Flash Fiction Friday: Chapter 4 of The Unspoken Game

Welcome to the next addition of Flash Fiction Friday! This week I’m continuing with The Unspoken Game and next week I have some special stuff planned! Not only am I participating in the First Kiss Flash Fiction Blog Hop on Tuesday, April 8th, but (if all goes as planned) I will also have something different to offer next Friday!

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I’m super excited about the First Kiss Blog Hop! Not only are there more than twenty authors participating, but every piece of flash fiction is brand-new, original content! Every story will be different, but they are all based on the same premise: two strangers kissing for the first time on cameraI can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with! Make sure you stop by here on Tuesday, April 8th to see my piece! (Click on the link above for all the details plus the schedule of every blog on the hop!)

I have a special giveaway for my email newsletter subscribers! This month I’m giving away a signed copy of Tracie Puckett’s new New Adult novel, Breaking Rules! Make sure you are signed up for my newsletter! A name will be chosen on April 15th!

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Alright, now onto today’s Flash Fiction! (If you aren’t caught up, you can still read Chapter One, Chapter Two, and Chapter Three!)

The Unspoken Game: The Mummy Maneuver — Chapter Four

“Who are you?” the fiery red head looked Donovan up and down.

“My name is Donovan and this is my associate Dr. Antonia Warren.”

“Should I be excited?”  Sophie Reynolds looked tired, as he would expect after a night in a Vegas jail.  She was wearing black pants, a white blouse, and day-old makeup.

“I have a job offer for you.”

She laughed and tried to walk around him, but Donovan blocked the way.  “From Theodore Seleron.”

That got her attention, it always did.  Everyone knew The Old Man and they were always surprised he was looking for them.  It was a real selling point.

She stepped back, put her hand on her hip and looked Antonia up and down.  Antonia returned the careful examination with equal fervor.  “I’m not interested,” Sophie said without looking away from Antonia.

“At least let me tell you what the job is.”

“Not interested,” she repeated.

“We can help you find Bernard Redemski in exchange for your assistance.”

Sophie Reynolds glared at him with her jaw thrust out as she struggled.  She’d been the hardest of the team to track down.  The woman was angry, smart, and hell-bent on revenge for the death of her brother.  She had other objectives in her life, but the exact skills Donovan needed.  He was more than willing to exchange helping Miss Reynolds with her revenge for her help—if he could keep her out of jail long enough.

“Fine, what’s the job?” She finally looked back at him.

Donovan pulled out the tablet computer once again, “We need your help tracking down a mummy.”

Miss Reynolds snorted.  “I haven’t heard that one before.  Painting, sculpture, jewelry… not mummy.”  She ticked the items off on her fingers.

“I have a private message from Mr. Seleron for you.” Since she was walking out of jail, Donovan assumed she’d need a set of headphones to listen to the message.  He handed her both the tablet and the ear buds.

She frowned about half way through the message.  When it was done, she scowled at Donovan before practically throwing the tablet back at him.  “Fine, give me the contract.”

He quietly handed her a document nearly identical to the one he’d given Antonia.  Miss Reynolds signed it with a great deal of enthusiasm, folded it back up, and slapped it against his chest.

“Thank you, Miss Reynolds,” he said, slipping the contract into his jacket pocket.

“Call me Sophie.  Now, get me food.”

The three of them drove through a fast food restaurant that was open late at night (like everything else in Vegas) before heading back to the airport.

“I need a hamburger! No pickles.  And a double order of fries… with cheese.  A diet coke!  Aaaaand… another hamburger!” Sophie was leaning across Donovan’s lap as she screamed at the intercom.

“Will that be all?”

He looked back at Antonia who simply shook her head.

“Yep, that’s it.”

“We’ll have your total at the window.”

Donovan drove around the side of the building and waited at the window.  “You must be hungry,” he said to Sophie dryly.

“I haven’t eaten in twelve hours,” she replied.  Then she turned back toward Antonia.  “What’re you in for?”

“I know the man with the mummy.”

Donovan kept his eyes forward.  The less he looked at Antonia the better—even in the rearview mirror.  He’d already noticed his tendency to stare whether she was talking or not.

“Ah,” Sophie nodded.  “And what is it you do?  Wait, don’t tell me, let me guess.  Jeans, t-shirt, ponytail… yeah I got nuthin’.”

