Post-apocalyptic Fantasy

An Ice Era Chronicle (Book 2)

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After spending all her life trying to be normal, Nova gives up. She isn’t like everyone else. When a recent break-up highlights her limitations, the crushing realization drives her deeper into work. Content in her private world and with no desire to change, she finds herself pulled into a mission that takes her away from her safe and secluded life.

Arrow has been trapped in a cage for, well, he can’t recall, but he is ready to be free. As the water base crumbles around him, he fears his chances of getting out alive.  When his “Angel” appears, she’s what he’s been searching for all his life, and his soul knows her. But his angel doesn’t know who he is, nor does she care, and she resists helping him.

This unlikely pair starts an alliance, and a train ride alters them forever. Before long they will uncover the dark past that hunts Arrow, and the even darker future that awaits them both. Life for Arrow is about to become real, and for someone as crazy as Nova, this one man turns out to be the stability in her unpredictable world.


Other Books by C.M.



Excerpt

Chapter 1

 

Place: Old United States, Dallas TX, H.S.P.C. Headquarters

Time: 2:05 a.m. Ice Year 36

 

Everyone is a little crazy, some more than others. Unfortunately, Nova fell into the “more than others” category. This was spotlighted by her current conversation with her ex. She summoned her best glare.

Nova repeated her peace mantra in her head so she didn’t scream. Ah crap-sticks, she should’ve never told her ex-boyfriend that she would think about getting back with him. She had used the word think, that being the important word. How long was she going to stand in her apartment doorway and listen to his begging?

“I changed my mind. I do that. A lot.” Nova cut off Troy’s nonsense when he took a breath. She leaned her shoulder on the doorway of the apartment she shared with her sister-in-law Clare. Her eyes flashed up to Troy’s face hoping she conveyed her seriousness. Since her irises were blood red, usually a dirty look was enough of a deterrent for men. Troy, however, wasn’t budging and she knew why. He wanted a Davis. That’s all she was. She wasn’t Nova. She was just a nobody with the right last name.

“But two days ago, you said you’d take me back.” The agent whined.

“I said think.” That’s it. Time to go. She needed to get to her bedroom before she hit him. She got a kink in her neck looking up at him and she tipped her head to the side to work out the ache. In moments like this, being the size of an elf annoyed the crap out of her.

“I thought you were forgiving. Is this because of Sky?” Troy flashed his pretty charming smile. The one that made her want to slap him. He was a tall lanky H.S.P.C. agent and regular women thought him handsome and oh-so-fucking fascinating. Normal women thought Nova was out of her mind for insisting the break up stay permanent. She realized all that, but the knowledge didn’t sway her decision. She’d marry a sketchy rough-and-tumble harvester before she would date him again.

“I told you I love Sky and that he’s sick. That’s a separate issue.” Irritation bubbled up in her stomach. She recognized that she was close to freaking out. There were items in her apartment she didn’t want to break. Her father was out of super-glue and her mother made her promise to work on self-awareness. She had to get away from Troy and into her room before she erupted.

“But—”

“No.” Nova closed the door in Troy’s face and sagged against the wood. “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.” She murmured her manta to the empty living room as she forced her turbulent feelings to settle. Her stomach rolled and her head started to pound. As she rubbed her forehead, her eyes popped up the grandfather clock next to the couch. It was 2:05 a.m.? Damn, what was she even doing up? Sleep would help her reset. Time for bed. A coma sounded good right about now.

Nova crossed the thick carpet and had reached the door to her bedroom when she heard the entrance to the apartment open. She spun around. If that was Troy, she was going to throw a chair at him and he would deserve it. Over and over again, her dad stated it wasn’t okay to toss furniture at people, but she was almost positive Gears would pardon her this time. She would tell Luna she was completely self-aware the whole time.

Her sister-in-law Clare tip-toed into the room toward the healing booth where Sky was quarantined. Clare apparently hadn’t seen her roommate yet. Nova crossed her arms over her chest and waited for the other women to notice her presence. Rarely was Nova overlooked. Her eyes didn’t let that happen.

“You scared me!” Clare exclaimed when she finally spotted her. Her sister-in-law spun on her heels then took a dainty step back. She didn’t out right jump, but at eight months pregnant hopping around was out of the question. “What are you doing up at this hour?” Clare tossed some of her thick blonde hair back from where the curls cascaded over her shoulder.

“Troy came by. He kept pounding on the door until I opened up. He was calling me Nutty-Nova like an endearment.”

