“Oh, my gosh! I’m so sorry!”
Hands reached for Maggie’s shirt and she batted them away. “Don’t!” she snapped. Her skin felt scalded where coffee stained her white button down. Maggie yanked the shirt away from her chest (not that it helped). “I’m fine. I’ve even got a spare shirt in my car.” A whole damned closet of them since she hadn’t found an apartment yet.
Blue eyes bright behind her glasses, the woman who’d christened Maggie with coffee fluttered around Maggie. Nervous gestures that pushed at Maggie’s waning patience. She was supposed to report for her first shift in less than half an hour. Thanks to the walking disaster in front of her, Maggie was going to be late.
“At least let me pay for the dry cleaning!” The woman reached for the purse slung across her body.
Maggie turned away. She didn’t have time to stand around while the woman dug out money or a business card or whatever else might be hidden like the prize at the bottom of a box of Cracker Jacks. “I’ve got to go!” she called out, breaking into a run.
She ignored the plaintive, “Wait!” behind her. It took five of Maggie’s thirty minutes to get back to her car. She dressed in a clean shirt as she played chicken with other rush hour drivers, unapologetically flashing the woman in the car next to her in the process. National City was her big break. A promotion to detective. A city free of the grit and grime of Gotham.
And no freaking Bat sticking his black-masked nose where it didn’t belong.
Nothing was going to get in her way.
Supergirl Saves the Day!
One day. Maggie glowered at the headline on the front page of the Tribune and then at the blurry picture of National City’s new superhero resting on the wing of a plane. She’d managed one glorious day without some flying female version of The Bat came to town.
“Exciting, right? Did you see the live footage last night?” Anderson mumbled around a mouthful of burger.
Taking a much smaller bite of her veggie burger, Maggie shook her head. It was hard to watch the local news while sleeping in the back of a car. Thankfully, she’d be picking up the keys to her new apartment after her shift.
“You came from Gotham. You ever meet The Bat?”
Maggie chewed aggressively and pointed to her mouth to avoid answering. As a member of the Gotham Science Division, she’d met The Bat on multiple occasions. He’d always failed to impress.
She reached for her drink and winced. Damn! That coffee burn still hurt. Maggie gingerly rubbed the spot, feeling the bulk of the bandage she’d slapped over the area.
Anderson noticed. She’d quickly realized she’d won the lottery on partners. He was damned good. “You OK?”
“Fine. Run in with a cute blonde and her hot coffee.”
“Welcome to National City, kid.” Anderson grinned. “If you got a thing for blondes, you moved to the right place. Sun, sand…”
His cellphone rang. “Anderson.” Maggie stiffened as he frowned, pulled a pen from his sport coat, and started scribbling on a napkin. “Yeah. Yeah, we’ll take a look. Thanks.”
“Problem?” Maggie was already waving at the waitress for the check.
“CI. Said there’ve been reports of a big shipment of heroine coming into the docks tonight.” He took the check from the waitress and tossed some bills on the table. “Let’s roll. We need to do some digging before I ask the captain for a drug unit and SWAT support.”
Maggie tossed her own money on the table and stood. “I’ll do all the research you want. No way am I getting stuck in the doghouse my first week with NCPD.” She had to trot to keep up with his much longer legs.
Unfortunately, their need to return to the station coincided with someone else’s need to eat greasy diner food. Anderson, by some feat of skill or luck, missed the human missile rocketing through the door.
For the second day in a row, Maggie found herself clutching the arms of a blushing, fluttering blonde with blue eyes. “Oh, my gosh!”
“You…” Maggie stepped back and took a deep breath. At least she wasn’t wearing hot coffee this time. “Do you ever look where you’re going?”
“Well, I…I mean, yes!” A wide, face-splitting grin lit up the diner. The woman stared at Maggie as if she was waiting for something. “I’m Kara. Danvers. Kara Danvers.” She thrust her hand out enthusiastically.
Feeling an odd sense of obligation, Maggie shook it. “Maggie Sawyer.” A horn honked in the parking lot, and Maggie felt her phone vibrate in her pocket. “I’m sorry. I’ve got to go.”
Kara bit her lip. “Are you sure? I mean…I thought… Don’t you want to talk?” The smile had disappeared. In its place was a pair of teary blue eyes and slumped shoulders.
“Hey, I’m sure we’ll run into each other again,” Maggie teased. Anderson honked again. “I really do have to go. It was nice to meet you, Kara.”
