AMNESIA | THE CENTRIFUGE DUET, BOOK I

First, he steals her mind. 
Then, he owns her body.

Dr. Jaxon Ray has bided his time. He’s watched Amber St. George from afar, plotting and calculating the best way to get her back, until he realised that the answer was simple…

Steal her mind so he can own her body. Program her to forget then reprogram her as his perfect partner. The plan is foolproof, promising everything he’s ever wanted once it’s executed. Money. Prestige. Her.

Why? Because when you don’t know that you’re missing, it’s not possible for you to be found. Especially when the only person you think you can trust, is the one who’s left you with medically-induced amnesia.

Amnesia is the first instalment in this dark and delicious, psychological thriller duet by Kylie Hillman.

If you’re a fan of disturbing thrillers where nothing is as it seems, and unrelenting greed is the only constant, start The Centrifuge Duet today! 

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PROLOGUE

In life, there is always a price to pay for getting ahead. It’s a sad fact, but one that cannot be denied. Wealth comes at a cost, usually at the expense of your morals. It damages your soul and leaves you susceptible to that most human of emotions. Greed.

When do you have enough money to afford everything you desire?

How much does one person need to satisfy their yearning for superiority?

Will another zero at the end of your bank balance truly make you happy?

Those questions had flooded my mind too many times to count during my childhood. My father’s unquenchable need to amass a bigger fortune was the crux of the many dramas that befell our family. His push to unite the St. George family with the Ray’s was intolerable to me, even as it appeared to answer both family’s prayers. Their eldest son and me. The only heir to the St. George fortune. Married to a Ray. My only duty to provide a child to cement the insidious union.

I could have stomached the plan, if it had involved anyone other than Jax. Jaxon Ray. Tall, dark, and handsome. He had a smile that could light up a room. Pity the illumination was caused by his undisguisable disdain for the human race—seemingly, the only emotion he was capable of producing.

Well, that and obsession.

Jax was a talented stalker, a preeminent researcher, and an assiduous huntsman. This tenacity would make him a fabulous neurosurgeon if he chose to continue the Ray family legacy. Because, when he decided that he wanted something, there wasn’t a depth he wouldn’t stoop to in order to possess whatever shiny item had caught his eye.

Unfortunately, there was only one object that had ever kept his attention.

Me.  

 

CHAPTER ONE

Baby blue walls.

I don’t have baby blue walls.

Why that’s my first thought I wouldn’t have a clue, considering there’s a warm, hard body wrapped around my naked form when I’m positive that I usually sleep alone.

 Throbbing pain greets me when I crack first one eye and then the other. The pain is just bearable so I persevere. Opening my eyes all the way as I slowly roll to face the person snuggled into my back, I take in the luscious dark and wavy hair that tops their head.  Piercing, dark-brown eyes meet mine when I lower my gaze.

 “Good morning, Amber. How are you feeling today, baby?” Even with his voice sleep-roughened, the stranger sounds like sex on a stick. It’s ridiculous, but my core clenches at his words, warmth flooding my lower belly as my nipples furl into tight buds. “Roll over, baby.”

 Without waiting for an answer, he gently nudges me onto my back and I obey him without further thought. Moving between my legs, he prods my pussy with his hot erection. I gasp as he slides his length between my wet lower lips, from my throbbing clit to my entrance and back again. A slow, precise torture that accelerates my heartrate and spikes my desire. 

 “Amber. Baby. Two more days. I can’t wait.” He groans against my mouth when he seeks my lips with his own. Belatedly, thoughts of stopping this stranger from touching me enter my mind, but it’s as if he has me under a spell. As soon as the idea of resistance enters my mind, it disappears like a puff of smoke.

Replaced by a craving to please him.

“Two days until what?” I force the question from my throat when he falls away from me onto his side. Leaning on his bent elbow and propping his head in his hand, he stares at me with intense, lust-filled eyes. His expression changes from sexual to upset in a heartbeat, the corners of his full lips drooping as he drops his gaze from my eyes. Panic at disappointing him fills me, and an apology makes its way to the tip of my tongue.

 “I’m—” I begin, but he cuts me off by softly laying a finger against my lips.

 “Baby, don’t say sorry.” An obviously fake smile lifts his lips, causing my pulse to rise in panic again. “It’s not your fault that you don’t understand. We have two days until we can make love again. Two days until we get the all-clear after your accident. You remember, don’t you?”

 He runs a finger gently down the side of my head. I jerk away from his touch when his finger meets bare skin where there should be hair. Scowling, he looks at me through hurt eyes. I smile tentatively, choking on the guilt rising in my throat for upsetting him.

Lifting my own hand, I gingerly touch the same spot he did. The raised lump of a long scar runs from my forehead in an arc. It ends behind my ear. The scar doesn’t hurt; however, it feels new. Still slightly swollen and a tiny bit tender.

 Scrambling from the bed, I pay no mind to my nakedness as I move towards the mirror that I spotted attached to one of the doors of the walk-in wardrobe. Standing in front of it on wobbly legs, I stare at the unknown woman who greets me.

 A short woman with black, shoulder-length hair with a large part shaved bald near her right ear, big brown eyes, and pale skin looks back at me. I don’t recognise her, at all.

 “Who am I?” I breathe the question as I touch the cool glass with a shaking hand. Lifting my eyes to meet his in the mirror as he approaches, I ask. “Who are you?”