“You’re not getting back with him, are you?” Clare’s pink lips puckered like she’d eaten a tart fruit.

“No. I got up to punch him, except at the last-minute sanity returned. I closed the door in his face.”

“Thank goodness.” She sighed as her shoulders dropped. “You’re very forgiving Nova, one of your good traits but he doesn’t deserve it.” Clare paused. “That’s your only good trait, being that you’re all—” Clare waved her hand up and down. Nova understood the reference to her perpetual rioting mental state. Her emotions could ascend then descend at the drop of a hat. It was a side effect of her gift, but knowing that didn’t make it better.

“I know.” Couldn’t argue there.

“And, I guess you’re kind sometimes,” Clare looked thoughtful as if this was the first time she was considering who Nova was. She should’ve left the room while she had the chance. Talking to Clare was like having a conversation with a mix of her parents.

“You’re kind and all,” Clare continued. “But he slept with everyone the year you were together. I mean it. Like, he slept with the whole H.S.P.C. Headquarters.” Clare waved her arm around like Nova didn’t know where they lived. Some days conversing with Archer’s wife was exhausting.

“Yes, I know. Thanks for the recap.” Nova rubbed her forehead. Getting back with Troy was a dreadful idea. He only wanted her because her brother was Archer Davis, the son of the famous Gears. Archer and Clare were a power couple in the H.S.P.C. and Troy had used her to get closer to the family. Besides, she had Sky. Troy had never accepted that she’d fallen in love with her patient upon first sight.

But that was neither here nor there, and Clare still hadn’t gone on to her bedroom. The realization that they stood in the middle of the living room, struck Nova. At two in the morning, no less.

“Why are you up? I assumed you’d be in the central lab, either that or sleeping.” Clare was a slave to finding a cure for Snow Flu, so it wasn’t strange to see her up at this hour. But since getting pregnant, she had an established schedule.

“I was looking for you. I tried your room earlier, but I didn’t hear you and you locked the door. I thought maybe you’d taken your sleeping drug.”

That was typical of Nova. She took her sleeping drug right before she got violent or manic. Right now, she should take the medication and lock herself in her room, not chat with Clare. The overwhelming emotions shimmered directly under the surface of her calm façade.

Her eyes scanned Clare, maybe Sky needed more of Nova’s blood.

“That’s where I’m going, but,” Nova spun around and started for her room. “If you need me for Sky, I’ll be there.”

“No wait.” Clare’s words stopped her. “Have you seen Sky?”

Nova gulped down panic.

“I checked on him two days ago.” Her eyes flipped to the glass that separated the observation room from the rest of the apartment. Through the thick protective glass, she could see her sleeping patient. Part of the reflection revealed her blood-red eyes. “I thought you were with him. I went to my room after the fight with dad.”

“I was with him.” Clare’s voice dropped to a husky whisper.

As Nova pressed closer to the glass, her eyes widened. Sky’s hair was white. None of his dark locks remained. Anger at herself shot through her blood. This wasn’t phantom fury, as her family loved to call it.

She had chosen to lock herself in her room since throwing a chair at her father was unacceptable. She’d had no choice but to sequester herself, but Nova regretted every moment away from Sky. In the time of her severe mental breakdown, her favorite person had gotten sicker. What would’ve happened if he died alone? She’d never recover.

Spinning away from the window, she pinned Clare with a sharp glare.

“What happened to him?”

“He’s getting worse.” Tears filled Clare’s eyes.

Crap-olla, she made a pregnant woman cry. Nova dropped her eyes to the floor. She might be nuts, but she wasn’t mean spirited. After she crossed the room, Nova awkwardly patted her sister-in-law like she’d seen Gears do to weeping women. If her brother were here, Archer would give her an earful for upsetting his match. Good thing she hadn’t seen him in a while.

“It’s okay. You’re a brilliant scientist and doctor just like my dad. You’re a true healer like my mom. You’ll save Sky. I know you will.” Pat, pat, pat. Clare had to save him. Sky was Nova’s whole world.

“I can’t.” She cried and buried her beautiful face into her hand. “And I made it worse. “

“How?” Sky never became more ill. He had plateaued. Clare might be over-reacting. Pregnancy hormones most-likely got the better of her.

“A few weeks ago, I heard of someone who survived Snow Flu. No one has ever gotten sick then survived.”

“Yeah, and…” Nova already knew that. Where was this going?

