Hancock CAPTURED Barbara J. Hancock .Table of Contents                           Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve Chapter Thirteen Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen Chapter Eighteen Chapter Nineteen Chapter Twenty Chapter Twenty-one Chapter Twenty-two Chapter Twenty-three Chapter Twenty-four Chapter Twenty-five Barbara J.

Suite 1201 San Francisco CA 94102-2907 www. Captured Barbara J. Neither Loose Id LLC nor its authors will be responsible for any loss. eISBN 978-1-59632-932-4 Printed in the United States of America Editor: Venessa Giunta Cover Artist: Marci Gass . This copy is intended for the purchaser of this e-book ONLY. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations. Hancock All rights reserved. as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Hancock This e-book is a work of fiction.loose-id. harm. and any resemblance to actual persons. living or dead. injury or death resulting from use of the information contained in any of its titles. ***** DISCLAIMER: Please do not try any new sexual practice. Published by Loose Id LLC 870 Market St.com Warning This e-book contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language and may be considered offensive to some readers. No part of this e-book may be reproduced. or distributed in any printed or electronic form without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC. characters. Purchase only authorized editions. or locales is entirely coincidental. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. the names. especially those that might be found in our BDSM/fetish titles without the guidance of an experienced practitioner. scanned.com Copyright © May 2009 by Barbara J. where they cannot be accessed by underaged readers. Loose Id LLC’s e-books are for sale to adults ONLY. business establishments. events. Please store your files wisely.loose-id.www. places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

There was nowhere left to run. Maya swallowed against the knot of fear in her throat as it threatened to cut off her air supply. She wouldn’t go back. shakily. verdant fragrance rose up to fill her nose. even though their hands were rough and bit hard into the flesh of her arms. was the very real possibility that they would use her to capture her sister. and its fresh. The wish made her cheeks burn. grabbed her. She swallowed. where they could continue to poke and prod and try to figure out what made her tick.Chapter One Maya burst out the back door of the old abandoned farmhouse. she fought to catch her breath. in and out. She made it out of the yard and into a neighboring field. She kept her chin down and clasped her hands together as if in prayer. No way. She claimed the oxygen filling her with life and pushed the momentary weakness of a death wish away. The soggy ground slowed her down. She was thankful that long sheets of once-immaculately styled blonde hair kept her embarrassment hidden. Those calming breaths were a triumph for her. as her deepest. Like a blur of ominous shadows. She still felt like a cornered rabbit about to be forced back into its cage after a sudden flight of freedom. She breathed. in and out. Cold metal tables . one on each side. overgrown grass of the backyard that had been soaked in last night’s rain. Maya wished she were. They were dressed in dark leather and mismatched fatigues. She slipped on the wet. Two men. as the cold handcuffs bit into her scarred wrists. Her blood still pounded in her ears. darkest fears of recapture were realized. She didn’t fight. And then the hunters surrounded her. But for long moments. Her heart still raced. Fingers dug into her shoulders and pushed her to her knees. But she breathed. but she ignored the pain. Her shoulder scraped the doorjamb. The moist spring grass cushioned her knees. Sometimes you had to take pleasure in the simple things. The bright morning sun blinded her and hurt her eyes. She couldn’t go back. Slowly. they came out of the light to swallow her up. With panicked lungs. She fell down to one knee and jumped up to run again. She wasn’t dead. but even worse than returning to the research hospital. The sun warmed the crown of her bowed head. but it seemed to her as if their darkness came from some internal source. She didn’t cry out in fear or pain.

