2-in-1: Machine Lust Series by Michelle Marquis by Michelle Marquis - Read Online



Two complete Erotic Romance / Science Fiction novels from bestselling author Michelle Marquis! BLACK COPPER: Doctor Laura Kinsey is a mild mannered psychiatrist who hasn't been able to enjoy sex for years. Fondled by a family friend while a teen, she now finds any type of intimacy leaves her feeling cold and threatened. Her fear is so debilitating, it broke up her and her fiancé. But when Laura is taken into custody by a smoking hot android Enforcer, things definitely change for the better. Kronos is a Reaper Series android tracking down a rogue scientist accused of killing five of his colleagues. Notorious for being the most ruthless android Enforcer, Kronos is accustomed to getting what he wants. The one thing he doesn't count on is his detainee Laura. Being trapped with a beautiful woman day after day has a profound effect on him. And once Kronos tastes the passion buried within Laura, he knows this is one captive he never intends to let go. SWITCHBLADE: Vivian Mercer is a seasoned Justice capturing criminals all over the galaxy. Despite her success, sometimes she rubs people the wrong way, like new Chief Justice Jazen Strom. Insulted by her abrasive rebuff of his seduction, Jazen decides Vivian needs to be taught a serious lesson. And the best way to deliver that lesson is to team her up with a Switchblade Series android programmed to take her out. Griffin is a decommissioned Switchblade Series android procured in secret to end Vivian's career. The only problem is he's not very good at following orders, especially when they involve someone this good looking.
Published: Torrid Books on
ISBN: 9781611601718
List price: $4.99
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2-in-1 - Michelle Marquis

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Michelle Marquis

Chapter 1

The first thing Kronos smelled as he came down the hall of the Necrodyne Research Complex was the pungent order of burnt flesh. It was an unsettling scent and a harsh reminder of what should not be here. This was a place where great minds created androids and other technology. It shouldn’t smell like anything but fresh floor wax and industrial cleansers. He tried to shrug it off but the stench of death made him a little melancholy.

The Necrodyne Research Complex was one of the oldest facilities of its kind in the nation. It was also the birthplace of technology far more advanced than anyone could have imagined only a few short years ago. Gifted scientists the world over competed with each other just for a chance to train here. Now some of those brilliant minds had been silenced forever. As Kronos advanced on the bodies he knew one thing for certain, whoever had committed these crimes had done so out of passion. No one would use an ion pulse pistol for murder unless they were trying to make a point. That kind of weapon left a nasty burn wound that screamed this was personal.

Kronos stopped under the harsh white lights to examine the scene. He detested florescent lights as they often gave him vision headaches. Frowning, he stared down at the bodies. There were six in all: five men and one woman. From the position of the bodies they all looked like they’d been attacked suddenly, without warning. Kronos suspected they knew their murderer. No one could have gotten into a facility like this without a security code. Each victim had a three-inch burn hole in the middle of their chest from an ion pulse round.

Two other Enforcers joined him and scanned the scene. They were Maximillian, a Stinger Series and Proteus, a new Viper Series model. Maximillian glanced up and down the hall. Witnesses? he asked.

Kronos leaned against the wall wishing someone would dim the lights. None but the video cameras. Apparently this happened in the early morning hours.

Proteus crouched by the woman’s body. He placed his fingers tenderly by the wound as if it might hurt her. That would be consistent with the wounds, he said. Someone would surely have heard this if it had happened during normal working hours. He searched her pockets and pulled out a brown leather wallet. Flipping through the contents he found a picture of two beautiful smiling children, a girl and a messy-haired boy with a mischievous smile. Proteus lingered on the picture for a moment then returned the wallet to the woman’s pocket. He looked up into Kronos’ eyes. You the leader on this case?

Yes, Kronos replied.

Proteus stood up and turned his attention to an older man rushing toward them. He wore the dusty gray uniform of the complex’s security guards. Kronos wondered why they hadn’t switched all their security to a more reliable mainframe system like the master online transmission relay, or MOTR as they called her.

I’m sorry it took me so long to get this information to you but some of our records were destroyed by a virus. He stopped in front of Kronos and for a moment the android thought the old man was going to fall to his knees. The guard’s hands shook as he handed Kronos a small strip of paper with an access code written on it in pen.

