Detached (Saphera Nyx #1) by Elicia Hyder

Chapter One





My breaths whooshed, shallow and quick, against the body armor cinched tightly across my breasts. I leapt over a fallen tree, clanging the bones in my ankle when my boot landed hard in a puddle. Thick, heavy mud slashed my pant leg as the flashlight beam danced wildly through the tall pines.

Neither of us could keep up this pace for long. My lungs burned as I sucked in the crisp fall air.

“Suspect considered armed,” dispatch said in my ear.

I swore, panting, as I sidestepped a rotten tree trunk. “Teek . . . don’t make me . . . shoot you!”

He gave a high-pitched squeal. “You’ll never take me alive!”

I swore again.

In the moonlight up ahead, Corbin “Teek” Fleming was slowing. A good sign for me and my screaming thighs. I slipped the hood off my holster. “Let me see your hands!”

He tripped and pitched forward, losing his bag of potato chips in an explosive shower above his head. I caught up as he tried to scramble to his feet. Securing my gun, I tackled him into the pine needles and dirt. “Don’t you fight me!”

Teek squirmed, his torso making a loud crunching sound. More chips, I assumed. Something was in his left hand. I straddled his back, holding his arms with my knees, and shined my flashlight on what he was holding. It was long and black, with a green tip. I looked over the rest of him. Bright red T-shirt, pants barely hanging onto his ass, and one safety-yellow sneaker. The other foot was bare.

I panned back to his hand. “Is that a sock over a cucumber?”

“No.”

I reached for his “gun.” He twisted, and I rocked forward on my knees until he yelped and stopped moving. I yanked the vegetable away and pulled off the sock. “Oh, you’re right. It’s a zucchini.” I tossed it onto the ground and pulled his arm back behind him. “Anybody else might have shot you, you know that?”

“I’m a lone wolf, Nyx. Wanted, dead or alive.”

“Yeah, yeah.” I handcuffed his right wrist and called into dispatch. “Delta Three, suspect in custody.”

I pulled Teek to his feet. “What were you thinking?”

“I was hungry.” A potato chip was lodged in the strawberry-blond scruff that hid his chin dimple.

“So you held up the Mini Market with a squash, while an army of police officers hung out in the parking lot? Genius.”

“They’re gonna write books about me.”

“Sure they are. How’d you get here?”

“I ran.”

I rolled my eyes. “I am fully aware of how you got in the woods. How did you get to the gas station?”

“Oh, I walked.” He lifted his face toward the moon and howled. It was a long walk around the lake from the Boro, and Teek didn’t have a driver’s license or a car.

Officer Brian Everly, the newest member of the eight-person Delta team, met up with us halfway through the woods, on our way back. He was young and lanky, in desperate need of some protein shakes and a treadmill.

“You got him?” He was panting, doubled over to grip his knees.

“Yeah, I got him. Are you gonna make it, Everly?” I slapped his chest as I escorted Teek past him.

“I was right behind you.”

“Yeah, when we left the parking lot.” I flashed a grin over my shoulder.

“You’re so funny.” Everly started after us. “Hey, where’s his shoe?”

“Who knows? Apparently, lone wolves don’t need shoes. Right, Teek?”

“That’s right,” he said proudly.

Everly fell into step beside me. “Did you get his weapon?”

I laughed. “Yep. I’ll probably make a salad later.”

“What?”

“He wasn’t armed.”

“I have arms,” Teek said, rattling his handcuffs.

“Is he high?” Everly asked.

“The story is he’s been high for a couple of years. His friends say he ate a handful of acid tabs and never came back.”

Teek stumbled. “Drugs are bad. Just say no.”

Looking at Everly, I gestured toward Teek as if to say, “See?”

“Wow,” Everly said.

“Get used to seeing him. I’ve taken him to Sterling Heights at least three times this year.”

“No Sterling Frights,” Teek said, cringing. Sterling Heights was the mental health center.

“Oh, you’re going to jail tonight, my friend. That’s what happens when you rob people and run.”