The Calling Page 38

Kenjii let out a sharp bark.

“Sounds like someone found him.”

He walked to the front door. When it didn’t open, he put his shoulder into it and pushed.

“Um, try the handle,” Hayley said.

“Um, there isn’t one.”

Corey was right. It was the kind you pushed open from the inside, in case your arms were loaded with supplies. He hit it harder. It didn’t budge.

Daniel went over and they both heaved on it. The door groaned, but didn’t open.

“Is anyone else getting concerned?” Hayley said.

My pounding heart said yes, but I struggled to stay calm. “Look for another exit.” I walked toward the back. “Corey? See if you can get a window open.”

“How about a side door?” Sam said. “There’s one right here, behind—”

She swore and jumped away from the window.

“It’s a trap,” she said, backing into the middle of the room.

“What?” I walked behind the counter and found the door. Beside it was another filthy, barred window. Beyond that, I could see two human-size shapes.

I cleared a spot on the glass. “They might not be—”

I could make out Moreno and the woman I’d seen at the cabin. Behind them, a third person was trying to tie Kenjii to a tree. She’d been muzzled and was stumbling a little, as if she’d been tranquilized, but she still fought against the rope. Moreno went to help.

“Kenjii,” I whispered.

A loud buzzing sound made us all jump. I found a radio tucked under the counter.


“Maya. I should have known you’d be the one to pick up.”

My hand gripped the radio tighter as I recognized the voice. “Who is this?”

“I think you know.”

I moved to the front window. He was there. He lifted his free hand and smiled. I pulled back from the window.

“My name is Calvin Antone,” he said. “But what’s important isn’t who I am, but what I am, to you.”

Daniel moved closer. He could hear Antone. They all could. I thought of lifting the radio to my ear, but I knew that wouldn’t help.

I walked back to the counter, taking shelter behind it.

“What are you doing to my dog?”

“We’re taking good care of Kenjii. We just didn’t want her to get hurt trying to protect you.”

I twitched when he said her name. I didn’t want him knowing that. He had no business with her or with any part of my life.



He sighed. “All right. We’ll pretend you haven’t already guessed. You’re my daughter.”

Daniel’s eyes widened. I looked away quickly.

“Did you hear me?” Antone said.

I didn’t answer.

“I’m your dad, Maya.”

“No, Rick Delaney is my dad. If you’re saying you’re my biological father, then fine. You can be that. But mydad is Rick Delaney.”

“I’m sure you feel that way—”

“No, it’s a fact. He raised me and—”

“And he’s done a great job. I’m grateful to him and your adoptive mother. But you’ve reached the end of what they can do for you. You’re part of a world they know nothing about. You understand that, don’t you?”

“Are you sure? I saw a subject list for Project Genesis. There’s a Delaney on there. Elizabeth Delaney.”

“A common enough surname. She’s no relation to your adoptive parents. She was a half-demon—”


“She’s dead, Maya.”

I felt a pang of grief for this girl I hadn’t known, one who shared my name.

He continued, “The Edison Group killed her. That’s what they do when things go wrong. In the first wave of any experiment, there are bound to be problems. But to take such extreme measures? That’s unforgivable, Maya, and I won’t let that happen to you. To any of you.” He paused. “Serena will be the only subject they kill in Project Phoenix. You have my word on that.”

“The Edison Group didn’t kill Serena,” I said. “If they wanted to, they’d have managed an accident a lot more believable than a champion swimmer drowning in a still lake. I don’t know what happened in Buffalo, but it’s different here. You guys are the only ones killing people.”

“We have not—”

“Rafe Martinez? Mayor Tillson?”

“Unfortunate accidents—”

“Caused by your team setting my forest on fire and kidnapping us.”

A pause. “You’re upset, Maya. Nicole told us you were close to Rafe. I’m very sorry, but we’re here to help you now.”

I snorted. “Right. That’s why you locked us in here.”

“I am here to help you. You’re my child—”

“No, I’m a teenage girl who happens to share your DNA, which you donated to an experiment.”

“Is that what they told you? I was supposed to be your father, Maya. Apparently, your mother didn’t see it that way. She took you and your brother, and I’ve been trying to get you back ever since.”

I flinched at the mention of my mother and twin brother, but pushed it aside. “You don’t work for the St. Clouds. They’re the ones—”

“Who promised me I could be a parent to my children, then robbed me of that right after I found you again. Yes, I found you. I’m the one who tracked you down in Oregon. Then the St. Clouds set up a phony job interview for Rick Delaney and decided you were too attached to your adoptive parents. So they moved your whole family to Salmon Creek, while keeping me on the line, promising I could be part of your life as soon as you were ready to know the truth. It took me awhile, but I eventually figured out that was a lie. So I left.”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies