Awaken Me Darkly by Gena ShowalterAwaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter

Awaken Me Darkly

byGena Showalter

Mass Market Paperback | March 1, 2006

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In a time and place not too far away, Mia Snow is an alien huntress for the New Chicago Police Department, and she's the perfect girl for the job. Tough and sexy, she's earned each of her scars battling the elusive enemy among us. Now, investigating a series of killings, she is shaken to the core when a burst of violence leaves her partner Dallas fighting for his life. A tall, erotic stranger holds the power to heal the injured agent -- and to bind Mia in an electrifying and dangerous seduction. He is Kyrin en Arr, of the deadly Arcadian species -- an alien, a murder suspect -- who has Mia walking a knife's edge, risking her badge and even her life. . . and edging closer to a shocking revelation that will shatter everything she's ever believed.
Gena Showalter writes in the genres of contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and young adult fiction. She is the author of the Alien Huntress series, Tales of an Extraordinary Girl series, Atlantis series, and Lords of the Underworld series. Her other books include The Stone Prince, The Pleasure Slave, and Catch a Mate. Her books h...
Title:Awaken Me DarklyFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 6.75 × 4.19 × 1.3 inPublished:March 1, 2006Publisher:Downtown PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1416517170

ISBN - 13:9781416517177

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved I love this series. Very dark and great characters.
Date published: 2018-01-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very good. I enjoyed it. Totally different from what I read and I really enjoyed it can't wait to read the rest if them.
Date published: 2013-10-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Quick Read This book had a lot flaws, but it also had a lot of things going for it. The context was neat, and it was a really quick read. The female protagonist, Mia Snow was interesting and an ass kicker, but a little irritating. The plot was a little... well it was just a bit too predictable, and I found the love interest was a little, well I don't know how to describe it, I just didn't like. Overall it was a quick read, and worth reading. Not a must read, but it was good solid entertainment.
Date published: 2010-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! Mia is a alien huntress who is tough and sexy, but when her partner is seriously hurt and dieing during an on going investigation, she has to trust a suspect with her partner's life. Kyrin is an arcadian alien who can help Mia in more was than one. He can save her partner's life, lead her to the real killer, bring her unimaginable pleasure, and reveal to her something that will change everything she has believed in. Gena's books are addicting!
Date published: 2009-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from smokin' hot romance this book is fantastic , i love that gena's lady character's are always strong // in body and mind. it also makes the romance that more steamier. it's a fast paced book, worth reading again and again
Date published: 2009-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Great Wonderful read. First book I've read of Gena Showalter's and I really enjoyed it. I read it on the weekend so I wouldn't have to put it down. I'd definately suggest people read it.
Date published: 2006-10-24

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 Midnight. The witching hour, some say. Since it was 12:07 A.M. and I was standing over a dead body, I had to agree. The victim, William H. Steele, a thirty-six-year-old Caucasian male, six feet four, approximately two hundred and thirty pounds, brown hair, brown eyes, lay naked across a bed of crisp winter leaves. Moonlight spilled in every direction, and withered foliage mockingly framed his muscular physique. He bore no open wounds, no bruises. In fact, not a single blemish marred the perfection of his skin. He was only recently dead; heat still radiated from him and curled into the icy night sky. Alien Investigation and Removal agents, also known as A.I.R., were scouring the area, meticulously searching between every blade of brittle grass, every grain of dirt. The faint murmurs of their chatter echoed in my ears. I tuned them out and intensified my focus on the body. The man's legs were slightly spread and bent at the knees. One of his hands rested behind his head, and the other was