Underground Guardians Box Set, page 1
By Lisa Renee Jones
Copyright 2011 by Lisa Renee Jones
Includes short excerpts and extras from:
About the series
Exclusive excerpt from the upcoming
May 2012 release
THE DANGER THAT IS DAMION
Covers by Steena Holmes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to the supplier and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. To obtain permission to excerpt portions of the text, please contact the author at email@example.com.
Box Set Index
UNDERGROUND GUARDIANS: PROTECTOR
UNDERGROUND GUARDIANS: HEALER
ABOUT THE SPINOFF SERIES - THE ZODIUS SERIES
EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT FROM: THE DANGER THAT IS DAMION --
BOOK 3 of THE ZODIUS SERIES out in May 2012
All characters in this series of books are fiction and figments of the author’s imagination. www.lisareneejones.com.
The Underground Guardians was originally published through Ellora’s Cave many years ago. As time passed, though readers asked for the next book in the series, I knew that there were things I should have done differently, that I wanted to do differently. More time passed, and this series stuck with me. I WANTED to write more stories. So finally, I sat down and said – how do I write more? How do I get from where I started to where I want to go? There was only one option. A spinoff series.
Thus a new series was born. THE ZODIUS series began in May 2011 with Sourcebooks Casablanca with the book THE LEGEND OF MICHAEL. However, these books – The Underground Guardians – inspired the Zodius series. Without them, the Zodius series would never have taken form. So here is a look into the young writer’s vision into a world that later became the more mature writer’s world. You will actually meet my inspiration for the Zodius version of Michael (LEGEND OF MICHAEL) in this book. In fact, there will be many things in the Zodius series that you will find familiar to the Underground Guardians series, but you will also find many things very different.
I hope this free look into the world of the Underground Guardians will intrigue you enough to make you want to read the Zodius series, starting with LEGEND OF MICHAEL. I’ve include a look into the Zodius world at the end of this box set, along with an excerpt from THE DANGER THAT IS DAMION that releases in May 2012.
Thank you for your support!
The Groom Lake Military Base, Area 51, Nevada—January, 2015
A scream ripped through the silence of the lab.
Dr. Gina Lawrence looked up from the microscope as a hint of a smile slipped onto her lips.
It had started.
Her peer, Dr. Michael Carmichael, stiffened beside her. “What in the hell was that?”
The door to the lab opened abruptly. Jeff Divers, one of the lab assistants, stood in the doorway holding his stomach, his face pale and his lips trembling. “They’re taking…over,” he said in an uneven voice. “Hide.”
Dr. Carmichael rushed to Jeff’s side and wrapped his arm around him. He looked down at his hand, now covered in Jeff’s blood. “You’re bleeding. Oh, God, you’re bleeding.”
“Hide,” Jeff said, and then slumped against Dr. Carmichael.
Gunshots rang in the distance. “They’re taking over,” Gina said, with no hint of fear in her voice, because she felt none. She had waited patiently for this day, a better day, a day when the better race would shine.
“You mean the soldiers, the test soldiers?” Dr. Carmichael asked as he pressed two fingers to Jeff’s neck and grimaced when he found no pulse.
In a jerky, panicked movement, he sat Jeff on the ground. Then, he turned and faced Gina, searching her face for answers. He wiped his bloodstained hands on his lab coat, leaving red finger marks on the bright white cloth.
She nodded slowly, still sitting in her chair, ever so calmly. “They are the future, our creation. It’s time they take their place as leaders.”
Dr. Carmichael’s eyes widened. “You’re crazy! What are you saying?” He moved across the room with lightening speed, fear in his every step, and stood before her.
Desperately he demanded, “What do you know about this?”
She shrugged. “It was inevitable.”
He grabbed her shoulders, his fingers biting into her slender flesh. “Tell me now! What is happening?”
She met his gaze with a steady one of her own. “The stronger, better race is taking over. Soon they will control far more than this facility.”
“Are you crazy?” he blurted. “They are monsters that need to be terminated, not set free! We made a grave mistake creating them. Tell me you aren’t helping them.” He shook her. “Tell me!”
Footsteps, a spray of bullets and then commotion near the door made them both look up. “Release her, Dr. Carmichael,” a deep voice said from the doorway.