She knew he wanted to choke her…and not with his hands. The newly risen sun in the cloudless sky caused everyone and everything to be gilded with a golden haze. she had grown accustomed to darkness. Even with her head bowed. After six months of captivity. Never let them see you sweat. but she didn’t move. she found a quick second of peace. willing her body to be as still as stone. she’d been submerged in a sensory deprivation tank. but Maya’s pulse rate slowed. No. When the cold links slid over her left breast. Since she had escaped. but the noise of the chains and the way a chunky heel of one boot inexorably crushed a patch of delicate buttercups made her flinch. bringing the heat of his arousal close to her bowed face. It was a good motto…until the scientists shot you up with something that made you shimmy and shake like a lycanthropy victim in the final throes. The flowercrusher stepped nearer. Here. Her clasped hands tightened until her knuckles turned white. The man who had forced her to her knees laughed. but the storm had forced her to seek shelter. she had slept during the day and traveled at night. He had cuffed her with a huge grin on his face as if her tragedy was his entertainment. she found the bright morning was almost too much for her eyes. stopped just shy of brushing his cock against her cheek. she composed herself. now. She wouldn’t think. She wouldn’t think of the lycanthropy outbreak that had changed the world or the werewolf attack that had changed her and her sister’s world on a much more personal level. as did needles and masked strangers. A pair of military-style boots approached accompanied by the jangle of chains. aka Wiseman. Maya straightened her shoulders and rejected the urge to cringe away from the chain that now slithered across the bare skin of her upper arm. “Don’t touch her. her heart fluttered like a butterfly caught in a cruel net. kneeling in the sun. Her hospital room had been windowless and lit only by scant fluorescent light. She hadn’t been free long enough to adjust. and now she was caught. Maya meant to hold fast and continue to breathe. Often. She wouldn’t think of hypodermic needles or stony-faced scientists or the hospital bed with her name on it. In her chest. On the outside. she never knew for certain.waited. She couldn’t stop them from being amused at her plight. but she could at least stay outwardly calm. she couldn’t help that they liked her on her knees. and Maya blinked. her nipple hardened of its own volition. She wasn’t surprised. and she shivered. Wiseman. Sunlight glimmered off the silver links. The flower-cruncher allowed one end of his chain to dangle in front of her face. to control her powers or to test their limits. but she didn’t cry. The cool chain feathered across her skin.” The flower-crusher. It helped that all her perceptions were a bit bleary around the edges. Not if you have any secrets you want to keep. The warning .

she wished she were a witch. A horrible thought. Unfortunately. She knew the claustrophobic helplessness that would claim her as soon as her arms and legs were totally immobilized. but she feared them nonetheless. Maya fought a sudden crazy urge to jump up and shout. The chains wouldn’t make her any less free. If you were different and you knew what was good for you and yours. Chains slid and skittered with metallic clinks as Wiseman bent over her kneeling form. the government was very. Maya didn’t need clairvoyant visions to know Wiseman’s mind was somewhere she didn’t want to go. Scientists had discovered her psychic abilities at the hospital after the attack. Inadvertently. And her fluttering pulse knew it. Since the lycanthropy disease had begun to spread. Heck. you stayed hidden. Ta-da. She’d already seen and felt enough from him. she shivered. double.not to touch her had come from another man with the sun at his back so that he was nothing but a dark hulk ringed by sunlight. Not for the first time. His temper would result in tighter bindings for her. Maybe a nose twitch or two.” Wiseman growled back. Even dulled as her powers were by the mental lockdown that had become second nature to her. people were more superstitious than ever. In these desperate times. she still had this power of hyperintuitiveness. at the top of her lungs. It was an irreverent thought. As it was. She was well and truly trapped. The cuffs were bad enough. Claws might have been nicer. She knew Wiseman would love to prove his machismo to his comrades. very good at hide-and-seek. she figured the price for her momentary pleasure would be too great. she waited. but considering her hands would still be cuffed and she would still be surrounded by a dozen mercenaries. people were prone to paranoia. People like her were called witches because their abilities were seen as magical even though research had proved that their power rose from something as simple as mutations in their genetic code. It might be sweet to see the flower-crushing Wiseman wet his pants. And one that left her whispering a soft plea for forgiveness from her sister. She could definitely use some “double. Abracadabra. . Nothing like hard evidence that one monster was real to make you believe in everything you’d ever feared in the dark. She braced herself. toil and trouble” to come to her rescue right about now. something better than being the frightened bunny herself. a rabbit out of a hat would be something solid. This knowing was a talent she’d had since shortly after a werewolf had decided she and her sister looked like a yummy treat. “I’m not afraid of a witch. Instead.

