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Chasing Silver

By Kimberly Woods,2014-11-04 20:14
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Born in 2057, Remy Capra never expected a second chance at life in Los Angeles, or her only chance at love in 2007. On the run from a cop who cares more about pain than justice, Remy inadvertently goes 75 years back in time and abruptly arrives at the feet of P.I. Nathan Pierce. Remy needs help, and Nathan finds he wants to offer her even more. There are threats from all sides - are their street smarts and unexpected passion enough to keep them together... and alive? Published by Juno Books on 2007/12/25

Table of Contents

-CHAPTER ONE

-CHAPTER TWO

-CHAPTER THREE

    -CHAPTER FOUR

    -CHAPTER FIVE

    -CHAPTER SIX

    -CHAPTER SEVEN

    -CHAPTER EIGHT

    -CHAPTER NINE

    -CHAPTER TEN

    -CHAPTER ELEVEN

    -CHAPTER TWELVE

    -CHAPTER THIRTEEN

    -CHAPTER FOURTEEN

    -CHAPTER FIFTEEN

    -CHAPTER SIXTEEN

    -CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

    -CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

    -CHAPTER NINETEEN

    -CHAPTER TWENTY

    -CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

    -CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

    CHASING SILVER

    Jamie Craig

Chasing Silver

    Copyright ? 2007 by Haley Stokes and Sigrid Harris

    Cover art copyright ? 2007 by Timothy Lantz www.stygiandarkness.com

    Cover design by Stephen H. Segal

    ISBN: 978-0-8095-7201-4

    Publisher's Note:

    No portion of this book may be reproduced by any means, mechanical, electronic, or otherwise,

    without first obtaining the permission of the copyright holder except for brief passages quoted

    by reviewers or in connection with critical analysis.

    Juno Books

    Rockville, MD

    www.juno-books.com info@juno-books.com

Juno Books

    www.juno-books.com

    Copyright ?2007 by Jamie Craig

    First published in 2007, 2007

    NOTICE: This work is copyrighted. It is licensed only for use by the original purchaser. Making

    copies of this work or distributing it to any unauthorized person by any means, including

    without limit email, floppy disk, file transfer, paper print out, or any other method

    constitutes a violation of International copyright law and subjects the violator to severe

    fines or imprisonment.

We'd like to thank Stephanie, Craig, and Jaime.

    Our success would not be possible without you.

CHAPTER ONE

    Sweat rolled down Nathan's neck as he gripped the gun with slick palms. He walked lightly, buteach step against the solid iron grate beneath his feet echoed in the abandoned warehouse. Theair didn't move. It clung to his body, heavy and stagnant, layered over a coating of fine dustcovering his exposed skin.

    Nathan sensed Tian in the building. Somewhere ahead or above, the other man crept around thestacked boxes. Tightening his grip on the gun, Nathan strained to hear, every bit the predator.In the distance, a siren howled to life. Nearby, a dog barked in response.

    Nathan slowed as he approached the end of the narrow corridor. Tian could be waiting behind thesharp corner, gun drawn. After three failed attempts to bring the man in, he had a healthyrespect for Tian. But this time, Tian was coming out in cuffs or a black plastic bag; Nathandidn't have a preference.

    He moved against the wall, sliding around the corner, his finger on the trigger, but an emptyhallway greeted him. Taking a deep breath, he scanned the dark length of the corridor. Tiny,filthy windows lined the top of the wall, but they allowed only the faintest hint of dirty,orange light. He saw a flight of stairs at the edge of the hall, and a door in the middle, butotherwise, the concrete walls stretched on without a break.

    Nathan moved quickly to the door, testing the unlocked handle before releasing it. Dark paperblocked the narrow rectangular window, obscuring his view of the room.

    Holding his breath, he pressed his ear against the door and listened for movement. He heardnothing except the steady pounding of his own heart.

    He eased back, raising his gun in a ready position, and prepared to kick the door open. A meresecond before he moved, a window shattered overhead, sending a cascade of glass to his feet.Nathan looked up in time to see something the size of his fist fly through the hole to land onthe floor.