Dr. Carmichael stared at David Alexander, the first converted soldier, formerly Special Forces. A man once good but now so evil hell would welcome him. And he knew what he wanted. More power. As a doctor he’d never meant to create such a monster. His goal had been to better man. To allow a chance for survival in the face of war. To think he’d created such a beast sickened him.
He looked at David, big and broad, and blocking the exit way. At a soldier who had slowly began to erode those around him. Little by little he’d become an arrogant, harsh commander. A leader who led to darkness. Why had he not alerted someone of the changes in his personality? Why? Now it was too late. His stomach churned with regret as he took in the menacing expression on David’s face.
Dr. Carmichael’s hands dropped to his sides as he started backing away from Gina. Fear danced in his eyes as he stared at David Alexander, a man too big to be human, too strong to be normal and far too dangerous to face one-on-one.
Gina pushed to her feet and sashayed toward David, her life mate, bonded in the Arion way. When she reached his side, he handed her a gun. “Is it done?” she asked him almost casually as if she had no doubt.
David didn’t look at her once she held the gun. He kept his attention locked on Dr. Carmichael. “It’s done.”
“Oh God, you’re one of them now, aren’t you?” The doctor screamed as he stared at Gina.
Gina moved toward her desk. “I’m David’s mate,” she said simply. She opened a drawer as two other soldiers converged on Dr. Carmichael. He turned and started to run but it was such a hopeless effort, Gina let out a
Gina walked toward their captive, a syringe in hand. “Time for a nap, Dr. Carmichael.” She tapped the plastic tube to knock out the air bubbles.
“Good news,” she said in a taunting voice. “You won’t die like the others. We plan to put you to work.”
His eyes widened as she approached him. “What is it that you want? What is worth killing so many.”
David answered, a cocky sureness to his tone. “World domination. What else?”
Gina smiled, clearly pleased with her mate’s words. “To create the perfect race. Those who don’t convert will simply cease to exist.”
Dr. Carmichael shook his head in disbelief. “I won’t help you.”
“Oh, I think you will. You see,” she said with confidence, “we can make life very, shall we say,” she paused for effect, then added, “uncomfortable?”
She injected his arm. He flinched and then glared at her. “You might as well kill me. I won’t help you.”
She smiled nastily. “You might want to reconsider. I believe you have a daughter at a nearby university, correct?” She let her brow inch up in question. “It would be a shame if she had a little accident.”
“You leave her out of this,” he said vehemently, his voice was already fading, as was he. His eyes fluttered up, down, up as he struggled to stay awake.
“Please,” he whispered, because his strength was quickly dying. “Don’t do this. It…will be…a deadly mistake.”
And then he slept.
Las Vegas, Nevada—May 2015
An angel had just run smack into him and Mason Alexander was completely, utterly spellbound. His hands rested on her shoulders, steadying her so she wouldn’t fall. The sweet smell of jasmine inched its way into his nostrils making his body stir, activating the depths of his unique sensory abilities, making his heart race wildly against his chest.
“I’m so sorry,” she said in a soft, musical voice that danced along his nerve endings and made his body ache in ways he thought he no longer had the capacity to feel.
He’d been alone for a long time, his feelings and physical needs tightly locked away deep inside. It was a part of his life he had learned to accept.
The hustle and bustle of the university campus was living and breathing around them but he tuned everything out, focusing on the consuming reaction he was experiencing. Why did this woman instantly make him desire things he’d long ago forgotten?
This wasn’t good. He needed to be focused on the greater good of man, not his carnal desires.
To make matters worse, he knew exactly who she was and, without a shadow of a doubt, life had irrevocably become more complicated.
He had known she was attractive from her pictures but in person…her impact on him was like a blazing flame of heat and sensation, unlike anything he had ever imagined.
Before he could formulate his thoughts, he was drawn back under the veil of her unique presence. His body raged with awareness as his eyes devoured the soft curves of her tempting body.
Logic faded and good intentions began to do the same.
He stared down at her, realizing she was a good foot shorter than his six-foot-three-inches. God, she was angelic and beautiful, so pure and sweet.
“Don’t be sorry,” he said in a soft tone, not wanting to frighten her or give away what lurked beneath his surface. Something inside him roared with life. Something he didn’t understand. Oh, he knew his beast. Knew it far too well.
