An Excerpt from The Tomorrow Paradox (Book Two in The Adventures of Mackenzie Mortimer):
Drake Bryant entered his half-sister Brandy’s bedroom. “You look chipper today. I bet you’re glad to be out of that hospital.”
Gemma gave him the once over. He must be Drake. She grinned. Whoever he is, he’s hot. “I couldn’t wait to break out,” Gemma deadpanned.
“You certainly dressed for the occasion. Is that a new outfit?”
Gemma beamed. “You noticed. I printed it yesterday. Do you like it?”
“Sure, but it’s more extravagant than what you normally wear.”
“You’ve got that right.” Gemma smirked, thinking back to her skimpy clone uniform. Realizing for her disguise to work, she needed to look as much like Brandy as possible, she said, “Now that I’m home, I’ll wear my usual outfits.” She opened her closet door. “Which ones are your favorites?”
Drake shrugged. “You know better than to ask a guy about women’s clothing. But I’ve always thought these two here look nice on you.”
Gemma noted his choices so she could change into them later. For her deception to succeed, she had to be Brandy Bryant. The irony was not lost on her that, as in the Simulacrum Institute, she would still be unable to express her individuality.
“There must be a full moon tonight.”
Drake shook his head. “It’s an old expression; something you say when people are acting weirdly.”
Gemma felt uncomfortable, afraid Drake had become suspicious. “Who’s acting weird?”
A wave of relief swept over Gemma. “Oh?”
“She actually seemed pleased to see me. She even had a plate of cookies waiting for me. I hope they weren’t poisoned.” Drake chuckled.
Aha, Gemma thought. I’ve seen this holo-vid before. Drake must be the bad boy boyfriend that Brandy’s grandmother disapproves of. Her eyes traced the contours of his body. My original has good taste; I definitely approve.
“She was buttering me up because she wanted me to find out if you were all right. She said you weren’t yourself when you came home. I may not be one of her favorite people, but she knows how close we are and she thinks you’ll tell me if anything’s troubling you.”
“It’s true I wasn’t myself when I came home.” Gemma smiled at the irony. “But I’m much better now that you’re here.” She recalled all the romantic holo-vids she had viewed on lonely nights at the institute. Gemma approached Drake and hugged him.
Drake hugged her back. “Wow, you must have really missed me since yesterday.”
Gemma ran one hand down Drake’s back until it settled on his rear end. She squeezed it and locked her lips onto his, forcing her tongue into his mouth.
Drake pushed her away. “Shadzooks! What are you doing?”
Gemma looked at him in surprise. “Like you said, I missed you. Didn’t you miss me?”
“Of course I did, but not in that way.” He wiped his mouth with his shirtsleeve.
Despite having seen countless holo-vids, Mackenzie Mortimer was the only other boy Gemma had ever kissed. “Did I do it wrong?” the naïve clone asked.
“A joke’s a joke, but you took it too far. Having my sister’s tongue in my mouth could scar me for life.”
Sister! Gemma gulped. Attempting to pass as Brandy was more complicated than she had realized. She forced a laugh. “At least I didn’t lose my sense of humor in the hospital.”
“I’m sorry, you’ve been through a lot and you can still joke, while I’m moody. I tried to tell Dad my theory about the time traveler but he blew me off. Mom tells me it’s because he’s absorbed in his work, but I know better. I realize he loves me, but he doesn’t respect me as a person. He treats me like a kid and doesn’t take me seriously.”
“Time traveler?” Gemma’s pulse quickened.
“Yeah, it won’t be long now before I’ve tracked him down and exposed his identity so Dad can arrest him. That’ll make Dad appreciate me.”
Gemma grew concerned for Mackenzie and his family. They had sheltered and protected her and she felt obligated to do the same for them. She didn’t know if they were the ones Drake was tracking, but Gemma figured anyone looking for time travelers posed a threat to the Mortimers. “Why do you say it won’t be long?”
“My app has locked onto his time travel device. The next time he activates it, assuming he’s not in a shielded area, I’ll know where he is, and thanks to my latest improvement to the program, I’ll be able to track the device even after he’s turned it off. It will lead me right to him. I’ll trap the Fox in his lair.”
Gemma felt her stomach turn. Her first day disguised as a human was not turning out well at all.
Time is running out… fortunately, Mackenzie Mortimer has a few more minutes than anyone else!