Not Quite an Angel
Even in this time in history, I know sex is consensual, but you weren’t asking. So I used an energy bolt, just a small one, really. I aimed at your arms, but—” she lifted her hands, palms up, and shook her head “—I guess my aim’s not very good. Somehow it went crooked, and it hit—” She swallowed hard and shot him a sidelong glance. “Well, anyhow, don’t worryabout it. It’s just a defensive technique all of us females learn. It’s harmless and there aren’t any lasting side effects.”
    He was passing a semi. It took all his concentration to keep from hitting it. As soon as it was behind him, he turned to look at her. She met his gaze with those huge, innocent blue eyes—eyes so devoid of guile that for a moment, he totally believed her.
    â€œKissing you was good,” she said. “I liked it at first. You’re quite practiced at it, aren’t you? I tasted the tactile memory of many women on your lips.”
    What the hell was he supposed to say to that? He muttered something that could have been acknowledgment as he took the exit for Hancock Park and Delilah’s house.
    â€œI’m not, you know. Practiced at intimate physical communion. It isn’t something I’ve pursued in this incarnation. It made this assignment much easier, too, because I don’t think I’d have chosen to come if there was someone in my time I was bonded with. I wouldn’t have felt good about leaving him behind.” Her husky voice was just a trifle wistful.
    So there wasn’t anyone special in her life. He didn’t question the feeling of utter satisfaction that knowledge gave him. He turned into the McDonell driveway. Sameh gave him her security card for the gate, and he drove through and stopped under the trees that shaded the drive in front of the house.
    â€œYou’re telling me that you can—” How the hell could he phrase this to her when “coldcock” was the term that best described what had happened to him? “You have the ability to zap me if I try anything you don’t want or like?”
    Her head bobbed. “I’ve hardly ever used it, though. Which is likely why I miscalculated. Not enough practice.”
    He nodded.
    â€œI’m sorry about that, Adam. It’s not wise to cause pain in the reproductive area.”
    Affirmative on that one, Ms. Sameh Smith.
    â€œCan you do it at will?” Proceed with caution, Hawkins. He held up a hand. “Don’t, for God’s sake, use it on me again like you did. But maybe cut down the voltage, say, and aim at…” He considered. “Aim at my hand, way out here?”
    But she shook her head. “The energy required is distinctive. It results from the emotion involved. I couldn’t counterfeit it. And besides, we’re taught never to use our abilities for demonstration. It lessens the overall field, and puts all Adepts at risk, you see.”
    Adepts, fields. He sank back in his seat and closed his eyes. He felt utterly exhausted and confused. “Sameh, I don’t understand that stuff. I don’t begin to understand you. I don’t know who or what you are, and I don’t have a goddamned clue whether or not you have the powers you claim to have.” He opened his eyes and looked at her. “I only know you’re a lovely woman, a puzzle, and I want to go on seeing you.”
    Where in damnation was all this coming from? If he had the sense God gave a goat, he’d cut and run, fast.
    â€œWill you have dinner with me—” He’d forgotten tomorrow was Sunday. He always visited Myles on Sunday. “Monday, how about dinner on Monday?”
    â€œThat would be good. I accept.” She was smiling at him now, as if he’d said or done something particularly clever. She slid across the seat toward him, knocking him in the ribs with her elbow in the process.
    She cupped his face with both her

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