“This is how you treat job candidates?” She tossed the visor onto the table and rubbed her wrists. “You blindfold and cuff them?”
“You’re no longer a job candidate.” He sat across from her and folded his hands. His facial recognition program conducted another analysis of her features and produced the same conclusion: Liza. Except, Carter the man wasn’t convinced. Her expressions weren’t the same; she moved her body more fluidly, her gestures more graceful. If she was Liza, her personality had changed.
Accessing his wireless, he contacted medical.
“Why am I here, then?” she demanded.
“You tell me,” he countered. “Why are you here?” Who are you? Who sent you? Who do you work for?
She scowled. “What game are you playing? If you’re the Aym-Sec director, you know I had an interview with Brock Mann for the logistics coordinator position.”
“Why didn’t you mention at the spaceport you knew who I was?”
“You surprised me! I didn’t make the connection, at first. You approached me, asking about my…my…sister.” The faintest bloom of color tinted her cheeks, so subtle an ordinary human wouldn’t have noticed, but cybervision caught it right away. Interesting. She’d been telling the truth until she mentioned the sister.
He focused on her face. “Who is Liza to you?”
“I told you.” Beth pursed her lips. “She was my twin sister.”
“I’m done.” She shoved away from the table. “I’m getting out of here.”
“Sit down,” he ordered with the steely edge he reserved for enemy combatants, criminals, and suspects.
“I’m leaving.” She tried to fake courage, but his acute hearing caught the quaver in her voice. She was frightened.
“I said, Sit. Down.” He rose to his feet, adding his superior height and massive bulk to the threat in his tone. She couldn’t leave; the door wouldn’t open for her. The first lesson involved learning he was in charge.
She met his gaze with a glare, holding it for a long moment then dropped back into the chair. “Why are you doing this?”
“Tell me who you are.”
“I’m Beth O’Shea!”
“Beth is short for…”
“Liza was your sister, you say.” He scrutinized her, watching for tells indicative of falsehood: fidgeting, brushing her clothing, licking or biting those plump pink lips, shrugging as if she disbelieved her own words.
“Yes.” She shifted in the chair.
Ah. He’d intended to press for information about who might have sent her, but the sister angle appeared to be the weak link. “Liza is short for?”
“Your parents named you both Elizabeth?”
He arched his eyebrows with exaggerated skepticism.
“I didn’t choose the name.”
“Your parents named both twins Elizabeth, but called one Liza and the other Beth,” he repeated.
She bit her lip. “That’s right.”
“Didn’t that get confusing?”
“No, it was perfectly clear,” she replied with an undertone of bitterness.
“You and Liza didn’t get along.”
“I didn’t say that!”
“Yes, you did,” he reminded her. “At the spaceport. You said you and she didn’t always get along, and you hadn’t spoken for a while.” He cocked his head. “Were you lying then—or are you lying now?”
She opened her mouth then closed it and pressed her lips together. “I’m not lying. You’re twisting what I said.” She winced, blinking as if the light pained her, and massaged circles against her temple. This wouldn’t be the first time a suspect faked illness or disability, except she paled, and his cybervision detected a faint sheen of perspiration.
“Are you all right?” he asked, kicking himself for his sympathy and for not using her discomfort to press his advantage.
“J-just a headache. I get them sometimes.”
The door whooshed open to admit a medtech.
“I need a complete analysis as fast as you can get it,” Carter instructed.
“Should take the computer fifteen minutes tops, depending on what we have.” The tech removed an extractor from his case and approached Beth. She squinted at him, her forehead still furrowed with pain.
“She’s having headaches. Do a bioscan, too,” he said.
“Excuse me, but I need to get a DNA sample,” the tech said.
“What?” She jerked away. “No! I won’t agree to that.”
The tech hesitated.
“Do it,” Carter ordered.
The tech pressed the extractor to her neck and withdrew a blood sample before she could react. The extractor had both a pain inhibitor and a coagulator, so she didn’t feel more than a slight pinch, but she twisted in the chair, her face darkening with a scowl. “You can’t do that. That’s a violation of my rights!”
She was at Cy-Ops headquarters. The instant she’d crossed the threshold, she’d lost all rights.
Hunted by the Cyborg blurb
Billionaire Carter Aymes, director of Cyber Operations, a covert cyborg force, devotes his wealth and life to saving others, rescuing hostages and other victims from desperate situations. His ultimate mission is to hunt down and eliminate Lamani, the alien terrorist mastermind, before he conquers the galaxy.
When Carter hires Beth O’Shea, a vulnerable but courageous woman with connections to his past, their attraction is immediate and strong, but he knows getting involved with her is a bad idea. He’s her boss, and he has way too many classified projects to protect to risk letting someone get close.
Rejected by the progenitors who cloned her, Beth is determined to live a normal human life, beginning by getting an ordinary job with a security firm. But, from the start, she questions the extraordinary secrecy surrounding the organization. She can’t help but wonder about the tall, muscled, larger-than-life director who gave her a chance when she desperately needed one. Could he ever be romantically interested in a woman like her, in a clone?
When Beth is attacked, they both realize how short and tenuous life is, and their mutual attraction becomes to powerful too resist.
As their relationship heats up, so does the urgency to capture Lamani before he can unleash a stealth weapon at a critical planetary Summit meeting. With time running out, Carter discovers that stopping Lamani may require sacrificing Beth’s life.
Will Carter be able to rescue her, or will his new love be the one person he can’t save?