Lie Close To Me (Lazarus Rising Book 5)(3)

By: Cynthia Eden


Something hit her in the shoulder. A fast burn. A tranq. She stumbled a little, but managed to grab the stair railing and haul herself up. Up, up, up…

A blond guard was at the top of the stairs. He had his gun aimed right at her. He shouted, “Stand down!”

Luna could have sworn there was sympathy in his eyes. Maybe he wouldn’t fire at her.

But then she heard the thud of footsteps coming close—more guards, piling up behind him. And they didn’t have sympathy in their eyes.

Only grim determination.

She stilled on the stairs, half-way up. “I don’t want to die,” Luna said again.

“It’s just a tranq,” the sympathetic guard said. “Just a tranq.”

He didn’t understand.

Luna gathered her strength. Then, with a guttural cry, she launched herself forward. She took out one guard, two, a third—

The third guard fired at her.

Another hard burn pierced her body. But this time, her legs went numb. She fell, tumbling back, unable to control her movements. She hit the stairs, slamming into them again and again as she tumbled down. Her arm broke. The snap filled her ears. Her ribs fractured, she could feel the pain cutting through her, and then her head—her neck—

Darkness.

***

Maddox Kane stood in the middle of the cell, his shoulders tense, his hands fisted, and his gaze locked straight ahead. He was chained up, they’d never chained him before, and he wondered how much effort it would take to snap through the chains.

Footsteps were coming toward him. Soft, hesitant. Scared.

He waited.

The door swung open. A doctor was there, a guy in a white lab coat. Sweating. His Adam’s apple bobbing. The fellow opened his mouth to talk—

“Luna,” Maddox growled her name. He’d tried to reach her as soon as he woke up. Tried to connect with her, but he’d only gotten darkness. Darkness, when normally, Luna shone with light.

The doctor backed up a step. His brown eyes darted down to the chains that held Maddox in place. “I apologize for the restraints. Until we can determine what caused you to attack—”

“Luna.”

More sweat. And the guy’s heartbeat was racing so fast that Maddox was surprised it didn’t burst out of his chest.

The doctor’s hand rose. He pulled at his collar, as if it were choking him. “We…we have a problem.”

They sure as hell did. If Luna had been hurt…if she’d been terminated…

Maddox lunged forward. The chains snapped. He locked his hand around the doctor’s throat. “What problem?”

The guy’s eyes were about to bulge out of his head. “Sh-she…”

“Stand down, Kane.” A hard voice blasted from the intercom. He knew that voice. The voice of the man who liked to pull the strings at the facility. Dr. Henry Danwith. “Stand down, and wait for orders.”

He wasn’t in the mood to stand down.

“You have a mission waiting,” Henry announced.

How long had he been unconscious? He’d assumed it had only been a matter of minutes, but now, he began to wonder.

“A retrieval mission,” Henry continued. “We’ve lost a valuable asset, and your job is to hunt her down.”

Her?

“She has a head start on you. But I have faith in your hunting abilities. No one can escape from you.”

Maddox let go of the useless doctor. Whirled to stare at the video camera that was positioned in the top right corner of the room. “Who is my prey?”

But in his gut, Maddox knew, he knew…

“Luna Ashton escaped the facility. You have to bring her back.”





Chapter One


She…hurt.

The pain came to her first, dragging her from the darkness of sleep. Every single inch of her body ached. A sharp cry slid from her mouth, and the sound jarred her into full wakefulness.

Her eyes opened. She stared up, catching the bright path of sunlight that came through—a window?

Her head turned. A broken window waited a few feet away. A broken window…and…

Where am I?

Her hands flew around the floor—the dirty, dust-covered floor. It felt grimy beneath her as she shoved herself upright. She gazed down at her body and realized she was wearing a green hospital gown. And—