Read Mimics of Rune 02- Surrender Online

Authors: Aimee Laine

Tags: #Paranormal Romance, #genetic testing, #Shape Shifter, #Romance, #mimic, #abuse, #urban fantasy

Mimics of Rune 02- Surrender (27 page)

BOOK: Mimics of Rune 02- Surrender
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Kevin’s gaze fixed on her in such a way that made her shiver.

Acting smart is part of the Mimic role, too, Charley would have said.
“Wouldn’t research like that be better in New York where you could get access?”

“As you can see, privacy is imperative.” Kevin rested his chin on the tips of his fingers.

I really don’t like the way you keep looking at me.
Despite hunger taking control, Lily’s appetite waned. “Privacy is important to people who need it most, but it’s not always good when in the hands of the wrong people.”
That sounded smart.

Matthew chuckled.

Kevin twisted his watch toward himself. “I’ve got a meeting.” He pointed his napkin in Lily’s direction before turning to Matthew. “She needs to start in thirty minutes. No later.” He tossed the cloth on his plate, rose and stepped toward the door.

Leigh growled.

“Start?” Lily asked, fear coursing through her and shaking Leigh right off.

“Standard processing,” Marlie said, her voice soothing and calm. “Just a few tests. It’s a day-long procedure, and Kevin’s currently in charge of any new residents in this wing of the facility.”

“Why does everyone keep saying residents?”

Marlie tilted her head toward Matthew. “When—”

The door swished open, and a man dressed in black, a rifle slung over his shoulder, stepped inside. “Sir, we have a situation.”

Shoot. They know Leigh’s missing.

Matthew rose and strode to the door. The voices of the two men lowered until Lily couldn’t hear the conversation.

Leigh sat up, ears perked high.

Marlie stayed silent, her lips pursed.

Lily’s heart beat with an urgency far beyond its capacity.

The armed man departed, and Matthew circled toward Lily. “Well, Miss Crane. It seems not everyone has been fully truthful here.”

Leigh yipped and snarled.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Not quite a full lie.

Matthew stormed to her, the set of his jaw giving Lily the distinct impression anger had taken over whatever façade he’d played for the last half hour. “Did you come here of your own accord?”

“Yes.” Total truth.

He propped his hands on the back of the chair next to Lily. “Why?”

She bit back the ‘um’ that Charley had always said became a ‘tell’ when she had to think about an answer. “I came with Roy Marlow because he asked me to have my genetic lineage verified.”
Or something like that.

Matthew closed his eyes. “Are you pregnant, Miss Crane?”

Lily jerked back. “That’s none of your business.”

“It’s every bit of our business,” he bit back. “Are you?”

Lily stood, too, and picked up Leigh. “I don’t see how—”

“Dammit, Miss Crane. I don’t have time for this. Answer me. Are you or are you not carrying a child?”

“I—”

“Answer the fucking question already.” Matthew’s tone turned to steel.

“Wha—”

“Dammit.” Matthew’s comment, while quiet, came out venomous. His shoulders drooped for a fraction of a second before he straightened again. “I’m sorry, Miss Crane, but I believe there has been a miscommunication.” With that, Matthew spun and left, the doors swishing open and closing behind him.

Lily stood, stuck in place. A hand on her arm had her turning.

“Come with me, please,” Marlie said.

“No, wait! What’s going on?” She picked up Leigh with no more than a thought to escape.
Maggie! Where are you?

• • •

Lily yanked herself free of Marlie, ran to the doors, and raced after Matthew. She caught sight of him storming his way down the hallway and raced after him. “Wait!”

Matthew didn’t even acknowledge that she’d spoken.

She encouraged herself to run faster. “Matthew, wait, please!”
What am I doing? I should just get out of here. I have who I came for, and Maggie can handle herself. Excuse. I need one.
“Please stop. I could be pregnant.”

“That’s not the point.”

“Well … what is? I don’t understand.” Leigh reached Lily’s feet. “Roy said you were going to test my genetic lineage. My line. He said I was part of …”
Geez, why don’t I know what to say?

Matthew took Lily by the arm and forced her farther down the hallway. “Come with me.” He depressed a button at the side of the doors, and they opened up into the room Roy had walked her through at midnight. Matthew went through yet another set of doors and down yet another white hallway. He slowed at the first room.

