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“I don’t know.” Sam bit her bottom lip and held the two spatulas in her hands, weighing the feel of each. “I think I like this one better. It has a longer reach.” She handed her choice to the department store clerk mechanoid and set the other back on the shelf.
“Will that be all, ma’am?”
She rolled her eyes a little at the clerk’s predictable pre-programmed polite blather. If there was one thing she hated about mechanoids it was their droll, utterly humorless predictability. She’d never understood her father’s fascination with what basically amounted to a computer with a human face. When he’d moved into the shop on the basement level of their home to spend more time near his creations, she’d thought him obsessed. Later, when he’d told her he would one day make a mechanoid so human she’d never be able to tell the difference, she’d thought him crazy. Unfortunately, moving out of the house didn’t solve her problem. Her father’s work hummed all around her—from the taxi drivers to the barmaids. It was inescapable. She practically tripped over it everywhere she went, except the farm, her one bastion of sanity in a super-tech world. “Yes, thank you.”
She followed the clerk to the insta-register and held out her arm so it could scan the implanted credits. Even such a simple bit of technology annoyed her. She hated tech. Utterly and completely. Well, except for escalators. She’d always liked riding those. She pulled her arm back as soon as the machine beeped.
“Thank you, Miss Gol—”
A deafening crash drowned out all other sounds. She whipped around to see splintered wallboard flying and two men dressed in dark suits and sunglasses coming through the breach. They both headed directly toward her. She gasped in a breath and froze, every bone in her body turning to ice. The moment she’d dreaded had finally happened—they were coming to take her away for being an unfit citizen.
One of them pulled a gun. “Stay where you are, Miss Gold, and we won’t hurt you.”
The hell. She dodged right and fled down the next aisle, the clerk zooming after her with her purchase.
“Miss? Miss? Did you want to have this gift-wrapped? Miss?”
Seconds later a thud shook the floor, probably the clerk being run over by the two thugs. She didn’t waste time looking back to find out. Sucking in air while running full tilt, she raced for the only exit she felt safe taking—the escalator.
Down she went, shoving people aside, and jumping over small children. Down, down, down as fast as she could. Screams split the air behind her, but she could not stop. Fear pounded in her veins, making her limbs loose and wiry and her mouth dry. Got to reach the bottom. Got to get out of here.
Her foot finally landed on the last step. She pushed off and collided with a massive wall of chest. A strong arm came around her, pressing her tight.
“Darling, there you are. I’ve been looking all over for you.” The voice was calm and smooth.
Before she could catch her breath and ask him to ID himself, they were moving. Well he moved—her feet weren’t even touching the ground. He’d swept her up in his arms as though she weighed less than a feather. Through the crowded floor he ran, holding her so tight she wasn’t jostled. They traveled so rapidly the wind made her eyes tear. She turned her head and looked behind them. The two goons still followed. My God, they move so fast, they can’t be human.
“Everett, my name’s Everett.”
She blinked, stunned. He didn’t even sound out of breath. How could that be possible? “Everett, the goons, they’re gaining on us!”
“Then it’s time for us to get out of here, my dear.” He took a hard left and started muttering “B42”, “B42”, whatever that meant.
She whipped her head back around in time to see him hold out an arm, fire some strange weapon, and completely obliterate the elevator next to the bathrooms, leaving a black gaping hole in the wall. But he didn’t stop his forward momentum. He kept going. Right for the smoldering opening.
She gripped his shoulders tight, nails digging in. No. No, he couldn’t be serious. “Everett, no!”
But he was. He jumped through the hole and right off the edge of the fortieth floor. Straight into certain oblivion. Death himself must have trembled at the sight.
She closed her eyes and screamed as her stomach pitched into her ears. Down they went, and fast. She tried to calculate the seconds until impact but found her brain too paralyzed by shock to formulate the numbers. I’m going to die. I’m going to die. And all I wanted was a new spatula.
Security Core agent Everett is assigned a special case—protect the daughter of Simon Gold, the father of modern mechanoid life. To ensure her survival, Everett’s given a special EMO upgrade, and can experience love for the first time. He’s soon head over heels and the super-charged sexual attraction threatens to fry his circuits while he fights to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.
Samantha Gold detests her father’s work. She’s an off-the-grid back-to-lander who wants to keep life simple with her cows and her crops. When her father dies and inadvertently transfers a secret code to a hidden receptor in her brain, it’s only android Agent Everett who can protect her. Can she ever forgive her father for creating Everett—a man so perfect for her that he even loves her cows?