If she survived the surgery, would he come to resent her? One day leave her? Pick another woman over her?

She’d never had to worry about those things before. Never cared about a man, never wanted to be with one.

Warm fingers suddenly cupped her jaw and angled her head. Jaxon was peering at her intently, his silver eyes liquid with understanding. “No,” he said.

“No what?”

“No, I don’t want children.”

“You’re lying,” she said, not daring to hope.

“I’d never lie to you. Wait. I take that back. I’d never lie to you unless it would get you into bed.”

When she saw that he was grinning, hope proved stronger than doubt and flourished, despite her fight against it. “But why?”

“Why would I get you into bed? I can’t believe you have to ask.”

A laugh bubbled from her. “You know what I mean.”

His eyes darkened with desire. “I love it when you laugh, and you don’t do it enough. But why don’t I want children? Because I want you all to myself, and the little monsters would get in the way.”

“Be serious.”

“I am. If, after fifty or sixty years together I can bare to share you, which isn’t likely, so I hope you don’t become too optimistic, but if, at that time, you decide you want them, then we’ll adopt.”

Fifty or sixty years together. She chewed her bottom lip, falling in love with him all over again. Her pulse hammered wildly, every beat of her heart for him. He’d given her so much already, kept giving her more, and now she wanted to give him something. What, she didn’t know. What did he desire more than anything?

“Jaxon, I—”

The car eased to a stop in front of a grocery store, drawing her attention.

“We’re here,” he said. He stiffened, morphing from lover to agent in mere seconds. He turned, eyes narrowing on their surroundings.

The sun waned in the sky, evening creeping up. At least fifty people milled throughout the area. “I don’t see your friends.”

“Surely they’re around somewhere.”

Call them, she almost said, then remembered she was using his phone.

Lucius suddenly appeared beside the car and rapped his knuckles on Jaxon’s window. Seeing him, Jaxon unlocked the doors and the agent entered. His big body consumed the entire backseat.

“Took you long enough,” the guy muttered. He’d bleached his hair and pierced his brow since the last time Mishka had seen him. There was a python tattooed around his neck. He was as comfortable in disguise as she was, she supposed.

“Where are the others?” Jaxon asked.

“Eden and Devyn are waiting in back, just in case the little shit decides to take off that way.”

“Can Devyn freeze him?” she asked, recalling the way the otherworlder had frozen her. “Even if he’s invisible?”

Lucius shook his head. “He’s afraid to try. Even with the scanner, he can’t see him to lock on him, but if he freezes everyone in the area and Nolan proves immune, Nolan will know we’re here and probably take off again.”

“So how are we going to see him? I know we can watch him move on the phone, but we don’t know what he’s doing with his hands, who he’s talking to, what he’s picking up.” Jaxon pushed out a heavy sigh.

“Give me a minute and I can tell you what he’s doing.” I hope. She rarely used the ability needed to do so.

Both men stared at her. “How?” Jaxon asked.

“The chip.” I need to see body heat.

Switching to infrared vision.

Instantly the world around her began to fade. When only darkness remained, red lines began to blink and spread, forming vertical, moving blurs. Some were dark red, some were light. Some winked in and out, some stayed in constant place. Different species emitted different temperatures.

Ignore everything human. Except the human next to me, she added, praying it was possible.

Concentrating only on aliens and the one human.

Most of the blurs disappeared. She glanced in Jaxon’s direction, happy to see red.

Can you link with the IR and focus on any Schön, ignoring all other otherworlders?


Several heartbeats of time ticked by and nothing happened.

“Mishka?” Jaxon asked.

“I’m trying to lock on him.” All but one of the blurs suddenly disappeared, and it was a blazing, bright red. Nolan was hot, literally.

Link complete.

“I’ve got him,” she said, “and he’s alone. You and Nolan are the only things I can see.” Nolan stood at the corner of the building, able to observe the parking lot, as well as everyone who entered and left the grocery store. “He’s not doing anything but—”

Even as she spoke, Nolan’s line shifted, moved to the right. “Wait. He’s leaving, Jaxon. Do you have your surveillance gear?”

“Yes.” He sounded leery.

“Good. Wear the earpiece. I can guide you to him, tell you if he picks anything up or takes something from someone, and you can follow him.”

“I’m not leaving you in the car.”

Was he afraid Lucius would try to hurt her? “It’s the only way. I’ll be a hindrance, bumping into buildings and people, drawing all kinds of attention.”

“If you’re helpless out there, you’ll be helpless in here.”

Yeah, he was, she realized. Sweet man. “As long as I’m helping catch the Schön, your friends aren’t going to attack me. Besides, Lucius can drive the car.”

“Will be my pleasure,” the man in question said. “I’ll take care of her.”

There was a muttered curse, a hiss, and a squeak of syn-leather as Jaxon turned to grab the earpiece. His warm lips meshed into hers, gone all too quickly, before he slapped the receiver in her hand. Then he, too, was gone.

“Can you hear me?” his voice boomed through the car, even though he whispered.

“Loud and clear.”

His red outline appeared in her field of vision. “Nolan has now left the corner and turned right. You’re twenty feet behind him.”

Lucius’s hard body brushed her shoulder as he claimed the driver’s seat. “Did you get all that?”

Mishka opened her mouth to respond but heard Eden’s voice echo from his earpiece. “Yes.”

“Where are they now?” Lucius asked.

Mishka watched as Jaxon closed in on Nolan.

“Le’Ace?” Lucius said.

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