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Love Without Limits

Love Without Limits

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Love Without Limits

ratings:
4.5/5 (3 ratings)
Length:
358 pages
5 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 30, 2019
ISBN:
9781944389055
Format:
Book

Description

Back on Valinor, faced with the news that Caspar has poisoned her planet, and everyone and everything will soon die, Akacia must keep it together for those who are left. Akacia and Everleigh are forced to deal with evil people, illness, and survival. When given the opportunity to find a cure for her planet, Akacia jumps at the chance to go with her lover, Everleigh, to a dangerous world in hopes to get the cure and return home. All does not go as planned.

**This book is an LGBTQ sci-fi story with a female/female relationship.**

Publisher:
Released:
Mar 30, 2019
ISBN:
9781944389055
Format:
Book

About the author

Creator of worlds and characters.

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Love Without Limits - Talia Jager

Table Of Contents

Dedication:

Acknowledgements:

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Author Bio:

Love WIthout Limits

Beyond Earth: Book Three

Copyright © 2019 by Talia Jager. All rights reserved.

First Print Edition: 2019

Ebook ISBN:

ISBN 13: 978-1-944389-05-5

Print ISBN:

ISBN-13: 9781797510187

Editing by Tasha L. Harrison

https://tashalharrison.com

Cover and Formatting by Streetlight Graphics

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.

Dedication:

To a group of women who I am just coming to know. May our journeys take us to the places we aspire to be.

Acknowledgements:

Thank you to my family for their understanding, love, and support…and sometimes content.

Thank you to my friend, Montana, for her assistance in any way she could, whenever I would ask. Most of all, for her friendship.

Thank you to my team: Streetlight Graphics and Tasha Harrison for making this book awesome.

Chapter One

Akacia

I stood over Caspar’s body. The last time I killed him, I just assumed he was dead. I wouldn’t make that mistake again. I picked up a small tree branch that had fallen and whacked him in the head. His blood splattered everywhere. Then I bent down and felt for a pulse. There was none.

Satisfied, I retrieved my sword from Caspar’s body and walked away from him. I only got five steps before I fell on my hands and knees and threw up. The sobs came then, racking my body.

Caspar might be dead, but he most certainly had won. In less than a few minutes, my life had been ripped apart just like when my parents were killed. My planet, my home, my people, my loved ones, Ever…if they weren’t dead already, they would be soon. I would be alive to watch it all happen before my eyes. My punishment for disobeying him. My punishment for existing. I could feel panic looming like a predator about to pounce on its prey.

Kaci? Somebody fell in front of me. Kaci, are you okay? Hands on my face. Warm hands. Loving hands. Safe hands. Kaci!

It took a long second for my mind to recognize the voice. I wiped my eyes. Ever? You’re not dead? Grabbing her, I pulled her toward me, no matter how much my shoulder hurt. I wanted her close. I wanted to hang on to her and never let her go. I needed to feel safe.

No.

The ship…

I know. Her voice trembled. She was barely keeping it together. I wasn’t on it.

You’re okay. You’re okay, I repeated.

Yes. Take some deep breaths.

I focused on my senses and took deep breaths, forcing the panic away. I wasn’t sure how long we sat there holding each other. It felt like hours, but it was probably just minutes.

Ever broke the silence. You’re bleeding.

Ignoring her, I asked, Who was left on the ship, Ever?

We lost a lot of good people. Let’s get you to medical.

I finally pulled away and my wet eyes met her sullen ones. Tell me.

Zabe, Briar, Blake, Zia, and about ten Splicers.

My heart bottomed out. Huxley?

I don’t know.

Heaviness settled on my chest. All those people who didn’t want to fight? They were killed anyway. I told them they could stay on the ship. I gave them permission. If I had asked them to fight as their Empress, they would have.

Nobody saw this coming, Kaci. It’s not your fault. She pushed a strand of hair out of my face.

Not my fault? Of course, it is. I glanced at Caspar’s body. He wanted me. I should have found a way to get rid of the nanites the second I knew about them.

He was an evil man, Kaci. He would have continued to hurt people. You saved many from his torture.

No. I didn’t. Tears streamed down my face. He poisoned the water supply. We have no way off the planet. We’re all going to die.

