#LieToMe Excerpt with #GracenMiller

 

Coming March 24, 2016
Genre: New Adult Dystopian Romance
Cover Artist: Brannon Jones @ B-Dirty Graphics
In the 23rd century, war has ravaged the planet.
 
A biological weapon has decimated the population, and those who remain have been driven to desperate measures to survive. Over the course of a century, evolution delivers an answer — the Xeno gene, which provides its bearers with immunity to disease. All adolescent girls are tested for the X-gene, and carriers are obligated to bear children for the good of the human race.
 
The promise of salvation comes at a terrible price.
 
Stone Emmerson, heir to a position of supreme power, is surprised to learn his best friend Kella is an X-gene carrier. He’s quick to claim her as his own, but as a mere servant, Kella can’t help but doubt his motives. Before he can offer the protection of his name, she escapes his household. Mourning her loss, Stone becomes the black sheep among his peers by focusing on the welfare of his people.
 
While survival and freedom hang in the balance…
 
Starting over under an assumed name, Kella is a founding member of the X-Diplomats, a radical group dedicated to stopping enforced X-gene testing and promoting equal rights for commoners. Years pass before she crosses paths with Stone again. As the web of deceit that has come between them unravels, their love begins to grow. But can Stone turn a blind eye to Kella’s violent revolution and see the justice of her cause? Or will their differences prove too great to overcome?
What price would you pay to break the chains of oppression?


