Kane stopped the treadmill. Screw this! He yanked off the electrodes from his chest and head. Two scientists in white coats, including Dr. Tomlin, checked the results.
They mumbled, “Impossible, record breaking, super human.”
Compared to you guys, damn super human sums it up. When he reached top running speed, his arms lined with fur, his fingers clawed, and his bare feet turned into paws. While bench-pressing, he went half-man half-wolf. Shirtless, Kane stepped off the treadmill, grabbed water and wiped his brow with the towel. “Are we done?”
Tomlin blinked. “For now, yes.” He turned to his colleagues. “We’ll present the data to Director Giles in the morning. Leave us.” They nodded and exited.
The three guards remained at attention near the entrance. Despite their cool demeanor, their eyes dilated and the stench of sweat indicated their fear after they witnessed him partially shift during the physical tests. Their rapid heartbeats continued. Their fingers smoothed the triggers of their tranquilizer guns. Kane pinned them with a probing stare. They averted their gazes. Let them try to cage me again. He stretched and grinned at the doc. “I take it you were impressed with my endurance and strength?” Best he didn’t show off his fighting skills or reveal his superior senses. Tomlin had an irregular but non-threatening heart murmur. His wolf nose picked up minute details about their body chemistry. One of the guards had the early stages of prostate cancer.
“Indeed. You bench pressed over one thousand pounds and broke the speed record for completing a marathon.” He shook his head.
Rather than feeling exhausted, the under an hour run rejuvenated him. The exercise warmed his muscles for running even longer distances. “Which is what?”
“A little over two hours. You ran it in fifteen minutes.” Tomlin chuckled. “Pretty sure if you ran the Boston Marathon, they’d test you for drugs. I once ran marathons until I injured my knee.” He furrowed his brow. “Only weeks ago, you broke two legs and somehow not only healed but recovered well enough to enter and win the marathon of your choice.”
His humor wasn’t appreciated. Kane clasped his hands tightly. Not to prevent him from going wolf, or even attacking the doc, but rather circumventing his irritation and punching a hole in the wall. He grimaced. “If I’m doing so well, then how come I don’t know who the hell I am?”
Dr. Tomlin sighed. “For the past thirty years, I’ve worked on top secret biological weapons and animal research labs even presidents didn’t know about.” He furrowed his brow. “At first, I thought you were a black ops creature known as dogmen, but you far exceed their enhancements.”
Kane lifted his brow. Though he didn’t recognize the term, maybe that’s what he was. “How am I different?”
“Dogmen never shift into human form. They are bipedal and have the torso of a seven-foot human, but a canine face. With some fur. No long wolf snout. Their face is almost pug-like. Like you, they have great strength, but lack your speed. They lack the ability to speak and certainly never act human. A dangerous savage beast. We kept you caged, in case that’s what you were.”
“Have you seen one?”
“Yes, I’ve studied their anatomy and operated on a few. Unlike you, their injuries didn’t heal fast.”
“It’s possible I could be one, conceivably with wolf and human DNA.”
“Director Giles will look into it.”
“Sooner rather than later.”
Tomlin took out his mobile. “I’ll text Gaby you are ready.”
Gaby. The one person who brought him hope. Not just because she could help him regain his memory, but her sweet scent and essence comforted him. If she didn’t smell so human, he would have thought her a werewolf. Earlier, his acute hearing picked up the conversation she had with the doc outside the examination room. Tomlin suggested I am attracted to her. He smiled. True. But then he mentioned something about her using her wolf-segen charm on him? What was that all about?
Tomlin put away his mobile. “She’ll be down in fifteen minutes.”
“Did she leave the facility?”
“No. She’s working with a new dog.” He opened a small refrigerator and handed him a bottle. “Have a vitamin protein shake. No milk in it. It’s for dogs, but you might like it.”
“Sure, why not?” He twisted the top off and drank. The drink actually tasted good. “Hit me with another.”
Tomlin nodded and gave him a second bottle. “I’ll have your accommodations made more comfortable.”
“No more cage?”
