Friday, February 15, 2013
12:00 AM | Posted by Tamara Beard | | Edit Post
Book: Fade to Silver (Book 2)
Series: The In Between Series
Author: Catherine Converse
Adie is forced into new territory when her dream overlaps with a complete stranger in a different part of the country, while Dannika escapes from Research, not accepting the new assets in her brain that will change the way she works forever. Despite their separation, their lives merge once again to solve a major corporate conspiracy case, where one man has already lost his life, and Adie has set interference in motion on the next victim in line. But the corporation holds something that is so special, they aren’t the only ones that are willing to kill for it.
With two young men battling for her affection, Adie struggles to keep focus on the case. Once again, Adie and Dannika become the targets, as they become identified as obstacles for those who are after the corporation’s unique discovery. Until it becomes clear that only one person has the power to stop the chain reaction that has begun. And only one question will reveal that person. Who holds the key?
Dannika woke in a creaky bed in a small room with fake-wood paneling. When she sat up, her head pounded and her hands shook. She just felt off. She crawled from the bed and pulled a lacey curtain to the side of a small window and saw nothing but miles and miles of grass.
She swung her bare feet onto some green shaggy carpet. Her heartbeat doubled. Where the hell was she? And wait a minute, how did she get here? Wasn’t she just at work, at the little sunglasses hut off Treaty River Street, waiting for her roommate to pick her up when she got off in an hour?
With her arms wrapped around her, she crept to the door and peered out. The hall was empty. She crossed over the worn-out carpeting to a main living room, where lines of sunlight showed off the dust in the air. A small television sat in front of an old wrap-around couch. Boxes of opened cereal lay around the room.
A door to the right of the couch seemed to go outside. When she opened it, the crisp fall air blew in. Dannika stepped onto a weathered porch. A long ramp off to the side, instead of stairs, led down to a small yard. A white pick-up truck with hideously large tires was parked in front.
She let the door close behind her. At the loud slam, she looked back to find this was a trailer home. She glanced back out at the open field that bordered the trailer. No neighbors but a large group of cows off in a pasture a few hundred yards away.
An eerie loneliness filled her, which turned to panic. She ran back inside, looking for a phone or computer or anything that she had been accustomed to back home in Denver. She ran down the hallway, peeking into empty bedrooms. At the back, a bathroom door was closed and the light was on.
Dannika gasped. She walked back to the main room and began digging through kitchen drawers and cabinets, hoping to find any form of communication, anything to check their location.
She heard the crunch of gravel and went to the living room to peer through a window. A silver Sebring sedan pulled into the driveway. A tall blond man stepped out, opened a rear door to retrieve a wheelchair, and rolled it around to the passenger side of the car. A young woman opened the door, and the man helped her into the wheelchair. He shut the door and began pushing her up the ramp to the trailer.
Only one thought raced through Dannika’s mind: Run!
Thinking too fast and not remembering any doors at the back of the trailer, Dannika busted through the front door and hopped over the railing into the small yard, sprinting into the openness. A chill gave her arms goose bumps, but then again, maybe it was fear.
“Hey! Stop. Dannika!” A low voice yelled behind her, but her legs kept pumping forward.
The heavy weight and warmth of a human landed on her back and took her to the ground, dry prickly grass poking at her skin.
“What are you doing?” the man asked, holding her arms behind her, giving her a clear sense of his strength.
“Me? I don’t even know where the hell I am. What are you doing?”
He turned her over. “I’m not going to hurt you. You’re here to help us. Just calm down and we’ll go inside for a cup of tea and I can explain.”
Dannika looked into the man’s dark brown eyes. His face softened. Fine lines appeared around his eyes, and his nose and lips looked a little too small for his face. His blond hair was longer on top and short on the sides. He didn’t look mean, just strong, and if she was being really honest, he was pretty easy on the eyes, even up close. “Help you how?”
He pulled her up. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
“Why should I tell you?”
“You feeling like you’ve got a lot of other options?”
“Fine. I remember being at work, waiting for Jaylnne to pick me up, in Denver, which is apparently not anywhere close to here. Now who are you?”
Realizing they were only about fifty yards from the trailer, he glanced over his shoulder. Dannika followed his gaze. The young woman sat at the top of the ramp in her wheelchair, watching them. Her straight reddish-brown hair fell well below her frail shoulders and her clothing looked lost in the eighties.
“Name’s Rens. I promise I’m not going to hurt you.” He did a jerk of his head back toward the woman waiting on the trailer porch. “She needs your help.”
Dannika narrowed her brows. “Look, dude, I’m just a sunglasses salesperson that luckily landed a gig in a semi-decent part of town. So, if you don’t mind, I’d kind of like to get back there.”
“I’m sorry. You’re more than that. You just don’t understand that yet.”
“You’re talking crazy. I’m never been more than that.”
A loud slam came from the trailer. A scrawny, yet fairly handsome man with a close-shaven beard and short dark hair busted out the door. “Where is she?”
“Here, you Nimwit. What the hell were you doing?”
“Sorry, boss, I was on the pot.”
“No excuse. She was seconds from getting away.” Rens pulled at Dannika’s elbow to lead them back to the trailer.
She dug her heels into the ground. Her legs were a little shaky, and her heart and head pounded. She tried to pull away from his grip, but he only gripped tighter, his fingertips dug into her arm muscle. She was going to have to cooperate. “Okay, Rens. I need to know what’s going on.”
