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The SkyRyders are no longer the best-skilled fliers in the sky, and MAC is determined to rectify the situation by breeding better fliers. However, the introduction of an exceptional flier into the project brings an underlying cancer to light. Convinced the Corp removed a maneuver so a female could pass the flight exam, the male cadets in the Academy revolt. Sensing chaos and mutiny at the Fort, the enemy cartel gathers a force to annihilate the entire West Coast forces.
Cassie lost her train of thought the moment a squad of SkyRyders dropped from the sky and landed twenty feet to her left. She noticed they wore combat gear. Two of them were young women, and both were armed to the teeth, the same as the men. She liked that.
A male SkyRyder, slightly older and rather “easy on the eyes” with his chiseled looks, approached her as the others folded their catchers into small bundles.
“If you were going to buy drugs on this campus, where would you go?” His lips turned into a seductive half-grin.
She smiled in return. “I’d go have my head examined.” She nodded at the frat house on the corner. “However, idiots who have no appreciation for their brain cells go over to the green house on the corner, but somehow I suspect you already know that.”
“I always like to get a local confirmation whenever possible and especially if it means talking to a pretty young woman.”
She smiled at his compliment. Normally, such a line would piss her off, but not when it came from those lips.
“You wouldn’t happen to know whether they conduct their business in the cellar or the attic, would you?”
Cassie gave this some thought. “I’ve never been in the house, but I have lectured a few girlfriends after they’ve gone there, and I noticed they had cobwebs from the Andillous family on their clothes.
“Cobwebs can be found in both cellars and attics.”
“Not troglobiont cobwebs. They are only found in moist areas such as the Cully River canyon and on rare occasions, basements, if they’ve been extended deep into the rock of the cliffs behind the house.”
He smiled appreciatively at her observation. “That is most helpful.” He then returned to his crew.
She watched as they disappeared right before her eyes. She had heard the Ryders had suits that made them invisible. She had thought it was bullshit, just something to scare little drug-dealers out of a life of crime. Now she saw it was true. Her mind turned to working out how they did that.
A few minutes later, she heard the low rumble of a concussion bomb from within the building and the cliff behind it. Silence followed. Except for a few people near the building running like hell to get away, no one came out of the house. She worried about the Ryders. She should have mentioned the frat house might be well-armed, but then shouldn’t they expect that?
The Ryders reappeared in front of their gear. The captain, however, materialized beside her. He knelt and studied her with his intense blue eyes. Lots of guys took notice of her, but this was different. He seemed to be measuring her worth as an intelligent human being. “What’s your major?”
“Quantum Physics, and Mathematics.”
He nodded with approval and handed her a card. “Keep this card in case you ever want a career with the Corp. It will exempt you from years of screening.”
“Thanks, but I’m going to finish school and become a scientist.”
He smiled and stood up. “Good for you. We hire scientist, you know.” Then he rejoined his group and latched into his catcher. Upon his command, the squad soared into the sky as if they were puppets yanked from the story.
Just as they disappeared, a ping sounded from her laptop, alerting her she had mail. Cassie glanced at the email. It was from her father. She opened it, expecting him to explain why the funds for this semester had yet to arrive into the school’s account. She had already received a second notice. Upon reading the email, she understood why the money had not arrived. According to her father, her education had gone on long enough and it was time for her to take on adult responsibilities. A car would come for her at three today, and tomorrow she would be married to some man she had never met in her life.
She fingered the card in her hand. Life in the Corp sounded a hell of a lot better than her current future.
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About the Author
Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, skydive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet throughout her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.
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