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Startling in its brutality, the Alpha's Claim series is a sensual masterpiece which glorifies in its own unflinching depiction of the most base of human nature.” - Zoe Blake, USA Today bestselling author
Claire believes I am dead.
- Dubious Consent
- Knotting, Heat Cycles
- Abduction, Blackmail
- An Unrelenting Antihero
- Age Gap
- Possessive, Obsessive Male
- Virginal Heroine. Resistance
- Forced Pair-Bond
I let Claire believe I was dead.
It was the only way to keep her safe. The only way I could prepare a new, bright world for her.
My great kingdom where she will be comfortable, spoiled, and adored.
However, a foreign ruler dares question my authority, believing himself greater than the tyrant who has destroyed one city and conquered another. Ending him would be nothing to me.
Yet it would seem that his Omega has caught the attention of my trusted general, a man who may be even more evil than I. Whose machinations are just as devious, and who’s intentions are unclear.
Jules Havel covets the female. And I have never known the man not to take what he demands as his due.
The forth book in Addison Cain's exciting, raw, and suspense-filled Paranormal series is an addictive Dark Romance that will keep you up long past your bedtime.
Intro into Chapter 1
Intro into Chapter 1
Mid-morning sun reflected off the glass so sharply, even squinting, Brenya’s eyes began to water. Gloved hands to the East Sector solar plate, she twisted in her rigging, searching out the perfect angle so light might distort and show hidden danger.
Right there… refraction.
Helmet flush with the damaged pane, she traced over the almost imperceptible feather-like cracks marring the clear amorphous metal.
Routine maintenance scans had misclassified why K73-2554’s solar collection was malfunctioning. It was not a wiring issue; the pane was about to shatter. Damage of this nature led to serious ruptures, evacuations of sectors, and the potential death of everyone inside.
Speaking evenly, she catalogued all she’d found to the tech team supporting her climb behind Bernard Dome’s glass. “Unit 17C to terminal. Pane K73-2554 is damaged beyond original assessment. The structure is badly cracked and will need replacing once fabrication is complete.”
There was a hiss of white noise before her tech’s radio communication came through. “Copy, unit 17C. An urgent status notation has been logged into the repair queue. You are granted clearance to patch while we wait for fabrication. Manufacturing posts a three-hour timeline.”
According to her oxygen reserves, that would give Brenya just under an hour to complete install. It would be a close call. “Roger that. Commencing emergency repair.”
A patch on fissures might postpone catastrophic failure… then again it might not. Though she could not see them, someone on the inside of that reflective glass was scrambling to install metal sheet reinforcement even as Brenya reached for the tools at her belt.
The human race had learned long ago that risks were no longer an option. In order to survive, there had to be layers of safeguards and regulation.
Swaying in her rigging, dangling high above the ground, she tiptoed around the damaged section’s frame. With the aid of a heat gun and strong epoxy, Brenya endeavored to reinforce what would ultimately be a fatal crack. It was delicate work that required patience and a light touch. Too much heat, and the whole panel might shatter, too little, and the epoxy would fail to set. One had to account for the sun, the changing outside temperature. One had to adjust to the blinding glare engineering grunts were trained never to turn their head from.
Grunts tasked with the dangerous job of outer Dome repair were never to let their eyes wander. The verdant, creeping wilderness could not be a distraction. Staring at the open skyline, the distant tips of a dead, crumbling city’s tallest structures were said to encourage mental instability. It endangered all those who relied on them inside to maintain absolute focus.
Those caught looking were grounded and banned from making the descent again.
Failure of so grave a nature led to social ostracizing from the very corps one had been raised with, the family one worked with. Colleagues would find you suspicious; friends would demand one submit to reassignment.
Never would Brenya risk it.
Being selected for the external repair program had already placed her in a less than favorable light amongst her peers—even if the work she did kept them all alive.
Every citizen had heard the stories of engineering grunts who grew obsessed with what languished outside the Dome. Some had even tried to leave, or purposefully harmed the structure that protected them all. If rumors were true, there was even a growing faction of dissenters who quietly questioned if the virus was really a threat.
In the five years she’d routinely made the descent, Brenya had seen things outside the Dome people inside would never lay their eyes upon. She was privy to what her colleagues considered temptation. Once a butterfly alit beside a ventilation duct she was reconstructing piece by piece. The insect had been spotted orange and lightly fluttered its wings as it rested so near her fingers could almost brush it. She had wanted to watch that insect, to marvel at nature as her ancestors must have done before the plague. But it was forbidden.
Before the increase in her heart rate might signal to her tech a break in protocol, she’d shooed it away. As far as Brenya knew, no soul in the Dome had ever known that, for a matter of seconds, she understood why some grunts grew obsessed with all that lay outside.
“Unit 17C, weather forecasting warns an 18 knot gust will arrive from the north in twenty seconds.”
With skilled movement, she reached for the magnetic handholds stored in the utility belt around her bio-suit. Swinging her rigging to the left, they were locked into place on an undamaged panel. By the time the wind rushed past her, she was secure, pressed to the side of the Dome, and safe.
It was the second, undeclared gust five minutes later that was her ruin.
While dangling upside-down from her harness in an attempt to finalize the last portion of her repair, tearing wind slammed her straight into the pane so hard she lost her breath. It shattered just like Brenya had reported it would, right before she felt a sudden loss of gravity.
Her rigging had failed, the snake-like hiss of rope slipping through her belay loop attachment pulley.
She didn’t have time to scream.
Plummeting head first toward the ever encroaching vegetation, the backup catch snapped.
She was going to die.
Twisting in the cables as she fell, a sudden sharp wrench left her in screaming pain. Jerked to stillness, her arm was caught, her shoulder joint torn from its socket.
Sounds of misery gurgled in her throat, the smallest of breaths almost impossible. The world was upside down. She had fallen so far, hundreds of meters, her dangling arm almost touching the ivy scaling the concrete foundation of Bernard Dome.
Blood rushed to her head, vision going to a pinpoint.
Amidst the crackling call of her tech for a status update, she found herself distracted. She could see them, diminutive simple flowers, her arm reaching towards their vines as if they were a rope and she might pull herself to safety.
She could smell them…
Tears gathered in the corners of her eyes, hot drips running into a damp hairline.
“Unit 17C, your vitals register as erratic and your bio-suit is broadcasting damage to your helmet’s visor.”
She wanted to answer but couldn’t move her lips. She could do nothing but stare at the nine-petaled flowers and try to breathe.
Hearing her name, the break in protocol, startled her out of waning consciousness.
One croak, the sound of labored breath, that’s all she could offer.
It was as her tech had claimed. More than her body had been damaged; a massive chunk had been knocked from her visor. Brenya had been exposed to open air—could smell the world, the dirt, her sweat. She could even smell her blood where it trickled from a split cheek and into her eye.
“Brenya… you know procedure.” There was a hedging desperation the tech tried, and failed, to keep out of his voice. “Without a status report, you’ll be cut from the rigging. I need you to talk to me.”
She had one final thought. I’ll miss you too, George…
Her stomach roiled and unconsciousness won out.