Her eyes widened, and she blew out a long breath. Except you, right?

I nodded. His way of hurting me. But with the EMP, I can kill the nanites and die along with my people, with you.

Nobody’s dying right now. Her lips flattened into a thin line. Come on. Your people are waiting for you. She helped me up.

My shoulder exploded in pain and I let out a hiss. Seeing the concern in Ever’s golden eyes, I said, I’ll heal.

She examined the wound. Not with the bullet in there.

You’ll get it out.

I took one last look at Caspar’s body and motioned to the guards that had arrived with Ever. Somehow I got my head together enough to give them clear instructions on what to do with his body, which included locking it in an airtight casket, just in case he came back to life again. I pointed down the path. Also, you will find a person tied up down there. I want him brought to an interrogation cell but separate from the others.

What’s up with that? Ever asked.

I think he might be a SGS, so I didn’t kill him.

Oh! She sounded surprised.

I kept my promise.

I never doubted you.

I just don’t want to deal with it this second.

The walk back took us through the village, but I was not prepared for what I saw. Violence once confined to movies or news programs shown on our Projection Interfaces had played out in our village. To Valinorians, war was something that happened elsewhere, not something that came here.

The smell hit me hard: the coppery scent of blood, rotten decaying flesh, smoke from bombs and fires, the stink of fuels and other metallic-like smells. I gagged, and my eyes welled with tears. If it smells this bad to me, I can’t imagine what you can smell right now. Ever’s eyes were bulging and she looked a little green, so I guessed I was right.

There was wailing, and some people had thrown themselves over dead loved ones while others huddled over bodies trying to revive them or help. There were screams in the distance that shattered my heart. Possibly a mother that had found her husband or child dead.

This was all on me.

Uninjured people helped the wounded get to the clinic. The clinic was like a small hospital. It wasn’t needed often. Scientists had eliminated all genetic anomalies. Most people didn’t get sick on Valinor. When people dock—even our own citizens coming back from being off planet—they actually pass through an anti-contagion chamber that Ciara designed. They don’t even notice. It removed any weird diseases that they may be carrying and kept Valinor safe. Now obviously, when people jump down to Valinor or land their ships in unapproved areas this doesn’t happen. Chronic illness had been cured centuries ago. If someone needed major surgery that our Med-Surg Bed couldn’t handle, they were transported to the medical facility on the space station. So really the only time the clinic is used is with injuries or complications of childbirth, things like that.

Jed’s voice over the loudspeakers in the village announced that Caspar was dead and that we would show leniency to any of his army who surrendered.

As I passed, those who noticed bowed or thanked me. Teary-eyed, I shook my head and replied, No. Thank you.

We stopped and helped people get to the clinic. Ever noticed my grimace as I tried to be brave in front of my people. Ever finished helping a woman inside and then turned to me. Empress, you need medical attention.

I smiled at her attempt to be formal and respectful in front of others.

After we help these people. I carried a child to the clinic while Ever helped her mother.

There are too many people that need help. We can’t help them all. If you want to help any of them, you need to get your shoulder fixed.

She had a point. My shoulder was throbbing. It wouldn’t heal until the bullet came out. I could do more once I was healed.

Okay. Not here, I responded. I didn’t want to take any of the clinic’s supplies. Not for wounds that would heal on their own.

They were setting up a healing tent near the cave, Ever told me and we hurried there.

The cave came into view and a dirty, tired looking Galton called out, Akacia! He rushed over and threw his arms around me.

Ow! I flinched when my shoulder hit his.

He jolted back. You’re hurt. Let’s get you taken care of.

I need you to tell me what’s going on first. I want a full report.

Ever sighed loudly making sure I knew she didn’t approve.

We have the rest of Caspar’s army in our cells. You will need to decide their punishment. Caspar’s body is being taken to the crypt where he will be locked in a casket per your instructions.

What about our people, Galton?

Some are dead, Empress, but many are still alive. Caspar wanted slaves more than dead people, so he made it seem like he was killing more than he actually was, he explained. Once the battle started, there were more casualties of course.

Just to the left of us, people loaded an all-weather makeshift tent with beds and medical supplies. Out came Marceau. As soon as he saw us, he sprinted over. His blue eyes were ablaze.

