Authors: Monette Michaels
The Prime Chronicles, Book 3
Published by Liquid Silver Books, imprint of Atlantic Bridge Publishing, 10509 Sedgegrass Dr, Indianapolis, Indiana 46235. Copyright © Published 2014, Monette Michaels. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Liquid Silver Books
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues in this book are of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.
Adopted and raised by Terrans, Dr. Brianna Martin never quite fit in. She’s thrilled to learn she’s a long-lost female of the Prime race. And that she has a mate living somewhere on the planet Cejuru Prime—one genetically destined to be hers alone. Before she figures out how to approach him, she’s attacked in her research lab.
Iolyn Caradoc is stunned at the news that his mate, matched to him soon after birth, still lives. Even more amazing, she’s a research scientist on the verge of discovering why the Prime race is dying. But Pure Blood fanatics are trying to kill her and she’s on the run. Every primal instinct in him insists he find, claim, and protect his mate. But the woman won’t stay put.
When Bria finally meets Iolyn, she’s thrilled. He’s everything she could want—physically strong, highly intelligent, and…the other half of her soul. Yet, he’s also an overwhelmingly dominant and stubborn Prime warrior who wishes to protect her from everything—including her own Prime nature. As a Prime battle-mate, she has newfound instincts and skills—skills that will make her a true warrior. Skills she fully intends to learn and use.
If she manages to survive.
To my Prime fans—thanks for loving this series and talking it up. Because of you, there will be more books set in the Prime world.
Thanks to my fan, Margaret Sneyd, for naming my little alien creature. She not only named it—
more commonly known as Ragbag—but also created a whole background for it.
As always, thanks and much love must go to my fan beta readers, Debbie Kline and Cheryl Pringle, for reading an early version and pointing out any series continuity errors. Just getting their positive feedback sustained me through the final revising process.
Mega-thanks and love go to Cherise Sinclair for her insightful and detailed critique of an early partial and then the first draft of this book. She always makes me take that extra step, and my books are always better for it.
And to Ezra Solomon for his meticulous line editing and his gentle nudges in his comments.
Thanks to April Martinez for taking the images I like and making them into a beautiful cover.
And, finally, to my editor Terri Schaefer, who always spots that one overused word and always makes me look good.
Adapted from The Official Prime History, Volume MMXX
A Short History of the Prime
In the Perseus arm of the Milky Way lay the Cejuru solar system, home to the Prime, the oldest known hominid species in the galaxy.
After millennia of galactic exploration and colonization, the Prime became isolationists as other Milky Way populations initiated their own space explorations and migrated to uninhabited planets.
The Prime did not seek membership in the Galactic Alliance formed by the new explorers, but still felt duty-bound to protect the Milky Way from the Antareans, an ancient enemy from the Andromeda Galaxy. The Antareans were a militaristic, pseudo-reptilian species, and their all-consuming goal was to eliminate every hominid species.
The Antarean invasion of the Milky Way was held at bay for more than a thousand years. But this feat was accomplished at great cost to the Prime.
The Prime female population was targeted by the Antareans during frequent enemy raids, and many women were murdered or abducted to be used as sex slaves. During a particularly fierce siege, the Prime Elder Council ordered the evacuation of the majority of the women and children.
The Prime dealt the Antareans a severe blow and forced them back to Andromeda, but many ships carrying the evacuated women and children never returned.
The missing were referred to as the Lost Ones.
With the loss of so much of the female population, many Prime males could not find and “mark” their optimal mate. This mating mark was an unusual genetic adaptation that allowed Prime men and women to find the mate with whom they would have the best chance of producing healthy children.
When this marking process first appeared in Prime culture is unknown, but the cultural significance could not be denied.
Men and women who did not mark did not mate.
After the last Antarean siege, the remaining Prime females began to experience low fertility and higher incidences of miscarriage. The cause was unknown. The women who managed to become pregnant and carry to term produced a disproportionate number of male offspring. A girl child was a rarity and considered a great blessing.
With the loss of so many women and children, plus the drastic decrease in birth rate, the Prime faced the reality of extinction for their species.
The Prime Elder Council voted, by a narrow majority, to join the Galactic Alliance. The Council’s reasons for abandoning the Prime’s isolationist policy were twofold:
One, to join forces with the powerful Galactic Alliance military to address the Antarean threat. The enemy had recovered from the last conflict and now ventured farther into the more populated arms of the Milky Way; and,
Two, to locate compatible females with whom their males could mate.
Though the marking ritual was ingrained in the fabric of Prime society, biologically the Prime had mated with non-Prime hominids in the past during the time of space colonization. The theory was they could do so again.
But a small, vocal minority didn’t wish to pollute Prime bloodlines with the DNA of other hominids. This contentious rebel faction, calling themselves “Pure Blood,” wreaked havoc on the Prime home planet—and in space.
Shortly after the Prime became a part of the Galactic Alliance, a miracle occurred. One of the Lost Ones was found.
Captain Melina Dmitros, the sole survivor of one of the ships bearing the lost women and children, was found to have a
was Captain Wulf Caradoc, the heir of the Prime leader.
Adding to the miracle, Melina brought with her data on altered routes the Prime ships had taken to escape the pursuing Antareans—routes none of the Prime had known about.
The information gave hope to another Prime male with no mate—Huw Caradoc, Wulf’s brother. Huw now had a chance to find his Prime mate still alive.
