Mosquito has never seen a more beautiful man than Rey. On the run, Rey is forced to depend on the mysterious young boss of his old home. Both of them have learned to lie during their lives. Honor, country, even sex doesn’t mean anything in their world.
When Rey decides to trust in Mosquito’s aid, and they search for help, they have to discover who will betray them and who they can trust...or even love...or else they’ll be dead.
* * * * *
My mood hadn’t improved after waiting almost two hours at the station. No one from outside Medianoche stayed in one place that long once they reached town. And waiting at the station, a place officially sanctioned, was even more dangerous when you weren’t sanctioned yourself.
The fans that provided some relief from the heat moved sluggishly, raising my temperature and temper by the minute. When was the coach going to arrive?
I wiped my face. Sweat had already stained my shirt through. Maybe I should leave. Probably he wasn’t going to show. There were all kinds of dangers traveling by coach -- from retired-soldiers-turned-thugs to interfering officials, all of whom required either a bribe or a beating before you were sent on your way.
I wasn’t sure the new Rey would be able to manage either feat if he were stopped. From what I could gather in the brief message sent to me before the reception was jammed, Rey was returning because he was of no more use to our side. I didn’t know what that meant exactly, but no one gave us back healthy, whole men once they became part of the endless fighting in the cities.
That thought sent a sudden chill through me. Maybe he’d been sent back to die. God, how would I manage the hands if that happened? Especially if it happened when he was my charge.
And then I heard the noise in the distance. No one else around me looked up, but I fumbled with my locator and caught the faintest blip of something foreign on the screen.
I stood up and pushed my hands into my pockets to keep them from shaking.
The same dilapidated coach that had spit me out here into my new world three months ago stopped again. The horses slumped under the shade, and the driver leaped down, more concerned about them than any of the passengers. The coach door opened, and I braced myself.
One passenger leaped down, apparently healthy, his face hidden under a wide-brimmed hat. Then he looked up.
Blue eyes in a tanned face. Blue eyes that looked right into you and almost made you miss that the rest of the man was equally beautiful. Almost. Perfection like that was hard to miss for long.
And hard was the word for that body.
I’d had no one since I arrived at the compound. But that wasn’t why my body was leaning toward him.
It was him. He did it with one look at me.
“Mosquito?” His voice rumbled through my head, and I blinked.
“Traven.” I answered automatically. Thank God I did still remember my own name.
“Yeah. Mosquito.” His lips quirked up into an almost smile. “That’s what the hands call you.”
“Shit.” Out here people lived and died being known only by their nicknames. At least none of them had called me that to my face. But to the hands I was a small pest -- annoying but easily swatted away.
How the hell did Rey know what they called me before I’d found out myself?
“The name makes sense.” He turned to survey the exterior of the station and, without warning, leaped up. I watched his arm muscles cord as he grabbed a porch rafter. Shit. I managed to catch my tongue between my teeth before it fell out. He swung his body close enough to knock a concealed camera away from the entrance. Then he dropped back down and, without taking a deep breath, said, “Your father is Mosca, after all.”
Mosca might not sound much better for a name, except that my father had made it one people respected. Mosca was everywhere, watching and gathering information. The Feds feared the fly who knew everything.
I looked at the surveillance camera, now twisted toward the ceiling. For some reason I’d hoped no one would notice us. The realization that maybe they had just been waiting until Rey arrived made me swallow hard. “How anxious are the Feds to find you?”
“They know I’m back.” Rey didn’t quite answer me. He picked up the duffel bag he’d dropped at his feet just before he disabled the screening eye. “But let’s not make it too easy for them.”
“Then we’d better go now.”
Rey was already striding down the dusty street before I’d finished my feeble attempt to take command.
I ran behind him, feeling more and more like a small boat in the wake of a much larger ship. A small boat that desperately wanted to be noticed by that ship. Obviously he wasn’t going to be impressed by the boss’s kid. What might impress him?
Well. I sure as hell didn’t hate Rey anymore.
When the Feds stepped out of the shadows, I skidded to a halt, cursing to myself. Instead of thinking sweet thoughts about a stranger, I should have been getting prepared for battle. Right now I had my stunner safely tucked into the back of my pants, where I couldn’t reach for it without the larger of the two men drilling me first. His stunner was firmly in his hands and directed at me.
Rey was already half a block away and gaining speed.
“Call your buddy back.” The smaller Federista hooked his thumbs into his belt.
My head rang from the backhanded blow the smaller one landed on my face. Even though I expected it, no one really was prepared for pain bad enough to make them puke. I gagged a little as I tasted the blood in my mouth.
They said something, but I was focusing on staying steady, bracing myself -- the next blow was harder. I yelled this time. Forget being a hero.
Rey’s intervention happened so fast that I wasn’t even sure what I saw. One moment he had come up from the shadows behind my two captors, and the next I saw -- thought I saw -- his arms reach to grab both of them around the neck. Honest, once I had time to think, I would have sworn his eyes were glowing as he grabbed them. Within three moments, they were slumped to the ground, their necks at obscenely odd angles. And Rey was looking at me with that half smile, which made my skin prickle with alarm this time. He’d just killed two government officials and looked as calm as he did when he first said hello to me.
“Hurry up, Mosquito. I don’t have time to take out every Federista in this town before you start moving.”
Every Fed in the area would be out to get him now. It was stupid to scoot back to the compound, where they might try to starve us out, burn us out...
I followed him. Because when Rey says something, that’s what you do.
Copyright © Treva Harte