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Authors: Laurann Dohner

New Species 05 Brawn

BOOK: New Species 05 Brawn
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Brawn

Laurann Dohner

 

Book 5 in the New Species
series.

 

One look at Brawn, and Becca is
wondering how he’d look without his clothes. He’s also instantly attracted to
her, but has sworn never to touch a human female. They just aren’t sturdy
enough for the type of rough sex Brawn enjoys most. When he learns he’ll be
living under the same roof with Becca, Brawn simply sees it as a chance to
broaden his knowledge of humans. Hopefully he can do so while keeping his hands
off her…

His good intentions go astray when
they’re both kidnapped and locked together in a cage. Brawn finds himself
reliving a nightmare when he’s once again subjected to breeding experiments at
the hands of New Species’ enemies—who will use Becca to get what they want.
Brawn and Becca will have to depend on each other if they hope to survive.

 

Ellora��s Cave Publishing

www.ellorascave.com

 

 

 

Brawn

 

ISBN 9781419938269

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Brawn Copyright © 2011 Laurann Dohner

 

Edited by Pamela Campbell

Photography and cover design by Syneca

Model: Angelo

 

Electronic book publication December 2011

 

The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of
Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

 

With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not
be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written
permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home
Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.

 

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this
copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or
distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without
the publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, including
infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is
punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. 
(http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/). Please purchase only authorized electronic or print
editions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of
copyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons,
living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The
characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

 

The publisher and author(s) acknowledge the trademark status and
trademark ownership of all trademarks, service marks and word marks mentioned
in this book.

 

The publisher does not have any control over, and does not assume
any responsibility for, author or third-party Web sites or their content.

Brawn

Laurann Dohner

Dedication

 

As always, I’d like to thank Mr. Laurann for all of his love
and support. My heartfelt thanks to Kele Moon for not only being the best
critique partner but for loving this series as much as I do. A special thanks
to my mother, Donna, for always encouraging me to read. Books are amazing
things that open up new worlds, take us on adventures, and broaden our
imaginations.

 

Chapter One

 

Becca Oberto glared at her father, resisting the urge to
yell. “You what?”

Tim shrugged. “I need you to move in with me right now. In
less than an hour someone else will be moving into your house. I put clean
sheets on your old bed.”

“No.” She shook her head vehemently and leaned against her
car. He’d just announced he had agreed to allow some man to move into her home
but it was hers. “You can’t just order me to live with you or give permission
for someone else to take my home. Grandpa left the main house to you and the
guesthouse to me. He’s your guy so make him stay in your house.”

“That won’t work. He’s, uh, different. He needs his own
space, Rebecca.”

“So do I. I don’t care how different he is or what the
situation may be. He is not getting my home. I love you dearly but I’m
twenty-nine years old, a widow and way too old to live with my daddy again.”
She took a breath. “Plus, you drive me nuts. You treat me as though I’m ten
years old and I’ve lived on my own for far too long to revert to that. No way
in hell. Is that clear enough? Give him my old room.”

Her father shifted his stance. “He’s New Species, Rebecca.
He needs his own space and he’d have a problem with how close the main house is
to the street. I was told he needs quiet living accommodations or the sound of
traffic will keep him awake. The guesthouse is all the way at the back of the
property and it’s got all those trees to make it secluded. He’d love it there.
I swore to the NSO that I’d give him safe, quiet living and your place is
perfect. It won’t be for that long. Please?”

Stunned, Becca just glared at her father. He headed some
secret task force that directly worked with the New Species Organization—NSO
for short. She’d never met a New Species but she’d seen a few of them on
television and featured in newspapers. Her father kept her fuzzy on what he did
at work but she guessed it probably was dangerous. Her father had been with the
military for twenty-five years, had retired nearly two years before and was an
adrenaline junky. He lived for being shot at or to shoot at shit. He found and
saved New Species who were still being held captive. That’s about all she knew.

“Why would one of them need to be here? All of them either
live here at the NSO Homeland or they live up north at the NSO Reservation. I’m
not stupid, Dad. I read the papers and none of them ever live outside those
gates. It would be too dangerous with all the morons who bug them.”

Tim frowned. “I don’t have to explain this to you, baby.”

“You do if you want me to let someone live in my house for
awhile.”

A curse broke from his lips. “Fine. Do you remember Jessie
Dupree?”

“The wild redhead? Sure. She’s the only woman on your team
and I met her a few times when you had them over for drinks for team morale.
What does she have to do with some guy wanting to live in my house?”

“She was hurt on the job and had to be replaced. The NSO
offered us one of their people to fill her position. Jessie did the first
contact stuff for us when we recovered a New Species POW alive. We thought—I
thought—that since we don’t have Jessie then we should have a New Species do
first contact. The thing is that he’ll have to live here or we’d have to send
our only helicopter to get him for every mission. It’d waste funds and
resources when we have few to spare. This way he’s on the spot when we need him
and have to move fast.”

