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

By: Heather Horrocks


Outside they found pandemonium. Traffic was stalled, vehicles stopped at strange angles. In front of a Dodge Ram pickup lay a young woman, rich auburn hair spilling around her pale face like a halo. Her eyes were closed.

“What happened?” Walter demanded of the crowd.

An East Indian man said, “She fell out of the back of a big white van, and her bag fell with her.”

Fell? “Where’s the vehicle now?”

“I do not know. They drove off and did not come back.”

“Did anyone get the license number?” Ty asked the crowd but there were shakes of heads and negative responses.

Weird. Walter pushed his way through the crowd of tourists and knelt down on one side of the woman, Ty on the other. “Miss? Are you all right?”

She opened eyes that were a startling gray — and pierced Walter with her gaze. She was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

And a human. One with slightly crossed eyes and a hefty bump on her head. They needed to get her to a doctor.

“I’m going to call an ambulance, OK?”

The woman had pushed herself to a sitting position and was rubbing her head. “No, I don’t think I need an ambulance.”

He couldn’t just leave her there, and she really did need to get that bump looked at. He’d start by getting her into the Council offices, then call Dr. Johnson to come check her out.

“Let’s get you inside,” Walter said as he and Ty helped her to her feet. Walter looked at Heidi and said, “Call Dr. Johnson and see if he can get someone over here ASAP.”

“I already did,” she said.

“Oh. Good.” His competent assistant was already coming in handy.

Heidi leaned over and picked up the contents of a bag that was lying next to the woman, and followed them inside.

They helped the woman to the lobby, and she sagged onto the couch.

“Don’t let her fall asleep,” Walter said. He looked around. “Heidi, when can we expect a doctor?”

“I’ll find out.”

In the meantime, Walter decided to put his own M.D. degree to use. He knelt before the woman. “We’re getting a doctor here for you.”

“Thank you,” she said, her voice wispy.

He checked the pupils of her eyes; they were equal and normal. He took her wrist and checked her heartbeat and breathing. A little elevated, but not too bad. He checked vital signs and everything he’d been trained to look for, as much as he could without equipment. Walter decided right then that they needed to get a first-aid station set up in the office, ASAP.

He asked her some simple questions. “Do you remember what happened?”

Her gray eyes fluttered. “I guess I got hurt.”

“Do you know how?”

She shook her head and winced at the motion.

“That’s okay. What’s your name?”

She paused, looking confused.

If she couldn’t answer this one, he’d need to take her to Dr. Johnson’s office for some specialized tests, to make sure she was safe, instead of having him come here. Walter may have gotten an M.D., but he hadn’t practiced and was behind on the latest techniques.

“Do you remember your name?” he repeated.

Her lip quivered. “No.” She sounded like a little girl.

Walter would have to monitor her cognitive skills for the next few hours. She might still need a CT scan if there were any changes in behavior. Though how would he know? He didn’t know this woman’s baseline normal behavior.

He’d better just keep her talking until the doctor arrived.

Ginnie said, “Her name is Jade Monroe.”

Walter turned his head to the genie. “How do you know?”

She handed him a business card. “It was in her bag.”

“Jade Monroe,” Jareth said. “Isn’t that the hacker you hired?”

Walter took the card and studied it.

Walter turned back to the woman on the couch. It was good to see what she looked like, because she didn’t have any pictures of herself up on her website, or anywhere on the internet that he’d been able to find. But then hackers were notoriously secretive, so that didn’t really surprise him.

He looked back at the woman. His hacker. “Your business card says your name is Jade Monroe.”