Authors: KD Jones
Earth Evolution Series Book 2
© Copyright June 2015 KD Jones Publishing
All cover art and logo © Copyright June 2015 by KD Jones Publishing
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Warning: For Mature Adult Audiences. Contains language and actions some may deem offensive. M/F
Up until recently, Rachel James’s life has been wonderful and carefree, bordering on spoiled. Even being the apple of her parents’ eye, hasn’t stopped her from having to live in her dead sister Maggie’s shadow. When her sister comes back from the dead, Rachel’s comfortable and easy life is turned upside down. The last thing she needs right now is the attention of a hunky but annoying alien. She’s off her game, and finding it harder and harder to ignore her attraction to him.
Lieutenant Kyle Estro of the alien nation of Drasta finally gets a lead assignment of his own to command. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a babysitting job for the healers to help with the Earth survivors. How is he to prove to his father, the Great Commander, that he is just as good as his big brother and he can be a true commander? The one bright side to the assignment is that he gets to spend more time with the beautiful Rachel, the only woman who has resisted his charms. Their attraction turns quickly into more than either of them expected.
Not everyone on Earth is happy about aliens coming to their planet, and many fear an all-out invasion. Danger is everywhere. Will Rachel and Kyle finally give in to their growing attraction for one another? Or will it be too late, as others try to tear them apart?
Rachel felt an enormous amount of guilt for what she had done. She needed to make things right somehow. “Here, I had found this when Thomas showed me your subway car. I was acting kind of bratty and took it out of spite. But now I want to give it back to you.”
“Is that my diary?” Maggie asked, reaching for it.
“Yeah, sorry I took it.”
Maggie took her old diary from her. “I was wondering what happened to it. Why did you take it? I’m not mad at you, just curious.”
Rachel felt the heat rise to her cheeks. “At first I just wanted to take something that was yours to be mean. I wanted to find something incriminating that would make you look bad in Mom and Dad’s eyes, even to Liam. It was not my finest moment. Then I started reading it. I couldn’t stop myself. I wanted to know more about you. After reading some of it, I realized that it wasn’t just spitefulness, but a desire to connect with you somehow. I felt horrible for having taken it to begin with. I’m so sorry, Maggie. I have been just a stubborn spoiled brat, haven’t I?” Rachel teared up.
Maggie turned to stand and took Rachel in her arms. “I love you, Rach. I can understand why you would be jealous and I would have been the same way if I had been in your shoes too. The nukes hit and it changed our world completely. I lived for years in the subway tunnels and you became the center of our parents’ world. You met a sexy alien and wanted to date him. Then suddenly I dropped back into your life and disrupted everything, taking attention from you, not to mention the sexy alien. I have no hard feelings. I am proud to call you my sister.”
“I don’t deserve you. I am grateful to have you back in my life, Maggie. I love you so much.” They were still hugging when their mother came back in.
“Oh, now this is a sight for sore eyes.” She came over to take them both in her arms. “My girls both together and happy.”
Rachel’s father, Lieutenant Colonel David James, stepped in through the doorway. “Are we going to get this show on the road or what? It’s five past seventeen hundred.”
The three women laughed at his usual prompt attitude. “We’re coming. Nothing is going to stop me today. I am marrying the man of my dreams.” Maggie wiped her tears and headed out of the room with her family. Just before she went through the doorway, she stopped and handed Rachel the diary. “You can keep this.”
“Why?” Rachel took the diary tentatively.
“I want you to know me better. As special as the diary is to me, it represents my past. I don’t need to hang onto it anymore. My present and future are waiting for me outside this room, and I am clinging to that with everything that I have.”
“Are we doing this thing?” Their father called from down the hallway. Both girls broke into laughter.
“We’re coming, Dad!” Rachel called out, ushering her sister out of the room to marry the sexy alien who was head over heels in love with her. Rachel wondered if she would ever find a love like that. She hoped so. She longed for something of her own.
As they approached the spiritual room where the wedding was to take place, they found their father waiting impatiently for them. Maggie turned to her. “You’re on first, honey.”
Rachel took a deep breath and walked inside. As she walked down the aisle, she took in the scenery. The room was large enough to provide seating for about a hundred people. It was filled with quite a few people from Earth. There were Earth politicians, a few close friends of her parents, and friends from Maggie’s subway tribe, but the majority of those present were the aliens called the Drastans.
