Title: Fear Darkness
Author: C.C. Bolick
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rena Mason found fear and learned to control her powers. Now she plans to fight her way back inside the agency. Before she can save Travis, she learns he’s disappeared. Travis isn’t the only one missing; her dad and brother have been taken by Louis.
Travis Payne spent years searching for his dad. Now his first priority is keeping Rena safe. When Travis wakes up on the other side of the galaxy, he knows he can’t protect her. The only way for him to return is by helping a traitor he fears—if he can afford the price.
Aliens aren’t the only danger the agency faces. As Rena prepares to take down everyone who betrayed her, the only thing left to fear is the darkness her mama knows well…
Erin glanced my way. “You worried me back there when I thought your hands would turn blue.”
“I’m in control.”
“Let me know if you ever feel like you can’t handle… I take that back. I don’t know what I’d do if you lost control. Definitely not stop a nuclear bomb.” With a tired laugh, she pulled the car into a drive-thru. “Burger or chicken?”
“Burger and a coke.” I watched Erin in amazement as she pulled to the speaker and ordered two cheeseburger combos. We’d just run from agents after waking to a woman screaming and she acted as if nothing had happened.
“Thanks,” she said and pulled the car around. Two cars sat between us and the window.
“You never told me how you got out of the base,” I said.
Brake lights flashed across her face. “I didn’t?”
“You told me about your past on the way up here, but nothing about how you got out. Travis gave me directions, but how did you escape?”
Again, she chewed her thumbnail. “You’re going to think I’m crazy.”
“After everything that’s happened, I’m the one people will think is crazy.”
“The truth is, I have no idea.”
“No idea because someone told you? Did Travis leave you a message?” I pushed back thoughts of Travis trapped in that room on the isolation floor. Of what I’d do to everyone with a hand in putting him in a coma. Starting with Sylvia Greene.
“I remember us talking in the elevator,” she said. “I went back to my room and thought about leaving. I laid across the bed and went to sleep. Next thing I knew, I was waiting for you at a table in the airport. I don’t remember getting dressed or buying that bottle of water I was drinking.”
“I told you I might be crazy.”
My mind reeled as I thought about someone taking over Erin’s body, forcing her to enter the elevator and walk through the airport. This someone would have to know the agency’s procedures including finding a way to access their security.
I could think of at least one person with those abilities.
“You’re not disagreeing with me.”
Would she understand if I explained about Mama’s power? Could Mama have helped her escape so I wouldn’t be alone? “I’ve seen enough strange stuff at the agency. I don’t think you’re crazy.”
We moved up to next in line for the drive-thru. The smell of potatoes frying filled the car and my stomach growled. Erin’s hands relaxed on the wheel. “Good. At least one of us thinks I’m sane.”
A siren sounded and we watched as a fire truck sped down the street in the direction of the hotel. “Looks like we got out just in time,” I said.
“Are you worried about your boyfriend?”
“Why do you ask?”
“You’ve barely mentioned him,” she said.
“He’s in a coma. There’s nothing I can do for him until I get back to Atlanta.”
“You want to go back, don’t you?”
I’d asked her the same question about Chicago. “Yes and no.”
“Admit it. You can’t wait to get back and see… sleeping beauty.”
“Please, don’t,” I said while stifling a laugh. There was nothing funny about Travis locked in a room on the isolation floor. But imagining him as sleeping beauty—she had a point.
“Do you think he’ll wake up if you kiss him?”
“He might kill me in the process.” I touched a hand to my lips as I remembered the day my fingers grazed his arm by accident. Within seconds, huge red welts appeared.
“Touching him will burn a person’s skin.”
“Have you ever—”
“Once by accident. It wasn’t fun.”
The car in front of us moved and Erin pulled up to the window. A man in a yellow uniform reached for the twenty she held. He handed her the change and closed the window. Behind the glass, he made our drinks.
“Do you think Tyler wants to see me again?” she asked.
“Skip said he went to your hospital.”
“You said you met him. How did he look?”
“Like an older version of Skip.”
“When is the last time you saw him?”
“I’ve only seen Tyler once, a few weeks ago in a restaurant with Van.”
Tiny tremors filled her voice as she fought for control. “Why would Tyler be with him?”
“Sylvia made Tyler leave the planet after the gold heist. He and Travis were partners and Travis nearly died trying to stop him during the heist.”
“He and sleeping beauty were partners? I can’t see it.”
“Travis grew up with the agency. I don’t get the feeling he opens up to many people. Since they both had a power, maybe they understood each other.”
“Will Tyler ever be able to come back to Earth?”
The loneliness in her voice echoed what I felt inside. With Travis locked away, we were all alone. There was no one to help us and Van wasn’t answering the phone. Again, I thought of Mama, of what she said about the darkness. I looked at the darkness outside of the car and blue light began to sparkle along my palms.
“Not now,” Erin said. “This isn’t the time for you to find another fear.”
The window opened and the man swore. His hands shook as he held out the drinks.
“L.E.D. tattoos,” Erin said. “It’s the latest craze.”
He stared at my hands for several seconds before slamming the window.
Erin popped a fry into her mouth. “Bet you don’t have many friends. We’ve got to work on your social skills.”
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