Project Morpheus Book 1
by Jillian David
Genre: Romantic Military Suspense
Ex-Green Beret Jake Zimmerman’s Georgia mountain seclusion is shattered when the one woman he should never have left, pregnant Kiera McNeill, shows up on his doorstep. Her life is in danger, thanks to a botched Morpheus Squad mission. If the nature of her baby is discovered, evil forces will stop at nothing to capture Kiera. When Kiera learns of Jake’s top-secret Morpheus Virus running through his veins, she realizes that her protector is the deadlier threat.
Kiera knows the secrets of Fallen Comrades, a billion-dollar “charity” which siphons donations away from wounded veterans and into the pockets of power-hungry CFO Beau Lequire. Now her sadistic ex-boss, Lequire, wants revenge. Her only chance of escape rests in the lethal hands of the man who once rejected her: Jake. All she needs to do is suppress her feelings for Jake long enough to destroy Fallen Comrades, stay alive, and save her baby.
Thanks to his tree-mounted security cameras that made the system guarding the crown jewels look amateur, it took less than ten seconds for Jake Zimmerman to identify the vehicle creeping to a stop in front of his remote Blue Ridge, Georgia, cabin. Silver Hyundai Accent, five years old, brand-new tires. No registration.
He cocked his head to the side. No whumps of an incoming government helo.
Sparks of adrenaline fired up his nerves, lasering all of his senses on the intruder.
He ran the pad of his index finger over the rough grip of the Sig nestled in his shoulder holster. How could anyone find him? He’d buried his personal intel deeper than a black ops mission file.
With minimal concentration, Jake could detect the ever-present multitool tucked away in a pocket and ready to go for any occasion.
He peered at the … occasion … on the computer screen.
He kept the house lights off. Control, dammit. Drawing a hand over his face, he took several deep breaths. The muscles in his neck clenched, refusing to loosen. The damned virus had started to take over his brain again until his entire world narrowed down to one mandate: destroy.
No, damn it. He was not this … monster.
Thanks to the top-secret Project Morpheus he had volunteered for almost two years ago in Special Forces, the darkness within Jake thrived on the anarchy that was his virally corrupted soul.
Add in an uninvited visitor, and it looked like tonight would bring even more fun for one of the U.S. Army’s best-kept secrets.
Did the person want to rob him? Jake had no material items of value.
Well, he had a locket with a clip of smooth auburn hair he should have thrown away long before now. Yeah, he was a bastard for preserving the keepsake, despite being technically faithful to his then-wife who did not have auburn hair. Could explain why he was no longer married.
So. What to do about the person outside his house?
Wiping his hands on his black cargo pants, he unholstered the Sig and crept to the front door.
The one person who knew he lived here was Mateo, and Jake hadn’t seen his Special Forces buddy since Brady McNeill’s funeral.
Brady’s funeral. And one particularly fucked-up night. Not in small part because of seeing Brady’s sister, Kiera.
Seen? A bland word for the silky skin sliding over him and around him during their sweaty, heated reunion.
Since that night, nothing besides Jake’s own misery mattered. Not his best friend’s death, not the Morpheus Squad, his own emotional baggage. Nothing.
Which was exactly what he had now, wasn’t it? Nothing.
Well, not completely. He had someone casing his house.
He licked his lips.
The virus crackled through his nerve endings. Mental processes turned to sludge. As unnatural strength and acuity of his senses grew, his sanity ebbed.
What a time to skip an antidote dose.
Too late now.
He rolled his shoulders, upper back, and arms. Each muscle popped as poorly contained rage swept through him, turning him from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde.
Sweat broke out on his forehead as the shaking began.
On second thought, he could use a good brawl. Stuffing the Sig back in his holster, he flexed his hands. Mr. Hyde would much rather do this the natural way.
The hunched figure in the baggy jacket trudged up the gravel driveway, halting gait a little short on one leg. He couldn’t make out any other details with the hood casting a shadow.
Pressing his back to the wall next to the front door, he listened. The virus strained like a chained dog tempted by a wounded rabbit.
Jake became a metal spring, coiled and ready.
At a knock on the door, he didn’t move.
The spring inside of him tightened. Tick, tick, tick. His body ratcheted down as tight as he could go.
A tap on the electronic keypad outside. What the hell? The bolt turned and the door cracked open.
The coil released.
Jillian David lives near the end of the Earth with her nut of a husband and their bossy cats. To escape the sometimes-stressful world of the rural physician, she writes while on call and in her free time. She enjoys taking realistic settings and adding a twist of “what if.” Running or hiking on local trails often promotes plot development.
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