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Authors: Jessica Lee

Passion awakened

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Passion Awakened

Jessica Lee

 

In the far future, humans areforced to take government-issued drugs to control their sexual urges. CreedDonovan, drug enforcer for the Federation of Americas, is on the trail of afugitive. The chase through time has landed him in the year 2012, six hundredyears into the past and in the mountains of North Carolina.

Shayla Murphy is on hiatus, workingon her latest novel when her peaceful retreat turns into a hostage scenestraight out of a sci-fi flick—one complete with a knife at her throat and menzapping into thin air. But when the sexy man who saves her needs a littlerescue of his own, Shayla can’t kick him out. Especially after he reveals he’sfrom the future, his ride home stolen, and his own supply of Sustain, the drughe enforces, gone with it.

Without Sustain, Creed’s suppressedlust will soon awaken, and he’s never experienced his libido untethered.Trapped with a beautiful new roommate and on the verge of detox, he strugglesto suppress the raging desire in his blood. Only God can help him survive withhis mind and heart intact.

 

Ellora’s Cave Publishing

www.ellorascave.com

 

 

 

Passion Awakened

 

ISBN 9781419940279

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Passion Awakened Copyright © 2012 Jessica Lee

 

Edited by Grace Bradley

Photo and Cover design by Syneca

Models: Elina and Christian

 

Electronic book publication May 2012

 

The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks ofEllora’s Cave Publishing.

 

With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may notbe reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without writtenpermission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue,Akron OH 44310-3502.

 

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of thiscopyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded ordistributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, withoutthe publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, includinginfringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and ispunishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. (http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/). Please purchase only authorized electronic or printeditions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy ofcopyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons,living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. Thecharacters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

 

The publisher and author(s) acknowledge the trademark status andtrademark ownership of all trademarks, service marks and word marks mentionedin this book.

 

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Passion Awakened

Jessica Lee

Dedication

 

As always, this is foryou, because nothing would bepossible without you, my love.

 

 

Acknowledgment

 

A big shout-out to the best critique partner in theworld—Naima. Love you, girl. You always make me smile through the tough stuff.

 

Chapter One

 

Crackle.

Zap.

Creed dropped into a crouch and dug his fingers into thesoft earth. The buzz in his ears combined with the sudden blinding sunlighttilted the world off-kilter. His stomach roiled.

He breathed deep through his nostrils and shook his head.After ten years as an enforcer, jumping into a time warp still wasn’t the bestpart of his day. The hunt that followed… Worth every gut-clenching,molecule-stretching moment inside that field. Creed clutched the small ornatedevice hanging around his neck and checked the narrow display on its reverse side.

Year 2012.

Over six hundred years into the past.

He tapped the field.

Laurel Pass, North Carolina, USA.

Creed surveyed the area. Smack dab in the middle of damnnowhere.

For the last two weeks, he’d warped, chasing histarget—Thomas Guerry. The crazy scientist had plopped them in the heart of theAmazon Sector, circa 2513. Post-war New York, circa 2210, and now this isolatedchunk of territory with nothing but grass, hills, trees and more trees andhills for miles.Shit.

Thomas should consider his ass kicked before Creed hauledthe rebel’s lovesick, overemotional hide back to the future where he belonged.

The target wasn’t the first to refuse the hormonalsuppressant, Sustain, nor would he be the last. In a world where control andorder are coveted by the Federation, and as a result, had driven the mortalityand crime rates down to a negligible percentage for the society as a whole, anyrebellion was immediately snuffed. But there would always remain those whowould risk it all to satisfy their animalistic libidos.

Stupid and a federal crime.

And that’s where Creed came in.

His job was to bring Guerry back—alive—and see that he wassuccessfully reintegrated into society with a fresh perspective for his way oflife. One that didn’t threaten the rest of the population.

Before straightening, Creed reached into the pocket of hisblack vest and pulled his particle field visor free. He slid it over the bridgeof his nose, the thin metal wrapping around his temples and over his ears likea natural extension of his body. The lenses were jet black, but the viewthrough the enhanced fields was crystal clear. Specially made to detect theblue aura a Sustain user projected, they were also perfect for tracking a timetraveler. When a person warped, they left a trail of tiny shimmering particlesbehind in their wake called Scatter. The image always reminded him of thebedtime storyPeter Panthey used to read in the brood homes, thecolorful pages depicting Tinkerbell’s fairy dust as she would zoom off into thenight.

