Until Hollywood calls, Charlotte lives in NJ with her husband, three children, two needy cats and sometimes a deranged squirrel. She is the co-author of Blonde Ops (St. Martin’s/Dunne) and the Sirenz series (Sirenz, Sirenz Back In Fashion, Flux).
She’s written for magazines and newspapers. Currently she’s working on solo sci fi, ghost, and time travel novels and loves to hear from fans on Twitter (charbennardo) or through her blog, http://charlotteebennardo.blogspot.com/
You can buy her books at your local bookstore or online at:
Books A Million
Barnes and Noble
Staying in the shadows, I walked around the warehouse, and spying the faded Fredo Transporto sign, I knew I was in the right place. Around the corner of the building, I passed cracked windows grimed over with soot and dirt and eventually found a door. After a quick glance to make sure no one was around, I ran up to it and stopped in dismay. It had an electronic keypad lock. Cracking this would cost me extra time that I didn’t have. Lucky for me, it was a cheap setup. I didn’t have the equipment for disabling a more sophisticated system. Carrying the necessary tool in my luggage, even if I had it, would have instantly gotten me yanked out of the security check into a room for a full body search and interrogation.
Sliding my backpack off, I pulled out my penlight. A swift look up assured me I was still alone. Using my hand to shield the light, I turned it on and searched the ground near the door.
Not too far from the walkway was a patch of dirt, bare of grass, dried and hard packed. I ground it with my foot, creating a powdery dust. I scooped up a small handful, went back to the door, and gently blew dirt onto the keypad. It was almost like dusting for fingerprints. The penlight showed it stuck to four numbers: 3, 5, 6, and 8, where residual skin oils remained from repeated pressing on the pad.
That meant only twenty-four possible combinations if it was a four-digit code string. It wasn’t a high-end lock, so it probably had a shorter sequence of numbers and wouldn’t freeze up with too many wrong combos, like a computer would after three incorrect passwords.
I began with 3, 5, 6, 8.
Then 3, 6, 5, 8.
Sweating, I rushed. Being caught picking a lock on a warehouse would be the most legitimately jail-worthy thing I’d done to date, taking me from hobbyist-hacker to criminal-cracker.
i>Focus! If Candace or the man shows up early…
5, 6, 3, 8.