Keep Me Close Sneak Peek
Dr. Cecelia Gregory — Patient Session — Subject Two — Initial Meeting
Subject Two stalked into her office, moving with a lethal grace. His eyes—the most unusual shade of gold that she’d ever seen—locked on Dr. Cecelia Gregory’s face.
She stood, locking her knees and hoping that he couldn’t tell her body was trembling. She was supposed to be the one in control. The one there to help him. Instead, she was absolutely terrified.
What have I gotten myself into? She was deep in the bowels of the Arizona Lazarus research facility, and she was in way, way over her head. Project Lazarus was absolutely top secret, and she’d been handpicked by the powers-that-be in the U.S. government to take this position. The test subjects at Lazarus were super soldiers. They’d been enhanced, become stronger, faster, and far deadlier than normal men. And now those subjects, they were her new clients.
The door clicked closed behind Subject Two. From the corner of the room, a video camera watched them. They would always be watched, she knew that. The surveillance was a security measure. Supposedly to keep her safe. She always had someone watching her. She also had a tranq gun in her top drawer. Again, another measure to keep her safe because the subjects here—dangerous doesn’t even begin to describe them.
Cecelia forced a smile. She moved from behind her desk and offered her hand to the man she knew as Subject Two. “Hello. My name is Dr. Cecelia Gregory, and I’m here to help you.”
He didn’t even blink. Just stared at her with that battered gold stare of his. Subject Two was tall, easily over six foot, and built along powerful, muscled lines. He was a soldier, she knew that. She’d been given the briefest of background information on him. Before coming to Lazarus, he’d been a Navy SEAL. After taking the Lazarus formula, though, his old life had ended. All of his memories were gone. He didn’t know how to function normally any longer. That’s why I am here. The test subjects were given so many strengths as a result of Project Lazarus, but they’d had to pay a heavy price for their new powers.
“How are you going to help me?” His voice was low and rough, and a little shiver slid over her as Two’s words seemed to sink right into Cecelia.
She still had her hand up, outstretched to him. She’d wanted to start things on a positive note, but Two didn’t exactly look welcoming. He looked like he might pounce on her at any moment. She cleared her throat and opted to proceed cautiously. “I know the program here can be…difficult.”
He laughed. The sound held no humor. Not a real laugh. What would his real laugh sound like?
“You’re dealing with a lot,” she continued determinedly. She wasn’t one to give up easily. She’d interviewed and counseled plenty of dangerous individuals before. Arsonists, robbers, serial killers. She hadn’t been intimidated then, and she wouldn’t be now. “I can—”
“I have no past. I woke up in a cell, trapped like some kind of animal.”
She started to lower her hand.
But his hand flew up, and his fingers curled around hers. He felt warm, almost hot, and a primitive spark of awareness burned through her whole body when they touched.
Holding her hand and staring deeply into her eyes, Two rasped, “I was told that I volunteered for this program. Told that I gave up everything I was so that I could help good old Uncle Sam and become some sort of super soldier. Losing my past was the price I willingly agreed to pay.”
She licked her lips. His gaze immediately fell to her mouth and lingered. His hold tightened on her. Cecelia cleared her throat. The sound seemed a little too loud. “Y-you did volunteer. I saw the video myself.”
His lips—sensual lips, full—slid into the faintest of half-smiles. The smile never reached his eyes. “I saw the video, too. Short and sweet. Me, saying I volunteered for Project Lazarus.”
She tugged at her hand. At first, he didn’t let her go.
Her heartbeat picked up, racing faster as a sliver of fear cracked open inside of her. She didn’t let the fear show, though. She never did. Some of her patients liked fear too much.
Subject Two frowned, and he immediately released her. Cecelia stepped back. She wanted to jump across the room and put a whole lot more space between them, but she didn’t. She knew exposing weakness to this man would be a mistake.
