Desire Unmatched: 4 (Coded for Love)

BOOK: Desire Unmatched: 4 (Coded for Love)
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Desire Unmatched

Lynne Silver

 

Book four in the Coded for Love series.

 

Genetically enhanced soldier Xander
Bristack has spent his life under the imposing rule of his dictatorial,
controlling father. Under his father’s watch, he is the Program’s deadliest and
coldest killer. But when Xander is kidnapped by enemies of the Program, only
one thing motivates him to escape. His true match, the sexy Emma Harrison.

He’s been obsessed with Emma from
afar, yearning to have her in his life and in his bed, but knowing he should
never involve the beautiful blonde in his messed-up world. However, when Xander
breaks out of his prison and returns home, Emma refuses to let him keep his
distance, enticing him to surrender to the heat between them. She teaches him
that passion trumps duty and love doesn’t mean blind obedience. His desire for
her cracks the shell he’s hidden in his whole life.

 

A
Romantica®
contemporary erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave

 

Desire Unmatched
Lynne Silver

 

Prologue

 

Xander cracked open his eyes, feeling pain down to his
toenails, if he even still had any toenails. Paulson’s crew had worked him over
good. Every bone in his body ached and his skin felt matted with sweat and
crusted-over blood.

He’d been blessedly drugged between beatings, probably to
keep him silent and still for wherever they’d taken him. He tried to look
around, but nothing in his body wanted to cooperate. Didn’t matter, nothing was
visible but darkness. He was in a room or a container of some kind, maybe the
size of a bedroom, or maybe the size of a coffin. He didn’t know, and he was
almost past caring. He only wanted the pain to go away.

Abruptly, his belly and throat filled with bile and he
managed to turn his head to the side a fraction to vomit in a disgusting
puddle. He had no sense of time. He remembered watching the back door and the
parking lot at the restaurant for Doctor Jones, and then…nothing.

Fragments of darkness followed bits and pieces of memories
of being shoved into a car and waking up to a strange rocking sensation, as if
he were on a boat. But mostly it was darkness. He wondered if he’d ever see the
sun again.

Chapter One

July, Two Months Earlier

 

“Where are you going?” Emma Harrison tried to block the exit
of the main office building with her body, but she knew Xander would simply use
his size to brush past her with ease.

“Lunch,” he said curtly.

Surprisingly, he didn’t move past her. She tried to meet his
sober gaze with a friendly one of her own. “I spent the morning watching Luca,
Doctor Jones’ son.” She’d been trying to get his attention or have a real
conversation with him all week with little success. Xander seemed determined to
ignore her.

No response. At least he hadn’t left the building. A glimmer
of hope in a dark cloud.

“He’s adorable. I wish I’d known he was in Paulson’s clinic
with me.” It killed a part of her that while she’d been locked away, the
unwilling recipient of fertility experiments for a few months, there’d also
been a child locked in the clinic with her. Xander had been on their rescue
team and had been everything that was supportive and wonderful at the time.
Now? It was like talking to a wall. A journal would’ve been more interactive.

“We played football. I mean soccer.” She’d only been a Yank
for two weeks, but she was determined to shed the past, and if that meant
losing the Britishisms, then so be it. “Did you play foot—soccer as a boy?” She
could be mistaken, but, yes, there was a shake of his head. “No? Was baseball
more your thing?”

Now he stepped toward her, using his greater height and
weight to try to intimidate her to let him pass. She rubbed her sweaty palms on
her trousers and gamely tried to continue the conversation. “You were a
swimmer?”

He stared her down. “Emma, stop,” he said quietly. His dark
eyes gave nothing away as he cocked his head toward her.

She didn’t get it. How was he the same man who’d rescued her
from Paulson’s clinic? The man who’d hugged her and held her hand, refusing to
let her be alone for the first twenty-four hours of freedom? He’d seemed to
know instinctively that after she’d been locked alone in a small cell with only
one daily visit from her jailer as company, she’d go mad if she were left
alone.

“Xander, please. Why are you pushing me away?” Head, meet
wall. “Talk to me.” Her frustration rang in her voice and she worried she’d do
something stupid like try to touch him or hug him again.

“Emma, you have to let me go.”

“Tell me why,” she practically begged, hating herself for
it. “I understand what the Program does now and why Paulson kidnapped me. I
also know that you and I are a likely a DNA match. Don’t tell me you don’t feel
it.”

His expression remained as blank as a chalkboard on the
first day of school. There was no getting through to the ice man. If she didn’t
know better, she’d assume he really didn’t feel anything for her or for
anything in the world. But last week, they’d had a moment. He’d brought her to
safety on the Program campus and escorted her to her new apartment. And he’d
kissed her. Only once, but it had been enough to keep her on edge all week. She
wanted more.