The search for other surviving Lost Ones had been fruitless, but a monumental discovery was made: Cmdr. Nadia Petrovich, a Terran and the Science Officer on the Alliance Starship
, carried Prime genetics within her DNA and was marked as Huw Caradoc’s true
With Huw and Nadia’s mating, and the evidence of other male Prime/female non-Prime matings, the Prime race’s bold move to find mates outside their solar system was proven a prescient one.
But the issue of Prime low population growth still needed to be studied. Why did Prime females have trouble conceiving and carrying babies to term? Could Prime women who’d lost their
or never had one, mate with non-Prime males? Why did some Terrans and Volusian women mark when mating with Prime males and some did not? And the most radical question of all…were the mating markings even necessary to finding a mate with whom to have children?
Dr. Brianna Martin of the Galactic Alliance Astrobiological Research Laboratory was the leading researcher seeking answers for those questions and more.
’s next mission would be to venture to the planet Oz in the Tau Ceti system to pick up Dr. Martin and her team and bring them back to Cejuru Prime to assist the Prime scientists in finding answers. But before the
’s crew could do so, Dr. Martin issued an SOS call to the Galactic Alliance. She was in danger…and she was a marked Lost One. She asked the Alliance to come get her and tell her
she needed him.
was Iolyn Caradoc, the brother of Wulf and Huw and son of the Prime’s leader.
And so, Iolyn and Brianna’s story began…
Tooh 2 Resort
“Our leave is canceled.” Iolyn Caradoc strode toward his brothers, Wulf and Huw, and their mates, plus Joen Dakkin and his mate Lia, as they lounged around the resort pool. Tor Maren, the Prime ambassador to the Galactic Alliance, barely kept pace with him. “The
needs to leave space dock as soon as possible,” Iolyn said. “I’ve recalled the crew.”
“What happened?” Wulf had his arm around Mel’s shoulder as if he anticipated an attack.
Huw did the same with Nadia.
Iolyn sat, picked up Wulf’s whiskey and finished it in one gulp, then picked up Huw’s and did the same. He knew he was putting off battle vibes, but he couldn’t help it. He’d never felt such fear before and wasn’t handling it well.
Tor, who was like a second father to him and his brothers, sat and told the hovering waiter, “Gliesian white wine for me and the ladies. Whiskey for the men.” The waiter hurried off. “Since Iolyn is attempting to get drunk, I’ll relay what has happened.”
Iolyn snarled, grabbed Joen’s almost-empty glass and tossed it back.
“I received word from Admiral Nelson at Alliance Command that Dr. Brianna Martin has been threatened…a man stalking her attempted to kidnap her,” Tor said. “She managed to escape and put a call out to the Alliance to rescue her.”
“That’s terrible. Of course we’ll go get her and ensure she arrives at Cejuru Prime safely,” Wulf said. “But why is Iolyn attempting to get drunk?”
Tor sighed and shook his head. “Dr. Martin is a Lost One. And she is…”
“My mate!” Iolyn pounded his fist on the table. “She sent an image of her marking to the Alliance and Prime Commands, asking that her mate be found and told. She asked, if possible, that he come and get her.” He stood and paced angrily around the table. “I’m clear across the fucking galaxy while my mate had to fight off an attack.” He threw his head back and roared the Caradoc battle cry to the skies.
Huw and Wulf rounded the table and held onto him until he quit shouting.
, he was in full-blown
, the Prime battle rage, and would experience lesser stages of it until he had Brianna in his arms.
Nadia joined them and placed her hand on Iolyn’s shoulder. “How can we help?”
Mel also joined the huddle, lending her support. Their combined presence calmed him a bit. He wasn’t alone in this; his brothers and their mates would see him through the horrible hours until he could be with his
, the mate fate and the One had chosen for him.
Tor, Joen, and Lia used their bodies to ward off the curious glances of the understandably shaken bystanders. The Caradoc battle cry had turned many an enemy’s bowels to water.
“We get to Brianna as quickly as possible,” Iolyn growled.
* * * *
36 Standard Hours earlier
Galactic Alliance Astrobiological Research Lab
Planet Oz, Tau Ceti system
Dr. Brianna Martin eyed her target and took careful aim. She nailed the male figure right between the eyes.
“Yay! See if you can beat that, my friend.” Bria happy-danced her way toward the life-sized, pseudo-reptilian male anatomy chart and pulled her scalpel from the kill zone in the frontal lobe. “Did I forget to mention I was med school scalpel-throwing champion three years in a row? Looks like you get to buy dinner.”
There was no response from her research assistant Cheri Stafford. Instead she heard a gasp and the sound of Cheri moving quickly away from their impromptu contest venue.
Primordial instincts Bria rarely had to rely upon in the medical world went on alert, sharpening her empathic abilities. Something dangerous headed their way. It smelled like a hot, fierce wind off a desert. She tasted the dustiness of it on her tongue and felt it flaying her skin. She hurried toward her friend, who stood in the entrance to the lab. “Cheri? What’s wrong?”
“Red alert!” Her friend growled the words as she made a move to cut off whoever approached.
Bria peered around her friend and saw her nemesis, Jotak M’tali.
Jotak, the chief of security for the research facility, strode down the long corridor in his ruler-of-the-planet, owner-of-all-he-surveyed mode.