Excerpt: Save the City

By Marie Robinson

“Okay. Enough’s enough. Pull over.”

The Bee Cave exit was ahead. They were fifteen minutes from Thomas’s house, tops. Mia floored it. The car leapt again, aimed for the exit.

“I said pull over.”

“That’s just what I’m doing.”

“Not at the exit!”

“Why? Worried I can talk my way out of this but you can’t?”

He reached for the wheel. The car swerved. Mia’s arm went up to deflect, but she accidentally landed a perfect elbow to Hollis’s mouth. He reached up, wiping blood from his gums. The car swerved back, both of them racking the doors.

“Are you crazy?”

“All women are crazy. Handsome stud like you — don’t you know that?”

He reached for the wheel again. This time, after deflecting, she glared right into his eyes, the Charger’s wheels rattling loose stone on the berm.

“Touch the wheel again, and I swear to God I’ll drive us into oncoming traffic. Think I care? I’ve lost my life, got barricaded in my city under martial law, and have you for a companion. Don’t test me. I very much don’t want to be here.”

The bluff made Hollis back off. There was a difference between knowing what buttons to push and understanding a person’s core. She’d pushed his charm to an extreme, gone so wild that he didn’t know how to cope. It was like a dog chasing cars, then finally catching one. Where was all his macho bullshit now?

The car went faster and faster — far too fast for the exit ramp ahead.

“Okay,” he said, raising his hands in pacification. “Mia? Okay. I’m with you. We can go wherever you want. The gas stations all still seem to be open. We can gas up and drive the roads all week. But don’t go back to Thomas’s.” He swallowed. “I can’t let you take me back there.”

Mia felt herself sliding into a fugue. The past few hours had gone both slow and fast. She’d been inside her head, driving in circles without paying attention. Where were they going? The facts were the facts, and only now did Mia see that she’d kept them all at arm’s length. But sooner or later, unless she truly planned to crash or return to Thomas, she’d have to face those facts.

As mad and confused and scared as she was, Mia eventually had to stop circling and start doing.

They could no longer leave the city. And in less than five days, an alien armada would reach Earth … and do God knew what.

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