Haunting Blackie Page 8

All those instincts she kept at bay smashed through her carefully constructed barriers. It no longer mattered that she’d sworn to fight her genetic makeup by refusing to belong to anyone. He could totally attach a collar around her neck and she’d happily follow him anywhere he wanted to go. She was his. But now was not the time.

It was really hard to resist his sex appeal and try to remember that her mission wasn’t over while they touched, staring at each other. Contradictory emotions of guilt and remorse flooded her. She had other cyborgs to rescue. That was the right thing to do.

The alarm sounded. She had to move fast. Get him out.

“No. I want you.” His words were a command as his hand firmly gripped her hip and she wanted to flee with him. He’d given her an order and she was ready to follow it. He didn’t want to let her go and she didn’t want him to. Only her handsome cyborg mattered at that moment.

The screaming siren meant security had noticed his escape and the guards would use the computers to track all movements on doors and lifts, which would lead them directly to the roof. His survival became her prime objective but she made him promise to forsake others to wait for her. She was his and she’d kill any bitch who touched him.

She had to lead security away from his hiding spot. She always kept a syringe of paralytics handy when she dealt with cyborgs. Some of them woke confused and could be dangerous. The drug worked fast but allowed her enough time to speak to them, to outline her mission and prevent them from attacking. Injecting her cyborg would save his life. As he sat there unable to move, she swore to make it up to him later.

She slipped away and confronted the guards alone. She would face whatever awaited her to insure his safety, his freedom.

She was taken to Cameron. He screamed at her, slapped her. The punishment he dealt out was worth it since she knew her cyborg had made it to safety. The link with him had been slowly broken as he’d flown out of computer-transmission range, the fading signal testament to his success.

Every day she daydreamed about being with him again. She saved a few more cyborgs while plotting her own escape. The day approached when they’d have all the time they wanted to bond. The fantasy of sleeping in his arms and learning every inch of his body kept her motivated. He’d get to know hers as well. It could be months or years while they traveled the galaxy, seeking a safe home on a distant planet. She’d show him they belonged together until he couldn’t deny they were meant to be a couple. Every fiber of her being screamed it.

The plans changed just hours before she was to seek out her handsome cyborg. She received an emergency message from 895589 through the computer uplinks inside her head. Earth Government had become aware of the plot and their rebellion. The timetable for extraction from the detention camps changed. The mass extinction for the entire cyborg line had been moved up two days. It was now a race against time.

Her orders were clear—create a diversion at the termination center. Draw a lot of guards away from the cyborgs to make their escape easier. It was gut-wrenching to think she might not have time to reach the departing shuttles leaving the surface but she was determined to do both—complete her mission and find Handsome.

She did her job and still managed to arrive at the pick-up area with ten minutes to spare but the launch was already in progress. Shuttles flew high in the sky, just fleeting glimpses of metal before they broke orbit and disappeared. She collapsed to her knees in grief.

Screams tore from her. She didn’t care that they brought her to the attention of the guards. They surrounded her by the dozens, guns pointed at her head. Part of her wished they’d open fire. Her life didn’t matter anymore. Handsome was gone, he’d left her behind, but at least he was safe. If only I’d left a day earlier. I wouldn’t have been there to get those orders. I would be with him…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Strong fingers still gripped her wrists as she struggled to hold on to the image of his face.

“Eve, don’t fight me.”

She glanced at the bandage covering his shoulder. That was a new aspect of one of the many dreams she’d had about him. He leaned over to pin her tighter to the bed. The black lab shorts he always wore in her dreams, the ones he’d worn the day she’d rescued him, had been replaced by dark-blue loose pants that hung low on his lean hips. The outfit was nice in her updated fantasy. He’d also shaved his face clean. She missed the scruffy look he’d once sported when she’d freed him.

“Do you remember me?” He had the sexiest, deepest voice.

“Yes.”

“My name is Blackie.”

“No, it’s not.”

Dark eyebrows arched. “That’s the one I was given.”

“It’s Handsome. I named you.”

His lips parted and she tried to reach them, attempted to sit up enough to kiss him. He jerked away to put more space between them. Anguish gripped her. He was still out of her reach.

“Don’t bite me.” His features grew stern.

“Come here,” she pleaded. “Closer.” She just wanted to kiss him the way she’d never been given a chance that evening on the roof.

“Eve? Are you dizzy? Does your head hurt? You were unconscious. I had to hit you to prevent you from causing me more damage.”

Mike, Cameron’s chief of security, had hit her, not Handsome. He had a hell of a right hook. She’d felt it often over the years she’d been under Cameron’s thumb. That was the bad thing about dreams. They could jump around and change on a whim. The last laugh had been on Mike though. She’d stolen his vehicle when she’d fled with Danica.

They’d destroyed the thing once they’d left the city by sending it to the bottom of a ravine. He’d loved that restored hovercraft, endlessly bragging to the other guards about how he’d managed to find rare parts for it. It had felt good to watch the cherished possession of one of her abusers tumble and smash apart as it rolled downward.