Becca let that all that information sink in. “POWs? You call
them prisoners of war?”

“What would you call them? My job is to find imprisoned New
Species and free them. They aren’t there for fun and games. They are prisoners
and it’s usually a fight to get them free.” He shifted his weight again.
“Anyway, now that you know the situation, I expect you to get with the program.
I’m going to go change my clothes while you pack your belongings. I’ll be there
in about fifteen minutes to help you move. He should be arriving within the
hour.” He paused and his eyes narrowed. “I want you to stay away from him.
That’s an order, Rebecca Marie Oberto.”

“This is why Mom left you and why you’re still single eight
years after the divorce.” Becca was pissed. “Do not tell me what to do. I’m a
grown woman. You get with the program. I can talk to whoever I want, even hang
out with him and I don’t take orders from you.”

“You will not.” His voice deepened and took on a stern tone.
“I am your father and you will do what you’re told. I have spoken.”

Her eyes widened in astonishment. Her hands fisted as she
shoved them against her hips. “Wow! Really? You’ve spoken? I’m having
flashbacks of my teens and we both know that didn’t go so well for you. I
sneaked out of the house plenty of times when you refused to allow me to have a
life. It didn’t work then and it sure as hell won’t get you what you want now.
I’ve spoken.”

“Damn it, Rebecca Marie. Stop being childish.”

“Listen up, Dad. I’ve been married and I survived burying a
husband. I grew up. I’m not the kid whose diapers you sometimes changed when
you were home on those rare occasions between the wars you couldn’t wait to go
fight. Do not treat me as though I’m still a child. I love you but I swear to
God, I’ll stop speaking to you if you continue with this line of bullshit. I’m
not one of your military guys who jump when you say boo. Yes, you have spoken
but so have I. Deal with that!”

“You’re still mad that I wasn’t around much when you were a
kid? I was working.”

“You were always volunteering! Don’t think I didn’t know you
asked for the toughest assignments that would keep you out of the house the
longest just because you and Mom didn’t get along. You were hardly there. I am
not angry anymore because I grew up and got over it. What makes me mad is that
you were hardly there to tell me what to do as a kid so what makes you think
you can pull this crap now? I would rethink it. Stop telling me what to do,
where I can live, or who I can talk to.”

“He’s New Species, Rebecca. You’ve learned enough about them
to know why I don’t want you near him. They were locked up all their lives as
test subjects and they were prisoners who suffered physical and emotional
abuse. No one could be completely right in the head after that. They are all
big and were shoved full of altered shit. He’s going to be part man and animal.
You’re a good-looking girl and he will notice that. I don’t want you near him
and that’s an order you will follow. You are not to talk to him or hang out
with him.”

That did it. Becca laughed. “You don’t give me orders. I
still haven’t said he could stay in my home. I get why he needs to but that
doesn’t mean you have the right to lend out my home or make me move back in
with you. It’s not happening.”

“You will do as I say.”

Her good humor fled. “That’s it. I’m done. Here’s the
program you’d better get with. He can stay in my guest room—there are two. I’ll
give him the one down the hall from my bedroom. I’d hate to live in your house
so I would never subject anyone else to that. While he is here, I can talk to
him if I want. Hell, I can hang out with him. I can do anything I want with him
and you can’t do a thing about it.”

“What would you like to do with me?” The voice behind her
was a deep rumble.

Becca started and turned to gape at the owner of that
masculine voice. He was really tall and his straight black hair fell over his
broad shoulders to his waist in a silky curtain of hotness. He had to be a good
foot taller than her five-foot-five height. His catlike blue eyes met her
shocked ones. His cheekbones were prominent, his nose flatter than normal and a
set of full lips were curved downward in contemplation. Overall, he was
strangely good-looking and really big. The hair was just sexy as could be—a
bonus.

His skin was a golden tone and she could see a lot of it
since he wore a red tank top stretched tightly over a broad chest. Thick,
muscular arms were displayed to her appreciative eyes. The guy was built like a
body builder or a male stripper. Becca instantly imagined him moving to music
and her stomach clenched. She’d definitely put some bills in his G-string.

Her focus lowered to a trim waist and the black cargo pants
that molded to bulked-up thighs on those long legs. They were the type of pants
a lot of her father’s men wore and she’d have pegged him as military if it
weren’t for the fact that he was obviously New Species. She silently wondered
if her father or a member of his team had handpicked the guy’s attire.
Oh
yeah
, she decided.
I’d definitely want to see him strip out of his
clothes.

“You’ve arrived already.” Her father didn’t try to hide his
annoyance. “This is my daughter, Rebecca. She’s moving out of the guesthouse
that you’ll be staying in while you’re here.” He moved forward and held out his
hand. “It’s good to see you again.”