“We should have asked for SWAT.” Maggie ducked behind a barrel as bullets sent chips of concrete flying.
Two barrels away, Anderson peered carefully at their shooters: a half dozen heavily armed members of what Maggie figured to be Irish mob from the Gaelic tattoos. “No corroboration, remember? You didn’t want the doghouse.” Another round of gunfire.
Standing, Maggie fired three shots. Two of them landed. She grinned fiercely – and then cried out. Her gun clattered to the ground as her fingers went numb in sharp juxtaposition to the agony in her shoulder.
“Sawyer!” Anderson fired several wild shots over the top of his barrel and scramble toward Maggie. “Fuck! You’re hit.”
No shit. Maggie breathed through the pain and reached for the backup holstered on her right ankle. Her fingers were uncooperative, refusing to bend and slipping over the contoured rubber hand grip. “Grab my service weapon. If my counting’s right, you’ve only got two rounds left. My gun’ll add another six.”
Even the lighter weight of her revolver hurt like a bitch to raise. “Ready, partner?” They hadn’t called for backup. They were outnumbered and outgunned.
They weren’t making it off the dock alive.
Pushing the fear away, Maggie braced her right arm over her left and shot upright.
Her bullet bounced off the woman who appeared out the night sky…in a blue crop top and red workout shorts?
“You’re seeing this, right?” Maggie hoped she wasn’t hallucinating from the gunshot wound.
Anderson had the same disbelieving expression Maggie imagined she wore. Especially when the woman blurred and all of the guys with guns were disarmed and on the ground. “Detective?” The woman turned. The wind off the harbor whipped her blonde hair across her face, and she pushed it behind one ear. “I’ve got an ambulance and more officers on the way.”
That voice. It was familiar. Maggie squinted, trying to see more clearly in the dim lighting.
Unfortunately, Maggie was on borrowed time trying to solve the mystery of the woman’s identity. She could already hear sirens in the distance.
“You’re Supergirl.” Anderson was apparently a superhero fan. Superheroes or the four-inch strip of sculpted abs on display.
Maggie took a second look. Those abs were worthy of worship. “You should be putting pressure on that wound, Detective Sawyer. Supergirl strode toward Maggie. “You’re losing a lot of blood.”
When her hands pressed against Maggie’s shoulder, the burn mark on her chest heated as if another cup of hot coffee had been spilled on her. She hissed at the same time Supergirl gasped.
“Sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” The flood of words triggered Maggie’s memories.
No way. No fucking way. She stared into eyes so bright and blue they shone even on the dark dock. She opened her mouth to call Kara out. “I’m fine. Just a war wound from a fight with a coffee cup,” Maggie said instead.
When Supergirl grinned, any doubt Maggie had of her identity faded. Glasses and a ponytail would never disguise that brighter than the sun smile.
“What are you doing here?” She felt Anderson watching them and lowered her voice. “Kara! Someone could recognize you.”
Why did Kara always seem both overjoyed and sad around Maggie? She stared at Maggie for a long moment as if searching for something. Then she giggled. “You should really take that bandage off the burn, Detective. It’s healed.”
“Did you look through my clothes?” Maggie snapped. She forgot all about Anderson as she tried to pull out of Kara’s grip. It was impossible. Kara didn’t even seem to notice her efforts.
Kara grimaced. “I needed to know why you didn’t understand. Just…push up one of my sleeves.” When Maggie didn’t react, she added, “Please. It will all make sense then.”
Trust issues alive and well, Maggie shoved Kara’s left sleeve up a muscled forearm. Completely inappropriate sexual awareness swept through Maggie, and she noted Kara’s lips curl in amusement.
Maggie snapped out of her sexual haze when she glimpsed the crisp image of a handprint on Kara’s forearm. “There’s a matching one on my other arm. I…ran into my soulmate yesterday.”
Soulmate. Maggie slowly fitted her hand over the mark. They were exactly the same shape and size. “The burn.” Ignoring the pain from her shoulder and Kara’s attempts to hold her still, Maggie yanked down the collar of her shirt and ripped off the bandage. She couldn’t see the shape of the mark, but the tattoo-like design colored her skin.
“The paramedics are here.” Kara stepped back as the first EMT rushed up. “Get well soon, Detective.” She jumped into the air, eyes locked with Maggie’s for a second before she disappeared.
Maggie’s soulmark went cold as Kara disappeared into the night sky,
“You and me are going to talk soon, kid.” Anderson pointed a finger at Maggie as the EMT helped her onto a stretcher. “Real. Soon.”