Tag Archives: gene therapy

Wicked Wednesday – Free Read from SINS OF THE FLESH

SINS OF THE FLESH by Caridad Pineiro Grand Central Publishing November 2009This Wicked Wednesday I wanted to share some more SINS OF THE FLESH! This scene is farily along in the book, after Mick and Caterina have had an initial encounter and the attraction between them has started to grow as they battle to find out what is happening with Caterina and if she truly is a murderer.

I hope you enjoy this Wicked Read!

Please do not proceed if you are not over 17

The right thing, Mick thought, closed the door and approached the bed where Caterina rested, her gaze locked on him as he neared.

Her skin had lost the flush of fever and returned to its creamy hue. Thick curly locks of her nearly black hair, heavy with moisture, rested against the side of her face.

As she turned the deep blue of her gaze up to meet his, she said, “No matter what happens at the end, you’ve done the right thing by me.”

At the end, he thought, unsure of anything other than the fact that this would all not end well for someone. Whether it was Edwards or Mad Dog or Caterina or even himself, someone would likely pay a high price at the conclusion of this assignment.

Mick sat on the edge of the recliner and cradled her cheek. Her skin bore a slight chill from the water and was smooth beneath the pad of his finger. So smooth and womanly.

Caterina covered his much larger hand with hers. His palm was rough. Clearly the hand of a man who worked hard with his hands. A strong hand, she thought as she moved her hand past his wrist and to his forearm. The hair on his arm soft beneath her palm. His body muscled and lean until she reached the edge of the bandage on his forearm covering the wound he had received battling for her. Another scar to add to the others on his body.

It had to be the fever that was making her remember just how that body had felt against hers when he had held her in the pool. How he had kissed her and she him, rousing passion that might be better left unexplored only . . .

“Would you hold me?” She needed the human contact. Needed the affirmation that she was still a woman. A desirable woman unless she was misreading the signals he was giving off.

“If holding is all you want, I may not be your man,” Mick replied and dipped his thumb down to trace the edges of her lips.

“I want more. I want to feel alive again,” Caterina said.

She was using him, but it wouldn’t be the first time or the last that a woman did that, Mick thought. Considering he found her damned attractive, weird genes and all, why not give into the temptation and get it out of his system.

“Move over,” he said.

Caterina shifted to the center of the bed and he joined her there, lying on his side and facing her. Their bodies less than a foot apart.

“Touch me,” she said and pulled away the sheet, exposing the fullness of her breasts with their soft tips.

He ran the pads of his fingers across the tip of one breast. Cupped the weight of it in his hand and rubbed his thumb across the tip until her nipples beaded into stiff nubs. He needed to taste, he thought and bent his head, licked the one tip while continuing to caress the other nipple with his hand.

She arched her back to give him easier access and cradled the back of his head. Moaned as he teethed the peak of one breast. He soothed that gentle nip with another lick and suckled at her breast while shifting one hand downward, across the flat expanse of her midsection. Past the delicate indent of her navel until the curls between her legs brushed the tips of his fingers.

She moved closer and threw her thigh up over his, inviting him to her most private core.

Tardily he accepted that invitation, skimming his fingers across her center until the sensitive nub swelled and his fingers dropped lower and experienced the wet of her femininity.

Caterina gasped as he explored that dampness, gripping his shoulders as he eased in first one finger and then another, stretching her in preparation for his possession.

“Mick,” she keened, shifting her hips against his hand. Holding his head to her, but wanting to feel the warmth of his body beside her.

He slipped inches away and she reached for the hem of his shirt. Pulled it over his head while he skimmed the sweat pants down his body, revealing the nakedness beneath the fleece.

She laid her hands on his shoulders once more and took a moment to enjoy all of him that was visible. The articulated and defined muscles of his body. The scars and bruises that spoke of a man familiar with danger and accustomed to violence.

But there was nothing violent about the way he touched her. About the gentleness of his mouth and hands as he resumed his loving.

She once again granted him access and he used it to full advantage, rousing her passion much as she urged him on, using her hands to stroke him. Playing him much as she might a sonata, each measured beat and pull of her hands giving him pleasure until he, too, was trembling and breathing roughly.