    Nathan moved cautiously, forgetting about the door behind him. The object's shape took form ashe closed the distance, his narrowed eyes picking out each small detail.

    A grenade. "That cocksucker."

    Kicking the grenade down the hall, he ran back to throw the door open. He dived into the roomwithout hesitation, slamming the door shut behind him. The explosion shook the building and,even behind the thick walls and steel door, he felt the fresh wave of heat rolling down thehall.

    Staying low, Nathan scurried behind a large desk. He peeked over the edge to scan the layout ofthe large and cluttered room. Dust billowed around him as he moved, irritating his nose andclogging his throat. He pulled his shirt over his nose, stifling the urge to sneeze. The roomreeked of abandonment and sweat. His own and somebody else's.

    "Nathan," Tian called in a singsong voice. "Did you like my little present?"

    "You can add attempted murder to your list of charges," Nathan responded

    "Attempted murder? Did you take that shit personal? I was just playing around." His wordsechoed off the walls, mocking Nathan.

    Nathan risked looking over the desk again, trying to find the source of Tian's voice, but therewere too many places to hide.

    "Is Cesar waiting outside?" Nathan asked. "It's going to be a big night for me."

    "You think I let you follow me because I wanted to be caught?"

    Nathan pulled the knife from his boot and began creeping to the right. "Why did you let mefollow you, then? To blow me up with a grenade?"

    "Look, I've got shit to do. The cops don't care about me anymore, why are you all over my ass?"

    His voice was closer now, but Nathan couldn't risk taking the shot and exposing himself.

    "Your ass is worth a lot of money," Nathan pointed out, thinking of his empty bank account."Somebody still cares about it."

    The slight sound of plastic scraping against concrete caught Nathan's attention. He froze, hiseyes scanning the area. Light from a passing helicopter flashed through the dirty windows,giving Nathan a glimpse of Tian's white shirt and black hair. He was only twenty feet away,crouched behind a desk and an overturned table, still facing the door.

    Nathan smiled grimly. In a single motion, he straightened, flicked his wrist, and released theknife. It buried itself in Tian's right arm. Screaming in pain, he whirled around to faceNathan, gun drawn.

    "Put it down," Nathan warned. "I've got this pointed at your head and I'm tired of fuckingaround."

    Tian opened his mouth, but Nathan would never know what the other man intended to say. A seriesof minor explosions, like shots from an automatic weapon, went off just inches from his ear.Nathan spun around, prepared to shoot Tian's accomplice, but he saw no one. The small rapidblasts continued. His skull vibrated from the pressure of the sound and his ears throbbed.

    Bombs. Must be bombs, Nathan thought as he moved for cover.

    Tian began to run, clutching his stained arm.

    "Stop!" Nathan shouted, firing after Tian, but his shots were wild. "Stop!"

    A burst of blinding violet light sent Nathan reeling back, stumbling over the debris.Recovering his balance, he looked up, expecting to see the helicopter, but the light wasn'tcoming from the high windows. It pulsed from the ceiling, from the walls, from the floor, itsbeat matching the rhythm of his pounding heart. He tried to look away, protecting his eyes fromthe final explosion, cupping his ears to shield against the thunderous noise.

    The air crackled with electricity. With the light flaring to an ice blue, one lastreverberation shattered the high windows, sending Nathan diving to safety. Glass shardsshowered down in a lacerating rain. As abruptly as it had arrived, the sudden brilliancevanished, leaving the warehouse in darkness.

    The ensuing silence was almost as painful as the explosions had been. The discomforting quietwas broken when a soft groan echoed from the murk, followed by a muffled, "Fuck."

    Nathan stiffened. The curse didn't come from Tian or Cesar. That was a woman's voice.

    He blinked several times, chasing the black dots from his eyes, before focusing on the almostshapeless form on the floor. He raised the gun, leveling it at her head as he approached. "Whoare you?" he demanded. "A friend of Tian's? Are you armed?"

    She didn't respond.

    He stopped within ten feet of her and pulled back the hammer on the gun. "Put your hands upwhere I can see them."

