Not long now!

Copyright 2012, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group

“They had you for almost a year, Hannah.” Julian moved his chair closer and took one of her fists, slowly unfurling her fingers to kiss her palm. He . . . disarmed her. So gruff all the time and yet when he turned his focus on her all that dropped away. He touched her like she was precious and that helped her listen. “They didn’t kill you. If you were a prisoner, they’d have made to trade you or they’d have killed you. We need to know why they kept you alive.”

Didn’t they think she’d wondered that too? Had wondered if her life had come at some expense she didn’t understand? “I don’t know anything!” The rage boiled up and through her system. They’d kept her and hurt her over and over for no reason she could understand. “I studied viruses. I wasn’t political at the foundation. Do you think I’d betray my Universe?”

The words shot from her mouth like bullets.

Julian’s worried look faded a little. “I think that’s the most you’ve said since Vincenz brought you home.” He winked and she laughed. Just a gritty huff of sound, but it felt so very good to do.

“Even better, a laugh. No, we don’t think you betrayed us. If you had, they’d have let you go, not kept you penned. But we need to question you about what they did to you and why they might have done it. And you are not in any shape to answer those questions much less dwell too deeply on what happened in that cell.”

“We need to know what you know. You may not even know what it is. We have methods to help people go through these sorts of events. I’m trained to help you find what you may not know. But there is simply no way Julian and I would agree to such a debrief right now. Even if you could withstand it.”

“And you couldn’t.” Dr. Pesch interrupted. “The kind of trauma you’ve endured is quite simply, more than most people could have survived with their sanity intact.”

“Who says it is?” She rubbed her free hand over her face, leaving her hair there for long moments. Julian kept her other hand in his.

“You’re the sanest person I know.” Julian brushed a kiss over her cheek and she laughed again.

“You must not know a lot of people.”

Vincenz tutted and waved that away.

Dr. Pesch spoke again. “This will help you. It won’t cure you. But it’ll get you to a place where you don’t pass out from fear every time you see my instruments. I’d be the one to do the treatments, though Julian and Vincenz have both volunteered to learn how to administer the treatments as well.”

Could she do it if they were with her?

“Tell her why it’s experimental.” Vincenz had wariness in his voice, and a little anger. She was glad he asked and more than a little curious as to why he responded that way.

The doctor told her about the newness of the process and the lack of long-term studies. He told her it might result in irreversible damage to brain tissue.

“I want to emphasize the rare part. The longer we do this, the better we get at it. I’m good at what I do, Hannah. Let me help you. Let me help you help us all.”

She understood. Better than they thought she did. “I don’t need a . . . guarantee. I know how this works.” Her brain. Well, her brain had always been her strongest asset. If she damaged it . . .

“There is a chance that the treatment won’t help at all. Though I’ve never had that result with a patient. In the end it’ll take longer to heal with more aggressive medication to normalize.” He shrugged. “I wouldn’t be recommending this if I thought that would be the case. This is extreme. Much as your situation was extreme. But all my patients and those treated elsewhere have had forward momentum. Even if it was very small. You’re a doctor; you know how this all works. I can’t cure you with this treatment. But I can help you find a way to process what happened. And I can help you get to a place where you can help your fellow Federated Universes citizens by being debriefed.”

“What do you think?” she asked Julian.

He grimaced and it made her feel better that he wasn’t so superhuman he could hide his emotions in every situation. “I think it bothers me that you’d be manipulated into an experimental brain treatment by using patriotism. I don’t like what happened to you.”

“Do you think I should do it?”

“I think you should do it only if you want to. I believe Dr. Pesch is a good doctor, good at what he does, and I think if you plan to go ahead, he’s the guy to go ahead with.”

She narrowed her eyes, frustrated. Turning to Vincenz, she caught him watching her and Julian. “What do you think? And don’t say only if I want to.”

Vincenz laughed and he and Julian shared some private, intimate thing, and yet she felt part of it, not apart. “I don’t like the experimental thing. You’re a brilliant woman with a history of doing things that have helped others. I hate the idea that you stand a chance to lose that ability in the future.”

She pushed from her chair and moved to the sink, looking out the window.

“You don’t have to make the decision right now.”

She turned slowly. “I appreciate that, Vincenz, but we know that’s not true. This is rush-rush and my brain is broken. Too broken to be pok—” She wrestled back a sob and hated that weakness. “I’ll do it. Let’s get started so we can be done.”

Her hands shook and all she wanted to do was be well enough to be alone so she could cry in peace.

“I know you’re scared.” Julian stood and moved to her. He slid his palms from her shoulders down her arms, holding her hips. “And I can’t tell you not to be. I’d be scared too. But you’re not broken. And you’re brave. So very brave.”
He hugged her, and she knew she got the front of his shirt wet from all the tears, but she couldn’t help it. Momentarily, Vincenz was there, hugging her from the side. “We’ll be with you. Every step of the way.”

Today’s prize is a signed copy of RELENTLESS to one lucky winner chosen from the comments to this post. Winners will be announced in next Monday’s prize post 🙂

34 comments to “More from CAPTIVATED”

  1. Diane
    April 19th, 2012 at 6:11 am · Link

    I’m reading every little excerpt I can find.

  2. Melissa Lamb
    April 19th, 2012 at 6:15 am · Link

    OMG!!! I can’t wait to read this!!! I loved the excerpt.