“I’ve been employed to be the psychiatrist for the Lazarus test subjects.” Her voice was crisp and unemotional, and she was rather proud of that fact. If only her heart would stop racing. “There were quite a few unforeseen side effects because of your participation in Project Lazarus, and I’ve been hired by Wyman Wright to assist you with the transition that’s occurring.” Wyman Wright was a powerful force in D.C. She’d heard whispers about him over the years, but the day he’d appeared on her doorstep, she’d nearly fallen over in shock. She hadn’t realized she’d worked her way up to his radar, not until he’d made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. Mostly because…no one refused Wyman Wright.
Two’s gaze swept slowly down her body, from the top of her pale blue shirt—blue was supposed to be welcoming, so she’d worn it deliberately—down to her black, pencil skirt and to her chunky, black heels.
“My transition…” He rolled back his shoulders and crossed his hands over his chest as his gaze rose to pin hers once more. “Exactly how will you help with that? You think me coming in here and talking with you is supposed to do something special for me?”
Heat stained her cheeks. “I know about the increased aggression you’ve been feeling.”
Tension thickened the air. It seemed to press against her. Don’t show your fear. Hold it in. But the problem was…the men in Lazarus scared her. A lot. They scared her more than the serial killers she’d interviewed. Because those serial killers? They were just men. Ordinary men and women. But the Lazarus subjects…they are a whole new breed. “Aggression is my specialty. I can help you to get better control. To master the darker emotions that seem to be rising as a result of the formula.”
He advanced toward her. She absolutely refused to retreat. He was trying to invade her space, and she recognized the movement for exactly what it was—a power play. Dominance. She wasn’t going to let him get away with that shit.
He was the patient.
She was the shrink. And she could play games, too. Mind games were her forte.
“What would a pretty lady like you…” Two was right in front of her. Tall, strong, sexy…and scary. “Know about aggression?”
Now Cecelia smiled at him. A real smile. “Soon enough, you’ll find out.” Because she had a particular specialty in her practice. There was a reason why she’d been hand-picked for the job by Wyman Wright.
Killers were her business. She knew monsters, and she would stop the Lazarus men from becoming monsters…
Two just had to trust her.
For a dead man, Flynn Haddox felt fucking fantastic. He swung open the door to Dr. Cecelia Gregory’s office, marching right past the assistant who was shouting at him. He wasn’t in the mood for bullshit, and he wasn’t in the mood to wait. So he ignored the guy in the light blue suit—and he headed straight for the person he wanted.
The door banged against the wall and Cecelia glanced up, her hazel eyes immediately widening. She jumped to her feet. “Flynn? What are doing here?”
“I tried to stop him, Dr. Gregory!” Her assistant’s voice was definitely annoyed. “But he just barged right inside—”
Flynn spun to face the guy. Young, with slicked back hair and a suit that looked like it had just come from the store. All squeaky, shiny new and pressed to perfection. “Get the hell out,” Flynn barked at the guy.
The assistant’s mouth opened and closed. He didn’t get out.
Cecelia’s sweet scent filled Flynn’s nose as she hurried toward him. Vanilla. She smelled like sweet vanilla cream. He didn’t look back, but he could feel her closing in on him, and his nostrils flared as he pulled in more of her scent.
“Flynn, you’ve got to work on your tact. You know we talked about this before!”
They had. A time or ten. But screw tact. He glared at the young guy and fought the urge to say, “Boo.” Flynn was pretty sure the fellow would jump in response to that one word.
“I don’t know who this man is,” her assistant rushed to say. “He just ran right past me—”
“I’m Flynn. You heard the lady. She called me Flynn.” And yeah, his voice held an edge. He got edgy about his name. Mostly because, for months, he hadn’t used an actual name. He’d lived in a research facility in the middle of Arizona, and he’d just been called Subject Two.
No fucking more. The folks at Project Lazarus had tried to strip away his humanity and turn him into a killing machine. But he wasn’t a machine. He wasn’t some number. He was a man, even if, some days, he felt more like a monster.