“I can’t wait anymore, Cat,” he said, rolling her beneath him. His arms braced on either side of her body as he slipped between her legs, but paused before entering her.

“I can’t either, Mick,” she replied and dropped one hand so she could encircle him and guide him into the center of her.

He sucked in a shaky breath as she gasped at his entry, held still as her body accommodated to the size of him. Thick in girth and perfect in length, he filled her completely.

She was the first to move, raising her knees to grasp his hips. The motion driving him even deeper within.

He met her gaze then, his eyes almost black with desire. A flush across the high cheekbones inherited from some long ago Aztec descendant. Full lips she wanted to savor.

She cradled the straight strong line of his jaw and brought her lips to his. Eased her tongue past the seam of his mouth to mimic the motion of their bodies. Her tongue darting against his much like he was drawing her ever closer to release with the pumping of his hips.

His movements grew more hurried and she urged him on with the soft cries of pleasure she whispered against his lips until something suddenly coalesced in the center of her.

The energy gathered into a ball and then exploded throughout her body, pulling him into her and caressing him as her climax overtook her body.

Mick exhaled roughly against her mouth as her soft cry of completion came against his lips and the muscles of her body milked him, pulling and tightening on him as his own release erupted in his body.

He managed to drive into her a few more times, prolonging her climax, but then he dropped down onto her, drained. His body heavy against hers, but she wrapped her arms around him and urged, “Don’t leave me yet.”

Yet, he realized, glad that she understood the limits of what they had just experienced, but saddened by that as well.

He allowed himself to bask in the pleasure of her soft skin beneath him, and the heat and wet of her center as her body caressed him while he slowly softened within her.

The temperature of her body remained warm, a little more than normal. Thankfully nothing like it had been earlier in the night.

Guilt rose up on so many levels, but he ruthlessly drove it back, justifying what had just happened with one simple truth.

They had both wanted it to happen.

The question was, now that it had, where did they go from here?

The Passion in SINS OF THE FLESH

SINS OF THE FLESH by Caridad Pineiro November 2009 Grand Central PublishingI know we’ve had a fun time chatting about the real science in SINS OF THE FLESH — okay so maybe it’s just me whose had fun with that — but without passion, the science is meaningless isn’t it?

For me, the greater enjoyment in SINS OF THE FLESH came from taking two people who had externalized their passion – Caterina with her music and Mick with his family – and placing them in a situation where they had to acknowledge a different kind of desire. Both Caterina and Mick had been avoiding their own needs for love for a variety of reasons, but when brought together by Fate, they can only deny what they both need for only so long.

Today’s Wicked Wednesday is an excerpt from SINS where Mick and Caterina are finally admitting that there is something growing between them. Something neither of them has experienced before.

In this scene, Mick has just returned home from a visit to the laboratories where Caterina had been genetically engineered against her will. He has gone there to try and get more information on what was done to Caterina. While heading to the building, he runs into an old adversary – Mad Dog Donnelly. Mad Dog has been hired by the scientists to eliminate any loose ends, namely Mick and Caterina.

Mick arrives at home, bloodied and injured and Caterina takes charge, determined to help Mick with the injuries he has suffered on her behalf. Along the way, passion builds . . .

Excerpt from SINS OF THE FLESH

Carefully she tended to the cuts and scrapes on his face, the look on her face intense as she worked. Concerned and guilt-ridden.

He tried to reassure her as she cleaned a scrape on his chin with light strokes. “Like I said, the other guy looks worse. Besides, the fight had little to do with you.”

“I don’t understand,” she said and leaned one hip against the edge of the table as she worked.

“The guy I fought has a problem with me. We used to work together.”

“In the Army?” she questioned as she started to pick up the dirty swabs and remnants of gauze and tape, shooting him a half-glance as she waited for his answer.

“They’d never take a psycho like him into the Army.”

He rose from the chair and the motion brought him close to her. Too close. Her shoulder brushed against the wall of his chest, creating that skitter of reaction once more.

Her head snapped up. Her eyes were that intense ocean blue once more, the pupils wide. The blush even stronger across the high slashes of her cheekbones. She licked her lips in a nervous gesture and the moisture glistened on her lips.

Very luscious womanly lips.

He dipped his head down, hesitating when he was about an inch away. Warning himself that if he took a taste . . .

