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Harmony Lancaster flipped on the television as she pulled the damp towel from her hair. Long, damp strands of black, brown and sunlit blond fell down her shoulders as she picked up her manicure set and propped herself on the bed to watch the news conference.
Good ole Reverend Henry Richard Alonzo, head of one of the largest and fastest growing supremacist societies in the nation, was once again holding court and spouting nonsense. If only those to whom he preached were aware of who and what he was really all about. A son and grandson to members of the highest order of the Genetics Council. A man whose family had helped to create the monsters he now railed against. If Breeds could be called monsters.
A cynical smile shaped her lips: Well, perhaps in her case.
Returning to the States hadn't been an easy decision to make, especially to this area. But the job she had come here to do required it: rescuing the kidnapped daughter of a wealthy industrialist. The little girl had been amazingly brave during the rescue. It had made the job that much easier when it came to getting her out of the shack where she was being held.
As for the kidnappers, they would never be found. Harmony had made certain of it.
"The very creation of the Breeds is an abomination to the natural order and law of mankind," Alonzo was stating rationally, though his blue eyes glowed with fanatic fervor.
"Allowing them to run loose, to crossbreed and live as human is the most unconscionable mistake we can make. They were not created by our great and mighty God. They were created by man. They are the beasts that will mark us with their corruption. Is this what we truly want? To tempt our downfall into hell?"
"Give me a break," she muttered, turning her attention to the news conference as she ran a file slowly over her short nails, watching the arrogance that filled Alonzo's lined face.
How old was he now? Sixty-five, seventy? Shouldn't he be dead by now? The man was a plague, a blight on society, and if he would just mess up a little bit, then she would be happy to take him out. But until she found the blood on his hands, there wasn't a damned thing she could do.
If the Breed Ruling Cabinet wasn't very careful, then Alonzo was going to manage to eventually destroy them. He was gaining momentum and power. The once splintered supremacist groups were now slowly banding with him, creating a single entity that could, in time, turn world sentiment against the Breeds.
Race wars. They had been a part of the world for as long as humanity existed, in one form or another. They were gaining in momentum with the emergence of the Breed population. Sometimes, Harmony wondered why Callan Lyons, the leader of the Feline Breeds, had made the decision to publicize their existence. Yeah, Breeds were free. They weren't dying in labs anymore and they weren't imprisoned. Now they were hunted and reviled, and the world was slowly becoming divided once again. This time over species distinction rather than race.
Were the Breeds human? Unfortunately, as far as Harmony was concerned, they weren't. Humanity was stripped from them the first five years of their lives. And now Alonzo threatened the fragile balance the Breed Ruling Cabinet was attempting to bring to those fighting to regain their humanity.
That was, if Alonzo didn't die first. His wealth and fervor were the guiding forces behind the rapidly organized Blood Purity Society. And that sucked. Because killing him would require a lot of work, and it would really prick her conscience a bit. Of course, that wouldn't bother her overmuch if it weren't for the fact that another fanatic would just take his place. There were always other monsters out there waiting to replace the ones that fell.
"Mr. Alonzo, scientists from every nation have declared the Breeds as human," a reporter pointed out. A very nice lady and proponent of Breed rights. "At this point, isn't it a little late to consider locking them up again? They aren't animals."
"That's exactly what they are," H. R. Alonzo snapped. "They are animals, and our women are breeding with them, creating more animals. Before it's finished, the purity of our God-given genetics, the creation of our almighty God, will be tainted with them. Our children will be animals. Is this the world we want to live within?"
"We want a world without racial discrimination." The reporter smiled smoothly. "What you're suggesting is the worst possible scenario for just such discrimination. If we allow your views, what's to stop the violence against other races as well?" Alonzo stared down from his podium at the reporter as the television cameras panned in on her. Harmony sat up, crossing her legs on the bed as she watched the reporter. She was wearing silk and pearls, a very sedate statement of power. Harmony liked that.
"Would you take your dog to your bed, my dear?" he sneered. "Or your cat?" The reporter's brow lifted. "Neither my dog nor my cat walks on two legs, speaks in my language, or eats with a fork, Mr. Alonzo. Nor is their blood compatible to mine. Excuse me if I disagree with your vision here and say that if it walks like a human, talks like a human, and bleeds like a human, then it's my guess it's human." Her attractive features were flushed with her ire as her gray eyes narrowed on the good reverend with disapproval.
"And it's my guess you have no idea of the additional elements of that blood you speak so highly of, my dear," he sneered. "Do your research, then come talk to me about the difference between humans and animals."
The reporter opened her mouth to respond, only to be brushed aside as Alonzo called on another reporter. Harmony shook her head as he carefully maneuvered the rest of the news conference.
Alonzo was determined to bring a bill before Congress that would severely limit the rights the Breeds now enjoyed. If he continued as he was starting, there was every chance that he could do just that.
Harmony tightened her lips at the thought as she turned her gaze to her nails and the careful filing process that would heal any tears beginning in the tips. Suddenly, she narrowed her eyes, swinging her head toward the door as an odd scent caught her sensitive nose.
A Breed scent.
Harmony rolled smoothly from the bed, jerking her knife from beneath her pillow as she scrambled to the side of the door and flattened herself against the wall. If Jonas was out there, he would come in fast. The door would fly open and he would roll in before coming up with his weapon. He wouldn't expect her to slip out behind him. She had no intention of fighting her own brother. But she wouldn't be taken, not now, not for a crime she had every right to commit. She was code-named Death for a reason. She would not be taken easily.