bound to his penis with a -- what the hell was that? I crouched down. Eyes narrowed, I reached out with a gloved hand and slid one finger under the material. A pale blue ribbon, tied in a perfect bow. I scowled. Was he supposed to be a gift? Yes. Yes, that's exactly what he was, I realized, my scowl deepening. Frost gleamed in his hair like diamonds against dark velvet, yet he hadn't been outside long enough to acquire the frost from nature. He was a gift that had been posed to look carnal, seductive. Alluring. To the average citizen, he would have appeared eager for a long night of sexual gratification. To me, he just looked like the corpse that he was. His eyes were fixed straight ahead, his lips slightly blue, and he wasn't shivering from the cold. A dead giveaway, if you will. Besides that, his testicles were as smooth and shiny as marble, not shriveled like I supposed every other man's out here were. With a wry shake of my head, I pushed to my feet. Perhaps my assessment was callous and indifferent; perhaps my humor was misplaced. Dead bodies were the norm in my line of work, and I couldn't allow myself to view this man as an actual person. If I did, I'd have to acknowledge that he once had hopes and dreams, thoughts and feelings. I'd cry for the family he left behind, wonder about the life that had once pulsed through his veins. I couldn't do that and still hope to function. With tears came distraction, and with distraction came death. My first year of fieldwork, I had spent more time crying for victims than hunting for their killers, and I had almost become a victim myself. I glanced down at my wrist. The inky blackness of my glove didn't quite meet the cuff of my jacket, leaving a small patch of skin visible. That skin boasted a tattoo of the Grim Reaper's scythe and was just one of my many reminders to remain unemotional. I'd gotten the tattoo after recovering from a nasty beating, courtesy of a pissed-off other-worlder. While I'd been lost in my grief for a victim I couldn't even remember now, an energy-absorbing Rycan attacked me from behind -- and kicked major huntress ass. I had vowed never to cry again. And I hadn't. Tears were a weakness only civilians could afford. I am an alien huntress. I am part of the A.I.R. team, working with or against the New Chicago PD -- whichever suits me at the time. Every night I stalk and kill other-worlders, and whether I'm investigating a death or causing one myself, I have to shove sentiment aside, find humor where I can, and concentrate on the facts. I love my job despite the blood and gore -- or maybe because of it. I love solving puzzles, fitting each piece of evidence together. I love that one by one, I'm ridding Earth of our unwanted visitors. Yes, some aliens are peaceful and are allowed to live and work among us. Those, I leave alone. But the others? The rapists, the thieves, the killers? I despise them. Alien sympathizers often ask me if I, a hunter, a legalized killer, live with guilt. My answer: Hell, no. Why should I feel guilty for destroying a predator? I'm proud of my work. I'm privileged to do what I do. Other-worlders who survive on human carnage deserve the sting of my pyre-gun. A glacial blast of wind whirled past my shoulders, scattering a thin sheen of snow powder in every direction. The hem of my long black leather jacket danced around my calves. Four inches of snow had been predicted, so I needed to work quickly. Twenty minutes ago, I'd received a call from my boss, Commander Jack Pagosa. He'd briefed me on the situation. He'd also informed me I had until morning to present him with a suspect, or I would spend the next year behind a desk. William Steele, a happily married father of one, had been abducted from his home four weeks prior. His wife and newborn child slept peacefully throughout the entire ordeal, unharmed and unaware. Abductor's point of entry: undetermined. Four other dark-haired, dark-eyed men disappeared soon afterward. One had been taken from his workplace, and two had been snatched straight from a crowded street during their lunch hour. Oddly enough, there had been no witnesses and not a single shred of evidence left behind at any scene. Because of the enigmatic nature of each disappearance, aliens were the prime suspect. Just half an hour earlier, a hunter on patrol had found Steele in this deserted Southern District field. Thankfully, the hunter had preserved the scene until my team arrived. The first thing I'd noticed was that Steele's body showed no indication of torture, no sign of having been restrained. Second, I'd realized his death had