From the Author
"Um, hello?" Her hesitant query brought his gaze up and thesharp retort to quiet until he was ready, died on his lips as he beheldher.
What had happened to the dirty waif he'd rescued? The womanhe'd saved stood before him, and he couldn't help but stare. Hershoulder-length hair brown hair shone in the fluorescent lights, theends uneven and curling slightly with dampness. Scrubbed clean, her skin exhibited an even creamy tone, except for her cheeks, which pinked ashe continued to eyeball her. He couldn't help himself, especially whenhe noted how the jumpsuit they'd given her hugged voluptuous curves notmeant for the slim outfit, making the cleavage that strained at thefront enclosure more pronounced. A lick of her full lips caused the most surprising chain reaction because, during that momentary peek of thetip of her tongue, he couldn't help imagining sliding his mouth alongthose plump lips, and this vivid visualization causedhim to react in a most unforeseen manner.
Stand down. He ordered his body to behave. And it did,mostly. Drumming his fingertips on his desk, he glared at her.Undaunted, she stared right back, her gaze flicking to the top of hishead.
"Oh my god," she whispered. "You are a cyborg."
For some reason her observation stung. "Of course I am. What else did you think I was?"
The coloration in her cheeks deepened. "I wasn't sure. When you rescued me you had on a space suit so I couldn't see your face, andit's not as if you introduced yourself."
Her well-reasoned answer still didn't ease the sting at the way she'd reacted to the discovery of what he was. Then again, what did hecare what one human thought? "I did not realize that introductions werenecessary. Perhaps the next time I save your ass I should wear a signsaying, I am a cyborg."
"There's no reason to be rude."
"I was being sarcastic."
"I didn't know cyborgs could do that."
"Do what? Wield the English language?"
"No, make jests."
Sarcasm wasn't making fun. It was a way of expressing himself. "I do not joke."
"If you say so. What happened to your head?"
Blunt, but as a male who didn't like to pussyfoot, he couldn'tdisparage her directness. He could however screw with her. "It'spartially metal."
"I can see that, but why? I've seen cyborgs before, not inperson of course, but on the newsfeeds, and while some have sportedmechanical legs and arms, I've never seen one with a--"
"Metal skull? It was a present from a woman." His first meeting with a female cyborg did not go well. She'd shot him, obeying a buriedcommand given to her by the military. Lucky for him, she had bad aim--oras Seth claimed, he'd used up the horseshoe stored in his ass--and he'dsurvived. Half of his head didn't. He rather preferred his new bald pate and metallic crown. He felt it enhanced his cyborg appearance. And gave him better reception.
The female's eyes widened. "Someone shot you in the head?"
She seemed genuinely appalled. As if a mere human cared. Hedidn't believe her act for a moment. "Among other places. I've also been shot in the torso, back, arms, legs. Most didn't leave lasting scars,as my nanos healed the damage."
"You sound so nonchalant about it."
"Because it's a fact of life for cyborgs. It's why we werecreated. To take as much damage as possible and still keep fighting."Him, bitter? Always.
"Did they hurt?" Again, her concern and curiosity seemed authentic.
"Only the first few times. Then you learn to shut off the painand move faster." Not to mention improve your aim so that the bastardsshooting died before they did something irreparable. Cyborgs couldsustain a lot of damage, but nanotechnology could only heal so much. And why exactly was he answering her questions anyway? He was the one incharge here, not her. He was the one who needed answers--not pity. "As if you give a damn. You can stop pretending."
"Who says I'm pretending? You were shot. Numerous times by your account. I'd have to be inhuman not to feel something."
"So it's true what they say? You don't feel emotions?"
"Oh, we feel. Right now, I feel annoyed, violent, and a tad bit hungry. Military rations really aren't fit for anyone."