Creed adjusted his small backpack and made his way towardthe sound of rushing water. He cleared the pines and exited onto the banks of awide river. His target would no doubt follow the water until he reached apopulated area. The Scatter in his line of sight did just that, hug the edge ofthe bank. He crouched, surveying the imprint of a boot in the soft soil. Basedon the strength of the residual warp signature and the dampness of theimpression, it appeared fresh. Thomas was close.

For the next couple of miles, Creed followed the water andthe lingering trail. At a narrow bend in the river, the path suddenly stopped,but on the other side, the particles continued and led up a hillside.

Creed pounded through the narrow strip of rushing water andthen up the grassy slope. The roar of his pulse competed with the rapids fordominance in his ears.

At the top and several hundred feet away, a cabin sat in aclearing. So isolated and rustic compared to the clean, sterile edges of hishome and the dense population of the Federation in the twenty-seventh century.Very rare for anyone of his time to possess a home secluded from the watchfuleye of the government.

Thomas’ path continued along the tree line, but near thedwelling, the trail died.

Creed lowered onto his haunches, watching…waiting for anysign of movement. He curled the gloved fist of his right hand in tight. Therapid flutter of the carotids along his neck was the only external sign he waslike a coiled spring ready to explode. He breathed deep, suppressing theadrenaline-laced response that screamed for him to launch into action.

Do something.

But that would only defeat any chance of recovering histarget.

Patience.

Patience made him the Federation of Americas’ top enforcer.

If he acted in haste, Creed risked Thomas warping to yetanother time period. But if he timed it right, allowed the fugitive to gainconfidence, show himself, it would only take one well-placed touch or shot, andthey’d both be going home.

A rustle of leaves snagged his attention.

Thomas.

The rebel eased from the cover of a hedge of rhododendrons.He glanced left, then right, his headful of straight blond hair lifting in thebreeze. Thomas shifted the backpack on his shoulder, then started toward thecabin, still wearing the royal-blue bodysuit required by his career and definedhis status in their society—an elite scientist. His gait spoke of confidence,as if he belonged on the property. But Creed knew differently. At thirty yearsold, the tall, thin man was one of the government’s brightest, mostaccomplished biomedical engineers. Hence for more reasons than one, theFederation wanted him back. Yesterday.

Watching, Creed kept to the shadows of the tree line whilemaking his way closer, seeking an opening for the neural silencer. The devicewas similar in some ways to the current century’s Taser, but severalgenerations of evolution had morphed the weapon into the form of a glove. Heflexed the gloved fingers of his hand once more. The fibers of the weapon werelaced deep within the fabric, but in his head, he could swear he felt everycharged filament. One touch took the target down, but if still several feetaway, the weapon contained the ability to be discharged into a concentratedstream of energy, not shocking the whole body, but disrupting the brain’sneural pathways.

Thomas moved near the steps and started his climb, his backto the enforcer. This was Creed’s moment.

Creed dropped the pack from his shoulders and tore from thecover of the trees, bearing down on his target. Arms pumping, he raced acrossthe few feet of grass and rock surface.

Thomas stepped onto the wooden porch landing.

Creed hit the bottom step and reached out with his palm.

His target whirled, facing him.

The door swung wide.

Oh shit!

A dark-haired woman, hair long and loose, stepped throughthe doorway, then ground to a halt. “Oh!” she said, brown eyes wide and armsclutching in a death grip what looked like an electronic device to her chest.Thomas glanced over his shoulder, his gaze darting between the startled homeownerand Creed. “Can I help you, gentlemen?” she added, but based on the tension inher body, she was ready to bolt.

“No,” Creed bit out. “We were just leaving. Correct,Thomas?” Creed shot him a look that said,That was a command. Not aquestion.

But of course, the Federation’s leading scientist wasn’tgoing to make this easy. In a move Creed thought impossible of the once quietand calm bioengineer, Thomas lunged for the female. One second he stood on theedge of the porch, the next, he had the homeowner in his clutches, a bladebeneath her chin. The brunette released a squeak of alarm and dropped her whitedevice to the wooden planks at her feet.

“You don’t want to do this, Thomas.” Creed took a hesitantstep forward. “This isn’t you.”

The knife trembled at her throat. “Maybe not. But I can’t goback.” He shook his head. “You have no idea what you demand, Creed. I can’tlive like that anymore.”

“You don’t belong here.” Creed joined them on the wideporch. “It’s the law, and it’s my job.” He lowered his voice, making sure nowaver of negotiation lay between the words. “You will go back.”

Thomas’ Adam’s apple bobbed. His jaw tightened. Creed knewexactly what was coming, and he braced for it.

“Never!” the other man cried out right before he lunged, thehilt of his blade tight in his fist, held high, the sharp point aimed forCreed. The woman screamed, the sound echoing off the hills.

