The Hacker Pushes Her Luck (Moonchuckle Bay 6)(4)

By: Heather Horrocks

From Lydia’s trussed-up place on the floor of the van, Jade Monroe’s seat looked infinitely more comfortable. After leaving the gas station, they’d met the man at the park as planned. Now, according to the conversation between her two kidnappers, they were driving around the edges of Moonchuckle Bay. Lydia wasn’t sure where they were headed.

The woman sat in the chair and swiveled it back to look at her captive. Her cold smile creeped Lydia out.

Standing, she worked her way back to Lydia and rubbed her arm in that creepy manner again. She tugged out the gag.

Lydia tried really hard not to gag. When she finished choking, she swallowed several times.

Jade said, “I want that egg.”

“What egg? What are you talking about?” Lydia didn’t remember talking about an egg during any of her emails or phone calls with Elvis.

“I’m talking about more power and prestige than you can possibly imagine.”

“What about Elvis?” Lydia was confused. “You said he’d sent you.”

Jade gave an ugly laugh. “You sap. Did you wonder why you were lucky enough to catch Elvis’s eye without even sending him your resume?”

Lydia’s eyes widened. She had wondered that.

“I sent him your resume so he’d hire you, to get you into town. We needed you here to make our plan work. I set the whole thing up, you twit. And I’ve been hired by the Council because somebody hacked into their system. It should be pretty easy for me to figure out, since I’m the one who did it. We just need that last piece of information. The security code to the nursery at the dragon’s house.”

“I don’t know anything about this.”

“I know.” The woman seated herself again. “Did you know there are only three creatures that can become a Dragon’s Flame?”

Lydia shook her head no.

“Another dragon, of which there are none, a Swan-Maiden or Swan Prince, and crocodile shifters.”

Lydia didn’t know where the woman was going with this. “Why do you need me?”

“Because we need your luck to pull this off. It will be the crime of the century. Of the millennium.”

She patted Lydia’s arm and pointed to what looked like a laptop bag on the floor beside Lydia. “You and this bag are all we need.”

“I’m heading into town now,” the man said.

The woman stared out the window, lost in thought.

Lydia shifted to get more comfortable. It didn’t work. She now sat with her back half against the side wall and half against one of the rear doors.

That caught the woman’s attention. “If you promise to behave, I’ll untie you. It’s not like you can escape.”

Lydia nodded.

Jade tugged the knots loose, roughly, then moved back to her seat.

Lydia shifted into a marginally more comfortable position, leaning against the back doors of the van, and rubbed her wrists.

After a few minutes, she couldn’t stand it anymore and had to ask. “What happened to my cat? She was in my car.”

The woman smirked, her green eyes cold. “Kelly,” she called out to the man, “What did you do with the cat?”

The man laughed. “I ate it.”

Lydia’s eyes widened as panic clogged her throat. “What?”

“Didn’t you know? We’re crocodile shifters. Your cat was undoubtedly a tasty snack.”

Her green eyes glittered with a wicked light. Was she going to eat Lydia, too?

She had to get out of here. Whether they ate her or not, they definitely didn’t have her best interests at heart.

She shifted her weight again just as the van braked suddenly. The man swore, then gunned it. As she slammed against the back doors of the van, the latch clicked and they opened — finally, her luck had kicked in!

She spilled out onto the road, striking her head hard enough to make her dizzy and nauseated, then the laptop bag fell out on top of her.

Car brakes squealed as a vehicle came within inches of hitting her.

And then everything went black.

Duty, My Fireball!

WALTER SHOT TY A HALFHEARTED SMILE. “You did land me in quite the pickle here, my friend.”

Ty sat beside him at the conference table. “I have a couple of days before my next shift at the fire station. How can I help?”