as her entire world narrowed down to him. Lightning rippled along her nerves. Muscles twitched under her skin. She stood and moved toward him.
I have to get to him.
His eyes widened as he straightened in his seat. Gooseflesh rose on her arms, and her nipples hardened under her surgical scrub top.
An iron filing to his magnet, she was powerless to stop the forward momentum of her body. She bumped into others, sending trays flying, and people stumbling. Uncaring, she continued to move ahead. The scent of cedar wood and dark chocolate teased her. She licked her lips, desperate for a taste.
She’d become what she’d always feared: a creature of pure instinct. The man had become her primary focus. Her only objective. A feeling of panic caused adrenaline to arc through her. She was almost there.
Before she could reach the table where he was seated, Piper intervened. Her sister caught her arm and redirected her from her intended target.
“Let me go, Piper,” Skylar whispered. She cast for his scent like an animal in heat.
“No. What the hell’s wrong with you?”
“Don’t make me zap your ass, Piper. Let. Me. Go.” Skylar emphasized her command with a short, sharp burst of energy directed at Piper.
“Get real, Sky. That little zap was nothing. Now wake the fuck up out of this little stupor. People are starting to look at you funny, and that man you were making a beeline toward is still watching you. Yo. You with me?” Piper steered her to the cafeteria door.
Skylar stopped and shook her head.
What the hell am I doing?
She moved willingly toward the exit of the cafeteria with her sister.
“What, in the name of all that’s holy, is going on?” Piper asked in a furious whisper. Outside of the cafeteria, Sky collapsed against the opposite wall. Her chest heaved as if she’d just run a sprint, and she bent over to put her hands on her thighs, trying to get her bearings. Raina walked out of the cafeteria.
Piper and Raina moved to either side of their sister. They lifted her under each arm and began half carrying her down the hall. She was still breathing heavily, but managed to gather herself enough to help her sisters, walking with them instead of being carried.
They’d reached the elevators when a loud command came from behind.
The man from the cafeteria was moving pretty damn fast toward them with three other big males following his lead.
“Shield us now, Sky,” Piper demanded in a grating voice. She pushed the elevator buttons furiously in an attempt to get the doors to open.
“Now, Sky … you’ve got three, two, okay that’s
seconds left. They’re almost on us,” Raina said in a low voice.
“I won’t shield. Not against him. Who is he?” Sky whispered brokenly.
Why can’t I block him out?
She turned to meet the onslaught of men coming toward them. There were four of them, but what the one at the rear had in his hands finally gave her the strength to throw a shield to protect her sisters. If burly dude in the back was thinking about using that pretty little Walther he was waving around, they were all going to tote one major ass whooping, whether they were looking for one or not.
Skylar didn’t want to hurt them. But her sisters’ safety came before all others. Even her own. She was the first, the strongest, and therefore had a duty to the others. Sky threw the shield, and at the same time reached into the men’s minds and took control, stopping them in their tracks. Each man struggled against her hold on his mind, disbelief not the only emotion they communicated. These were strong men, and their confusion at being unable to move pushed at her.
“Son of a bitch! You cut it a little close, doncha think?” Piper’s tone was caustic.
“Watch your mouth, Piper. Ladies don’t speak that way,” she tossed right back as she concentrated on manipulating the matter around them.
She wanted it to appear as if they were moving into the elevator instead of standing right where they’d been. She needed to get her sisters away from them, ASAP. Good thing she had lots of nifty tricks up her sleeve.
“Where the hell are you going?” the burly dude at the rear called out to the vision she’d created.
They’d see what Sky wanted them to, unless she dropped the shield. As far as they knew, the women were now on an elevator, headed to the ground level.
“That was a fucking waste of time. We’ve been scoping them for three damn weeks. Smythe-Ward will go ballistic if we lose them now. They’ll tuck and run, Sebastian,” another one of the men spit out.