Chapter 41

Magnolia looked down at the agent in her lap. An agent that had been asleep for an hour now, barely moving, barely twitching, sleeping calm, despite the storm of emotions that had been in the conversation beforehand.

A week ago, she would have taken the opportunity to slit the woman’s throat.

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Chapter 34

Taylor wiped his hand against the leg of his pants. Behind him, a circle of Grigori’s combat-capable children loaded a Solstice prisoner into a van. The man had struggled, necessitating violence.

The blood was freezing on his fingers. He held onto the sensation. It was something different. Something new. Something to distract from-

Grigori was a fixture. A constant. He would not die.

Whatever the situation, Grigori would not die. He had been the one weak enough to die.

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Chapter 21

Taylor reached out to steady the punching bag, then took a moment to adjust the wraps on his hands. Magnolia was asleep in her room – they had been…intimate before she had fallen asleep. Careful touches. Kisses. Embraces.

All sensations he had never known he’d needed.

All sensations that he now did not want to be without.

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Chapter 14

Magnolia felt herself wavering – hesitating – in the section of hall that lead to Taylor’s office.

In the five years she had been at the agency, she’s walked in the holding pattern that trapped her feet a hundred times – but never for this reason. Never for something that could potentially lead to a happy ending.

In the beginning – it had been a lack of Duty, a lack of devotion – a sick a little thrill of making the brute wait. She’d never wanted to be his recruit, hadn’t desired the life in the suit, or of being managed by someone who couldn’t see beyond the tenants of his raison d’etre.

Later, when she had grown accustomed to her new position, and had come to grow some measure of Duty herself, it had been for fearful reasons – when Taylor had gone on a non-linear rage over something Ryan or Jones had done, and she’d been unsure of her ability to control him.

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Chapter 02

November 20th

Taylor shifted to Jones’ lab.

The Scholar sat at one of his desks, an oversized pair of headphones over his head, a game on his screen.

He stepped forward and growled. Recreational activities were allowed, so long as they didn’t interfere with duty. They were a waste of-

Jones hadn’t reacted.

He took a step forward. ‘Jones.’

The Scholar lifted a drink, and made an obscene slurping noise as he finished it off.

He walked forward, gripped the tech’s monitor, and flung it away. It broke against the wall, the mouse and keyboard falling from the desk and onto Jones’ lap.

‘I was playing that,’ Jones commented casually, took off his headphones, and moved to one of the other benches, and began to check on some equipment.

Taylor grabbed his shoulder, but Jones shifted to the other side of the bench. ‘Don’t,’ Jones said, ‘don’t you dare,’ finally properly acknowledging him. ‘What do you want?’

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