Authors: Tatiana Caldwell
With his eyes closed and his fists clutched tight, he exhaled loudly as he attempted to ignore the raging fury building up within him.
“Jaxon, I’m going to open the door.”
“Not with those two there. They’re pissing me off.”
“They’re not –”
“They followed you and are still there. I can hear them talking outside the room. And if I get pissed enough I can tear this window and wall down. Tell them to leave. They should be working on my fucking cure anyway.”
Celise released the intercom button, and he listened as he heard her tell them that she would be okay on her own.
“They’re gone. I’m entering the room now,” she informed him. A few seconds later she unlocked and entered the room, closing the door behind her. “Are we better now?”
“So … you can hear through the wall even without the intercom being on.”
“How long have you been able to do that?”
“Since day one.” He could hear everything, smell everything. Including the tangy, sweet scent of her flesh.
“Fascinating.” She bit her bottom lip and looked around. “Do you want to get out of this room?”
“Of course I do,” he said. “I can’t stand being locked up like a caged animal. But I understand why your colleagues don’t want me out of this room. I don’t trust myself outside of this place either. Shit, I barely trust myself
this room.” He snorted. Regardless of the high possibility the doors and walls were only just barely containing him, he still felt trapped. Trapped inside his body. His circumstance. His mind.
“If you find yourself losing control, Jaxon, try to physically still yourself enough to cooperate with me until I can sedate you.” She waved the tranquilizer gun at him. “We’ll manage it like that, okay?”
He scratched his scalp. “Okay.”
Cautiously, Jaxon followed the doctor to the door. He hesitated within the doorway for a moment, took a deep breath and examined the area outside of his cell. With slow, careful movements he stepped out of the room and followed Celise’s lead. His lips tightened and he clutched his fists, focusing on keeping his temper at bay as they passed the two male scientists who wore openly worried expressions.
Ignore them. Don’t even look at them. Keep moving. You just got out of your cage, don’t give them any reason to put you back in there already. Move it!
It wasn’t logical to put all the blame on them, and Jaxon knew it. No one forced him to be a part of this experiment. No one coaxed him into taking the Titan formula. He was a broken man looking for a miracle cure, anxious to get back to keeping crime off the street. He’d volunteered to try the drug, to become a “super soldier”—a cop unlike any other, and he got what he had coming.
So it was silly for him to harbor so much ill-will towards Sri and Victor. His brain knew it. But the way they looked at him with fear in their eyes,
had the right to be afraid when
were not the ones who’d been turned into an angry, ugly thing, made Jaxon feel a level of fury he knew was beyond logic.
He held his breath until they completely passed through the lab and were traversing the hall, leaving the men and his cell many yards behind.
Letting his attention fall on Celise’s backside, he felt his burning anger subside and then slowly shift into something else—something still hot and dangerous, but less volatile. The sway of those wide, good-for-baby-bearing hips of hers drew attention to the round, soft bevel of ass that was leading him down the hall. That ass sat above thick thighs and shapely legs that even her long dress couldn’t completely hide. He took a hand and adjusted his cock so that his erection could continue to grow in his pants with less discomfort. She glanced over her shoulder to eye him, a soft smile playing on her lips, hardening him even more. But she obviously hadn’t noticed his protruding crotch area, for her expression had been sweetly innocent.
It threw him a bit, how calmly she was handling all of this. He examined their surroundings, noted the barred windows, was aware of the locked doors. She was walking alone in this building with a monster behind her, with no immediate chance for an escape, and she was as content as if everything were sunshine and rainbows. “You’re not as afraid of me as you should be.”
“Well, you’re not exactly a stranger, Jaxon. We’ve known each other for a few months now. What’s there to be afraid of?”
He grunted. “I’m not exactly myself, case you haven’t noticed.”
“You’re still you, though. And I don’t feel threatened by you.”
But she should. She would, if she knew the things he thought about doing to her, and the way he thought about doing them. Hard. Rough. Wild. With or without her consent. He licked his lips and turned his head away as they continued walking. “I’m not sure who I am anymore, to tell you the truth. Not while I’m like this. I need to be my old self again; otherwise, I’m worse off now than I was before.”
Celise stopped, and so did he. Sighing, she crossed her arms as she faced him. “Honestly, Jaxon? There’s not really much to fix, physically. Sure, the formula was faulty, and it may need to be tweaked for a slower transformation in future applications. But otherwise you’re perfectly healthy. The formula did everything to you that it should.”
“But what I’m feeling—I’m not myself.”
“I know,” she said. There was a long moment of silence before she spoke again. “Why did you answer the ad and volunteer to help with this experiment? Isn’t that what you wanted, to become someone a little different than who you were?”