    Slowly, the shadows shifted like oil on brackish water, something metallic catching a sliver oflight to glint in the darkness. A pale cheek became visible as the woman lifted her head, buther hands remained out of sight. "This has gotta be Hell." Her voice was a husky alto, sharpwith annoyance. "Is this supposed to be my punishment? You torture me for all eternity with badmovie clichés?"

    "What the fuck?" He circled her without looking away, keeping a safe distance as he approachedthe open door. A quick glance down the hall proved Tian had high-tailed it out of there.

    "Fuck. Fuck." Nathan turned back to the strange woman, sudden fury overriding any confusion orshock at her mysterious appearance. He marched over to her, grabbed her arm and hauled her to

her feet. "Who are you? Did you help him plan this?"

    Her eyes widened, as if he'd surprised her by being tangible, but it lasted only a momentbefore she twisted in his grasp, her back pressing into his chest. A sharp elbow slammed intohis diaphragm, followed by her booted heel stomping on his toe. In the fraction of a secondNathan loosened his grip, the woman wrenched free and bolted for the freedom of the open door.

    "No, I don't think so," Nathan muttered, running after her despite the red pain blossoming inhis chest. Tian might have escaped, but this woman wasn't going to be so fortunate. He'd bedamned before he let another one escape tonight. He grasped her shoulder, using his momentumand weight to slam her into the wall.

    "Who are you?" Nathan grunted. She tried to wrench away from him, but he took her wrist withhis free hand and yanked it behind her back.

    The only sound she made was a muttered curse of discomfort. He pulled her arm tighter until herrapid breathing was choked off by a pained cry.

    "Remy," she growled. "You want to know my cup size, too, asshole?"

    Nathan didn't know the name, and he knew all the names surrounding Tian. He would keep hisguard up in case she was lying about her name, but she seemed as confused as he was. "Maybelater," he muttered, easing the pressure on her arm.

    Something warm and sticky coated his stomach. Holstering his gun, he put his hand between their

    Did something get me? Shrapnel, maybe. But therebodies, searching for the source of the blood.

    weren't any holes in his stomach.

    Nathan stepped back without releasing her and pulled the back of her shirt up. It felt like itwas made of tissue paper, like he could rip it right from her body if he wasn't careful.Curious, he gave it a light tug, but it didn't tear. He lost all interest in the odd materialwhen he saw the deep cut stretching across the small of her back. The black blood glistened inthe murky light. He brushed his fingers across her skin, pulling back quickly as she hissed.

    "You're hurt. How did this happen?"

    The contact made her squirm, her spine bowing away as if to get as far from him as possible."Felt like a knife," she admitted. "I didn't bother to stop and ask for details. I was a littlebusy running for my life."

    Nathan examined the wound. It did look like a knife injury. He imagined the assailant, slashingat her ... as she what? Where had she come from? Who was chasing her? How did she end up in themiddle of a third-story room of an abandoned warehouse? Maybe she was right and this was hell.

    Maybe he hadn't moved fast enough when the grenade came through the window.

    Regardless, she was going to lose too much blood if they stood around talking about it allnight.

    "If somebody's chasing you, I think you should get out of here. I know a back way out."

    She snorted. "That's all well and good except, you know, when you've got your face shoved intoa wall and your arm twisted behind you."

    "Well, I hope you'll forgive my caution around strange women who fall out of thin air and hitlike a man three times their size. I'm going to let go and step back. You don't run, and Iwon't slam you into another wall. Deal?"

    Her mouth opened as if to argue, and then snapped shut. Instead, she gave him a curt nod inagreement.

    Keeping one hand ready to grab his gun, Nathan let her go and stepped back, waiting to see ifshe would be true to her word. Remy immediately pulled her arm to the front of her body,stretching the muscles in her back in the opposite direction to loosen the constraint he'dforced upon them.

    "Is that what happened?" she asked. When he didn't answer right away, she glanced back, herface shadowed with unanswered questions. "I fell out of thin air?"

