Excerpt from Mind Trace

Enjoy this excerpt from Mind Trace, which will be available on Amazon in a few weeks!

As she was closing the side cargo compartment on her Ducati, a deep velvety voice spoke behind her.

“Going somewhere, Alice?”

She wheeled around so fast that she tripped over the wheel on her bike and fell down onto gravel.  As fast as she could manage, she stood up and found herself backed against the opposite sidewall under the carport.

It’s him!

Eric stood there, on the edge of the opposite wall. He was dressed in a perfectly fitted, expensive-looking suit, leaning casually against the wall as if he had every right to be there. A smirk teased the corner of his lips, and his eyes glittered menacingly down at her. She quickly glanced around, trying to assess her chances of escape. She didn’t see anyone else around, but she had to assume that there were others, currently hiding out of view.

How did this happen? I should have known better. I should have been prepared! What am I going to do? I have to stall him until I figure out a plan.

“Wha-What are you doing here?”  She finally managed to ask him.

Eric smiled; a confident look on his face.

“Alice, dear. Let us not feign ignorance. You know very well why I am here. You took something from me, and I want it back. It’s really quite simple.”

“How could I possibly have anything that you want? I don’t even know who you are!”

“Oh, I think you know exactly who I am. That is irrelevant though, because I know for a fact that you gained unlawful access to a large amount of data that did not belong to you. You are going to take a little trip with me, so we can discuss all of this in great detail.”

He paused, and then turned his head, glancing behind him, mouth opening as if to speak.  She saw four men dressed in black tactical uniforms seemingly materialize, fanning out behind Eric.

You have to be kidding!

Alice looked around, rapidly calculating the best possible route of escape.

Now or never.

Without hesitating, she bolted around the edge of the carport, running as fast as she could in the direction of the forest surrounding the cabin.

She heard Eric’s voice behind her. “Alice, be reasonable! You can’t expect to escape.”

If I can make it to the trees, I can find a place to hide. It will be much harder for them to find me there.

As she was running, a man suddenly appeared from behind a tree, blocking her path. She panicked and as he reached out to grab her, she ducked underneath his outstretched hands and continued running.

His hands closed on thin air, but he recovered instantly and began to run after her. She knew that he would catch up to her far before she ever reached the woods. Her best chance to evade capture was to confront him while she could still use the distance between them to her advantage.

She turned, and instantly assessed the situation. Her mind began to pull up information about pressure points and the best way to disarm an incoming opponent. The man didn’t seem to question her sudden change of heart, only running faster as she stopped.

Given his weight and approximate speed…If I hit him at just the right angle and pressure, he will be incapacitated.

When he was within feet of her, she acted. She kicked him in the side of the knee, making perfect contact. His knee resounded with a sickening crack.

Ouch. That seemed a lot less painful in my imagination.

Alice winced at the pain that ran up her own leg, unaccustomed to that kind of behavior. The man crumpled and fell, momentarily immobilized in pain and shock.  Alice noticed a tranquilizer gun in the holster on his leg. She quickly relieved the stunned man of his weapon.

Before she could start running again, two more men began to approach from the direction of the cabin. She pulled up the gun and fired two perfect shots. Both men fell to the ground, unconscious.

Did I just do that?

The first man that she had attacked was starting to get up; Alice panicked and quickly resumed her escape.

She was about twenty feet from the edge of the trees when she began to hear a high-pitched whistle. As her brain identified the sound as the launch of a model X84 net-projecting gun, she knew it was too late.

The net wrapped completely around her and she fell helplessly to the ground. Her vision was severely limited by the netting.  Several men came into her field of view, and one of them spoke firmly, “We have her.”

“Good.”

It was Eric’s voice.

No, no, no. This can’t be happening.

“Prep her for our flight. It needs to go as smoothly as possible. Have the rest of the team search the cabin and bring in anything that might give us some answers.”

She heard footsteps approaching, and within a few moments, she could see Eric. He bent over her so that he was inches away from her face.

None of this was supposed to happen. If I would have just deleted that stupid email!

“I hoped you would be reasonable, Alice. However, my plans are non-negotiable.”

As Eric was speaking, she felt a tiny prick on her upper arm. His voice started to fade.

“Don’t worry, dear.  When you wake up, we can discuss exactly what happened Friday night.”

She could see his hazy outline as he stood up and moved back. Then sleep overcame her as she felt herself being carried away.

Mind Trace Synopsis

What would you do to possess unlimited knowledge and power?

Nineteen year-old Alice McArthur never had a choice. A shy girl from a small town, Alice has gained a reputation for her near-genius programming abilities, even getting the attention of EngineerCorp, a rising electronics empire. With her unique skill-set she is hand-picked to test their network security by hacking into their global mainframe.

But something goes terribly wrong.

The next thing Alice knows, she wakes up on the floor with a migraine, unnatural powers, a server’s worth of data in her head and the realization that this job was not what it seemed.

Now a fugitive from justice and on the run from the evil leader of a corporate empire, Alice doesn’t know who to trust or where to turn. She must find a way to secure her freedom and stop those who would keep her prisoner for life — or worse.

Mind Trace

I’m excited to announce the pending publication of my new book, Mind Trace. It will be made available on Amazon (including Kindle!) in the upcoming weeks. Check back for updates!

Sneak peak at the cover art: