Generating Gravity The Universe Chronicles Book 4
by Claire Davon Genre: Paranormal Romance
Logan Bradley has no idea why he’s been chosen for this assignment. If someone in the Miami office is a traitor, Universe should have sent an experienced psychic sensitive. Not Logan, a gravity-bending orphan from the streets.
Meeting the sexy-as-hell head of the office, Valentina Tower, is a punch to his gut, but he tells his hormones to stand down. If someone in Miami has gone rogue, it’s his job to take action. No matter who’s guilty.
Valentina is no fool. In sending Logan, Headquarters must suspect someone on her team has been turned by Night Stars or worse, Whisper. Despite an instant spark between them that has nothing to do with her electricity talent, she’s not putting her team—or her heart—in the hands of a man who can use gravity as a weapon.
Almost from the moment they meet, a chaotic talent strikes again and again, probing for weaknesses in their defenses—and their psyches. Forced to draw close and guard each other’s backs, passion pulls them under, making them perfect targets for a danger that’s closer than either of them ever guessed.
Antonio rapped on her door and Valentina indicated he could enter with a bob of her head. He stood in the doorway and studied the scene. “Buenos dias, Valentina. Bradley.” His tone was so cold that icicles would have dripped off it in colder climes. Not that Logan gave a shit what the man thought. He wouldn’t like Antonio if they were fellow agents in Richmond. They were never going to be beer drinking buddies like he hoped for with Ian and Zared. Not this slick operator. He was too slippery, too sure of himself and too quick to push the limits to get to his desired goal.
“Morning.” Logan’s return was sour, evading Antonio’s gaze.
“Buenos dias, Antonio. There are pastelitos on the file cabinet,” she said, tapping that pen of hers again. Valentina’s reply was cool, betraying none of the heated emotion they had just shared. He admired her aplomb. Logan was not sure he could be so steady.
Antonio’s attention went from Logan to Valentina. The flare of his nostrils and tensing of his fists was unmistakable. He did not like Logan. Good. Logan would hate to nurse this grudge all by himself.
“Hope you weren’t going for the guava, because I ate that one,” Logan said with a smug tone. “Early bird and all that. It was delicious too. You missed out.”
Antonio’s lips flattened and he angled toward Logan so fiercely Logan summoned his talent for the fight he was sure was coming. The man changed from a snake charmer to a predator in one swift motion. Then he smoothed out his face, giving Valentina an appraising glance before his gaze went to the treats.
“Dios, you are a goddess,” he exclaimed in a tone that belied the fury making his voice brittle. “What did you get?”
“What I got and what is left are two different things.”
He opened the bag. “Any cream cheese ones?”
Valentina frowned. “Yes, but only because I picked up an assortment. I usually don’t buy them since they are not favorites. When did you start liking those?”
His shrug was almost Gallic. “I am branching out. Ah well. I am sure there are plenty to choose from. Next time I will have to make sure to beat you in to get the best selection, si? Valentina, I wish to talk to you. Alone.”
Before Logan could protest, she shook her head. “Logan is here as an official emissary from not just Richmond but Washington as well. There is nothing that I can hear that he can’t. I prefer if he remains. That way there can be no misunderstanding about what is being said. Comprende?”
Antonio’s face sharpened into harsh grooves. Menace radiated off him from his clenched fists to his aggressive fighting stance. Then he subsided, his mouth tilting up in a smile.
“Whatever you say, jefa.”
Storming Time The Universe Chronicles Book 3
Rescuing compromised Universe agents is nothing new for Zared Hersh. A fast car, a little rain-and-fog manipulation to cover his tracks, and his job is done. But when Hannah Nickels dives into his front seat, something about her aquamarine eyes strikes him like lightning.
Thank God she’s not psychic, or she’d be reading his hormones like a book.
Hannah’s been groomed to join Universe practically from the moment her time-freezing talent emerged. But recently, her power’s been glitchy. She knows she’s in trouble, and the last thing she needs is her instant attraction to Zared’s solid body and dark good looks.
When their escape is almost derailed by someone with a strange new light-manipulating gift, only Hannah’s chrono talent gets them safely back to Universe HQ. In the relative safety of Richmond, their relationship grows. But Hannah has a second, more dangerous power that few know about. And as her control slips, someone with a hidden agenda sets her up to fall—straight into Whisper’s trap.