Akacia, I’m so glad you’re okay. He fussed over me. You need to get inside and have that wound taken care of, get some water, and rest for a minute.

Ever’s eyebrows raised.

Ever, this is Marceau, Galton’s husband.

Marceau embraced Ever. Nice to meet you, Ever. Please don’t hold Galton’s attitude toward you against me. He’s just very overprotective of Akacia.

Nice to meet you too.

You look shocked, he stated.

Galton just never seemed like the marrying type.

Marceau laughed. He’s a big teddy—

Marceau, if you finish that sentence, so help me… Galton interrupted.

Marceau stepped forward and shut Galton up with a kiss. I’m just happy you’re okay. He turned to me, his eyes sad as he placed a wad of gauze over my wound. I’m so sorry this happened, Akacia, he said.

It’s not your fault.

I can’t believe how angry Caspar became. Marceau shook his head. He seemed so normal all those years ago—it’s just unreal. I can’t believe he’s capable of doing this to a planet. A planet he once lived on.

I loved Marceau, but he could talk for ages. I stole a look at Galton who hushed his husband.

Where are Bristow and Soraya? I closed my eyes and hoped they were both alive.

They’re fine. Soraya took a good beating, suffered a broken arm, protecting the command center as long as she could. Bristow was able to evade capture and led as many people as he could to safety in the old war shelter. Soraya made it there too. We can get her to medical now and heal that arm.

I let out a long breath, happy that my best friend and new leader were okay. Do we have any communications?

The news was grim. No. The control room was destroyed. In fact, most of the compound was.

I want a full report of how many are dead, what has been destroyed, and what services are still working, I ordered.

Ever! a voice rang out.

My head shot up along with Ever’s and I saw Briar running toward us with her sister. A look of relief spread over Ever’s face.

Briar! They embraced. How…? Are you okay?

Yes.

You were on the ship, I said, opening my arms.

She hugged me. Elowen jumped back up and told us what was in that cave and thought I should take a look. So, I jumped down with Blake and Nero.

My mother? Ever asked, turning white.

She’s fine.

She let out a long breath. Did Zabe jump down too?

This time, Briar’s eyes filled up with tears. No. He and his mother were on the ship.

Huxley? I asked.

He’s in the cave. He was hurt. There’s a medical section there.

A what? In the cave? My eyes shifted to the entrance.

She sniffled, pulling herself together. Come on. You have to see it to believe it.

Briar was right. I never expected to find what the cave led to. We stood in the doorway to a large underground room that was now being used as a makeshift hospital. My eyes scanned the area. In the middle of the room were four long, counter-height tables with cabinets or shelves underneath full of science equipment—a lab that had been untouched for the past twelve years. There were still sheets and tarps over most of the equipment. In front of the entrance to the left was a wall of computerized equipment and screens. In the far back, left-hand corner was a large round table. The back wall had doors to rooms with tables in them; conference rooms perhaps. In the right-hand corner were shelves of equipment. The right wall had two closed doors. Then to the right of the entrance were small medical rooms.

It’s like an underground compound, I said, not really to anyone.

Huxley sat on an exam table in one of the small rooms to the right where someone tried to dig something out of his leg. He didn’t look happy, but at least he was alive.

Ciara rushed to my side. Her face flushed. Kaci…Empress, are you okay?

I’m fine.

She’s not fine. She was shot, Ever said.

With a stern look on her face, Ciara pointed to the room next to the one Huxley was in. Ever unzipped the top of my techsuit until she could slip it over my shoulder and off my arm while Ciara collected the supplies. She was just about to start when more injured soldiers arrived.

Go, I told her. Ever can handle this.

After I do this.

Ciara, it’s an order.

She rolled her eyes. Kaci, it’ll take two minutes.

Someone could die in that time. Go.

Stubborn, she muttered as she left the room, slamming the door behind her.

Ever took over. She calls you Kaci.

Yes. We’ve been friends for a few years.

Is that all?

I caught her gaze. You’re jealous.

Pink colored her cheeks. No. Just curious.

She’s only a friend.

Ever stared at me, the tiniest bit of doubt in her eyes.

She’s beautiful but could never compare to you. You have nothing to worry about. She is a good friend and healer.

