Protesters attend the event because the Stark Megastore has replaced a locally owned grocery store, and one of the protesters shoots a plasma screen with a paintball gun, snapping the wires. Em saves her sister from being hit by the falling plasma screen but takes the hit herself. At almost the same moment, Nikki faints. A month later, Em finds herself in the hospital, trying to recall what had happened.

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Where can you hide When everyone knows your name? Em Watts is a prisoner: Brandon Stark, heir to the Stark corporation family fortune, is holding her captive. And not just to use her to trick Nikki into revealing that secret, and helping him secure his place as head of Stark Enterprises once and for all. Tired of being lied to. Tired of being told who she can and cannot love.

Will Christopher be able to put aside his personal feelings and help her expose her employer to the world? Maybe it would be better for Em to just keep on running Publication Information Scholastic, Inc. In my dream, Christopher had come to rescue me. Quite the opposite, in fact. Our reunion was joyful. It was turning the ice that had been flowing in my veins back to blood. In my dream, Christopher was kissing me. Then, as I kissed him back, proving that it was true-I had never loved Brandon.

How could I? My lips parted beneath his as his hands found their way into my hair-spread like a fan across my pillow-his mouth cool against mine because of the chill outside, the zipper from his leather jacket almost unbearably cold as it pressed against my warm skin as he leaned over my bed, whispering my name. Me, Em. Except if that was true. Wait a minute. I opened my eyes with a gasp to find a hand pressed to my mouth.

This was no dream. This was really happening. I knew who it was, of course. Who else could it have been? The hand over my mouth was masculine. So of course I did the only thing I could: I clamped down on it with my teeth as hard as I could. What else was I going to do? How dare he try to take advantage of me when I was dreaming about someone else?

Someone I actually liked. Jesus, Em! The hand ripped away from my face, and for a second, I heard the sound of leather rubbing on leather. My sleep-muddled mind tried to make sense of this. Why would Brandon be wearing a leather jacket inside? My mind reeled.

In my room? What was Christopher doing here? How had he gotten in? Had I not been dreaming after all? Had he really been kissing me? Oh, my God, did I hurt you? Are you bleeding? He sounded so annoyed, I wanted to grab his face and go back to kissing it, just like in my dream. Only Christopher could sound that irritated with me. Wonderful, amazing, easily annoyed Christopher. Was that why the door was locked? I had to use my library card to jimmy the lock. I forgot that I was supposed to be pretending that Brandon and I were an item now.

I was so overwhelmed at finding Christopher sitting on the side of my bed, just like in my dream, that I threw my arms around him, pulling him close and swearing to myself that I was never going to let him go. Just like in my dream. I think I was semihysterical. It felt so good to be in his embrace. Christopher was here. His hold on me loosened just enough so that he could look down into my face. I could see its faint glow through a crack in the curtains on the far side of the room.

But he, I knew, could see me. But give me some credit. I kept holding on to him. Kissing me awake. I knew there were things we needed to say. Things I needed to know, things I needed to tell him. But how could I when his lips were doing such interesting things to mine, and his hands-oh, his hands-had moved away from my face to tug at my. In the darkened room, there was nothing I wanted to do more than just let him keep doing what he was doing.

Someone had to stay sane. I could see that his blue eyes, so close to mine, were half-lidded and looked dazed. I pulled her onto my lap to use her as a kind of doggy boy-defense shield. But we have to talk. What are you doing here? Seriously, everything this boy said-and did-was causing my internal organs to do acrobatics. He had come all the way from New York to rescue me? Just when I had given up all hope that anyone I knew was even thinking about me.

Except Lulu and my mother. And my agent, Rebecca, of course. But that, I knew, would be a huge mistake. Pushing some of my sleep-tossed hair out of my eyes, I resolved to follow my own advice and focus. This one can run something like a million potential code combinations a second before it finds the right one. I think maybe he belonged on the payroll of some tech corporation in Silicon Valley. Where could we even go? And what about Steven, and Nikki, and their mom?

But go where? But what about Mrs. I wanted to tell Christopher all these things. What she overheard that got her killed. I closed my eyes for a second or two, relishing the warmth from his fingers as they swept my skin. A wave of desire slammed into me with all the force of a dodgeball hurled by Whitney Robertson. I had it bad for this guy. Nikki says she overheard Mr. And all of it is going to be stored on the mainframe at Stark Corporate. All of it. She says they were all congratulating one another and toasting over it.

But no. The darkness-and hate-were still there. Maybe they would never go away. And I was going to have live with the knowledge that I was the one who was responsible for that. He held up one finger. They tried to kill Nikki Howard when she threatened to expose the truth about them.

We better get on it. She likes it here just fine. Something about his expression told me that the evil supervillain was not only back, but here to stay. But she has to, of course.


Runaway (Airhead Series #3)

There was a lot of potential in this series, which got promptly wasted. The big problem I keep coming back to is the characterization. Everything important about Stark or the operation, someone has to spell it out for Em before she realizes the truth. I think the only thing she figures out on her own is the spyware on her computer in the first book.


Win an advanced copy of Runaway!

Runaway is the third book in the Airhead series by Meg Cabot. It was first published in March by Scholastic. One evening, Christopher appears and asks Em to escape, but she refuses to go without the others. Howard back to New York. As she leaves, Em notices that she is being tailed by a Stark security man and calls Christopher for help; during their escape, he kisses her. Felix retrieves the data, most of which belongs to young, healthy people soon to go abroad, all part of a mystery scheme known as Project Phoenix. As they leave, Em confronts Christopher about their kiss, but he brushes it off, claiming he has lost interest in her.

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