Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin has protected the human race from monster storms, been killed, reborn as a Djinn, and then restored to her original form. Now she's throwing the dice to stop an infinitely powerful, deeply disturbed kid-who is holed up in a Vegas hotel-from bringing on a new ice age.
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October 25, 2005
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Excerpt from Chill Factor by Rachel Caine
The sky overhead was blue. Clear, depthless, cloudless blue, the kind that stares back at you like Nietzsche's abyss. Not a cloud in sight.
I hate clear skies. Clear skies make me nervous.
I ducked and leaned forward again, trying to look straight up from the driver's seat through the most tinted part of the windshield. Nope, no clouds. Not even a wispy little modesty veil of humidity. I leaned back in the seat and adjusted my hips with a pained sigh. The last rest area I'd spotted had been a broken-down, scary-looking affair that would have made the most hardened long hauler keep on truckin', but pretty soon cleanliness wasn't going to matter nearly as much as availability.
I was so tired that everything looked filtered, textured, subtly wrong. Thirty hours since I'd caught three hours of sleep. Before that, at least another twenty-four of adrenaline and caffeine.
Before that I'd been on the road, driving like a madwoman, for three weeks, poised on the knife edge between boredom and panic. In a very real way, I'd been in a war zone all that time, waiting for the next bullet.
I was desperate for a bathroom, a bath, and a bed. In that order.
Instead, I edged a little bit more speed out of the accelerator.
"You all right?" asked my passenger. His name was David, and he was turned away, soaking up the sun that poured through the side window. When I didn't answer, he looked at me. Every time I saw his face, I had a little microshock of pleasure flash down my spine. Because he was gorgeous. High cheekbones, smooth gold-kissed skin, a round flash of glasses he didn't need but liked to wear anyway as protective camouflage. He wasn't bothering with disguising his eyes just now, and they flared a color not found anywhere in the human genome . . . warm bronze, flecked with orange.
David was a Djinn. He even had a bottle, which currently rested in the pocket of my jacket, cap off. And that whole three-wishes thing's Not accurate. As long as I held his bottle, I had nearly unlimited power at my fingertips. Except it also came with nearly unlimited responsibility, which isn't the supersized bowl of cherries it sounds.
He didn't look tired. It made me feel even worse, if that were remotely possible.
"You need to rest," he said. I turned my attention back to the road. I-70 stretched on to the horizon in a flat black ribbon, stripes faded to ghosts by the merciless desert sun. On either side of the car, the landscape bristled with more spikes than leaves-Joshua trees, squatty alien cacti. To a girl from Humidity Central, also known as Florida, the thin, dry air seemed too light to breathe, so hot it scorched the lining of my lungs. And it was all blurring into sameness, after days of playing cat and mouse out here in the middle of nowhere.