Home > Twisted Fates (Dark Stars #2)

Twisted Fates (Dark Stars #2)
Author: Danielle Rollins

Part One


Once confined to fantasy and science fiction, time travel is now simply an engineering problem.

—Michio Kaku

 

 

1


Dorothy


MARCH 18, 1990, BOSTON

Dorothy sat in the passenger seat of a red Dodge Daytona, fingers tapping her crossed legs. Roman had driven, and now he was leaning against the driver’s side door, staring out at the dark city streets beyond the windshield.

The inside of the car wasn’t particularly pleasant. The air felt stale and smelled of old french fries and gasoline. They hadn’t bothered turning on the heat, and a chill crept in through the windows, making the hair on Dorothy’s arms stand up.

Oh, and the radio didn’t work. If they wanted music, they had to play the tape currently stuck in the deck, a single of Paula Abdul’s “Cold Hearted.” They’d already listened to it at least fifty times over the last few days.

“He’s a coldhearted snake,” Dorothy thought, playing the song in her head. And she must’ve started humming because Roman shot her an irritated look.

She glanced at the clock on the dashboard as the red numbers flicked from 1:18 to 1:19 a.m.

She looked up at the rearview mirror, studying the street reflected behind her. There’d been a Saint Patrick’s Day party in an apartment building a few yards back, but most of the guests had trickled out by now. The door had stayed closed for the last twenty minutes. Now the street was empty, a slick of rain glistening on the pavement.

Her heart started beating faster. She inhaled long and slow, nose twitching at the smell of french fries.

“It’s time,” she said, reaching for the door.

Roman cut his eyes at her. “Fix your mustache first.”

Dorothy twisted the mirror so she could see her face. The wax mustache perched above her upper lip was part of her disguise, but the damn thing wouldn’t stay put.

She pressed it down, grimacing as the glue took hold. The skin above her lip itched. “Better?”

“You’re too pretty to pass for a man,” Roman said, studying her.

Dorothy’s mouth quirked beneath the mustache, dislodging it again. It was a joke, sort of. She used to be pretty. But then she fell out of a time machine and got sucked into a tunnel through time and space. Her hair had turned white, and a spare bit of machinery had sliced up her face, leaving her with a jagged scar that stretched from her temple, over one eye and past her nose, and ended at the edge of her mouth. Pretty was no longer a word anyone would use to describe her.

Now she was . . .

Interesting.

“I could say the same thing about you,” she said. This wasn’t a joke. Roman was prettier than any man had a right to be, with his cool blue eyes and dark skin and messy black hair that had a way of looking intentional even when the wind had blown it into knots.

“Touché,” Roman said. He’d grown a real mustache just for tonight, and he was wearing a pair of fake, gold-rimmed glasses to make himself seem older. He used the glasses to full effect now, letting them fall down the bridge of his nose so that he could peer over them, eyebrow cocked rather seductively.

The effect had him looking more like a movie-star version of a college professor than a cop.

Dorothy was far past being taken in by Roman’s beauty. She made a gagging noise that caused his eyes to move to his reflection in the car window, brow creased in concern.

“Too much?” he asked, flicking a strand of hair off his forehead.

“You aren’t going to find any admirers in an empty museum at one in the morning,” said Dorothy.

“Ah, but there will be security cameras. And didn’t you say something about a police composite sketch?”

“You want to look your best for a police composite sketch?”

“In the movie version of this heist, I’d like to be played by Clark Gable.”

Despite herself, Dorothy grinned. No one could accuse her partner of false modesty.

“You have your dates mixed up,” she said, throwing her car door open. “Clark Gable died in 1960. This is 1990.” She hesitated, pretending to think. “Maybe Ben Affleck?”

Roman shot her a murderous look.

They climbed out of the car and crossed the street, stopping outside a wrought iron gate. A brick building hovered just beyond the trees, barely more than a dark shadow under the dim, yellow streetlights.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Dorothy thought, looking up. She frowned. In the photographs, it had seemed so much bigger.

A black box hung from the brick wall outside the gate. A year ago, Dorothy wouldn’t have known that it was an intercom, but, now, she leaned in close, pressing down the button with her thumb.

Static, and then a man’s voice. “Can I help you?”

“We’re with the Boston police,” Roman said. “We’re here to check on a disturbance in the courtyard.”

He flashed a small, gold badge at the camera that Dorothy had told him would be hanging above the fence. The security guard on the other side would see exactly what she wanted him to see: two Boston cops, dressed in stiff blue uniforms.

The buzzer emitted an angry growl that told her the security fence had been unlocked.

A familiar, tingly feeling of déjà vu worked its way through Dorothy’s shoulders. She had a composite sketch of the thieves taped to her mirror back at the Fairmont. It was rough, but she was convinced that the smaller of the two thieves was her, dressed as a man. She’d read every news article that existed about this heist, and each one had said the same thing: the thieves were never caught.

Which made sense. If the thieves were time travelers, they never could be caught.

Silently, they moved down the sidewalk and toward the museum’s entrance. Dorothy glanced at the twin stone panthers that guarded the front doors and felt a thrill of excitement. She’d seen them in photographs before, but now they were here, in front of her. She’d never get over that rush, when the things she’d seen in newspaper articles suddenly became real.

They pushed open the front door without knocking and walked inside, footsteps echoing against the marble. An older, African American security guard stood behind his desk. He was tall, with broad shoulders and a beard shot through with white. His eyes narrowed at them, suspicious.

This would be Aaron Roberts, then.

“I’m, um, I’m really not supposed to let people in here,” Roberts said, blinking. “But you said you’re with the police?”

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