The Hacker Pushes Her Luck (Moonchuckle Bay 6)(2)

By: Heather Horrocks

Stunned, she toppled over — and the instant she hit the floor of the van, he trussed her up like some kind of calf at a timed rodeo event. Then he thrust a gag into her mouth.

Fear froze her heart and limbs while adrenaline rushed through her. Her jaw ached where he’d hit her, and she hoped he hadn’t broken anything.

Had she just been kidnapped? How was that even possible?

Come on, good luck. Any time now.

The van’s side door slid open and the woman in green slid in gracefully. In an almost conversational tone, she told the driver, “Drive her car to the park we found on the internet. I’ll follow you in a few minutes.”

The man grunted and climbed out, slamming the side door behind him.

The woman scrunched over and walked back, kneeling beside Lydia. She rubbed Lydia’s arm, and the touch was cold, almost reptilian. Lydia shivered.

“Don’t be afraid,” Jade Monroe said. “We have big plans for you. We need some good luck, and we’re going to use yours to get what we want. You’re perfectly safe with us.”

Without thinking, instinctively, Lydia shook her head no.

The woman smirked and rubbed Lydia’s arm again. “And we’ll take it whether you want to share or not.”

That wasn’t the way it worked, but even if she had been able to talk, she wouldn’t have said anything else. Cut off from her sisters, her powers were weaker. But no one could take her good luck from her.

She just knew, from her experience throughout her thirty years of life, that any moment now something would happen to rescue her. Her good luck sometimes took its time, but it always kicked in.

Kick in now, she implored, and tried to send out that intention, even though her gift was the random sort and came and went as it pleased.

Being a good luck charm was usually a good thing.

Give Dr. Walter Clemmons, PhD, M.D., a history problem, and he’d answer it. Present him with a mathematical equation, and he’d solve it. Assign him a diplomatic errand, and he’d pull it off. But this? This was hardly fair.

Why had he ever let Tyberius Thrakos convince him to head up the new Supernatural Oversight Council office here in Moonchuckle Bay? He had a thriving business. He didn’t need the hassle of running the local office of the London-based organization that governed every supernatural in the known world — and in parts of the universe that humans knew nothing about. And yet he’d let his old friend convince him this would be a good idea.

He was so going to punch Ty the next time he saw him. Or beat him soundly at chess.

The large screen on the wall showed the faces of three members of the London headquarters of the SOC — Supernatural Oversight Council. His new assistant, Heidi Simmons, a werewolf, sat to his left at the conference table. His two-person IT Department — a French vampire named Jareth Sang and a genie, Ginnie Djeffreys — sat to his right. Three more agents sat around the table. Finally, Michael Murphy, a vampire, who was on loan to the office to head their legal department. His wife, Princess Dixie of the Garden Court, had attended as his assistant.

Hiring was still going on, and as many supernatural groups as possible were to be represented by the employees working in the new Moonchuckle Bay Council office that he would be overseeing.

He shook his head again at his new title — Walter Clemmons, Director.

Before they’d even opened their doors, before all the positions were even filled, before he’d had a chance to complete his own training, somebody had hacked into their computer system.

The three London blokes staring at him from the screen were technically training him and helping set up the office, but at this moment they were letting him sweat it out.

The one in the center was Owen Quincy, head of the SOC’s SOC team. Yes, the Supernatural Oversight Committee had a Security Operations Center. And that center had a 24/7 CSIRT Team — Computer Security Incident Response Team — whose job it was to spot any problems. Owen’s team had spotted a big problem.

Owen asked, “What are you doing about the break-in, Walter? In our firewall logs, data was exfiltrated. The egg could be in jeopardy. It may hold the second dragon in the entire world. We can’t risk losing it.”