  3. Mariann with Belle's Book Bag
    April 19th, 2012 at 6:19 am · Link

    Hi Lauren,
    I think this is the only series from you that I have not read yet. I keep hearing how great he books are but I just haven’t been able to read them yet!! Thanks for the chance to win!! Have a great weekend!! 😉

  4. Louise
    April 19th, 2012 at 7:15 am · Link

    Wow! I have got to read this serie.

  5. CrystalGB
    April 19th, 2012 at 7:22 am · Link

    Loved the excerpt. That cover is smoking hot. 🙂

  6. StacieD
    April 19th, 2012 at 7:23 am · Link

    I loved this story. I can’t wait for the big release so everyone can see how great these three are together.

  7. Kimh
    April 19th, 2012 at 7:40 am · Link

    Wow whoo gets better Ty for the ecerpt
    can’t wait covet so hot ➡

  8. Melissa B
    April 19th, 2012 at 7:55 am · Link

    Oooh, I loved this! How you gonna tug on my emotions w/ just a little snippet???

  9. Blanche
    April 19th, 2012 at 8:11 am · Link

    I can’t wait to read this entire book!! Love the excerpt!!

  10. Pamiam
    April 19th, 2012 at 8:18 am · Link

    I need to put more $$ on my Amazon account. This series has to go on my Kindle.

  11. Christine
    April 19th, 2012 at 8:49 am · Link

    This is one amazing series. Can’t wait for more

  12. OrielaJ
    April 19th, 2012 at 8:52 am · Link

    I shouldn’t have read the excerpt is just making me more impatient to get my hands on this book lol…

  13. Melanie J.
    April 19th, 2012 at 8:58 am · Link


  14. Na S.
    April 19th, 2012 at 9:37 am · Link

    I enjoyed the excerpt and the last few lines…wow what a tender moment.

  15. Amy Kathryn
    April 19th, 2012 at 10:30 am · Link

    I have Mesmerized sitting by my chair waiting. I think I will have to just start a massive reread to lead up to Captivated being released. Relentless is one of my absolute favorites.

  16. azteclady
    April 19th, 2012 at 10:34 am · Link

    Please don’t enter me in today’s drawing (I already have Relentless). I just want to sigh over the cover and squeeeeeee in anticipation of Captivated 😀

  17. IP
    April 19th, 2012 at 10:35 am · Link

    I’ve been waiting for this book for what seems like ages. From the snippets I can only guess how intense their relationship must be. And another reason I am so keen on it: you promised Sera, Ash and Brandt will also make an appearance. Can’t wait to see them again. They were the reason why I got hooked on your books. 😀

  18. Viki S.
    April 19th, 2012 at 11:14 am · Link

    I am so looking forward to Captivated. I’ve been reading about it for months now yet it feels like forever. It’s going to be SO good. Thank you.

  19. elaing8
    April 19th, 2012 at 11:22 am · Link

    Great excerpt.Thanks for sharing it.

  20. Ilona
    April 19th, 2012 at 11:32 am · Link

    Loving the excerpts – I’m certainly Captivated 😀

    felinewyvern at googlemail dot com

  21. ElizabethN
    April 19th, 2012 at 12:25 pm · Link

    looking forward to reading this and re-reading the rest in the series

  22. Vic
    April 19th, 2012 at 1:24 pm · Link

    You do tease us so well, Ms. Dane. :mrgreen: So happy we have so many books to look forward to for the next few months!

  23. Patti F
    April 19th, 2012 at 4:05 pm · Link

    Great excerpt!! Love your books, cannot wait to read this one. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  24. bn100
    April 19th, 2012 at 5:04 pm · Link

    Great excerpt! The book sounds good.

  25. Jordan H
    April 19th, 2012 at 5:49 pm · Link

    I love the excerpt, can’t wait to read the book!

  26. Lori T
    April 19th, 2012 at 9:04 pm · Link

    Thanks for the sneak peek. I have added this to my need to buy list and it has an amazing cover!

  27. Amelia
    April 20th, 2012 at 9:31 am · Link

    I can’t wait for this book!!!

  28. Aurore
    April 20th, 2012 at 11:27 am · Link

    Wow. I loved this excerpt! We can feel the tension of the characters. Thank you very much for sharing it with us.

  29. Shannon R.
    April 20th, 2012 at 6:49 pm · Link

    Thanks for the except…I haven’t ever really futuristics before, but read Undercover and now I’m hooked. Can’t wait for this one, already have it on pre-order 😆

  30. Tracey D
    April 21st, 2012 at 6:34 am · Link

    Why have I waited so long to read this series? I must be living under a rock!

  31. Rebecca Stewart
    April 21st, 2012 at 11:27 am · Link

    I love this series! Can’t wait for this story! Thanks for the tease. 😛

  32. Amy B
    April 21st, 2012 at 11:32 pm · Link

    Absolutely love this series. Roman’s and Abbie’s story is my favorite, followed by Daniel and Carina, and, of course, who can forget Ash, Brandt, and Sela. I expect Julian, Vincenz, and Hannah will become a new favorite. Thank you, Lauren, for a wonderful series!

  33. Jen B.
    April 22nd, 2012 at 7:17 pm · Link

    Sorry, not going to read the teaser. Nope! Then I will try to figure out what happens next. I will want to read more. I will get frustrated. So, not going to read it! Ok, maybe I peeked a little… 😀

  34. Spav
    April 23rd, 2012 at 4:21 am · Link

    Great excerpt!


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