 Coming to a stop behind me, the man wraps his arms around my waist and pulls me to him. He’s naked as well, his erection still standing tall and proud, prodding against the middle of my back. He regards me over the top of my head, our eyes meeting once more, and I run my eyes over what I can see of his tall, rangy form. Athletically built, tanned and lightly muscled, he’s extremely good looking.

 Tall, dark, and handsome just about sums him up.  

 Holding himself with an autocratic, self-assured air, he’s intimidating; yet, it feels right to be in his arms. My emotions are a complete contradiction since I’m certain I don’t know him. The panic from earlier thuds in my chest. This time, terror at being in the arms of a stranger overwhelms my strange need to make him happy.

 “Baby, calm down.” He rubs his hands up and down my arms, leaving goose bumps in his wake. The thumping in my chest changes from fear into something unidentifiable. “You’re Amber St. George. My beautiful, thirty-year-old fiancée.”

 Smiling, he points at himself. “I’m Jax. Jaxon Ray. I’m almost thirty-three. This is our home. We’ve been together since high school. We were due to meet with our wedding planner when you were hit by a car crossing the street four months ago. You nearly died and you’ve had memory problems ever since. It was the worst day of my life, baby. I was running late for our meeting so I didn’t have a clue you were hurt until you were brought into the hospital.”

 My legs tremble as his rushed explanation takes shape. Jax notices, and leads me to the edge of the bed. Pushing me gently by the shoulders until I’m sitting, he pulls me into his side when he sits next to me.

“You work at a hospital?” My voice sounds hesitant to my ears. He holds the answers I seek; yet, I’m unsure if I want to know them. Why? I haven’t a clue, but something feels wrong.

 “Yes. I’m a neurosurgeon.” Jax’s tone conveys his pride in his profession, his chest puffing as he continues. “I operated on you once they stabilised your other injuries. I’m the reason you’re alive without any signs of brain damage. I’m the reason you’re regaining your memories, one at a time. My techniques are working, baby.” 

 Bounding to his feet, his excitement fills the room. The enthusiasm Jax exudes is contagious, bringing a smile to my face, even though, I don’t entirely follow what he’s saying.

“You and me, Amber, we’re the perfect couple. Baby, we’re going to have it all. My techniques will fix you. Your recovery will put me on the map and make my career. And, you are—”

“A teacher,” I cut him off, certainty coating the words that fall from my mouth without conscious thought.

 Although I’m staring at Jax, all I can see in my mind’s eye is a woman who looks like a healthy version of the one I just saw in the mirror addressing a classroom of children who appear to be five or six years old. The woman—me?—looks happy. A large grin covers her face as she reads to the children who are sitting quietly on a threadbare carpet.  I’m mentally comparing the expensive-looking bedroom I’m sitting in with the cheap furnishings of the classroom in my vision when I’m startled by Jax’s outburst.

 “NO!” He yells. “You are not a teacher. You’re my fiancée.”

 Seizing me by the shoulders as he drops to his knees in front of me, Jax peers at my face—deep into my eyes—and shakes me like a disobedient child. His dark eyes radiate his fury at my assertion, as if the mere mention of teaching is a personal insult to him. The panic that gripped me earlier takes hold once more, and my heart pounds in my chest as my mouth becomes dry.

 “Yes,” I croak, the driving need to placate him threatening to overwhelm me. “I am your fiancée.”

 If I hadn’t seen how angry he was with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed the change in him. At my acquiescence, the fury melts from his features. He lets go of my shoulders and hugs me to him.

 “That’s right, baby. You’re my fiancée. Your career is to support mine. You’re my backbone.”

Relief courses through me at his calm response. Letting go of my shoulders, Jax stands and pulls me to my feet by each hand. His hold is gentle, although his tone leaves no room for argument when he speaks. “That’s enough talking for today, baby. I don’t want you to overdo it.”

 Nodding, I smile when he kisses me, running his fingers down my sides before cupping my ass and grinding me against him. His touch creates an instantaneous reaction within me, stoking my libido and spreading warmth through my limbs. My reaction is bizarre, almost an ingrained response, and it unsettles me that I can respond with such potency to a man who was menacing me not even two minutes ago.

 “Have a shower and get dressed, Amber. I’ll head downstairs and make some coffee.”

 In silence, I watch as he dresses in a dark business suit, knotting his tie as he moves to leave the room. I blow a kiss in response to the one Jax blows my way as he exits, simply because I know he expects it.

The moment the bedroom door shuts behind him, I breathe a sigh of relief at finally being alone with my muddled thoughts.

 With my eyebrows drawn together, tongue poking from the corner of my mouth, I rifle through all the drawers before heading into the walk-in robe. With one ear listening for Jax, I quickly scan the contents of the closet. Nothing looks familiar, yet everything appears to be my size. None of it strikes me as being my style—try as I might to picture what I like.

 Searching Jax’s side, I don’t find anything of interest. The bedroom and closet appears to belong to a well-off couple in their early thirties. Which is exactly how Jax described us. Shaking my head at my irrational suspicions, I give up my exploration and head for the bathroom to shower and dress as requested. As I’m showering, my predominate thought is about poor Jax and the stress he must be under trying to help me regain my memories, especially in face of the paranoia I seem to be suffering as a side effect.

 I don’t remember him, but I’m certain that I’m incredibly lucky to have such a man for support.

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