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The Mad Lieutenant (The Lost Planet #3)
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Her voice brought me back from the darkness, but I don’t want the sweet relief she promises. Unlike the rest of the morts on my planet, I don’t want a mate. Especially not her.
She’s loud, boisterous, and doesn’t take no for an answer.
Unlike the rest of the alien females my brothers have woken from cryosleep, Molly doesn’t find my growls intimidating. The more I try to ignore her, the more she tries to befriend me.
I’d been taken captive once by the virus that nearly killed me. I bear its scars, not only on my body, but in my thoughts. No woman, not even one as beautiful as Molly, can heal me.
I don’t want her, but she needs me.
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The Lost Planet Series Note
In the beginning, there were many who survived the initial blasts of radiation and the resulting catastrophic environmental disturbances. The morts, the only inhabitants of Mortuus, The Lost Planet, ever changed from the effects of the radiation, learned to adapt and, more importantly, to survive. In doing so, they became highly skilled and intelligent, capable of surviving even the worst conditions.
The planet was dangerous, and life wasn’t easy, but the morts had each other and that was all that mattered. They flourished in the protective shell of an abandoned building they converted into living quarters. Morts were given jobs, trained from birth in order to pass knowledge from generation to generation. Eventually, the morts hoped to extend the facility and conquer the wild, untamable outdoors.
Then, disaster struck.
The Rades, a disease contracted from complications of the radiation, began to infect increasing numbers of their population. First, there was fever, followed by sores, then finally madness and, inevitably, death. Quarantining the infected helped, but by then it was too late. Women, children, and the elderly were the first to go. One by one, morts caught The Rades and died. Whole families wiped away.
Until only ten males remained.
Salvation came years later when the morts discovered a ship filled with aliens—female aliens. Knowing it was their only chance at survival, they snuck on a passing ship and brought the females home to study—and to breed.
It was their only chance at survival.
Three females have been claimed. Two remain.
Three Solars Later
I step through the small Decontamination Bay still sizzling from a near miss of a magnastrike. My sub-bones feel as though they’re alive and crawling with energy from the blinding white of the magnastrike that melted the back of my suit.
I was nearly rekking killed by the elements, yet it didn’t threaten to consume my mind like this facility does. The familiar roaring inside my nog comes raging to the forefront like a pack of hungry sabrevipes eager to feast on my sanity.
Stop thinking about it.
My skin crawls as I quickly dart my gaze back at the exit. I can escape if I need to. I’m not trapped here.
I’m not trapped.
I’m not trapped.
I can escape if I want.
Heat, nothing to do with my near miss with the magnastrike, burns through me. This heat was something that caught fire within me when I’d contracted The Rades. With the fire came the maddening thoughts. The voices. The terror. The darkness. The pain.
Inside my chest, my heart is pounding to the point I feel dizzy. The past three solars, aside from the horrible geostorm, were freeing. When Breccan asked for a volunteer to take Calix and his mate the necessary supplies they needed at Sector 1779, I’d jumped so fast at the chance, I made all the morts around me startle.
This place is a prison.
My mind is a prison.
This rekking planet is a prison.
And despite it all, everyone around me seems happy. Hopeful even. When Theron and Sayer brought back the aliens, it was as though all the morts were brought back to life. As though they had purpose again.
Everyone but me.
The arrival of the females only further aggravated my mind. Their soft, sweet voices remind me of my mother. Of a past where I once laughed and had purpose. I don’t laugh anymore. I don’t do anything aside from trying to live solar by solar. The only time I feel some semblance of peace is when I’m in The Tower. And since this geostorm has been ravaging us for nearly a revolution, I haven’t spent hardly any time at all up there. This trapped feeling only intensifies each solar.
At one point, I’d looked at the stars beyond and wondered if I could ride with Theron in the Mayvina. Maybe the trapped feeling would lessen if I was off this rekking planet. But all that died when the females arrived. They rooted us here. I can see it in Breccan’s eyes. He wants to make Mortuus a real home again. Everyone spends countless hours making new plans on how to make our lives better. They look at the future.
I’m stuck in the past.
So often my mind drifts to those dark times when I was captive to that disease. Despite healing from it physically, it has left its wicked mark on my brain. I’ll never be free of The Rades. Rekking never.
I’m tearing off my zu-gear as I leave the rigorous cleansing in the small Decontamination Bay when Hadrian saunters up to me, eyes wide and excited.
“The mortyoung is coming! You’re just in time!” he bellows. “What did you get?”
His fast talking and energetic movements make me tense. I eye the west entrance door. So close. Ignoring my urge to flee, I reach into my satchel and bring out Calix’s notes.
“The supplies Breccan was hoping for do not exist. I searched Sector 1779 myself. However, there are important notes that will be helpful. Plus—”