“Flynn,” the assistant snapped as his cheeks flashed dark red, “isn’t on the schedule, Dr. Gregory. He isn’t—”
“Flynn should always be allowed in to see me,” Cecelia cut in quietly, “unless I’m with another patient.” She paused a moment, and when she spoke again, her voice was lighter, teasing, “And since we’re just getting this office going once more, I don’t exactly have a full schedule at the moment, Mark.”
Mark. Yeah, the guy looked like a Mark. Preppy, stiff. In my way.
Flynn bared his teeth at the fellow. “You heard her. I get a standing invitation. You should make a note of that in the schedule.” He waved his hand toward the door as if to say, Go do that, now.
“But…why?” Mark appeared truly perplexed.
Flynn headed toward the fellow. Mark, wisely, backed the hell up. When he cleared the threshold of the office, Flynn nodded approvingly at the younger man. “Why? Simple. Because I’m her lover,” Flynn said bluntly. “And she likes having me close.”
Mark’s eyes bulged.
Flynn slammed the door shut on the fellow.
“That,” Cecelia announced, “is not appropriate.”
For the first time since his arrival, a real smile played at Flynn’s lips, but he smothered that smile quickly before he turned to face Cecelia—well, Cece. His Cece. He’d gotten rather possessive of his shrink since his time at Lazarus. “Sorry.” Not sorry. “But you know me, I’m little more than a beast. Don’t get the whole subtleties of human interaction.” He leaned his shoulders back against the door and let his gaze drink her in. Damn but he loved to look at her. “I’m not always real sure about what’s appropriate.”
Her eyes narrowed. Such interesting eyes. Hazel. But…depending on the color of the shirt that Cecelia wore, her eyes would change. If she wore a blue shirt—like she had the first time they’d met—her eyes would lighten more to blue. If she wore green, then her gaze darkened.
Interesting. Spectacular. Sexy.
But then, that was Cecelia. His sexy shrink.
Curvy, with a thick mane of red hair that he’d always itched to touch, he thought she was tempting as all hell. Her skin was smooth cream, her lips absolute temptation, and the small little dot of a mole near the corner of her right eye…just hot.
“Stop staring at me that way. It’s not appropriate.”
He sighed. A truly long-suffering sigh. “There you go again, Cece. Using the ‘appropriate’ word. Can’t blame a guy when he just doesn’t understand, right?”
Her shoulders straightened. She was wearing green today, and the color was absolutely killer on her. A strand of pearls circled her throat, and he wondered what she’d do if he crossed the room and slid his fingers under those pearls. If he bent his head and put his mouth right over her pulse. Licked her. Kissed her.
“You are not my lover,” Cecelia stated crisply. “I don’t appreciate the lie.”
I could be your lover, baby. If you’d just let down your guard… He pushed away from the door and took slow, measured steps toward his prey. Did she know he thought of her as prey? Probably not. But that was the way his mind worked. Predator. Prey.
Shit, I am so fucked up.
Had Lazarus done this to him? Or had he always been screwed up? “Sorry.” The word was rusty on his lips. “You’re right. I shouldn’t have lied. Probably should have just told my new buddy Mark the truth. Said I was your bodyguard. I was a super soldier freak, and that a guy just like me—ten times stronger than your average human and with no moral compass at all—was currently gunning for you. Yep, probably should have warned the good old assistant that his ass was going to come in the line of fire.” Flynn shrugged. “And that he might die.”
The color bled from her cheeks. “Stop it.” Real anger bit into her words. “Don’t you dare come in here and try to scare me.”
He wanted to put his hands on her. To curl his fingers around her shoulders and yank her close. “Someone needs to scare you.” Since he was trying not to touch her, his hands fisted at his sides. “What the hell are you thinking…opening your office again? We talked about this. I told you it wasn’t a good idea—”
She laughed. It wasn’t a real laugh, he could tell, but the sound still made his chest feel funny. “We didn’t talk,” Cecelia enunciated each word carefully. “You ordered. You do that a lot. Order me about as if I’m a soldier under your command. Newsflash, I’m not. And I can’t keep living my life in limbo because I have an enemy out there, somewhere in the world. It’s been months since we escaped Lazarus. Months.”
