Mayhem's Betrayal

Mayhem's Betrayal
Operation Mayhem Series

by Lindsay Cross
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Mayhem's Betrayal

Under the order of General Rainier, he’d attacked his team, injured Diggs, and nearly blinded King. When the men had finally managed to take him down, he’d been more like an animal than a man.
And now they had him caged like a wild animal, too.
A wild beautiful animal she couldn’t stop thinking about, yet was expected to tame. His every word and action proved his lack of control. He couldn’t be trusted, yet she wanted to trust him.
God she was tired. Her hand drifted up to cover her eyes, fresh tears stinging the corners. She never cried, not since she was a child anyway, and yet these past few weeks she had to fight off the foreign feeling repeatedly.
Think, Melissa, think. There must be something you’re missing! 
 “Come here.”
Melissa thought about trying to pretend she hadn’t shown such a weakness right in front of him, but found she didn’t even have the energy for that. Instead she dropped her hand and stared at him helplessly.
“Melissa, come here,” he repeated, stepping close to the glass and raising his to the cool pane between them.
Without thought, she moved closer, losing herself in his intense blue gaze. All those awards meant absolutely nothing if she couldn’t solve this equation. They were worthless. As worthless as she was turning out to be.
“Put your hand to mine,” he said firmly.
Numbly, she did as instructed, lining up her much, much smaller hand on the other side of the glass directly across from his.
His gaze locked with hers, stealing the numbness she was so blessedly seeking and instead flooding her with warmth. She sucked in a breath, her weakened pulse  picking up steam.
“That’s good,” he said, “You are not worthless, you are literally the smartest person I’ve ever met. You are going to crack this research project and you are going to save all of us.”
Her body started to tingle, and she felt a heated buzzing soothing her mind, as if he were somehow forcibly relaxing every cell inside her.
Entranced, she could no more speak than she could tear her gaze from his. And she didn’t want to, God help her.
“Now, breathe with me, Melissa. Feel yourself relax. Slow. Steady.” His rate of speech slowed with each word, drawing his voice out so that she felt his calmness.
She matched her breathing to his, deep inhale, slow exhale. They were perfectly in sync.
She stopped thinking about the research, and she stopped thinking about the time. She stopped thinking about everything but the impossibly handsome man in front of her.
“That’s good, just relax. Let me take care of you,” he all but whispered.
Him take care of her? She wasn’t even allowed to let him out of his cell unless two members of the team were present. He’d betrayed the team, tried to kill the very men she was trying to save…
“Don’t do that. Don’t pull away for me. You can trust me. I turned myself in, remember?”
She stared at him, the buzzing in her mind growing stronger. She fought to form a solid thought. “You did, but only after they made you. You were surrounded by the entire team.”
John lowered his head, his blue eyes burning. “You and I both know I could’ve gotten out if I wanted to. I surrendered because I knew it was the right thing to do. They are still my team.”
“So you don’t think they betrayed you?” She barely got the words out. She’s been there the night he crashed the Humvee through the front of the mansion. The very sight of him ripping through the door still haunted her dreams.
“I’m not sure on that point, but I am sure they have my daughter, and they’re taking care of her. They’re taking care of my sister.” There was a long pause. “And they have you on their side. I might not fully trust them, but I trust you.”
Her breathing quickened. She wanted to trust him, every instinct inside of her called out to trust him, but her mind refused to follow suit. “No.”
“Yes. Stop thinking with your head. Feel me.” He leaned closer, resting his forehead to the glass.
She closed her eyes, feeling the electric heat pass through her. He was addictive. Even with her eyes shut, she could see him. His taught shoulders straining the black fabric of his t-shirt. The muscles thick and hard. The strong, scarred arms that seemed big enough to wrap around her and support them both.
But…He’d been working for General Rainier, the enemy of Team Mayhem. She would be a fool to blindly trust him after just a month. More than likely he was a plant, sent here to lower their guards and lead the general to them so that he could resume his awful experiment to enhance the emotions right out of them and turn them into mindless killing machines for hire.
With a force of will that strained her frayed nerves, she pulled her hand free of the glass. The warm buzzing disappeared and the weakness returned to her muscles instantly. If she hadn’t locked her knees she would’ve collapsed. “I don’t trust you.”
His hard lips slid into a tight smile. “You will.”


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