To Discover a Divine, Rise of the Stria Book One

By Tessa McFionn

Sci-Fi, Romance

Paperback, eBook

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51
3 mins

 

Evainne Wagner woke at her normal time on a standard Tuesday. After following her usual morning routine of feeding her fish, checking emails for any answer from the latest round of resumes sent to various law firms hoping for a bite, and finishing her habitual two cups of coffee, she opened the boring front door of her typical New England brownstone apartment to take her predictable training run around Boston Common.

She wondered exactly when that process went horribly wrong.

The sound of blaring alarms instead of crosstown traffic assaulted her ears as she left her home. A long white corridor with openings cut into the walls, but no discernible doorways met her questioning gaze. Gone was the tree-lined avenue and ivy-covered brick townhomes across the street from her on Union Park. What she found this morning were people running around in weird-looking motorcycle gear through the mounting smoke.

Doing her best impression of a park statue, she blinked as her brain danced around the current scenery. No way was she completely awake. This had to be the middle of a cheap pizza-induced nightmare. Definitely not real. Maybe she was the recipient of a really bad prank. She turned to find nothing but a white wall at her back, her front door only a memory.

"Oh-kay. This is definitely one bizarre dream." She knocked at the solid metallic surface, the hollow echo nearly drowned out by the encompassing sirens. Trailing her hand along the slick backdrop as she dared a few steps further, she put one foot in front of the other while her senses argued with her logical mind. The things in her physical imagination had texture. That was not normal. Normally, dreams were ethereal, but the shrieking sounds pinging off the walls were anything but calming. Long ago, Evainne learned to accept things at face value but even this was beginning to push her limits.

She took this factoid and filed it away, the small box fitting neatly onto an open shelf in her mind. If there was one thing she could do well, it was compartmentalize. She chalked it up to monumental failures trying to please her aristocratic and 'Old Money' bred parents. Anything that didn't make sense, or ran contrary to their most recent set of conflicting demands, she would package it up to think on later. This strange skill saved her sanity during even the worst times, but it was being sorely tested right now.

Just a dream. It has to be a really vivid dream. Someone yanked on her shoulder, spinning her about to face her own image in the fish-eyed reflective lens of a helmeted asshat. Muffled gibberish was shouted at her and jerky arms pointed her back toward her originating point.

"Look, I think you might have the wrong—"

A surprising explosion of pain slammed into her jaw as a padded fist drove away the possibilities of anything other than harsh reality. She shook her head, eager to dismiss the stars splintering her vision. Her mind might be shocked, but her body ran on automatic pilot.

My dream, my rules.

She drew back her leg, kicking out and catching one of the looming shapes in the groin, hoping she nailed the sensitive spot. The ensuing grunt as the goliath dropped to his knees was a good indication, not to mention the responding blow from his beefy twin that knocked her down to the floor.

She stared in shock as a gun was pointed in her face. Angry voices continued to bark out undecipherable orders above her, and her primal survival instincts snapped into overdrive. She opened her hands and slowly raised her arms.

"I don't know what—"

The butt of the weapon landed heavily against her temple and her stomach threatened to spill its meager contents. She pinched herself, her nails biting repeatedly into her arm but nothing changed. Her body simply refused to wake up. Covering her head as her panic-gripped brain spun like a hamster on steroids, she prayed for this freak show to end and for daylight to arrive.

The answer appeared in the form of another leather-clad biker, the dark blue jumpsuit that clung to his frame stood out in sharp contrast to the overly bright white around her. His legs pumped in powerful strides as blinding flashes lit up the muzzle of his gun, and one of the goons exploded in a shower of gore. The second followed in short order as the new player skidded to a halt on his knees next to her. His hand was touching the side of his helmet and more of that same nonsensical language spilled out. However, these tones were more musical, not harsh and guttural like the earlier two.

The mirrored visor reflected her terrified appearance back to her. Still dressed in her running gear, sporting what was soon to be a nice shiner, she blinked in an attempt to unravel his kind-sounding words. At least, she hoped it was kind. The timbre had a soothing quality and she wanted to fall into his voice.

She'd learned to judge people by their actions. So far, he hadn't tried to kill her and that was good enough to fall into the ranks of hero in her book. Movement from behind her timely savior launched her reflexes. Using her left hand, she snatched up the cast-off weapon by her foot and fired over his shoulder. The gun had no kick. Only a slight click, and the man at his back flying off his feet told her she hit her target.

In her mind, she continued to call the fighter across from her a 'him'. The build was right, broad shoulders, narrow hips, strong and muscular legs, and not to mention the absence of boobs. Her savior spun back to face her, the blacked-out glass hiding his response. Was he impressed? Surprised? Thankful? Pissed that a girl took the shot? The lack of a face killed any chance for a true read. As he reached for her, she twisted the lightweight gun in her palm and offered him the non-business end. Adrenaline seeped out of her trembling hand. She was far from out of danger and any advantage would be helpful.




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