Long Lost, an all-new sensual and suspenseful standalone in the Masters and Mercenaries: The Forgotten Series from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake is available now!
A stolen past
The only thing Tucker remembers of his past is pain. Used in a doctor’s evil experiments, his memories and identity were erased, and his freedom taken. He believed his nightmare was over when he was liberated by the men and women of McKay-Taggart, until he heard the name Steven Reasor. The idea that he could have been involved in the terrible experiments that cost his “brothers” everything crushed him. A desperate attempt to force him to remember the truth almost cost him his life. Now his world is in chaos and his only path to finally uncover the truth and atone for his sins leads to Veronica Croft.
A painful present
Veronica “Roni” Croft knew Dr. Steven Reasor was bad for her, but she also saw a side of the man that no one else knew. Even as she began to believe their employer was hiding something sinister, she was drawn to him like a moth to a flame. Their affair was passionate and intense, but also fraught with danger. When he disappeared under mysterious circumstances, she took her first chance to run and never looked back. She has stayed hidden ever since, running from forces she knows are too powerful to overcome. But now the man she believed was dead, the man she mourned, has returned and needs her help.
A dangerous future
As Tucker and Roni unravel the secrets of his past, a dark force rises and threatens to destroy them. Their only chance for survival will require them to join forces with the Lost Boys’ worst enemy. Only together can they finally unlock Tucker’s past. But as Tucker’s memories begin to come back, will it free them both or tear them apart forever?
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Veronica took a deep breath. “The first time you kissed me we were at the lab. It was after hours and I’d stayed behind because I was finishing up some reports for Dr. Walsh. There were a couple of doctors there who thought they could mess around with me. One in particular made a nuisance of himself. He was married but he thought the younger women were all fair game. That night he’d stayed behind, too, and he was coming on to me. Hard. You walked in and he pretty much peed himself after you were done with him.”
“Did I hurt him?”
His question came out measured so she couldn’t tell if he wanted the answer to be yes or no.
“Not physically, but he didn’t touch me again. Anyway, afterward you stayed while I finished up. You said you wanted to walk me out to my car. I thanked you and we ended up talking.” She could remember how grateful she’d been to not be left alone. “It was the first time I saw you as something other than the ambitious doctor who handled things for McDonald. You stayed way longer than you had planned, and I felt bad for keeping you. You told me it was okay because it might be the only good thing you’d done for anyone in months. I don’t know what made me do it, but I went up on my tiptoes and kissed you. It wasn’t much. It was barely two seconds. When I moved back, you told me that wasn’t a kiss. You asked me if you could show me what a kiss was. And you did.”
He’d been careful with her, making sure she was all right.
Rather like he’d explained he would be now. He’d been careful right up until he’d been sure she was with him and then he’d taken over. Then he’d taken her someplace she’d never been before.
She came out of the memory at the sound of his command. Show me. That was what he’d said to her that night.
She could come out of the memory because it was hers. That moment was there in her brain and she could call on it for the rest of her life. It was something so personal. Her memories were the sum of her soul. It struck her forcibly what he’d lost. What she’d lost. That memory had truly been theirs, a shared history that should have connected them for the rest of their lives.
Now she was the only one who knew what it had felt like that night. He was right there. He was standing in front of her asking for that connection again.
She went up on her toes. “Thank you. I didn’t want him near me, but I don’t feel the same way about you.” She let her lips brush his, the bare meeting of flesh that came from a woman who wasn’t sure of what she’d wanted then. Of what she wanted now. “And then you shook your head.”
Tucker shook his head and took the beer from her hand. He set it on the ledge and turned back to her. “Oh, that wasn’t a kiss. Let me show you how I kiss. Will you let me kiss you, Roni? I think about kissing you all the time.”
So close to what he’d actually said. She would take it. “Yes. Please kiss me.”
The air seemed to go out of the room and her vision focused in on him. It was like the rest of the world fell away. It was exactly as it had been that first night with him. Something had fallen into place when he’d looked at her and she’d known nothing would be the same.
If he kissed her again, they would have that connection they’d lost.
His hand went around the nape of her neck, sending a delicious warmth down her spine. He pulled her slightly, drawing her close in an easy show of strength. He brought their bodies together and her breasts brushed against his chest. His free hand wrapped around her waist and she took a moment to look into his eyes.
They were the clearest blue. Something about his eyes had always dragged her in. Even when they were cold, even when no one else had been able to see the emotion behind them, she hadn’t been fooled.
“I want to believe. But I don’t want to want to believe,” she said quietly.
“Because it would be easier if I was the bastard you’ve spent years believing I was. I know. Roni, I can’t imagine I was easy to care for then. I’m not easy now. But for however long we get together I want to try to be with you. We can take it slow and find a way to be friends again.”
She sighed at the thought because he was going to pull away and that was the last thing she wanted. Now that she was here and alone with him, she knew she couldn’t lose the chance to explore this side of the man. “We were never friends.”
She moved in and kissed him. It wasn’t what had happened that night, but that was all right. They were making a new memory, one no one could take away from them. It might all go to hell tomorrow, but she would kiss the father of her child again. She would have this new memory of him.
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