    Nathan shrugged. "All I know is, one minute I was here ready to take that fucker down, and thenext, he's flown the coop, and you're bleeding all over the floor. Might as well been out ofthin air." He narrowed his eyes. "You mean you don't know what happened? How you got here?"

     is." As she swung her gaze around the warehouse, her featureshere"I don't even know where

    passed in and out of the stray light filtering through the shattered windows. He caught sightof her full, sensual mouth and dark eyes glittering with intelligence before the murk swallowedher up again. "I'm going to go out on a limb and say this isn't Washington, DC."

    "No. Los Angeles. Culver City, technically." He moved to take her elbow, but she stepped back,shifting to a defensive position. Nathan put up his hands, trying to flash a soothing, I'm-just-here-to-help, smile. "Sorry. There's a lot of debris in the hallway. There's a flight ofstairs to the right. We're going to go up to the next floor, then take the back stairs out."

    Her eyes jumped back and forth between him and the doorway. With a feral grace, Remy edgedalong the wall toward the exit, only turning her back to him once she stepped into thecorridor. Even then, frequent glances over her shoulder betrayed her anxiety.

    "You've got the trump hand." She kicked an empty box out of her way. "I don't even know yourname."

    "Nathan."

    He watched Remy as she walked, noting she held herself straight, hiding any signs of weakness.But he knew she was in pain. She moved a little too stiffly, a little too hesitantly.

    "Here." He fished the pen light out of his jacket pocket and handed it to her.

    Their fingers brushed against each other as she took the light from him, her skin surprisinglycool in the swelter of the warehouse. "Thanks."

    The added illumination sped their steps through the hall and up to the next level. As theybegan to descend the back stairwell out of the building, though, Nathan saw the whiteness ofher knuckles where she gripped the handrail. She was fighting to stay upright, but refusing toask for help. A flicker of respect began to glow in his gut.

    He closed the distance between them, but didn't make any move to touch her. She looked like shewas ready to jump out of her skin, and Nathan wasn't interested in catching her fist with hisnose. Halfway down the stairs, he detected a slight trembling in her legs, and her foot slippedonly two steps later. Nathan reacted without thinking, wrapping his arm around her chest andpulling her back against him.

    She tensed, ready to fight. "Calm down. I'm not going to hurt you."

    The beam from the penlight wavered along the far concrete wall. "So says the guy who had thehardware aimed at me a few minutes ago." Remy matched his subdued tone. "Give me one goodreason to believe you."

    Nathan tightened his grip. "Because if I wanted you dead, I would have shot when I had my gunon you. But I didn't. Now you're bleeding, confused, possibly insane, and in a strange place.Do you want my help?"

    "No," came the automatic response. She sighed and sagged against him. When she spoke again,there was a resignation in her voice prompting him to wonder why she found it so difficult toaccept aid. "But I'll take it anyway."

    "Please," he muttered, half-carrying her down the remaining stairs. "Stop with the gratitude.You're making me blush."

    Nathan took a deep breath as they stepped out of the building, relieved to breathe air notreeking of mildew and dry dust. The back of his throat burned, and at that moment, he wouldkill for a tall, cold pint of beer.

    "I suppose I could drop you off at the hospital."

    "No, no hospitals." Tensing again, ready to flee or fight, Remy shifted wary eyes to his. "Idon't trust doctors."

    Nathan sighed. Out of the dark and blistering hot warehouse, he had enough light andinclination to study her. He had caught a glimpse of her beauty before, but now he felt likeshe had sucker-punched him. She had used her looks like a hidden weapon, and it wasn't fair.

    Dark, round eyes, full lips, high breasts, and long black hair, not to mention her nice ass,which had been tight yet soft against his body. Her clothes accentuated each of her curves, theodd material hugging her body. Her collar wasn't high enough to cover her throat, and the paleskin stood out starkly against the tightly fitted black shirt. Her fingers were long andelegant in what could have been leather gloves, but they didn't look quite right-they were toothin, like they were painted on. The cut of her pants drew his eyes down her shapely legs toher boots. He didn't know much about fashion, but these looked like the type of shoes one worefor practical purposes, made for comfort and speed, not to impress. Like her gloves, theyseemed to fit like a second skin.