Okay.

Ever picked up the numbing spray, but I stopped her. Save it for someone else. I had no idea how much supplies we had.

You don’t want me to numb you?

No. Just do it. Thinking back to Terronda when she fished that piece of metal out of me, I said, You’ve done it before.

Ever grabbed a pair of forceps, met my gaze, and then dug into my shoulder.

I slammed my other hand down on the table and blinked back the tears. It didn’t take her too long to find it and wiggle it out. She quickly put a wad of gauze to the wound and held it there.

Any other injuries I should know about? she asked.

Nothing big. But you’re bleeding.

I know. Sword fight. We’ll look at it when I’m done with you, she said nonchalantly as she bandaged the area.

I began to put my suit back on but stopped suddenly.

What’s wrong? Ever asked.

Caspar’s blood…

There were splotches of his blood covering my suit.

Ever searched the room and found a basic techsuit. This will do until we can get something else.

With shaky hands, I took the suit and quickly changed. Your turn, I said to Ever, unzipping her techsuit. She had a nasty cut on her abdomen and her chest was bruised.

Her wound was long and needed to be closed. I looked around the room for a wand but didn’t find one. Poking my head out the door, I asked, Do we have a wand or any newskin?

No.

Sighing I closed the door and said, I have to stitch you up.

Okay.

I found a bottle of sanitizer and poured it over my hands. I think it’d be easier if you lay down, I said after assessing the location of her wound. Do you want me to numb you?

Yes. You’re braver than me. Numb me up.

As she lay back on the bed, I washed the area with a sanitized cloth, then sprayed it with the numbing spray. Ready?

Yeah.

I began to stitch the gash closed. I didn’t ask if she was okay. If she wasn’t, she wouldn’t admit it anyway. I finished the job as quickly as I could, bandaged it, and then gave her a pressurized injection of medicine to keep it from getting infected and to help the pain.

Done.

She stretched out on the exam table and groaned. I could sleep for a week.

I forced a smile. I wish we could. I sat down and buried my head in my hands. Instead I have to go tell everyone we’ll be dead soon.

We’ll figure this out.

This is my biggest fear, I blurted. Letting everyone down.

Kaci, you saved them and many others by killing Caspar. We just have to figure out what he used and find the cure.

If we don’t, everyone dies.

She let out a groan as she sat up and put her arm around me. There are a lot of smart people on this planet. We’ll find the answer.

I didn’t have the hope she did.

Soraya poked her head in. Her arm was in a sling and her clothes were blood stained. Empress. It’s good to see you are okay.

Thank you. You too. How is your arm?

There’s a bone regeneration machine in this cave. I had my turn in it, so the bone is fixed, but it’s still a little sore. I’m supposed to wear this thing for another day.

I’m sorry you had such an insane first experience being in charge. I hope it hasn’t scared you away, but I understand if you want to step down.

It was scary, and I wasn’t always sure what to do, but I know now more than ever that I want this job. Protecting Valinor, protecting the people, it’s what I was born for.

Good, because we’re about to be tested even further.

Chapter Two

Akacia

F ollow me. We all need to talk.

I led the way out of the small room. Briar was in Bristow’s arms. He stroked her hair and whispered to her, probably to reassure her that he was okay. He looked thin and had bruises in varying stages of healing over his face. Blake stood next to Briar looking very scared and unsure of things. Huxley simply stared up at the ceiling of the medical room next to us. Galton was talking to Ever’s parents. There were smiles on the faces of those from Valinor and tears in the eyes of the Splicers we had just rescued. Now I had to wipe those smiles off their faces with bad news.

I walked over to Bristow and gave him a big hug. You did well. You and Soraya.

Glad you’re safe, Kace. He hugged me tightly.

People clapped as Ever and I made our way to the large table in the center of the room. Besides Ever, Huxley, and Briar, most of my essential staff were there, though there were a few missing and I dreaded finding out where they were. I stood at the head of the table and everyone quieted.

The council may take their seats.

Bristow, Galton, Soraya, and Niam took their seats.

The others are dead, Empress, Galton informed me.

There were usually eight—counting me—so we were missing three.

Everleigh, Briar, Huxley, would you be interested in joining us?

