Rhea Florakis is a detective in the Magical Crimes Unit of the Neon City, a futuristic landscape where witches try to evade their taxes with counterfeit coins, and Madams run brothels full of high tech sex bots. When Rhea finds out that the notorious Tonya Byrd (A.K.A. Mrs. Nobody) is about to be released from prison, she springs into action. Tonya Byrd already evaded Rhea once -- but there are still two weeks left before an old statute of limitations runs out, and Rhea wants to find Tonya before anyone else does.
Meanwhile, Tonya Byrd only has three things on her mind when she steps out of prison: food, sex, and a yet to be named "good stuff" that will keep her satisfied all night long. When she is apprehended by Rhea and her bumbling partner, Murphy, she realizes she must put her own freedom on hold and complete one last mission. With some fancy new VR tech to help her out, the next job -- defeating an underground shipment of human cargo -- should be easy.
It is, of course, much harder than both Tonya and Rhea ever imagined. When the smoke clears, will they be able to put to mend their seven years apart? Or will the stray kiss they get in a heated chase be all they can ever have together?
When Tonya’s gaze landed once more on Rhea, she turned away. She didn’t want to, oh not ever again, but she did. She rose from the bed and signalled to Murphy that they needed to talk in private. They closed the cramped bathroom door and whispered their next steps together. They were to release Tonya, but also ensure that she kept the eye implant. “It’s already on,” Rhea said. “Which means that we can track her.”
“We don’t have that authorization,” Murphy said.
“But we can call it in,” Rhea said. A late night call to their captain would annoy him, but that was even better. He’d approve their use of the IT guy without realizing he was also tacitly approving a quick and dirty undercover mission.
Murphy let out a low breath. He glanced at his phone, scepticism evident. “It’s almost midnight now. There’s no way we can get this done by the time of the drop.”
Rhea considered this. “We can do it alone, maybe?”
“Hear me out,” she said, then spoke with her hands in an animated fashion. “We let her go. We tell her we can track her through the implant, but we don’t bother getting the IT guys in on it. The threat of surveillance is just as good.” When Murphy wanted to argue, she reminded him of the magical experiment done on a prison a few years back. The sheer fact that it looked like a prison was enough to keep them inside, though there was no magic in any of the doors or windows to keep them locked up tight.
“I thought that study was discredited?”
“Doesn’t matter. It’s the idea of it.” Rhea remembered Tonya’s own words on knowledge. “Either way, we follow her with our car. She knows, but the others won’t. The moment she walks into the trade off, then we call it in as a suspicious circs and ask for backup. In the chaos, we catch everyone.”
“In the chaos?” Murphy asked. “Are you so sure about this?”
“In the chaos,” Rhea said, remembering something else from an earlier time, “in the chaos the world was made. Why wouldn’t it work now?”
Murphy ran a hand through his hair. He paced, though there was room for only a few steps in the bathroom. When he seemed to exhaust all other options but the one she gave him, he nodded. “Fine. Okay. Let’s just get some food, first.”
“That sounds like a perfect plan,” Rhea said. She’d started to brainstorm meals in her mind when she heard Tonya kick something. They both burst out of the bathroom and watched as Tonya struggled against the floor.
“A little help?” she said. “Wasn’t trying to escape, FYI. Just wanted to pee and that garbage can under the desk was looking like a good place to go. Overshot the landing, though. So ... little help?”
Rhea laughed under her breath. She knelt down so she was eye to eye with Tonya. A moment flickered between them, a sense of commitment and camaraderie. Rhea turned to see where Murphy was in the room. His back was to them both as he glanced outside the motel room window. A flicker in Rhea’s heart caught her off guard. She felt drugged by Tonya, enchanted by her eye piece. When she turned back, she pressed a kiss to her lips before she knew what she was doing. Tonya, to her surprise, pressed back all the same.
“We’re on the same team now,” Rhea said as a whisper. She righted herself, and put distance between their bodies. “But just for a night.”
“All I ask is for the night,” Tonya said. “I want to celebrate this new event, but please ... Help me up? And bathroom too? This is ... difficult.”
Rhea nodded, and did exactly as Tonya asked. She figured, for now, it was the least she could do. As friends, as criminals together. If only for the night.