Lie Close To Me (Lazarus Rising Book 5)(6)

By: Cynthia Eden


He swore. Long and viciously.

She started to back up—

He snagged her wrist once more. “Oh, hell, no. You won’t be running from me again.”

Yes, oh, hell, yes, she would. Luna knew she just had to wait for the right moment. This wasn’t that moment. She could tell.

“You died.” If anything, his face became even harder. Even more intense. “Sonofabitch, you died.”

Okay, now, she was worrying that he might be straight up crazy. She’d been willing to buy the super senses thing he’d talked about before—um, she could hear his heart beating when she focused and that was weird—but she was obviously not dead.

He yanked her closer to him. Glared down at her. “You’re not like the others. Everything goes away when you die, dammit. You forget me.”

Her hand lifted. Her fingers were shaking. Those shaking fingers slid over the dark stubble on his jaw, moving up his cheek, trailing over his skin.

His body hardened against her. “Luna, what are you doing?’

He felt real. Not like some figment of her imagination. Not part of a nightmare, but—

She pinched him.

He just blinked at her. Didn’t cry out in pain. Didn’t change his expression. “Luna?”

“You’re real.”

He nodded.

“Who…are you?”

“Maddox.”

The name didn’t mean anything to her. He stared at her, waiting, as if she was supposed to have some sort of reaction to his name. She didn’t.

He growled. The sound rumbled from deep in his chest. “Maddox Kane. I’m the leader of our team.”

She was still touching his cheek. Still wearing his coat. Still trying to figure out how to get away from him.

His nostrils flared. He had a nice nose. Long, straight.

“Blood,” he bit out. “Your blood.”

She wasn’t bleeding. She’d notice if she were, right?

He whirled and bounded down the hall, moving scarily fast again and dragging her with him. Her feet stumbled at first, but then, amazingly, she was actually able to keep up with him. They moved so fast that the rooms passed in a blur. He rushed through an open doorway that led into a stairwell, and then they were barreling down those stairs. It was dark all around them, but she found she could see perfectly. His hold on her wrist was unbreakable as they burst out of the stairwell and onto another floor of the abandoned hospital.

And as they entered that new floor, a coppery scent hit her. Blood.

She stopped.

So did he.

Luna swiped her tongue over her lower lip. “You smelled the blood…upstairs?”

His gaze raked her. “My sense of smell has always been stronger than yours.”

How about stronger than even Superman’s must be? Her eyes squeezed shut. “I know Superman. I mean, I know who he is.” The words tumbled from her. “But I don’t know who I am. How I got to be in this place, wearing a paper gown and a hospital bracelet.”

His fingers slid under her chin. Tipped her head back.

She didn’t open her eyes. If anything, she squeezed them shut tighter.

“It’s only the personal memories that you lose.” His voice was soft. Almost tender. “You keep all of your procedural memories—the skills, the memories of how to do things like riding a bike, tying shoes, or firing a gun.”

Now her eyes popped open. “Do I fire a lot of guns?”

He nodded. “You keep your instincts. Our primal instincts are the strongest motivators for Lazarus subjects.”

It sounded like he was talking in some kind of code to her.

“Our lives before Lazarus are gone. That’s a side effect of the serum we’re given. We keep facts—general fucking trivia—but we lose who we were.” His jaw hardened. “Small price to pay for cheating death, right?”

She didn’t understand him. Or anything that the guy was saying to her. What in the world was Lazarus?

But he’d already turned away. He was pulling her with him, toward the scent of blood. There were two swinging doors up ahead, and an old sign above them read OPERATING ROOM. He shoved open the doors to the OR.

When she went inside, fear slid through her, coiling like a snake in her gut. There was an exam table in the middle of the room, and it…