“Archaeologist.”

“Oh!” Sophie cooed, clapping her hands.  “That makes sense, actually!  Except I would have expected a bandana or something.”

Antonia laughed, “I do have some.  I’ll try and wear one for you.”

“Thanks!” Sophie exclaimed.  “How about one of those funny vests or a pith helmet!”

“I’m afraid all I’ve got for you are my boots.”  Antonia clunked her foot down on the console.

“Hey,” Donovan exclaimed.  “Get your dirty feet off the rental car!”  So far this car was in perfect working order.  The last thing he needed was one of these women adding to his track record.

Both ladies gave him questioning looks.

Antonia shrugged and pulled her foot back down.  “He has a thing about rental cars.”

“I can tell,” Sophie drawled.

They got their food and Donovan hurried toward the jet.  When he pulled up at the private hanger Scott was already laughing.  Donovan had no idea why Scott was laughing which made him feel very, very uneasy.

“Man, we can’t let you go anywhere, can we?”

“What do you mean?” Donovan sighed knowing full well when he turned around he was going to see something wrong with the car.  Sure enough, there was a beautiful ding on the rear bumper.  He swore a few times before shoving the keys at Scott and stomping aboard the plane.  At least everyone was used to his luck.

Unfortunately Scott was right on his heels.  “I’m sorry Donovan, but there’s more than bad luck with rentals.”

He spun around, coming nose to nose with Scott.  “Don’t tell me Patterson said no.”

Scott shifted uncomfortably and cracked his neck.

Donovan swore.  “Can’t anyone do their job?”

Scott shrugged.  “Patterson sent you a message.  He said ‘it would be a cold day in hell before he worked for you’.”

Donovan grunted.  Apparently the little twerp was still bent out of shape about their last encounter.  He’d hoped Patterson would take one look at the check and agree to let the past stay in the past.  Apparently money wasn’t a good enough motivator.

“Looks like we’re stopping in New York, Scott.”

Scott nodded, “Thought you might say that, boss.  We’re ready to go.”

After Antonia and Sophie boarded the plane and settled into their seats, Donovan jumped into bringing Sophie up to speed.

“Dr. Warren has been reviewing the data from the crime scene and our team in Atlanta is tracking down some leads she gave them.  What I need from the two of you now is a list or an idea of who would be interested in taking a mummy like this.”

Sophie slammed her feet down on the table and made herself comfortable before closing her eyes and holding her hands in the air like she was meditating.  “What are we working with here?”

Donovan looked at Antonia, “I believe you can handle bringing Sophie up to speed.”

Antonia took a deep breath and dove in.  “The mummy was nicknamed The Little One by the team that excavated it in 1923 and is approximately four thousand years old.  It was acquired by a small museum in Boston where it remained for several years before it was stolen in 1937.  It was found in the private collection of a formerly wealthy aristocrat and was returned to the museum.  In 1953 it was acquired by the University of Georgia.  It was stolen again in 1977 and returned a year later.”

“Why do people keep stealing this mummy?” Sophie asked without opening her eyes.

“A couple of reasons.  The Little One was excavated by Liam Pembrooke.  Pembrooke was famous for taking items under the guise of research and never returning them.  Add that to the fact he was a ladies man and did a brief stint in early Hollywood, the man had become a legend in his own right.  Collecting Pembrooke items are a niche market for a certain crowd of unusual items.”

“And the other reason?” Sophie prompted.

“Egypt requested the mummy be returned years ago.  It has been caught up in a legal battle ever since.  Because of the mummy’s strange history, a series of claims were made on the item.  Because of some other political things happening at the same time between the US and Egypt, it became a sore subject.  The mummy was scheduled to be returned last month when Simon put in a plea for a final scan of the mummy.  Apparently he was only granted the extension when Seleron stepped in.”

“So we’re looking for Pembrooke collectors, Egyptology fanatics, and political connections for anyone who has anything to gain by poking Egypt and the United States for funsies.  You guys sure know how to pick your friends.”

Antonia looked right at Donovan and he suddenly felt very naked.  “You have something to add, Antonia?”

“I still think we should look into the possibility they were after Simon, not the mummy.”

Donovan hesitated.  He never liked divulging too much unless it was absolutely necessary. “I already have someone looking into it.”  And by someone, he meant Sparks.

Donovan pulled out two phones and two computers.  “Work whatever magic you can between here and New York.”

