By: Laurann Dohner

The guard still coming at her had to be at least six-foot-five. He didn’t point his gun at her, which was a blessing. She tucked her head when his arms opened as if to grab her but she tackled his waist. It knocked the air from her lungs when she slammed into his solid frame, reminding her of hitting a wall at full speed. They both went down though.


The sound nearly deafened her and something slammed into her back. She wasn’t sure if she’d been hit by a flying object or if it was just the shockwave from the explosion. Her ears rang, she felt numb and was unaware whether she was hurt. The big body under her moved. She was sprawled on top of him. He rolled over and she suddenly felt the unforgiving pavement under her back. His weight pinned her as she managed to open her eyes, not even aware they had been closed until then.

Her hearing improved somewhat as the trauma lessened. The guard was heavy, crushing her between him and the ground. He’d turned his head to look behind him. She stared up at a tan throat, revealed beneath his tinted face shield, and even noticed his square chin. Popping noises and a hissing sound filled the air.

“Son of a bitch.” His voice gave her chills. There was a gruffness to it that wasn’t quite human—too deep, almost a snarl.

He pushed off her and she sucked in air, her lungs starved for oxygen. She got her first glimpse of the van, or what was left of it, when he rolled to his knees then got to his feet.

She sat up enough to stare mutely at the destruction. The windows had blown out at the front of the van and the back doors were open. Flames shot from both sides of it and black smoke rolled upward. A body lay near the driver’s door—the man she’d shot in the throat. He wasn’t moving and she didn’t expect him to. The bullet she’d fired had been a kill shot.

Her attention returned to the van and the dark object hanging out the back, to the ground. She was able to focus enough to make out what it was. Bile rose as she identified the shape of a head and arms. He wasn’t moving. She managed to choke back the urge to throw up. It sank in that she’d just killed at least three people, unless the passenger had exited the other side before the explosion. The NSO guard moved but she couldn’t take her horrified gaze off the burning van.

Orders were shouted in the background but she ignored them. I did that. I killed them. It sank in and she couldn’t force her limbs to move. Kat didn’t flinch when the guard leaned down and grabbed her arms. He easily jerked her to her unsteady feet. She swayed a little but locked her knees. Her training demanded she snap out of it and get with the program but all she could do was watch the burning van. She could smell burning flesh under the thick stench of rubber and whatever else was on fire.

“You’re under arrest,” that deep voice growled next to her ear.

The feel of handcuffs being snapped on her wrists finally pulled her out of her shock. She turned her head and peered up at the guard. He was over a foot taller than she was and massive. He’d snapped the cuffs on her wrists in front instead of behind her back and now gripped the chain between them.

She swallowed, trying to find her voice. “I can explain.”

“You blew up that van.” He growled. “You stole a gun from one of my officers. Who are you?”

She turned her head. Black-clad officers had rushed forward with fire extinguishers, trying to put out the blaze. She wanted to order them back in case the gas tank hadn’t already blown but they were keeping a safe distance. The New Species at her side expected an answer. She remembered that and looked at him. “I’m Kat Decker. I’m the crime lab consultant.”


She inwardly winced at his harsh tone. Her mind began to fully function again and she realized she’d fucked up. She’d have laughed outright at someone if they’d just done what she had then claimed to be some lab jockey from forensics. She didn’t regret her actions though.

He spun her and a hand firmly clamped around her upper arm before he shoved her gently. “Move.”

It came as a shock when she saw the destruction done to the guard shack. Part of the roof had caved in, the entire side facing the van having taken heavy damage. “Is everyone okay?”

“I don’t know.” He definitely snarled. “We’re checking.”

Rusty rushed forward. Kat identified her by her shape and empty gun holster. “I’m so sorry, Darkness.”

“Save it,” he snapped. “Take her to a holding cell. I have to check our people. Strip her down to her underwear and make damn sure she’s not hiding anything.”

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