Running Scared (Mercenaries)
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Copyright ©2013 Anne Kane
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Saralyn ran her hands over the computer's input screen, sorting through the mess of icons with a speed that she knew suggested more than a passing acquaintance with technology.
There! She pulled the icon forward, tapping it gently to open its secrets. Closing her eyes, she splayed her fingers across the screen and let the information flow through the tips of her fingers, gigabytes of info flashing along the web of her nervous system to the storage cells in her brain. Later, she'd sort through the files and isolate the information she needed. Right now she just wanted to get out of here before...
"Looking for something?"
Damn! The overhead lights snapped on, and Saralyn turned to see the man they called Jackson lounging against the doorframe. Bad timing. Five more minutes and she would have been home free. One thing she'd learned at an early age was to hide her differences. Survival depended on blending into the crowd, not letting anyone know just how different she was. Just how much had he seen?
She plastered an innocent smile on her face. "Not really. Just couldn't sleep so I thought I'd see if I could find a game to play." She gestured at the bank of computers behind her. "I looked, but I can't find the game files. Maybe you can show me where they are?"
Jackson lifted one brow, a glimmer of humor shining in the depths of his dark eyes. He had nice eyes. Dark. Dreamy. Right now they seemed to see right through her, and she had to force herself not to squirm. Unfortunately that combination of bedroom eyes and the physique of a Greek god was making it hard for her to think.
Jackson pushed himself upright and sauntered into the room. "That's Trace's computer you were fondling, and frankly, I don't think Trace has ever played a game in his life. But you already knew that. I heard rumors about the government experiments, but I thought they terminated all of you years ago. How come you're still alive?"
My goodness, he was tall! Of course at five feet nothing, she was used to looking up at people. It didn't help that she was finding it harder to concentrate with every step he took toward her. She took a deep breath. "I have no idea what you're talking about. I've lived on the streets as long as I can remember. All the government has ever done for me is chase me away and make it hard to stay alive. And I was not fondling the computer!" At least not much. He obviously had an overactive imagination. "And how would I know anything about Trace's preferences? I thought all you geeky type guys were gamers. I've barely been here a week, and I'm still trying to sort you all out. Which one is Trace?"
He stopped right beside her, forcing her to tilt her neck backward to look up into his eyes. "Trace is our resident bloodhound. Tall, shaggy black hair, resembles a grouchy bear most days? Ring a bell? Set him onto something or someone and he'll follow the faintest of leads until he finally tracks them down. He can pull more info out of those computer banks than a buzzard pulls out of the garbage slews. I'm glad he's on our side, because he's one scary dude. I wonder what he'd find out if I sicced him onto you."
Saralyn did a mental tally of the men on Kaeden's team of mercenaries. Yes, she knew which one was Trace. That description was amazingly accurate. Then again, all of them were scary dudes, although she'd never admit that to them.
Living on the run all these years had taught her that any sign of weakness would bring the predators swarming in for the kill. She highly doubted he would find anything of interest on her, though. Her life, for as long as she could remember, had consisted of an ongoing struggle to stay alive and find enough to eat. It was the second part of the statement that intrigued her. "So this Trace can find stuff? Or people?"
Jackson nodded, his eyes narrowing. "If anyone can find it, Trace can. Why? There something in particular you need to find?"
Saralyn opened her mouth, and was amazed to find herself telling the truth. Trust was a foreign concept and if a person knew what was important to her, they could use it against her...