In book two, Amelia Hamilton’s life is becoming more complicated by the minute. Still mourning multiple deaths, she struggles to accept severed relationships and embrace the present. During this difficult period, she is faced with a dilemma. Should she accept a position within the IA or blend back into her old existence and pretend the past few months never happened?
The truth regarding a flu pandemic pushes her over the edge, sending Amelia on a whirlwind trip to Nevada where she’ll face Levi Hewitt, the leader of the IA. The Physician Coalition is preparing to release a deadly disease to the population if Amelia doesn’t act fast. Unbeknownst to them, people will be pressured to endure the radical and potentially deadly side effects of JackRabbit7. To make matters worse, a child tied to Amelia’s past is a target and he’s in danger.
When death warrants and Project 1931 enter the equation, Amelia finds herself enduring an internal struggle. Should she end her own life, hoping to destroy her grandfather or continue to live, knowing she will have to chase Marius and risk the others he intends to harm for the rest of her life?
“You have a lot of nerve calling and asking for help. You know that?” I replied. “Why don’t you just go to the police?”
“I can’t go to the police for the same reason you can’t go to the police: we’re in over our heads. You know, none of this would have happened if it wasn’t for your grandfather,” he muttered.
I heard a crash in the closet and my heart pounded up into my throat. Unable to speak, I remembered Nick was across the hall. Someone else was in the room with me.
“Nice. Now you’re going to give me the silent treatment?” Don asked.
It couldn’t be Donovan in the closet. I would have heard it through the phone and he didn’t seem to have a clue about the noise. I flipped the phone shut, allowing my own safety to triumph over the continued argument. If I died, no one would be around to save Simon, Herb or Camille: provided Donovan told the truth.
My hands were clammy as I rubbed my fingertips against my palms. I reached out for the closet door and everything appeared in order. Old shirts hung to the left and jackets hung to the right. I wondered why Don hadn’t taken everything with him when he moved out.
When I looked lower, I noticed a pair of faded loafers on the floor. Strange. Donovan never wore anything like them. I allowed my eyes to travel upward and noticed jeans were positioned above the shoes. When one of the pant legs twitched, I realized I had a problem.
I couldn’t catch my breath. All I could think about were sunken eyes with black irises and tanned leathery skin. The idea of my grandfather standing in the closet was too much to bear as I begged my lungs to function. I took a step back and opened my mouth to scream, but no sound came out.
A hand swiped outward from behind the clothing and I leaned back too far, landing on my side. Moonlight shone through the room, illuminating the unfamiliar face a soft shade of gray as he looked at me from a crouched position. Creamy pale skin and a small frame were the first features I noticed. Studying the stranger, disheveled blonde hair tumbled in front of his eyes when he looked up at me.
“Shhh…” He stretched his left index finger to his lips.
I tried to right my position with a nearby chair. “Who are you?”
I walked alone through the center of an abandoned ballroom surrounded by drab concrete walls. Paint flaked from grandiose pillars and black bars spanned the high windows, reminding me of prison. Through the glass, flames lapped at the panes, reaching skyward.
Looking down, a blood-red gown hugged my body, the color of my skin pallid against the crimson silk. A cold breeze filled the room and I shivered in the strapless dress. I felt my hair hanging in stringy clumps, tickling my low back as I moved. Taking in my surroundings, I wobbled across the warped dance floor in high heels.
With cautious steps, I stumbled and trailed my hand along an ornate copper railing. Pulling my fingertips away, they were coated in thick gray dust. I paused near a table with decayed cookies and cobweb-riddled glasses, uncertain of where to go.
I was so thirsty the dust didn’t matter. Picking up the ladle, I poured a cup of punch and raised it to my lips. Looking at the murky liquid, mosquito larvae writhed and twirled at the surface. I screamed and dropped the glass, watching it shatter on the floor.
When I looked up, a man approached me wearing a dated tuxedo. He glided across the floor, his steps purposeful as he looked into my eyes. His face was hidden behind a mask, but his gaze was familiar and I caught myself staring. Fog curled through my thoughts as I tried to place his identity.
“May I have this dance?” He bowed in front of me.
I reached out, resting my palm in his as he led me to the dance floor. “But there’s no music.” I tried to pull away, but his grip tightened.
He snapped the fingers of his free hand over his head and somber organ music played. The mystery man pulled me in, holding me closer as he whispered words that caused my feet to stumble. “Darling, it’s been a long time.”
On alert from his cryptic answer, I let him guide me into a waltz, wondering where I heard the sentence and familiar voice before. Ghosts swirled around us wearing extravagant black and white attire, while I was the only one dressed in red. Oh, why wouldn’t the haze clear from my head?
“Who are you, sir?” I reached for his mask with shaky fingers.