Leaving Lily Behind – Book Three of The Men of Brahm Hill Series.
One night. . . One violent supernatural battle
And five stories of the men whose lives
will be changed by it.
Aiden Rowan has made a choice he wishes he could have back. As a human Guardian for The Brethren, he agreed to be part of a former Elder’s super-soldier experiments involving vampire blood transfusions. His reasons for doing so were close to his heart, but the results are costing him his humanity and changing him into the very creature he wanted to defeat—a vampire. Just when he thinks he’s accepted his fate, a woman enters his life with the promise that she can help. From the moment Aiden lays eyes on Lily Abbott he feels lost in a good way—a human way. But can he trust himself now that he’s changing? Refusing to allow the darkness growing inside him to ever hurt her, he chooses to leave Lily with the intention never to return.
Lily has many secrets, and some she must keep from the man she has come to The Oracle to save. What she didn’t expect was to care deeply for Aiden, or be so affected when he refuses her help and leaves abruptly. But when she’s attacked one night by another fellow super soldier, Aiden returns as quickly as he left. Once the two are reunited, the pair have an almost combustible chemistry, leading Aiden to question what brought Lily to The Oracle and into his life in the first place.
WILL AIDEN AND LILY FIND LOVE TOGETHER, OR WILL HIS CHANGE AND HER SECRETS DRIVE THEM APART FOR GOOD?
“Aiden,” Lily called to him. “Do you have a moment? I promise I won’t take much of your time.” She walked directly to him and stared up at his tremendous height, realizing his hard expression hadn’t softened in any way. “I want to apologize for earlier. It was unprofessional and I’m embarrassed. That isn’t like me to—”
“I’m leaving,” he said, cutting her off, nearly growling as he spoke.
Her head popped up. “Leaving? On assignment?”
He nodded. “I’ve just received orders directly from Elder Lambert.”
“But what about your testing and treatments with Dr. Li? Things have been going so well.”
Aiden’s lips thinned even more as he exhaled deeply through his nose, making her feel as if there was something she was missing. “That must be why Alec trusts me to go on this assignment. Or would you prefer they keep their lab rat close to a cage?”
Lily stiffened, thinking she hadn’t heard him correctly. “Aiden, I know we don’t know each other very well but you can’t possibly think I would ever want to see you locked up?”
He raked his hand roughly through his hair, at least appearing to have the decency to regret his comment. “I don’t.”
“Where are they sending you?”
“You know I can’t tell you that,” he answered. “But I have to go. Kane is waiting.”
“Kane?” Lily said with surprise as she glanced past Aiden to see Kane putting the last of their baggage into an SUV outside. “You’re going on assignment with Kane?”
“Yes,” he replied, slowly. “Is there a problem?”
Lily nodded rapidly. Yes, she had a big problem with it because she knew the danger Kane—and now Aiden along with him—would be facing. Trying to warn Kane was why she ended up in a phone closet with him in the first place. “Aiden, you can’t go! It’s too dangerous!”
That made the scowl return to his expression. “I’m trained for this. You can hardly expect me to sit back here on my heels after being given a direct order.” He then turned to leave.
“Wait! Please!” she said, reaching her hand out to him as he turned away. Her fingers brushed his arm and she swore she saw him visibly pull away. “There is something important I need to tell you—both of you!”
“Both of us?” Aiden seemed to question.
“You should know that when I return I’m going to ask Dr. Li to have you removed from my testing.”
“Wh—what? Why?” Lily was visibly shocked. What was happening? Aiden had given her no clue before that moment that he had been uncomfortable or displeased with her presence at his tests. She always sat quietly in the corner while Aiden was being examined, working hard to never interrupt him or the doctor. “Have I done something?”
“I’m not comfortable . . . with you.”
“You mean because of this morning? Again, I apologize for—”
“I never have been.”
“Lily swore it would have hurt less if he’d sucker-punched her with a fist to the stomach. Yet she only allowed the feeling to last for a moment, because for some strange reason she was more determined than ever to help this man—even if he didn’t want her help. Drawing on a confidence she didn’t necessarily feel, she placed a hand on her hip and took one step closer to him. Aiden responded by holding himself awkwardly stiff. “Dr. Li will not replace me,” she warned him. “He brought me onto his team to record and monitor your treatment and progress. And that’s exactly what I intend to do. So you better get used to the idea of me being in that room when you return.”
“You weren’t there this morning, were you?”
“Aiden’s anger was about what had happened with Kane in the closet, and she had been naive to think the whole incident could be glossed over with a simple apology. From Aiden’s perspective, she could just imagine what it said to him to see his behavioral psychologist fooling around in a closet like some ridiculous teenager, what he must think about how committed she was to his treatment. His life was at stake! “No, I wasn’t there, and I’m sorry for that. But if you just give me a second chance you’ll see I’m good at what I do—”
“And what exactly do you do?” he interrupted. “Why are you even here? Behavioral psychology? Why do I need a behavioral psychologist, anyway? I was transfused with vampire blood, not verbally abused by a drunken uncle.”
“That’s not what I do. By monitoring your behavior and repeating certain exercises we can help condition you to adjust to your new life—”
“New life? As what, a vampire? I’m not a vampire. I’m not becoming a vampire. And . . . even if I were . . . I don’t know any vampire who ever gave a shit about his behavior!”
Lily was speechless for a moment, mostly because this conversation—no, more like argument—was the most she had heard Aiden say in the entire time she’d been at The Oracle. She was really worried about him. This flash of temper was completely unlike the man who was always so purposeful and in control. She doubted whether Dr. Li would ever agree to allow Aiden to be placed on assignment away from The Oracle, especially when he was so clearly agitated by something. She hated even to consider such dark thoughts. But how could she not wonder if what she was witnessing were the same signs the other transfused Guardians from Reese Lambert’s horrendous super-soldier experiments exhibited before they fully turned? And that certainly did not end well for them. They were all dead!
“Aiden, whether you want to admit it or not, you’ve been through a trauma with these transfusions. I don’t mean to upset you. I just want to help.”
“Aiden dropped his chin until she could feel his breath right there on her cheek. Good Lord, the man had a strong presence about him, especially when he wasn’t saying anything at all. Strength just radiated from his shoulders. “You can’t help me,” he replied, surprising her with a darkness in his voice that she had never heard before. “You are the last person here who can help me.”
Leaving Lily Behind will be available March 2nd on Amazon, Smashwords, BN.com and the iBookstore.
Leaving Lily Behind will be available in paperback on Amazon and CreateSpace.