He knew. He’d been living in the shadows that whole time.
“I needed an income. I needed a job. So, yes, I opened my practice again. I made that decision. I will be working. Consulting for the government, going back to my cases that I handled for the FBI. I had a life before Lazarus, and I’m damn well getting that life back.”
He looked away from her. “Good for you. Wish I could do the same.” But the life he’d had before was long gone.
Cecelia inhaled sharply. “Oh, shit.” Then she was reaching for him. Touching him. And his whole body stiffened in response. Her soft hands curled around his arm. “I didn’t mean it that way, Flynn.”
His gaze swept back to her face. Her beautiful face. The face that haunted his dreams. The face that obsessed him. The face that made him want to do all kinds of incredibly bad things to Cecelia.
“I’m so sorry that your past is gone. I wish I could bring it back to you.”
He believed her. Cecelia had always said she’d wanted to help him. Funny thing was—she’d been one of the few people who actually meant those words. She hadn’t wanted to use him. She truly had wanted to help.
“You’re free now.” She squeezed his arm. “You can go anywhere. Be anyone. As far as the U.S. government is concerned, you’re dead.”
Now it was his turn to laugh. “Baby, as far as everyone is concerned, I’m dead.” Because he was. Once upon a time, he’d been Flynn Haddox, decorated Navy SEAL. Then he’d been killed and taken into Project Lazarus. A top-secret formula had been pumped into his body, and he’d been brought back to life. Subject Two—that had been his new identity.
He’d come back from the dead with quite a few bonuses.
And some unfortunate side effects.
“Have you had any flashes of your past?” Her gaze was steady.
He shook his head. “Not a damn thing.”
“And, um, have you been hearing any voices in your head?”
Flynn glanced down to where her hands still curled around his arm. “If any other shrink asked me that, then I’d say the shrink was trying to figure out if I was crazy.”
“I’m not any other shrink.”
“No, you’re mine.” A possessive edge entered his voice. Primitive. Primal.
Her hands slid away from him. “I know you’re not crazy. We’re past that, don’t you think?”
He thought they weren’t past a lot of things. As far as him being crazy…some days, he barely held on to his sanity. Those were the days when he needed her the most.
“The voices—you know I was asking if you’d been receiving any psychic communication from the other Lazarus test subjects.”
Right. He knew that. One of those pesky side effects—the Lazarus subjects could communicate telepathically with each other. Different test subjects had received different powers. One bastard in particular could propel his emotions onto others. He could control them with the dark push of his power. He could make others feel jealousy, hate…and even a killing fury.
And that sadistic sonofabitch was out in the world, running wild.
“Have you heard any voices?” Cecelia asked carefully. She’d put her hands behind her back. Probably so that he wouldn’t see her nervously twisting them. That was one of her tricks. When her fingers shook or she got too nervous, she’d hide her hands behind her back. Cecelia thought she was so good at concealing her emotions. What she didn’t get…he could hear her heart racing. He could detect the faint catch in her breathing. He knew how afraid she was. He’d always known that she feared him.
“Subject Five isn’t in my head,” he told her quietly. Subject Five—that would be the sadistic sonofabitch who got off on shoving his twisted emotions onto others. “I’ve tried to find him, but he seems to have vanished.”
Her shoulders relaxed. “I think he’s long gone. Probably went as far away as he could.”
If that was what she truly thought, then she was dead wrong.
“That’s one of the reasons I decided to come back to work,” Cecelia tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “I can’t just keep hiding because I’m afraid that Bryce King is going to leap out at me some day.”
Bryce King. Subject Five.
“He terrorized me at Lazarus.” Her voice had gone soft. “I knew someone was coming into my room, but I couldn’t get my boss to believe me.”
It had only been later that they learned just how many times Bryce had gone into her quarters and watched her while she slept.
But just watching hadn’t been enough. He’d eventually attacked her.
“Despite the threats he made, Bryce King isn’t going to come for me. He was just trying to scare me because the guy gets off on fear. Coming to D.C. would be the biggest mistake of his life.”