nothing to do with impulse or rage -- just as I knew the murder had nothing to do with stupidity or amusement. The scene was too precise, too perfectly planned. Mr. Steele had been killed for a reason. What? I couldn't yet fathom. I drew in a deep breath -- and stilled. Slowly, I drew in three more breaths. As I exhaled the last, I smiled. Since the first kidnapping, no one had dared guess which of the forty-eight alien species were responsible, but I had just narrowed it down to three. The victim had been killed by poison. Onadyn, to be exact. A deoxygenating drug used by the Zi Karas, Arcadians, and Mecs for survival on this planet. They couldn't breathe our air without it. To oxygen-breathers, the substance was lethal. Worse, it was virtually undetectable. Virtually, but not completely. A rare few could identify Onadyn by its scent, a subtle fragrance similar to a dewy breeze during a summer storm. I was one of the rare few, and I smelled it now. The scent filled my nostrils, intoxicating and sweet, as lovely as it was deadly, and somehow suddenly more obvious to me than the scent of waste, rotting food, and charred leaves that made up so much of this domain. My observation wasn't as solid as a neon sign blinking over the killer's head that read i did it in bold red letters, but it did point us in the right direction. Still, I wanted more. I scanned the area to my right, paused, then scanned the area to my left. Except for the occasional twinkle from regulation halolights, the task force blended into the night. I dragged my focus farther back, taking in the tall oaks that knifed the sky. The trees were sparsely scattered, their branches naked, their bark weighed down by dripping ice. Situated between the trees were homes and businesses. I use the term businesses loosely, of course. Nice people referred to this seedy, neglected district as Whore's Corner. I'd once been fined for publicly saying what I called the place. Had any of the residents seen anything unusual? Would they tell us if they had? I'd already dispatched the most charming of my agents to question every citizen within a one-mile radius. But this late at night, civilians tended to be cranky and distrustful. Besides that, the Southern District was notorious for its hatred of law enforcement -- human or otherwise. "What do you think, Mia?" Dallas Gutierrez, my right-hand man, strode to my side. He wore a black leather jacket and black combat boots that fit the hard planes of his body to perfection. At times, I thought he was too handsome to be real. His hair was dark and thick, and the inky locks hung in sexy disarray over the wide, muscled length of his shoulders. Perfect eyebrows arched over perfectly shaped eyes. Perfect cheekbones framed a perfect nose. For some reason, he was smiling -- revealing perfect white teeth, the bastard -- yet even as the brown depths of his eyes glinted with mischief, he still possessed the razor-sharp edge of a hunter. I admired him for that. On more than one occasion, Dallas Gutierrez had flipped Death the bird and come out alive. He was a man who rushed into the middle of danger without hesitation. He considered his friends' safety before he considered his own, and he never regretted his choice, even when he lay wounded and bleeding. He'd saved my life so many times, I should have tattooed his name on my ass. "What do you think?" he repeated. "Which group of aliens is responsible?" "Zi Karas, Arcadians, or Mecs." A little of the sparkle left his eyes. "You sure?" I tossed him an are-you-kidding-me frown. "Can a woman lose one hundred and seventy-five pounds of unwanted fat by divorcing her husband?" "Damn." He chuckled, the sound rich and husky in the twilight. "No wonder you're still single. You're vicious." Damn right I was. I had to be. I was a woman in a man's profession, and just because I carried a pyre-gun did not mean I was taken seriously. Not even Dallas had taken me seriously at first. His first week on the job, he fought to have me relocated. "Women aren't hunters," he'd said so many times I wanted to brand the words on his chest -- while he was awake and tied to his bed. I stand at five feet five, weigh one hundred and twenty pounds. I'm only twenty-eight years old, but I have an indomitable will. I do not take shit from anyone, especially when it comes to my job. The first time Dallas and I practiced hand-to-hand combat, I had him on the ground in three seconds flat, my palms wrapped around his windpipe while he gasped for air. Funny enough, we were best friends after that, and he never again mentioned my relocation. "What