Jaxon felt the tension rising in his chest at the hidden accusation of her question, but he tamped it down. “No, I didn’t want to be someone different, which is why I wasn’t happy. Ever since I got shot, I’ve been someone different. I just wanted to be who I was
the accident, before I became damn near handicapped. There’s a world of trouble out there and a lot of good people caught in it, and I wanted to be back out there helping them, protecting them, chasing down scum. And for the chance to make it so I never suffered another debilitating injury again while doing my job, I jumped.”
“You wanted to get better.”
“Yes, damn it, I wanted to get better, be better. Who the hell doesn’t? But if having flawless physical health has to cost me my mental health, then, well, then maybe I don’t want it.”
“It’s not as if the formula gave you new emotions, Jaxon. You already had them. They’re yours. It sounds as if they are just amplified to the point that you can no longer hide them.”
“I want to just be the way I was before. I couldn’t run worth shit, but at least I could control my temper.” And libido, he thought. “Had I been fully informed ahead of time of this kind of side effect, I might have made a different choice.”
“Well, the formula wasn’t supposed to affect you mentally or emotionally. Something did go wrong with that, and we do need to figure out what in order to prevent it from happening again. All we need to do for you is figure out how to get your head back on straight. We’ll figure it out, though, give it time. Trust in the science.”
“I heard you arguing with Sri and Victor when they suggested testing me further. If you believe in the science so much, why didn't you want them to test me further?”
Her eyes grew round and wide. “You heard us talking in the
from your cell? Wow. Well, I just don’t think it’s worth the risk to your well-being to mess further with the unknown. There are other ways to handle the testing. Safer ways.”
“But how long will it take to investigate these ‘other ways?’”
“I don’t know. It would take some time. A couple of months perhaps.”
He huffed and swung at a wall. “I don’t know if I can wait that long. I’m a constant mess. Right now I seriously feel like I’ll go crazy if I don’t punch somebody.” Or screw somebody, he thought. The somebody in particular being Celise. He cursed under his breath for the strong, urgent desire to snatch up her dress and penetrate her, even though she was doing nothing to entice him but stand there and talk. “Argh, maybe you should sedate me now.”
She smirked at him. “The fact that you’re standing here right now, telling me how you’re feeling without being violent or dangerous to me or yourself, shows that you don’t need to be sedated. You’re not
out of control. You just need an outlet.”
“Maybe.” Maybe if she knew how hard his cock was, and that the only thing keeping him from lashing out at those two scientists was the fact that his anger was tempered only by his desire for her, she would know just how close he was to losing control. The fragrance of her skin and her pheromones surrounded him, nearly suffocated him even. Her voice scraped his skin. “What kind of outlet?”
She grinned and grabbed his arm. “Come with me, I’ll show you.”
The feeling of her small fingers on his skin was electrifying. Instantly, his brain conjured up images of those fingers gripping other parts of his body, and he tightened all over in response, holding his breath as he followed her through what felt like his own personal hell.
Celise lead Jaxon to the facility’s gym on the first floor. She put forth her best effort not to keep looking at him, despite how painfully aware she was of his presence. Of the heat that seemed to radiate from him, or how his eyes seared her body wherever they rested. She was uncertain whether he was angry with her or aroused at that moment, but either way she could sense the ferocity he was struggling to contain. Surely exercise could help him literally work out his aggression.
The gym was a small but well-equipped one, divided into two areas. In the first one was a couple of treadmills, a tread-climber and an elliptical machine which faced the wall with a forty-inch flat-panel television that Victor had recently purchased to replace the heavy, out-dated television that was previously mounted on it. On the opposite wall there was a weight bench, a hanging punching bag and three different machines with weights and resistances. A row of benches casually separated this section from the other area of the gym, which provided an open space for running or group activities. Three of the four walls were nearly covered in mirror, and the room had three doors: the entrance, one that led to the women’s locker room and one that led to the men’s.
“So here we are. It’s not the greatest gym ever, but it’s got decent equipment and should do … just … fine,” she turned to face him and found him standing close upon her. Too close. “ … for our purposes.”
He grunted as he easily stripped off his shirt. “I hope so.”
She watched as he got on the treadmill, wearing a pair of shorts and sneakers she’d bought for him a few days ago, and immediately broke into a six miles per hour jog. His legs flexed and moved with ease, and his large feet thudded heavily as they landed one after another on the belt. Within a minute he increased the speed to eight, nine, then ten, his body moving like a beautiful, living machine as it easily adjusted to the faster rhythm each time. The racing of her own heart alerted Celise that perhaps she should join him in some exercise instead of standing there watching him like a horny fool.
