Hello, Briefers! Hope you all had a good week. For those of you following my upcoming novel, Regeneration, this is the final part of Chapter 1, that I’ve been posting for a free read. I didn’t realize the chapter was quite so long, until I tried to squeeze the fifth part into 1000 words and ending up cutting out 70 words! But here it is! I now have a release date for Regeneration, so if you’ve enjoyed the first chapter, you’ll be able to grab a copy of the book on January 15, 2017.
Check out the other Briefs this week below:-
Regeneration – Chapter 1, part 5
“No.” I avoided his gaze. I didn’t sense he was a danger to me, despite what he’d done to get arrested, and the realization he viewed me in a similar way to Neil filled me with anticipation. I wanted to learn more about him, to hear his rumbling voice again, but I couldn’t think of anything to say to encourage more conversation.
I was saved from the awkward silence by the return of Dina, Susan, and Johnson. I passed a dish to each of them and we sat down to eat. Neil didn’t return until we’d finished the meal, and we left him alone in the galley.
I showed the group around part of the facility, including the vast space that still held four unused land vehicles, and the lab area I used as a gym. The travelers told me something of their journey, and the events leading up to their crash. Eventually Dina began to yawn, and she and Susan picked a room to spend the night. Susan suggested they share, not wanting to leave the younger woman unprotected with Novak around, although I suspected he wasn’t the one to beware of. Early impressions made me think Neil would be the problem. Susan also seemed wary of the man I’d learned was a rogue cop, hired by S.K.18’s army leader, but he wasn’t dissuaded by her attitude toward him.
Johnson chose another bunk room and said goodnight, leaving me alone in the corridor with Novak.
“Which is your room?” he asked.
“You don’t need to know that.”
I clenched my fists to quell the unwanted tremor in my hands. I’d never had such an extreme reaction to another person before. Many times I’d been attracted to men I’d met, and suppressed the feelings when it became clear they weren’t returned, either because they weren’t attracted to other men, or they were turned off by regens. With this man making it obvious what he thought of me, I had no idea what to say or do. I turned away and headed back to the galley to clean up. Quiet footsteps followed me, and the hair on my arms and neck stood up.
I found the galley empty, Neil having left his dish on the table with the others. I gathered up the dishes and spoons and dumped them in the steel sink. Novak hovered by the table, muscular arms folded across his chest. Silence hung heavy around us, and I struggled to think of some way to break it.
“Who are you?” I knew nothing about him. I’d learned a little about the others, but this man—he could be anyone and have done anything. Why was he a prisoner? Susan, Dina, and Johnson hadn’t been able to tell me much.
“Christian Novak; escaped convict. Well, I had escaped, until that jerk Ross caught up with me.”
“What did you do?”
“Killed a few people.”
“Are you trying to scare me?”
His grin broadened. “Ain’t it workin’?”
A faint prickle of fear touched my spine, but I ignored it. His attitude toward me didn’t indicate a threat. “Who did you kill?”
“Anyone who got in my way. You do that when you want to get away from something.”
“You didn’t kill Neil.” I turned my back to him to retrieve a box of what passed for coffee granules. Removing one of the sachets, I emptied it into a mug. I didn’t offer him one.
“My mistake.” His boots scraped on the floor as he stepped closer to me. The scent of warm flesh and stale sweat reached my nostrils, and I wrinkled my nose. My heart pounded harder as his breaths came, slow and steady, inches from the back of my head. “Most people don’t turn their back.” His voice rumbled in my left ear, low and teasing.
“I’m not most people.”
“What would you do if I were to do this?” He moved his hand so fast I saw only a blur from the corner of my eye, before he gripped my throat and squeezed, not hard enough to cut off my air supply. Just as quickly, I snatched the pistol from the back of my pants, and thrust its barrel back over my left shoulder until it connected with hard flesh.
“Squeeze a little tighter and you’ll find out,” I hissed. Novak loosened his grip, but his hand still cupped my throat. “It’s not primed.”
“It would have been, if I really thought you’d hurt me. I can take care of myself.”
“You sound like my kinda boy.” His breath fanned my cheek.
“Don’t push your luck.” I silently cursed the way my voice shook. Novak released me and raised both hands, one either side of me so I could see them. As he moved away, I tucked the pistol back into my pants, and wiped my sweating palms on my thighs.
I turned and leaned against the sink. Novak watched me, still smiling. He was dangerous, I acknowledged. Not because he’d killed people. I didn’t care about that. He was hardly the only one. In this world, the strong survived and sometimes there was no other way. What scared me was the way he made me feel; the way he made my heart race; the way my cock twitched in my pants as he looked at me with hunger in his brown eyes. I’d never encountered anyone like him and it seemed we were to spend time in each other’s company if I meant to leave Pardus behind. Maybe things would be different this time. He was a regenerate, so if I revealed we came from the same place, it wouldn’t matter to him. But would it matter when he realized I was a failure? Lacking most of the attributes I should have? Probably. My enthusiasm faded and I tried not to hope, but in that way, I was too human. I hoped, and longed, and prayed it wouldn’t matter to him.