makes you so sure of yourself?" he asked, folding his arms over his chest and pinning me with a frown of his own. A plastic bag dangled from his fingers. I shrugged. "Ever heard of Occam's razor?" He blinked over at me, and I took that for a no. "Occam's razor is a nineteenth-century principle that states the simplest explanation for a mysterious event is most likely the truth." His brow furrowed, and his eyes flashed dark fire. "How in the hell did you decide the most likely suspect was from an oxygen-intolerant group?" "I smell Onadyn," I said, biting back a grin. "Christ," he grumbled. "I was excited that I knew something you didn't. Thanks for ruining it for me." "My pleasure. Now what's in the bag?" As soon as the words left my mouth, all traces of emotion drained from his expression. Silently, he studied me, as if trying to measure my inner strength. I knew what he saw. Straight black hair pulled tight in a ponytail, though several wisps had already escaped confinement. Wide blue eyes that had seen more evil than good, and an oval face that boasted delicate cheekbones better suited to a ballerina. My appearance worked well for me at times. Suspects expected me to be feminine and delicate, and I was able to take them by surprise. At other times my appearance worked against me, bringing out all kinds of protective instincts in men. This was one of those times I wished I had a mustache and a long, hideous scar. I kept my gaze locked on Dallas's. A sigh slid past his lips, leaving the words You win unsaid, though he didn't answer my question right away. "Notice any footprints around the body?" he asked. I peered at the ground, studying, searching. "No." "Neither did we. And we've analyzed every inch of dirt in this godforsaken shit hole. At first we thought someone performed a beam-me-down-Scottie." I tossed that idea through my mind. "Maybe. But most aliens arrived here through interworld portals. Not spaceships. So they wouldn't have access to the kind of technology required for a molecular transfer. Besides, the killer is cocky. What better rush than placing the body here, in full view of witnesses, and still getting away?" "Give us some credit, Mia. I said at first. We soon changed our minds." Smug now, he dangled the plastic bag in front of my face. Inside were six strands of white hair. "Found them snagged on a branch." I frowned, studied the hair more closely. They were thick and coarse frown deepened. There weren't six individual strands of hair; in actuality, there were only two. Three strands per follicle. "Arcadian," I said, confirming my Onadyn suspicions. Only the Arcadians had three strands of hair attached to one follicle. Dallas nodded, his features suddenly tense, determined. "You got it." Dread prickled along my nerve endings, and my stomach twisted into a thousand tiny knots. Why couldn't the Zi Karas or Mecs be responsible? Of all the aliens to invade our planet, Arcadians were the strongest, the deadliest. The hardest to capture. Their psychic abilities proved a sufficient weapon against us, helping them evade capture. And their talent for mind control...Damn. I didn't even want to contemplate that right now. No wonder there were no footprints around the body. An Arcadian could very easily use telekinesis to wipe them away. "Good luck to us," Dallas said, his voice punctuating the sudden silence. "Finding the other men alive doesn't seem likely now." "We'll find them," I said, pretending I didn't have my own doubts. He pushed out a breath and motioned to the corpse with a tilt of his chin. "One thing I can't figure out. Why only men with dark hair and eyes?" I'm pretty sure I knew the answer. "Our killer is an Arcadian female who's only attracted to men who are the exact opposite in appearance to her kinsmen." The corners of his mouth twitched. "Occam's razor again?" "Brilliant deduction." Another blast of wind pushed around us, causing tendrils of hair to momentarily shield my vision. I hooked them behind my ear. "I think she wanted Steele and the others as her kinky new sex toys, but couldn't obtain them through legal means." "Let's be honest, though. No woman is strong enough to force poison down a man this size." "You know better than that," I said, patting the gun at my side, reminding him that I could force a steel pipe down his throat if I wanted. I knelt down and pulled at the bow tied to Steele's penis. "Look at this. Is this something a man would do?" "No." Dallas shook his head slowly. "No, it isn't." "Hey, Snow," one of the men called just then. I recognized Ghost's deep baritone; he was