Abbey Shore never intended to be the savior of the world; it was just something that happened—like her father’s tragic death and the fact that she’s now poor and “flipping” houses in the Chicago suburbs to finish college. And there’s more: behind a crumbling wall in her current renovation, a swirling vortex hides. It’s a gate, a portal—and it will not only cast her into the arms and power of the enigmatic yet doomed Dr. Shane Maddox, but also into the clutches of Lucinda, the eerie, leather-clad beauty who shadowed his every move in the Sacred Heart ER. Abbey will soon be one hundred years in the future, in a dying land filled with roving bands of humans fighting for survival, and the “ticks” against whom they fight. Oh yes, Abbey’s life has had a…TWIST.
Twist by Colby Hodge
Would I make it?
My feet pounded on the pavement, splashing through the puddles that remained from last night’s rain. Was it just last night that it rained? It seemed as if years had passed. They had passed. Still, the things they held were yet to occur.
Think about it later. Just run.
I had to get there on time. I just had to. I refused to think about what I’d do if I didn’t.
My hand tightened on the hilt of my katana as I ran. The scabbard was laced against my thigh. I didn’t even feel it; it had become so much a part of me in the time just past.
When I started martial arts training, I’d never even considered the possibility that I would use the weapons to actually kill anyone. It turned out to be one of those funny twists of fate. It was just something that happened. My original life plan was to be an architect. Just like my dad. But in another one of those funny life twists he was killed in a freak accident. The last words he spoke to me were, “We’ve got all the time in the world.” Then he stepped off the curb and got hit by a speeding car.
Like I said: funny twists of fate. And here I was, caught up in another.
One more block. Luckily I was used to running. I ran every morning with my dog, Charlie—or used to. Lately my running consisted of “for my life” instead of exercise. How many mornings had it been since we ran? Two, as far as Charlie was concerned. More for me.
Don’t think about it.
I saw the lights from Java Joe’s up ahead.
Shane had told me it happened when he left. When he got tired of waiting for me. How long had he waited? The door opened, and my heart skipped a beat as the light bounced off golden blond hair and he stuck his hands in his pockets and moved down the sidewalk.
“Shane!” I yelled as I tried to run faster. She would be waiting for him, just past the coffee shop in the alleyway. He didn’t hear me. He kept walking, and then he disappeared. He was in the alley. Shane had told me it happened in the alley. I gripped the katana in both hands as I reached Joe’s and raced on by. When I reached the alley I skidded to a stop.
“Hey, Lucy,” I called out. My heart pounded wildly in my chest; I took a deep breath and willed it into submission. If I made a wrong move, Shane would be lost to me forever.
Lucinda turned. Her bright red hair settled on her shoulders, and she looked down her aristocratic nose at me. Behind her Shane stood as if hypnotized, his bright blue eyes staring off into the night as if he were waiting for something. If he only knew what fate this woman planned for him.
“How do you . . . ?” Lucinda stopped suddenly, and looked me over appraisingly. “You know,” she said. “You did it. You opened the gate.”
“I did,” I said. I held the katana firmly in my right hand and stood balanced on the soles of my feet, my legs slightly apart. Ready . . . waiting . . . willing to do whatever was needed.
“I think I’ll keep him anyway,” she said with a flip of her hair. “It will be fun to watch him fight his nature.”
“He’s mine,” I said. “You told me yourself. He will always be mine, no matter what you do to him.”
“How about if I kill him?” she said.
I twisted the blade of my katana so that light from the streetlamp was reflected into Lucy’s face. It also must have awakened Shane from whatever trance she’d put him in; he blinked and looked over Lucinda’s shoulder at me.
“What’s going on?” he asked. “What are you doing?” He looked in shock at the katana, which was so much a part of me now that I barely noticed I was holding it.
“Lucy and I have some unfinished business,” I said.
“You told me you didn’t know her,” Shane said accusingly. My heart lurched at his tone, at the strangeness he felt around me. I would fix that. I had to fix that, or I might as well have stayed where I was.
“Oh, Lucy and I go way back,” I said. “Don’t we?”
“Do we?” she asked.
“About a hundred years, give or take a few.”
“I’m out of here,” Shane said.
He took a step and Lucinda slammed him against the wall. With one hand closed around his throat, she lifted him in the air so that his feet dangled over the ground. She kept her eyes on me; even when Shane grabbed her wrist and kicked her in the side, she barely flinched. “Put him down, Lucy,” I said.
“Make me,” she replied.
I looked at Shane, whose face was full of confusion. He was desperately gasping for breath. I had to make sure he stayed. If he ran I would lose him forever. So I said the only thing that made any sense at all in the madness that my life had become.
“Ninjas are way cooler than pirates.”
This book is available from Dorchester. You can buy it here.