He did, barely brushing his lips against hers. Experiencing the hitch in her breath that spoke of surprise. Shocked at the moment where surprise became acceptance.

Caterina joined her lips to his, the need for human contact overwhelming any caution about the logic of what she was doing.

His lips were warm and surprisingly soft beneath hers. Mobile as they gently explored hers, pizzicato plucks playing at her heart strings.

She laid her hand against his chest to steady herself. That rock hard chest. Too warm beneath her hand. The skin smooth.

So smooth, she thought as she skimmed her fingers down the length of his body.

He ripped away, toppling the kitchen chair behind him in his haste to be away from her.

Raising his hands, he said, “That should not have happened. I’m sorry.”

She hated that he was right. It shouldn’t have happened. “I’m sorry as well, it was just . . .”

“The satisfaction of surviving. I’ve been through it before. It’s a natural reaction after a battle,” he said and she imagined that he had experienced this same feeling before. The conquering hero coming home to whatever woman awaited him in that place. Celebrating the victory over an opponent. Thumbing his nose at Death.

She understood. Her father had been a warrior in a suit, vanquishing opponents in the marketplace. He would come home, drunk with victory and liquor. Beating his chest and belittling her mother’s accomplishments and joys. Diminishing them to aggrandize himself until her mother had stopped believing in herself.

Until her mother had ceased to exit.

“I understand,” she said, not that she approved. But she couldn’t control herself from reaching up and running her fingers across her lips to savor the lingering feel of him.

His gaze tracked that motion too intently, but then he shuttered that gaze. His face turned stony and his lips thinned into a tight line as he reined himself in.

“I’m going to go get changed,” he said and left the room.

She watched his retreating back, wondering about the kind of man he really was. If there was anything to him other than the warrior who lived only for his own gain and success.

A gain that had to be substantial, she assumed, thinking that Edwards would be willing to pay a great deal to get her back. Would Mick tire of the challenge she seemed to be presenting and turn her over to Edwards for that bounty?

Or was he a man of honor beneath the dangerous and hard persona he insisted on displaying to others?

As she stood there, considering it, she realized either scenario was risky for her. And she realized that just like she had refused to let her father determine where her life would go, she couldn’t just rely on him to get her life back for her.

She had to find a way to take care of it herself.

*****

I hope you enjoyed that little teaser! If you’d like to read more, check out the chapters with this cool widget from Grand Central Publishing. For those of you who cannot see the widget, you can click on this link for some more free reads of SINS OF THE FLESH.

Science Fact and Fiction in SINS OF THE FLESH

SINS OF THE FLESH by Caridad Pineiro, Oct 27 2009 Grand Central PublishingToday’s Wicked Wednesday is a look at the science fact and fiction in SINS OF THE FLESH. By now you may know that the “paranormal” part of my exciting new paranormal romantic suspense series is the genetic engineering that has occurred with Caterina, the heroine.

Caterina had been suffering from a brain tumor and goes to the scientists at Wardwell Laboratories in the hopes of curtailing the pain from the tumor. Told that a radical new gene therapy might not only help with the pain, but eliminate the tumor and restore her sight, Caterina willingly takes the risk. Unfortunately, the scientists also decide to use Caterina for a guinea pig and implant other genes which produce a number of side effects, the most evident of which are the changes to Caterina’s blood, skin and eyes.

Did I mention Caterina is glowing in spots as depicted on the cover? The glow is the uncontrolled proliferation of the genes implanted in Caterina which have been tagged with green fluorescent proteins (also known as GFPs). GFPs are used by scientists to track the expression of genes since they know where the GFP-tagged genes have gone when phosphorescence occurs.

Scientists have even been able to create fish, cats and mice that glow in the dark using these GFPs. Why do this? Some might say that it’s because you can, but the reality is that it also helps scientists determine if the genes they wish to use are being incorporated where they should go. With the glowing fish, scientists use them to track the effects of pollution and other problems associated with fish populations.

If you want some glowing critters of your own, you can visit www.glofish.com.

That’s the fact. As for the fiction part of it, while the first thing Mick Carrera notices about Caterina is her glowing blood after she’s been shot, it’s certainly not the last thing that grabs his attention!

