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Everyone Lara loves dies. All she wants is to be numb, and she's about to get her wish...
Cyborg 112115 has one mission: kill Commander Mac St. Clair. But she can't pull the trigger. There is something about him that's too familiar, and he seems to know her.
With no memories of her own, she must decide whether to trust her instinct or the chip implanted in her head.
Mac's world ended when Lara Douglas was killed in action. Eight months later, on an opp deep in enemy territory, he becomes the target of an assassin. The cyborg fails at her mission, and doesn't have any memory of who she was or how she became a cyborg. Determined to help the woman, Mac takes the cyborg with him in hopes of unlocking her memories.
If he's wrong about her, it could cost the rebellion.
But if he's right... then he might be able to save her.
Excerpt 1 Mac raced up faster, pistol cocked and ready to aim. He rounded the corner into the room, ready to shoot, but stopped. The sniper had Gage pinned to the floor, forearm pressed against his neck as they choked the life out of him. He paused as he stared at her. It couldn’t be. It wasn’t possible. She was dead, or so he’d been led to believe. “Lara?” he asked, his voice coming out more of a croak. His heart raced. It was Lara. The realization made his pulse roar in his ears. Lara was alive. Thank God. It was the second chance he’d prayed for but didn’t think he’d get. She turned her head, her hazel eyes connecting with his. Something flickered over her features but flitted away just as quickly. A stony mask took over. He gulped as his heart restricted painfully. He’d seen that look before: on cyborgs. It couldn’t be. Not his Lara.
What had the World Alliance done to her? Gage sputtered, drawing Mac from his thoughts and back to his sniper struggling against Lara’s grip. Mac blinked his surprise away and lifted his gun, aiming it at her head. Shit. She was killing his man. He knew he should squeeze the trigger. If it were anyone else he would’ve. “Get off him.” Lara turned back to Gage but, instead of letting up, she pressed harder. Gage wheezed as he tried to push her off. Mac cocked his gun. “Now, Lara!” He hoped she listened because he wasn’t sure he could shoot her. The eight months since her alleged death had done nothing to stifle his feelings for her. Lara was the love of his life.
Losing her had been the hardest thing to accept. But here she was, alive. Gage gurgled as he flailed. “Come on. I know you; you don’t want to kill him. That’s Gage, your partner.” Mac took a step closer. His finger trembled around the trigger as he kept it pointed at her head. Lara let up and stood slowly, putting her hands up. Before he could blink, her hand went to her holster, and she’d drawn another weapon. It went off with a bang. Gage kicked her in the leg, sending her crashing to the floor. She landed on her butt. The bullet missed him for the second time today, and he couldn’t help but think it wasn’t a coincidence. Lara didn’t miss. Ever. The World Alliance might have messed with her brain, but part of her was still in there. He just had to find her. Mac sped across the room and kicked the gun from her hand, then knelt next to her, putting the barrel of his gun to her temple. She blinked up at him with her mesmerizing hazel eyes. God, he couldn’t shoot her. What the hell was he doing? But he wasn’t going to just leave her here either. “Put your hands behind your back,” he said. When she didn’t comply, he pressed the barrel harder against her temple, but not enough to cause her pain. “Now!” She moved her hands, placing them by the small of her back. He stood and pulled a few zip ties from his pocket and handed them to Gage. “Put these on her.” “Sir?” “Do it,” he said. They didn’t have time to argue. Gage eyed him for a moment before swiping the ties out of his hand. He bound her hands together, pulling the ties tight enough so she couldn’t move her wrists at all. “Gage, get her bags. You—” he pushed the gun against Lara’s face “—get up. You’re coming with us.” “Sir,” Gage said, shaking his head as he picked up Lara’s bags and gun. He pulled back the chamber. “We should kill it right now.” Mac growled. How dare he talk about her like that? “Lara Douglas is a member of the rebellion.” Gage looked from her to Mac. “She’s not Lara Douglas anymore. We’re doing Lara a favor by killing her body.” Mac sneered at the sniper. Lara was still in there. He’d lost her once — he wasn’t going to do it again. “She’s coming with us.”
This could be the stupidest thing he’d ever done but damn it, he couldn’t leave her and God knew he couldn’t kill her.