“I’m Brawn.” The large man’s gaze flicked away from Becca’s
and he dropped his navy-blue duffel bag to the ground and shook hands with her
father.

“I remember,” her father admitted gruffly. “You’re one of
the council members and we were introduced recently at a meeting. I just didn’t
want to be forward by calling you by your first name without permission. I
wasn’t informed if you’d taken a last one.”

“I didn’t. I’m just Brawn.”

Boy, is he
. Becca swallowed and stepped forward,
smiling at the large male and decided he was totally hot. It might take some
time getting used to his strange features but his attractiveness captivated
her. She held out her hand. “I’m Becca Oberto. It’s nice to meet you.”

Brawn turned his attention her way again and she stared up
into the darkest blue eyes she’d ever seen. They reminded her of a night sky,
so dark, but with just a hint enough of blue to be striking. His eyelashes were
extraordinarily long and black, matching his hair. The feline shape of his eyes
was remarkable and beautiful. His irises weren’t round like a human’s. They
were oval, similar to a cat’s and they were breathtaking. She was so caught up
in studying his features that she didn’t notice anything was wrong until he
smiled and amusement sparked in his gaze before he glanced down.

Becca followed where he looked and heat warmed her cheeks.
She’d forgotten they were supposed to shake hands, too caught up in gawking at
him. A laugh bubbled up as she gripped his large palm, taking note of how warm
his skin felt and the rough texture of calluses on his palms and fingers. Her
gaze jerked up to his again as their hands clasped.

“Sorry. Your eyes are amazing.”

His smile widened. “I take it I’m the first of my kind
you’ve met? You seem…fascinated.”

“Yes and yes, I am. You have the most beautiful eyes I’ve
ever seen.” She refrained from wincing, realized she probably sounded idiotic
and had babbled about his eyes twice.

The grip tightened on hers as his fingers curled to encase
her entire hand and some unknown emotion flickered in his eyes. “Thank you for
saying so.”

“You can release her now.” Her father ground out the order
through clenched teeth. “You’re supposed to shake, not hold hands.”

Becca laughed and released the guy. “Sorry.” She took a step
back, still peering into his eyes, unable to stop.

“It’s fine. I am grateful that I do not frighten you. Some
human females are terrified when they meet us or they freeze up and just
stare.”

She stared.
Damn.
Becca laughed lightly. “I admit I’m
guilty of it. I’m sorry.” She forced herself to glance at her father. He looked
livid as he glared back.

“Go pack up your things and move into your old room now, Rebecca.”

Her smile faded. “Dad, back off. I’m not ten anymore. Let’s
not yell in front of Mr. Brawn. It wouldn’t make a good first impression of us,
now would it? We should at least allow the man to get settled in before he
realizes we’re a dysfunctional family.”

“You have to move because of me?” Brawn’s shock sounded in
his voice.

“It’s not a problem,” Tim assured, sounding less angry. “The
guesthouse my daughter owns is located at the back of the property and is more
remote from the street traffic. There are a lot of trees and it’s quieter. I’m
having groceries delivered to you and I know someone asked your clothing sizes.
Your new uniforms will be here within a few hours. Nothing is planned for today
to give you time to unpack and adjust to your new living quarters before you
start the job. You’ll be riding with me every day. I’ll pick you up in the
morning at eight o’clock and I’ll give you my number in case you have any
questions or need help.”

Brawn nodded. “Fine. Thank you but I’m sure I can manage.”

Tim jerked his thumb in the direction of the larger house.
“You can come home with me while my daughter goes to the guesthouse to pack her
clothes. It shouldn’t take her long.”

Becca glared at her father as she fully faced him. “I have a
better idea. I’ll take Mr. Brawn to the guesthouse and show him around. He can
start moving into the guestroom immediately.”

“Now, Rebecca—”

Her spine stiffened when she recognized his temper flare and
knew they were about to argue again but his cell phone rang.
Saved by the bell.
She blew out a relieved breath as he dug the phone from his pocket, glanced at
the front of it to see who called and softly cursed.

“It’s work.”

Becca waved, all the tension leaving her. “Bye. I know you
have to rush off to answer it. Classified shit and all that so we don’t
overhear you say yes and no to someone.” She turned and smiled at Brawn. “Let’s
go. I’ll give you the tour and show you which room will be yours.”

Brawn hesitated before he bent to lift his duffel bag.
“Thank you. I’d appreciate that very much. Please just call me Brawn. I’m not a
mister.”

Becca grinned over how polite his manners were as she walked
down the path with Brawn following close behind. Her father would have her
believe the guy was dangerous but she didn’t feel threatened in the least. She
led him through a gate that separated the properties and grinned when her home
came into view. It was her pride and joy.

BOOK: New Species 05 Brawn
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