Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Just This Once by Diana X. Dunn

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Adopted by an international multi-governmental agency that doesn't officially exist, her only genuine identity is "F6" - the sixth female baby adopted into the program. Now she changes identities as often as other women change their shoes, moving through the world completing top-secret missions and keeping her distance.

A chance meeting with a handsome stranger tempts her to lower her guard. A second encounter turns up the heat until he finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation being conducted by one of F6's former lovers. Now F6 finds herself using her skills, training and multiple identities to help a friend in trouble. Something she has never done before; something she's prepared to do just this once.


April 2120

Spring in the rebuilt city of New York felt just as magical as spring in New York should feel.  Older residents often grumbled about the city; many argued that the city had still not yet recovered properly from the fall of the Twin Towers that marked the very earliest stirrings of the Wars that would eventually follow.  But most modern day New Yorkers loved the city just the way it was.

The skyline had been forever altered by the Wars and the years of terrorist activity.  For a while most of the city had been too dangerous for all but the very bravest or desperate to venture into.  As the skyscrapers had tumbled or been abandoned, jobs and people had deserted the city and left most of it empty and forsaken.

Now the city was experiencing a rebirth as people and companies flooded back.  Property prices were suddenly racing upwards and abandoned buildings were being converted into luxury apartments at an astonishing rate.  For older residents, those that had chosen to make the city their home even during the worst times, the rebirth was a mixed blessing.

But today, as the birds sang in the replanted and newly budding trees and the traffic flowed smoothly with no hint of the jams that were sure to be a problem in the very near future, the city looked amazing.  The sidewalks teemed with young, healthy looking men and women in business suits, carrying MPPCs and briefcases presumably bulging with important papers.  Everyone seemed to be striding purposefully through the city.

As day turned to dusk, clothes designed for other pursuits replaced the business suits.   The beautiful people of the city were out in force once more, this time in short skirts and tight jeans, hair and makeup as extreme as they dared, now looking for love or romance rather than the next deal.

Of course a reborn and growing city also has to deal with growing pains, and New York was no exception.  Strictly enforced rules on identity cards, registered addresses, and required employment had cut down on the problems of homelessness and petty crime, but any big city would always have some level of street crime, no matter how hard the police and the government worked to prevent it.

At eight o’clock on a Friday evening a high-security door opened at a large apartment complex in the heart of the rebuilt city.  Three people stepped out from the door and made their way down the sidewalk.  They were clearly dressed for clubbing and it seemed likely, from their staggering walks and hysterical laughter that they had already started drinking or drug taking before they left home.

The two girls and one boy laughed and teased and flirted with one another as they made their way towards the bright lights of the club district.  Anyone watching would assume that they had all worked hard during the week and were determined to enjoy their weekend.  They wouldn’t have been far wrong.  The trio drew nearly everyone’s eyes as they made their way towards their favorite establishment.

All three were strikingly beautiful, but in very different ways.  They seemed to radiate youthful energy and an abundance of enthusiasm for living life to the fullest.

The man could have been anywhere from twenty-five to fifty, thanks to the advances in body and face redesign.  He was about six foot tall, muscular but only so much as looked natural and his short brown hair was carefully styled to look as if he hadn’t spent any time on it at all.  Brown eyes looked intelligent, but a bit unfocused from drink or something more.  His clothes were modern takes on old classics, with bright colors and patterns providing a different look and verifying their expensive provenance.

The two women were a study in contrasts.  No could help noticing the gorgeous brunette, who looked no older than twenty-one.  She was no more than five foot tall with long glossy hair and a generous figure.  Her eyes sparkled blue and then green and then red and then yellow as she blinked through her colored lenses.  Her dress was short, almost indecently so, and cut low at the front to accentuate her abundant curves.  Unkind observers would question how much was genuine and how much was down the skill of a very talented and very expensive re-designer.

Her friend, on the other hand, was tall, slender and blonde, with a simple sophistication that made her almost fade into the background when surrounded by her more flamboyant friends.  Her hair was closely cropped and casually styled, looking as if she had simply washed it and run her fingers through it and then left it.  It was a style that wouldn’t have suited many, but she made it look feminine and sexy somehow.  She stood somewhere between her friends in height, her high heels taking her close to her male friend’s six foot.

She appeared to be somewhere between them in age as well, probably in her mid-twenties.  Her blue eyes looked totally focused and coolly amused as she watched passers-by and joined in with the antics of her friends.  Her own dress was short enough to show off long toned legs, but next to her friend’s seemed almost demure, its scooped neckline revealing somewhat more subtle curves.  The three were heading for the hottest club in town and they were fully confident that they would have no trouble getting inside.

They were nearly at the door to the club when she heard him calling her.  “Sienna?  Sienna?  Is that you?”

Of course she was far too well trained to turn her head; in fact, she even stepped out of the man’s way as he came past, looking for his friend.  As he took her arm and looked into her eyes, she felt the same rush that she had felt in St. Mary’s Church in February.  She had worked hard to push this man out of her head; she had no time for a relationship, but looking into his eyes she could feel the connection pulling at her again.

About Diana X. Dunn

Diana X. Dunn is an avid reader of lots of different kinds of books. She writes in three different genres under three different pen names. Diana lives in Western New York with her husband and her two children. Unfortunately for them, she spends way too much time listening to the voices in her head and not nearly enough time dusting, ironing or cooking healthy and delicious meals!

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