Of course it could be the hormones talking. Months of forced
hormone injections from Paulson had her a little crazed, but she trusted her
instinct. She belonged with Xander.

“Emma.” His tone said he was running out of patience.

Maybe he was running out of willpower. When he’d kissed her,
there’d been desperation in it, as if he were saying hello before he was forced
to say goodbye.

“Kiss me and I’ll get out of your way,” she bargained.

“What? No.” He tried to sidestep her, but she moved quickly
to block him. She didn’t fool herself for a minute that he couldn’t easily
escape the building without breaking a sweat. The man was an enhanced soldier,
after all, but she made herself believe he was being polite.

“One kiss. Or I’ll think you’re afraid of me.”

He muttered something she didn’t quite catch.

“No cursing, just kissing.” Oh my, was that a hint of a
smile on his lips? She didn’t wait for permission. She stepped closer and
leaned up to press her lips against his. He didn’t pull away for one, two,
three seconds. And then,
bam
. He backed way up, looking stunned.

“Don’t do that again,” he said.

“Why not? A little snogging never hurt anyone.”

“It’ll hurt you,” he said. “Trust me.” And then he
sidestepped her, fleeing the building, leaving her alone and confused.

* * * * *

August

 

“Oh, you startled me.” Emma put a hand to her chest. “What
are you doing here and why are you sneaking around?” She was in the large main
office storage room, putting things in boxes and helping to organize the
chaotic room. Her hair was piled in a loose bun on her head, and sweat dampened
her dusty pale-pink blouse. Nice of Xander to stop by now when she looked a
fright.

Xander watched her soberly for a minute. “I heard you’re
looking for a job.”

She nodded. “Yep. I don’t want to be a mooch. Everyone
around here has done so much for me. I hate to keep taking without giving
back.”

“So that’s why you’re inside on this gorgeous day up to your
ass in dusty boxes of shit we’ll never need again?”

Way to make her feel useless, but she answered him anyway.
“Yes. I overheard Shep complain he couldn’t find anything in this mess. I
volunteered to help out.” She didn’t understand why after nearly a month of
ignoring her, he was seeking her out now, but she finally had him alone and
didn’t question his motives too hard. It was pathetic how much a single word
from this man warmed her insides. Even without the blood work, they both knew
they were a match. After her horrific kidnapping ordeal, she wanted the
connection and the safety of belonging to someone. No, not simply someone.
Xander.

“Will you look for a job off campus or on campus?”

“Off probably, and I want to take classes at the university.
I hadn’t realized it was down the street.”

For some reason this made him scowl. Idly, she noticed his
buzz cut was longer than she’d seen it. Normally he kept it at army recruit
length. Today it was practically hippie length at two inches long. He looked
good to her no matter his haircut.

“I didn’t finish my degree, remember, Xander?”

“I forgot how young you are.”

“I’m twenty-four. I took a year off between school and uni.”

“And I’m thirty. Like I said, you’re a baby.”

“Is that what has you keeping your distance? Afraid you’re
robbing the cradle?” Her bare knee brushed against one of the many cardboard
crates she sat among.

“Among other things.”

“Such as?”

He didn’t answer, but she hadn’t really expected one. Xander
was a man of few words and even fewer explanations. “Why are you here, Xander?
Did you want another kiss?” Maybe she was actually getting to him. She hadn’t
imagined his flinch at the word kiss.

“I wanted to see you, that’s all.”

“Because we’re a match, and it’s getting harder for you to
deny it. Isn’t it?”

“Something’s getting harder,” he muttered.

She tried to hide her smile. He obviously hadn’t wanted her
to hear his words, but now they were out there. And speaking of, she sneaked a
peek at his crotch. Yep, no place to hide that puppy. His erection punched out
behind the zipper of his trousers.

Loren had told her how difficult it was for the Program
soldiers to deny their instinct to be with their DNA match. So far, Xander had
her questioning their connection. She felt the pull, but he’d been so distant,
she thought maybe she was imagining the whole thing. Now she wondered. Perhaps
Xander had been feeling the sexual pull toward her as much as she’d been toward
him, but was better at denying his urge. She had no such qualms.

If he accepted her as his match, she’d belong here. It had
taken her own father nine weeks to notice she’d been missing after Paulson
kidnapped her. Xander wouldn’t misplace his match for more than nine minutes.

“Let’s blow off some steam,” she said, rising to her feet.

“What?” He looked startled.

She gestured to his crotch. “I want you, and you obviously
want me. We don’t have to make a lifetime commitment. We can simply release
some steam.” Lies, all lies. She wanted him sexually. She wanted him forever.
Before he could refuse, she unbuttoned the sheer blouse she wore over a tiny
pink camisole. She had his full attention now. The black fatigue pants he wore
stretched tighter over the hard ridge of flesh.