but she had done it.Maya decided she would fight. warm masculine mouth slid against hers. It was harder to stay strong for her while they were apart. she had used every trick at her disposal to escape. as it found the hidden hollows of her mouth. She had abandoned Sasha in order to save her. She pushed the sensations away and focused on the man who so obviously held her fate in his hands. impossible kiss. a simple. Embraced but breathless as if she faced a free fall into the unknown. she saw their movements as hurried and deferential. But she was out of practice. Supported but set free. She hadn’t realized until they were forcefully separated how much of her strength came from Sasha. Moving away from her. where it coiled like a silvery snake waiting to strike. A new man approached. but it was also a slow but steady scaling of the mental walls that had kept her locked away from sweet. It was a tasting. Emboldened but terrified. though it was proud. She could never go home again. Even with her sun-dazzled eyes. She did it now. A firm. The scream had risen all the way up into her throat as Wiseman brought the chain around her chest. Maya’s head swam. It wasn’t a swagger. Private?” Maya’s chin came up. And Maya still fought to keep her safe. sweet contact for far too long. “Does she look like a werewolf to you. The new arrival was obviously in charge. She wouldn’t let these mercenaries negate that sacrifice. It wasn’t easy to fight the vision off. Maya felt as she would feel in the future when the kiss took place. Sasha thought she was dead. no matter how hopeless it seemed. for Sasha. every second of every day. She would kick and bite and scream before she submitted calmly to Wiseman’s chains. when she didn’t know how much longer she could hide the knowledge that her sister was a full-fledged werewolf. It was a kiss. but she stayed conscious. Visions flickered like strobe lights behind her eyes. Out of the frying pan into the— A vision began. She’d had to learn to do it since the world had gone dark and her visions of the future were more often than not even darker than the present. The others made way for the new man to move forward. It wasn’t a march. Her lips were tender and her skin heated. She could do it. open just enough so that she felt a hint of moisture. rough and slick. but even those intimate future kisses couldn’t take away from the way the man’s confident grace caught her attention. but it gurgled to a halt as he was interrupted. A questing tongue teased her lips. then beyond them to rub. Wiseman dropped the chain in the wet grass. Her freedom had come at such a price that she couldn’t surrender it without a fight. When her captors had started to unlock her secrets. She would be alone and on the run for as long as she survived. though it was .

The vision kiss had happened when Shepherd had spoken. Wiseman. And. He looked prepared. She never saw us coming. . He had seen her squint and surmised its cause even as he disciplined his men. the lesson hadn’t ended yet. She’s a witch. She’s cuffed. the more powerful Shepherd controlled not only Wiseman. She’s caught. She couldn’t help it. This area is known for werewolf activity. Not at all. it wasn’t soothing to see the muscle-bound mercenary squirm. Maya looked from the hesitant Wiseman to the expectant Shepherd and back again. clear look at this new man’s face would hold the visionary world at bay. it’s flamboyant. She clenched her rebellious fingers and pretended their twitching wasn’t anticipation.” All the men stopped in their tracks. She wasn’t going to fall into orbit like the others and rotate around the sun of his forceful presence. we wouldn’t have been able to trap her. but part of her wanted. but obviously. no claws. but her fingers twitched behind her back because she thought maybe. give the prisoner your sunglasses. It didn’t soothe her to see Wiseman squirm.strong. Ultimately. just maybe. Instinctively. “You play with a ’wolf. Anything more is not only unnecessary. His patient tone suggested that the man himself had very little patience for what he considered theatrics on Wiseman’s part.” “No.” “We don’t waste chains on psychics. No. Maya squinted. No one objected. Maya watched Wiseman shake his head as she tried not to panic. It was as if the field itself shifted until the tall stranger was the center of the universe. moist lips was not. And yet. as if he was accustomed to erupting out of a stroll into action at the blink of an eye. Shepherd. she stood. an inner energy…contained. even as he barely glanced her way. They had been prepared to get back to work. Do I look like I do flamboyant?” Shepherd’s voice was low and controlled. The new man drew every eye to him. She needs to see to make her way to the truck. she was very. you die. gentlemen. His face was a mystery to her. “Tell me if you see claws or fangs. the feel of his warm. Too controlled. She didn’t need the other men’s reaction to his presence to know he was dangerous. needed. She was impressed. because of the vision. Break a bad habit now before it gets you killed. very afraid. Maya rose to her feet. It was as if his movements were fueled by an inner fire. Don’t get distracted. She also longed for a wayward cloud to somehow materialize and block the sun’s blinding beams. She couldn’t see his expression. Wiseman.” Shepherd said. Plain and simple. “If she was a powerful seer. a clear view of the man’s face. but also her. She told herself it was because a crisp. Suddenly.