Was she trying to convince Flynn? Or herself?
“He’s on the run, and as far as we know, he truly may not even be in the United States right now.” She squared her shoulders. “Look, I get that you and Sawyer are trying to find all of the Lazarus subjects, and I wish you luck. But I’m not part of that group any longer.”
She wanted out. Only that wasn’t going to happen. “If we find the others, they’ll need help.”
She bit her lower lip.
“You joined Lazarus to help the test subjects. You are the only psychiatrist who knows us, inside and out. If we do find the other test subjects—and they aren’t sadistic freaks like Five, shit, like Bryce—then we will need your help.” He paused a beat, letting his words sink in. “Will you help us?”
“You know I will.” She didn’t sound happy.
But, yes, he’d known she would.
“Good. Because we’re making headway.” We…The team was making headway. He and his buddy Sawyer Cage were leading the “hunting and retrieval” group that had been created to find the other test subjects. Back at the Lazarus facility, Sawyer had been known as Subject One, while Flynn had been Subject Two. They’d been the first two super soldiers in Project Lazarus. The first to wake up in hell. But they’d escaped. They’d gotten out with Dr. Elizabeth Parker and Cecelia on one blood-soaked night. Elizabeth was actually the woman who’d invented the Lazarus formula, but Wyman Wright had taken over her research. She hated the leaders of Lazarus who’d betrayed her, and the woman absolutely loved Sawyer. She loved him so much that Elizabeth had worked her way back into the secret government facility so that she could help Sawyer.
And she helped me.
Elizabeth had some powerful friends. One friend in particular, Jay Maverick, was a tech billionaire who’d provided Flynn and Sawyer with new social security numbers and new lives after their escape. As far as their “hunting and retrieval” operation was concerned, Jay was bankrolling their efforts because he knew how dangerous it was to have super soldiers on the loose. They’d all recently learned that some of the Lazarus experiments had been far, far from successes.
In fact, those experiments had turned into walking nightmares.
Flynn glanced around the office, taking note of the moving boxes that were stacked in the corner. “What can I do to help?”
She gave a little laugh—a real one this time. It seemed to stroke right over his body and sink beneath his skin. She had a musical laugh. Light, gentle. He liked the sound. He wanted to hear it again and again, but Cecelia wasn’t the kind of woman who laughed often. Instead, she was the kind of woman who carried sadness in her eyes.
“I’m pretty much done for the day. I rented this place, was able to get my assistant back in action, and I’ll start consultant work for the FBI again in a few days.” She glanced around the office. “At least this place has a view.” Her gaze lingered on the window. “We didn’t exactly have a view of the outside world at Lazarus, did we?”
No, they hadn’t. As far as he’d been concerned, Lazarus had been a living hell.
Cecelia glanced back at him. Her head cocked to the right. “You know what? I think we should celebrate.”
Now he was lost. Celebrate?
She grabbed her bag and slung the straps over her shoulder. “I mean, you don’t hear voices, I’m setting up my practice again. Both wins, and that calls for a celebration, right? To life!” Her smiled flashed at him. “To freedom.” And then she took his hand in hers. “Come on, let’s get a drink.”
She was asking him out? “Is this…a date?”
She stumbled, but Flynn caught Cecelia before she could fall. His hand looped around her stomach as he held her easily. He pulled her back against his body, and his mouth brushed over her hair. An accident. Nah…he’d done that shit deliberately. He inhaled her sweet scent.
“Not a date. No.” Her voice had gone breathless. She turned her head and stared up into his eyes. “Just…two friends, celebrating.”
Were they friends? He wasn’t so sure of that. He was her guard. He was supposed to protect her.
“It’s just a drink.” Her smile didn’t light her eyes, but it did make his chest ache. “I think, after the last few months, that we both definitely deserve drinks.”
“I don’t drink.” And he didn’t let her go. Did she have any idea of just how much he enjoyed holding her? Touching her?
“You’re…you’re not at Lazarus any longer.” She pulled from him. “Your life isn’t as regimented. You’re free now. You can have a beer.”
