by AR DeClerck
Project Aeon Book One
a Takamo Universe novel
Sharyn Moran joined the Rangers to save innocent lives. Her personal vow is to never see another broken child in the ERCA Territories again. When she is caught stealing a bike on her newest mission, she's sure she is about to turned over to her enemies. Surprisingly, the stranger offers to help her, but after an accident in the desert, they end up at his isolated home with his family.
It's clear that Ren and his brothers are hiding from something and, more than most, Sharyn knows how hard it is to keep secrets. She senses that the brothers and their father have all been through a terrible ordeal, but hesitates to invade their precious privacy. However, the longer she is with them, the more she begins to care about them. She begins to imagine a life with Ren, even if it can only be an impossible dream.
When Sharyn and Ren get sighted together through facial recognition, Ren's enemies know exactly how to flush out their quarry. They will kidnap, murder, and torture their way across the galaxy in order to accomplish their final goal. Ren knows the only way to stop them is to face what he is...what he was....and what he might become....in order to save Sharyn and the rest of the galaxy from the rising tide of death and destruction in their wake.
Note: Takamo Universe is a MMO-RPG game that will release for PC play this fall. Authors write stories within the game canon in order to provide players and reader of SF a more immersive gameplay experience.
Genre: SciFi RomancePurchase link(s): Amazon iTunes Kobo Google
Content/Theme(s): Cyborgs, Military, Space
Release Date: March 20, 2017
Publisher: Kgruppe/Challis Tower
Excerpt & More
“You’re going to regret letting her go like that.”
Ren raised his head to glare at Q. The younger man was relentless. “She’s better off.”
“I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”
“Tough grywat.” Q crossed his arms over his chest. “I don’t understand why you keep pretending that she doesn’t matter.”
“He’s right.” Sevyn leaned over the seats to poke Ren’s shoulder, none too gently. “We all know the truth.”
“She’s just a female,” Ren lied.
“No.” It was Vex’s turn to speak up. “She’s gentle and thoughtful and kind. And she liked you, which means she’s appropriately insane.”
Sharyn was all those things. Gentle, kind, thoughtful, and beautiful. Ren had never known interaction with a person like her before. He mashed his lips together and turned his back on his brothers.
“Just tell me why you let her go,” Q insisted. “I don’t see why…”
“Because I don’t deserve someone like her.” Ren’s patience was worn thin. He swung to his youngest brother with a snarl. “I’m a monster, a murderer. You think I want to put these hands on her?” He held them out so they could see. So they could understand. “You think she wants me to touch her?”
“They’re your hands, Ren.” Q shook his head.
“I’ve killed with these hands. The blood is still there. It’s always there.” Ren rubbed at his knuckles, sure he could still see the stains. He knew in his conscious mind that his hands were clean, but no matter how hard he washed, the stains would always be there.
“I think she deserved the right to be given the choice,” One spoke up from the pilot’s seat. “She needed to know the truth, and then she could have chosen. But you didn’t tell her, and now you’ll never know what she might have wanted.”
“I couldn’t take the chance.”
“The chance she’d reject you?” Sevyn questioned.
“The chance she’d accept me.” Ren’s body sagged as the truth finally escaped. He slumped, dropping his head back to the headrest.
“I think you might need a tune-up, brother,” Vex said with a worried frown. “That doesn’t make any sense.”
“She might have accepted me, she might even had loved me. But a minute, an hour, a cycle from now I could malfunction, or be reprogrammed, and I could hurt her. I can’t take that chance.”
The ship was silent and Ren felt every kilometer in his bones as they got farther from ARDA. Every time he closed his eyes he saw Sharyn as she pressed her lips to his cheek. Every beat of his heart was sharp in his chest.
“You’re not what you think you are.”
Ren opened his eyes and Q was looking at him, wide blue eyes earnest in his young man’s face.
“None of us are. We were soldiers and killers, but we stopped. We said no.”
“It doesn’t change the past, Q.”
“No, but it shouldn’t ruin your future, either.”
Ren shook his head, amazed at the young man’s certain belief in their deserving of happiness. “You’ve changed.”
“I met somebody who treated me like a person because she wanted to. She smiled at me and sang to me and fed me, and I don’t want her to go away.”
“We liked her too,” Sevyn piped up from behind them.
Vex and One nodded silently.
Ren turned to look at Sev, who nodded reassuringly. “You all think I should give her a chance to know what we are?”
“I think that if you don’t, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life,” One answered for them all.
Ren sighed. He was terrified, sweat trickling down his back and making his palms sticky. If he told Sharyn what he was, what they all were, and she rejected him, his heart would cease to beat altogether. On the other hand, if he never saw her again he wasn’t sure he could call it living.
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Be on the lookout for AR DeClerck's future release(s): Redshift coming late March 2017
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