    The sight of her made his brain itch, like there was something he should see, something heshould know about her. Like a forgotten name, or a song lyric only half-remembered, the feelingdanced at the edge of his mind and then was gone.

    He absolutely should drop her off at the hospital.

    "What do you suggest then?"

    It was her turn for a visual assessment, thick lashes dropping as she swept her gaze down hislong, lean form. By the time she dragged her eyes back to his again, there was a calculatinggleam in the brown depths. "You get me a first aid kit, and I'll sandbag it myself."

    Nathan frowned, perplexed. This one is trouble. Forget the hospital, I should take her to the

     "I can patch you up at my place. My car's about a block away." Nathan hoped it was apolice.

    block away, and in one piece. "Let's go."

CHAPTER TWO

    Experience was screaming at her to make a break for it.

    Reality had different ideas.

    Her back stung from the knife wound, and Remy was pretty sure the fall she'd taken from thesecond-story window of the Henryk mansion had sprained her wrist. Somewhere on the back of herleft thigh she felt the tickle of blood seeping from another injury, while her clothing hidother scrapes and bruises, all courtesy of trying to get the fuck out of Dodge before Kirstenand her brute squad managed to make a blow stick. If this Nathan had any sandbag serum, atleast she'd be able to stop the bleeding long enough to start healing. She wouldn't get far ifshe was leaving a trail of blood-crumbs behind her.

    Which led to the absolutely cracked idea that she could, in any way, be in Los Angeles. How thehell was it possible to get all the way across the country in seconds? The answer was easy.

    It wasn't.

    She stole a glance at the man walking at her side. Though hidden by the dark shadow of stubble,his jaw was tense, lips thin from how tightly he held his mouth. A raw power emanated withevery movement, from the controlled swing of his arm to the sure stride of his step, and whilehis anger inside the warehouse had been real, the grim silence surrounding him now was worse.She knew how to deal with dogfights; dealing was how she'd lived her whole life, after all.Strong and silent left her floundering.

    There would be no more fighting for her right now, though. She had felt the taut, lean musclesof his arms when he'd pinned her to the wall. This Nathan might like his guns, but he hadhelped her down the stairs as if she weighed nothing. If she was forced into hand-to-hand, Remyhad no doubt she would end up the loser.

    Her gaze flickered over him again, this time lingering on his long legs and slim hips. Thejeans he wore looked heavy, the denim thick and unwieldy compared to what she was familiarwith, but the old-fashioned detailing made it work anyway. Sweat and dust from his scuffles at

    the warehouse molded them to his body, leaving very little to her very active imagination. Shelicked her lips. Maybe she wasn't up to a fight, but anything else was fair game.

    He walked with purpose, leading her down a block and around a corner before stepping off thecurb and popping the trunk of a parked car. Remy came to an abrupt halt, eyes going wide at thesight of the classic Mustang. She had never seen one on the streets before. This one even hadan exhaust pipe, which meant he'd stuck with the original gas engine. No government tags on theretro plate, though. She bit back a smile. Someone obviously didn't care about ridiculousbureaucracy. One more reason to follow her gut and trust this guy.

    "This is yours?"

    Nathan didn't look up as he put his gun in the trunk and reached for a ratty old blanket. "I'vegot the title to prove it." He thrust the blanket into her arms. "Sit on that. I don't wantblood all over my car."

    Her eyes were still fixed to the Mustang's sleek lines as she walked to the passenger door.Maybe he'd inherited it or something. A car like this had to cost a fortune, and she had thisguy pegged as some kind of PI or cop or something. No way could he pony up for it on his own.

    It took staring at the old-fashioned handle for a few seconds to figure out how to open it. Bythe time she did, Nathan was already behind the wheel, fingers tapping impatiently as he waitedfor her to get in.

    "Not bad, Nate." The grin she'd tried to contain on the sidewalk escaped when she saw thevintage radio. Unable to resist, Remy reached to fiddle with the dials, watching the indicatorslide back and forth behind the tiny numbers in amused fascination. "Not bad at all."

    He worked the old-fashioned stick, shifting the car into first gear. "Nathan. My name isNathan."

    Remy smiled. His English accent, which was already dead sexy, thickened when he was annoyed.

