Authors: Tatiana Caldwell
“The fact you’re considering it means there’s some want in there.”
“Honestly, there’s always been some want there, Jaxon. I just … need to make sure your intentions are in the right place before I consider opening my—um, heart to you.”
“I’m more liable to have my heart damaged by you, Celise, than the other way around.”
She snickered and lifted the stethoscope that hung around her neck to her ears. “Well right now I only intend to listen to it. Take a deep breath.”
He complied, and she stood close to him as she placed the end of her stethoscope against his chest. The tips of her fingers grazed his tight skin as she slid it across his torso, sending searing waves of heat through his body.
Flirting with him
touching him? While he was feeling everything tenfold? He closed his eyes and swallowed hard.
This was going to be a long check-up.
The pounding of his heart was regular, strong, and healthy. And fast. Wait—was it increasing? She looked up at him to see if he was in any distress, but he had his head turned sharply away from her. He seemed aggravated.
“Turn around,” she said.
He flipped his back to her and stood stiff. She listened to his lungs, but soon found herself distracted by his body as she stood behind him. Hard, contoured, defined muscles were everywhere. Even his muscles had muscles.
So beautifully sculpted. Big and genetically-altered or not—Celise still found this man sexy, even though he was quite a bit scarier now. It was possible that she almost found him even sexier
than before, now that his guard seemed to be down.
Purposely, she let more of her fingers trace the contours of his back. She was inexplicitly drawn to the bronzed glow of his unique complexion, the sheer size and hardness of his body, the familiarity of his scent.
She was aware of how Jaxon’s body tensed under her touch, but she still lingered all over his back and shoulders, mesmerized. The muscles in his back rippled and flexed as she examined him, and not until she heard the low, rumbling growl emit from his chest did she snap out of her trance.
“Stop. I can
“I—I’m sorry. Does it hurt you to be touched?”
“No. Not hurt.”
“I can just
“What do you mean? What does it feel like?” Celise studied him closely, trying to identify the source of his distress.
“I think you should go.”
“Jaxon, I can’t help you if I don’t know what all is wrong. Tell me what you’re experiencing. It could be an important symptom.”
He turned around and grabbed her hands as he faced her, and the intensity in his eyes and expression startled her. “I feel everything so much more
than I used to. What I sense, what I feel, what I want. When I’m angry or anxious, it’s ten times worse than normal. Maybe twenty. And when you touch me … the things I want to do to you when you touch me –” he paused then as he looked at her with a pained expression, his chest heaving.
“I thought you said you have no intention of hurting me.”
“I don’t. But to be honest, I’m not sure whether what I really want to do to you would hurt you or not.”
Celise followed his hungry gaze as it scraped across her face, down her body, back up again. The way he looked at her made her bashfully aware of least a few things he wanted to do with her. Killing her wasn’t quite it. When she looked down to avert his eyes, she spotted the huge erection he was sporting and felt her own groin quiver in response.
“So you’re aroused. Very
aroused. That’s okay. We can talk through this.”
“Um, no. We can’t.” With his hands still on her wrists, he kept encroaching upon her, forcing her to take several steps backwards. “Leave now.”
“Jaxon, it’s not a big deal.” Hell yeah it was big. Ridiculously big. “I’m a doctor and I can –”
“No. It’s not
okay. You don’t understand—I can’t control what I’m feeling. I can’t control any of my emotions,
of them, or the way I want to react to them.” Jaxon gripped her by the shoulders hard, his heavy hands crushing her bones, his thick fingers digging into her muscles. “You have no idea how hard it is for me to not rip your clothes off right now and fuck you up against this wall, until you scream for me to stop.”
He let go of her shoulders and pressed himself tight against her, effectively trapping her between his hard body and the wall, his rigid hard-on pressed against her abdomen. Celise gaped at him. Speechless. Her legs trembled as she felt her panties grow moist. She wasn’t certain if it was urination or lubrication.
The bass in his voice was at a threateningly all-time low. “Is that what you want, doc?”
She blinked a few times. The heat and aching between her legs confirmed that she hadn’t wet herself out of fright. It seemed that both a yes and a no response would betray her, so she remained quiet.
“Get out, Celise!”
“You’re pinning me here.”
She watched anxiously with alarmed curiosity as he closed his eyes for a moment, and mumbled to himself. With his palms still pressed against the wall on either side of her head, he drew back his body just enough for her to escape. She was half as disappointed as she was relieved.
Celise peeled herself from the wall, and ducked out from under him. Putting some distance between them, she picked up a medicine bottle and shook out a few pills onto the tray next to Jaxon’s breakfast, before putting the bottle into the pocket of her lab coat. She licked her lips before squeaking out a sentence from her tight throat.
“I know you didn’t sleep much last night. Here are some sleeping pills, in case you need some rest and could use a little help.”
“It’s not rest that I want.”
“It may be rest that you need,” she retorted. “Perhaps some rest from your ordeal will help you better contain yourself. However, you don’t have to use them if you’d rather not.”