“Anyway, I thought the blood might be the missing piece of what I’m looking for.” More tears made a path down her pale cheeks. “I figured if I could see how someone’s body fought Snow Flu, then that blood might hold the answers I need.” Clare sniffled. “I’m so close. Your blood is amazing, but your gift doesn’t allow you to catch Snow Flu. That’s not the same as having the illness than surviving. You see how it’s different.”

“And?” Nova stopped herself from asking how this all made Sky worse.

“And I asked Archer to go into the Northern Earth Dens to bring me some of this survivor’s blood. I thought the job would be simple. Find the person who survived, ask for a sample.”

“Why didn’t you send someone from the task force, a fully trained agent?” Nova felt more trepidation as this story developed. “Why did you ask your husband?”

“I couldn’t ask an agent because Doctor Gears is the boss and he said this was hearsay.” Clare wouldn’t look Nova in the eye. “I didn’t have enough proof to send anyone into that part of the underground area. He said going was too dangerous for agents, especially without having a real reason. He made sure no one would go. He thought I might go behind his back.”

“You did go behind his back.” Nova squeaked. “You sent your poor husband off on a mission that might not even be successful.”

“I sent Archer. He didn’t come back.” Clare swallowed hard. Tears splashed on her wringing hands. “See, I made it worse.”

Yeah, this totally sounded worse.

“Dad was right. You shouldn’t have sent anyone in the first place!” Nova took a deep breath and tried with all her might not to holler. She reminded herself for the second time not to make a pregnant woman cry.

“I sent my brother Dan after Archer when I got concerned.” Clare wound her hands into her lab coat. “Dan contacted me. He said he tracked Archer down. He went to get him, but his CC broke, so he needs a new one.”

“What’s a CC?” Nova had a surge of curiosity. Part of her inquisitiveness made her an excellent research assistant, but part of that also got her sucked into whatever Clare was doing. 

“CC is my new invention. I made the gadget for Archer. CC is a mini-computer that has all my intelligence inside of it. The device can put together everything I can put together. The computer can track people, and give other information. Archer calls it his Clare Computer or CC. The name stuck.”

If Nova tried to keep up with everything Clare invented, she’d go crazy. Well, she would go crazier.

“So, Dan found my missing brother? And now he needs a CC?” Nova felt panic gather in her gut. She didn’t need an emotional breakdown, she needed to listen. Gulping air, she desperately tried to stay centered. What should she do?

 “I need help.” Clare wailed. “And I don’t have anyone. Archer is gone. I sent Dan after him and now Dan needs CC. There is nothing left I can do to—” Clare stopped crying abruptly. The switch from tears to a predatory smile was so sharp that the action reminded Nova of her bad days. Clare eyed her like candy. “You could help me Nova. You’re my only hope.”

Nova took a hasty step away from the other women. She was familiar with Clare’s devious I-have-a-plan look. True, sometimes that expression led to amazing things Clare and her father would create, but at this moment, Nova didn’t trust it. Especially, with words like “only hope” thrown in.

“I’m your only hope? That’s unfortunate.”

“You’re kind and helpful. You’d help me.” That sentence was a little too final.

“I’m also manic with spurts of rage and severe clinical depression.” Best to remind her sister-in-law who she was.

“That probably just a side effect of your gift.” Clare shrugged like Nova’s brand of crazy didn’t merit her genius. “You can deliver CC. Bring CC to Dan for Archer. It’s all to help Sky. You want to help Sky, don’t you? Come with me and we can just talk.” Clare headed to the door.

“I don’t know, Clare.” Talk? Somehow, she doubted they would just talk.

“Come with me to the lab for a minute.” Clare produced a tissue out of the pocket of her lab coat and nosily blew her nose. Nova felt unease trickle from head to toe. A part of her warned she would get in way over her head.

“There is no way to peace. Peace is the way—” She whispered to herself to calm her nerves.

“Nova.” Clare cut off Nova’s hushed whispers.

“What? Can’t you see I’m trying to find some inner peace?”

“Don’t waste our time. You don’t have any. Now, will you help me?”

“This is the kind of crap that happens to me.” Nova glanced once more at Sky. Only when she viewed him did she feel a tiny bit tranquil.

“Come on.” Clare raised one perfectly sculpted eyebrow over her puffy eyes.

Nova paused while she kept considering if this was a good idea. She needed to sleep. This wasn’t good decision-making time, but curiosity took this moment to rear its head. She followed Clare out the door.