a man I enjoyed working with. He possessed a heart of honor and courage unlike anyone else I'd ever met. "Yeah," I answered and released the ribbon. I shoved to my feet, searching the darkness for his rich, chocolate-colored skin. He stood several feet away, his grin a beacon in the night. "Why don't you come over here and do that to me? I'll enjoy it so much more than Steele there," he teased with a wink. Of course, Ghost also possessed a warped sense of humor. "The last breathing man who let me near his goods dropped to the floor in a fetal ball and begged for his mommy." He gave a good-humored chuckle. "You stay the hell away from my goods." With barely a breath he added, "You want us to erect the force field and protect him from the weather?" "No, not yet." I wanted to view him exactly as he'd been left for a little longer. I returned my attention to Dallas, who was scrubbing a hand over his jaw stubble. "What are you thinking?" "The killer went through some pretty elaborate measures to pose the body," he said. "The intelligent thing to do is destroy all the evidence, leave nothing behind." "Our girl's into showmanship, but more than that, she's into punishment. She took her time here, labored over every detail. See how the victim's body is perfectly aligned? See how the frost is perfectly sprinkled in his hair?" A pause. "I'm guessing he did something to really piss her off." "Damn me," Dallas said, "but I think you're onto something here. Punishment equals humiliation, and there's nothing more humiliating than going down in history as the man found in a dirty, diseased field with one hand tied to his dick." He snorted, his mouth quirking up at one corner. "Maybe we should interview a couple of my former girlfriends. Sounds like something they might do." Over the years, I'd met many of Dallas's girlfriends. Some of them had needed icicles surgically removed from their veins -- a sentiment I'd voiced aloud on more than one occasion. Not that he'd ever appreciated the genius of my insight. I shook my head and said, "All we're likely to get from your leftovers is frostbite, so we'll forgo the pleasure of interrogating them for now." He shot me a teasing grin. "Oh, oh, Miss Snow. Is that jealousy in your tone?" "Bite me, Dallas." "Hmmm, with pleasure, Mia." He was kidding, I knew. Our relationship had never been sexual. And would never become sexual. Sex destroyed more male/female partnerships than death, and God knows it would completely negate my authority, something I would not allow. I stared down at the body for a long while, a new crop of questions running through my mind. "I want you and Jaxon to interview the victim's family in the morning," I said. Jaxon was another member of my unit. Whereas Dallas was all intimidation, Jaxon was a man who could ask the most private of questions and somehow convince interviewees they were happy to answer. "I want to know every sexual secret Mr. Steele possessed, every woman he ever glanced at. I even want to know the brand of underwear he preferred." Dallas's handsome face twisted in a wince, his full lips pursing in feigned pain. "That should be fun." "If you'd prefer, I'll assign you to PADD." Paper and Desk Duty. "Hey," he said, smiling like he was about to do me a huge favor, "you want me to talk to Steele's family in the morning, I'll talk to Steele's family." Before I could comment, he added, "What's next for tonight?" I cast another glance around the scene. It was about to start snowing again, the night suddenly thicker than before. "Boys," I loudly called, "go ahead and erect the force field, then call homicide. They can finish searching the area. We've found what we need." To Dallas, I said, "Let's go to the car." I pivoted toward our unmarked black sedan. I only set my feet in select places, using the same path I'd taken to get here. "I want to search the database." He fell into step behind me. When we reached our destination, I placed my index finger on the passenger ID scanner. After recognition the door popped open, and I slid inside. With a tug of my wrist, I slammed the door. Moments later, Dallas occupied the driver's seat. "Start," he commanded, and the vehicle immediately roared to life. "Heat. High." The heater kicked into action. I glanced out the window and watched Ghost and the other men assume positions around the edges of the crime scene. Each man withdrew a small box, placed it at his feet, and pressed a button. Blue lights sparked from every box, and the air around them appeared to solidify, becoming liquid and spreading upward and out, until meeting and creating