After the Dream Excerpt

Chapter One

Brody sat there staring at the faded wallpaper, trying to pretend he wasn’t able to hear the argument in the next room. The disagreements were becoming more frequent as the weeks of gestation increased in Jennah’s pregnancy. If the Captain hadn’t requested they all be here for a meeting, he would have made himself scarce and allowed the couple— that really did adore each other, a bit of privacy. Instead he had to be early and now had to sit through this.

“You’re supposed to be on leave, in case it’s escaped your notice—you’re eight months pregnant!” Dom growled in a low tone.

Jennah’s tone wasn’t low. “As if I could forget! I’m here at our headquarters, not out in the field. I may not be able to do the leg work right now—but I still have a brain that functions.” A door slammed.

Yeah, Dom was going to be in the doghouse—again. Shaking his head, he leaned back in the chair and looked over at the empty board on the other side of the room. That big white board where clues collected when there was something to work on. It had been a month since they’d had a case to work and everyone was getting a little edgy with the menial fetch tasks.

Shoving the chair back, he got up and wandered over to the window. Outside was a back yard, in a quiet neighbourhood. The headquarters building was a normal looking house on the outside and as far as the kitchen and bedrooms went it rated norm as well. If someone were to look further they would see it wasn’t just a house. The basement housed weapons and an exit tunnel that allowed the new task force team to come and go without being seen. Six people armed to the teeth and geared up for what looked like combat most of the time might raise some suspicion. There was the computer room which housed nothing but electronic gadgets that could determine what your neighbour ate for dinner last night to the guest list at the latest elite party. It was scary as shit to know that not one part of your life was actually private. As long as he stayed on the right side of the law he’d have a few private moments left.

The new task force Brody was a part of, was a group that could not fall into that normal category. In fact Brody was the only one that could claim that label. Why he was on the task force, he had no idea. Jennah and Dom had their little communication talent. Tess still blew his mind each time he did that little hop with her. If someone had told him physically transporting from one location to another was possible and not some comic hero stunt he would have told them they were nuts—until six months ago when he watched Dom and Tess vanish from the kitchen at Jennah’s. Now he just took it into stride and tried not to act like an excited ten year old any time he was around when she did it. The way she could tap into Jennah and Dominic’s private mind stuff if she touched one of them was almost eerie though, so he tried not to play into that too often.

There were new guys on the team and they weren’t ordinary Joes either. Smithy, he didn’t even know whether that was his first or last name but he could actually hear thoughts of other people. Of course Brody had laughed and thought it was a gag when he was first told, until Smithy reached inside his brain and recited back to him his exact thoughts—word for freaking word. Now whenever he was near the man he thought of colors, actually saying them in his head so no other thoughts would be picked out of his skull.

If it were just the tall, smooth talking Smithy he had to worry about, Brody wouldn’t be so quick to hold his breath, but there were more newbies to contend with. Joslee—never to be referred to as Josh as they had all been informed rather bluntly—he did something so bizarre that if Brody hadn’t seen it with his own eyes he would have called the man a whack job. Joslee did this chameleon thing and blended right in with anything around him. Not one word of exaggeration, the man just vanished and took on the colour of the brick wall. Of course when he stepped away he was naked, yes very naked. Since that first demonstration the entire team had been bringing him one type of cloth after the other trying to find one that would disappear with him—so far they hadn’t had any success.

The last team member, Grayson, might appear to be a normal man; if looks mattered he might even be thought of as a pretty playboy. So far the only thing that Brody could decide about him was the thing that got that man’s blood pumping was a computer he couldn’t hack. The guy was a genius with computers and electronics—actually about ten steps above genius would be a better way to look at it. Nothing with a circuit board, switch or dial was safe from that man’s prying eyes, including Brody’s phone he’d discovered the hard way.

Brody had no idea how the department found these new people. Did they put an ad in the paper asking for those cops with a little paranormal extra to sign up or what? He had no idea, but he did know he’d never felt so ordinary in his life. More than once he’d stepped back and thought of the reasons he should go back to the old team where it was guns and shit luck with a small pinch of skill and training that solved cases—but there was something keeping him here. . .

He jumped when Tessa rematerialized in the yard he was looking out at. It took one look at her as she stumbled twice to have him to the door and out it faster than he thought he could move. Reaching her in a few quick strides, he scooped her up into his arms. “Overdoing it again?”

Huffing out a breath she dropped her head onto his shoulder. “There has to be a way to land somewhere I haven’t seen before.”

“And in the yard where anyone could see you is a good place to practice?”

“I didn’t intend to end up here—I was trying for somewhere else.”

Shaking his head, he moved back to the door. “I don’t even want to know where.”

Rubbing her hand over her forehead, she squinted. “If you insist on pissing me off right now, you may end up with me throwing up on you and I’m sure that’s not the response you’d prefer.”

Setting her in the chair he’d been in earlier, he squatted down in front of her. It hit him when he noted the dark circles marring the pale skin under her eyes. Her freckles seemed to stand out, she was pallid looking. “What I’d prefer was you giving yourself time to recoup between your little hops . . .”

“Do I look like a damn rabbit? I don’t hop anywhere.”

“You know what I meant, Tessa.”

“I take breaks.” Her brown eyes refused to meet his own as she spoke. “I just have to figure it out.”

Grasping her chin lightly in his hand, he forced her to look at him. The barbs he was used to seeing when she glared at him were back. Good. “Maybe you’re trying too hard.” She made some sort of noise that didn’t tell him whether she agreed or thought he was an ass for suggesting it —most likely the latter. Just to keep those barbs sharp, he brushed his hand back over her uneven deep red hair and smiled. “Take breaks more often.” He tried to say is softly, sincerely, but it never came out that way with her it always sounded like an order and Tessa Steelie was not fond of taking orders.

“Whatever.” Sliding down, she rested her head back on the chair and studied him. “Is everyone here yet?”

Standing he moved over and leaned against the empty puzzle board. “Dom and Jenn are, but they’re . . .”

“He’s smothering her again.”

Pondering it for a second, he decided she was right and nodded. Before he could pester her into taking better care of herself Grayson and Smithy strolled in.