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Cyborg Nation


Kaitlyn O’Connor

© copyright March 2007, Kaitlyn O’Connor

Cover art by Jenny Dixon, © copyright March 2007

New Concepts Publishing

Lake Park, GA 31636


This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author’s imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.

Chapter One

Bronte Nichols’ thoughts were focused inwardly, as they so often were, as the lift settled and the doors opened. There a was man standing in the cubicle, which was so unexpected it actually pierced Bronte’s abstraction. She stared at him blankly, partly because she was surprised to see anyone at all so early in the morning and partly because, for some unfathomable reason, she discovered he was not completely in focus.

Prompted by the instinctive urge to keep from being left behind, she leapt inside just as the doors began to close again. Uneasiness washed over her even as she yielded to the impulse, effectively trapping herself inside with the stranger. It wasn’t just that he was big—really big—a stranger, or even the fact that she so rarely met up with anyone at all when she arrived at work so early.

His stance seemed relaxed, unthreatening, and yet Bronte sensed that he had tensed when he’d seen her just as she had when she’d spotted him and there was something about that that set off alarm bells in her head.

After staring at him owl eyed for a moment, she finally remembered her manners, nodded politely in greeting, and turned to stare at the doors instead, or rather the level indicator. She didn’t exactly see the screen displaying the levels the lift was passing. In her mind’s eye, she was shifting through the vague impressions her eyes had recorded of the stranger.

She was certain he was a stranger to her. In the first place, she never spoke to anyone aside from her staff members and the parents of her patients … and of course her patients. In the second, as distracted as she generally was with her own thoughts, she still thought she would have noticed a man as large as the one behind her if she’d run across him in the medical center before. He wasn’t just tall, he was big, muscular if the form fitting, one piece suit he was wearing was any indication, and she thought it probably was. It looked like the uniform of the med center’s security guards, but there was something about him that, somehow, just didn’t seem to go with the uniform.

Not that she’d actually been able to make out much more than that about him—big, very tall, and dark hair. His features had seemed pleasingly regular—but blurred so she wasn’t so certain she could trust that impression. She was certain he had dark hair though it seemed it had been slicked tightly against his skull in a very odd sort of hair style—not the way the security guards generally wore their hair at all. In fact mostly they just shaved their heads so that there was little more than stubble sprouting from their scalps and sometimes not even that.

Which brought her mind back to the subject that had engrossed her before the doors of the lift had opened. “My glasses,” she muttered under her breath. “Now what did I do with them? I’m sure I had them when I left the apartment. I distinctly recall that I had them.”

“On your head.”

The deep, resonant voice behind her startled her. Not only had she not realized she’d been muttering aloud, but she’d become so engrossed with her conversation with herself she’d momentarily forgotten she was sharing the elevator. Her lips parting with surprise, she whipped her head around at the sound of his voice, lifting a hand absently to her head as she did so. Her fingers connected with something in her hair, dislodging whatever it was.

As it fell, she and the stranger both bent instinctively to catch it… and butted heads. The blow made Bronte’s knees buckle and she sat on the floor of the lift, one hand flying upward to massage the throbbing knot where their heads had connected. “Oh! I do beg your pardon! Are you alright?”

His face came into focus as he leaned down, wrapped the fingers of one hand around her left upper arm, hauled her to her feet, and then shoved the glasses he’d managed to rescue onto her nose. Briefly, his face came into sharp focus before blurring again when he moved too close for her eyes to focus with the aid of the glasses. Bronte felt her face reddening as she gaped up at him and it sank slowly into her mind that he was quite the most handsome man she’d ever run in to, either literally or figuratively.

Not that she made a habit of running into strange men! She had had a few accidents, however, and she grew an even brighter red until her skin was no doubt rivaling her dark auburn hair as she recalled her last embarrassing encounter with a man.

She’d rather liked Dr. Pool, too, or at least thought she might be interested in the man on a purely feminine level, but he’d been far more embarrassed by the collision than she was. He had made it a point to give her a wide berth after she’d mowed him down at the corner of the connecting corridors where they had their respective offices and she was fairly certain she’d blown yet another, rare, opportunity to find a soul mate … or at least a fuck buddy.

She became aware suddenly that the man, the stranger, was still gripping her arm, his gaze wandering over her speculatively. “Do I know you?” she asked politely, certain that she couldn’t possibly have met him before. But then, he was being very familiar, really, for someone who didn’t know her.

“Dr. Nichols?”

Bronte blinked. Apparently he did know her. “Yes?”

His frown deepened instead of clearing. “B. A. Nichols?”

Understanding dawned. Bronte chuckled, but she felt her blush

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