Here is a special sneak peek at Recall. It's *unedited*.
Minerva panted as she finished another round of CPR. She swallowed and tried to catch her breath. There was no clock in the room to tell the time, but if she had to guess she’d put it at about ten minutes of straight CPR with no results.
She placed her fingers on the man’s neck checking for a pulse. Nothing. She rocked back, lowering herself to her bottom to take the pressure off her throbbing ankle. She looked up at the man’s wife, Ben, Jacob, and Todd. There was nothing more she could do. “I’m so sorry. He’s gone.”
His wife’s bottom lip trembled before she collapsed only to be caught by Ben. He hauled her to him and tried to calm her.
Minerva tugged on the thin, filthy sheet he’d been using to keep warm and pulled it up and over his head. The past four days she’d been hopeful he might pull through against the odds. Unfortunately, her intervention probably only prolonged the inevitable. She prayed it hadn’t caused him more pain.
“Thank you, Minerva,” Jacob said, offering a hand to help her up.
“I wish I could’ve done more,” she said. It was the truth. If she’d had access to proper supplies she could have done so much more – possibly even have brought him back.
“You did the best you could. This is on Murdock’s head. He and his men did this.” Jacob squeezed her hand before turning to help console his mother.
Minerva bowed her head and limped backward toward the door to give them privacy to grieve. She entered the training area where everyone sat, waiting for news. Shaking her head, she continued on through the room unable to meet anyone’s eyes as soft sobs filtered through the air.
She hobbled to the bathroom and went to close the door but a hand reached up to stop it.
She spun around, meeting Gage’s eyes. “Yeah. I’ve lost a lot of patients over the years. Most of them friends or acquaintances. I don’t think it will ever get easier.”
“Probably not. That’s what makes us human.”
She nodded her agreement. “We’ll need to talk to them and see what kind of service they want to have. Then we’ll need to do something with his… body. We can’t leave it down here. ”
Minerva sighed. “I don’t want to be rude to them. They’ve just lost their husband and father.”
“I’ll talk to them.”
“Thanks.” Minerva leaned back so her bottom rested against the sink to take some of the pressure off her ankle.
“How are you?” Gage took a step forward, reaching out for her only to let his hand flop back to his side.
“Fine.” She was exhausted and sore, but she wasn’t going to complain. It wasn’t in her.
“Do you want me to look at your ankle?”
She shook her head. After the other night and the way she’d embarrassed herself, she didn’t want his help. The further away she stayed from him the better. It was obvious he didn’t feel the same way about her, and she wasn’t quite ready to deal with that yet. “No. I’ll rewrap it later.”
“You’ve been avoiding me the past few days,” he said.
She licked her lips and stared at the floor. It was true. Maybe it was immature of her, but it had been easier to ignore what had happened when they were at HQ. She had a job to do and so did he. He wasn’t around her constantly.
“Is it because of me…what I am…a cyborg? I understand if it freaks you out now that things have calmed down and you’ve had a chance to think about it.”
Her gaze shot up to meet his. Is that what he thought? “No. That’s not it.”
He frowned, causing his brows to dip down into a scowl.
Heat scorched her cheeks. “I guess I’ve been avoiding you because...” she trailed off and resumed her hard stare at the floor. “Because of that night at HQ. When I brought it up the other day it seemed to make you uncomfortable and I guess…I don’t know how to act around you now.”
Gage nodded. “Oh.”
“Right.” She blew out a breath and prayed the heat scorching over her cheeks would stop. This was embarrassing enough as it was without her face turning the color of a tomato.
“I never meant to make you feel uncomfortable.”
Minerva shook her head. Whatever he was going to say she didn’t want to hear it. “It’s fine. Really. We’re both adults and more than capable of working together—professionally.”
“Of course. It was never my intent to upset you. I—”
“Don’t need to give me an explanation,” she cut him off. Her hand went up to stop him. “Please. Let’s just go about pretending that night never happened.”
She shoved off the sink and went to walk past him but he caught her by the arm. “I don’t want to do that, Minerva.”
She swallowed and looked up at him. “But…you left me that morning…you…” she trailed off confused.
“Because I didn’t want to have to lie to you about who I was…what I am. I avoided a relationship because I knew I’d have to lie.”
She thought back to the day she’d found out about him. It had freaked her out. “I suppose that makes sense,” she said, inhaling a deep breath. If she got close to him she would’ve figured it out eventually. How would she have reacted?
“Minerva.” Gage’s hand reached up to touch her cheek as he inched in closer to her. “I want to continue what we started, but there’s something else I need to tell you first.”
“I’m sure it can’t be a bigger surprise than you being a cyborg,” she said. Her eyes fluttered shut as his lips ghosted over hers.
Recall will be releasing 2/21/17. You can preorder your copy here.
Bethany Shaw is the author of the following series: Werewolf Wars, Hunted, Times Journey, Wayward Wolves, Rainier Pack, and the standalone stories: The Best Mistake, Rescued by the Bear, and Claiming His Mate.