“I won’t lie to you. The room will remain locked.” He stared at his tablet. “We can’t risk an escape.”
Does he honestly think he can contain me? If he wanted, Kane could force the doctor to the front door. However, staying might trigger his memory, and he wasn’t leaving without Gaby. She was the key, but he didn’t know why or her purpose. Kane smirked. “Trust me. Not going anywhere.”
“Good.” He pointed to the locker room. “Take a shower. There’s a change of clothes inside.”
“Sure thing, Doc.” He took off his clothes, stepped in the shower and turned the water on. Cold. Not sure how he knew, but he hated hot water. As he soaped his body, a vision of a snow-covered forest entered his mind. Home? He finished and dressed. Before he opened the door, he inhaled her enthralling scent. He stepped out just as she entered.
Gaby didn’t look at him. She addressed Dr. Tomlin. “Reporting for duty.”
He wanted to howl. Oh, yeah. No oversized coveralls. Gaby had changed into tight blue jeans and a long sleeved light green shirt, enhancing her mesmerizing green eyes. She pinned her hair up; better to see her soft pale throat.
Tomlin smiled at her. “Good, take him to your office and show him the images that might jog his memory.”
She flicked her gaze up and then turned to him. “Ready?”
Even annoyed she looked adorable. Kane smiled. “All my life.” He followed Gaby’s shapely little ass down the hall to an upper floor. Not alone. Three guards shadowed them, but stood by the door while they entered her office. A waste of their time. He could take them out in seconds. Weapons or not. He couldn’t remember his identity, but he certainly remembered how to kill. Both as a human, wolf, and some hybrid form in between. A monster created in a fucking underground lab?
Gaby closed the door. “Sorry about all the security.”
“Not a problem.” Kane smirked. “Are you sure it’s safe to close the door?”
“I’ve never been attacked by a dog, wolf or any other animal for that matter.”
“Then again, you did go pissed off werewolf on me while you were caged.”
“My rage was never directed at you.” He couldn’t blame her for being scared of him. She’d been the only person in the room and caged, his wolf raged for escape.
“I want to believe you, but I’ve never worked with a werewolf.”
“I promise not to bite.” I’ll save that pleasure for later.
He glanced around. “Is that another room?”
Gaby nodded. “That’s my private apartment for long work nights.”
He smiled. “I’ll give myself a quick tour.”
Kane raced ahead, tilted his head and sniffed. “Nice digs.” He winked.
Gaby rolled her eyes.
He finished inspecting her apartment and entered her office. “Maybe I should stay overnight?”
“It’s only one bedroom.”
“Get me a bigger one.” He pointed his chin to a small dog’s bed near her desk. “I don’t mind sleeping in wolf form.”
“I don’t have a dog bed your size. Anyway, until Director Giles gets back, you need to stay in a secured room.”
He sighed. “Yeah, the doc told me I’m moving. No more cage, but a locked room. Either way still prison.”
Gaby averted her gaze and sighed. “I’m sure it will be one of our suites.”
He smelled the tang of guilt. “As long as I have room to shift.”
“How can you just shift without the painful transformation you see in every werewolf movie?”
He shrugged. “Not sure. Except, it feels as natural as changing clothes.”
“Apparently, you don’t need to wait for the full moon.” She snorted. “Like in all those old monster movies.”
“I just will it and I shift.”
“Interesting.” She nodded. “Actually, some of the newer werewolf movies leave the full moon out of the picture.”
“Good to note.” Kane observed a framed picture of her holding a small terrier. She looked happy. Beautiful smiling lips. He sniffed. “Where is your little dog?”
Her mouth down turned. “Oz died about a month ago.”
Gaby sighed. “Old age.” She turned on a computer and the wall screen. “Have a seat.”
At least she didn’t use the command, “sit.” Kane sat on the chair in front of the screen and she at the computer console. “So what are you going to show me?”
“I’ll start with places, people and maybe throw in wolf images.”
She clicked on a map. “Do any continents ring a bell?”