As soon as the swish of doors happened a second time, and the lock clicked into place, he switched on the red light.

Matthew’s body shivered, his arms shrunk, facial hair melted away and scalp hair grew longer.

Lily stared until Maggie faced her.

Before a question could be addressed, Maggie sat at the desk to the side of the room and rifled through papers. She removed a set, sauntered back to Lily and held them out. “Tell me whose signature is on the bottom of these documents?”

Lily took them as Leigh whimpered. “Why did you yell at me like that?”

“Whose signature does that
look
like?” Maggie took the papers back and shook them at Lily. “Read them,” Maggie said. “Every word.” She handed them back.

“No.” Lily firmed her shoulders. “Tell me why you yelled at me.”

“I won’t have to if you’d just read the damn papers.”

On a huff, Lily refocused and read from the top. A glance through the sheets told her nothing.

“… party of the first part … so, legal stuff?”

One finger circled to keep reading.

“… extended stay … facilities …” Lily glanced up at Maggie but went right back down to the papers. “… interminable rights … health and well being … What does all this mean?”

“Who signed it?”

At the bottom, Lily stared. “This looks like my signature.”

“Exactly. And these papers?” She slapped them against the table. “They are legally binding. They not only confirm your status, but they sign over an infant. They’re expecting you to give up your baby because you’ve authorized it.”

Lily’s knees buckled, but she caught herself before she fell. Another small cry from the dog had Lily focusing on Leigh. “Please, Maggie.” Lily pointed to Leigh. “Let her transform back.”
What have I gotten myself into?

“Go ahead,” Maggie said. “Then you have to stay as yourself for a while, Leigh. It’s too dangerous for you to transform multiple times right now, and yes, I know you changed recently because your hair isn’t as white or crisply shaped.”

With a yip, Leigh’s body materialized into her full shape, slower than in Lily’s bathroom, but in less than thirty seconds.

Maggie grinned. “She’s about as fast as Chase.” As soon as she said it, her expression fell flat. “Clothes are on the couch. Go straight back to your Pod.”

Lily grabbed Maggie’s arm. “You can’t make her go back.”

The fierceness in Maggie’s stare had Lily backing down.

“But, Maggie, we just found her.”

Maggie spun to Leigh. “Go. Right now. You don’t know anything about me or Lily. If anyone asks you, you were in a meeting with Matthew.”

Leigh nodded as she staggered. Three transformations for such a new Mimic would have taken a toll, though the fact she hadn’t fallen asleep on her feet or keeled right over boosted Lily’s confidence. With her head hung, Leigh dressed and exited with Maggie’s help.

Maggie re-engaged the privacy. “Are you or aren’t you pregnant?”

“I’m … not.”

“Didn’t you and Cael have sex?”

Lily firmed her lips.

“Answer me.”

“You’re just as bossy and demanding in Maggie form as—”

“Dammit, Lily.”

“Maybe.”

“This week?”

“Why?”

Maggie flung her hands up into the air. They hit her thighs as she paced away and back across the room. “Your birthday is two days from now. That means you’re in the one seven-day fertility window.”

“I know that.” She did, too. So did Cael. Not that it mattered.

Maggie’s finger waved in front of Lily’s face until she tapped on the paper again. “Second page.”

Lily flipped over to a checklist.

Mimic. Leaper. The check had been put next to Mimic.

Female. Male. “Well, they got that one right.”

Age range. 50-100 had been marked.

A few other check boxes had been completed for female-only, original line, unblended and pregnant.

“What the hell?”

“That was my question.”

Lily whipped her head up from the page. “What are you talking about, Maggie?”

“You’re sixty, Lily. You should know this stuff.” Maggie inhaled, the sound like a rush of air. “Okay, listen.” She held her hands out, palms facing each other but not together. “Girl Mimic plus boy Mimic during annual fertile cycle equals baby Mimic in ninety-nine point nine percent of cases. How the hell do you think James and I produced Chase?”

Words failed to form in Lily’s mind. “That’s not what I meant.”
Not at all what I meant.

“This paperwork is dated two days ago, so whoever produced it either made some good guesses or lied or—”

“But I didn’t sign that.”

“Are you sure? Because this place is made for just this sort of issue … unwanted supernatural babies, among other things. Kids. Hell, even adults from what I can tell.”

“Yes, of course, I’m sure.”

