Blurb: For five years, Cassie Reeser has been her brother’s personal lab rat. Peter’s experiments have made her a stronger, faster, better human. And she’s not the only one – he’s been experimenting on others as well. For five years, escape has eluded her. Until now. When she finds out he plans to sell her as a human weapon she knows it’s now or never. To make her escape she’ll sacrifice family bonds and leave behind the one person who’s ever helped her. Cassie’s learned to shrink from kindness and to never trust anyone. She knows the day Peter finally captures her will be the day she dies. To elude her brother and save the others, she’ll have to risk her body and her heart. What she doesn't expect is a chance at a normal life.
Seth Adams is used to sifting through lies to find the truth. As a former war correspondent he knows what evils lurk in the world. When he finds Cassie hiding out in his car trunk, her story sounds like a fantastical dream. But, before long, he witnesses firsthand what she’s talking about when they’re attacked by a group of Peter’s soldiers. As a result, he goes through his own transformation into a super human and realizes the extent of what Cassie is running from. Cassie might not think she needs his protection, but he’ll die before he lets her brother have her back.
Excerpt from Reluctant Protector:
Cassie stepped through the door without a backward glance. Shoulders straight. Eyes level. Look ahead. No one would be able to recognize her. But she had to avoid using her power until absolutely necessary. Sweat slicked her palms and she said a silent prayer to any God she could think of. Luck was on her side. She moved through the brightly lit lobby, complete with eye scanners and armed guards. No one noticed her. And why would they. She looked like one of the anonymous grad students working slave wages and long hours to make a name for themselves. All too absorbed in their own daily movements.
As she rounded the corner to the employee area, she allowed herself one backward glance. The resulting collision knocked her onto her butt.
Cassie blinked up at the man, the cold of the floor seeping through her jeans. Her body tensed when he opened and outstretched hand. Her instincts said to run, but his eyes told her she was safe. Honey-brown and laced with concern, he stared at her.
She patted the wig to make sure it was still in place before taking his proffered hand. Contact with his skin made her jump like she’d just gotten a shock from an appliance. But instead of the immediate wash of senses and thoughts she expected, he barely registered. All she noticed was how his firm, warm hand dwarfed hers.
He looked down at their joined hands before grinning at her. His face lit up, showing just how handsome he was. Like the hero out of a romantic comedy.
Say something before you screw this all up. She cleared her throat. “I'm fine. Not your fault. I wasn't watching where I was going.” Her voice sounded strange in her ears. Husky.
“Are you sure you're okay? You look like you took a hard bump.”
Cassie shifted and tried to step around him. The new guards were coming on shift. Just her luck, one of the two, was the guard who caught her the last time. “No, I’m fine. Really.”
Mr. Romantic Comedy wouldn’t be deterred. He danced with her as she shifted, never letting go of her hand. “Okay, then at least let me apologize for being a klutz. My mother always taught me to take care of a lady. If you won’t at least sit down, maybe I can take you to dinner?” He slapped his forehead. “I should have led with my name. Seth Adams. It’s been a pleasure running into you.”
Cassie’s mouth went slack. His voice flowed over her like warm rain in the summertime. Had he just asked her out? This was a territory completely unfamiliar to her. Luckily, she watched enough movies to understand the concept. “I'm sorry I can't.”
He chuckled and shrugged. “Would it help if I phrased it like journalistic research?” His smile was infectious and Cassie wished she was the young intern he thought she was. Dragging in a breath, she knew she had to mind push this conversation out of his memories. Later, when someone came looking for him, she didn’t want him to remember her.
Problem was, as she pushed, she met a brick wall of resistance. The shield around him was like a rubber ball, his brain so dense and slippery nothing could burst through. Pain zinged behind her eyes and reluctantly, she stopped.
“I'm sorry, but no.” Cassie pulled her hand free from his and bee-lined for the exit, never looking back at him. Keep your head in the game Cassie. She joined the queue for the metal detectors and adjusted the hair of the wig around her face. When it came her turn to be searched, she tried to look calm. She didn’t want to take any chances with the guard, so she immediately mind pushed him to do a cursory glance of her backpack.
“You’re free to go Ma’am,” he said, his voice a little dreamy.
She tucked her chin down and mumbled a thank you. Ten more steps. As she rounded the corner to the outer door, someone called out. “Hey, wait a minute.”
For a millisecond, she paused, weighing and tossing out her options. She had to stop. She was weak and tired, but she could push someone if left with no other choice. She didn’t turn heavy when footfalls thudded behind her.
A meaty touched her arm and a small squeak bubbled up without her consent. Was this the end? Had she risked her friend’s life for nothing?
“You dropped your badge back there.”
Cassie had to take the swipe card. If she didn’t, she’d look suspicious. But if she turned, he might recognize her. Rock, meet hard place. Turning on her heel, she reached out with sweat slick hands and snatched the card without meeting the guard’s eye.
His voice was stern. “Security is extremely important here at Gentech. If you need a refresher on security procedures, ask your manager.”
Nodding her acquiescence she turned and kicked up her pace, veering toward the main parking structure. She had to make sure he wasn’t following before she accessed the private parking lot. Three seconds passed before heavy footsteps pounded behind her..
“Hey. What’s your name? Are you new here?” The guard’s lumbering body followed her at a quick clip. Cassie paused and turned around knowing she was cooked. She watched as panic dawned in his eyes.
Make your decision. Fight or flight. She chose fight.
About the author: Nana's love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she borrowed from her cousin on a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana at a precocious thirteen. She's been in love with kick butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.
Waiting for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, Nana, meantime works out her drama, passion and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is. Though, until that ninja job comes through, you'll find her acting out scenes for hubby and puppy while catching up on her favorite reality television shows in sunny San Diego.
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