He chuckled. “I remember Pavlov’s dogs. Weren’t they trained to salivate at the sound of a bell?”
“Yes.” She gave him an incredulous stare. “Interesting how you recall trivia, yet, you can’t remember your name.”
Little factoids from the past had started to filter in. “Very weird.” He looked at the screen. “I’ve seen similar maps.” He furrowed his brow. “I’ve been to most of those continents except for Australia, I think.”
Gaby moved on to cities. “Recognize these?” She started with New York.
“Yep. The big apple.”
“And what about this one?”
“London.” She continued with Paris, Moscow, Mexico City and on and on. He recognized them all.
She clicked on a destroyed Iraqi city. “How about his one?”
Her eyes widened and she paused. “Do you speak any languages besides English and wolf?”
He glanced back at Mosul. “I speak Arabic, French, Spanish, and some German.” He didn’t mention a hybridized human wolf language that suddenly came up in his head.
“Cool. We have a language expert you should meet with.” Gaby entered data into the tablet. She finished and sighed. “You are either special forces or a terrorist.”
“Or none of the above.”
Gaby switched the screen to people. Police officers, marines, special ops personnel, cowboys, presidents, men and women. Children playing. Sports.
Everything looked familiar, but none offered a clue to his identity. Kane squeezed his temples. “Nothing helps.” He growled. “Who the fuck am I?”
Gaby jumped and her pulse quickened.
A guard opened the door. “Everything okay, ma’am?”
“Yes.” She smiled. “No worries.”
“We have orders to keep you safe.”
Kane stared at the big man. His fangs had emerged. “Don’t come in until beckoned.”
The guard nodded. “Yes, sir.”
She shut the door and locked it. “How did you do that?”
He furrowed his brow. “Do what?”
“The guards don’t take orders from…” She blinked. “Just anybody.”
His fangs returned to normal human teeth. “You mean a prisoner?”
“Yep.” She frowned. “They act like you’re the alpha.”
“Head of the pack? Interesting.” Being an alpha rang true. The guards instinctively understood his higher status. Another clue to his nature, but not as to his place within their society. Although, based on their reactions and hers, his kind didn’t exist.
She turned off the screen. “Break time. Water?”
“You drink beer?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“Unfortunately, I don’t have any.”
Gaby left and came back with several bottles. “Let me know when you want to see more images.”
“Are you sure? I hate to upset you.”
Not as much as I hate to frighten you. He smiled. “Nah, I’m good.”
She sighed. “That’s a relief.”
“How about we start with photos of dogmen?”
Gaby cocked her head to the side. “Never heard of dogmen. Who mentioned them?”
“Dr. Tomlin.” He smirked. “Don’t you work with all canines?”
He sensed she spoke the truth. “Must be on a need to know basis around here. I figured since you know about me, you would know about dogmen.”
Gabby raised a brow. “What did he say about them?”
“He said they are a bipedal manlike creature with a dog face. They don’t shift and are apparently savage.”
“A chimera. Probably created in the secret government lab.” She shook her head. “You would think they would have asked me to work with them.”
“Long story. I’ll tell you some other time.”
Evasive. Interesting. “Maybe I was created in that lab.”
“If you were, Giles will find out.”
“I gather their lab is not part of Project Sabertooth?”
“No. We work with real animals. The other lab which I’m not supposed to know about exists in some above top secret location.”
“Because what they do is illegal?”
“Precisely. I bet you were a normal soldier they experimented on. That explains why you have no memory of your previous life. They erased it.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Yet, I don’t feel bothered with being a werewolf.” He released a low growl and smiled. “I relish it.”
Gaby’s pulse spiked before calming to normal. She returned to her computer. “Maybe you were turned and they found you. Give me a minute.” She turned on the screen. “Okay. Let’s see if you can recall these images.”
Slides of gory Hollywood werewolf scenes displayed on the screen. Ripped off arms and severed heads. A video of a man hollering in agony under the full moon as he transformed into a monster. He rolled his eyes. “Werewolf movies?”
