Baring Mia

By: Kallista Dane

Harmon pulled away and turned his back on her, heading across the room. She felt a low rumble, heard frantic voices yelling outside in the hall…and the whole virtual world exploded before her eyes into a searing ball of flame.

Chapter Twenty

Harmon dragged himself out from under a collapsed table full of mechanical equipment. He didn’t know how long he’d been unconscious.

“Mia?” His voice was ragged, hoarse from the smoke billowing through the room. He could barely see three feet in front of him. “Mia!”

He heard a whimper and worked his way toward the sound. “Mia!”

“I’m here.” Her voice was faint.

His heart sank when he caught sight of her. Covered with glass shards from the shattered mirror wall, her body was trapped under a metal beam from the ceiling, still strapped to the bench. He climbed over the debris, tossing furniture and machines aside like a madman. The room was ablaze, electrical equipment sparking, fire breaking out in every corner.

One part of his brain registered there’d been a massive explosion. A bomb? He wondered how badly the rest of the building had been damaged, how many had been hurt.

Finally, he was close enough to touch her. He knelt down and ran his hands over her body, terrified when she moaned at the slightest touch. When he unhooked the virtual reality glasses she stared up at him, her eyes wide with shock

He squatted and got his shoulders under a corner of the beam, heaving it aside enough to ease the bench out from underneath it. Thank God for Marcus and his training, Harmon told himself. A year ago he’d never have been capable of such a feat, no matter how much adrenaline pumped through his veins.

She lay unmoving, covered in blood. Gently he unfastened the straps holding her to the bench.

“Where are you hurt?”

“I don’t know. My head aches so much I can’t concentrate on anything else.”

He couldn’t tell how bad her injuries were. Obviously she had a concussion from the force of the blast. If her spine had been injured by the beam, moving her might be the worst thing he could do.

But he couldn’t just stand by and wait for paramedics to arrive. There’d be no help coming any time soon. The door from the lab to the hall in the penthouse was already engulfed in flames. If they stayed here, they’d both die of smoke inhalation long before they burned to death. He didn’t have to be a genius to realize the fumes from all the melting wires and synthetic components of the machinery in the room were even now damaging their lungs.

Steeling himself, he pulled the biggest shards of glass from her body, knowing all the while there were probably dozens more too small to see.

She screamed in pain when he lifted her off the bench. Cradling her in his arms, he battled his way to the other side of the room, kicked open a door, and sprinted up the private staircase to his rooftop sanctuary. The air would be clearer up there. And if he got Mia into the pool, they’d both be safe from the raging fire until help could arrive.

He yanked open the door to the roof then slammed it shut behind them. There wasn’t much that could catch fire on the roof – just a few pieces of teak furniture. The floor beneath him was concrete, reinforced to hold the weight of the water in the pool. As far as he could see, it was undamaged by the blast.

Far below he heard sirens screaming, saw billowing clouds of smoke pouring from blasted-out windows on the lower floors of the building.

Harmon eased Mia into the pool. She moaned when the water touched her body. His hands moved over her, carefully washing away the blood. She had a huge gash in one leg and was covered in cuts and scratches from flying glass. As far as he could tell, there were no broken bones. But he was concerned about a possible spinal injury.

“Can you wiggle your fingers and toes for me?”

Mia looked at him as though she hadn’t heard. Her ears were probably ringing as much as his. Even his own voice seemed to be coming from far away.

“Mia, baby, please. Please try and move.”

She kicked her feet and waved one arm through the water, whimpering as she did. Harmon looked down at her battered body and swore. Then he peeled off his shirt and drew it over her head. It wasn’t much but it would cover her nudity enough to hide it from view of all the strangers who’d be swarming up here soon.

Top Books