A twisted thing dropped to the ground in place of the sign, startling a shout from Zared. She studied the clump of what had been metal and wood moments before and was now one mass, a combination of leaves and steel that was an indistinguishable mass. She hadn’t heard the clang. The men were not where she remembered them being. They were all out of position. Something had happened after she’d attacked the sign. Damn it, she must have slipped into a fugue state again. Hannah prayed it had been for a handful of seconds and nobody had become aware of her lapse.
Zared and Ian focused on the thing at her feet and then Quillan turned to Hannah. If they detected her blankness they didn’t mention it. Hannah breathed out a sigh of relief. She’d deal with what this meant later.
“You . . .” Quillan began, shaking a finger at her.
She swayed on her feet and the time paralysis shattered. Oriel blinked and then focused on where they were now, not where they had been before she enacted the freeze. There was a shout behind them from the parking structure. A face showed above the concrete and then vanished. A moment later there was a squeal of tires and the fast revving of an engine as the other talent floored it out of the garage. Quillan’s attention flicked toward the parking structure before centering back on Hannah.
Oriel swallowed, and Hannah watched him through a mind gone fuzzy. She hadn’t expected to use her second gift—it had just emerged. The expressions on the faces around her told her all she needed. Whether they recognized her fugue state or not, they were freaked out by her second gift.
“I . . . commend you,” Oriel managed, his voice shaky. Whatever dazzling he was performing on them drained away, replaced by shudders that rippled through his body. “I had not expected something quite so dramatic.” He glanced at the item again and then at Hannah. Then, without warning, he ran, sprinting down the sidewalk. Ian went to give chase but Quillan called a sharp “No, Ian,” and the telekinetic subsided. They all turned to Hannah.
“Now I get why you’re so bloody interesting to Whisper,” Ian said.
“Does this . . . thing . . . have a name?”
Ian asked the question, but his tight-lipped expression showed that he wasn’t expecting an answer. They were back in Quillan’s office. Ian had called Maya but the sensitive had already been on her way.
Zared stood by the windows, peering at the night skyline. The lights of Virginia’s Tallest City and the capital of the Confederacy, shone around him but all he could do was remember that moment when the object that had once been metal and tree slammed to the sidewalk.
Quillan had taken it with them, of course. Using Ian’s telekinesis, they transported the damaged, twisted sign into the car and driven back to the office as fast as possible. There were no more disturbances by Whisper. Hannah had succeeded in ruffling that manyak’s Oriel’s composure and that was a win in Zared’s book. There had been a few moments where Hannah was as frozen as Oriel, her face unreadable, but then she had blinked and the strangeness cleared. Zared put it down to the drain of using her dual talents at the same time.
“Amalgamation,” Hannah supplied. “I can merge two or more objects into one thing. Kind of like a brundlefly. Any idea what I’m talking about?”
Zared just shook his head at the reference. He didn’t understand how she could be so calm. No words were big enough, so he stayed silent.
After not receiving an answer, Hannah went on. “In The Fly when Jeff Goldblum tries to merge with the fly he becomes a combination of them both. He’s Brundle and a fly. A brundlefly. Something like that. One of my brothers made the reference and it stuck. That’s what they call me at home.”
“I don’t understand,” he admitted, still not turning away from the window.
“Haven’t you read my file?”
It had taken every ounce of him not to do exactly that, but Zared hadn’t. He was too interested in the chrono woman as it was and to show additional interest by asking to read her Universe personnel file would raise eyebrows, starting with his boss. Chara. This was getting complicated.
He could still feel the touch of her hand against his. It reminded him of the first time he’d been with a female, at the age of fourteen, when he still lived in Tel-Aviv, before the Brits had gotten hold of him and hauled him to Scotland for training. He had as much control over his body now as he did that first time, all trembling eagerness, with a sixteen-year-old who had more experience than him, but that wasn’t much either.
He did not plan to have this happen to him. At all.
“No, I haven’t read your file. I saw no reason to.” He strove for a casual tone, and determined he’d achieved it when Hannah’s face shifted as though his words had hurt her before it was gone. That brief, wounded moment made him almost blurt out the truth. Instead he stayed silent.
“I suppose you’re right. You wouldn’t need to.”
