Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin's stormy personal life is taking its toll on her patience-and her powers. But when the truce between the Wardens and the mystical Djinn starts to self-destruct, Joanne finds herself forced to choose between saving her Djinn lover, saving her Warden abilities-and saving humanity.
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October 31, 2005
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Excerpt from Windfall by Rachel Caine
I kept trying to tell myself, You've survived worse than this, but it didn't seem to be working. Any second now, I was going to scream and kill somebody, not necessarily in that order. . . . You've been through worse. Yep. I had. It just didn't feel like it, right at the moment.
I stared blankly at the back wall of the studio and held my place under the hot, merciless lights. The news anchors, seated at the desk about ten feet away from me, were still doing happychat. Morning happychat, which is a whole yak-level higher than the annoying evening forced camaraderie. I was sweating under a yellow rain slicker and matching hat and stupid-looking rain boots. I looked like the Morton's Salt girl, only not as adorable.
The weather outside was clear, and there wasn't even a hope in hell of rain from the nice, stable system out there, but Marvelous Marvin McLarty, meteorologist extraordinaire, was about to pronounce a seventy percent chance of downpours in the next twenty-four hours. And this wasn't the first out-of-the-blue (no pun intended) prediction Marvin had pulled out of his . . . Doppler. Two nights ago, he'd been the only one to accurately predict landfall of a tropical storm up the coast, while everyone else including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA to the weather buffs had put it two hundred miles to the south.
This should have made him good. It only made him even more obnoxious. Unlikely as that seemed.
Dear God in heaven, I never thought I'd miss being a Warden quite so much, but right now and for some time, actually I wanted my old job back so bad that I'd have crawled on broken glass for it.
I held onto my big, toothy smile as the red light lit up on the camera in front of me and Marvin, who was standing next to me. He was a big man, bulky, with implanted hair and big, overwhitened teeth, laser-corrected blue eyes, and a face made unnaturally smooth by dermabrasion and Botox. Okay, the Botox was just a guess, but he was holding on to his fleeing, screaming youth with both fists.
Camera Two lit up. Marvin sauntered around, quipped with the anchors, Janie and Kurt, and then turned to the weather map. He started talking about a cold front approaching from the southeast . . . only there wasn't one; there was a front stalled at the Georgia border that didn't have nearly enough zippity doo dah to make it across the state line anytime in the next, oh, year. Behind him, the Chyron graphics did all kinds of cool zooms and swoops, showing animations and time-lapsed satellite cloud movements, which meant zero to about ninety-five percent of the population tuning in.