a protective dome. "We need names," I said, turning to Dallas. "Specifics." "That I can do." Features tightening with concentration, Dallas unfolded his computer console, located where steering wheels were once positioned. Within seconds, he was plugging away at the keyboard. Pensive, I removed my gloves and massaged the back of my neck. "Pull up a list of every Arcadian hunted, questioned, or wanted for interrogation in the last year." "Males, too? "Yes." "Already done." He punched a few more buttons, and twenty-six names popped onto the screen. Ignoring the names, I scanned the crimes committed. Prostitution. Robbery. Vandalism. "Cross-reference this list with all Arcadians questioned for sex and human hate crimes. Delete those that have already been exterminated." His fingers again flew over the keyboard. Mere seconds passed before the names dwindled to five. I nodded in satisfaction. Very few aliens linked to violent crimes ever lived long enough to gloat. Since alien supporters had yet to push through a law stating that other-worlders were entitled to a trial, hunters were often judge, jury, and executioner. Instead of thanking us for keeping them safe, however, the supporters continued to fight us. Didn't they realize that if aliens weren't controlled, if their numbers weren't kept to a minimum, they could overrun us? That they might one day have the power to wipe us out completely? Didn't they realize that species with extraordinary powers like weather control, levitation, and the ability to absorb energy needed to know they would be punished if they harmed a human? When the aliens first arrived more than seventy years ago, we would have destroyed them all if we could have. From all the reports I'd read, panic had spread worldwide, and we immediately engaged them in war. Instead of causing them to flee, we came very close to destroying our own planet. In desperation, our world leaders finally met with the commanders of each species, and it was agreed that the aliens could live here as long as they remained peaceful toward us. However, as with humans, there are those who are innately good and those who are innately evil. When several other-worlders placed humans on their dessert menu, both aliens and humans agreed something needed to be done. A.I.R. was quickly established, granting us free license to kill those who proved evil. "We'll question each one," I said, "see what they know." Keeping his gaze on the front windshield, Dallas adjusted the pyre-gun hooked to his shoulder holster. The lines around his mouth were taut. "To be honest," he said, his voice just as taut, as if he were embarrassed by his words, "I'm not sure I'll be much help to you on this case. I've only hunted two Arcadians since joining A.I.R., and I had no luck either time." "Then consider tonight your lucky night. We'll split the unit into five groups of two, and each group will hunt one Arcadian." I shifted to my left, facing him more directly. "You'll be with me, and I" -- I winked -- "always get my alien." "Not a bit cocky, are we?" His lips widened into a full-fledged grin, and he radioed the others and told them our plan. "Jaffe, Mandalay, you're searching for Cragin en Srr. Ghost, Kittie, you're searching for Lilla en Arr -- " "No," I said, cutting off his words. The moment he'd spoken Lilla's name, cold fingers of apprehension had crawled up my spine. "I want the woman." His brow furrowed. "There are two females listed." "I want this woman." My instincts rarely proved wrong. His eyes gleamed with curiosity, but he nodded, corrected Ghost and Kittie's target, then continued his litany. When he finished, he returned the radio to its receiver and faced me. "So you think Lilla's our girl?" "We'll see." I motioned to the computer with a tilt of my chin. "Pull up her voice frequency." When an alien was interrogated, no matter the crime, their voice was recorded and filed, and through voice recognition we were able to monitor their whereabouts for the rest of their stay on Earth. Alien voice was much like human fingerprints, and since high- frequency recorders decorated every street corner and were constantly monitored, we'd have the information we wanted in seconds. "Her voice isn't listed," Dallas said, confused. "She was questioned, so it has to be. Try again." Silence. Then, "I'm telling you," he said, "it's not here." No damn way. "See what else you can find on her. Every little detail." He positioned his fingers onto the keyboard and jumped back into work. One prolonged heartbeat of time passed. Two. "Shit, take a look at this." "What is it?" I