As he came into focus. Kissed. His eyes were blue. so dark it glinted in the sun as blue-black highlights kissed the crest of every wave. With easy movements. balked when ordered to do something by Shepherd. She closed her eyes and held herself completely motionless. She had already tasted their firm fullness. Maya tried to breathe lightly. she drew in air too suddenly and too quickly to be anything but a reaction to his touch. only to try to gulp it back when he narrowed the gap between them from a few steps to a few inches. His hair was dark and wavy. his lips would touch hers. She didn’t know how or when such an intimate taste could ever possibly happen. Maya bit her tongue. He was only a few steps away. but he didn’t move. She tried not to be shaken to her toes. and Maya let out the breath she’d been holding in a quick sigh of relief. He would kiss her. His face was lean and angular and perfect. Maya opened her eyes. but it had caught up with her anyway. She just knew it would. She hoped the vision hadn’t heightened her awareness of him as a man. She didn’t want to be in the same . but there was a hardness to his mouth and a stiffness to his expression. The tension in the air said anyone seldom. He paused with the pads of his thumbs near her hairline at her ears. Please God. She’d tried to avoid it. Her new clarity of vision revealed more than she’d been able to see before. She prayed it was simply that her awareness of him as a threat was already as high as it could go. if ever. sometime. It was either that or gasp. Maya held her breath. thin white line of an old scar that ran from his ear to the tip of his chin. she felt like a cornered rabbit. The man who had taunted her with the chain looked green. Sometimes knowing and knowing what to do…two very different things. and once again. A werewolf had gone for his throat and missed. How could she not? He topped her five feet six inches by at least another five. With an attitude of controlled patience.Tactfully. and she did not want to go there. Shepherd came closer. Somewhere. Then he moved to place the sunglasses on her nose. She knew it just as she knew how the scar would feel against her tongue. As his fingers barely brushed her cheeks. She didn’t think she’d get those sunglasses if she admitted that she’d known today would be bad. let it not be his lips she had just tasted in her vision. Maya blinked and forgot to be afraid for several seconds. And a tense muscle along one side of his jaw was highlighted by the fine. His face was perfectly shaped. he lifted one arm to snag Wiseman’s sunglasses from the private’s face as he passed. She tilted her chin. The knowing made her tremble. The sunlight winked on their lenses.

and Maya stilled her movements in response to the tingles his touch raised along her skin. His hands touched the sides of her face. even as he didn’t look away. Wiseman herded her to the waiting truck. far from opaque. Chapter Two They were tracking the largest. intimate tones. The sunglasses were the smoky kind. She thought she detected the slightest movement of his left thumb as if to test the softness of her skin. Those three strong desires were bound to collide. gentlemen. She counted those blessings even as her spirits fell. Had her intimate vision made her eyes too soft. most lethal werewolf pack ever tagged. much less close enough to— “Was I wrong to tell Wiseman that this was safe?” A dark eyebrow quirked over one bright eye. His voice was husky. she wanted the hunter’s kiss as well.state as this mercenary hunter who had obviously barely survived a ’wolf attack. as if he was unaccustomed to talking in soft. Maya. She was so pale and delicate. She also thought men like Shepherd didn’t apologize or caress fugitives like her. He spread them. She wanted to protect Sasha. and her movements brought her cheeks more fully into contact with his callused fingers. he spoke to the men behind him. lightly seeking further contact. we only take what we came for. But in spite of her fear. Maya was the psychic. and then he’d felt a little bit twisted himself when he’d touched her. too welcoming? Heaven forbid she should shoot come-hither glances at her worst enemy. Maya rolled her shoulders to ease tense muscles. Shepherd clenched his fists when he remembered Wiseman taunting the helpless prisoner with a chain. not witch. No one laughed. He didn’t have time for . too vulnerable. When he’d first seen her in that field of wildflowers. In fact. “’ Wolves. Finally. He had to see the fear in her eyes. She wasn’t in chains and she could see.” She thought it might be an apology for his men’s rough handling of her. From here on out. He’d wanted to deck the guy for being that twisted. slowly shook her head. but he searched them as if he saw other things as well. who felt about as dangerous as a stuffed bunny at this point. She wanted to be free. Even as he didn’t drop his hands. he’d thought fairy. and one of his men decided to play cops and robbers with a beautiful psychic. the man who had laughed earlier looked as if he could use a good stretch as well. but the experience etched on his face made her fear his perception. he took his hands from her face and turned away.