Kronos reached his mind out to the complex mainframe and recited the access code to her. At first she denied him, blocking him from her information so he refined his approach. Sometimes these older systems needed more time and attention to get them to cooperate. He communicated with her in the old machine language she knew telling her how efficient and refined she was. He was careful to be tender with her and after a few tense moments, he was able to soothe her.

Like the door of a great temple opening she let him in. With a rush of data he was inside her databanks with a million images surging into his thoughts. He told the mainframe which area and approximate time he wanted to access and the murders came up immediately. Kronos froze the image of the shooter and sent it to a nearby screen. A commercial had been running in a silent loop on the screen when it abruptly blinked off. The screen went black then blinked on and the image came up. All three androids stared at the assailant in the frozen video frame. Kronos looked at the security guard. Do you know this man?

The old man’s eyes grew watery and his lips thinned. Yes, he said. Yes I do know him. His name is Doctor Keith Shipley and he was a visiting scientist a few years back in the robotics lab. He created an android series but there were problems. The units had too many bugs and ended up killing two civilians in the parking lot one night because the people didn’t respond to questions fast enough. Rumor was he skipped a few steps during testing to get them on the market faster. Well, after that he was suspended without pay. He was real bitter about it when he left.

Kronos studied Shipley’s face on the screen. He looked like many middle-aged scientists of his generation, glasses, balding, and pasty pale. Who are his known associates?

The security guard stiffened. I could only find one. He was apparently seeing a shrink named Laura Kinsey. He handed Kronos a business card with the woman’s picture on it. She was lovely with bright blue eyes and light brown hair the color of wheat. She wore a tense smile as if she’d rather be anywhere other than taking a picture of herself. For a moment, Kronos let the picture take him away and he wondered what a man like Shipley and her would have to talk about. Did he tell her of his latest discoveries or were their conversations of a more intimate nature? And what did she do while Shipley droned on about himself? Did she listen politely and wonder what she was going to have for dinner or did this strange little man fascinate her in some way?

Kronos felt oddly jealous of the time they’d spent together. Was she really helping Shipley or was the scientist just going to see her because he enjoyed the exclusive attention? Obviously something hadn’t worked because Shipley had killed six of his co-workers only hours after he’d last seen her.

We’ll make next of kin on these six, Maximillian said, gesturing to the ground. His words pulled Kronos from his thoughts. I’m sure you’d like to get started on your rogue scientist.

Kronos met his brother android’s gaze and a moment of understanding passed between them. Max must have watched him staring at the psychologist’s photo. Was his loneliness that obvious? Without saying anything, Kronos turned and headed out into the cold, empty night.

He was glad to finally be out of that building with its million florescent lights. His headache was just now beginning to fade. Kronos paused to look down at Doctor Kinsey’s picture on the card and committed it and her address to memory. Finding her should be easy. Her office isn’t too far from here. Just as he got to his transport it started to rain.

Chapter 2

Laura Kinsey sat at her desk obsessively glancing at her watch. She got up and straightened some books on her shelf and checked her cell phone one more time. No messages, nothing. This is so odd. Mister Shipley had sounded so urgent on the phone. He’d insisted on seeing her even though it was long after counseling hours. She regretted agreeing to it now. She should have put him off until the morning.

Toying with the office keys in her pocket she opened her blinds and stared out at the empty parking lot. The pavement glistened under the streetlights making her feel like the only one left in a deserted world. Her car sat by the back entrance dappled in water from the recent downpour looking lonely and deserted. I’m going to leave. He’s over two hours late; I’m sure he’s not coming.

Laura opened her desk drawer and grabbed her purse. She locked everything up and headed downstairs wondering what could have happened to Shipley. He was an odd man, full of insecurities and frustrations but for all his faults, he was never late. Laura was secretly glad he’d stood her up for this session; she was beginning to find Shipley’s long-buried anger unsettling.

When Shipley had first come to see her she’d thought him just another misunderstood intellectual. He’d been referred by a friend Laura had treated successfully for clinical depression. But Shipley was different. His emotional problems were much deeper and whenever they’d gotten close to the source of them, Shipley had become frighteningly agitated. Once they got to the core of his problems she knew she could help him. He just needed to trust her enough to let her in.

