Friday, June 26, 2015
Tor Maddox by LiZ Coley
“I know that one day, I’m going to have to live in the real world. I’d like it to be a decent one.” - Tor
When observe and report becomes kiss and tell, Tor’s first mission may blow up in her face.
Amazon ** B & N
Down the street, a door slammed. An engine revved.
Rick’s head whirled, tracking the noise, and I took advantage of the distraction to change the subject. “We’re going to Ensenada tomorrow,” I reported. “His dad has a business meeting, so we’re going along for the scenery. Okay? Enough progress?”
His frown surprised me. “Mexico? That’s not exactly safe territory right now.”
“Yes, I know you’re a black belt. But still—”
“That’s not what I was going to say,” I interrupted. Only a red belt, actually, but I wasn’t going to say that either. “It’ll be fine. His dad’s bodyguard is meeting us there. Besides. I’m just doing what you told me to. Get close to the son; keep an eye on the dad.”
He breathed loudly. “So you are. You’re right. You appear to be exceeding my expectations.”
“Rick.” I didn’t quite know what to say after that. I refused to feel guilty. Nothing to feel guilty for…yet.
He pulled a ball point pen out of his pocket. “Okay. Take this along with you. Please?”
“Wow. A pen. How…thoughtful?” I twirled it in my fingers.
“It’s a camera,” he explained.
“Really? Coolio.” I couldn’t stop the grin. My first spy camera! “But I do have my phone, you know.”
“This one is a little special. GPS tracking, voice recorder, infrared, and sixty megapixel image. No matter where you shoot from, we’ll be able to blow up the smallest corner of the shot.”
Awesome. “So what am I supposed to be shooting?”
“Use your judgment. The restaurant, the beach, anyone Parker senior talks to. That kind of thing. There are a couple safety features as well—flashlight, screamer, taser, death ray.”
I nearly dropped the pen. “Nice. How do I activate the death ray?”
A dimple appeared in his left cheek.
Spit. “You were kidding, right?”
His lips twisted in a smile. He flicked a moth from its perch on his sleeve. “Only half. This is last year’s model. No death ray.”
I punched him in the arm. “Sure. Whatever. Instructions?”
He passed me a small piece of paper from his other pocket. “When you’ve memorized this, please destroy it.”
I stuffed it in my pocket. “I’m terrible at manuals and on-line tutorials. Can you just show me?”
“Of course,” he said. “Though I find it hard to believe you’re terrible at anything.”
I held the pen up to my eye. All I saw was pen. “All I see is a pen. Now what?”
Rick spun me to face the street lamp, stepped up behind me, and reached around my shoulders to steady the pen. “That’s upside down,” he said. “Not that it really matters.”
I spun the pen point down. “I knew that.”
His hands closed over mine. “Site through the O in the brand name. See if you can center it on the light.”
Pulling the pen close enough to squint through it brought Rick’s thumbs right up against my cheek. I did my best to ignore the way I felt pressed, enfolded, snuggled even, between his warm chest behind me and his forearms resting on mine.
“See it now?” he asked. “I don’t think you’re aiming high enough.” He rested his chin on my left shoulder and tilted the pen. His eyelashes tickled my left cheek.
I forgot to breathe until he did it for me, the warm air blowing down my neck, more of a shuddery sigh than a normal exhalation. I melted and froze solid all in one moment. I knew if I turned my head about one inch to the left, I could create a whole lot of trouble for both of us. For just a millisecond, I calculated whether it was worth it.
Meet the Author
Her independent publications include alternate history/time travel/romance Out of Xibalba and teen thrillers in the new Tor Maddox series: UNLEASHED, EMBEDDED, and MISTAKEN. Her short fiction has appeared in Cosmos Magazine and several speculative fiction anthologies: The Last Man, More Scary Kisses, Strange Worlds, Flights of Fiction, You’re not Alone, and Winter's Regret.
Liz lives in Ohio, where she is surrounded by a fantastic community of writers, beaten regularly by better tennis players, uplifted by her choir, supported by her husband, teased by her teenaged daughter, cheered from afar by her two older sons, and adorned with hair by her cats Tiger, Pippin, and Merry.
Liz invites you to follow her as LizColeyBooks on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and visit her website at LizColey.com.
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