Project Mars Book 2
by Jacey Holbrand & Elizabeth Monvey
Genre: M/M SciFi Romance
In the future, be careful who you trust…
Ben Stockton lives on a dying Earth. A poisoned atmosphere and fertility issues are only two of the reasons people flock to the Project Mars Lottery, hoping to win a chance to go to the Red Planet. When Ben’s husband, Dain, is targeted as a potential DNA donor, the once exciting prospect of starting over turns into a nightmare.
Forced to work for the governmental scientific agency, Sector, Dain is sent to Mars on a secret mission, while Ben has to remain behind. Separated from each other, they try to cling to the memories of their love as well as the hope that one day they’ll be reunited.
But Sector has different plans for the couple. Unbeknownst to Ben, Sector has used him as a test subject in a desperate bid to cure the sterility problems facing the human race. Impregnated and left alone, Ben stumbles upon the underground resistance. It will take all his strength to find the love of his life before Dain is lost to him forever.
Dain gave her a mock salute, and a second later, the comm-vid shut off. Ben moved forward and wrapped his arms around his husband.
“Wow, that was an intense back and forth.”
Dain turned in his embrace and pulled Ben in close. “That’s nothing to how it’s going to be tomorrow. You up for this?”
“I’ve got your back.”
He leaned in again for another kiss, just as the front door opened and Ranger walked in.
“Oops! Sorry, guys,” Ranger said.
“No worries,” Ben said with a sigh as he and Dain broke apart. “What are you doing home so early?”
“Coworkers heard about Nate winning the lottery. They kept interrupting my work to ask questions, so the bosses told me to go home early. Nate here?”
Ben shook his head. “No. We were just discussing Dain’s win.”
Ranger shook his head in disbelief. “Unreal how two from this family won the damn thing, isn’t it?”
“Yeah,” Dain muttered. “Unreal.”
“You planning on going in to test?” Ranger asked.
“Kinda have to, don’t I? I mean, that’s part of the fine print no one reads.”
Ranger frowned. “I thought, ultimately, you get to say a final no if you change your mind.”
Dain shook his head. “No one gets away from Sector. It’s something to consider as you and Nate go forward. Well, I’m going to head to bed. Have a good night.”
Ranger nodded, still looking thoughtful. Dain took Ben’s hand and led him to their small bedroom. Once ensconced in their own world, they could stay hidden for the rest of the night. Just the two of them, and Ben had a horrible feeling that this was probably the last time they would have a moment to themselves. Tomorrow he and Dain would go to Sector to step into the farce of winning the damn lottery. He sat down heavily as the weight of it washed over him.
“Are you okay?” Dain asked softly, sitting next to him on the bed.
“Everything is going to change, isn’t it?”
Dain nodded. “Yeah. I got out of the New Force Order Police because I disagreed with Sector’s policies. Now I’m going back, and I hate the reason why. But I’ve been thinking this might the one chance to bring Sector’s crimes to light.”
Ben’s brow furrowed. “What do you mean?”
“If I can obtain evidence of their lottery manipulation, it might get us out this. And get us away from Sector.”
“You’re talking about spying.”
“I’ve done worse for the NFOP,” Dain reminded him. “How hard can it be to expose their overreach? Perhaps if I can find the evidence it might open up a negotiation for checks and balances. Omnipotent power is never a good thing for a rule of law.”
Ben sighed. “I don’t want you to put yourself in danger.”
“I already did that when I went into that damn bar.” He shook his head. “We may not have wanted this, but here we are. I need to know you’re okay with my plan.”
“Okay with it? Not really. But when we decided to say vows we included the lines for better or worse. No matter what, I’m with you. But no more secrets between us. Okay?”
Dain nodded. “Agreed. No more secrets.”
Project Mars Book 1
In the future, be careful who you trust.
Nathaniel Stockton and Grover Silas Ranger are faced with the ultimate test to their relationship when the Project Mars Lottery comes to town. Nate wins a chance to have his dreams come true: to live and work on the red planet with his love. Yet his husband, Ranger, doesn't see the point of going from one bad place to another. But an evil organization called Sector has a completely different idea for the couple.
Kidnapped, experimented on, impregnated, and sent to Mars, Nate realizes too late he trusted the wrong people.