PROLOGUE
–> HERE <– 
CHAPTER 1
–> HERE <– 

 
TWO
August 9, 2282 A.E.E.
“Time to go, sweetheart.” Stone Emmerson nudged the shoulder of the woman in his bed. Dark hair, but not as black as his Kella’s hair had been. The unnamed woman had been a poor substitute for his wife. When he missed her most, he sought out a
willing woman with petite features and dark hair. None measured up. Thankfully, melancholy plagued him only on the anniversary of her death. He could thrust Kella from his mind most of the year, but August eighth hit him hard and reminded him of what he’d lost. The singular most special individual in his life, and after eight years he still mourned her.
“Get out.” James, his bodyguard and best friend, entered the room unannounced. The man rarely announced his presence. Then again, he’d seen Stone every way possible, puking his guts out, and even buried deep inside a woman.
“What crawled up your ass, Mr. Grumpy?” Stone scratched his stomach and stretched.
“Just read.” James shoved the clear, electronic pad into Stone’s hands.
As he perused the article, he elevated his eyebrows, surprised by the attack, while giving a little hoorah inside for the bravery of the X-Diplomats. “Damn.”
“Yeah. I’m impressed. The skillset of the dregs who did this is extraordinary.”
No shit.
Technology was outlawed to the low class. It kept them complacent, at least that’s what he’d been taught. Since taking the seat of Regency, Stone had enacted freedoms other Regents restricted from their residents. He gifted his citizens with tech if they wanted, but on one condition. They had to take a class to learn how to properly use it. His former-Regent father had balked at
the idea, but this was Stone’s term, and he honored Kella’s memory any way he could. The people were slow to engage the new knowledge, but every year saw more and more of them embracing their new freedoms.
Stone swiped his fingers through his hair as he continued to read the email from Regent Jones.
“Let me guess,” James said in a smug voice, “you just got to the part where he wants access to your X-gene clinic.”
He nodded and tossed the e-device aside. His first act as Regent three years ago had been shutting down the clinic to honor Kella’s memory. If any new X-gene existed in his Quadrant, he was unaware of her, and she was free to live her life at her leisure. She was even free to marry whomever she wanted and bear the offspring for the man of her choosing or none at all. Kella would’ve approved. They’d spent hours discussing this change.
“Xeno distribution is so wrong,” a thirteen-year-old Kella had said, as she watched the announcement of a recently
discovered Xeno in their midst. “She’s my friend.”
Stone had wrapped his arm around her shoulders and hugged her to his side. Accepting his support, she’d hooked her
arm around his waist.
“Did you know she wanted to be a nurse when she grew up?”
Nursing to dregs wasn’t a formal teaching in the school he and Kella learned in, but an informal training from the local herbalist. Kella peered up at Stone, and he focused on her. Her expression so woebegone, he would’ve changed the world to suit her if he could. “She wanted to dedicate her life to helping others. Now someone will buy her, and her dreams are forgotten. How many babies do you think her owner will force her to have?”
“I don’t know.”
“I think I’d kill myself if that happens to me.”
Loathing that statement, he squeezed her arm. “I’ll never let that happen to you.” Four months from now, his Kella would be forced to submit to her own X-gene test. If positive, James already helped him make plans to save her from that life. No man will ever own my Kella.
“You’re the best friend ever, pretty boy.”
“Hate to break it to you, but no one wants you anyway because you’re a holy terror.” As he’d planned, she’d giggled at his teasing. Regardless of her bent to find trouble, her pretty looks would make her a high commodity if she tested positive. She’d hugged him and went back to watching the Xeno-reveal, and Stone decided not to borrow trouble until he had to deal with the devil. All he’d wanted to think about then was hiding his growing erection and the wonderful way she felt in his
arms.
Stone jerked from his memories when James snapped his fingers in his face.
“Jesus Christ,” James bitched, “you do this grieving shit every year around her death. I hope marriage to Katarina soothes your pining for the holy terror.”
His buddy’s harsh words hit him hard, like a gut punch, but Stone couldn’t deny the unhealthy aspects of his continued bereavement. “She’s my first love. I can’t just forget her, James.” He threw back the covers and rolled out of bed. “I want to marry Katarina as much as I want to be castrated.” And she was the total opposite of Kella. Katarina’s tall, blonde looks were nothing similar to his Kella. Just what he needed to get over Kella. Or that was his father’s favorite line anyway.
“Marrying her to please your parents is fucked up. I repeat, brother, call off the nuptials.” When it came to Stone’s upcoming marriage, James was a broken record. “She’ll only make you miserable.”
“I’m already miserable. Get my Kella back, and I’ll be happy again.”
“Christ, you’re a masochist.”
“Tell Regent Jones his request is denied and to go to hell,” he said as he walked
toward his bathroom.
“Think I’ll reword that to be a tad more tactful.”
Stone didn’t give a fuck how James worded the missive. He’d shut down the clinic for a reason, and nothing would cause him to reopen it.
Two months later
The X-Diplomats—X-Ds as the news christened them—had hit clinics in two more Quadrants over the last couple of months, all in the northern Quads. The Regents were in a panic with no guess on the identity of the terrorists, or how they attacked, and all worried they’d be next. Except for him. Stone found himself amused by the alarm the X-Ds incited in his fellow Regents.
At the moment, the terrorist’s focus seemed to center on the next clinic that offered aid to the last ones hit. Wary about being the next target, the remaining Regents grew slow to offer assistance.
“Mark Evans, Regency Director to Regent Jones, requests a moment of your time.” James
shut the door behind him. “Line one.”
Probably to beg for use of my clinic. Again. Stone would tell the fucker where he could shove his request. “If you’d told Jones to go to hell like I told you two months ago, he wouldn’t be wasting our time.”
James shrugged. “Sometimes even rebellious Regents have to play nice.”
Wise words, but he needled his friend for spite. “Says who?”
“Me. Pick up the goddamn phone.”
Stone chuckled, but connected the call, placing it on speaker. “I’ve got five minutes, don’t waste my time.”
“Mack Ellason, a resident of Quad2, has information on your not-so-deceased wife.”
Stone’s gaze shot to James. Hope stabbed him in the heart like a physical blow. “What?”
“Disregard Regent Emmerson’s question.” James took over the call, giving Stone his ‘shut the fuck up’ glare. “What game are you playing, Mr. Evans?”
Ignoring his question, Mark said, “You’ll find Mack Ellason in Quadrant2.”
“You’re a goddamn liar, Director, causing further tragedy where none is needed.”
“I assure you there’s proof with Mack Ellason. Regent Emmerson’s wife still lives.” The smarmy drawl of the Director
gave Stone pause. Would he sound so smug about delivering falsehoods unless he spoke the truth?
“I require evidence.” James maintained the conversation. Thank God his friend wasn’t thinking with his heart like Stone.
“I just sent an email of a photo. Pay particular attention to the timestamp.” Stone scrambled to open his email as the Director continued. “Don’t believe the veracity of the picture, that’s your loss, Regent Emmerson.” A tap, tap, tap came from the Director’s line. Tapping a fingernail on his desk, maybe? “Give it a little credit, and a visit to Quad2 will be required. Once you meet Mack Ellason, all questions will be resolved immediately. Mack has all the answers you seek.”
“Why didn’t Mack Ellason contact us himself?” James again because Stone couldn’t think clearly, although Mack Ellason sounded a little like Mackella. A coincidence? His gut said no because he didn’t believe in coincidences, while his heart screamed with elation, and his mind cautioned to slow down and not jump to conclusions that would end in a second broken heart.
James inclined his head, while the Director answered. “Mack’s not expecting you. He would most likely run if he discovered I called you and notified you of his affiliation with your wife.” Stone frowned, wondering why Mark enunciated the male pronouns, but he didn’t ask and Mark kept talking. “Afraid of reprisals I believe. I would be if I’d hoodwinked
a Regent.”
Stone ground his teeth together at that mockery. Opening his email, he clicked on the attachment, and a picture of Kella popped up. The time stamp was one month after her alleged death. At his indrawn breath, James moved to peer over
Stone’s shoulder.
After a long pause, James said, “We’ll be in touch.” His bodyguard disconnected the call. “Don’t get your hopes up, Stone.”
“I can’t not see this through to the end. This is Kella we’re talking about. My wife. If
there’s a possibility—”
“Pictures aren’t proof. They’re easily manipulated.”
Stone pushed back his chair and walked away from the image of Kella. The horror of her features on the auction block haunted him. Had haunted him for eight goddamn years. “I’m not stupid. I know that.
“Brother, if Kella is alive, why didn’t she return to you?”
 
WANT MORE?
CHAPTER 3
revealed February 24th
 
 


 

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