“Stop it,” Quillan said with a harsh edge to his voice. “It’s been a difficult night for all of us, but petty squabbling earns us nothing.” He glared at Zared. “This one is not in her public file. Hannah, it was unwise of you to lose your temper like that.”
Hannah shot Quillan a fierce glare. He raised an eyebrow and met her gaze until it was Hannah who looked away.
“You’re not my boss.”
Zared snorted, unfolding his arms. “He is as long as you’re in Richmond,” he said at the same time Quillan was saying “Yes I am.”
Many emotions moved across her face until it became an impassive mask. He should have been glad but instead he longed to shake the neutrality out of her.
“I lost my temper. Sue me. And screw you, weather boy,” she said with a caustic edge.
“That is enough!” Quillan slammed his hand down on his desk and they all jumped.
Tracking Shadows The Universe Chronicles Book 2
Since the day Jiana Falco was forced to join the paranormal agency Night Stars, she’s been planning her escape. She uses her bodyguard’s split-second of distraction to vanish into the shadows, and burns the last bridge by saving Quillan Hardis.
But now, locked in Quillan’s muscular arms, pinned by his calculating amber gaze, his invisibility talent shielding them both, she’s in even deeper trouble. If that’s possible.
Quillan didn’t get to Universe Corps’ highest echelons by being a fool. The rare shadow manipulator in his grip is too easy a prize to be anything but a setup. A pretty lure he should send back to Night Stars. Instead, he holds on—and in changing her fate, he seals his own.
Under a secret order to unlock her untapped power—by any means necessary—Quillan takes Jiana on the run with only a precog’s vague direction, and a spark of desire that blooms into something warm and genuine. But her fear of being clawed back into Night Stars’ control could drive Jiana so deep into the shadows nothing will get her out. Not even the light of Quillan’s love.
But her fear of Night Stars could drives Jiana so deep into the shadows nothing can lead her out. Not even the light of Quillan’s love.
Quillan's shadow moved, but the man didn’t.
Jiana’s gaze followed the movement from her seat in the café across from Quillan’s office. Judging by the way his shadow bobbed before merging back into ordinary stillness, something was coming. Quillan, however, was unaware of that fact. If he had possessed shadow abilities as she did he would see the wrongness, but he didn’t have such tools.
The Federal Reserve Bank loomed over the Universe offices, casting its own ominous gloom. At this hour the sun was beginning to set. The buildings made triangular and rectangular squares in jagged patterns on the street, creating the sorts of shadows she could use. Soon it would be dark.
Darkness did not bring safety. Noon was best, when the sun was overhead and shadows more difficult. Even then there was always danger from the darkness. It went unnoticed by most people, but not to a shadow manipulator.
Quillan was looking toward the Sun Trust Tower, one of the highest buildings in the Richmond skyline. His shadow wrapped around him and then expanded toward the dense pack of cars on the road between them.
Jiana and her unwelcome companion were in the Soho Café Market, located in the east tower of the BB&T. She picked at the chicken and fruit on her tray, shooting glances out the window at the head of Universe. She watched an interesting shadow by the top of the buffet area. It was big enough to use to get out the door in a hurry if necessary.
She glanced at the man next to her and then back at Quillan, still waiting by the light. Tanner, the Night Stars agent was also eyeing the tall, bearded man. He did not seem to see the danger surrounding Quillan, but she doubted he cared about that. The man her uncle had assigned as her “partner” had no interest in anything except keeping an eye on Jiana.
A flow of movement around Quillan caught her attention, and she turned back to the scene. Shadows gathered and danced around him, their forms shifting ever closer. One shadow broke off, looming higher than the others, towering over the man. By her estimation Quillan was 6’2” or more, so that was no mean feat. It was joined by another, and then another. They advanced on Quillan, covering him in darkness.
She straightened in her seat. The shadows didn’t lie. The head Night Stars opposition group was in danger. If Tanner detected her preoccupation, he didn’t comment on it. As long as she wasn’t moving then she supposed he figured he had nothing to worry about. His talent of enhanced strength was a weak one, but it made him stronger than her in a one-on-one matchup. At least that was what her uncle believed, and had passed along to the other agent.
He was about to learn differently.