The three of them looked at each other and then nodded.

If you’d like us to, Empress, Huxley said.

Please.

Are you sure that’s wise? Galton asked.

I shot him a look. What I’m about to say is not going to be easy and I will need their help. They are Valinorians by birth. Marceau, would you like to be on the council?

Thank you, but no. As much as I love Valinor, Galton and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on things and I don’t want to fight with him.

I respect that. I will appoint others later.

Galton looked concerned now. What’s going on?

I wanted to talk to the people that I trusted the most and who I thought could help. Everyone except for Jed, Ode, Curt, Elowen, Clive, Ciara, and the Council, was asked to leave the room. A lone guard stood at the entrance.

Once seated, I filled them in on what Caspar had done. Except for the hum of machinery, the room was dead silent. Everyone around the table stared at me. I gave them a minute to digest what I said, but when they remained silent, I asked, Did you all understand what I just said?

The water is poisoned, Galton repeated.

Right. I need one of the scientists to verify this.

Curt took a step forward. I’ll go now, Empress.

Thank you. Looking at Ciara, I asked, If we all walked through the Anti-Contagion Chamber, would it rid our bodies of this poison?

No. It’s not a bacteria or virus.

Figured, but it was worth a try.

Knowing I had another bombshell to drop I took a deep breath. There has been a traitor among us for years, but we were only made aware of it recently. I’m sure some of you have guessed that is why you underwent lie detector tests. We now know who it is. Vika is the traitor. She wasn’t with Caspar when I killed him. Has anyone seen her?

Whispers flew around the room.

Yes. I said, Vika. The same Vika who took care of me, who we all trusted, is the mole we’ve been searching for. Now, has anyone seen her or know where she might be?

She’s usually in the command center or at home, Galton said. Vika? You’re sure?

She personally held my arm down while Caspar placed the IV in, so yeah, I’m sure. I looked around the table. Jed, can you gather a few of the men to begin a search for her?

Yes, Empress.

I looked at Bristow and Galton, knowing that I had to ask a difficult question, Which one of you gave her the truth test?

They both pointed to each other and then confusion spread across their faces.

She said you administered the test, Bristow said.

And she told me you already had, Galton responded. He looked at me with shame in his eyes. I’m sorry, Empress. I should have double checked.

Though I was a bit miffed, there were more pressing matters and I didn’t want to dwell on what should have happened. There’s nothing we can do about it now. Use it as a learning experience. Next item on the list. Has anyone seen any communication equipment here?

Yes and no, Briar responded. Lots of computers and lab equipment, but nothing is connected to outside of the cave. This cave has its own network. I can see the other computers in here, search files in here, but I can’t connect to the satellites. It’s probable that your father didn’t connect anything because of the leak. Kept this place a secret, even made sure it couldn’t be detected with the cave-in fail-safe.

Do you think you can get it connected or make a communication device? Or maybe repair one?

Briar chewed on her lip. It’s a little more involved than that, but I’ll try.

Our lives might literally depend on it. I hated putting pressure on her, but it needed to happen as soon as possible.

She nodded, a serious look in her eyes.

Caspar said there was no way off the planet. So, I assume all the spacecrafts have been destroyed.

Caspar destroyed them all when he got here, Galton confirmed.

None of them were on assignment? I asked hopeful.

No.

What about his? Did he only have one?

He came with three. We took out two of them. The Nirvana took out the last, Soraya replied.

Silence filled the room.

How did it happen? How did Caspar get on this planet? With all the safeguards we had in place, can someone explain to me how he did it? I wanted answers.

It was nighttime, Bristow began. One ship suddenly appeared and crossed the warning point. We immediately engaged with that ship not realizing that two other cloaked ships were landing out of range. From those ships came his army. Our sensors didn’t pick them up because they were wearing top of the line battle suits. They were totally invisible, shielded their heat, and ended up being bulletproof as well. They must have had a hacker who disabled the shield over Baile and then their lasers and bombs knew all the right places to hit including the compound.

It was probably Vika.

It was silent for a minute as that set in.

Before we could even get up off the floor, the third ship had landed, and an army was upon us, Soraya continued. "At that point, Bristow tried to save as many people as he could. Jed and his

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