Revealed

By: Evangeline Anderson

Chapter One





Detective Adam Rast stared down at the limp form of the girl in his arms in horror. “Nadiah?” he said, patting her cheeks urgently. “Nadiah, come on—wake up. Please.”



But she just lay there, barely breathing, her lovely deep blue eyes rolled up to show the whites. She looked like a life-sized doll, her head rolling limply from side to side on his arm.



Rast couldn’t figure out what was going on. Nadiah had come down to the Sarasota HKR building at his request to see if she could “feel” anything about the AllFather’s last victim, Elise Darden. In the past, she’d been able to tell the whereabouts of a missing person just by touching her clothes, and Rast had hoped she would be able to do it again.



But he’d be lying if he said the still-open case was the only reason he’d asked her to come down from the Kindred Mother Ship to Earth. He’d heard from Commander Sylvan that Nadiah would be leaving soon, going back to her home planet of Tranq Prime, and he just couldn’t let her go without seeing her one more time.



It was a stupid impulse and he knew it. They’d started off with a bang during the mistaken luck kiss at Commander Sylvan’s wedding, but after that things went downhill fast, thanks to his own stubbornness and stupid pride. To be honest, Nadiah didn’t like him at all—a fact she’d gone to great pains to make very clear during some of their earlier meetings.



Rast didn’t blame her—he’d been a real jerk. First he’d refused to believe in her gift of “The Sight”, as she called it, and then he’d called her crazy to her face. By the time Nadiah had proved to him beyond the shadow of a doubt that she really was experiencing a genuine psychic phenomenon, it was too late. As his mother liked to say, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”



But even though he had blown it with the beautiful alien girl with exotically tilted dark blue eyes and long golden hair, Rast couldn’t stop thinking about her. Couldn’t stop wanting to see her again—just one last time. So he’d called on the viewscreen to ask for her help and to his surprise and gratification, she had graciously agreed.



“Should have known something was wrong,” Rast muttered, patting her cheeks again. “I could tell she didn’t feel well.”



It was true—Nadiah had been unnaturally pale as she stepped through the sliding glass doors of the Human/Kindred Relations building. Her skin, always a delicate, translucent porcelain, had been paper white. Her eyes, a deep shade of mysterious blue Rast couldn’t name because they didn’t seem to match any Earthly color he’d ever seen—had been large and haunted. He’d also noticed dark circles beneath them that hadn’t been there during their last meeting.



He’d thought about saying something then—considered asking if she was all right. But he’d assumed she was just having more nightmares. Visions of the AllFather’s victims had plagued her in the past, no doubt turning her gift into a curse. Rast had hated like hell to put her through more of the same, but he genuinely needed her help.



Elise Darden hadn’t had any family step forward to question her disappearance—in fact, all they’d been able to turn up were a few worried coworkers in the Tampa State Attorney’s office. But even though she didn’t seem to have any nearest and dearest, Rast still cared. Cared a hell of a lot that an innocent young woman had been taken and possibly tortured and killed. Something similar had happened to his beloved older sister, Jessie, when he was just a child, and as an adult he’d made it his life’s work to find and rescue such victims if he could. Or to see their remains safely home if he couldn’t.



Nadiah had greeted him in a low, colorless voice and they sat together on one of the HKR building’s numerous gray couches. Rast had noticed that her hands were shaking when she reached for the bag of evidence he held out to her. He hadn’t been able to help himself then.



“Hey,” he said. “Are you okay? You don’t mind me saying so, you don’t look so good.”



Nadiah had brushed his question off. “I’m fine. Just give me the clothes.”



Against his better judgment, Rast had done as she asked. Nadiah had hesitated, then took a deep breath and plunged her hand into the plastic evidence bag as though it contained hot coals instead of discarded clothing.



“Well?” Rast had asked, looking at her anxiously. “What do you see?”



Nadiah had opened her mouth to reply and then everything had happened at once.

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