Stealing Faces

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Authors: Michael Prescott
Tags: Fiction, General, Suspense, Thrillers, Crime
rounded features. Her mouth was small, the lips pursed in sleep. He saw her eyelids twitch and knew she was dreaming. Of what? he wondered.
    Her skin was pale. He saw freckles. A dusting of them on her nose and cheeks and forehead.
    And then he knew.
    She had changed her hair. It used to be red, worn in a pageboy cut.
    And she had grown up, of course. Twelve years was a long time. She had been a teenager then. Must be thirty now. No, thirty-one.
    She was slimmer than she’d been—the baby fat was gone—and in its place he saw lean muscles in her arms and in the curve of her neck.
    From a girl, she’d become a woman. Nearly everything about her had been altered, but she still had her freckles, and they gave her away.
    Cray released a shudder of breath. He was shaking.
    He had been calm until this moment. He had been focused. But abruptly there was something tearing at him, some blind confusion, a howling turmoil, and he needed a moment to understand that it was rage.
    He thrust his arm down, clapping the wet cloth on her face, pressing it to her nose and mouth, and her eyes flashed open.
    In the dark he couldn’t see their color, but he knew they were blue.
    From her throat, a strangled noise of panic, good to hear.
    Her arms thrashed. He held her down, not even straining. He was far stronger than she was. She had never been any match for him. It had been sheer suicide for her to go up against him on her own. With a shiver of surrender, she went limp. Her eyes closed slowly. Cray held the cloth in place until he was certain she was unconscious.
    “I have you, Kaylie,” he whispered. “After all these years, I have you at last.”
     

 
    10
     
    Whiteout.
    The world was erased behind a brilliant screen of pure white, no depth or texture anywhere, only the perfect whiteness of snow on snow.
    Elizabeth   struggled to understand it, and then she knew it was a dust storm, like the one that had caught her by surprise on Interstate 10 on her way from   Las Cruces   to Lordsburg five years ago.
    She’d been driving the rattletrap Dodge she owned back then, a car that had never been very reliable, when without warning the highway had disappeared in a sheet of windblown sand, even the hood of her car wiped from sight, and for a few terrifying seconds she had coasted at sixty miles an hour, seeing no road and no traffic, praying she would not be part of a chain collision that would leave her mangled in the wreckage.
    Then the dust storm blew past her, and she was in a motel room in   Tucson , slumped in an armchair.
    And Cray was there.
    “Hello, Kaylie,” he said.
    She blinked, focusing on the tall man in black, his gloved hands, the shiny pistol aimed at her. The room was very bright. He’d turned on every lamp.
    “Your first instinct will be to fight or flee.” Cray’s voice was low, nearly inaudible over the buzzing drone of the air conditioner. “Resist the impulse to do either. I don’t want to shoot you here, but I will, if you make it necessary.”
    She shifted in the armchair and heard the creak of old wood. Her bare toes curled into the carpet’s short nap.
    Cray hadn’t tied her to the chair, but he had dressed her in her red Lobos jacket, zipping up the front, knotting the long nylon sleeves to trap her hands across her midsection.
    Like a straitjacket. Yes. He would have been amused by that.
    “Do you intend to be sensible?” Cray pressed, impatience seeping through his cool smile. “Well, do you?”
    Slowly she nodded. It was the only way for her to answer. Her mouth was gagged with what felt like a washcloth, tied in place at the back of her head.
    “Good. Then just sit tight. We’ll be leaving soon.”
    He wedged the gun in the   beltless   waistband of his slacks, then turned away. She saw that her suitcase lay open on the folding stand where she’d left it.
    He was rummaging through her things.
    She became aware of the need to breathe. But she couldn’t breathe with the towel clogging

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