Rebel Heart (Chapter Nine, page 1 of 8)

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"Lana, that's my gun arm!" Elise said in irritation.

Lana eased back without breaking contact. Elise and Dan were a good team, relaying hand signals and other silent communications with nothing more than a glance at each other. Lana, on the other hand, couldn't shake the paralyzing fear that came with knowing they were being stalked by men who wanted them dead.

Dan leaned back into the hollow of the tree in which they'd taken refuge.

"This doesn't look good," he whispered.

Elise pursed her lips. Lana peered around them to see the five or more armed men about twenty meters away. If the flares going up short distance away were any sign, the five men were part of a larger force between them and their destination. Brady's men had dropped her, Elise, and Dan-along with two others-into the forest by helicopter two hours before. The forest looked little different from the one they'd just left. If the helo ride hadn't taken three hours, she would have thought they never left.

Soon after, the men in black mowed down two of Dan's men, and the three of them were left to fend for themselves.

Dan settled onto his knees and flipped out a tracker. Elise looked over his shoulder. Lana was helpless. She had no micro, no genetically engineered body or weapons to fight off anything that came at them.

Dan handed the tracker to Elise, who tapped the screen, pensive. He touched his earpiece.

"Yep, still here," he replied. "Me 'n' the girls and a shitload of bad guys where there shouldn't be any." His gaze rested on Lana, and he smiled.

She hugged her knees to her chest to keep from shaking. Not only were they surrounded by adversaries, it was cold. Dan had given her a jacket, but their slow crawl through the forest had left her soaked and shivering.

"Elise is plotting them," Dan said, gaze again on the tracker. "We think there are fifteen."

"Ish," Elise added. "Fifteen-ish."

"Send our coords, too, so they don't blow us up," Dan directed in a hushed voice.

Lana never thought she'd end up in the middle of a forest, defended by the PMF against those who seemed to want to start a second East-West civil war.

"Can you shoot, Lana?" Dan asked.

"Not straight. Been trying to teach her for weeks," Elise answered without looking up. "She closes her eyes when she fires."

"So, no, that won't work," Dan said to the person on the other end of his conversation. There was another pause. "Then that's what we'll do."

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