    She saw him look at the radio as she pushed through static and fuzzy stations playing whatsounded like mariachi bands, but he didn't say anything about it. And you can see Rilo Kiley on

    The DJ's voice blasted in the car.August 18th as KROQ's special guest. Just call 1-800 ...

    "Turn that down," Nathan muttered, reaching for the dial.

    Remy let him adjust the volume on the radio, turning it until the DJ's voice was barelyaudible. There was no point in arguing; she'd never been a fan of oldies anyway.

    It gave her the perfect opportunity to satisfy her need to know. "So what kind of work do youdo that lets you have a car like this?"

    Pulling onto the deserted street, he glanced at her with what appeared to be confusion mingledwith curiosity. "What do you a mean, a car like this?"

    His question made her pause. Nathan had struck her as intelligent, but if he didn't know whathis car was worth, maybe she needed to re-evaluate her initial assessment. "It's a classic. Andit looks like aces. You'd never see anything like this on the streets back in DC."

    "I'd hardly call this a classic, Remy. I picked her up for a few grand and slapped a new coatof paint on her. She doesn't look too bad though, does she?" The question was asked with just ahint of a smile.

    Her fingers stroked the smooth surface of the dash. "She looks amazing." No reason to wonderabout his street smarts. If he negotiated a car like this for just a few thousand, there wasnothing wrong with his brain.

    "So where's your place?"

    Nathan didn't answer until he eased onto the abandoned freeway. "Glendale. It's only a few moremiles. This time of night, it won't be more than ten minutes." He looked at her out of thecorner of his eye. "How is your back? Are you still bleeding?"

    Gingerly, Remy peeled off her gloves before leaning forward to slip a hand beneath her shirt.Her fingers came away sticky, but the blood felt too cool to be fresh. "Looks like it's slowing

down."

    She looked around for some kind of wipe-ee or tissue to use to clean her fingers off. Nothingwas obvious, but just as she was about to swipe them across her already-ruined pants, Nathanspoke up.

    "There are some napkins in the glove box. A few of them probably aren't covered in ketchup."

    Glove box. It took her a moment to realize what he was referring to, and she leaned forward toexamine the round knob. Taking a risk, she twisted it and was pleased when it popped open,revealing a dark compartment crammed full of papers and junk. Something small and rectangulartumbled to the floor, but she was too absorbed by the other contents to pay much attention toit. There were napkins right on top, while underneath was what looked like the original owner'smanual for the Mustang and a small square piece of stiff paper with facts about Nathan and thecar typed across it. But he didn't actually have any gloves in it.

    Thoughtfully, she grabbed a napkin and closed the compartment. Maybe Nathan was a historian ofsome sort, or one of those people who did re-enactments for a price. It would explain theobsessive detail.

    "Who got you?"

    Wiping the blood off her fingers, she settled back into her seat, looking out her window towatch the lights of the city streak past in candy-colored stripes. His obvious concern knockedher for a loop. The last time anybody had asked about her health and meant it was beforeKirsten's strike at the safe house. Remy didn't want-or need-to be reminded she was all on herown. Not right now. There were too many other problems to consider first.

    Like how in hell she was going to tell a guy she didn't know from jack that the woman who hadsliced her back open was a cop.

    The silence stretched before she finally said, "There was a fight. I tried to run, and thisbitch who's been after me didn't like that idea."

    Nathan didn't reply for several seconds. She risked a glance at him, but he was staringstraight ahead. The car slowed and drifted to the right, the next exit looming. They rolleddown the ramp, and he pulled into the parking area of a brightly lit shop. Its illuminated signshowed a red numeral "7" with the word "eleven," in green, superimposed across it.

    "And then you fell through a hole in the time-space continuum and ended up on the other side ofthe country?" he asked dryly, pulling the keys from the ignition. "I'm going to get some food.Are you hungry?"

    The shift in attitude left her gawping at him. Where the hell was the sarcasm coming from? Buthis face was unreadable, eyes dark pools shadowed from the brilliance of the nearby storefront.

    Nathan repeated the question, enunciating clearly as if he was speaking to a child.

