Tesla’s Stepdaughters – Chapter 13 Excerpt

“Brussels doesn’t know what to do,” said Wright. “They want you off the detail, but not necessarily off the team.”

“What does that mean exactly?”

“It means they’ve got another agent on the way to take your place. Once she gets here, you’re going to be off checking those few remaining people in our threat files.”

“I thought we had eliminated pretty much all the credible threats.”

“We have. This way they can say you’re still on the case, but you’re not engaged in any high profile sexcapades.”


“I feel for you partner. It’s not like I haven’t found my way into some nice warm beds in the past two weeks. Mine just aren’t so famous.”

“What do I do in the meantime?”

“Same thing you have been doing. Stay close to the Ladybugs. Keep them out of danger. We’ll decide what you’re doing next after your replacement gets here tomorrow.”

Andrews was halfway back to his room before he realized that his jaw was clamped shut. He stepped into an alcove and closed his eyes. He took three deep breaths and then held the last one as he rolled his head around. He pictured his dorm room in the enclaves as he took several more slow deep breaths. All he had ever wanted when he was there was to leave, and now that he was gone, it was the safe place he visualized in times of stress—the bare cement block walls, the simple white dresser and desk, the well-worn rugby ball sitting on his tightly made bed.

When he opened the door to his room, he was expecting to find Ruth there, or perhaps Ep!phanee. Instead Steffie was there. She was wearing a floral print cropped tie top with widely flaring sleeves and a pair of hip hugging bellbottoms in the same design. Her mass of platinum hair hung loosely about her shoulders, making her thin face look less predatory. Andrews thought she looked pretty, and he told her so.

“Before you say anything else, I want to apologize,” she said.

“For the interview?”

“No, for the other night at the club. I was completely toasted.”

“Yes, I remember. And now you’re here… because this is your day?”

“That’s right. Here. Ruth made this calendar for you.” She handed him a monthly calendar with a name written in each square.

“Steffie, Steffie, Penny, Penny, Ruth, Ruth, Steffie… Looks like you hit the jackpot.”

“Are you mad at me?” She had a hurt look on her face that gave him a sort of choking feeling.

“No, I’m not mad at you. I’m just upset. They’re going to send me away. They’re going to take me off the detail.”

“They can’t do that! We won’t let them.”

“No choice, I’m afraid.” He walked to the couch and sat down. “Probably all for the best. I’m sure this is playing right into the hands of those women in the Science Police who think men have no business in the agency. We can’t focus on anything but our penises.”

“That’s just stupid. Obviously they don’t know any men.”

“Maybe. Or maybe they know us too well.”

“You need to not think about it. Why don’t we have breakfast? Have you eaten?”

“I’m not hungry.”

“Then let’s just sit and talk.”

“I don’t really feel like talking either.”

“You remember when you first interviewed me?”


“We took turns asking questions.”

Andrews smiled despite himself. “That’s right.”

“Let’s do it again.”

“Okay, but you go first.”

“What’s your favorite sport? Is it that rugsby?”

“Rugby. Yes. Your’s?”

“I liked baseball when I lived in California, but since I’ve been living in Europe, I mostly watch football. Did you play rugby growing up?”

“Yes. All the boys did. It got pretty brutal. I busted my chin open and had to have six stitches right here.” He lifted his chin and pointed to a thin scar. “It was mostly just an excuse for the bigger boys to beat the crap out of the smaller boys, but it was a lot of fun.”

“Okay, your turn.”

“I’ve been meaning to ask you about your nose ring.”


“Piffy and Ruth have the side of their nostrils pierced, and so do other women I’ve seen with nose rings, but you have it right in the middle. Why?”

“Do you think it makes me look like a cow?”

“No. But I can see how people might make that connection.”

“I wear it for two reasons really. One: it kind of touches on this submissive streak that I feel inside, but don’t otherwise let show. And two: it just pisses a lot of women off for some reason, and that’s always fun.” They both laughed. “Okay, my turn. What’s your favorite food?”

“A month ago, I would have said tacos, but now I have to go with hot dogs.”

“Have you had a chilidog yet?”

“No. Hey, you snuck an extra question in there.”

“Oh no,” she said, her eyes large with mock surprise. “Maybe you’ll have to punish me.”


“Ask me two questions then.”

“Why are you interested in me?”

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