Captured by the enemy, the last thing he expected was to find love…
Once a Colonel with the Fleet, Lyon is now a rebel, a wanted man with a price on his head. Worse, he’s a Leo-class military grade cyborg. Which means the price on his head is dead, or alive. Captured by fleet marines he’s on his way to a medical facility for dissection so the scientists can work out how he and his kind have bypassed all the security protocols the Fleet built into them, and managed to rebel. He expects nothing but pain, and degradation from his captors and, for the most part, that’s what he gets.
He doesn’t expect nurse Samara Williams, a woman who was brought up not to judge a book by its cover and to see people for their worth, not what a Fleet PR campaign tells her she ought to see. Disgusted by the treatment Lyon is receiving, she is determined to take care of his injuries and make his stay on the ship as comfortable as possible.
But Samara is a nurse, not a trained commando used to dealing with cyborgs. When she neglects to ensure his cuffs are locked tight, all hell breaks loose. A hot, sensual sort of hell she’d trade her soul for…
Copyright © MINA CARTER, 2011
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
They’d caught him. Lock, stock and fucking barrel.
Lyon seethed in silence as the security officers buzzed around his maximum security cell like flies around a honey-pot. He was furious, more with himself than anyone else. He should have known General Ryland, úber-marine legend, wasn’t going to be that easy to catch.
For heaven’s sake, he’d read the goddamn file on the woman. The one clearly marked “Do not fuck with” He might as well have just looked at the pictures. He’d been too arrogant and assured of his own abilities.
As soon as he’d seen her among the Arcadian marines, he’d recognized her. She was dangerous, inventive and unpredictable. He’d known that. What he hadn’t known, and was now kicking himself for, was that she’d have an Empath virtually joined at the hip.
“To the back of the cell,” the guard ordered. The hard look in his eyes warned Lyons not to try anything. His team had killed some of this man’s crewmates and, from the looks of it, the guy was itching for payback. Lyons would prefer to avoid being the mechanism for that payback. Cyborg he might be, but even he could feel pain.
Rolling to his feet, he stood, and smothered a smile as the female guard at the back gasped. Yeah, he was big. Over six foot and broad across the shoulders, just the same as any other Leo class out there. It wasn’t fate. It wasn’t hours spent in the gym honing his physique. He’d been designed to be big. He was the biological equivalent of a tank.
A right lot of good that had done him when he’d tracked Ryland. He’d been so focused on getting the General in his clutches and finally getting a shot at persuading someone high up in the fleet that he and his kind weren’t the monsters they were made out to be that he’d all but ignored the guy with her.
All it had taken was for Ryland to distract him by flitting almost close enough to catch. While his attention was on her, the Empath had sneaked up behind him. Lyon couldn’t figure out how he’d done it. Anyone else he’d have detected. Something would have tipped him off. The slight scuffle of a boot in the undergrowth or a caught breath would have caught his hyper-sensitive senses. Not this time.
He replayed that chronological section of his capture over and over in his memory to try to figure it out. There was nothing. It was as though the guy hadn’t even been there until he’d placed his hand on the back of Lyon’s neck and tumbled him into darkness.
Note to self, avoid Empaths in future. That, or break their fucking necks before they get close.
He moved to the back of the cell. He’d been through the drill before, so he moved before they gave the order, standing facing the wall with his hands behind his back.
“Being a good little machine today, are we?” The guard behind him sneered as he clipped the heavy manacles over Lyon’s wrist. He activated the magnetic locks. Instantly, Lyon felt the energy drain.
The fleet had created him and his kind. They knew how to contain them. At least, they thought they did. What they didn’t know was how extensively Lyon’s base systems had been hacked and modified. Something he intended to stop them discovering at all costs, even if he had to set the tri-sappherium crystals that powered his cybernetics and combat chassis to overload. The resulting blast would take out not only him, but also the ship and possibly most of the system as well.
Gritting his teeth, he ignored the pain as they hauled him backward out of the cell.
“That won’t do you any good. Once they get you on the Valkyrie, they’ll slice and dice you. See what makes you tick.”
He couldn’t help the query. It slipped from between his lips before he could stop himself. Even as he spoke, he ran a query through his onboard computer. What portion of his memory banks he could access at the moment. As soon as he’d realized there was an Empath near, he’d locked his memory banks down.
There it was, the CFS Valkyrie. A Delean-class vessel assigned to exploration and general backup for the colonies and planets in this sector. Lyon swore under his breath. He’d assumed that they would transport him back to the Terran sector on the Arcadia. That was the eventuality his team had been briefed for in case the snatch and grab went wrong and they had to recover any of the team.
Great, just bloody great. Unless he did something, his team would tail the Arcadia across the sector. Only to find their prize was on a ship heading the other way.
The guard behind him checked the mag-locks and he was ushered out of the cell. Despite the fact he was restrained, the guards kept a healthy distance from him. Lyon didn’t blame them. The hardware he was packing under his skin meant he could hospitalize someone just by falling on them.
He sighed as the little group started down the corridor. They stayed far enough out of range that he couldn’t even try a grab and strangle maneuver. Someone would have a rifle in his guts before he could blink. But he didn’t need to disable anyone to get a message to his team that he was being transferred. All he needed was an open comms port and a half second to get a data burst through it. Then he was home free…
“Late, late. I’m going to be late. Damn it.”
Samara bustled down the hall. She was late for her shift. Again. The third time this week. Commander Jenkins, the senior nurse, was going to be pissed with her. Again.
She researched her speech in her head as she hurried. Her slender fingers fought with the frog fastening on her collar, trying to get the damn thing done up. It had always hated her, but today it was being more awkward than normal. Just like her alarm clock, which had decided to wake her up an hour later than normal. Why, she had no earthly clue. It seemed everything aboard this damn ship had it in for her.
She hissed with relief as the fastener snapped closed. Which only prompted the single bar of her rank, second class crewman, to jump from her collar in a lemming-leap for the floor.
“Oh no. You bastard thing!”
She made a dive for it, grabbing the thin bar of metal and starting to straighten just as she reached a corner. Pre-occupied, she didn’t look where she was going and completely missed the armed retinue coming the other way. She ran straight into them.
Squeaking, she grabbed the first thing she could get her hands on. A male chest. A broad, extremely well-muscled male chest. She grabbed at his gray ship-suit and fought for balance.