Interested in more? Here’s a short video showing a cat that has been implanted with GFPs. Watch for the glow in the visible skin areas of the cat.

You can also sign up for the RT Book Reviews SINS OF THE FLESH giveaway contest for a chance to win a SINS OF THE FLESH lunch bag, t-shirt and autographed copy of the book. Just click here to enter!

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Wicked Wednesday – Behind the Scenes: The Pine Barrens

sinscoversmallOne of our last Wicked Wednesdays was a Behind the Scenes look at Bradley Beach where our hero, Mick Carrera, has his home in my November paranormal romantic suspense release, SINS OF THE FLESH.

This time I’m going to give you a little Behind the Scenes look at another pivotal location in the novel — The Pine Barrens in New Jersey, also known as the Pinelands. Also known as the supposed home of the Jersey Devil.

The Pine Barrens is an enormous area of coastal plain, over 1 million acres large in South Jersey. It contains one of the state’s largest water aquifers and is both a National Reserve and a United Nations International Biosphere Reserve.
Lake Atsion in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Taken by User:Mwanner, 9 September, 2005 Used under GNU  Documentation License

Because of its size and location close to the Jersey Shore and Camden, not to mention its protected status, it became the perfect place for me to locate the buildings for Wardwell Laboratories, the company that is supposed to provide Caterina Shaw, our heroine, with her gene therapy. The Wardwell buildings are right on the edges of one of the Pine Barrens’ non-developed areas and because of that, there are several scenes which take place in the woods nearby.

Today’s Wicked Wednesday is about Mick’s first visit to the Wardwell offices and a meeting with one of the company’s founders.

Chapter 1

Mick Carrera understood what kind of man he was.

Ruthless.

Determined.

Skilled in the art of killing.

People came to him when no one else could handle their problems because Mick either solved them or eliminated them — if Mick thought elimination was justified. Some scruples remained buried in his soul, a secret he closely guarded. In his line of work, having scruples equated to weakness.

Dr. Raymond Edwards had presented him with the kind of job that possibly ended with elimination, although Edwards hadn’t come right out and said so during their short telephone conversation. The doctor had skirted around the subject with the skill of a ballroom dancer, insisting time and time again that all he required were the services of a security specialist to assist with a problem at their facility.

Mick’s initial misgivings made him wonder why he had even come to the doctor’s office for this additional discussion. His typical clientele preferred meeting places that were much less visible, but then again, maybe such transparency meant that the doctor had been truthful about the nature of this assignment.

He scoped out the office as he entered, taking note of the fact that there was only one entrance in and out. Not good in case of the need for a quick escape. As he passed a credenza located beneath a wall filled with diplomas, framed news articles and photos, he noticed a small bronze statue of a horse mounted on a heavy marble base.

The size and weight of the statue would make it a handy weapon for either cracking open a man’s skull or breaking through the plate glass windows which lined one long wall of the office. The clear windows were now darkening, the color becoming as deep and dense as squid ink and likely for the same reason – concealment.

Mick had noticed all the high tech security on his way through the entrance of the building. He had expected it even while worrying about it. He knew his image would end up saved on a hard drive somewhere from the assorted cameras throughout the offices, but if Dr. Edwards was on the up and up, this was one job that was too good to not consider.

“I thought you might like some privacy,” the man behind the desk said as he rose and offered his hand.

“Dr. Raymond Edwards,” the man said.

Mick shook his hand and with a nod said, “Mick Carrera.” As Mick sat, he caught a glimpse of another security camera behind the desk, aimed directly at his chair. When Edwards tracked his gaze, he said, “Don’t worry, Mr. Carrera. I’ll make sure all traces of you are erased from our systems.”

“I appreciate your understanding,” he said, even while wondering again why a supposedly distinguished scientist like Raymond Edwards seemed compelled to seek out the services of a man like him. Wondering what else the good doctor had erased from the company’s security videos.

Dragging his attention to the man seated behind the desk, he listened as Edwards offered a rather lengthy introduction about the work that his biotech company did and their many accomplishments. Edwards’ manner was outwardly confident and business-like, but Mick couldn’t help but notice how the doctor kept his right hand on the face of the file on his desk and fiddled with one corner of the thick folder, thumbing it again and again. The curled corner of the papers confirmed that Edwards had opened up that file more times than the good doctor wanted him to know.