Then he turned his attention to Gerard Patterson.  How the hell was he going to get Patterson to come to Atlanta?  The Old Man had made it very clear he needed all four of them or it wouldn’t work and this whole crazy extravagant plan would fall apart.

One thing was clear, Donovan was going to have to do something he’d tried really hard to avoid: apologizing to the kid.  Technically he’d done nothing wrong.  Patterson had perfectly duplicated an unduplicatable piece of Seleron technology.  It was Donovan’s job to make threats like that disappear.  He tracked down the kid to his apartment in New York with the plan to either hire the kid or scare him so badly he never dared come near Seleron Technology ever again.

The only problem was Patterson wasn’t really a kid and he was hardly your average computer geek. He was younger than Donovan by seven years, and thinking of Patterson as a punk teenager instead of a twenty-six year old man, helped Donovan hate him more—even if it wasn’t logical.  Patterson was brilliant, savvy, and incredibly quick on his feet.  The kid could take care of himself in a heartbeat and it caught Donovan completely off-guard.  When Patterson laughed at the job offer from Seleron, Donovan took it upon himself to teach the kid a lesson in spectacular fashion.  Not only would it keep Patterson from meddling in Seleron Technology affairs, but it felt damn good.

And all would have been fine if there hadn’t been one little hiccup: needing Patterson now.

The minute the jet was on the ground in New York, Donovan was out the door and on his way, leaving Antonia and Sophie behind to work their combined connections.

Since it was New York, he took a cab and saved himself the joy of a three-peat of rental car hell in a single trip.  Patterson lived in the same apartment and walking up to the familiar door Donovan remembered the anticipation he felt a year ago.  It was now replaced by dread.

He reached up and knocked anyway.

A minute later he heard the locks inside sliding and the deep laugh of Gerard Patterson.  The door swung open, the kid’s longer hair dancing in the rush of wind from the opening door.  “Well, well, well… to what do I owe this expected visit from my old friend?”

Donovan resisted the urge to roll his eyes.  “You know why I’m here.  Let’s make this simple.  We need your help, what can I do to change your mind?”

Patterson grinned, a wide proud grin.  His hazel eyes were dancing with absolute delight—he was loving every second of this.  “Oh, my dear, dear Donovan.  I think you and I both know I’m never going to work for Seleron and it has everything to do with you.”

Of course it was.  If this whole thing weren’t so damn important to The Old Man, and if they had any more time to find someone else, Donovan wouldn’t even consider what he was about to do.  But things were the way they were.

He swallowed down his pride and apologized.  “Patterson, I’m sorry for the way I so aggressively shut down your operation.  Your problem is with me, not Seleron.”

Patterson ruffled his hair and leaned against the doorjamb.  He was barefoot and for some reason that irritated Donovan.  “Yeah, but as your associate already explained to me, I’d be working under you, not Seleron.”

It took everything Donovan had not to simply grab Patterson by the scruff of his neck and force him to come along.  They could argue and hash things out later.

“I promise I’m much nicer when you work for me, not against me.”

Patterson chuckled low in his throat.  “Nicer maybe, but I’m not sure you’ll be much more fun.  It was one of the best days I had all year.  Sparring with you was a true test, not one I get very often.”

The kid had raw talent mixed with extensive training.  Sparring with him had been fun for Donovan, too.  “How about this?  I promise to leave you alone to do your thing with no interference from me—”

“And no wise cracks.”

Donovan sighed, “I’m not going to say anything unless it relates to the job.  I’ll leave you alone and spar with you when we’re done.”  He cracked his knuckles and grinned for the first time.  “I won’t hold back at all.”

Patterson perked up, pushing away from the door frame.  “Promise?”

Oh, he had no idea.  Donovan was going to thoroughly enjoy kicking the crap of Patterson.  “I promise.”

The kid smiled and walked away.  “Give me a minute to grab my bag.”

“And a pair of shoes,” Donovan called.  Now all he had to do was get to Atlanta and find a missing mummy.

Read Chapter 5 now!

*****

Thanks for reading! I’m really excited about getting this series out to you! Let me know what you think in the comments!

And don’t forget to stop by the First Kiss Blog Hop next week!

25 Romance Authors25 First Kisses

 

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Posted on April 4, 2014, in Archaeology, Extras, Flash Fiction, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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