New Species series
Drackwood Research facility
Jeanie smothered a cry of distress and fought back tears. It was horrific to watch the man she obsessed over being tortured. It would only get both of them killed if she followed her gut instinct to rush outside to come to his aid.
“I knew you liked that one too much,” a chillingly familiar voice snickered from the doorway of the lab office.
Jeanie felt all the blood drain from her face as she turned, horrified that he’d managed to ease open her door without making a sound. Dean Polanitis headed the entire facility. At forty-five he was young for the job but what he lacked in age, he made up for in viciousness. He wasn’t tall at five foot eight but he was still extremely intimidating from years of military training and lifting weights. His body was muscled, dense and physically fit. His normally dull green eyes were unusually intense and his thin lips were twisted into a rare smile that left Jeanie feeling icy cold inside.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she lied.
He pointed to a spot on the large shelves that took up one wall. “I installed a hidden camera in this office to monitor your every movement for the past week after I noticed your interest in that test subject. I’ve gotten reports that you’ve attempted to shield him from being roughed up by the guards. That was the tipoff. Then, after reviewing the tapes from his cell, I realized that he looks at you the same way.” He closed the door behind him. “Did you really think it wouldn’t draw suspicion from me? I don’t miss anything that goes on inside my house. I know you care about him. You stop working every time he is out there and I know body language.” His gaze darted down the length of her body before returning to her face. “You’re easy to read when you don’t know you’re under surveillance.”
She shook her head. “He’s just another number,” she mumbled, praying he’d believe the lie. A chill ran down her spine at the way he’d stated the facility was his house. It was a hellish place no one should want to claim but it only strengthened her belief in the pure evilness of her boss. “I’m just a nice person. Excuse me for having a smidgen of compassion. That’s probably what the guards reported if I said or did anything to prevent them from being abusive. Some of those jerks can be pretty malicious just for the fun of it.”
Her boss’s eyebrows arched. “Really? That’s all it is? What about your reactions to seeing 710 bloodied to test the healing properties of the new drugs?”
“I don’t like watching any of them suffer. I do have a heart. That’s all. I hate to see anyone in pain but I understand how important the research is. I was told he’s in a trial for medical advancements that could stimulate the body’s triggers to mend open wounds faster.” She glanced back at the window. The man she loved attempted to protect himself against eight vicious, armed men intent on causing serious harm while he was leashed by chains they held. He was strong enough to knock them off balance to prevent some blows from landing but not all of them. Blood ran from wounds on his arms and chest. One of the guards hit him with a whip and she faced her boss quickly, before her knees buckled. “It’s brutal and I’m not into that kind of shit. Sue me.”
Dean Polanitis chuckled cruelly. “Money isn’t what I want from you.” His smile died. “I’m going to give the kill order on 710 today. We want to see how well the animals are able to hunt down prey and your number out there is bleeding pretty good. We’ll drug a few of the males, get them nice and crazy for a fight and send them out to track him. They’ll be so mindless they won’t even notice he’s one of their own. He won’t be too fast on his feet once my boys out there are done beating him down.”
Her heart nearly stopped. “He’s in excellent physical condition and smart. It would be a waste of resources to kill him. But it’s your call.” She managed to keep her voice steady somehow. Inside she whimpered, No!
He took a step in her direction, blocking the door and any chance of escape. “You’re good, Jeanie.”
“That’s ‘Ms. Shiver’ to you, thank you very much.” She tried to keep her voice firm. Weakness would be perceived as a flaw by a slimeball like Polanitis and that would make her a victim in his eyes. It’d be a mistake she couldn’t afford to make if she wasn’t able to bluff her way out of the situation. Employees had disappeared, never to be heard from again. Christie had gone missing just weeks after Jeanie had started working there. The woman was most certainly dead. They hadn’t been friends, actually Jeanie had detested the other lab technician, but it made her realize just how dangerous working for Drackwood Research could be. She didn’t want to die too. “I’m here to do a job and I’m paid well. I never forget that.”
He moved even closer. “Jeanie, you and I are going to make a deal.” He gripped her elbow in a bruising hold.
She gasped, trying to get away, but his fingers only tightened. Terror instantly flooded her. Dean Polanitis was in charge and he ruled the employees with fear. No one would dare stop him from killing her if he decided she wasn’t trustworthy anymore. He could call it a training exercise and that would be the end of her.
Does he suspect I’m trying to get this place shut down? Does he know I’ve smuggled out evidence? Paranoia had made her take a lot of precautions and she was pretty sure she hadn’t messed up. She couldn’t help the men and women trapped inside the facility if she died. They’d never have a chance at freedom.
“You care about that thing,” Polanitis grunted. “You can’t even fuck him because you never have the opportunity to be alone but you want to.” His harsh gaze raked down her body and then back to her face. He shoved her closer to the phone at the end of her desk and lifted the receiver. “I am going to call Security and tell them to kill him, Jeanie.”
He had to be lying. The subjects were worth a lot of money and that was the bottom line to the company they worked for. It would cost him his job. Even Polanitis had to answer to someone. She forced herself to relax.
Polanitis lowered his chin to study her features more closely. “You think you’re fooling me? You should see how pale you’ve become.” He turned his head and punched the number zero then four on the phone. He held the receiver between them so they were both able to hear.