Jenna Paine doesn’t know how “special” she really is. Raised by her scientist mother and a Japanese tutor named Mama-San, her special abilities go unnoticed in the hustle and bustle of her schoolwork and training. However, other eyes are watching as well, from behind a veil of secrets. And they have plans for someone with precisely Jenna’s talents.
In college, she meets a group of people who introduce her to a new vision for world peace, and a way to realize it.
But when the cost for peace is measured in blood, can Jenna get out before it’s too late?
Jenna signed her contract the day after Steven left. The fact that he’d lied about his reasons for being involved with her still didn’t change either of her choices, nor their consequences. So she sat in Professor Greenstone’s office in the faculty center and scrawled her name at the bottom of a document that defined the rest of her life. Mr. Frost signed for the Company and then slid the stack of papers into a manila envelope. There would only be one copy, and that closely guarded in a vault at a secret location.
Frost pushed a fat manila envelope across the desk. “Signing bonus,” he said with a wink. She didn’t know why, but his wink was never a kind one. Maybe it was his eyes. Even when he smiled, his eyes always bored straight through flesh and bone like hot blue lasers. He stood and extended a hand. “Miss Paine, it will be my pleasure to complete your basic training. For now, you’ll have a week off. Use it as you see fit. Be at the address on the card by nine a.m. on the fourteenth.” He closed the door behind him, leaving Jenna alone.
She opened the envelope and poured the contents onto the desk. Her jaw dropped in amazement as she took in the numbers on the bundles. A set of car keys and a business card rounded out the “bonus.”
A woman’s voice in the doorway made her jump. “Gray Kia in the back lot.” Jenna spun to see Professor Greenstone’s secretary standing with one arm akimbo. The other held a stack of file folders against her chest. “He needs his office now.” She strode in with a brisk step, heels muffled on the brown carpet. Setting the pile of paperwork on the desk, she tossed a lop-sided smirk Jenna’s way. “By the way, congratulations.”
Jenna scooped the cash and card back into the envelope and tucked the keys into her pocket. She wasn’t conscious of any thought until she stood in the parking lot staring at a metallic gray sports car. With every press on the key fob, the headlights winked back at her. Maybe it’s just a loaner. After all, I can afford to buy whatever I want with this cash. But there lay the rub. The car she would have bought was…a metallic gray Kia sports car, just like this one. Nondescript, but capable of performing when she needed it. Small and agile enough to thread a needle at 65 mph, sideways. Okay. Good choice, guys.
The engine fired up with an eager little purr and she took off for the dorm parking lot, fighting the urge to squeal the tires in front of the dean’s office windows. Fifteen minutes later, Jenna threw a suitcase into her trunk. The campus gate disappeared in her rearview mirror before she even thought about where she would spend her week off. She just knew where she wasn’t going to be, and that was home.
Home. Such a funny term, now. Jenna hadn’t thought of it as home for some months. Home was here at the college. It wasn’t that her mother made her feel unwelcome; it was that she didn’t exactly go out of her way to make Jenna feel like she belonged anymore. She would have been happy to spend the time with Steven, but— She pounded the wheel as the heartache returned. Bastard. Dirty, rotten son of a bitch! Why did you have to lie about us? She blinked her eyes clear in time to make the turn at Rigers Road and choked back the lump in her throat. No. She wasn’t going to give that ass the satisfaction. She was going to drive to the coast, have an awesome week on the beach, and forget all about him. She was going to have a good time if it killed her.
Jenna topped off her tank in Klamath Falls, picking up a map and a GPS in the truck stop store before settling into the driver’s seat for the long haul. She reached LA the afternoon of the second day, tired but exhilarated. After checking into a hotel overlooking the ocean, a short walk to a beach shop helped her stretch the cramps out. The first bikini she tried on showed just a little too much skin. She turned in the mirror to see if it made her bottom look too big and was pleasantly surprised to see how it accented her curves. Well, maybe too much for Mother. She’d shoot me if I wore this on the beach. The other girls would think I’m loose, and the boys… She allowed her mind to wander that way for just a brief moment, and when she caught her expression in the mirror, her grin went even wider. And Mother isn’t here, is she? So, I’ll need a matching wrap. Something sheer…