Jaxon didn’t respond. He just stood there facing the wall with his eyes closed and his mouth drawn tight. The internal struggle reflected on his face resonated within Celise. She hesitated, conflicted between her desire to give him the space he’d requested and giving him what he wanted. What she wanted. She turned and left the room. Sri was standing outside near the window, looking at her strangely. “That didn’t go so well,” she informed them.
“Looks like it went great. He didn’t hit you. Apparently he’s got a quite a thing for you. And it looks as if you like him quite a bit yourself, eh?”
She looked away as she felt her face flush with heat. “Where’s Victor?”
“He’s finishing the setup of the new lab, preparing to test the sample you just got. Did you find anything?”
“Well, other than that fact that his DNA was drastically altered overnight, he seems healthy from what I could see so far. I’ll have to continue examining him later, he needs some—space, right now. He’s also displaying enhanced regenerative abilities already.”
Sri nodded as he took the vial from her. “Yes, we should be able to gleam much from even this amount. Well done, Belderon, thank you. Your courage and delicacy with this is so very much appreciated.”
“You’re welcome Dr. Ashni,” Celise said and waved him off as she walked away. She turned to the window to peek at Jaxon, and her heart skipped a beat when she found him standing on the other side of it, staring at her, his eyes narrow and his shoulders rising and lowering rapidly with his heavy breathing, his erection still painfully obvious. Frozen still, she stared back at the glass and waited, watching him to see what he was going to do.
After a long, heated minute, Jaxon turned around and went to the table and grabbed the sleeping pills, swallowed them, and got into the bed with his back to glass, leaving Celise standing there for many moments, trying to regain her composure.
And to make the throbbing in her sex and the racing of her pulse to cease.
Celise looked away from the eye of the microscope and jotted down her observations. Four days had passed since Jaxon’s transformation, and she and doctors Morhamer and Ashni had been working around the clock to analyze the police officer’s condition.
“It just doesn’t make any sense.” The older scientist flipped through the charts on a clipboard. “It doesn’t look like anything’s really wrong. He’s as fit as a fiddle.”
Victor leaned back in a swivel chair with his loafer clad feet propped on the low rung that ran underneath the length of the lab table. “More like a whole orchestra. Not only is there nothing wrong, everything is more
even than expected.”
Celise arched her eyebrows. “Except the change he experienced was extensive, and he’s hypersensitive. Surely none of that was expected.”
“We did expect him to become more physically formidable,” Sri answered. “A perfect soldier. It just wasn’t supposed to happen instantaneously.”
“Were his ligaments supposed to stretch him half a foot taller?”
“His body’s full potential for height and muscle development were intended to be met, yes.”
“Was Jaxon aware of this?”
Victor nodded his head. “The test subject was informed that his body could grow further. But we did not anticipate the pace to which he developed; we were expecting it to happen gradually over a period of weeks, not minutes. We’re just as surprised as he was. But it’s not as if he’s worse off for it. He should consider himself improved.”
She shook her head. “Well he doesn’t, he’s suffering. The poor guy can’t even look at his reflection in the mirror and recognize his own eyes.”
“An unexpected side effect,” Victor said with a shrug. “But trivial in the grand scheme of things. Nothing a pair of contacts couldn’t fix. It’s a minor inconvenience in comparison to what he’s gained.”
“A minor inconvenience?” Celise snorted. “What about his personal life? What’s he going to tell his friends when they see him? How’s he supposed to go back to work looking like nearly a different person?”
“He doesn’t have any family to speak of, and he said the only friends he has wouldn’t care what he looks like. It’s why he was a perfect candidate for the experiment,” Sri said.
“And Cyclone Industries has paid a sum of five hundred thousand into his account for his troubles, so he doesn’t really have a need to go back to work any time soon,” Victor added. Then he laughed, shaking his head. “The guy is now financially well-off and physically formidable. I don’t feel sorry for him, I envy him.”
With a scoff, she folded her arms and shook her head at both men. “So was changing his temperament for the worse part of the ‘perfect solider’ blueprint, too?”
Something flickered in Sri’s eyes that made Celise keep her focus on him for a moment as she awaited an answer, but Victor was the one who responded. “No, that’s the part that doesn’t make any sense,” Victor agreed. “He should not have become overly aggressive due to the formula.”
“So how do we fix it?”
“It’s still not clear what went wrong in the first place.”
“Is there any way to simply do another transformation that would change him back, in the meantime?”
“That would not be a very easy process,” Sri said. “We should make that only a last resort.”
Victor shook his head, a vein in his temple clearly visible now that wasn’t before. “No, that shouldn’t be an option at all. Other than his attitude problem, the formula works. Besides, eliminating the only human subject we have without being able to account for exactly what went wrong would only piss Garrett off tremendously.”
Sri nodded his head. “This is true. Neither Carrington nor his potential customers would be happy at all for us to terminate the experiment without explanation for the failure or for a potential resolution.”
Celise grumbled. “Surely, Mr. Wentworth’s well-being is more important than what’s good for your boss’s business.”
“Jaxon is healthy, you said so yourself,” Victor said with a shrug. “We can get him a shrink for his temper. Or meds.”
“It’s more than just his temper, it’s –” she sighed and folded her arms. “He’s really struggling. There has to be something more we can do to help him.”