Creed blocked the strike, but the impact of his attackersent them both tumbling down the steps. The full weight of his target landed onhis chest, punching the air from his lungs. A hot slice of pain seared deepinto his biceps. Creed bit down, grinding his molars, then arched and knockedhis assailant to the side. Asnicksounded in his ears and Thomasrolled, but quickly rebounded onto his feet. Creed mirrored the same maneuver.He glanced down at his arm and the stream of crimson heading south over hisjacket’s black leather surface. Within the flow, a thin, milky-white liquidhitched a ride. Sustain.

Son of a bitch.

Thomas had gone for Creed’s implant with his blade. Andsucceeded.

Nicely done.

He’d have to give the other man credit. He possessed betterreflexes than Creed would have expected of a male who spent most of his wakinghours in a lab. His gaze moved back to Thomas, who stood a few feet away with avery satisfied gleam in his eyes. That’s when he noticed the item dangling fromthe other man’s grip. Creed reached for his throat and the familiar feel of themetal amulet. Thesnickhe’d heard… Thomas popped the chain when Creedhad kicked him off.

“That’s right, enforcer.” Thomas clutched the time device athis throat and held up Creed’s in his other fist. “Time for you to get a feelfor what you demand others to renounce.”

On a low growl, Creed dove for the Sustain rebel. “Thomas!”

“Enjoy your stay, enforcer.”

Creed sliced through thin air, tucked and somersaulted whereThomas had once stood. “Dammit!” He spun, on automatic, clenching andunclenching his fingers. How had he allowed this to happen? His pulse raced. Hewas a pro. The FOA’s best.

And he was trapped.

Chapter Two

 

Shayla clasped her throat and swallowed hard. She couldswear the cool edge of the blade still kissed her skin. On shaky legs shereversed her steps, watching the fight between the large, intimidating man withebony hair and the attacker unfold, until her rear bumped the cabin’s door.

She should get her ass inside.

But she couldn’t bring herself to turn away and make ithappen.

Mesmerized, she watched as the bleeding man who’d saved herlife lunged for the blond with the knife.

“Enjoy your stay,” the thinner man uttered, thenpoof!Shayla’s breath hitched. He was gone. Just like that, vanished. She blinked andshook her head. Her mind refusing to accept the last few minutes of her life.Shayla stared once more at the spot where the guy with the blade had stood. Theman who remained slowly revolved and faced her. Even from a distance his vividblue gaze captivated her, held her immobile. She could only imagine what theeffect would be up close. A shiver ran down her spine.

Mr. Blue Eyes pivoted and headed for the tree line, jerkingher back to reality. Shayla slid her palm up and shoved her jaw shut. Dang, shehad to have looked like a freaking idiot standing there with her mouth agape.But how often did one get accosted on their doorstep by a knife-wieldinglunatic who could vanish in thin air? Her stomach rebelled. God, was she goingto be sick?

With a backpack in hand, the stranger appeared from thecover of the trees and headed toward the cabin. On reflex, Shayla dropped herhand onto the doorknob. She had no idea what the heck she’d witnessed, and eventhough he’d saved her life, he wasn’t getting inside.

At the foot of the steps, he lowered his bag as if sheweren’t there, then proceeded to unzip the diagonal closure to his jacket.

“What’s going on?” Shayla finally managed to blurt out. “Howdid he do that?”

He glanced up in acknowledgment, long, thick obsidian lasheslifting, but carried on with his task in silence. Eyes narrowed, the only signthe action caused him any discomfort, he pulled his injured arm free from theblack leather. Underneath, he wore a thin white t-shirt. The short sleevesstretched taut over defined biceps, the right one soaked in blood.

“Hey!” she yelled and eased forward. “I’m right here.” Shewaved a hand, the “heeelllo” unspoken but very much implied. “After what hejust tried to do to me, I deserve…” The afternoon sun highlighted somethingother than blood dripping from his upper arm, snagging her attention. The woundlay open, and blood mixed with a white substance trailed from the deep gash.“Oh God…” Shayla inched down two steps, taking herself in for a closer look.“You’re really hurt.”

She reached forward, but before she could make contact, heyanked his arm away.

“It’s nothing,” he snapped, his voice deep and commanding.The tone made it clear she needed to mind her own business. Good luck withthat. He was on her property, and his buddy had been the one to cross that linewith a knife to her throat.

“It most certainly isn’t nothing.” She shook her head andmoved closer whether he liked it or not. “It looks like he ripped somethingopen on your biceps.” Shayla grasped his shoulder to turn him. “Is that muscle?You’re going to need a doctor.”

He shrugged, the action knocking her away. “No. It’s notmuscle. And no, I don’t need a doctor.”

