Zalika leaned close. “What is going on between the two of you, Cam? And don’t you dare say nothing.”
“I’m still trying to figure that out, so don’t push me.”
They stared at one another until Zalika let out a sigh. “Fine, I’ll accept that—for now. I’m more concerned about your recovery. You need to eat something and get some more sleep. You’re no longer dehydrated, but food will give you strength.”
Speaking of strength, she wondered about her latent abilities. Were they back? She was about to try, then hesitated. Despite her earlier convincing and acceptance, she was nervous. If her abilities were gone for good, she might be pulled from her mission to continue looking for any of the Talents. Marco might be sent to complete it on his own, and she might not see him for a long time. The thought made her sadder than if her latent ability was gone for good.
What’s wrong with me? She’d made out with the man once. Okay, almost twice. And despite sharing his secrets, despite his willingness to accept her, despite her attraction to him, in reality, she had no claim. Besides, considering she’d poisoned him between then and now, he might have decided that she wasn’t worth it.
Stop it. She wasn’t that girl who worried about men and feelings. She was Camilla Melini, soldier and DEFEND commander.
It was time to start acting like it again.
She lifted her hand and tried to extend a claw. When she felt the slight stretching, and saw her claw come out, she
let out a sigh of relief. Her abilities were intact. Things could go back to normal.
But the question was—did she want them to?
She felt Zalika’s gaze on her, but she refused to look her in the eye, afraid of what her friend might see. Instead, Cam tossed the blanket aside and scooted to the edge. “Food sounds good, but I’m going to take a shower first.”
Her friend was quiet, probably trying to figure out what was wrong. Zalika was one of the few people who knew that when Cam didn’t look at you straight away, it was because she was hiding something.
Much to her relief, she heard Zalika walk across the floor before she said, “I’ll be back within the hour. There are a few protein bars in the duffel bag if you get hungry and a satellite phone next to your bed if you need either me or Jacek.”
She glanced at her friend, but her face was unreadable. “Sounds great.”
Zalika nodded and was gone. Cam grabbed one of the protein bars and forced herself to eat. She also started humming to herself, hoping that music could help distract her like it had done so many times in her past, and she could avoid thinking about Marco Alvarez.
Marco approached the large statue of a woman sitting with her knees up to her chest, gazing out at the ocean. The Novia del Mar was situated along the Campeche seaside walkway, which was currently filled with walkers, joggers, and bike riders. It was nearly 7 p.m., the weather had finally started to cool down, and he could see about twenty people with their yoga mats rolled out around the statue, waiting for the instructor to begin.
While he knew it was important for him to be here, he wished he were back at the safe house, watching over Cam. The memory of her cold, still body from yesterday still haunted him.
Cam had yet to wake up. The doctor in the area used by DEFEND had suggested keeping her unconscious until she was hydrated again. The doctor had experience with stubborn DEFEND soldiers and hadn’t trusted Cam to stay still long enough to recover on her own.
Marco had stayed as long as he’d been able, but he knew the importance of this mission to both Cam and DEFEND. The coin collector in Merida had probably shared his details, including what he looked like, with whoever was waiting for him here. He couldn’t risk someone else coming and not getting the information.
Cam would want to see her mission through to the end, and he’d make sure it happened.
Right before coming here, he’d had a call from one of Aislinn’s second-in-commands. Apparently, Cam’s sister Kiarra was the Fire Talent, meaning that if he and Cam succeeded in finding another Talent, that would give DEFEND two out of the four.
According to the legends, when all four of the Talents were assembled they would have to stop some kind of catastrophe. Marco hadn’t heard of anything brewing yet, and that scared him a little.
But he would worry about that later. For now, finding even one more Talent took priority.
He arrived at the statue, and did a general sweep of the area. The space was wide-open with the ocean on one side, and the walkway and wide-lane street on the other. Satisfied at his safety for now, he pretended to read the sandwich sign on the ground advertising the weekly outside yoga classes. A minute later, a woman came up next to him and said in Spanish, “You look like you’re from out of town. Can I help you?”
Time to tread carefully. This woman could be the Rosa Elena he was looking for. “Yes, I’m on vacation with my girlfriend. We’re trying to decide if we should stay in Campeche for another week, or if there is somewhere else we should go.”
“Have you already been to Chichen Itza?”
“And how about the beautiful city of Merida?”
He nodded. “We especially loved the Sunday Market.”
“Hmm, in that case, I have a well-kept local treasure you might want to visit if you’re interested in going somewhere without a lot of tourists.”