Years ago, Earth had suffered a nuclear disaster. Some of its people were able to seek shelter in government-built domes deep within the Earth. A few others, like her sister Maggie, were able to survive by seeking refuge in the subway tunnels. Those who lived in the subways were known as tribes. Earth leaders sent out an emergency distress call asking for help. No one had come until now.
The Drastans had intercepted the message, even though it was years after it was sent. They still came to Earth to see if they could find survivors and if they could offer help.
Her sister Maggie met and fell in love with one of the Drastans, Captain Liam Estro. It was because of him that Rachel and her parents were reunited with Maggie, who they believed had died in the nuclear blast. Now Rachel was here on the Drastan command ship, participating in her sister’s wedding, or a “union ceremony,” as the Drastans called it.
Rachel felt all eyes on her as she walked down the aisle lined with strange and beautiful flowers. The maid of honor, her sister’s best friend Lily, was already standing there at the makeshift altar along with the groom and his two brothers. A priestess and a clergyman from Earth were presiding over the ceremony, combining the two different alien cultures together.
Rachel felt nervous. She was used to people looking at her. She had long blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Her skin was pale and delicate. She was considered quite pretty by most. Today, she had her hair braided in little rows and pulled back from her face. A yellow flower tucked on top of her head matched the yellow dress she wore. Men usually appreciated her looks and she had always liked that.
Until she’d begun reading her sister’s diary, she’s gone about her days using her looks to get what she wanted. She was spoiled, and conceited, but knowing how much her sister had survived had impacted her own behavior. Her sister had survived so many things and still she stood up for the people she cared about, for what she felt was right. Maggie was strong and fiercely loyal. She fought hard and loved hard.
Rachel saw how totally in love Maggie was with her fiancé Liam were and how much, in turn, he was in love with Maggie. S she wanted that kind of love. They had a relationship similar to her own parents’ relationship and also what her grandparents had — it was a relationship in which the people in love weren’t perfect, but their love made them perfect together. Rachel longed for that kind of connection with someone.
She stopped at the end of the aisle and stood next to Lily. She turned and faced the groom. Liam stood tall and handsome in his dark warrior’s uniform. Next to him were two more Drastan men. His best man and older brother who was a few inches taller. Mediko Jared Estro was very handsome too, but in a more refined way. Then there was the younger man, just an inch shorter than Liam — his younger brother Lieutenant Kyle Estro. She tried not to look at Kyle. He was cocky, self-assured, egotistical, and, unfortunately, the best looking Estro in the group. He was charming, but he had used that charm on all her friends, which really pissed her off.
Kyle smiled at her and gave her a wink, which caused her to frown and glare at him. Damn him and his dimples. She did her best to ignore him through the ceremony. She concentrated on her sister and the vows that were being exchanged. She couldn’t help but sigh with happiness for her sister.
The ceremony ended quickly enough. Maggie and Liam were pronounced husband and wife and walked out of the room. Jared extended his arm out to Lily, who hesitated for a moment before taking his arm and walking down the aisle. Then Rachel was left to walk with Kyle. She wanted it over with, so she grabbed his arm and practically dragged him down the aisle, almost passing the couple ahead of them.
“Wow, you are strong for a woman,” Kyle commented, chuckling. “What are you in a hurry for?”
Rachel glared back at him. “To get away from you.” As soon as they were out of the ceremony room, she dropped his arm and walked down the corridor toward the reception room.
“She really doesn’t like you,” Jared commented as he leaned against the wall.
“Nope. I don’t understand why. Women usually love me,” Kyle grumbled, kicking his shoe on the floor.
“Careful, that’s Maggie’s sister so there has to be some kind of warning on how to handle that one.”
“Naw, she’s a pretty face but she doesn’t have grit like Maggie. I just wish she would give me a chance.”
Jared took pity on Kyle and put his arm over his shoulder, then put him in a headlock. “Come on, there’s supposed to be food at this reception thing and I am starving.”
Kyle tried to reach up and break loose but Jared’s height made it difficult. “Yeah, let’s eat. I’ve worked an appetite.”
