That Moment When Trust Can Mean the Difference Between Life and Death.

“Is it a crime to care about the welfare of my partner. Let me ask you this. If it were me cursed and possibly facing down death, how would you act?”




Magic In Disguise
Agents of A.S.S.E.T. Book 3
Sample Chapter 2
(Unedited)


The day had far too many ups and downs to be dealt with on such a little supply of caffeine. Grey brought them to a diner to refuel before they started on the shopping list Mark had given them.
Sage slid into a booth, grabbing the menu, eager to devour everything listed in the breakfast column.
Grey flagged a waitress down and ordered the coffee. He must have read her mind. After all the driving they’d done, she could probably polish off a pot all on her own.
“Did you know Ava would track us?” Sage asked, keeping her face behind the plastic menu.
“Are you really that surprised?” Grey chuckled.
“So all that back in my apartment, about turning me in, was for show?” Sage hated the way she just couldn’t read that man’s intentions.
“Someday you will have to trust that I’m on your side.”
She glared at him over the top of her menu. “You didn’t answer the question.”
“Yes and no. How’s that for an answer?”
“I hate you,” Sage grumbled.
“You’re so cute when you’re angry.”
The waitress set two mugs down and filled them to the brim with liquid energy. Sage ordered herself a lumberjack’s breakfast. Grey ordered the endless stack of pancakes.
“I’m serious you know.” Sage whispered as the waitress walked back to place their order.
Grey’s brow scrunched with confusion. “No. I don’t know. What?”
“I can’t read you.”
He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “We’re back to that again, are we?”
“Truth time. I want to know what’s going on in that head of yours.”
“I could ask the same of you.” He fidgeted with his coffee, adding sugar and staring down at it as he stirred it well past the point of mixing his drink.
“When we first met, you were a royal ass who made no secret of your unhappiness in being tethered to me as a partner.”
“Newbies are insufferable.” He leaned back and put his arms over the edge of the booth.
“I’m still a newbie. But you’ve changed.” She stared into his eyes. “What’s with the mother hen act?”
“Is it a crime to care about the welfare of my partner. Let me ask you this. If it were me cursed and possibly facing down death, how would you act?”
“Not fair. I’m–”
“A girl?”
“I was going to say I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I’m not the one acting out of character here.”
“So now I care too much?” He chuckled, clearly amused with his ability to get under her skin.
“No. Stop twisting my words around. I just mean that you’re acting different than expected and I want to know if there is something else going on?”
“I told you we’re not talking about my past or partners.”
Exactly what she thought he’d say. She sipped her coffee, black, hoping the hot infusion of caffeine would spur her brain into action. She needed all the help she could get, playing the mental game with him. “Probably an insufferable girl, right?”
“You don’t give up, do you?” He moved in closer, hovering over his coffee as if looking deep into its murky depths for an answer.
“We agreed to honesty and laying it all out there. So that we can better understand each other and work together.” She whispered softly so the waitress would not hear as she passed the booth on her way to another table.
“You don’t need recounted war stories and death tallies to understand me.”
His evasiveness more than anything else made her want to dig deeper. He could have given her any small detail and she might have dropped the subject, but the fact he continued his blockade had her curiosity up to an eleven. “But I do need to understand you.” She gulped down the rest of her coffee, giving time for her words to sink in. “I have nothing to go on. I don’t even know where you live.”
Grey was as thick as a brick wall. He shrugged her off. “Why would you?”
“You know where I live.”
“Because you need a damn chauffeur.”
The transportation issue was going to become a serious problem if she didn’t get a car eventually. “I’ll ride the bus,” she snapped at him.
“You don’t have to get so defensive. Not everything is an insult.”
“Sounds like it coming from you.” Her coffee gone, Sage looked around for the waitress, and motioned with her cup when she got her attention.
“That’s just you being sensitive.”
“Hey.” Her mouth hung open with no snappy reply finding its way to the surface.
“You said it.” Grey smirked, clearly satisfied he’d silenced her. “You wear your emotions out there for all to see.”
Her instincts would normally have her fighting back but that would only egg him on. She needed a better way to wipe that self-important grin from his face. Kill him with kindness. That had thrown him off his game in the past. He expected her snark. “You got me there.” She conceded his victory sweetly.
The waitress came by, hot pot of coffee in hand and refilled their mugs. Sage took a long pull from hers. Black coffee wasn’t exactly her favorite flavor, but slugging it down the way she did, worked wonders in jump-starting her mind.
Grey on the other hand looked as if he’d lost something. Her plan was working. He just couldn’t compete against her when she played nice.
“You’re right. I’m sensitive to those I care for. And you’re my partner. I want to know more about you.” Sage gave him her most innocent smile. “So tell me about Grey, the guy, not the agent. Where do you live?”
He looked at her suspiciously, his brow forming deep creases, crow’s feet creeping out from the corners of his eyes, aging his eternally youthful face. “I’ve got an apartment down by Boulder Highway and Trop.”
“Any roommates?” She fired off her next question eagerly, a few more ready should he take the bait.