Some chains just weren’t easily seen. “You really think it’s a safe idea for someone like me to drink?”
“One drink.” She swiped her tongue over her lower lip. “I’m not saying lose control.”
Because when a guy like him lost control, very bad things happened.
“Besides, I’ll be with you, Flynn. I’ll take care of you.”
No, that was his job. He was there to keep her safe. To take care of her. When they escaped Lazarus together, he’d sworn to protect her. Subject Five was still out there, hunting her, and Flynn wasn’t going to abandon his job. Cecelia might think the threat was gone, but she was wrong. Dead wrong. Flynn had been inside of Bryce’s head. He knew the man’s dark obsession. He understood exactly what Bryce wanted…
And I’ll never let him get her.
Cecelia sighed. “You don’t have to come with me. It’s totally fine, really. I see it was a bad idea. I’ll just go have a little celebratory drink myself, then I’ll head home.” She opened the office door and hurried away.
Flynn blinked. Cecelia thought she was heading to a bar on her own? Looking all sexy in those shoes and that top that hugged her breasts far too well? Um, the hell, no.
“Good night, Mark,” she called to her assistant. “I’m so glad that we’ll be working together again.”
Flynn exited her office just in time to see her assistant beam at her.
“Me, too, Dr. Gregory,” Mark gushed quickly as he rose. “You are the best in the field, and when you left…I tried working with Dr. Quenton, but he just wasn’t as—well, um, he wasn’t exactly—”
She held up her hand. “Say no more. I know Logan—Dr. Quenton—and believe me, I understand.” She gave Mark a quick smile. “See you tomorrow?”
“Absolutely.” Mark was still beaming. Then he glanced at Flynn. The beaming stopped.
Flynn saluted the guy. “I’m sure you’ll be seeing me plenty, Mark.”
There was even less beaming.
Flynn caught Cecelia’s hand and threaded his fingers with hers. She had such a small hand, delicate. His body was so much bigger and rougher than hers. If he ever got her in bed with him, he’d be careful with her. He’d be sure to keep his control in place at all costs.
The thought slipped right into Flynn’s head. Strong. Hard. Angry.
Flynn met Mark’s gaze. He knew the thought had come from the other man. Ever since Lazarus, Flynn had been able to pick up on the thoughts of others. He could have an entire conversation—all telepathic—with other Lazarus subjects. But he could also pick up on thoughts from regular humans, too. Provided those thoughts were strong enough. Or, typically, angry enough. The angry thoughts always came to him the clearest.
Mark swallowed as Flynn continued to stare at him. Tension stretched as the moments ticked past.
“Uh, Flynn?” Cecelia prompted.
He brought their linked hands to his mouth and pressed a kiss to her knuckles.
He heard the quick inhale of her breath. The fast thud of her heart.
A half-smile twisted Flynn’s lips as he inclined his head toward the watchful Mark. “Yes, I am one lucky bastard.”
Mark’s eyes widened.
“Let’s get that drink, Cece,” Flynn drawled. “I think you’re right, we definitely need to celebrate.” And he left that office, moving fluidly and keeping his hand locked with Cecelia’s. Her body was tense, obviously angry, but she didn’t speak again. At least, not until they slid into the elevator. As soon as those doors closed…
Cecelia jerked her hand from his. “What was that about?”
He jabbed the button for the ground floor. Then he turned toward Cecelia. Their bodies were close in that small space, but he moved even closer. She stiffened, but didn’t retreat. Good for her. “Told him we were lovers. Just had to play that part.” He shrugged. “Unless you want to tell the new assistant all about Lazarus?”
“No.” She shook her head, and her red locks slid over her shoulders. “You know I can’t. Project Lazarus was top secret, and even if it wasn’t…hell, I doubt the guy would believe me. I mean, we’re talking reanimated soldiers. We’re talking—”
“Perfect killing machines.”
Sadness flashed on her face. “That’s not what you are.”