But this was different. More animalistic. Carnal. As if he had to touch her and taste her soft lips. Somehow, he managed to keep a low growl from his tone. “I find the experience quite…inviting.” She tilted her head to one side as she tossed long strands of blond hair over her shoulder. His body tightened in response, images of that silky hair draped over his chest flashing in his mind like some sort of flashback. He blinked away the images but not the potency of his body’s response.
As he met her gaze, he searched her face, wanting—no, needing—to know what this power she had over him was. How did she evoke such fire in his veins? Such pure lust. He was a man of utter control. He had walked away from the temptations of the flesh. Known he had no choice. Yet this woman snapped more than a tiny piece of his restraint.
And with nothing more than her mere presence.
Her eyes, as green as new grass, held a look far hotter than the July sun as she smiled up at him. She, too, felt at least a hint of what he did. If he really wanted her… He shoved away the thought. It wasn’t a matter of want. His choices were no longer his own.
Her words snapped him out of his inner conflict. At least for the moment. Playful and sweet, they reminded him of whom he was dealing with. Of how opposite he was from her. “Inviting?” she asked, with a slight smile playing on the corner of her lips.
Then, despite the rage of pure heat in his body, he found himself smiling back at her. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d smiled. It was well before he had lost his ability to live a normal life, long before he had come to this place in his life.
Most people found his dark features and dark black eyes intimidating. Or maybe it was more something they saw in his eyes. Something dark. But not Holly Heart. Her playful response suggested she didn’t. A fact he found more than a little intriguing.
And far too tempting.
There was something about her smile. It both fired the flame and yet still calmed his beast. The parts of himself he kept tucked away deep below the surface, desperately denying they existed. Yes…her smile. It made him feel an inner peace.
He needed to see it again. To enjoy a moment of lighthearted banter as if he was normal. Playfully, he teased, “It’s not often a woman wants to meet you so badly that she tries to knock you over.”
She tilted her head back as she laughed with feminine delight, giving him a sweet view of the soft ivory curve of her neck. His teeth ground together as he felt his body go rock-hard. She was so close he could smell the soft scent of flowers. And something more intimate. Something wholly her.
To explore her with his mouth, to press his lips against her perfect creamy skin, was almost an uncontrollable need. His hand was still on her shoulder. He felt her softness beneath it, calling to him. Urging him to run his hand down the length of her arm. He knew he should drop his hands. Knew it, but didn’t.
To touch her—even briefly—felt as addictive, no, necessary, as breathing. Straightening, she fixed him in her luminous gaze and drew a breath. The action seemed to bring her closer, sending him into another unbidden flash of images. Her breasts pressing against his body, nipples—quite rosy and perfect, he was certain – nestled in his chest hair.
He cursed inwardly. His desire for this woman was so unnaturally charged. So consuming. He quickly schooled his features, making them unreadable, knowing she was staring up at him.
“You, sir, are too arrogant for your own good.”
She looked at one of his hands, still resting on her shoulders, and he sensed something in her. As if she too had been thinking about him touching her, just as he had been.
“Now,” she said with the tiniest hint of flirtation, “if you will kindly release me, I’ll be on my way.”
He found himself not wanting to let go of her. Never in his life had he had such a possessive urge to make someone his own. He wanted to throw her over his shoulder and carry her off somewhere. To make love to her until she screamed his name. To feel the softness of those amazing curves in his hands and pressed intimately against his body.
To brand her as if she could indeed be his possession. One he would never let go.
That thought blasted through his infatuated haze with a mean shot of reality. He dropped his hands abruptly.
He could never ask her or anyone to share in the hell that had become his life. Besides, she was his assignment, his job and his mission.
“Are you okay?” he heard her ask and realized he had, for a moment, drifted back into his normal dark self.
He stared down at her, knowing he could never have a woman like her, knowing he could never have her, knowing he might not ever be normal again. His eyes held regret, sorrow and a hint of pain.
“I’m fine,” he said but it was a lie.
She wet her lips and probed his expression with intensity. She seemed to ponder her response a moment before smiling. “I’m Holly Heart and don’t make fun of the name. My parents are to blame, not me.”
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