Authors: MaryJanice Davidson
ack to being a lowly princess,” Christina said. “Yippee!”
“And a lowly crown prince,” David added. They were nude, slightly sweaty after a bout of lovemaking. His chin was resting on her stomach. “I can’t wait.”
“Tell me. Although you realize we still have to write all those thank-yous for the wedding presents.”
“I thought you took on that little task.”
“They tricked me,” she admitted, giggling as his breath tickled her belly button. “Minor household matter…shyeah!”
“Speaking of minor household matters, when are you due again?”
“Cripes, do I have to write it on my forehead? February first.”
“Hmph.” He kissed her stomach. “I wish he could be born tomorrow.”
be here soon enough.”
“Oh, so that’s how it’ll be?”
“Honest? I don’t give a shit, as long as she’s healthy. And less than eleven pounds.”
“Christina is a nice name,” he said.
She ran her fingers through his hair. “So is David. But you know which one I really like?”
“I’m bracing myself.”
“No, really! I really like that name. I just wanted to, you know, get my picks on the board.”
“There’s plenty of time.”
“Yes,” she said, satisfied, bringing him up for another kiss. “There’s plenty of time.”
The Queen of the Edge of the World,
by Edmund Dante III, © 2089, Harper Zebra and Schuster Publications.
Although Queen Christina’s first reign was brief—sixty-seven days—she and King David acquitted themselves well during a period of tremendous stress for the country, something that was never forgotten.
King Alexander II was, of course, welcomed back with open arms once he had completed his recovery, and went on to rule for many years. He soon had a new hobby to add to fishing, hunting, governing, and deviling the House of Windsor…doting on his grandchildren.
Although enormously stressful, and certainly not something to be wished for, years later King David admitted that the attack on his father and their subsequent elevation to ruling monarchs had brought him and the queen much closer, much faster, than they might have been under more sedate circumstances. She found new respect for his position, and he was able to see what a true asset she could be to the royal family in general, and the king in particular.
Queen Christina, with time and experience, did learn caution and was even noted to bite her tongue on occasion. But Her Majesty never forgot her roots, and never responded well to bullying. Years later, when Parliament demanded she cease her requests for an increase in her annual allowance (Her Majesty wished to increase her donations to various children’s charities by no less than seventy percent), the queen’s verbatim reply was: “I’m the wife of a king, and the mother of kings. And I’m not asking you, I’m telling you. So fuck off, Jack.”
Her Majesty got the increase.
Edmund Dante III
In this, the third year of Her Royal Majesty’s reign, Queen Christina III, 2086.
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here are a few flaws in her plan, she thought, staring dreamily at what’s-his-name’s hands as he shifted gears. He had wonderful hands, big and blocky and the knuckles were sprinkled with fine black hair. If she couldn’t stare into his big dreamy blue eyes, she’d stare at his hands. Oh, and think about the flaws. Right. That, too.
Flaw number one: She wasn’t the killer.
Flaw number two: She wasn’t sure he was, but on the chance that he wasn’t, the killer was still running around loose. Killing…what did he say? Members of the Wagner team? She knew about them; they were the team that had infected her. Wagner for Jamie Wagner, the Bionic Woman. Ha, ha, ha. Somebody at the O.S.F. was watching too many re-runs.
Flaw number three: She had just agreed to be taken into what’s-his-name’s custody for an indefinite amount of time.
Flaw number four: She didn’t know what’s-his-name’s name.
Flaw number five: She was letting her hormones do her thinking for her, which, while almost always resulting in short-term satisfaction, led to long-term poor results.
Flaw number six: The Boss.
“That reminds me,” she said. “I need to make a phone call.”
“Where’s your cell phone?”
“Pal, you’re probably looking at the one person in the state of Minnesota who doesn’t have one.”
“Gregory Hamlin sent a green recruit into the field without a cell phone?”
“Don’t yell. I’m sitting right here.”
“Unbelievable,” what’s-his-name muttered. “Truly. The mind reels. The mind is boggled.”
“Pal.” She snapped her fingers. “Are you with me? Stay focused, okay? I…Need…A…Phone.”
“When we get to the jet, you can use mine.”
“Okay.” Jet? Oooh. Jet? “Jet?”
“Where are we going?”
She supposed it was time she read that stupid file. She settled back in the luxurious leather seat of the whatever-it-was he was driving (she had never been a car babe) and closed her eyes. And read.
mitri Novatur snuck another glance at the odd blonde in the seat next to him and nearly drove into a telephone pole. That’s enough of that, he told himself. Pay attention. Yes, she’s quite pretty, but that’s also quite irrelevant.
He had calculated several results from his trip to the motel, but the probability of her willingly going with him were only 8.523 percent. The probably that he would have had to kill her had been almost 60 percent. He was, frankly, amazed she’d gotten into his Lexus.
He would have to re-do all his calculations, because as it was, he was playing it by ear. And he
playing it by ear. Too many variables made it impossible to predict an outcome with any accuracy.
And now…she was asleep!
He quickly calculated the probability of the Wagner team killer agreeing to come with him and then falling asleep in his car. It was low-1.267 percent.
It was all very strange, and she was possibly the strangest of all in what he knew to be a very odd and cutthroat business. For a field agent, she was remarkably…real.
Of course, they trained them to be charming, and pretty girls were often specifically recruited, but truly, she was like no other woman he had met. And the amazing thing was, it had nothing to do with the fact that she was the
cybernetically enhanced human being walking around on the planet.
No, it was just her. When she wasn’t yelling, she was…well, yelling. But when she’d regained consciousness, she had been more angry than scared. In fact, he didn’t believe she had been scared at all.
Most agents, upon waking in the presence of The Wolf, would have soiled themselves in terror. Or at least cringed a little. Not this one. Not this…Caitlyn.
And what could her sinister motive be, to willingly come with him? Was he on her hit list? It would make sense, of a twisted sort—she had certainly taken care of enough of the Wagner team.
That was perhaps the oddest thing of all. She didn’t seem like a cold, detached assassin. She was more like…like someone you might run into at a coffee shop.
But perhaps, that was part of her skill.
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Copyright © 2004 by MaryJanice Davidson
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