Rogue Warriors (Collection)
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by Marie Treanor
Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica/Science Fiction
Description: A new war rages on Earth, and growing numbers of Dome City humans blame their immortal allies, the mysterious Dragul. Rebel: Jake Lindow is a rebel with a cause -- leading the band of outlaws who harry the Ministry in pursuit of peace, freedom and the end of Dragul domination. Kidnapping the beautiful Dragul, Crina, is part of Jake's plan; falling in love with her isn't. Soldier: Deep in a civilian prison in the heart of Dome City lies prisoner of war Sergeant Tanya Blake -- the West's secret weapon. Sorin, a powerful Dragul mind-specialist, is called in to investigate the violent prisoner, whose abused mind needs all his skill to heal. Tanya is both attracted to Sorin's gorgeous, leather-clad body, yet repelled by the power of his mind as it invades hers. She's caught in the grip of desires that hover between sex and murder. Queen: As world leaders gather for a peace conference, Gina, daughter of the Dragul king, has more personal goals -- a night of forbidden sensual pleasures before her political marriage to Sylvus, leader of the western Dragul. However, when Gina picks up not one, but two sexy human lovers, she risks security, world peace, and ultimately, her own heart. By the time the conference ends, the world will have changed -- forever.
eBook Publisher: Changeling Press LLC, 2010 2010
eBookwise Release Date: August 2010
7 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [319 KB]
Reading time: 196-275 min.
"Rebel is a fantastic story about a future Earth, with multiple creatures as well as a strong hero and heroine. Also did I mention the super hot sex? If I didn't, I should have." -- Tanya, Joyfully Reviewed Praise for Soldier "While Soldier is the second book in the series, it can stand alone with no problems. I am thoroughly enjoying this well-written series and can't wait for the third book." -- Abi, The Romance Studio "Love, protection and commitment are what Sorin delivers to Tanya in Rogue Warriors: Soldier... Marie Treanor has written a fantastic sequel in the Rogue Warriors series. Tanya and Sorin's erotic play is enticing with a perfect balance of love and raw passion." 4.5 Nymphs! -- Scandalous Minx, Literary Nymphs Praise for Queen "Ms. Treanor has written a truly sexy, sensuous story and an adventure that keeps up at a fast pace and keeps the reader enthralled. Her world building is very well done and her characters leap off the pages. I've enjoyed each of the books in this series and I can recommend this and the whole series as great reads!!" --Valerie, Love Romances & More
Crina hated the Dome City. Cramped, crowded, soulless, it blocked the sky and the sun, made her feel there was no air to breathe.
"Was it like this below the ground?" she asked abruptly. "No wonder you left!"
Her father, his gaze on the approaching Dome dignitaries, spared her a brief glance. "A little," he confessed. "But we made use of nature. The humans built this themselves as protection from the war. It worked."
"Why don't they take the dome down? The air is clean now."
Her father didn't answer. He moved forward to meet the Dome ministers, and she dutifully followed. It was left to Eve to say dryly, "In case you hadn't noticed, Crina, we are in the middle of another war. It's why we're here, remember?"
"It might be why you're here," Crina retorted. "I'm here so that I can't have sex with Rad."
That was quite satisfying. Her father's irritation lashed her silently while he greeted the human leaders in his impressive, almost splendid way. And even Eve, her queen, gave a very human snort that was half anger and half amusement, before she pulled herself together to behave in the regal manner expected of her.
While they went through their little greet-a-dignitary rituals, Crina gazed restlessly around her. They were met in front of an ugly three-story building with large double doors. Above the doors, carved into the stone in unadorned lettering, a sign proclaimed The Ministry. A wide strip of fake green grass and a wire fence separated the building from the quiet street where the Dome transport had landed them. Stark iron gates, flanked by two uniformed soldiers, guarded the whole edifice.
All around her Crina could sense people, so many that she had to shut them out completely for sanity. But she could still hear with her ears, a faint hum of human chatter and activity above the drone of the ministers' interminable greetings.
How could she spend two days here? She'd die from lack of air, from lack of movement, from sheer unutterable boredom. She wanted to spread her wings and fly far away.