Ranger fights to find a way to Nate. Will he make it to his love before their dreams and lives are irrevocably broken by distance, a pregnancy, and the corrupt agency?
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“Huh. There’s nothing in here describing in detail what the studies involve.”
“So? Whatever they do, don’t you think it’ll be worth it? We either make money to go to Mars, or we go to Mars on their dime.”
Whatever they do? A chill ran through Nate. Maybe this is too good to be true. “I don’t know. I was hoping for a bit more info before I made a decision. They’ve included a lot of legal stuff… An NDA, a waiver, an NCC but no particulars. What if they give us a drug that causes irreparable harm to us? Who knows what kind of side effects we’ll experience?”
“Is there a number in there? Or a link to an FAQ to find some answers to your questions?”
“No. There isn’t. I’m telling ya,” he waved the page, “this all seems—”
Before he could say, “fishy,” an intense rapping sounded on their front door.
Nate shrugged when Ranger glanced at him with questions in his gaze. Ranger went to find out who was there.
“Nathaniel Stockton?” a big, beefy male dressed in a black t-shirt and black pants inquired when Ranger greeted him. Two more huge men, dressed the same, flanked the first.
“No. That’s me,” Nate said coming up behind his husband.
Across the hall, a door opened. One of the brutes shifted to check it out, and Nate caught a glimpse of one of his neighbors. A scrawny man, who was a sliver in the doorway and couldn’t block the sight of the cubicles filling the living area. From what Nate and his roommates knew of their neighbors, at least ten people lived in the apartment across the way, dividing up the space with the compartments and sharing the kitchen and bathroom as common areas. Cubicle living was a step up from the cage housing Nate had heard of, but it was still sad the only way to afford a roof over a person’s head was to shove together in already cramped quarters.
The neighbor gasped at the sight of the burly guys and slammed his door.
“Good,” the one asking for Nate said. “Come with us.”
Ranger put his arm out and blocked the doorway. “He’s not going anywhere. Not without explanation and not without me.”
“Move to the side, sir. We have orders to bring Mister Stockton with us.” The huge bodyguard-type man stepped forward.
“Orders?” The chill Nate had felt earlier returned. “By who?”
“By Sector.” Doctor Horrigan came into view. His uber-white, toothy grin appeared sinister. “Doctor Trask had us on standby. You’ve received the package of information about the study?”
“If you could call it that,” Nate supplied. “More forms and legalities than anything about the study.” Something’s not right. Nate’s unease grew. His skin reacted as if thousands of tiny, nipping bugs crawled all over him. Then what the doctor had said clicked. “Trask said you guys weren’t affiliated with Sector.”
“I believe Doctor Trask mentioned we are not associated with the lottery.” Doctor Horrigan winked and shifted his mouth to a half smile. “As for the forms, they explained the compensation, though, correct?”
“Nate, who’s this guy?” Ranger looked over his shoulder at him.
“Doctor Horrigan. The dude who delivered the bad news to me at the lottery exams.”
“And the man who will make your dreams come true,” the doctor added, sounding like one of the shiftless salesmen down on the street corners selling their fake cure-alls. “Now, if you’ll come with us, we can start you two on your new lives.”
Ranger dropped his arm, moved, and filled the doorway with his body. “We haven’t made a decision yet about joining the study. We haven’t signed anything. You can’t take us anywhere.”
The burly men closed in on the doctor as if they expected a fight to break out in any moment.
The doctor held up a hand. His grin disappeared. “Sure. Okay,” he said in a snarky tone. “But, really, what is there to think about? All that money?” His voice sounded edgy, almost on the verge of frantic anger. “It’s more than the two of you will ever make. It’s a no-brainer. That’s why we arrive at potentials’ homes right after they receive the download. This way there’s no delay in doing what needs to be done and starting on the new path.” He narrowed his gaze at Nate. “I thought you wanted to go to Mars.”
Lord, help me, of course I do.
Jacey Holbrand believes life and love comes in all forms and should be celebrated. She’s committed to her muse and writing so she can share her stories with readers. Hot days. Sexy nights. Come play in her world. Jacey loves to hear from readers!
Elizabeth Monvey is the pseudonym for a single mother from Los Angeles. She writes manlove stories, where the hero meets the man of his dreams because happily ever after is one of her favorite things.
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