Jiana watched a moment longer to make sure that she wasn’t mistaken. Spots danced in her vision and halos surrounded the vehicles. Her head throbbed like she had a headband on too tight. Then both feelings were gone and her sight sharpened. There was no error. The shadows grew thick around Quillan, flowing through the parked cars and onto the street. They almost seemed to have teeth and claws, with the sort of malevolence she did not often associate with shadows. They were used for good or ill, but they were tools rather than entities. These had a life of their own, and their malice made her shiver.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Her careful plan fading with every step the man took, Jiana sighed. She had steered Tanner here so skillfully and all for naught. Now she had to leap into action, but for different reasons than she had intended. She could see the shadows rushing toward Quillan to send him into oncoming traffic. She could not see her uncle or her cousin, the other shadow talents in Richmond, but that didn’t mean they weren’t there. This didn’t feel like her uncle, though, this was . . . different.
The shadows surged in front of a car going just enough over the speed limit to be a menace, guiding it straight toward Quillan. As before, the man was unaware of the fact. Once he was alerted to the danger he wouldn’t be quick enough to get out of the way. Without shadow talent he would have no way of knowing he was in peril.
But she knew.
Before Tanner could move, Jiana was up and out of her seat, grabbing for the nearest shadows to disappear into to confuse the Night Stars agent. Shouting started behind her as she sprinted out of the café, disappearing into the shadow of the building’s rooftop before emerging by the street and heading at full speed toward the Universe leader. It was foolhardy to give away her plan but if Quillan was going to survive the next few minutes, she had no choice. Without Quillan, she had no escape route. If she stood by and watched the head of the Richmond Universe group get killed there would be no sanctuary for Jiana Falco.
She slipped from one shadow into another created by a parked truck and then she was on the same side of the street as Quillan. The time between her spotting the unnatural shadows and what was about to occur had telescoped. Now she had mere seconds before what the other shadow talent was attempting would occur. Jiana cried out and Quillan noticed her for the first time. She had a split second of admiring his tall, broad frame and even features covered by the close beard before she shouted his name and barreled into him.
Quillan let out a surprised “oof” as her momentum carried them both crashing onto the sidewalk. The cars screeched to a halt as the one out of control vehicle now careened around the corner . . . right past the spot that Quillan was about to step into.
Quillan turned his head and followed the car’s movements. She could feel his muscles under his suit jacket and trousers and had a momentary flash of awareness. The shadows now retreated. Jiana watched them flow back to the buildings and cars they came from, restored to their original forms.
Tanner was still on the other side of the road, pointing toward her with one of his beefy fingers. His posture radiated menace and while he was too far away for his epithets to carry she had no doubt he was cursing. She could even imagine the obscenities. He loved to swear at her in Italian, a language both of them spoke. Va in mona, or go fuck yourself, was his favorite. Zoccola, or bitch, was his other one. From the hard consonants, it sounded like the latter. If his oaths were uninspired, well, that was Tanner.
In the space of a heartbeat, Quillan vanished. Jiana blinked, trying to orient her senses again to determine where he had gone. His shadow winked out, having nothing to cast.
The Universe Chronicles Book 1
Maya Wingfield was raised to trust no one—least of all the dueling U.S. and Russian paranormal agencies, Universe and Night Stars, who’d love to harness her mind-reading gift.
She thought Richmond a safe place to escape their influence and hide from a rising psychic malevolence that drove her out of San Diego. But when she gets yet another call to retrieve her drunken roommate, her mind shows her an amber-eyed Universe operative with an impenetrable net around his deepest secret—and a voice that sends shock waves of awareness down her nerve endings.
Maya’s curves and aquamarine eyes aren’t the only things that jolt Ian Sanderson’s mental shields, bringing sexual tension thrumming back to life. It’s a power his Universe-trained mind knows he shouldn’t trust. And a vulnerability that makes his telekinetic power burn in his palms to protect her.
But to Universe, she is just one of too many unanswered questions. A target for Whisper, a shadowy new group of paranormals with powers beyond anything Universe has ever seen. Once before, Ian failed to protect a sensitive from a brain-scrambling attack. He will not fail again . . . even if it means using his talent—or his body—to stop a bullet.
The press of hundreds of minds beat against her skull. She could hear the mass of humanity and their petty grievances and lives flowing over her. Maya started humming a song she’d learned that kept the noise at bay. “The Keeper did a hunting go, and under his cloak he carried a bow,” she hummed. There were boulders in the water and a few people hopping across them to get to the island. Life continued, even if it felt like her insides had been ripped out.