Pausing by the back door Laura reset the building alarm and headed toward her car. Headlights flashed across her vision and she felt a pang of annoyance. That must be Shipley now.

But the car wasn’t Shipley’s. It was a state enforcement vehicle.

Laura’s mind raced thinking what she might have done to warrant a visit from an Enforcer. Scrambling to find her keys, she placed her thumb over the ignition key’s ID pad and the driver’s door popped open.

The black enforcement vehicle circled around a light post and headed right for her. The car pulled up a few feet from hers like a raptor swooping down on its prey. She jumped in and pulled her door closed. Once inside she said, Lock doors. The automatic door locks clicked home loudly. Start engine, she commanded and the engine roared to life.

A man emerged from the enforcement vehicle wearing an Enforcer’s black uniform. He was a towering fortress of pure power and Laura’s mind snapped in panic. He’s made a mistake and thinks I’m marked for death! I’ve got to get out of here and clear this up. Clawing at the transmission, she put the car in gear and everything went dead.

For several seconds she forgot to breathe as her mind tried to process what was happening. The door locks clicked open and she jumped as if she’d been shot. The driver’s door opened with a creak.

Are you Laura Kinsey? a deep man’s voice asked.

She clenched her teeth so hard her jaw ached. Here it comes. This is how my life will end, in a deserted parking lot killed by a malfunctioning government killing machine. She could deny it but he’d only DNA test her and he’d know. So she did the only thing she could.

Laura nodded.

Will you come with me please? he said in a tone that didn’t leave room for refusal.

I...I can’t, she said. I have to get home.

We’ll notify your family you’ve been detained.

Great. I hope they speak plant because houseplants are the only family I have. What is this all about?

The Enforcer stepped back from the car. Will you step out of the vehicle?

Laura was trembling from the overflow of adreline. All she wanted to do was put as much distance between her and this monster as she could but he was determined to make that impossible.

She got out and looked up at the android. He had to be an easy six-foot-five. His body was one solid mass of intimidating size and muscle, with a thick neck and a face as handsome and devastating as any pagan god’s. But his eyes were the most startling thing of all. They were the eyes of a black magician with two solid irises of black copper that pulled her in like a cobra’s.

What have I done? she managed.

You haven’t done anything, he said. He reached into his car and pulled out a close-up face shot of Doctor Shipley. Do you recognize this man?

Laura blinked and folded her arms to keep her hands from shaking. Yes. He’s a patient of mine. His name is Doctor Keith Shipley. Has anything happened to him?

He’s missing, the android said. His tone suggested there was much more than what he was telling her. Enforcers didn’t work missing person’s cases; they worked murders. Do you have any idea where he might go if he was in trouble?

She tried to break eye contact but found she couldn’t. No. He didn’t have many friends. He was kind of a loner. Why? What’s happened?

The android ignored her question and gestured to the passenger seat in his vehicle. Will you come with me please?

No, Laura said, finding her courage. I will not go with you. I want to know why I’m being arrested.

You’re not being arrested, you’re being detained.

I don’t want to be detained.

I’m afraid you don’t have a choice, Miss Kinsey, he said in a cool dangerous tone. Get in the car or I’ll force you inside it and I guarantee if I force you, you won’t like it.

Laura got in and slammed the door. The android got in next to her and started the car without saying anything. She wondered how he did that. I hope you know this is illegal, and I already don’t like it, she said angrily.

Chapter 3

The drive back to his lair was filled with tense silence. Kronos wasn’t accustomed to detaining case leads but he was pleased he’d chosen to do so now. Laura was quite attractive. Sitting next to him with her arms folded, she wore a classic brown business suit and white blouse unbuttoned just enough to show the pale flesh of her chest. The swell of her breasts was modest but with an inviting plumpness that almost begged to be caressed and explored. Her face was intelligent and lovely with full lips and blue eyes the color of the morning sky. He wanted to touch his mouth to those lips.

I’m sure you’re aware this is kidnapping. She seethed next to him.

He stopped at a red light and looked over at her. Her body was humming with anger and he hungered to tap that passion and bring it to the surface. Technically it’s not, he corrected. You are important to the case. I can detain you as long as necessary.

Laura twisted in her seat. "I have a life. I have patients I see daily. What am I supposed to do about them? Some of