straightened in my seat and eyed the screen. "Firewall. All records for Lilla en Arr are deemed confidential, and no one, and I do mean no one, is allowed entrance." "Arrests and interrogations aren't confidential." The words rushed from me, ripe with displeasure and confusion. He shot me a narrowed glance. What little I saw of his eyes blazed with irritation. "I'm telling you, access is denied. This is one hell of a block." Dark curiosity pounded through me because there was only one logical explanation. Someone on the inside didn't want authorities poking into Lilla's life. "Get into that file," I commanded. "Want me to pull a rabbit out of my ass, too?" he muttered, his tone heavy with sarcasm. But he turned back to the screen, his fingers working furiously. "If you can show me that rabbit at the same time you get into that file, I might think you've got talent." "Shut the fuck up, Mia." Minute after minute dragged by, the click of the keys the only sound. I was not known for my patience, and tapped my foot against the floorboard. Finally Dallas laughed, threw his hands in the air, and shouted, "Couldn't block that, could you, you bastards." "What'd you find?" Excitement blended with my impatience, each emotion feeding off the other. "Still no voice recording, but she's been questioned twice. Once for soliciting sex from a human, and once for beating the shit out of a human." "Who arrested her?" "For solicitation -- George Hudson." I filed that information away. I didn't know the agent personally, but I would. "What about the assault charges?" "Let's see. The arresting officer was -- " He scrolled down the screen, then whistled between his teeth. "The name's been erased." "This doesn't make sense. Alien assault is punishable by death, and only death, yet Lilla was released and her record buried." "Why bury it?" Thoughtful, Dallas worried a hand over his shadow beard. "I mean, someone obviously wants her information to remain hidden, so why not destroy it?" "Blackmail, maybe?" I turned my head and glanced outside. Several agents were packing their gear and loading their vehicles. Pieces of this puzzle just didn't fit, and I pinched the bridge of my nose, trying to make sense of what I was learning. I returned my attention to Dallas. "Does the database list who Lilla solicited and who she trashed?" Another pause, then, "Shit, Mia. You're not going to believe this. The man Lilla beat within an inch of his life was William Steele. And the man she propositioned was none other than -- " He shot me a glance, and we said in unison, "William Steele." "So there's a connection," I breathed, brushing a hand down my face. Slowly, he nodded. "Looks like we've got our killer." "Yes, it looks that way, doesn't it?" Yet suddenly something didn't feel right, and my mind whirled with probabilities. Here was an Arcadian female who'd desired Steele enough to try and seduce him. When that failed, she beat him. This was a female perfectly capable of murder, and the simplest answer to our investigation. Occam's razor. Except...everything inside me was screaming Too easy! Oh, I was willing to bet my savings account she was involved. Had to be. But... "Got anything else on her?" I asked, hoping to assuage my concerns. "Is her name linked with any of the other missing men?" "Not that I can see. The only other bit of info here is the fact that she works at Ecstasy, and is dating the owner." I pursed my lips and flipped through my mental files. "That name sounds familiar." "You need to get out more, woman. Ecstasy is the most exclusive nightclub in New Chicago, and host to a slew of alien sympathizers. Mark St. John, the owner, is a hard-ass bastard with more money than God." So the boyfriend had money and power, probably kept a few officials in his pocket. That explained Lilla's confidential file and the fact that she was still alive. "Let's go after Lilla first," I said, "and then Hudson." "Beauty before brawn, eh?" I rolled my eyes. "Think she's working tonight?" "According to this, she works every night." "Doing what, exactly?" "Tending bar." "It's a damn good thing I wore my dancing shoes, then," I said, leaning back in the seat, "because we're going to crash the party. And don't kill her, Dallas," I added quickly. "I want her alive." "As if you have to worry about me. You're the one who's trigger-happy." Grinning languidly, he programmed the club's address into the console. "I do believe this night is about to get interesting." Copyright © 2005 by Gena Showalter

Editorial Reviews

"Mia Snow is perfect as the alien hunter with a secret." -- Booklist