She went into the locker room, removed her lab coat and stripped off her dress, shoes and stockings before putting the lab coat back on—making a mental note to see if she could go home and grab some appropriate workout gear—and going back into the gym. She considered one of the machines, but all she’d had with her were those heels, and it was neither smart nor sanitary to get on one barefooted. So she moved to the other side of the room, removed her glasses and did some stretches and Pilates while he ran.
Within fifteen minutes he shut down the treadmill and trumped off of it, his face twisted in an angry scowl.
“Did that help any?”
“Not intense enough,” he replied without making eye contact at her. He marched over to the free weights and threw himself down on his back upon a bench.
Even from several feet away, Celise could see clearly the way his body rippled and flexed as he pumped the iron, his tan skin glistening with perspiration, his green veins bulging with life. He was man, all man, all fine, riled-up man. She tried to turn her head so as not to stare at him, but the walls of the gym were practically covered in mirrors. That delectable body of his was everywhere she turned. Taut and taunting and tempting. Reflecting into infinity.
Celise hiked up the stiff lab coat a bit and began doing her squats more aggressively, finding herself needing to work off some steam of her own.
Then Jaxon began attacking the long punching bag with his big fists and raising those thick, sculpted legs of his to kick at it. His body rippled whenever his hand or foot made a thudding contact against the bag. She tried closing her eyes to shut him out of her head, but a guttural grunt accompanied each thrust. It was as if every move the man made reeked of sex. And that was when Celise almost lost it.
She eyed the door, tempted to leave and come back to fetch him when he was done. But she was supposed to be keeping an eye on him; she was supposed to be supportive. Surely she could control her carnal thoughts long enough to let the man finish his workout. Lying upon the floor, she closed her eyes and began doing crunches until his rough voice jerked open her eyes.
“I’m going to hit the shower,” Jaxon announced.
She stood up and looked him. Tension still rolled off him, and his gaze went over her head instead of looking directly at her. His mouth was a thin line, one corner of it twisted almost cruelly. And although it should have been,
was not the adjective that first came to her mind as she looked at him.
She licked her lips and swallowed. “Did this help any?”
“Some.” His chest heaved and he clutched his fists as if he were holding something back. Curious tingles went up her spine as she looked at him. He didn’t return her gaze, only headed towards the men’s locker room.
She’d barely physically worked up a sweat, but she was definitely hot. A shower was just the thing she needed to cool off. “Okay. Me, too. I shouldn’t be too long—meet you back out here in a bit.”
Celise removed her lab coat and underwear and retreated to the cool sprinkling of the first shower in the women’s bathing area. She let it run down her hair, face and shoulders like a gentle massage. She turned the temperature up so that the drops of water felt like the caress of warm fingers on her back, hips and butt, sliding down her belly and thighs.
She washed herself absent-mindedly, thinking about Jaxon. He had already been a sexy man. Handsome, easygoing, confident. The only thing missing was the genuine, bright smile he used to have. Oh, did she miss that smile, that mysterious smile which she’d never been quite sure was devious or innocent. But now there was this added rawness to him, this extra intensity which made her even more aware of him than before. She imagined him lathering soap on his sculpted body in the shower just next door, using the same water from the same pipes and source at the same time as she. They were practically showering together. Getting sopping wet and slippery with soap, steaming up the bathroom together.
What is wrong with me?!
She dried off and dressed, then went back out into the gym at the same time Jaxon was coming out of the men’s room. The towel around his waist was far too small—it covered his most private of parts okay but left little to the imagination. She gulped and tried to tear her eyes away, but his thighs were insane; that shape of his waist and the top of the triangle that pointed down and under the towel, which failed to conceal the almost frighteningly impressive bulge of his groin, were utterly enthralling.
She bit her bottom lip and sat down on the nearby bench, crossing her legs as if to keep the heat that was pooling in her sex from escaping.
He was every bit as hot as a mutant as he was before. It wasn’t natural for a man to be that sexy. It just wasn’t.
But he was no longer a completely natural man now, was he?
“Why are you naked?”
“I forgot my shirt out here.”
She glanced over at the shirt he’d stripped off earlier still hanging on the arm of the treadmill. “Ah,” she said as he moved towards the treadmill and the mirrors displayed him in that towel from every possible angle. Celise cleared her throat. “So how do you feel?”
“I feel much freaking better.”
She noted that he did indeed seem more calm. “Good. So the exercising worked?”
“Well, I definitely feel less violent,” Jaxon said. He grabbed his shirt with one hand, gripping his towel tightly with the other. “But if you keep checking me out like that, I’m gonna have to do another round
Celise bit her bottom lip as she felt her face grow hot, and she looked away as he went back into the locker room to get dressed. It was embarrassing enough that she’d been blatantly gawking at him like a piece of meat, the way a man would look at a woman. But to do it hard enough for him to catch her in the act was just unbelievable.
She began to wonder if she was losing control, too.