Crina cast her eyes upward at where the sky should be. A harsh, opaque barrier blocked her view. Tastefully lit from above, they had at least tried to give the impression of blue sky and sunlight. A dismal failure, but at least they hadn't completely forgotten what was out there.
Inside, she supposed it was like any other city -- a bit bigger, a bit more crowded than the City of the Damned where her grandparents lived. But it held the same kinds of things that humans the world over seemed still to be obsessed with: roads and paths, gardens around dwellings, shops and food-stalls, a couple of well-maintained public parks between big, unnecessarily tall buildings.
The nearest building stretched almost up to the city's ceiling. Rather to her surprise, three people stood up there on the building's roof. They appeared to be looking down at her little group, still making polite noises at each other in front of the Ministry. From Crina's position, it looked as if their heads brushed the fake sky.
Touching the sky was an old ambition of her people. No matter how high they flew, there was nothing to touch. The idea that ingenious humanity had accomplished it by making their own sky closer to the ground made her smile.
The middle figure of the three on the roof lifted his hand and waved to her. For an instant she had a glimpse of light in this dark place. Instinctively, she threw out her mind to connect with its source, and met blankness.
The light, she realized, was purely visual, coming from the reflection of the man's shock of untidy blond hair. And then that was gone too as the three figures disappeared, as if into thin air.
The blond man on the roof squatted down between his two companions and grinned. It wasn't a pleasant or a soothing grin. "Now, this is very useful!"
"How?" Rose demanded, adjusting her weapon so it didn't dig into her as she knelt.
"Didn't you recognize anything odd about these people? Like the wings? They're Dragul!"
"So, they're important. The Ministry's in the Dragul's pocket and the Dragul are on a state visit. The woman with them, the one without the wings, I recognize her from pictures. I know about her. Her name is Eve. She used to live here, a darling of the Ministry, before she married a Dragul." His eyes glinted with fierce excitement. "And not just any Dragul. She married the king himself."
"That's Eve?" Rose stared at him. "Jake, I hate to burst your bubble, but Eve must be sixty years old by now. If that girl is thirty you can get me some spectacles."
Since Rose was acknowledged to be the sharpest shooter of them all, this was meant to be taken seriously. But Jake only smiled in a distracted sort of a way. His head was busy forming plans. "It's Eve," he said with quiet certainty. "The Dragul don't age and neither, it seems, does anyone who lives with them. More to the point, who are the others? Surely not the king himself?"
"Don't wet yourself, Jake," Zack said softly. The others glanced at him at once. He didn't speak often but what he said was always worth listening to. "It's not the king. But I've seen him before -- in the City of the Damned -- and he's almost as good. He's Aurel, the Keeper of the Laws -- and the winged girl with him is his daughter."
Jake began to smile, slowly. Then, before the smile was complete, he rose to his feet to peer into the street again. It was empty, save for the traffic, finally released, which approached at speed. "Excellent," he said softly.
"You have stepped up your security," Crina's father observed.
Of course he would notice something like that. Dragul security was his primary concern and that had grown to encompass the security of the humans they tried to protect.
"Sadly, it has become necessary," the Minister replied, his tone grim, as he took his seat opposite the Dragul delegation. Refreshments were served by discreet staff. Crina, who was thirsty, accepted a glass of water with gratitude, then nearly gagged on the taste.
Recycled water, her father said inside her head -- not without enjoyment. Disgusting, isn't it?
The Minister went on, "We have a malcontent element in the Dome who would do anything to bring down the government."
"Organized malcontents?" Aurel enquired.
"Very," said the Minister ruefully. "They've blown holes in the Dome itself, prevented troops departing, disrupted victory celebrations, stolen arms, even organized -- and protected! -- demonstrations against the government. These rebels give no thought to the war, or to what losing it would mean to us."
"Guess life here's so bad that they don't care."
Everyone stared at Crina in surprise. "Sorry," she said, without troubling to appear very convincing. "I meant to speak internally." In fact, she thought she'd achieved exactly what she meant to, which was to show her father that she couldn't be pushed around. Wherever he made her go, she'd still speak her mind and go her own way. And though she shut off her thoughts to him, his pale, piercing eyes revealed that he'd got the message.