She switched the pictures to werewolf drawings from the middle ages. A werewolf carrying a peasant woman in his jaws, werewolves at a wall and images of men burning at the stake for being werewolves. “Hold on, doing another search.” A few seconds later, a picture of wolfsbane came on the screen and then the full moon. “Anything?”
Gaby furrowed her brow. “Here we go. Ways to become a werewolf. Being bitten is one, but there are other ways. Wearing a magical wolf pelt belt, drinking from a puddle stepped on by a werewolf, and the ever-classic curse. Something that causes a sudden change into a beast.”
The change. He pressed his hands against his temples. A memory of agony as a wolf.
“What is it?”
He locked his jaw. The flash of memory passed. “I don’t know. I just remember horrible pain.”
“Yes…no…” He shook his head. “Don’t know.”
“Perhaps, you remember being bitten by a wolf?”
Bitten. Pain. Shifting. He furrowed his brow. “Maybe.”
“How about these images?” She clicked to slides of real wolves. Howling wolves, packs running after buffalo and pups at play.
He swallowed. “I remember being a pup, but not who I am.”
“A pup? That’s odd.”
“If you were bitten by a wolf or injected with some genetic modifying drug you would have been turned into an adult wolf not a pup.”
Kane fingered his hair back. His head ached. “Damn.”
“Look, this is not helping. Maybe a hypnotist who specializes in repressed memories is what you need.”
“Good. There’s nothing more frustrating than looking at familiar images only to draw a complete blank.”
Gaby turned off the screen. “You should keep a dream journal.” She reached in a drawer and took out a notepad and pen. She handed them to him.
He took it. “You think my dreams reveal memories?”
“Possibly.” She smiled. “I’ve worked with dogs since I was brought here and trust me; I’ve never met a canine that didn’t dream. Their paws move, and some even bark and wag their tails during sleep.”
Kane’s curiosity piqued. Did she not apply to work here? He narrowed his eyes. “You said you were brought here?”
She blushed. “Yes. Transferred. ”
Her heartbeat thumped faster and her pupils dilated. He tilted his head. “As a werewolf, I can detect lies.”
She stared at him and then shook her head. “My situation has nothing to do with you.”
“Maybe it does.” His bond with her appeared too strong, too immediate and too damn important. As though he’d known her in the past.
Gaby released a long breath. “Fine. Like you, I’m an asset. However, I get paid and like everyone else, get vacations and health benefits.”
“So that’s what I am, an asset.”
“Director Giles will explain.”
“I know he’s interested in my wolfish traits, but besides your stunning beauty, what is your special talent?”
Gaby gaped, and this time, even her ears flushed red. She swallowed. “I work well with animals, even big, bad, flirty wolves, apparently.”
“I’m being honest.” He drew her in and lifted her chin. “You are the most exquisite woman I’ve ever met.”
Her eyebrows squished together. “I am?”
Kane fingered a strand of her silky brown hair. “I find your emerald eyes, sweet voice, and glorious scent captivating.”
Before she could speak, he kissed her. Long and hard. Desire ripped though him as the scent of her arousal soaked his soul. Home. Mine.
Gaby moaned in pleasure as he grabbed her by the ass and picked her up. She wrapped her arms around him and they knocked over a lamp.
“Ma’am. Everything okay?” The guard tried to open the locked door and then pounded on the door, breaking their spell. He released her, set her down and growled toward the stupid guard, fangs out. If he entered, he’d have ripped out his throat.
Gaby licked her lips and straightened. She opened the door. “Everything is okay. I tripped.”
“Keep the door unlocked, ma’am.” The guard met Kane’s eyes. The two other guards stood at attention behind the first.
His wolf commanded them. The door stays locked. Leave and never interrupt.
Gaby nodded. “I will.”
The guard gave her a quizzical look. “Keep the door locked and we won’t interrupt.”
“But you just told me to unlock it?”
The guard stared down. “We were wrong.” He backed away and closed the door.
Looks like my dominant influence controls all humans. Mind control. A wolf amongst sheep. Kane smiled and locked the door. “Now, where were we?”