Home > Echoes at Dawn (KGI #5)

Echoes at Dawn (KGI #5)
Author: Maya Banks

PROLOGUE

GORDON Farnsworth had more money than God. He had connections beyond anyone’s imagining. He’d lived his life on the fringe, steeped in shadows, so immersed in gray that he doubted he had any semblance of a soul remaining.

He had power, wealth and information at his disposal. And none of it meant a damn thing because his daughter was dying and he was powerless to prevent it.

She’d been seen by the top physicians in the world, had the best treatment money could buy, and he’d been told the same thing by every one of them.

There was nothing further to be done. His daughter couldn’t be saved. The best he could do was make her comfortable for the remainder of her time.

Fuck that.

He wouldn’t accept that there was nothing he could do. He’d prevented wars and instigated them. He wielded influence with dozens of world leaders. He could make or ruin an entire country on a whim. And he couldn’t save his daughter?

He paced the confines of the dark library where he often brooded with a glass of Macallen whiskey he’d paid over one hundred thousand dollars for. The fire in the hearth had died, leaving only a few glowing embers.

His phone rang and he yanked it to his ear, barking the order before the other party had a chance to say anything.

“Is she legitimate?”

“Indeed it appears she is.”

Farnsworth’s shoulders sagged and he sank onto the couch, perched on the edge, his impatience snarling and nipping at him.

“She’s been able to heal all manner of illnesses and injuries, but it’s at great cost to herself. She’s been pushed beyond her limits but she’s been successful in all cases that have been presented.”

“I don’t give a damn what it does to her,” Farnsworth growled. “Get her here. I’m running out of time.”

There was a lengthy pause and Farnsworth didn’t like pauses. They never meant good news.

“I anticipated your order, sir. When I was told the results of her testing, I knew you’d want her there with all due haste. I gave the order to go in, remove all evidence of her existence, silence those who had any knowledge of her and, of course, to retrieve Grace Peterson and have her taken to you.”

He didn’t like where this was going. His gut knotted and his lips tightened in rage.

“What the hell happened then? Where is she? When can I expect her? Elizabeth doesn’t have much time!”

There was a deep breath. “She escaped, sir.”

Farnsworth exploded to his feet, spit rimming his lips as he puffed out his fury. “Escaped? She escaped? What of this terrible toll? What of her being weak and fragile after so much healing? How does one small woman escape highly trained operatives?”

“There was a miscommunication, sir. Our intel was wrong. The room we thought she was being held in was empty. One of the explosions leveled the quarters she had been moved to, and she escaped in the confusion.”

“Your intel was wrong. Miscommunication. Confusion. What the fuck am I paying for? A bunch of goddamn amateurs?”

“We’re tracking her now. We won’t fail you, sir.”

“Goddamn right you won’t fail,” Farnsworth raged. “I swear to you that if my daughter dies, you and everyone you hold dear will suffer. I’ll extinguish your entire family, and you’ll watch while it happens. And then you’ll die a long painful death. Do you understand me?”

“Y-Yes sir.”

Farnsworth cut the connection and held the phone for a long moment, tempted to hurl it through the window. Only the knowledge that he had to act fast for his daughter’s sake gave him the impetus to place his next call.

He waited as he went through a series of numbers and security codes until finally the connection was established. He didn’t wait, didn’t exchange pleasantries. Grace Peterson had to be found, and she had to be found now.

“I need Titan,” he bit out. “I don’t give a goddamn how much it costs. You get me Titan.”

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 


GRACE Peterson drew the blanket tighter around her and huddled in the dark. She stared blankly at the star-filled sky. The mountain air was cold. Not just chilly, as it had been as dusk had descended, wiping away the comfortable remnants of a sunny afternoon. It was frigid.

A low moan escaped as her muscles tightened and protested not only the cold, but the weakness inflicted upon them by so much death and sickness. Pain had long since lost any meaning to her. What she felt couldn’t really be considered pain. It was worse. She couldn’t feel anything but the desolation of hopelessness and despair. The knowledge that she would probably die from the horrors inflicted upon her. And perhaps she deserved it, for she hadn’t been able to help all who had been thrust upon her.

Her escape had been a fluke. An explosion had decimated the cell where she’d been held. She’d managed to get out before the men charged with her care had been able to respond. Or maybe they had perished. She couldn’t bring herself to feel any regret. They’d shown her no regard. She’d been treated like an inanimate object. Some magic wand they waved at a wound or an illness and expected her to make it all disappear.

She hated them for that. Hated them for their callousness. For using others as they’d used her. Pawns. Objects to provide them with information. They weren’t even people. Just numbers.

Another shiver rattled her teeth and settled deep into her bones. She simply couldn’t imagine ever being warm again. She curled her feet farther into the blanket and tucked the ends securely under her chin.

She was severely weakened by all she’d been forced to endure. For all she’d been made to heal. Even now she didn’t know where she’d found the strength or the will to make her escape when the opportunity had presented itself.

But now she’d run out of strength. She had nothing else left. No reserves. And her resolve was faltering just as everything else had done.

Closing her eyes, she tried to find some solace. Some measure of peace.

She missed her sister, Shea. Ached for the comfort of her touch. The brush of her mind and the image of her smile. She hadn’t ever really understood and hadn’t ever taken Shea’s decision for them to separate seriously. Until the day she’d been captured, and she realized that if they’d been together, they would have both been taken.

Shea had always been determined to keep Grace safe, but now, Grace was equally determined to keep Shea as far away from her as possible. Grace was hunted. She knew her pursuers were probably in these mountains already. They could be a short distance away.

And so she’d slammed the door shut on her sister, and the void hurt every bit as much as the bombardment of sickness and pain she’d absorbed. Not having Shea there was the worst sort of loneliness. She’d severed the telepathic link between her and her sister, and her worst fear was that it was permanent. She’d never get it back.

In a way, she supposed it would be a blessing. If she lost her abilities, she could have a normal life. But so would she lose the ability to make a difference in someone else’s life.

She closed her eyes, exhausted by the weight of responsibility, sorrow and regret. She hated that she wasn’t stronger, that she’d crumbled under so much stress. But the ailments had been thrown at her, one after another. Broken bones, horrible bloody wounds, tumors, diseases, and the list went on and on. The most horrific experiment she’d undergone was when it had been demanded of her to reach inside the mind of a woman with a mental illness and heal her.

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