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“A favor?” My eyebrows arched up at that one.

“Susan is having a celebration at Sids tonight, and,” he hesitated, “Tara is going to be there…and I was wondering if you’d go with me tonight.”

“You want to use me?”

“What?” His eyes got big a second later. “No! No. Well…yeah. Kinda.”

I checked out. This conversation was going nowhere. I wasn’t going to date the guy who almost shattered me, and I wasn’t going to let him use me to get back at his now-ex-girlfriend. I just didn’t have the energy to vocalize all of that to him, especially when I could still see my old face on the television behind him. Although, seeing my face there and my old name shouldn’t have been such a shock.

Three years ago, my face was everywhere. The media followed me anywhere I went. I was hounded, hunted, and harassed. I tried to finish out my last year of high school, but couldn’t. I quit halfway, finished up my GED, and the FBI helped me hide—or I should say that a federal agent helped me hide. I wasn’t officially in the Witness Protection Program because I didn’t qualify. There was no real threat to my well-being, just the media hounding me. But, even if there had been, I would’ve refused.

I wanted to make my own decisions. I just needed help with changing my name and my looks. I still looked like my old self, but there were enough changes that people wouldn’t put two and two together.#p#分页标题#e#

Besides the new hairdo, I had put on some pounds. The old me had been too skinny, ribs and hip bones sticking out everywhere. This me was healthy. I was toned, tanned, and ready for action. I was in shape, too, but the biggest change were my eyes. Nothing surgically had been done to them, but I ordered colored contacts by the bundle. My eyes were now like Jake’s, a chocolaty brown. My old eyes were a myriad of all different colors—blue, green, hazel, brown, and some amber mixed in. I was mostly hazel, but the other colors had been enough to make people stop for a second and third look. My eye color was also part of the reason I’d needed to go into hiding.

My foster father was bewitched by my eyes. On a good day, I was a goddess to him. On a bad day—and there had been a lot of them—it was as if I had been sent by Lucifer himself.

Everything went kaput on one of those bad days.


Jake was frowning at me.

Oh, yes. Date. Erica—crap, Erica lost the job. “I have to find Erica. I need to be with her when she finds out.”


“I have to go.” I started to leave.

“Wait.” He reached out for me, but I was hurrying toward the door. He called after me, “So, no date then?”

I held up a hand in an absentminded wave. Jake was the least of my…whatever he was—problem, person of interest. I didn’t know. I wasn’t going to think about him, not until I found Erica.

It didn’t take me long. I found her by the food court. She was standing behind a group of students, huddled around another television.

“Hey.” I tugged on her shirt when I got to her side. I had an insta-frown on my face. This wasn’t going to be good. Should I break the news to her? Or play dumb and wait for the phone call?

“Hey,” she mumbled back, distracted. Her eyes were narrowed, focused solely on the television in front of us.

I didn’t want to look. From the corner of my eye, I knew it was my face again. By now, the shock wore off. I remembered it was the anniversary of my case. I should’ve assumed to see my old face today. The trial had been all over the news, but it faded once I went into hiding. My case was solved. There was a dead body, and someone was in jail, but I was the only unknown. Every now and then, it’d pop back up on one of those shows about what had happened to so-and-so.

I shoved that out of my head again. “Erica?”

“Yeah? What?” Her attention was still zeroed in straight ahead.

I waved my hand in the air. “Roomie?”

“What?” She turned sharply to me, then softened her voice. “Sorry. What is it, though?”

I moved back a step, but I saw something in her eyes that I rarely saw. Hurt appeared there. She took her glasses off, and I saw it more evident. I rarely saw my roommate without her eye equipment. Her glasses seemed permanently attached. I even found her sleeping with them a few times.

Crossing her arms over her chest, Erica shielded the hurt, so she was just hostile now. When the full effect of that was coming at you, you’d need to be wary. My roommate was only five feet four, but she was a feisty five feet four. Weighing a hundred twenty-five, she might look like a book nerd with her glasses, choppy short hair, and pale skin, but her looks were deceiving. She had a reporter’s nose, intuition, and concentration that would outdo a bird dog on a bird trail. When something piqued her interest, nothing and no one had better get in the way…like I had just done.