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by Eden Cole
Category: Erotica/Erotic Science Fiction
Description: Zita's life is turned upside down when a sexy ex-Marine stumbles into her workplace and falls at her feet. Caleb Russell is on the run from the government agency that manipulated his DNA to give him abilities he could only imagine. Wounded and one step ahead of his enemy, Caleb has no choice but to pair up with the beautiful Zita. As they travel to Seattle to find a friend that can give him the answers he needs, Caleb and Zita begin a sexual journey of dominant and submissive that will bond them closer than any two people have ever experienced.
eBook Publisher: Sugar and Spice Press, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: August 2010
21 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [105 KB]
Reading time: 69-97 min.
Caleb weaved in and out of traffic, mashing the break only when necessary. He spared the rearview mirror a glance. They were still on his tail. Damn it! He had to shake them. For the last two miles, the black SUV had stayed up with him. The Volvo was decent, but no match for the vehicles driven by the government agents.
Catching sight of an exit, he took the off ramp. Maybe he could lose them in the city with more turns, back alleys, and people to get between him and them. The first ping past his open window alerted him that they'd started shooting. Caleb gripped the steering wheel harder and pressed the gas. Another bullet shattered the rear window. He ducked as low as he could and still see where he was going.
A red light loomed ahead. He sped up and took the turn at almost a ninety degree angle. Horns blared all around him. Two other cars swerved to avoid a collision. One grazed a light pole and rolled to a stop.
"Sorry, man. Can't stop," he muttered.
A quick check showed his weaving through city streets was a good move. The lead time he had on his pursuers grew. He allowed himself a small grin. He was going to make it. In a little while, night would fall, and he'd ditch this car to find another. Somewhere out there a new life awaited him, and he damn well deserved it after what they did.
At the next light when he didn't see the SUV, he breathed a little easier. He slowed down, turned a corner, and then his windshield flew apart in a thousand pieces. His right shoulder burned. Losing control of the steering wheel, he struggled to stay on the road, but instead he jumped the curb and slammed into a parked car.
Caleb's head jerked forward. He wasn't wearing a seatbelt. Some internal instinct told him to phase. He did, but not fully. His upper body meshed through the steering column, all except for his injured shoulder. Biting off a howl of pain, he jerked back.
Glass crackled next to him. He grasped the arm reaching through the window and drove his elbow into the man's face. Then he shoved the door open to knock his enemy on the ground. Caleb jumped free of the wrecked vehicle to run. Fired shots kept him moving although he was beginning to get light-headed. He darted into an alley and weaved his way through several streets. The daylight waned. When he could go no farther, he dropped against a doorway to catch his breath. No footsteps sounded nearby, but they would not give up any time soon. He needed to find somewhere to hide until he could deal with his wound.
Caleb tore a strip of cloth from the bottom of his shirt and tied it around his shoulder, using his teeth and one hand to tighten it. Staggering and leaning on the wall for support, he made his way down the alley. Music spilled out from an open doorway up ahead. He scanned the pristine alley for a weapon and found none. He'd have to dredge up some energy from deep down to overpower whoever was there. They'd help him whether they liked it or not.
Opposite the doorway, Caleb stopped when he could see inside. A woman came into view, dancing to the nineties beat. Her jeans hugged a curvy figure, cut low enough that Caleb glimpsed a pink thong. Every now and then she used the knife in her hand to smooth icing on the cake in front of her. She dipped a finger into a bowl of Cool-Whip and sucked it off. Caleb's cock hardened at a time like this, when he could bleed to death. He chastised himself for his lust, but it had been a long time. He'd been in the government facility for more than a year.
Taking a deep breath, he pushed off the wall and shuffled across the alley. The woman twirled again. Her cropped shirt revealed a pierced navel. Caleb's enhanced vision allowed him to make out the golden dragon with a red jeweled eye. His erection strained at his pants. When he stumbled into the doorframe, she bit off a scream. Wide blue eyes stared at him. Pink lips fell apart.
Caleb's lids drooped. His head bowed. "You've got to be the hottest woman I've ever seen," he said, and then fell flat on his face unconscious.
* * * *
The knife in Zita's hand slipped to the floor from nerveless fingers. She could not believe a man had fainted in her kitchen and was bleeding all over the place. Having the back door open probably hadn't been smart, but when she baked, the kitchen grew so hot she couldn't stand it. She had only intended to leave it open for a little while. Now look what happened.
Deciding that she better do something quick before she had a dead man on the floor, she climbed around him and stooped to grab him under the arms. Through much huffing and puffing, she managed to drag him into the pantry where she kept a tiny cot for nights it was too late to head back to her RV. She'd managed to pull him using her body weight, but there was no way she could lift him up to the cot. The man was massive. Shoulders that looked like they'd been carved from stone sat atop a wide chest. Even through the tattered shirt he wore, she made out rippling muscle.
The situation couldn't be helped. She would need to dress his wound right here and then maybe get him to wake long enough to crawl up to the cot. Zita went into action, retrieving her medical kit from one of the pantry shelves. She'd done so many odd jobs over the years, along with starting a half dozen courses at trade schools. Medical assistant had been one on her list, and after she'd quit half way through, she kept the medical supplies. Hell, she'd paid for them. Why not?
In minutes, she dressed the man's wound, relieved that the bullet had passed through his flesh. That particular skill--knowing how to check--went beyond her training. She'd learned that the hard way with a brother in trouble more often than not. When she finished her work, she was pretty sure her sexy patient would live.