But it wasn’t just food he was hungry for. Ever since meeting the prickly Earth woman Rachel he had thought of nothing else but her. But she was determined to rebuff all his attempts of flirtation. What was a guy to do?
Rachel stood in the corner and watched as the two brothers passed her. She had dropped her pin that was attached to her bouquet so she came back to look for it. She saw the two Estro brothers and ducked into a corner so they wouldn’t see her. They didn’t see her but she could hear every word they said.
They thought she was pretty but didn’t put a lot of expectation on her. She had heard the same thing before by others growing up. Not even her own parents had given her much to be responsible for. She was often overlooked when it came to serious matters or hard work. She hated that. One day, she would show them all what she was really made of. She just needed an opportunity.
She caught sight of Kyle’s cousin, Quinn. She made her way over to him. He gave her a quick wink. This was what she needed to ease her wounded pride. She needed a night of fun, harmless flirtation with a very attraction man. Quinn would do nicely. It also didn’t hurt that she caught a frown on Kyle’s face when he saw Quinn lead her to the dance floor. Yes, this was just what she needed.
“She married a damn alien,” a tall man standing with a group off to the side commented.
“The Lieutenant Colonel allowed that to happen. He stood right there high and mighty, giving his daughter away. Is he going to hand his other daughter over to another alien?”
“Probably trading our women for weapons and supplies,” another man commented.
“Someone needs to show these dome leaders that they can’t sell us out to aliens. These aliens need to be taught a lesson about taking what doesn’t belong to them.”
Three months later
“You wanted to see me, Father?” Kyle walked into his father’s office without knocking and plopped down on the chair across from the desk.
“Is that any way that a warrior is supposed to treat his commanding officer?”
Kyle immediately stood up in attention and raised his hand to salute him. “Sir, no, sir. Lieutenant Kyle Estro reporting, sir.”
Kyle’s father returned the salute and pointed to the seat that Kyle had first sat down in. “At ease, Lieutenant. Take a seat.”
Kyle plopped down into the chair once more. “What’s going on?”
“Your brother should be here shortly. Let’s wait until he arrives.” His father looked uncomfortable. He always did whenever he had to be around Kyle one-on-one. Kyle used to feel that his father hated him, blamed him for his mother’s death. But recently they had aired their grievances with one another, thanks to the interference of his brother’s wife, Maggie.
Thinking of Maggie made him smile. She was a small thing but she was very strong-willed, unlike her younger sister, Rachel, who was more like a delicate flower that would blow away with a strong wind. Of course Rachel never gave Kyle the time of day...literally. He had asked her once what time of day it was and she had responded with something like “half past your asshole.” He still didn’t understand what that meant. When he asked Maggie, she just laughed and told him not to be worried over what her sister said. But it did bother him that Rachel seemed to care so little for him.
His brother Liam walked in and saluted their father. He was always the perfect warrior. Almost exactly like their father in every respect. He was proud of his father and two older brothers, but it was tough at times to live under their shadows all the time. Great Commander Devlon Estro, who had fought many battles, was the pride of the Drastan nation. Kyle’s brother, Captain Liam Estro, was famous in his own right for being a loyal and dedicated warrior following in their father’s footsteps.
Kyle would have given up being a warrior a long time ago if he had something he could have done better with, like his oldest brother Jared. Mediko Jared Estro was brilliant at an early age and earned the respect of everyone as he became the head mediko on the command ship. Kyle didn’t have much of a choice in what he did, however. Being a warrior was all that Kyle knew.
His father put Liam at ease. “Sit down, Liam. I was about to discuss the mission with Kyle, but I wanted to wait for you to get here first.”
Kyle perked up, sitting straighter in his seat. “What mission?”
“We are sending down more medikos and supplies to the subway dwellers...tribes. Based on Liam’s recommendation, I am assigning you the security detail for that. It should last a couple weeks, then I will have you return with the mediko volunteers for a new group to replace you.”
Kyle frowned. “What? You have got to be kidding me. That’s a babysitting job. You don’t need me for that. This is just a bunch of shit that Liam is sticking me with.”
Liam glared at him, but Kyle didn’t care. He glared right back. Liam corrected him about the job. “It is not a babysitting position. It is a level three security threat. I had to convince Father that you were ready for this. He wanted to assign someone else.”