Until Eve observed, "The child has a point."
Crina frowned at her in annoyance, but Eve's attention was on the Minister, who said irritably, "I am fighting a war!"
A conveniently distant war, Crina thought cynically. It was being fought largely over the off-shore islands and had not yet penetrated the mainland, never mind the Dome itself.
Eve pointed out, "You've made a lot of unpalatable changes in pursuit of that war. Freedom of speech, gathering, news, movement -- all casualties."
"We have done what is necessary. Sacrifices for the greater good."
"Maybe, but you haven't sold it to the people, have you? What do your rebels want? Their freedoms back?"
"The majority of people understand and approve," the Minister said with dignity. A flash of malice crossed his face and was gone. "And one of their stated aims is, in fact, repudiation of our alliance with the Dragul."
"Well," Aurel murmured, after a few moments of silence. "It has always been a voluntary alliance."
"And we have no intention of changing that," the Minister assured him hastily, afraid, clearly that his jibe had backfired. "I mentioned it only to show you how impossible these people are to deal with!"
"Well," Eve suggested, "Decide what you're willing to give and negotiate with them. It would make your life easier to have them on your side. Why not allow them more freedoms, ease their discontent? They'll be happier then with your association with us."
"Might I remind you that these are internal matters and not subject to Dragul scrutiny?"
Eve flushed slightly, much to Crina's amusement. Clearly she hadn't quite forgotten her old allegiance to this place, to troublesome humanity.
"It's hardly scrutiny," Aurel objected. "The queen is merely offering advice from a depth of experience necessarily greater than your own. You are under no obligation to listen to it, far less to take it. As always, we speak as friends, no more and no less."
He was an impressive bastard, her father. Not for the first time, Crina was torn between resentment and admiration. It seemed impossible to best him, equally impossible to convince him that he wasn't always right.
Changing the subject, Crina asked, "So who are these rebels? How did they come together?"
"Jake Lindow," said the Minister with loathing.
"Their leader?" Eve asked.
The Minister nodded. "He was a soldier -- an officer in fact -- dishonorably discharged for disobeying orders in battle. He came home, presumably with a chip on his shoulder, and seems to be a magnet for other malcontents. Unfortunately he brings military precision and weapons knowledge to this ramshackle crew and they operate with an efficiency that can be worrying. So far we've captured none of them. We know he has his old sergeant with him -- Rose Dando. And a mutant from the City of the Damned, also an ex-soldier. A few known outlaws and a lot more unknowns who help him. He moves around the Dome, hiding out in various lofts and cellars, sewers and maintenance tunnels. We've found traces only after he's moved on. But we will get him one day..."
After this statement which sounded more like a prayer, the Minister seemed to pull himself together. "Anyway. He is the reason for the added security you noticed. We blocked off the roads to hide your arrival -- since they are so opposed to Dragul, extra protection for you is considered necessary."
"But our arrival wasn't completely hidden," Crina objected.
"I think you'll find it was," said the Minister irritably. "The buildings around here are all secure government offices or storehouses. Trust me, from the moment you entered the Dome, no one without security clearance has seen you."
Crina wondered if the three people on top of the tall roof had security clearance. But before she could enquire, the Minister had moved on to arrangements for tomorrow's meeting with the full Ministry. Crina stifled a yawn.
Crina didn't sleep well that night. Though the bed was comfortable enough, despite having all its edges in the wrong places, there just seemed to be too many barriers between herself and "outside." She was in a room within a hotel within what was, to all intents and purposes, another huge building. It made her feel buried, unsafe despite the powerful presence of her father and Eve in the rooms on either side of her.
Staring at the ceiling, and trying to see beyond it and all the others piled on top, Crina tried to reach with her mind for Rad, who wanted to be her lover. Or at least he had wanted that, before her father scared the wits out of him and dragged her off on his mission to the Dome.
Crina sighed. She was sure Rad wasn't so afraid of her father that he wouldn't wait for her, fight for her -- but it was embarrassing. Her parents treated her like a child. So did everyone else. Even Eve, the queen, who was human and should have understood, had referred to her that afternoon as "the child."
