So here is the new prologue to get folks into the story. Still fiddling with it but I am jumping to the later chapters right now:
Noah would pray for a bigger boat in that storm. Yet dry as summer linen, Thania pushed her way inside her supervisor’s pinkish stucco-molded house.
“How did you–You drove through this?” Kalvin asked, rain from the open doorway spraying his paunchy cheeks. Outside, the street frothed into a river churned by the windy downpour.
“Where’s your car? Did you ride here on the back of a manatee?” brow wrinkling as he asked. She belonged 200 miles away on Merritt Island marking up mathematical models on a whiteboard, not leaning on his doorbell at 2 a.m. in Coral Gables.
“Looks as bad as Hurricane Ezekiel out there. Hey, wipe your feet before you stain the floor. C’mon, it’s Hawaiian koa!”
Her shoes tapped along the hardwood floors in clear notes, not even a drop of rain squeaked beneath her soles. Thunder pounded against the roof in bellowing displeasure.
“How do you sleep, Kal?” she asked, turning around to face him. Furrows of worry too deep for a twenty-two year-old woman hardened upon her brow. She combed back her long bronze ripples of hair to unleash a gaze cruelly cold for her warm green eyes.
“Sleep? Not likely after you called,” he said, taking a slow look at her. “When you said, ‘I come with the thunder’, I hoped it was a proposition.”
“Step outside and see if the storm can give you a rise. Your conscience apparently doesn’t get it up for you.”
She marched into the darkened sunroom; splashes of lightning limned her in bright blue as she passed the window. Eighteen months since their first meeting, she stood taller than he remembered with her arms crossed in anticipation.
“I’m always up,” he said, unsure what to make of her. She couldn’t know, could she? It was far too soon. “I’ve got salt and vinegar in my veins.”
The black pantsuit hewed trimly to her figure. She had abandoned her cardigans and sneakers that night. Hair swayed down her back in a flowing torrent rather than pinned up. Was she wearing contacts? She watched each breath he took. Her eyes focused like blue-green opals brightly awake and uncompromising. No pretty words perched on her lips.
“I know the fractals are tedious, but we can’t afford any mistakes,” he said, her steady stare peeled the cheer from his skin. “Launching rockets is child’s play compared to this. I’m mildly impressed with your work so far. Mildly. But let’s see what the morning brings.”
“Do your toes curl in excitement when Wincott hisses softly in your ear?”
“Whoa, where’s this coming from?”
“What did he promise after you pulled the tail from his mouth?”
“You’re stressed. I get it. Ease down, okay? I can ask Jimenez to cover–”
“It’s harvest time, right? Taking the next bus up to Hapsburg?”
“We can’t work with you like this. Babbling nonsense.”
“You don’t need a math wiz. You need a damn saint to forgive you.”
“Is that so?” He walked slowly to a side table beneath the window. The keys to the top drawer seemed to fly to his fingers as he spoke over his shoulder. He reached inside. “Let’s talk this out. Have a drink?”
“Don’t handle me, Kal. I hate being handled.”
“I suppose you do. We all chafe against our collars.”
He spun around from the drawer, firing a pistol four times.
She blinked before the slugs almost gouged her skin.
The bullets flared white-hot then imploded harmlessly into shadowed wisps.
“I’ve seen the Man with Two Boxes,” she said, languidly drawing her own long-barreled revolver on him. “He showed me what’s inside. Care for a look?”
Kalvin fired a fusillade, pale fists gripping the pistol.
The bullets burst around her in a smoky halo. Thania thumbed back the revolver’s hammer. She aimed and then whispered.
The shot exploded through his rain-washed cheek.