When Edwards paused for a breath, Mick seized the opportunity. “Your mission is clear, Dr. Edwards. Your company specializes in developing gene therapies for the terminally ill.”

The man stiffened and immediately corrected him. “Our present group of patients is terminally ill, but we hope that what we learn from our current research –”

“Will help all of mankind in the future. So why do you require my services?”

Copyright 2009 Caridad Pineiro Scordato – All rights reserved.

Wicked Wednesday – SINS OF THE FLESH

sinscoversmallThe cover gods have been very very good to me! Just look at the stunning front and back covers for my November release SINS OF THE FLESH. A big thanks to my publisher – Grand Central Publishing – and all involved with producing such works of art! And because its Wicked Wednesday, I’m giving you a little tidbit from SINS OF THE FLESH as well as the enticing back cover copy!

Back Cover Copy:
Caterina Shaw’s days are numbered. Her only chance for survival is a highly experimental gene treatment – a risk she willingly takes. But now Caterina barely recognizes herself. She has new, terrifying powers, an exotic, arresting body — and she’s been accused of a savage murder, sending her on the run.
sinsbacksmall
Mick Carrera is a mercenary and an expert at capturing elusive, clever prey. Yet the woman he’s hunting down is far from the vicious killer he’s been told to expect: Caterina is wounded, vulnerable, and a startling mystery of medical science. Even more, she’s a beautiful woman whose innocent sensuality tempts Mick to show her exactly how thrilling pleasure can be. The heat that builds between them is irresistible, but surrendering to it could kill them both . . . for a dangerous group is plotting its next move using Caterina as its deadly pawn.


Prologue

The day the music died, Caterina Shaw did as well.

Not physically, although she understood the death of her body was inevitable. She had come to terms with that reality some time ago. She had even managed to deal with the blindness caused by the tumor eating away her brain. But then the pain had become so great that it had silenced the music, stealing away the only thing that had made life worth the anguish.

“You understand this treatment is new and uncertain,” Dr. Rudy Wells explained, his voice smooth and comforting. The touch of his hand, warm and reassuring, came against hers as it rested on her thigh.

“I understand,” she said and faced the direction of that calming voice.

Another person abruptly chimed in, his tones as strident and grating as a badly played oboe. “We’ll begin with laser surgery to remove the bulk of the tumor followed by two different courses of gene therapy.”

Two? she wondered and sensed Dr. Wells’ hesitation as well from the tremble that skated across his fingers. He removed his hand from hers and said, “Dr. Edwards believes that we can not only shut down the tumor growing in your brain, but possibly regrow the portion of your optic nerve that the tumor damaged.”

Caterina’s only wish when considering the experimental treatment had been to stop the pain so that she could play her cello once again. So that her last months would be filled with the vitality her music provided.

It was through her music that she lived. That her mother lived, Caterina thought, recalling the passion she had felt as a small child when her mother had played the piano for her; the way her mother’s fingers had coaxed life from the keys much like she now did with a stroke of her bow and the deft touch of her fingers on the strings of her cello.

Or at least like she had up until the cancer had put an end to her music, bringing her life to a close. Except now she was being told something different.

Caterina had never thought about eliminating the tumor. Every prognosis so far had been that she was terminal. Now these new doctors told her not only that might she live, but that she might actually see again too. She didn’t dare believe that she would be able to get her old life back completely, as well as her sight but . . .

“You think I’ll be able to recover? To see again?” Caterina asked, needing to be sure she had understood correctly.

“The risks are great, my dear,” Dr. Wells urged gently.

“But you qualify for the human trials because of the advanced state of your illness, Ms. Shaw,” Dr. Edwards added, annoyance at his partner evident in the staccato beats of his voice.

Her advanced state which could possibly bring death even with this treatment, Caterina thought. Not that she feared her end. What she did fear was letting the pain in her head rob her of the one thing she could not live without.

Her music.

She knew without hesitation that it was worth any risk to regain that part of her. To drive back the illness so she could play her cello once more and reanimate her heart for as long as she had left if the treatments couldn’t stop the tumor.

“What do you need me to do?”

Copyright 2009 Caridad Pineiro Scordato