It was true she was only thirty years old and Dragul didn't normally reach puberty until after fifty, but you only had to look at Crina to see she was a fully mature female. It was her human blood. According to her mother, humans reached puberty in their teens and were considered adult before they were twenty. Well, Crina felt like an adult and had for a long time. She thought and reasoned like an adult, had always been way ahead of her fellow Dragul children who were still playing chase and hide-and-seek in the woods and studying at school. No one had batted an eyelid when Crina had completed her studies years ahead of her peers. Her father had simply begun to teach her about the laws of the Dragul. And yet they all went into a flat spin because she had the sexual urges normal in a Dragul adult.
No one wanted her to grow up. They wanted her to study to be Keeper of the Laws. But her father was Keeper and unlikely to give it up for centuries. Crina didn't know what she wanted. Apart from someone to hold her and assuage her body's hunger. Rad.
His handsome face swam before her imagination as she called to him. She remembered the sweetness of his kisses, the warmth of his body close to hers, the sensual touch of his hands on her breast. And she wanted more, much more...
And she could not reach him. Restlessly, she turned over, sent her mind shooting over the miles northward, looking for her friends, especially for Gina who alone could understand her position. Even Sorin didn't understand the issues -- he had always spent half his time in the City of the Damned and he had been treated as an adult for years. But she and Gina, the hybrid females, the children of the two most powerful Dragul families on the island, possibly in the world, they had to be kept as children. Even when their menstrual cycles began. Even when they were fully adult.
Gina was asleep. From old habit, she began to call to her mother, before she remembered she wasn't talking to her. Beth should have stood up to Aurel, made him accept what she knew to be true: that their daughter was fully adult.
She almost sent a demand to go home screaming into her father's head. But she stopped herself in time. Aurel would use her tantrum to prove that she was still a child at heart, and she knew she would be behaving like one. Sexual frustration seemed to have that unfortunate side-effect.
Something bumped above her head. Someone in the room above falling over maybe. Humans liked to drink alcohol.
For an instant, she felt the presence of humans, their excitement, a confusion of fear and determination so powerful it hurt. Because they were close, much too close. There were too many people behind too many walls... Fearfully, she shut them out before they drove her insane.
Her heart drummed like a rabbit's. A trickle of sweat ran down between her breasts. At least the claustrophobia took her mind off sex.
Trying to laugh at herself, she got out of bed and went into the bathroom in search of water. She tried the running water from the tap, but it was foul, not at all like fresh stream water that flowed through her own house bubbling up from fountains. So she went into the dark sitting room, onto which her own, Aurel's, and Eve's rooms opened. Shafts of pale light shone in the window from the city outside, casting shadows across the floor and the walls. It was more than enough to see by, so Crina ignored the switch that activated the harsh electrical light inside the room.
She went directly to the cool cupboard where there were a few bottles of water that her father had brought with him. It was stale, but more palatable than anything they could obtain here.
She drank it straight out of the bottle, a long, comforting swig. And because her eyes were turned upward as she drank, she saw the ceiling move.
Her first instinctive fear was that everything above was falling in on her, but even before the terror took hold, she realized it was only a tiny part of the ceiling. The air vent shifted, lifted itself inward to reveal a black hole.
And silently, through the black hole, dropped a human figure.
He landed lightly, quietly, on his feet, straightening almost immediately, and she saw he had a weapon, a gun, strapped to his back, another at his hip. Raising her startled gaze to his face, she saw that it was framed by a dark hood.
Then he caught sight of her, and stood very still. Their eyes locked together. The instinctive cry was swallowed in her throat. There was something familiar about him. A light outside swung round and for an instant shone directly on her visitor: almost boyish, handsome face, intense blue eyes. A lock of fair hair straggled from under the hood.
"Hello," he said softly.
The man from the roof this afternoon, the one who had waved to her -- she could almost swear it. He felt the same. Security?
"What are you doing here?" she asked, bewildered.
He smiled. Even in the half-dark it took her breath away. "I've come for you."