Peyton’s Doll, Part 1
She isn’t what the doctor ordered, but she’s just what he needs
1000 years after Earth has been devastated by a viral plague, the few survivors turn to genetic engineering and advanced robotics to ensure the future of the human race. But not everyone is happy with artificial life living amongst humans, least of all Peyton Chase, a doctor with a harrowing past.
When he’s ‘gifted’ with a state-of-the-art companion that he can’t send back, Peyton is far from pleased. She’s sentient. She’s sexy. She’s everything he doesn’t want complicating his life. He nicknames her Hell. She nicknames him lots of unladylike things, at least in her mind. Because there are rules to a relationship like theirs. Master and Slave. She’s supposed to obey him in all things. But if that’s true, why can’t she stop meddling in his life?
Unfortunately, time is running out for Hell. Her own desperate past is about to catch up to her with deadly results.
“You saved my life when it would’ve been easier to let me die,” said Hell. An incredible realization, especially considering killing her had been the thought most on Peyton’s mind when he’d initiated the scan. “Why?”
The warmth of his arm pulled away, but his comforting scent lingered. He picked up a nearby cloth and busied himself with wiping down the scanning array’s control panel. “I swore an oath once, to help those in need regardless of personal opinion.”
“But you don’t practice regularly anymore. Doesn’t that relieve you of clinical obligation?”
A flush spread from the deep “V” of his tunic and up his neck. His gaze snapped to hers, hot and hard. “Would you rather have died?”
“No.” Ignoring the numb tingle in her limbs, she twisted so her feet hung off the scanner bed and touched the icy floor. “I’m grateful for your help. But I don’t want to be an obligation. I’ve caused you enough trouble already.” Chest suddenly tight, she sucked in a breath. “Is there someone else here that I can stay with?”
“You want to stay with someone else?” He tossed the cloth down on the scanning bed, his lips a thin line.
“No, but I figured it’s what you wanted.”
“What I want—” he snapped, then stopped. He turned away from her, his body rigid as he thrust his fingers through his dark hair. His face was set in hard lines when he turned back to her. “What I want is to keep you safe. You’re the most important thing that’s ever happened to humanity, and those bastards—” He stopped again, as if whatever the bastards in question had done was too difficult for him to say. He shook his head and tried again. “I got a call from Markus Willbright from The Factory, just before you woke up. They’re looking for you, Hell.”
Willbright. Willbright. “Wait…” She clutched her temples as she slid off the scanner and stood. “I remember him!” She glanced at Peyton and caught his grim nod. But the excitement, whisking through her at the fact she could actually remember something, quickly faded. Why did that name make her feel uncomfortable? She had a vague impression of a quiet man of mixed Asian ancestry who’d come to see her in her glass-walled room. He’d only ever looked at her and tapped on his tablet, recording whatever it was that scientists recorded, then disappeared again behind closed doors. But Peyton obviously hated him by the anger flaring in his eyes.
“What did you tell him?”
“I lied. I told him I’d never heard of a Bio-roid before, let alone seen one, and said I was quite happy with my new Factory-made sex doll, thank you very much.”
He’d lied to protect her? She sat back down on the scanner with a thump. “Did he believe you?”
“Probably not.” Peyton’s attention was fixed on retrieving a data cube from the scanner array, the handsome planes of his face set hard. Clearly all of this was a burden to him that he’d rather not carry.
“Wouldn’t it have been easier to have just told him the truth and sent me back?”
The flush deepened across his cheeks, giving his tired expression a fevered cast. “No.”
“Because of this.” He held up the translucent blue data cube for her to see before closing his fingers over it again. “I managed to piece together some of the fragmented engrams rupturing your hippocampus.”
“And?” she prompted after it became apparent he wasn’t going to say anything further.
“And, like I told you before, you’re never going back to The Factory again.”