“Fine.” She huffed. “You don’t want my help. Good.” Shetossed up her hands in surrender, wheeled about, and marched back up the steps.“You don’t want to answer my questions. I’m fine with that too. But the policewon’t be so easygoing.” Shayla bent and recovered her laptop from the porchboards then reached for the door.

“I can’t allow you to notify your police.” The deep rumbleof a voice at her ear nearly had her jumping out of her skin. She whirledaround. When had he climbed the steps?

“Why?” What would he do to her if she did? Was he going tofinish the job the other guy started? She breathed deep through her nostrils.Staycalm, Shayla. You can’t let him see your fear.“I was attacked. Held atknifepoint. And I am going to call the police unless you have a very goodreason why I shouldn’t.”

“And what will you tell them?” He arched a brow and onecorner of his mouth quirked, drawing her attention.

Her heart skipped.

A five o’clock shadow the color of kohl surrounded full lipsso dang perfectly etched they should be a sin to possess. She blinked, forcingherself to focus on what he was saying.

“That a man from six hundred years in the future warped backin time, held you hostage, stole my way home, then vanished from your lawnwithout a trace?”

Shayla’s mind grappled for a hold on his words. “Thefuture…” Her gaze collided with his. No teasing hint of a smile hid in thoseblue depths. “You’re joking.”

“No. I rarely joke.”

She bet that was the truth. The man had dead-serious toughguy stamped all over him. He possessed the looks and attitude. The perfectalpha badass for one of her novels.

“Y-you’re saying the guy who had the knife at my throat,when he disappeared, he…”

“Traveled somewhere either forward or backward in time andhas left me stranded,” he added, finishing her thought for her, his face hard,unshakable.

“That’s impossible.” She shook her head.

“I rarely lie either.” The deadpan statement and matchingexpression had her doubting her sanity. Because she almost believed him.

“Rarely?” She hit him with a don’t-fuck-with-me glare.

“Rarely. And this isn’t one of those times.” He retreatedone step, giving Shayla room to breathe and gather her thoughts. The proximityof the man, his intense larger-than-life presence was scrambling her ability tothink.

“There’s no reason to hide the truth from you, or make upsome deception. The reaction you had to my admission is the same you wouldreceive from anyone you attempted to reveal the details to from thisafternoon.” He cocked his head, studying her. “But I can’t risk the chance ofbeing arrested and detained in one of your holding cells. When a locater teamcomes for me, they don’t need that complication. I have to return as soon aspossible to prevent any contamination in your time period.” He glanced away,then assessed the injury to his biceps, his fingertips going to the edge of thewound before continuing. “And for certain other personal reasons, my retrievalmust be expedited.”

“So what year are you from?”Good Lord.She couldn’tbelieve the question had even come from her mouth. Was she truly believing allthis?

His gaze flicked up. “The year 2625.” He dropped his hand,then straightened. “My name is Creed Donovan. I’m a Sustain drug enforcer forthe Federation of Americas.”

Shayla scoffed. She couldn’t help it. The entire deliverywas so perfectly rehearsed and executed. “You say that as if you believe ityourself.”

“And your name would be?”

Not one flinch. Her accusation should have ruffled hisfeathers.

Baffling.

This Creed Donovan was unlike anyone she’d ever met. Hisstory said he was crazy, but the way he responded, his actions, didn’t matchthe insanity of his pitch.

“Shayla Murphy,” she said on a frustrated sigh. “The otherguy who attacked me, do you think he’ll be back? Do I have anything to worryabout?”

He shook his head. “Highly unlikely. He’s not a violentperson. Thomas wanted to escape me, not injure you. Now that he’s obtained hisgoal, he won’t be back.”

“Well…” With a puff of air, she blew the few loose strandsof hair away from her eyes. “Thatat least is reassuring.”

“So, as you see, there is no need for your police.”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “Hmm…”

“You’re not injured. Your property is not damaged, and yourassailant is very long gone, not to return.”

“Butyouare injured.” Shayla stared at hisbloodstained t-shirt.

Creed’s gaze darted between his arm and her. “There isnothing your law officials can do to help me with this. Only returning to mytime will resolve the situation.”

“It’s a deep cut. I think we can help you here. You justneed a few stitches.” She stepped forward and reached out. Creed jerked back.Shayla dropped her hand.Wow. Edgy much?He acted as if she were goingto burn him with her touch. “I’m sorry. I was just trying to help.”

“Like I said. There’s nothing anyone here can do to help.”