“And I’m happy to tell you, but let’s go get some god-forsaken tea first, please.”
“Geez, woman. You’re more ornery than I thought you’d be.”
“So sorry to disappoint. Maybe you should just send me home.”
“Don’t count on it.”
They marched up the ramp and the young woman reached out a hand. “Hi, Dannika. I’m Raile. I’m so glad to meet you.”
Dannika shook the woman’s hand, blown away by how weak it seemed. The girl was pretty in a plain way, light sage green eyes and cheeks full of freckles. Dannika motioned to go inside. She was ready for details. And to find out why she couldn’t remember how she got there.
The young bearded man just nodded. “Tank.”
Dannika smirked as she nodded. Of course the lean man who couldn’t even do his job was called Tank. The name was more appropriate for this Rens guy.
Rens led her inside and sat her on the couch. Tank brought them tea.
“So, go on. Where am I?” Dannika said, her eyes on Rens.
Dannika tried to hide her shock. The calmer she was, the sooner she could find out what they brought her here for and get back home. “Why?”
“Well, Raile here had her first dream two days ago.”
Dannika sat up straight. So this had to do with those dreams. She thought those nightmares were hers alone. She didn’t realize there were others who suffered from them, too.
“Well, I need someone to help her with them.”
“I’m not sure what you want me to do.”
“You still have them?”
Dannika leaned forward and decided to take a cup of tea. This was going to take a while. “Yeah, but it’s been a few months.”
The last one she remembered was after a full night of partying when her adoptive parents had to bail her out of jail for destruction of public property. She’d kicked in a couple of newspaper vending machines and taken a crowbar to a road sign.
That night she had a wicked dream of her biological mother, a brutal one that started out as a lovely holiday evening. A stroll down Main Street, all decorated for Christmas. They were window shopping, until her mother was shot.
Her adoptive parents woke her as she screamed and threw fists. Enough to give her dad a black eye. That’s when they forced her to get a job and she decided that if she had to get a job, she was going to have her own apartment to go along with it.
A sudden pang of sympathy that ran through her surprised Dannika. She wouldn’t wish the horror of those dreams upon anyone. Every one of them was awful. Raile watched her with a look of desperation. “I’m sorry,” Dannika said. “They’re not fun. But I don’t know how I can help you. I’m just a high school drop-out that was lucky enough to score a job selling shades.”
“We just need you to stay until she has another one. She remembers bits and pieces. It has to do with a big oil company out here. There’s something going on out there they don’t want anyone else to know about. Something they would kill over. If we’re going to stop her dreams, we need to find out what it is.”
Dannika began to understand the seriousness of what they were asking of her. “How did you get me here?”
Rens took a deep breath. “Look, I’m not happy about it, but we drugged you. It’s not like you were going to come willingly.”
“How did you know about me?”
“We have resources.”
“What, like cops? I tried to tell the cops once, and they put me into a crazy house until my parents could talk them into letting me out.” She paused. “Wait a minute. That’s how you know about me. That probably went on my record. I do have one, you know.”
“Yep. Quite impressive.”
“So, are you guys government agents? FBI or something?”
Rens nodded.”Well, sort of. I’m a private investigator. Tank here is Raile’s brother. He’s helping me out. When Raile had the dream, they reported it to Ryderico, an oil company working on their property, out of fear. Their CEO laughed it off, then an employee was discovered dead and I got the call to come here and check it out. I did a little research on these dreams, and got a hit on you via that report you made to the cops.”
“I want to see a badge or something.”
“Thought you’d never ask.” Rens pulled out his wallet from a back pocket and dug out a plastic card with his Montana PI license number.
“My parents will come looking for me, you know.”
“No, they won’t. You left a note. Went to Tijuana with friends for a long weekend.”
“Great, they’ll be so proud of me when I get back.” She tried to dismiss the feeling that swallowed her whole when she thought about how her parents probably weren’t looking for her.
“Look, I can’t be away for long. I have my own medication, you know. I’m capable of putting my fist through a couple of walls around here.”
“I’ve got your meds.”
“Ah. Prepared are we?” She paused. “Look, I admit I’m a little tempted by all this private eye stuff, but I don’t really know how I can help.”
“Give us a couple of days. If she doesn’t have a dream, we’ll deliver you back from Tijuana safely and ready to sell the crap out of some sunglasses.”
“Fine. Two, maybe three days. But if I’m going to have any fun at all here in ‘Tijuana,’ you’d better find something to spike this tea.”
Tank exploded up from his seat with a big smile as he headed toward the kitchen. “Finally, someone who knows the proper way to rise and shine.”
Catherine Converse lives with her husband and four children in beautiful Montana. She squeaked by with a Business Degree at Carroll College, only to realize (while glancing back at transcripts years later) that the only A’s she got were in Writing and Literature classes.
She wishes there were more hours in the day (who doesn’t, right), and that her mind would just shut down sometimes.
If not writing, or researching, she would really like to be outside with her family, and preferably on her snowboard. Or just petting their horses.
Grateful for such a blessed life, she just hopes to bring stories of all kinds to life, and enjoyment to those who read them.
Catherine owns and operates Golden Dot Publishing, an independent publishing company.