Chapter One
Touch of a Good Woman

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“The case involving Surefire and Raven is still under investigation so I can’t comment on the specifics. I can say they both received pardons for whatever laws they may have broken in the course of saving our nation from a power-crazed criminal, proving once again that transhumans are working for the greater good.”

—Sean Vivas, owner of U-Sec, at a June press conference

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Cassandra trailed her tongue down the center of his chest and breathed in his scent. A combination of salt and sweat and a savory spice that always set her heart racing.

When her tongue reached the tight muscles of his stomach, his arms jerked and rattled the handcuffs around his wrists.

“Ticklish?”

“Maybe,” he replied.

She lifted her upper body while she straddled his naked hips. Her fingers danced over his wide chest then smoothed over his muscular shoulders.

Her eyes flicked to the cuffs holding his hands to her headboard. He could break them. Easily. He could even break her solid antique headboard without trying. But he didn’t. He submitted to her. Wanted to submit. So much power under her control. Her pulse quickened.

“Uncomfortable?”

“A little,” he said and raised his head up to kiss her.

She pulled back. “Not until I say so.”

Cassandra’s fingers combed through his thick blonde hair that he’d grown out at her request. Her other hand cupped his cheek, rough with a few day’s of stubble. Then she let her thumb pass over his bottom lip. His tongue darted out and licked the tip.

She wanted to take him in. Take a mental picture of his gorgeous body. Because in real life, she didn’t have him anymore. In real life, she could never see him like this.

In real life, she couldn’t see him at all unless it was through another’s eyes.

Cassandra placed her hands on either side of his face and leaned down, unable to resist kissing him, being nearer to him.

“Pax, I still …”

Her words faded into the lyrics of Madonna’s Like a Virgin. The song filled the room as if the pop icon was belting it out next to the bed.

“Matthews.” Her eyelids opened to the darkness.

The song continued to play accentuate by a buzzing from the nightstand next to her bed.

Cassandra, UltraAgent Oracle as she was known at U-Sec, rolled over onto her stomach and scooted across the cool cotton sheets until her knee rested over the edge of the mattress. She stretched her arm to the left and felt for the hard edge of the nightstand. Her fingertips trailed along the lightly vibrating surface before knocking into the rubber case of her cell phone.

“What?” Her legs stretched out and her feet hit into a large, warm lump at the bottom of the bed. Her black lab, Nyxe, didn’t stir from the light kick or pop song but kept on snoring.

“Now you hurt my feelings. Thought you’d be happy to hear my voice,” Detective Guy Matthews of Baltimore’s Criminal Investigation Division, Transhuman Unit, teased her.

“What time is it, Matthews?”

“One o’clock.”

“It better not be a.m.”

“Would you believe me if I said it wasn’t?”

She rolled onto her back and onto her soft, inviting feather pillow. “Are you okay?”

“So far, I’m good. But I need your help. I have a case—”

“No, no, no” her voice rose as her grogginess lifted. “I’m off, Matthews. On disability, sabbatical, or whatever you call it when you get your butt handed to you by an ancient god.”

“You’re not going to let an Aztec a-hole keep you down, are you? That’s not the Cassandra, I mean, UltraAgent Oracle I know.”

What if this is the new me? Full of anxiety. Uncertainty. Fear. Someone who gets a pounding in the back of her head and bile rising in her throat because a colleague mentions work.

Work that requires she open up her mind and let whatever evil outside in the world inside her again.

She wanted to go back to sleep. And that thought sent a hot flush across her skin when she recalled her dream starring a different man in an intimate position she hadn’t considered doing with Matthews.

“Why did you wake me up about this case?” She yawned to accentuate the point that she’d been sound asleep.

“I have a possible transhuman suspect who has … well … let me put it this way, she puts Lorena Bobbitt to shame.”