“You’re helping him plenty enough,” Victor said, a sneer on his face. “You’re practically in there all day, every day, talking with him, serving him food.”
“That’s not true. I haven’t spent that much time with him at all.” Not since three days ago when he’d declared his desire to fuck her silly, and she’d almost said okay. “I’ve just been chatting with him through the intercom, and bringing food. He deserves so much more than that. He’s not a lab rat, he’s a human being.”
“It’s the best we can do for him.”
“Well, I want to do more.”
“I bet he does, too,” Sri grinned. “Considering how much he seems to like you.”
Celise blushed as she remembered the older man had seen what happened during her last close encounter with Mr. Wentworth. She wiped off the silly grin she could feel was on her face when she caught Victor glaring at her.
“Sounds like he could be dangerous to you. Perhaps you should stay out of his cell.”
“Perhaps you should figure out how to heal him,” she snapped back.
“I just may have an idea on correcting the formula,” Victor said. “It is possible Jaxon’s temperament was affected by the severe pain that accompanied his accelerated transformation.”
Sri slapped his hands together. “Which increased his adrenaline, which could have amplified his emotions. That’s indeed a possible explanation.”
“Yes,” Victor nodded. “We can adjust the levels of mutagens in single dosage such that it would take several doses to be fully impacted. This would slow the transformation of future subjects.”
“But how would that help Jaxon? He doesn’t need a new version of the formula, he wants to be himself again.”
“Are you sure that’s what he wants? He seemed very determined to become a new man. He didn’t want to suffer from his injuries anymore, he wanted to heal faster.”
“I know he doesn’t want to risk getting worse. I think he’s done being a guinea pig.”
“We have not yet tried to actually reverse the mutated DNA of any of the primates we tested it with,” Sri said. “Perhaps we should try that first, to verify its effectiveness.”
“Only if once we are successful we could test the reversal procedure on Jaxon. Then we give him the new version of the formula. Garrett should be pleased to get both the formula and an anti-formula.”
“Wait, wait,” Celise put up her hands and shook her head. “At this point you’re only speculating that he’s suffering because of adrenaline only. We’d have to figure that out first. It’s been over five days since he mutated, surely the adrenaline wouldn’t still be a factor in his behavior. Let’s see if we can validate that for our records. Then after you perfect the reversal procedure with some primates, we change Jaxon back to the way he was before and leave him that way. You can test your new formula on the reverted primates.”
A grunt of disapproval followed the roll of Victor’s eyes. “We’ve already tested the current formula on chimps, and it didn't have the same effect on Jaxon. It's a waste of time and money to test with anything non-human at this point, and every day we waste not getting this done is a day we lose where we could be rich and retired.”
“Then perhaps we can ask Mr. Carrington for the funds to seek out new test subjects.”
“Garrett isn’t going to fund new subjects after he hears about our failure, especially without any validated cause. Besides, we already have a test subject.”
“I already explained to you Jaxon Wentworth is not a tool. There will be no invalidated experiments on Jaxon. Find some other way to test it. And let him out of that room at least.”
“No, it’s safer for everyone if Jaxon stays locked in a room.” Victor eyed her. “Especially you.”
Sri nodded. “I agree. At least until the excess adrenaline leaves his system and he shows signs of recovery.”
that is even the issue,” Celise sighed. “Well, I have some ideas of my own of how to help him temporarily. But I’m sure treating him like an animal isn’t helping prevent him from behaving like one. I’m going in to visit him.” She turned and trotted out of the lab and down the hall towards Jaxon’s cell.
“No Celise, wait –” Victor jumped up out of his chair, but she kept moving, ignoring the fact that both Sri and Victor raced after her. As soon as she reached the door outside of the padded room, Victor grabbed her arm and jerked her away from the knob. “It’s much safer if we leave him in the room. Alone.”
“He’s not a rabid animal or prison inmate, Dr. Morhamer. He’s just having trouble dealing with what he’s feeling. I’m going to let him out and help him.”
“We appreciate your dedication to your work Celise, but it is not worth risking your harm. If you need something to help take your mind off the guy, I could get Sri to unlock the place long enough for just you and I to slip out. Or maybe we could just find a room with a nice bed and relax. Maybe work off our frustrations with each other, you know?” The way he looked at her as he rubbed his thumb against her arm was more than just mildly suggestive.
Celise recoiled and tugged her arm in an unsuccessful attempt to pull away him. “I’m flattered, but really, no thanks. I’m perfectly fine, I just want to check on my patient.”
The vein in Victor’s temple became even more pronounced. “I think you like Jaxon a little too much. At this point he’s
more animal than man, you know.”
“At this moment, Jaxon's still far more of a man than you.” She yanked her arm out of his possessive grip.
“You are not thinking rationally, Belderon,” she heard Sri say as she opened the door.
“You guys still have the tranquilizer gun. You can use it if necessary. But let’s try things my way first.”
“It could be dangerous, Celise. You take it,” Sri said, forcing the gun into her hand. She frowned, but she accepted it.
“Let me handle this. I’m his doctor.” She abruptly turned away from them and pressed the button on the intercom outside of the room that held Jaxon prisoner.