Earth is drowning, but Isabel Visconti won’t be going down with the planet. Her earnings as a factory drone and prostitute will soon fund her escape to the stars. All she’ll leave behind is her late husband’s best friend, Daniel Morneau, who has disappeared into the underbelly of the city’s criminal gangs. Until he shows up, pleading for Isabel’s help.
It’s the old Daniel, the kind, gentle one. The man who bought medicine for her dying husband then helped her through the grief. It’s the Daniel she couldn’t possibly refuse to help. But Isabel has already been given a choice by Daniel’s psychopath boss. Betray Daniel—or spend months travelling to a far-off colony, servicing a violent criminal gang along the way.
When Daniel is abducted, Isabel is his only hope. He may die without her, but is there time enough for love on the eve of the end of the world?
Isabel sat on the couch, holding the rucksack and staring at it in confusion, her work coveralls in a pile outside the door of the shower stall. Her hair was dripping wet, her skin red, as if she’d scrubbed herself too vigorously in the shower.
He took a step forward. “Isabel.”
Shrieking, she jumped to her feet, holding the rucksack in front of her.
“Isabel, it’s just me.” He walked toward her, holding out his hands.
“Daniel,” she said, “what…what are you doing here?”
“I needed a place to go. I needed a friend.” He shrugged. “I only have one of those.” He moved toward her, taking a long look at her face. She looked haggard. Her eyes were red. “Are you okay? Why so late home from work?”
She pushed the wet hair away from her face. “I had to go see Vangelis. I got a summons.” She stared at him, blank-eyed.
“Oh,” he said, carefully. “What did he want?”
“Oh.” He sat down and took the rucksack from her.
“What did you steal from him?”
Daniel pulled the envelope out of the rucksack. “The day’s take.”
“Why, Daniel? Why? You were so close to getting off planet. He has a ship booked for next week. Why now?”
Daniel shrugged. “Bad decision, I guess.” He side-eyed her. She was trembling and he caught a whiff of ouzo off her breath. “What did he want with you?”
“He wants me to let him know if I see you.” She stared at the floor. So unlike her. She was usually a full-eye-contact kind of woman. “He says give him back what you took, and then you and he can talk. He’s willing to talk, Daniel.” She looked up at him through a fall of hair, but her eyes skittered away almost immediately. “He’s says you took two things. What was the other?”
“I’ll show you.” He stood and held out a hand to her. She ignored it and pushed herself up. Daniel led the way to the bedroom.
“You went in there?” she whispered. “You had no right!”
“You’ll understand.” He opened the door….