Her friends at home would laugh to see her up to her usual
tricks. She didn’t consider herself a slut, but she’d hooked up with her fair
share of men. There was nothing wrong with liking sex, in her opinion, and she
knew sex with this man, her possible match, would rock her world.

“Emma,” he said, but she didn’t know whether it was a plea
to stop or keep going. So she ignored his wishes and went with her own. Which
meant getting naked, right here right now in the dusty, crowded storage room.
She could drag him over to her apartment down the hall, but if she interrupted
this moment for even a second, she knew Xander would bolt. No, no time to get
to a more private place.

Shep thought she wouldn’t want to be in the bachelor
apartments after her experience at Paulson’s hands. She appreciated the
distance from the bachelors, but not for the reasons he thought. Living down
the hall in the same building as Xander would’ve been torture. It would’ve been
a battle every night not to sneak out and climb in bed with him. But now he’d
come to her.

 

Oh shit. She was taking off her shirt, and yep, there was
her bra, every bit as sexy as he’d imagined. And he’d imagined a lot. How the
hell had this happened? He’d had a plan, a goal, and five seconds with Emma had
blown it out of the water. He’d known Shep hadn’t particularly wanted him to
match and breed, he was too much of a loose cannon.

Fine with him.

Easy as pie never to sign up to match. It wasn’t as if a
guy’s perfect match would come strolling onto the compound. Except his had. And
now she was getting naked, and, God help him, every reason he had for steering
clear of her was flying out of his brain. Understandable, really, when all
blood flow was heading south.

“Emma, stop.”

“Not a chance.” And there went her shoes. “Shut the door,
Xander. If anyone finds out, you’ll be trapped into matching with me.”

“Isn’t that what you’re doing? Trapping me?”

A hurt look crossed her face. “I would never try to trap a
man. No, baby, this is all about pleasure.” She smiled. “I’d heard you Yanks
were a prudish lot. I wouldn’t have guessed
you
were, but now I know.”

“I’m not a prude.” Except he kind of was. He’d never even
had a girlfriend and he’d had sex with exactly three women. Thank you, Dad.
When he’d turned eighteen, his father had Shep start a search for his match. A
twenty-two-year-old woman had been found and presented. She’d taken his
virginity that night, but not his heart.

And after that, almost nothing. Any woman was going to have
to either pass the DNA test or be dated on the sly. One-night stands and
stealthy dating were tiresome when you spent the rest of your working life being
stealthy, so he’d given up. He hadn’t been with a woman in four years. Four
fucking years. His right hand and wrist had the beginnings of carpal tunnel.
Doc had said he needed to lay off the punching bag, but he knew the real cause.
He needed to give masturbation a rest.

Unfortunately, he had no choice. If he matched and had a
kid, his father would take over, and he’d never let his child be subjected to
the torture he’d suffered.

But holy God, his freaking match was getting naked in the
room with him, and his cock might explode at the sight alone.

“Xander?” For the first time Emma looked worried she might
have gone too far.

He didn’t answer except to shred the shirt he wore in his
haste to rip it off. His pants only made it as far as his knees before he
launched himself at Emma.

She looped her arms over his shoulders and backed them up
onto an old sofa wedged against the wall. This was probably the old couch from
the apartment usually used to test couples for matching. He tried not to think
about how many couples had done the deed on this particular couch. At least
they weren’t in the match-testing apartment complete with cameras. That was all
he needed, an audience.

“Emma, I want you. Now.”

“Condom,” she panted. Thank Christ, he actually had one in
his wallet. His father insisted he always have one until he was matched, and
even did random wallet inspections to make sure his son was carrying
protection. He’d never silently thanked his father for anything until now.

Once the condom was on, he pushed open her thighs and
pressed into her. She was tight and not nearly as ready for him as he was for
her. But he was blind to anything but his blazing need. It had been too long
since he’d been with a woman, and this particular woman was his match. He was
nearly one hundred percent sure even without the blood tests. He’d been feeling
the connection with her since he’d met her.

Her warm, tight sheath surrounded him and he was lost. It
took only an embarrassing three strokes before he spent himself. It was the
best three seconds of his life.

“Xander?” Emma sat up on her elbows, looking at him with a
shocked expression.

“Fuck.” He pushed off her, yanked on his pants and fled the
room.

* * * * *

“We did it.” Emma was whispering for no reason since they
were alone in the cafeteria.

“Did what?” Loren leaned across the small round table to
whisper also.

“Sex, dummy. What did you think?”

Her mouth dropped open a little. “You and Xander? Oh my God.
When? How?”

Emma stifled a giggle. Although it wasn’t a laughing matter.
“A few days ago. How?” Now she laughed. “In the usual way. Insert tab A into
slot B. Except…” She paused, hating to betray Xander like this, but she
had
to tell someone, and Loren was her closest chum at the Program. “Except it was
horrid.”

BOOK: Desire Unmatched: 4 (Coded for Love)
2.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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