they’d taken him back to their base. but that hadn’t stopped him from secretly wondering what it would be like to taste the vulnerable psychic’s lips. He’d put a stop to Wiseman’s sick play. With each and every unit he was given. though he hadn’t been bitten. he saw the steady deterioration of honor and order. ’Wolves. If scientists could help mankind come back from the brink of extinction. like the common cold. He preferred ’wolves. The key to mankind’s survival flowed through the veins of bite survivors. He didn’t have time for games. The psychic hadn’t cried. like rat hunting instead of skateboarding and guarding their food stash instead of playing video games. and some recovered as human as they’d ever been. As long as he was in charge. Some of the ’wolves may have even been the loved ones they’d lost. He’d never know why he hadn’t been bitten. They’d been too busy to mourn. he’d believed in little else. He had never. you were no longer human. If you were bitten. Plain and simple. he never felt comfortable detaining no-gos. their prisoners weren’t going to be treated like toys. all under twenty. If victims of werewolf attack didn’t volunteer for testing. He would never be the same kid he’d been before. There had been less than twenty survivors in his small hometown. not once. Then again. Special ops soldiers found him after the attack. even if you didn’t turn into a full-fledged werewolf. He wouldn’t allow himself to go that route even as times grew darker. He was too often reminded of his own close call. His genes were untouched. day and night. and Becca hadn’t been one of them. so much loss had become a part of them. though so much death. they were taken. Through dark days and even darker nights.lust. then Shepherd was more than willing to send a steady supply of test subjects to them. He donated his own blood on a weekly basis. Then werewolves attacked. He hated them. The . tighter than tight. Nothing like a do-or-die fight to replace philosophical shades of gray with survival instinct. felt lucky. He had watched as she’d squared her shoulders and met his gaze with unwavering courage. But his genes were still a-okay. They had banded together. They became a new family with new priorities. He didn’t just hunt them. Violent ’wolves. His whole family had died of the lycanthropy virus when it was still airborne. he’d worked to serve that belief. He’d been eighteen and more worried about asking Becca Lee Warren to the prom than Armageddon. some died. More military than mercenary back then. Shepherd fingered the scar along his jaw as he always did when he remembered that night. For eight long years. bound by tragedy and necessity. The virus transmitted in a ’wolf’s saliva caused mutations in the victim’s genes. though the attack had changed him. The scientists couldn’t explain why some turned.

that Wiseman would be too afraid of the psychic to properly scan her. “Yeah. Freedom Fighters are getting bolder. and two. He was under control. no doubt seeing Shepherd’s tension and seeming eager to placate the man he’d crossed earlier. right about where the metal plate sat beneath his skin to bolt shattered bone together. No-gos were victims of bites who didn’t turn. The canvas was stretched across metal beams to form a roof. the one thing he could depend on in a world gone insane. Either was unacceptable.” Shepherd’s teeth clicked together.” he decided out loud. The jury was still out on how dangerous no-gos could become. there’s a call from HQ. The sheaths were cared for. A ruthless mercenary named Shepherd? Shouldn’t he be called Blade or Spike or the Angel of Death? He wore leather like a second skin and several polished sheaths. When they had left her here. The chips had initially been used only on full-fledged werewolves because they were the most likely to escape. but clairvoyant visions weren’t easily turned on and off.” Wiseman said. They’ve helped too many escape. “They’re chipping no-gos now?” Shepherd asked. but showed evidence of frequent use in the way that they were smooth in the places where a quick draw of a knife would cause rubbing. They want her scanned. Flashes about Shepherd. holding wicked knives—on . that the twisted private would do something cruel or inappropriate to the flower fairy because his fear of her made him angry. the sooner she was scanned. “Shepherd.sooner he could hand off this latest catch to another unit and get back to his specialty. She’d counted three sheaths. and it’s playing havoc with record keeping. the quicker he could send her back where she belonged. It was his cold armor. “I’ll take care of it. and his jaw started to ache. The scientists used microchip implants to maintain detailed histories of all their test subjects as well as for identification and limited tracking. They were obviously not for mere decoration. “Want me to do it?” Shepherd knew he had to watch for two things. as if he were a carrier pigeon that had flown from Fort Lee with the memo in his beak as opposed to simply receiving it on a battered satellite phone. Besides. but each seam was aged and frayed to the point that she didn’t sit in darkness. He’d had nothing but steely control for years. One.” Wiseman relayed the message with a puffed-out chest and a breathless quality to his voice. the better. and the only thing she could do was replay the flashes she’d seen—and felt and tasted—in the field. “Damn puppy lovers. she’d tried to see the future. ***** Maya sat in the back of the old military transport watching dust motes dance in the beams of sunlight that leaked through the canvas over her head.