“Positive? Maybe the idea of Cael was great, but the execution not so much?”

Frustration ebbed through Lily’s body. “Are you suggesting I’d get myself pregnant on purpose and then come down here to ditch the kid like you did?” Even as she said it, she cringed. “I’m sorry, Maggie.” Lily hung her head. An inner constriction took hold of her heart. Maggie had given up Chase, but she’d dropped him off on Charley’s doorstep—the best possible alternative solution. “Would you … have come here … if …”

Maggie bit her lip, a sign of uncertainty Lily had never seen in her, before her stare hardened. “Look … I see the benefit. Trust me. Like James, I know Cael wants kids. For all I know, you guys hooked up again, and he isn’t ready yet. I know you are, but it does take two.” Her soft tone made Lily tear up. “And I had to yell because of the guards and Marlie, and Kevin if he happened to be listening in. Matthew’s the boss, at least from what I’ve learned so far. On top of that, I had to know which side you were really on.”

“Your side,” Lily said. “Why do I know Kevin? That face? I can’t—”

“Don’t worry about that right now. I’m more concerned with knowing how they know so much about you and how they got you to sign this if you’re not … you know.” She circled a finger around Lily’s abdomen. “So if you are …”

Lily’s hands covered her stomach, though only a gurgle from lack of food disturbed her touch. “I’m not. I promise.”

“Okay, so set that aside. This place is a refuge and something else. The something else is the part I haven’t figured out. I need more time to dig into the material. I need James’s head. I need you to be the ‘you’ you signed up as so we can understand it better. None of us knew it existed, yet it does.”

“But Roy said this is where I was—”

Maggie placed her hands on Lily’s shoulders. “From now on, I need you to not believe anything Roy says. His story to you and what I’ve found so far don’t jive. But I need to know more. So, I need
you
to play the game. For the next twenty-four hours.” Maggie angled her head down so she met Lily’s gaze. “To find out what’s going on here, you have to be Lily Crane—the real one—the pregnant one. Just like the papers say.”

“But I’m not.”

Maggie rolled her eyes in a dramatic display. “I know that. You know that. Forged and lied. Same thing. There is another option.”

“What?”

“Someone might expect to
get
you pregnant. Remember what I said back home?”

Lily shivered.

“And it’s probably Roy, himself. It makes sense if you think about it. He knew what the government was trying to do. Shit, they hired him for god’s sake. That means they know who he is, too, and what he can do for them. Why not be a party to it instead of stand in their way? He’s arrogant and self-centered and would totally want his genes to be in the new crop of kids.”

Trembling started in Lily’s hand and moved up her arm and through her body. “But he said we were going to take them down. He said I was here to help him break it up!” Lily scanned the room trying to find a place to focus on. “He said he’d been messed up like me, and this wasn’t right!”

Maggie took Lily’s arms and held her upright. “Would you have gone with him if he said anything otherwise?”

Oh, god. No.

“I know you’re squeamish, but Lily? Too bad. Go through today’s testing. Act like any other new resident here. We need to know everything they go through. There’s only so much I can glean from paperwork in a desk, files on a computer and a drugged man in the other room.” Maggie blew out a breath. “For all this head guys knows, you
are
here because you want to be. You
are
pregnant, which is why you’re in the maternity wing with two other pregnant people … and you
are
going to give up your baby once you’ve had it. Or, he’s hiding it all, and he’s got Roy by the short hairs, too. I’ll figure that part out. You just go on your merry way.”

Lily shook her head as the words tumbled from Maggie’s mouth.

“I’ll come find you … in some form … in a few hours.”

“I don’t know if I can.”

“Yes. You can.”

Lily shook her head. “Where … how did you get all this info?”

A wink came with a grin. “Oh, my sweet, sweet, Lily. In this case, what you don’t know is better off left with me.” Maggie took hold of Lily’s biceps and met her gaze at eye-level. “I do want you to know one thing for your acting role. You gotta pretend you want to be here. All the people here … the residents and the staff? They signed papers just like you did.”

“But I—what about … Leigh?”

“Signed by one Angela Jenkins.”

No!
“That’s not poss—” Shaking continued throughout Lily’s torso. “She wouldn’t give up her daughter.”
Like me. Like I thought mine had. Would she have and then faked doing so?

BOOK: Mimics of Rune 02- Surrender
12.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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