"Hey," she called out to him and tapped his cheek. "Wake up, sleeping beauty. You need to get off this floor before you catch your death of cold."
He didn't respond at first, but then dark eyes opened to stare up at her. Confusion clouded their depths. A hand shot up and grabbed her around the neck hauling her down to him. "Who are you?" While he spoke, he scanned the room.
Zita coughed, fighting his hold. "The one who saved your life, you ass." He let go, and she scrambled to put space between them.
The man struggled to sit, leaving the shirt she'd cut away from him on the floor. When he swayed and caught himself on the edge of the cot, Zita caught sight of his back. A stirring of desire hit her long deprived system. A marine's emblem had been tattooed between his shoulder blades with the words Semper Fidelis beneath it. Always Faithful was the translation. It was the motto of the Marine Corps. She recognized that too because of her brother.
"You're a marine," she stated.
He stiffened. "Ex-marine." He pulled himself up from the floor. When she would have helped, he gave her a look that told her to back off. Zita crossed her arms to lean on the opposite wall. Yeah, he was a soldier all right. They didn't need anybody until they fell flat on their faces and had no choice. When dizziness hit the man again, he sank down on the cot and lay back. His breathing labored, he seemed to concentrate on getting his heart rate down. "Why did you help me?"
Zita shrugged. "You needed help. Besides, you're sexy as all get out." She laughed at his shocked expression. "Hey, I don't bite my tongue."
The soldier's gaze dropped to her breasts and heated in a second. Zita smirked. Yeah, he'd be just fine if he could think like that at a time like this. She left the room to clean up the mess in the kitchen and lock the back door. In the distance police sirens blared. Wondering if it had something to do with him, she went back to the pantry.
"Who are you?" she asked. "And what kind of trouble am I going to get into helping you?"
His lips compressed into a straight line. For several moments he watched her, she guessed assessing how much he should admit. "My name is Caleb Russell."
"And?" she prompted.
"That's all you need to know." He struggled to stand up, swayed, and dropped on his ass a second time.
Zita laughed. "You're not going to stop until you break open your stitches, are you?"
He eyed his shoulder and then her. "You stitched it up? You're a chef. What would you know about that?"
"Hmm, they breed them arrogant in the marines, don't they?" She put her hands on her hips. "For your information, Mr. High-and-Mighty, I learned a couple things from my brother. He was a marine as well."
"You have your secrets. I have mine."
"Fair enough, but I need to get out of here. I...don't want to be a burden to you."
"You mean you don't want the police finding out which alley you slipped down." At his irritated glare, she raised her eyebrows. He didn't respond. "Fine. I'll give you a ride to your next stop, but after that, you're on your own. I don't need the trouble."
To his supreme humiliation, which Zita got special satisfaction from, she had to help him up, and they stumbled through to the kitchen. Once Zita had them in the alley, she locked the restaurant door and directed Caleb to her RV. When they drew alongside it, Caleb cast it a doubtful look.
"Hey, buddy, this has gotten me all around the country, and it doubles as a home when I don't have a place to stay. So don't look down your nose at it."
"You were." She wasn't offended by any means. Zita had badmouthed her junk heap on wheels many a day, but it was transportation and home more often than not. With her gypsy-like ways, moving from job to job and place to place, it was perfect. Every now and then, she longed to settle down, to have a family with a husband and kids. But then she'd dismiss the thought as a pipe dream and continue on. This was her life. Hoping for more meant pain she didn't need.
Zita settled Caleb on a couch and tossed her bag on a chair. She went to the fridge to grab a cold drink. "You want anything?" Moisture had broken out on his forehead, and his eyes were glassy. She swore and crossed to him. His skin was hot. "Damn it, a fever."
She started to move away, but he caught her wrist. Zita tumbled forward to land against his chest. He winced when she bumped his injured shoulder. With an apology on her lips, she looked up to meet his eyes only to find their mouths were inches apart. Caleb's breath heated her lips.
She froze. The desire that had surfaced the last time she was too close to him came back with a vengeance. Zita told herself to get up off his lap. The man was ill after all. But she couldn't make herself move just yet.
"You're very beautiful," he muttered. She thought she'd go insane when his lips brushed hers as he spoke.
"Yeah you kind of said that before your face hit my floor," she quipped.
He closed his eyes. She thought he'd gone unconscious, but then his lids fluttered open again. The man had lashes a woman could be jealous of--thick and sooty to match his hair. "I need a couple of days," he told her.
"No way." She tried to get up, but he released her wrist and put an arm about her waist. He was strong even with a fever. His embrace drew her closer, flattening her breasts against his chest. One of his thighs had somehow become wedged between hers while she sat facing him.
"Two days," he said again. "You're not afraid of getting into trouble."
"Au contraire, soldier boy. I am. I know too well how much trouble it can be crossing the police." She didn't elaborate. He didn't need to know her business. "Now if you'll let me go and tell me where I can drop you, we can part ways."
Her words were matter-of-fact, but she was feeling anything but that. She wanted him to stay. No, she thought, biting her lip and trying to put space between them. Getting involved with a soldier was the biggest mistake she could ever make. END EXCERPT An odd pressure in her head made her focus on him. The dark eyes had deepened more to something like a stormy ocean. Still glassy, their intensity chilled her. The pressure increased. If she didn't know any better, she'd think he was reading her mind.