Not at all. especially when he spoke three little words. the back flap opened and the truck swayed as Shepherd climbed inside. It so wasn’t okay. Maya tossed her hair back from her face so he could see her glare. As if manifested by that thought. She knew. It wasn’t okay. alone and defenseless against his advance. his lean. and his boot. his voice was husky. She couldn’t imagine the man wearing long.” So simple. She knew he tasted of cinnamon. beneath the worn leather. possibly surprised by her vehemence. she was well and truly caught. After all. Vow. Private Wiseman had performed the “courtesy” of placing them there. now. Dusty air didn’t soothe her nerves. “Don’t be afraid.his waist. He had lingered over the whole process of slipping them into her pocket as if he weren’t scared to death of what she would see in his mind. but surprisingly gentle. and the hunter would need to move on to the next quarry and then the next. She knew his hands were strong and callused. The little nip didn’t stop the sensory input her tingling mouth still felt from dream kisses she vowed would never take place. Shmow. and the sunbeams acted like a hundred miniature spotlights tracking his progress as he moved toward the rear of the truck where she perched on the bench. but at least she hadn’t seen needles and lab coats and gleaming. In her vision. Maya gasped. “You’re taking me to the hospital. She couldn’t help it. where they will slowly kill me day after miserable day. The sunglasses were in her pocket now. Soon the truck would rumble to life and take her back to hell. his thigh. “I meant here. muscular form was scarred in places. flowing robes or carrying a candy cane-shaped staff. Surprisingly. cruel instruments on a tray. it had been soft and beguiling against hers. His mouth had looked hard and frowning in the field. So straightforward. don’t fear me. His name shouldn’t evoke thoughts of sanctuary. Maya tried to ignore the goose bumps it raised with its intimate. deep . it made her angry more than fearful. Dust motes swirled around the man in a cloud. Logic never swayed her visions. Maya bit her lip. She would never see Shepherd again. and somehow or another they always came true. Maya drew in a shaky breath of dusty air.” Just as it had been in the field when he had spoken for her ears alone. And so out of touch with who she was and what she was going through. How can I not fear that?” He paused. but firm and warm and smooth in others.

she felt inhuman. even though she was handcuffed. like a can of veggie soup. Maya had been scanned before with her eyes closed and her heart racing. . but then she met Shepherd’s gaze and she knew he didn’t see her that way. She was a woman. she watched Shepherd. She wasn’t a lab rat. alone. “I need to check your chip. even though she was a fugitive without any rights to speak of. Whatever his exact age. She especially tried to ignore the certainty of how it would sound and feel if—when—he murmured words against her skin. Maya nodded. She met his gaze. really look. Shepherd. she thought she saw the reflection of her own tragic past. and the chip didn’t negate that. she could see the glimmer of a possible path to the future her visions had predicted. not feeling as if it was weak or stupid. giving him permission to edge closer and begin the scan. too young.” He held a scanner in his hand. long time. while knowing their survival rested on her shoulders. Deep in his eyes. at the man who knelt beside her. Struggling to survive after the werewolf attack that came later. but she couldn’t be sure. He was young. She allowed herself to look. miserable second.vibrato.” She thought she saw the hint of stiffness in the way he hunched his shoulders to reach for something on this belt. not man to lab rat. man to woman. “They’ll hurt me. Any other location made it too easy for werewolves to extract. but he was determined to deliver her to those who would. Nursing her sister in secret in a world gone mad. to have such a hardened face. For one long. The loss of her mother during the initial wave of airborne pathogen. Slowly. The crazy thing was that she knew he spoke the truth. He had paused with the scanner poised too far from her heart to take a reading. This time. Lots. Microchips were embedded in a surgical procedure that placed the informationstoring device close to the heart. The man who quietly drew near to kneel beside her would never physically do her harm. In that second. he had lived hard for a long. and Maya suddenly had to fight the urge to cry. Twenty-five or twentysix? These days it was hard to tell. and he looked at her. The look asked her permission somehow.

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