Sorry for my absense the last few days. I’ve been working on more edits for Vicki (YOURS TO TAKE) and this weekend I’ll be tackling line edits for Tecun (THE BLOODGATE WARRIOR) so it’s been a bit hectic around here!
This is the final section of the free read prequel (previous snippet), Lady Wyre’s Regret, that I currently have. My goal is to intrigue people enough to go in search of Lady Doctor Wyre – not provide a complete short story…while still balancing a satisfying ending. What do you think about this final section? Is it satisfying without giving away too much? Or do you feel robbed that no actual consummation happens…?
Sig healed so rapidly that it scared her. Before Charlotte’s eyes, his skin seemed to knit together. Within a matter of hours, the fever had raged in him so hotly she’d feared the chills would break his bones, but suddenly broke into a sweat and left him sleeping like a baby.
My assemblers not only repaired the damage to his heart, but compressed the normal healing time into hours, not weeks.
After just forty eight hours, she was having a hard time keeping him in bed. Which was why she’d left him tied up.
“I have to see if the bounty hunter tracked us down!”
He’d given up on a reasonable tone of voice, but his increased volume only made her arch a brow at him. No one had ever been able to intimidate her by yelling. “We’ve already scavenged everything useable from the wreckage and I went over it with a fine-toothed comb to make sure nothing was broadcasting any sort of electronic signal. I’d use the Razari crystal to destroy the entire ship but I’m afraid that hot of a fire would draw unwanted attention. If the bounty hunter was able to track our crash, he’ll still have to brave blizzards and snow drifts to get here, and I’m assured by Gage that no one is foolish enough to brave these woods until spring.”
“That information is only good if you trust Gage and I trust no one.”
Obviously not even me.
The flat tone of his voice combined with the blank empty-eyed stare finally made her lose her temper. She slammed the datapad down on the bedside table and poked him in the stomach hard enough he grunted. “That man has done everything possible to help us. You’d better not even think about killing him.”
“He’s a loose end. If the Queen’s Ravens find him, he will talk, eventually. I don’t care how much you like him.”
Mild irritation flamed into full-fledged fury, fed by anxiety and stress of the last few days. Where his volume went up, she pitched her voice low and vicious. “Do you honestly think I’m nothing but a fluff-brained chit out on her first Season?”
She poked him again for good measure. “Gage has agreed to go on an expedition with some of his aboriginal friends far to the west as soon as the snows begin to thaw. He’d already planned to join them—we just moved up his timetable. He won’t be here for anyone to torture. We won’t be here either, even if I have to keep you tied up and drag you by your hair!”
Now it was his turn to arch a brow at her with surprise.
Shame churned in her stomach. Here she’d pinned him down, trapped him against his will after everything he’d done to help her, and then she abused him when he was hurt and unable to defend himself.
“I can’t help being suspicious of everyone,” he said slowly, eyes narrowing in on her reaction. Because he was watching so carefully, she refrained from wincing or dropping her gaze. “Besides, you could drag me around by much more willing body parts than my hair. And if you don’t know that I trust you after you saved me during the crash and healed me, I don’t know what else I can say to convince you. So what’s really bothering you?”
She put on a clinical air and picked up the datapad, even though the numbers on it made her heart go cold and heavy in her chest. “You’re recovering rapidly.”
“So I see,” he said dryly. “Considering I was knocking on death’s door, I hardly see why that’s a problem.”
She’d run scan after scan, trying to make sense of what was happening inside his body. Staring down at the numbers, her eyes burned hot and dry. I learned nothing from my mistake with Majel. I shouldn’t have risked another human experiment. It’s too risky. Dear God, what have I done to him?
She dragged her gaze up to his face and made herself tell him every gory detail. “I injected you with an invention I call my assemblers, which are extremely tiny nanobots that work inside the body. I’m afraid they’re working a little too… well.”
He didn’t appear alarmed that microscopic robots were roaming around inside his body. “I’m not complaining, Charlie. I’m thankful to be alive, whatever you’ve done.”
She sighed heavily. “I made the mistake of leaving them inside my first subject indefinitely. They integrated themselves into her biological systems to the point where they couldn’t be safely extracted. I thought to counteract that risk with you by recalling the assemblers as soon as they’d repaired your heart, but I can’t, Sig. I’m sorry. Your heart was too damaged to beat on its own without them.”
He gave a brief jerk on the rope binding his right hand to the bed, as though he reflexively reached to touch his chest. “It’s still beating, though. I feel it.”
“They’re reinforcing your heart, forcing it to pump, but…” She hesitated, her mouth dried with decaying dust. “They won’t stop there. You’ve already received miraculous healing. Your strength has returned, if not increased from even before the accident.”
His voice remained even and calm, as though they talked about a fine new carriage equipped with the latest racing technology, not his life. “I don’t know! I don’t know what else they’re capable of. I’m going to need to extract a few and download as much data as possible so I can figure out the best way to proceed.”
“So they’ll still respond to your programming.”
She nodded, relieved that he wasn’t horrified at what she’d done, and yet also crippled with her own guilt. “I don’t know how long they’ll run, Sig, let alone what they’ll do now that you’re out of danger.”
“Your other subject,” he said with emphasis, confirming he knew exactly who her first test subject had been, “is still living. I’m not concerned, but if we have a problem, the famous and dashing Lord Regret has the most talented and brilliant Lady Doctor Wyre at his disposal.”
“I’m terribly sorry,” she said each word low but vehement. “You asked me to let you to die, but I couldn’t. Not after you’d risked so much to save me.”
“No regrets, Charlie” he whispered, twisting his body toward hers.
He curled his lower body around hers and her determined guilt was shaken by his very evident interest. Oh dear. He very well can’t be that incapacitated if he’s aroused, yet here I’ve kept him trapped for days in bed.
She reached up to untie his hands.
“Leave it,” he said in a husky voice that fired her blood. “I like being bound for you.”
Sliding her palm over his bare chest, she watched the darkness spread in his eyes. “This is all very new to me, but I admit, the idea has merit.”
He nudged harder against her back and let out a soft groan that tightened her body. I wonder what sort of sounds I can draw from him if I stripped him nude and stroked every inch of him with my mouth.
As if he heard her thoughts, he groaned louder. “Charlie.”
She leaned down and rubbed her mouth against his, letting her breath become a caress. “Sig?”
“When we’re away from here and you’re safe, I hope very much that you’ll experiment on me some more.”