Lara let him lead her inside and up the steps. They stopped on the third floor and walked down a long, narrow hallway. The lights were out and most of the apartment doors had been left open after the resident’s hasty escapes. Mac chose the sixth door on the right and let them in. He closed the door behind them and pulled his gun from his holster. Lara watched as he canvassed the apartment before returning to the front room. “No one’s here,” he said. She wouldn’t expect there to be, with the bombs exploding outside. Any sane person would be running for cover. What did that say about her and Mac? “We’ll lay low here for a while. Stay away from the windows and see if you can find a camera or a phone. We’ll need something to record with. I’ll try to reach Minerva and Gage on the radio in a while once things have settled outside,” Mac said, going into the kitchen. Lara nodded as he started to rifle through the cupboards. Was he looking for food, or did he honestly think a camera or phone might be in there? She shrugged to herself and went to the living room. It was dark in here too, but the glow of the fires peeked through the curtains, letting in enough light for her to see. There was a couch, two recliners, and a small TV in an entertainment unit. She went to the stand and looked at the items. No camera or phone. Next, she went to the couch and fumbled around the cushions, but came up empty there too. She shifted her attention to Mac. He definitely wasn’t looking for a phone. It looked like he was opening a few cans of food and putting them into bowls. Food did sound good. When was the last time she had eaten? He might not be getting food for her, though. She watched him a moment longer before going to the bedrooms. The first one was empty except for a double set of bunk beds, but in the second she found a cell phone tucked in one of the nightstand drawers with the cord hanging out. Its charger was plugged into a socket in the wall. She touched the screen and smiled, finding it fully charged despite the lack of power. Grabbing both, she went back out to the kitchen. “I found a phone and a
charger.” She held up the items. “Good.” Mac smiled as he slid a bowl toward her. “Hungry?” She set the phone and charger down and picked up the bowl, lifting it to her nose. It smelled wonderful compared to the grub she’d been given in the hospital. “It’s one of your favorites,” Mac said. “Not as good as fresh papaya in Hawaii, which is your absolute favorite, but it’s a close second.” “You know my favorite fruit?” she asked as she picked up a piece of pineapple and plopped it in her mouth. The fruit squished between her teeth and she savored the taste of it. It tasted really good. Greedily, she scooped more out of the bowl. “There’s a lot I know about you,” he said as he took a bite of his own food. It wasn’t pineapple but she couldn’t tell what it was. “Gage said you didn’t like me. That we didn’t get along.” Lara picked up another fruit chunk and studied it. Mac chuckled. “Our relationship was complex.” “Relationship?”
Had they been more than teammates? She’d thought so until Gage had said otherwise. “What do you think?” Mac asked as he met her gaze. She inhaled and let it out. Her heart pattered a little faster against her ribs and she licked her lips. “We were lovers.” She swallowed hard and looked away, hoping she wasn’t making a fool of herself. “You remember?” Mac asked his voice dipping to a husky tone as he came around the counter to stand next to her. She shook her head and looked into her bowl. The images were true. She’d been intimate with this man. Did she love him? She must feel something for him, which is why she hadn’t been able to pull the trigger.
Swallowing the chunk of fruit in her mouth, she cleared her throat. “No. I’ve had a few flashes, images really, but no real memories. Not of you — of us.” Mac reached up and touched her cheek, letting his fingers run down to her chin, tilting it so she was looking up at him. His fingers were calloused, but his touch made gooseflesh break out over her skin. She wanted more. He took a step closer, causing her to hold her breath. “Minerva said strong emotions could trigger memories. That’s what happened with Cedric, right?” His thumb grazed over her lips and she gasped as he got even closer. The mechanical heart thudded against her ribs, which caused her pulse to roar in her ears. “That’s right.” “I want to try something.” He brought his mouth inches from hers before stopping. His gaze flicked to hers as if asking for permission.
He was going to kiss her, and she wanted to let him. She nodded and closed her eyes, leaning forward. Mac’s lips grazed against hers at first, caressing them lightly before he deepened the kiss. His tongue parted her mouth and dipped inside. One of his hands went to her hip, pushing her against the counter so he could press himself against her. His hardened length rubbed against her thigh, and she wondered what it would feel like to have it buried deep inside her. She shuddered at the thought. Her fingers glided up his chest to grab the lapels of his jacket.
About the Author Bethany Shaw lives in Ohio with her husband and two kids. Writing has always been her passion and she loves sharing her stories with readers. When she isn't writing, she is spending time with her family enjoying bike rides, bowling, and board games.
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