The elevator dinged. The doors opened. The dark, cavernous parking garage waited as they exited. “Baby, that’s exactly what I am.” And she knew it. “Or do you really want to try lying to me?”
She looked away. No, she wouldn’t want to lie. Because he could tell when she lied. Super senses gave him an advantage that way—made him into a real human lie detector.
“Remember that,” Flynn urged her. “In case you ever decide to keep secrets from me.”
“Oh, Flynn…you don’t get it.” For a moment, he couldn’t read her expression at all. Her eyes were blank, just like glass. “I have plenty of secrets. I’ve always had them.” Her hand pressed to his chest. “And I think some of my secrets would even scare you.”
“Doubtful.” He was the monster in the dark. How could he be afraid? “Why don’t you try me and see?”
Her lips parted. He was leaning toward her. She was either about to trust him—fucking finally trust him—and spill her secrets or she was going to kiss him. Either way was a damn win for him. He’d wanted to taste her for so long. Had wondered if she’d be as sweet as vanilla. He’d grown addicted to vanilla cream since getting out of Lazarus, and he knew it was because that cream reminded him of her.
Because I’m hooked on her.
His hand rose, sank into her hair. He’d kiss her. He’d make the move. He’d claim her—
A rustle reached him. Such a faint sound. A normal man would have never heard it. The soft pad of a footstep. The rush of wind, as if someone had moved quickly.
He immediately whirled to face the dark line of cars in the parking garage.
But he was already racing after that faint sound, racing to the rear of the garage. Lunging fast and hard and grabbing—
“Oh, shit, let me go, man!”
Grabbing a guard? He glared at the guy, noting the security uniform and the absolutely useless taser on the guy’s hip.
“Flynn!” Cecelia caught his arm. “Let him go! That’s Donnelley—he’s the security guard at the building.”
Donnelley looked as if he might shit himself at any moment. The guy had to be pushing eighty, and a strong wind—or even a mild one—would knock him on his ass.
Flynn let him go. “Thought you were someone else,” he muttered.
The guard was wheezing. “Glad…I’m not.” His gaze shot to Cecelia. “He…um, is this guy okay, Dr. Gregory?” Now his hand inched toward the taser.
“Most days,” she whispered.
Flynn turned to frown at her.
But she nodded briskly as she stared at the guard. “He’s with me, Donnelley, and he’s just a bit too protective. I’m sorry.” Her gaze swept over him. “Are you okay?”
Donnelley nodded. “Just doing my rounds.”
This was the security at her building? This guy? Not acceptable.
“Come on, Flynn, let’s go.” She pushed him toward the waiting car—her convertible. Because it was one cold winter in D.C., the top was up.
“I have my own ride. I’ll follow you.” And he’d also take one more quick glance around the parking garage.
Donnelley hurried toward the elevator, and Flynn made sure Cecelia was safely in her car. She rattled off the address of the bar, a place fairly close to her home. He stood there, watching and waiting until she drove away from the lot. Then he turned around and studied the darkest spots in the garage. Every instinct he had was screaming at him. Something was wrong. Something was off in that place.
The garage would be the perfect spot for a predator to wait. To hide in the thick shadows and then slip forward to grab unsuspecting prey. Flynn knew Subject Five would choose a place like this. A perfect place to attack. A perfect place to grab Cecelia.
Not on my watch.
Flynn stalked toward the shadows, searching the darkest part of the garage. He slid behind the heavy columns, approached the locked vehicles, making sure no one was there, making sure he missed nothing. But a hard tension still covered his body. A primitive awareness that something was just…wrong.
And he fucking didn’t like that feeling.
He headed back to the spot Cecelia had used to park her car.
Then he found the small bit of rope. Rope he hadn’t noticed before because it had been hidden under Cecelia’s car.
He stared at the rope, and the rage inside of Flynn grew. Dark, twisting. Controlling. Only the rage didn’t belong to Flynn. He could feel the surge of twisted emotion being shoved into his head.
And there was only one man who could do that.
Fucking bastard. Bryce King had just sent him a message.