For Air Force special agent Taylor Chase, invading a billionaire's island fortress was headache enough. But partnering with Dr. Mark Wolfson forced her to revisit the darkest chapter of her past. As his lab assistant, she'd been his lover--and turned into another one of his telekinetic experiments. He'd influenced her thoughts and dominated her very being, and she'd sworn off him forever.Yet when the sheer horror of the billionaire's plan was revealed, Taylor and Mark realized only their telepathic bond could save them. But could they handle the deep-rooted extrasensory passion that had blown up in their faces years ago? Their very lives depended on the answer...of just who was controlling whom....
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March 31, 2008
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Excerpt from Mind Games by Merline Lovelace
USAF Captain Taylor Chase slowed her rental car to a crawl and squinted through the deepening September dusk. She'd plotted her route using the latest satellite imagery. With its incredible detail, the digital map showed every feature of the surrounding countryside, from the round silo she'd passed two miles back to this stand of tall, primeval pines that seemed to have swallowed her whole. Now all she had to find was the turnoff leading to the Wolf's lair.
Amazing, she thought as she steered through the spiky shadows thrown by the pines. Here she was, smack in the middle of New Jersey. New Jersey, for God's sake! The Garden State. The truck-farm capital of the world. She had expected the rolling farmlands she'd driven through after leaving the Turnpike at the Princeton exit. The university town looked pretty much as she'd anticipated, too. And damned if ivy didn't actually cover the walls of the centuries-old center of learning that dominated the historic town.
But this... This lonely stretch of road lined with silent, brooding pines made Taylor feel as though she were driving through a Transylvanian forest instead of rural America.
She supposed she shouldn't be surprised that her target had chosen this isolated spot to go to ground. The extensive dossier Pentagon analysts had compiled on Dr. Mark Wolfson only confirmed what Taylor already knew from personal experience. The zoologist was brilliant and sexy as all hell, but preferred the company of lab rats to humans.
With one notable exception. Grimacing at the memory of their brief, disastrous affair, Taylor switched on the car's headlights. White arcs sliced through the now-purple dusk. As the rental crawled along the two-lane road, she reviewed her strategy.
She'd opted not to call for an appointment with Wolfson at his Princeton University research center. She suspected he would flatly refuse to see her. More to the point, what she had to say to him was better said in private, away from curious lab techs or research assistants. Surprise, Taylor had decided, was the best tactic when confronting a man you'd once told to take his laboratory full of test equipment and shove it where the sun doesn't shine.
Hunching over the wheel, she peered through the gloom. Was that a turnoff? It was.
Ignoring the prominently posted Private Property, No Trespassing signs, she nosed onto the unpaved road. With each turn of the wheels, the broad-needle pines seemed to close in. Darkness, thick and black and unrelenting, now enveloped her. The sharp tang of resin spiked the night air coming in through the vents.
When the scent of wood smoke pierced even that heavy tang, Taylor knew she'd tracked the Wolf to his lair. Moments later she spotted the glow of illuminated windows staring at her like unblinking owls' eyes. Shoving the car into Park, she cut the engine and climbed out.
She stood for a moment, listening to the breeze that sighed through the pines. Reviewing her strategy. Remembering her last session with Mark Wolfson.
Her belly tightened. The tips of her breasts tingled. A tremor of dark, seductive pleasure shivered down her spine. As if it was yesterday, she heard the rasp in his deep voice when he'd whispered that her wild passion exceeded even his most optimistic calculations.
The physical sensations gripping Taylor were so strong, so intense, they almost obliterated the memory of her fury when his words finally penetrated her postcoital haze.
She'd been an experiment. Nothing more. A step up from the rats he usually worked with, granted. But an experiment nonetheless.
A sharp sting jerked Taylor from the past. She looked down, saw she'd dug her nails deep into her palms. Disgusted, she unclenched her fists and shoved the memories out of her head.
All that happened a long time ago. Almost eight years. She'd put the humiliating episode behind her. She hoped to God Mark Wolfson had done the same.
He'd better have, she thought grimly. The success of her mission depended on her ability to convince Wolfson to accompany her to a heavily guarded private island in the Caribbean.
"Okay, Chase," she told herself sternly, starting for the house. "It's showtime."
The low growl was her only warning.
It came at her from the trees off to her left. The hairs on the back of her neck lifting, Taylor reached instinctively for the weapon tucked inside her purse and spun around. She heard a branch snap. Saw a dark blur. Had less than a heartbeat to react before that blur took on the shape of a racing dog.
Not just a dog, she realized as her heart jumped into her throat. An attack dog. Big and fast and shaggy, leaping right at her.
"Down! Sit! Shit!"
Her fingers locked around the butt of her Glock but she didn't have time to whip it out. Fangs bared, eyes narrowed to slits, the animal went for her throat.