“Okay,” she drawled and backed toward the door. Shaylagripped the knob and added, “I’m going inside now, and it’s time for you togather your things,” she indicated his backpack with a nod of her head and awriggle of her finger, “and leave. The main road is a couple of miles in thatdirection.” Shayla pointed in the vicinity of the dirt drive where her fadedGrand Cherokee sat.

“No police?”

“No police. You have my word.” As long as nothing else wentdown, she didn’t have to call the cops.

“Thank you.”

Even through all that steely attitude, she’d detected therelief in his voice. And as much as she hated to admit it, the effect warmedher. “You’re welcome.” Without turning her back, Shayla slipped inside thenlocked the door. A long breath she had no idea she’d been holding escaped herlungs. “Oh my God,” she mumbled to the empty one-bedroom cabin. Apost-adrenaline tremble washed over her. Shayla headed for her desk in front ofthe bay window that faced the front lawn and returned her laptop. From hervantage point, she watched as Creed bandaged his wound then shoved everythingelse back inside his pack.

But he didn’t leave.

Instead he pulled something secured in what appeared to be aclear plastic wrapper from the front pocket of his bag and began to eat. Herhands went to her hips. Just how long did he plan to camp out there?

* * * * *

Shayla rolled over and stared at the silvery streaks ofmoonlight bathing the wood beams of her bedroom’s ceiling. Sleep had playedhide and seek with her for most of the night. It had been hours since she’dlast heard or seen anything of her unexpected visitor. But the memory of theday’s earlier event made the idea of a peaceful night’s rest a real joke.

One more check outside. That’s all she needed, and maybe shecould get some shuteye.

On bare feet, Shayla padded into the living room and over tothe front window. She scanned the front yard for any unfamiliar shadows,movement or sounds.

Nothing.

Good. He was gone. She sighed. Yeah. That was a good thing.Absently, she rubbed her midsection. Then why did the tiniest part of herfeel…disappointed?

Because he was kind of hot. Shayla groaned.

He was fascinating. Crazy, but fascinating.

And he was hot.She rolled her eyes, mocking herself.Maybe she was the one who needed a therapist. A messed-up-in-the-head man wasnot what she needed in her life after her last disastrous relationship. Herprecious three-year-old little girl, Maddie, was the only positive andbeautiful thing that came from those two years.

Shayla rotated on her heels, then froze when a dark form onthe porch caught her attention. She peered through the glass, trying to makeout exactly what she was seeing. What the…?

Creed.

He was curled up in a sleeping bag at the far end. But therewas no mistaking that dark head of hair buzzed into a military cut.

A hot flash of anger swept through her and she stomped forthe door. Then it hit her. Creed really must not have anywhere to go. Shedropped her hand away from the knob and her head fell back between hershoulders. Why else would he choose to sleep on her porch when she’d orderedhim to leave? He hadn’t tried to break in, touch her, or even make a sound. Shereally had thought he’d left. Despite her misgivings, her heart went out tohim. She couldn’t stand to see anyone cold, hungry or hurt. And he probablysuffered from all three. Shayla moved back to the pane and took another hardlook. Unmoving, as still as the night and fast asleep. She tugged on her bottomlip with her teeth, then rechecked all the windows and door locks. Everythingremained secure.

She had a soft heart, but her mama hadn’t raised a fool.

Morning came around way too quickly. Shayla blinked rapidlyand groaned from the bright rays of sunshine jerking her back intoconsciousness. Coffee. The thought of the hot brew was the only thing pullingher from her covers. That and her deadline’s fast approach. The reason she’dleft Maddie at her mother’s and gone up to the family cabin for someundisturbed marathon writing. Time away had been great for her muse. Well,until yesterday’s adventure. On that thought, Shayla hit the coffeepot’sonswitch, then returned to the set of living room windows to check on herunexpected porch guest.

In the same spot she’d found him in last night, Creed wasupright, eating another one of those plastic-wrapped bars. It may have been herimagination, but his color seemed a little more pale than yesterday. From thestabbing and sleeping outside, could he be coming down with an infection? Dangit! He was not going to sit out there and die on her porch.

Shayla unlocked the door and stepped halfway onto thedecking. “You stayed out here all night.” Creed stopped mid-chew and looked up.

“I apologize for the awkward situation, but I have to remainin the close vicinity of my last coordinates so that a retrieval team canlocate me as soon as possible.”

“Uh-huh. I see.” Shayla nodded. He was sticking to hisstory. She gave him props for that. Shayla eased a bit closer, assessing himfrom behind an old wooden rocking chair. Creed acted like a man perfectlyhealthy, enjoying his breakfast and the cool mountain morning. But dark shadowslurked under his eyes, and his complexion—a shade whiter beneath his nowtwo-day stubble said otherwise.

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