One-Knight Stand (White Knights #3) - Julie Moffett

Chapter One


Time was running out, and I wasted a fraction of it with a quick glance at my watch.

Thirty seconds left.

I blinked away sweat as it dripped into one eye. A wicked cramp twitched in my side, an unfortunate effect of lying in an awkward position. But I needed both hands free if I was going make it.

I wouldn’t fail this time. I couldn’t.

I yanked harder on the wires, giving me better access and a clearer look. Six color-coded wires. Surprise! I’d only been expecting to see four. This was bad, but no time to freak out about it now.

Stay focused.

I zeroed in on the two red ones, the white, and the yellow. I didn’t know what the others were for, but I didn’t have time to figure that out. Just had to hope they were unimportant.

Holding my breath and squeezing my eyes into slits, I clipped one of the red wires. Nothing happened.

Thank goodness.

I clipped the other red one, deftly stripping the ends with a practiced flip of my wrist before twisting them together. I was halfway home, but I couldn’t afford a mistake at this stage. I had to remain calm.

Which wire was next? White or yellow? I tried to recall what my instructor had said, but all I could remember was him saying, “When you don’t know what to do and you have to make a decision, make it quickly and face the consequences. Delaying won’t provide clarity. Be decisive, because your life may depend upon it.”

Yellow. I choose yellow.

I slid the wire cutters around the yellow wire and, with a quick breath, snipped and stripped it. It was deathly quiet, so I dared another glance at my watch.

Less than five seconds.

It was now or never.

Praying I was right, I touched one end of the yellow wire to the twisted red ones. I heard a click…just as my time ran out.

Chapter Two


My name is Angel Sinclair, and I’m a spy.

Well, I’m not technically a spy yet, but I’m in training with the US government to become one, so it’s only a matter of time.

I suppose it’s strange to imagine a sixteen-year-old high school student attending a government-sponsored college and training program for undercover operatives. But it’s not that odd. I recently passed all the required academic, physical, intellectual, emotional, and psychological testing for the training, which, I assure you, was not an easy feat for a petite, redheaded teenager who previously had little idea what a spy actually did.

Frances “Frankie” Chang, my best friend, roommate, and probably the nicest person in the world, is also training to be a spy. We’re at the Underaged Training Operative Program, or UTOP, which is run by a variety of top-secret government agencies. Frankie is so friendly, open, and genuine, everyone tells her everything. She’s the perfect spy, gathering information and intelligence in a nonthreatening way. She also has an incredible artistic eye and wizard-level skills as a graphic artist. She’s been told she’s training to be an artist/validator, which is what the CIA calls the forgery artists employed to provide authentic documents, passports, and identification required by undercover agents.

When I burst into our dorm room, I found her sitting at her desk, typing something on a laptop. Her dark hair was in pigtails, one sporting a red bow and the other a blue. Frankie loved what she called “eclectic fashion,” which meant I didn’t understand anything she wore or the meaning behind it. Of course, I didn’t understand fashion at all, so there was that. But somehow, her sense of style worked, and I kind of liked being surprised by her fashion choices.

“Angel,” she said, turning in her swivel chair, her eyes lighting up. “Did you do it?”

“Yes!” I pumped a fist in the air. “I did it. I hot-wired a car in under two minutes.”

“Oh, wow! That’s wonderful.” Frankie clapped her hands, beaming at me. “You’re so going to ace that class.”

The class she referred to was Situational Repurposing of Electronic and Mechanical Systems. Students learned how to make various electronic or mechanical items do what we needed them to do in the field. The instructors referred to the course as SREMS, but all the students called it the MacGyver Class, after the television series starring Angus “Mac” MacGyver, a secret agent who preferred to fight crime with ingenious feats of engineering and infinite scientific resourcefulness.

Repurpose a car engine to make it a bomb? Sure, no problem. Give me six minutes.

See that spare paper clip on the table?