“Old Mike isn’t going to ever fix that!” She smiled at the memory of Danica raising her hand for a high five.

She loved her littermate. They were destined to be hunted but had each other. The decades of memories played through her mind as she stared into dark, beautiful eyes. Handsome remained with her too, at least in her dreams. Nothing could ever take those away from her except death.

“Eve?” Frown lines bracketed his mouth. “You are safe aboard a shuttle, the Bridden. We were tracking pirates and came upon the battle between you and them. Do you remember? You attacked me.”

Foggy memories surfaced. They’d been hunting for space criminals and found themselves stuck in a trap. A couple dozen pirate ships had converged on their location to attack and they had been left with no choice but to fight. The outdated freighter was too slow to outrun so many, despite their similar older ships, but their freighter had been bigger. Pirates had boarded them after they’d been damaged. They’d been forced to fight hand-to-hand. Two pirates in space suits had come after her and Danica.

“Shit. I’m hallucinating you because those bastards are so vile they’ve infected me with some space funk that my immune system can’t fight off. Like rabies on radiation. I bit into one.”

“No. You sank your fangs into me.”

“It’s okay. Whatever they are doing to me is irrelevant. I can’t feel any pain and I’m with you. This isn’t a bad way to go. I only hope Danica got away.” She knew better, though, deep down. Her littermate wouldn’t abandon her if she were alive.

Frustration flashed across his striking features. “This is real. You are aboard the Bridden with me. I struck you hard enough to knock you out after you bit into my shoulder.” He glanced at it.

The bandage was taped to his enticing gray-toned skin. She wanted to lick him. She couldn’t though because he kept her hands pinned next to her head and she couldn’t reach far enough. Broad shoulders curved down into thick, muscular biceps that were bigger around than her thighs. Handsome was a big one, designed to make most women take notice and feel all feminine compared to his tremendous masculinity. Men were intimidated if they were smart. Handsome was a badass.

“I just knew you were the one. Call it instinct or maybe it’s because of the bond we had before we met. I could feel your pain and it became mine. A part of me belonged to you and it just snapped into place when I first looked into your eyes.” She inhaled his scent. “Life sucks sometimes, doesn’t it?”

“What do you mean?” His fingers loosened.

“We should have been given a chance. I think I could have made you want me back.”

“It wouldn’t have been difficult,” he muttered, glancing at her chest. “Things would have been vastly different.”

“I’ve been so alone,” she admitted. “I never forgot you.” He stared into her eyes. “Did you lose your heart to another?” The thought brought tears to her eyes, ones that refused to be concealed. “Did one of those upgraded cyborg models make you forget about me? Are you with her? Never mind. I don’t want to know, even though this is just a dream.” She turned her head to stare at a wall. It reminded her of the small sleeping quarters of a transport. Storage lockers were built into the one she studied.

Handsome sat up, totally released her, and sounded furious as he bellowed. “Computer! Summon the medic!”

Doors swished open immediately to admit a tall cyborg wearing a black uniform. “She woke?”

“You waiting outside my door?” Handsome scowled.

“I stayed close. What is the problem?”

“She is confused. Scan her again. She must have head injuries you missed.”

“I didn’t,” the male protested. He stepped to the side of the bunk and peered down at her. “I’m Varion. Stare into my eyes and don’t look away. I’m going to scan you again.”

It came as a shock when she noticed his pupils weren’t round. They were square and dull red flashed for a split second inside them. It happened again, rapidly, before he sighed, straightening. “She’s fine, Blackie. No arterial bleeding, no cranial fractures and no swelling. The bruising to her cheek is mending at a speed equal to our own abilities. It will be gone within hours at this rate.”

“She believes she is hallucinating.”

The male backed away. “You mean having a nightmare? I would assume that as well if I woke to find you perched at my bedside.”

“Show me respect,” Handsome demanded gruffly. “I am your superior.”

“I haven’t forgotten what you did to Megan. You put her in my care too. Does it make you feel a thrill when you strike smaller women? Why don’t you stop hiding behind your council contacts and step out into the hallway with me? Forget rank.” The cyborg wrapped his fingers around his other fisted hand. “Hit someone your own size for once and see how that results for you. I’m not preparing drugged food for this one or standing by while you wait for council orders to kill her. Ice was right to stand up to you. I wish he was in command now. He wouldn’t allow you near that woman. I can’t forcibly take her out of here but know I’ll be right outside the door, prepared to protect her.”

Handsome quickly stood. “I didn’t ask anyone to kill Megan. The council ordered it and I was doing my job.”

“One you enjoy too much.” The cyborg medic shoved at Handsome. “You’re their favorite cyborg, aren’t you?”

Eve glanced between the two men, confused. Who was Megan and why did the cyborgs obviously hate each other? It stunned her that her dream had taken such odd twists but it just reaffirmed her suspicion that the pirate she’d bitten had given her a bad case of something her enhanced immune system couldn’t fight off.

“I owed them my total allegiance. They rescued me from Earth.” Blackie pushed back.

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