Jaxton growled and the man winced at the sound. The lights continued to flicker. His initial haze of fury was fading, allowing reason back into his brain.
If the electrical shorts were limited to this room, someone would probably come to investigate. Jaxton had a few minutes at best, so he pulled the man up to his face and said, “Tell me where she is and I might not kill you.”
“I-I don’t know.”
Disgusted at how quickly the man’s nerve had vanished, Jaxton slammed the man’s head against the floor, knocking him unconscious. He didn’t have time to waste with a blathering idiot afraid of a few growls and some flickering lights.
He needed to get out of this room, and quickly.
Jaxton frisked the guard and took his access card and gun before freeing his own legs and heading for the door. The room in Kiarra’s photos had looked similar to this one, so he only hoped that Kiarra—and Millie, for that matter—was being held in the same facility.
Jaxton slid the security card through the panel next to the door. The light turned green, and he went into the hallway. As much as he wanted to singlehandedly rescue Kiarra and Millie on his own, he wouldn’t risk their safety. His first priority was to find a room with a phone and call for backup.
Gio stood at the foot of Calton Hill in Edinburgh. While he waited for his contact to arrive, he stared up at the purplish-blue sky of twilight and tried to forget what he’d just seen. But not even the beautiful canvas of the sky could block out the picture Ramirez had sent to his phone, the one showing Kiarra with a bruised face and split lip.
Gio wondered why, despite explicit instructions to the contrary, Ramirez had shared his handiwork. Did he suspect what Gio had done with Millie Ward? The picture might be a veiled threat, telling him that Ramirez would continue to reject Gio’s authority until some condition was met.
Whatever the reason, seeing his sister’s battered face after all these years wasn’t sitting well with Gio’s conscience. Once this meeting was over, he’d contact his father and seek out his next assignment. The sooner he finished his investigation concerning the experiments inside the AMT, the sooner he could decide what to do about it. If the abuse of first-borns was widespread, he couldn’t ignore it and do nothing.
A tall figure dressed in jeans approached and stopped a few feet from Gio’s location. Gio kept his face neutral despite the surprise; it wasn’t his man Huang, but he recognized the blond man from the personnel files.
When Dr. Ty Adams spoke, it was in a gravelly American accent. “It was the season of light.”
He’d find out later how Adams had learned the correct pass phrase.
Gio gave the required response. “It was the season of darkness.”
Gio started climbing the steps of the hill and Adams followed. Only when they were far enough up the hill, where the wind would cover their voices, did Gio speak up. “Care to tell me why you’re here and what this is about?”
Adams shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Only if you promise to turn F-839 over into my care later tonight.”
Gio stopped and turned, wondering what Adams wanted with Kiarra. Using every trick of arrogance he’d learned during his five years at Harrow, he said, “You’re hardly in the position to negotiate, doctor.”
Adams raised his left eyebrow, the one divided in two by a scar. “I can play this game too, son. I have information your father would love to hear.”
Gio kept his face impassive. He was determined to keep the upper hand. “He wouldn’t be pleased to hear you’ve been keeping something from us.”
“But everyone knows that I’m the only scientist in the world who can do what I’m doing, and Sinclair won’t touch me. So, can we stop fucking around and get on with it?”
Gio appreciated Adam’s direct matter—a stark contrast to most Brits he knew—and nodded. “If your information is valuable, and you can provide proof, then we may have a deal. What do you know that is worth all this finagling?”
Adams took out his phone, tapped the screen a few times, and turned it toward Gio. “Take a look for yourself.”
As Kiarra stared at the man standing in the doorway, all she could think about was how the resemblance was uncanny.
From the rough features to the slightly too long blond hair, the man looked just like Ty. Only on closer inspection, when she noticed the lack of a scar through his eyebrow and the straighter nose, did K
iarra realize it was someone else.
Despite what they’d done to her earlier—hitting her when she’d refused to answer a question—she couldn’t resist asking, “Who are you?”
The man stared down at her ripped shirt and Kiarra forced herself to remain calm. Partitioning her emotions had been the only way she’d survived so many years of being a guinea pig inside the AMT. As long as she acted detached, male staff members had usually left her alone when they’d realized that she wasn’t the slut her reputation suggested.
It was strange to think that she’d learned something useful from her stint as a lab rat.