Midnight blue caught his own, his image reflected in the opaque depths. “Sahara Kyriakus, of the PsyClan NightStar.”
* * *
SAHARA’S revelation incited no visible change in Kaleb’s expression, not even the flicker of an eyelash. His Silence, she thought, taking another sip of the cherry-flavored drink he’d given her, must be pristine. Wholly unlike her own. Yet her responses . . . she knew they weren’t quite right, weren’t quite rational, given her precarious situation.
I am, she realized within her strange calm, not yet truly awake.
“What do you know about NightStar?” the dangerous man across from her asked in that chill-as- frost voice that resonated inside her in a way she couldn’t understand—as if she heard things in it he didn’t say, knew him in ways that were impossible. Even in her current state, she recognized that a man like Kaleb Krychek would trust no one with his secrets.
And if someone had the misfortune to discover them?
That person would not live long enough to share the discovery. With his black hair, cardinal eyes, and honed physique, Kaleb might be almost shockingly handsome, but the beauty was nothing but a mask for the deadly mind within. The knowledge should’ve made her afraid, but she found herself fighting the strangest compulsion to cry, her eyes burning as the eerie calm threatened to splinter.
“NightStar is an F-Psy clan,” she said, her voice rough from the effort it took to hold those unfathomable tears at bay—for a stranger who might well end her life when he realized she had no intention of cooperating with him any more than she had with her previous captors. “But I do not carry the PsyClan’s name as my last, as I am not a foreseer, do not see what will be.”
“No.” The black silk of Kaleb’s hair glinted in the morning sunlight, and she had the disorienting sense that she’d been here in this moment before, sitting across from this man while the sun played over his hair. “You see the past.”
Fighting her way through the sticky threads of a web seductive in its insistence she trust Kaleb, she fell back on facts burned into her long-term memory. “Sahara Kyriakus, Clan NightStar, custodial parent Leon Kyriakus—Gradient 7.7 M-Psy with recessive F genes.
“Biological mother Daniela García, Gradient 8.2 telepath, part of a small but highly regarded family group based out of Cuba.” Her skin tone, she thought as her eyes fell on her arm, came as a result of the mix of maternal and paternal DNA, would turn a deep golden brown with further exposure to the sun.
“Daniela García also possesses markers for recessive F abilities, the latter the reason she was considered a good genetic match for my father.” Foreseers ran in the NightStar family tree, and the clan did everything it could to maintain that lucrative line. “While I am not a foreseer, I am placed in the same designation, subdesignation B.”
Considered a rare offshoot of the F ability, backsight, her mind recited, bore enough similarities to the kind of telepathy utilized by Justice Psy that there was continuing debate within academic circles as to its proper placement. The most significant difference between the two designations was that unlike the J-Psy, those in subdesignation B did not go into a living mind and retrieve a particular memory.
Rather, they could be hit by flashes about the past without warning, independent of their physical proximity to the locations or individuals involved—though, like their F brethren, a B could “prime”
her mind to seek knowledge about a particular past event. And similarly to a J, they could project the entire piece of backsight to another mind. As a result, one of their uses was that at times, they could act as witnesses to events that left no survivors. Subdesignation B had also been consulted in situations where critical data had been lost due to a sudden injury or accident.
“Testing,” she added as the facts continued to scroll in her mind, “puts me at 8.1 on the Gradient.”
Kaleb nudged her forgotten glass and waited until she’d drunk half of the cherry-flavored supplement before saying, “Those were your stats at sixteen, but you hadn’t plateaued and been assigned your permanent position on the Gradient. I’d guess you’re now between 9.5 and 9.7.”
“Is that why you want me?” she asked, the tears inside her forming into an aching knot. “For my backsight?”
The clean line of his jaw caught her eye as he spoke, her fingers spreading on the table. “I have no use or need of a B.”
His words gave her pause, her mind on the dangerous shadow ability that existed below her backsight and, unbeknownst to those who had tested her, was the true reason for her position on the Gradient. Her backsight was, at most, only a 3 on the scale used to measure psychic ability. However, the error didn’t speak to the skills of the testing staff but to the stealthy nature of what existed inside her—to the extent that she herself hadn’t become aware of it until she was twelve. And then, she’d learned to hide it, because it made her a target.
“If you don’t need my backsight,” she said to Kaleb, “then why am I here?” Regardless of her question, she was dead certain he knew what she could do—there could be no other reason he’d gone to such lengths to find and capture her.
The black depths of his eyes devoid of stars once more, an endless night that threatened to suck her under, he rose to his feet and, placing his hands on the table, leaned toward her until she could’ve reached out and run her fingers along his freshly shaven jaw. “You are here,” he said in a tone that made her heart thump wildly against her ribs, “because you belong to me.”