“So many people,” she said, her voice hoarse.
“You wanted this,” Ian said. His words were mild, but his aura flared into jagged spikes for a moment. Maya flushed at the non-verbal evidence of a taut anger he was trying to suppress.
“You don’t have to babysit me.”
“Yes, I do.” She shook her head, her hair flying around it. “No, you don’t. If you don’t want to do it, tell that big guy Zared to pitch in. But Quillan said you’re supposed to watch me and take me around. If you don’t want to do that say so. I can figure it out on my own.” He raked a hand through his hair, sending it standing on end.
“Bollocks. You’re right, Maya. I’m being a bounder.” Her scrutiny took in the suspension bridge and the small island. A sign read ‘Belle Isle.’ She had seen the island in the tourist brochures and had mentioned to Bobbie that it would be fun to go. Her friend had agreed half-heartedly. At the time Maya figured Bobbie would be too hung over for rock climbing. But as it turned out Bobbie didn’t expect to be in her company for long.
“Accepted. I guess we’re both on edge. I didn’t expect so many people. I thought it would be quieter.” All around them were tourists in shorts and T-shirts, taking selfies and video on their phones.
“You can see many of Richmond’s attractions from here,” Ian said, his tone taking on the cadence of a tour guide. “The Hollywood Cemetery, the Tredagar Iron Works, and of course the Richmond skyline. Fascinating, eh?” His voice was taut, matching the tightness of his body. Water rushed down rapids created by the large rocks. Herons as well as ducks paddled in the river. The trill of songbirds in the trees would have lifted her spirits on a normal day. Beyond were green bluffs and dots of tombstones.Hollywood Cemetery, she read. Appropriate. There were people bobbing in the water and more athletic types on the nearby dirt trails. Maya hadn’t studied the trail system all that closely. Bobbie was not much of a hiker. Unlike Ian. This fit, healthy man might be up for some . . . exercise. Near the spray of the river were people with picnic baskets and blankets secured down by heavy rocks. She pointed a finger to one of the families.
“That looks like fun,” she said, and applauded herself that her voice sounded normal.
“We can go across on the footbridge,” he said, holding out his hand. “It’s a lovely spot in the middle of the city.” It would have been nice if Ian were one of those huge rocks—an anchor to ground to. But she couldn’t trust herself, or him.
“Okay,” she said. The sun continued to rise. Tourists as well as locals snaked across the bridge to the nearby island. Water poured through and around the rocks, drowning out casual conversation.
“You should see your face, Maya. You’ve got nothing but frown lines and black pupils.” Ian hesitated and then put an arm around her. She sank into him, making a low sound between a sob and a howl. There was Ian, this strange, impossible British guy she had no idea existed until night before last. She wanted—and didn’t want—to know more. When she moved back, Ian was watching her, his amber eyes clouded. His aura was streaked with dark red, his face stamped with desire, and his mind projecting the need to lick her all over and then start again. He touched her cheeks, gently holding her face. The muscles of his back moved as he ran his hands down her forehead and over her jaw. His eyes held banked fire. She wanted to arch into his warm palms and give her lips to him. She tilted her head up. He settled on a closed mouth kiss, moving from one side of her lips to the other, slow and gentle, as if she were fine china. The touch of his hands on her body sent an electric pulse shooting from the spot he touched straight to her core. Heat flooded her.
Claire can’t remember a time when writing wasn’t part of her life. Growing up, she used to write stories with her friends. As a teenager she started out reading fantasy and science fiction, but her diet quickly changed to romance and happily-ever-after’s. A native of Massachusetts and cold weather, she left all that behind to move to the sun and fun of California, but has always lived no more than twenty miles from the ocean.
In college she studied acting with a minor in creative writing. In hindsight she should have flipped course studies. Before she was published, she sold books on eBay and discovered some of her favorite authors by sampling the goods, which was the perfect solution. Claire has many book-irons in the fire, most notably her urban fantasy series, The Elementals’ Challenge series, but writes contemporary and shifter romances as well as.
While she’s not a movie mogul or actor, she does work in the film industry with her office firmly situated in the 90210 district of Hollywood. Prone to break out into song, she is quick on feet and just as quick with snappy dialogue. In addition to writing she does animal rescue, reads, and goes to movies. She loves to hear from fans, so feel free to drop her a line.