    Something inside her snapped. "I'm not bleeding out my ears. I heard you the first time."

    Nathan sighed, looking at her before saying, "Fine, I'll just grab you some chips orsomething." He opened the door and made it two steps away before pausing and circling back.Opening the passenger door, he announced, "You're coming in, too. I don't know you well enoughto trust you with my car."

    Finally, a response she understood. Climbing out, Remy followed him into the store, her stomachrumbling at the scent of the warming hot dogs.

    When he glanced at her with a raised brow, his mouth curving into an amused smile, she flushedin embarrassment. "Maybe I am a little hungry."

    Nathan went to a drink dispenser and filled a huge plastic cup with "Big Gulp" emblazoned on itwith liquid. He didn't seem interested in what she was doing, but she knew he was listening toevery step she took, keeping track of her as she moved through the small store. Once he had hisdrink, he grabbed some packaged sandwiches from the nearby cooler, as well as a few flat boxesmarked with an Italian name and "pizza" and two cylindrical containers that said "Ben andJerry's."

    "Grab something if you want it," he threw over his shoulder as he headed for the counter. Whenshe didn't react, he paused and added, "What are you gawking at?"

    Remy barely heard his question. Her attention had been riveted by a newspaper stand next to thecooler. Ignoring headlines about strife in the Middle East and sports scores she focused on theway air from the overhead vents made the edges of the newspapers flutter in their minutebreeze.

    Who in the world still printed the news?

    As if hypnotized, she skimmed a fingertip across the bold type, glancing down afterward to seea faint black smudge on her skin where she'd touched it. Nobody used paper any more; it hadbeen outdated for decades. So why was there rack after rack of them? Supposedly, California wasone of the most eco-conscious states in the country.

    That was when she noticed the tiny date emblazoned under the masthead.

    That can't be right.

    Followed almost instantly by...

    What the fuck did I fall into this time?

    Nathan dumped his food on the counter and turned back to her. "What? What are you looking at?"he asked, annoyed.

    When she didn't look up, he walked over to her and took her elbow. The door chimed as a newcustomer arrived, and Nathan pulled on her arm, but she didn't move. He tried again, but shesmacked his hand away, her attention never shifting from the newspapers.

    Nathan grabbed her, his grip tighter this time, and pulled her against him. "Look," he saidunder his breath, "you're going to start attracting attention. Your back is covered in bloodand you look like you're on something. I don't want to deal with the police and I'm sure youdon't. So get your ass in gear."

    Her heart was already hammering inside her chest, but the hot stream of his words along herneck made her skin stipple in goose bumps. Letting him drag her back to the front of the store,Remy noticed for the first time the costs of the items he had picked up, how he pulled cashfrom his worn leather wallet to pay for everything instead of offering a debit card. A smallbox of rolled horoscopes near the register proclaimed the same year that had been on thepapers, and the stereo perched on a shelf behind the aging cashier had a cassette deck in themiddle of its display. A cassette deck. She had only ever seen one of those in the movies.

    She still hadn't said a word by the time they stepped back out into the cool night air, butwhen Nathan tried to lead her to the car, Remy yanked herself away from his grasp to gofumbling into her back pocket.

    The tiny piece of plastic she extracted was wet with blood that had seeped from her wound.Wiping away a smudge in the corner, she felt the air rush from her lungs as she stared at thedate, achingly familiar, decades away from what the papers and rags inside had declared. It wasthe year she had been born.

    2058.

    If she believed the headlines, she wouldn't even exist for another fifty years.

    How was that possible?

    The sound of the slamming door startled Remy into lifting her head. Nathan stuck his hand outthe window and waved. "I'm leaving now."

    As if to emphasize his words, the Mustang's powerful engine flared to life. She took astumbling step forward, but that wasn't fast enough for Nathan. The car rolled beside her, andhe leaned over the passenger seat to push the door open. "What the fuck is wrong with you? Getin the car."

    As soon as she was seated, Remy thrust her ID into his face. "Tell me what that says." A noteof panic crept into her voice, but she couldn't hold it back any longer. "Tell me I'm not

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