“We are really doing this? The whole first date line of questioning?”
“This is not a date.”
“I don’t know. We’re at a restaurant, about to share a meal, talking about our feelings.” Damn him, he was on to her.
“Whatever.” She pretended to shrugged him off. “Poke fun all you like. I’ve learned more from you in five minutes here than I have the entire time we’ve been partners.”
“That’s just because you don’t pay attention.” He took a swig of his coffee. “No roommates.”
“Pets?”
“Nope,” he responded with mild amusement.
She fired off the next question, “Hobbies?”
“Please stop.”
“Girlfriends?”
Grey looked up from his coffee, his eyes meeting her in a dead stare. “Enough!”
She’d hit a nerve there. “See? You’re a closed book. I can’t read you. And anytime I get you to open up slightly, you slam shut.”
“You’re not trying to get to know me, you’re fishing.”
“Semantics.”
“You want some truth? I appreciate genuine people. And I can smell bullshit a mile away.”
“I smell bullshit,” she mocked him.
Grey’s phone went off. He picked it up, and his already angry expression darkened.
Sage’s phone went off next. She reached to answer it but Grey snatched it from her and dunked it into his cup of coffee.
“What the hell!”
“Time to go.” He grabbed her by the arm, threw two twenty-dollar bills on the table, and pulled her toward the door.
Sage didn’t fight his grip on her arm. As mad as she was he’d just destroyed her phone, the fact he’d done it meant some major kind of shit was hitting the fan. “Are you going to tell me what’s going on?”
They came to an abrupt stop at his bike. Grey looked around suspiciously. Before showing her his phone.
Text from Ava.
Agent Cynwrig: location unknown. In possession of artifact id: SPONGE. Apprehend and return to Las Vegas HQ.
“What the hell?” She gasped and immediately slapped her hand over her mouth. Things had truly taken a turn for the worst.
“That text just went out to all active ASSET agents.” Grey didn’t need to explain it. She’d already guessed as much. “You’ve been marked. We’re not safe here any longer.”
“But why?” That was the bit she didn’t understand. Ava had always been two steps ahead of them. She had even known they were in Phoenix. Why send this? Why now was she a marked woman? Why not contact them personally instead of sending in all of ASSET?
“My guess,” Grey spoke calmly. If he was worried, she’d never be able to tell. “Word of your little escapade with the Ethereals just got to her.”
“Didn’t take her long.”
“I was hoping we’d have more time before that piece of information crossed her desk.” Grey sighed.
“So you’re taking me in then?” She held her hands out, ready for cuffs, really wishing she’d have gotten a last meal. She’d been so looking forward to bacon and eggs. No luck of that being locked up in ASSET’s prison.
He slapped her hands away. “What do you think?”
“Ava gave you an order.”
“You’re not good a reading between the lines are you?”
“Apparently not,” she huffed.
“Ava told you if your secret got out. Your life was forfeit.”
“Yeah.”
“So taking you in to headquarters right now is a death sentence.”
If she hadn’t been stressing out she might have called him Captain Obvious. At best she might lose her hand and be locked away in ASSET for the rest of what remained of her life. At worst, she might get a quick death. Either way she’d run out of time. “You’re a company man. You do what you’re told, right?”
“You wound me.”
“Just tell me what the hell you plan to do. I can’t read you. So stop the cryptic crap because I’m about two seconds from a heart attack.”
“You’d survive a heart attack.” Disappointment soured his tone, but it was the look of outrage that struck her as hard as a slap to the face. Had she really misread him that badly? “I’m not about to march you in to die when we have a shot at fixing you.” He turned away from her and grabbed his helmet. “And I can’t believe after all we have been through together, you’d think so lowly of me.”
She hadn’t realize how much her offhand comment would affect him. With his helmet on, Sage could no longer see the pained look in his eyes, but somehow felt the weight of her words more strongly. She hadn’t intended to insult him. Calling someone a company man would normally be a compliment. More evidence to her argument of not knowing him, but this wasn’t the time to bring that back up. “I’m sorry.” She stumbled for the right words. “I just thought. Not following a direct order from Ava will get you in trouble.”
“I’m always in trouble.” The helmet hid his face bug couldn’t disguise the disappointment in his voice. “That’s why Ava assigned me to you.”
“Should I be worried or impressed?”
“Yes.” He answered quickly. She meant her question as a joke but he’d responded as if she’d lobbed yet another accusation at him. Best she keep her mouth shut. At least until things blew over. Despite all her confusion one thing was clear. As long as she was with Grey, she was safe from ASSET.
Grey threw his phone down in the dirt and stomped on the screen a few times before mounting his bike. “We better go before they track our phones here.” 

Ready for More?



Using the Weapon of Magical Destruction wasn't Sage's smartest idea, and now she's become the weapon she had been charged with protecting. 

Hunted by the shadow clans, and cut off from A.S.S.E.T., Sage is forced to go deep under cover, on a quest to collect the elements and people needed to invoke the Mother Goddess and destroy the WMD before it destroys everything she's ever loved.


 Free Sample




Haven't started the Agents of A.S.S.E.T. series yet? No worries. Grab this FREEBIE so you can meet Sage Cynwrig and learn how she joined the ranks at Anonymous Supernatural Security and Elimination Taskforce.



 Sample Ebook


And if you'd like to sample more from the Agents of A.S.S.E.T. , be sure to check out the

book series page on KatieSalidas.com

No comments: