Authors: Susan Hayes
3013: THE SERIES
By: Susan Hayes
Rebel medic Ciara Fanning has called the badlands home for more than a decade. Raised in the Alliance, she spent the first half of her life defined by what she wasn’t—fertile, valued, deserving of her family’s love. Now, she lives beyond the Alliance’s reach and defines her worth by the lives she’s saved and the people she’s healed.
Alliance Elites Dr. Vance Sterling and Dane Foster live for the joys of raising their daughter, Annie. It’s been more than two years since they buried Annie’s mother, but neither man has been ready to move on… until they meet a redheaded rebel with no place to stay and a heart as battered as their own.
Dane and Vance have dedicated their lives to defending the Alliance way of life while Ciara has dedicated hers to helping those who live outside Alliance lands. Can they heal old wounds and forge a new life together, or will the dark ghosts of the past steal their future before it’s even begun?
An Erotic Romance Novel.
3013: FATED by Susan Hayes
Copyright © 2015 Susan Hayes
First E-book Publication: November 2015
Cover design by Sloan Winters
Editing by S.L Whitcomb
Published by Black Scroll Publications
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission.
All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental. It is fiction so facts and events may not be accurate except to the current world the book takes place in.
Books in the 3013 Series: (in order published)
3013: MATED – Laurie Roma
3013: RENEGADE – Susan Hayes
3013: CLAIMED – Laurie Roma
3013: STOWAWAY – Susan Hayes
3013: SALVATION – Laurie Roma
3013: MENDED – Kali Argent
3013: TARGETED – Susan Hayes
3013: CHAOS – Laurie Roma
3013: ALTERED – Kali Argent
3013: FATED – Susan Hayes
This story is dedicated to my readers. Thank you for allowing me to share my stories with you, and for setting me on the journey of a lifetime.
And as always, my thanks go to my parents for believing in me, and to Karen, for her unwavering friendship, support, and a decade’s worth of laughter.
The year is 3013.
Earth barely survived the Alien Wars that have ravaged the planet, and an unknown virus had nearly wiped out the entire population. On the brink of extinction, humans struggle to rebuild their civilization, although nothing would ever bring back what once was.
Enforcing martial law, a new age of mankind is born, where warriors rule and women are the ultimate prize. Only the elite earn breeding rights and are granted leave to claim a woman in pairs. Men dream of the day that they will be able to claim a woman to love, but for those chosen being claimed means the end of their freedom and a beginning to a lifelong bond with two strangers. The warriors may have the choice, but the battle for their woman's heart has only begun…
They were a third of the way there. Ciara Fanning knew if she could manage to stay conscious, they’d all likely live to see another day. She had to get her two young patients to the Alliance base at Fort Saken. It was their only chance. Judging by the blood she’d started coughing up a while ago, it might be her only chance, too.
She tightened her hands on the steering wheel and forced herself to focus on the road instead of the pain that came with every labored breath she took. She knew what the problem was. One of her broken ribs had pierced her lung, and the injury was being aggravated by every bump and pothole.
She’d called the badlands home for more than ten years now, walking away from her Alliance upbringing. She hadn’t done it for political reasons or need for adventure. She’d wound up here through a series of events and had discovered she could make a difference out here, so she’d stayed. Plus, it put plenty of distance between her and her family. That was a definite perk. Growing up as an infertile female in her family had been hard enough, but Ciara had never been able to match the accomplishments of her older siblings. Her brothers were Alliance elites, and her sister was a fertile scroll, living a life of luxury as the chosen of two affluent elites with powerful families.
Her tenth birthday had come with great expectations and fanfare, and ended with her family’s bitter disappointment. Like every other child in the Alliance, she was tested for fertility at age ten, but unlike her siblings, there was no celebration at the end of the day. The freshly applied star tattoo by her right eye announced her shame to the world. She was infertile. Her family had never forgiven her. Instead, they’d done their best to forget she existed at all. Eventually, not even that had been enough. As far as Ciara was concerned, her life truly started the day she’d left home.
Another bump in the road made her wince, forcing her mind back from its wanderings to focus on the immediate problem of staying alive. If the earthquake hadn’t destroyed her clinic, she’d have been able to stabilize them before they had to travel. If most of the inhabitants hadn’t been out trading goods and services at the monthly market a half day’s journey away, there’d have been someone else around to drive. If she’d been wearing her stars-be-damned wrist unit, she could have summoned help. If. If. If. If wishes were rockets, then beggars would fly. None of those things had happened, so she was going to have to make it to the Alliance base on her own.
There was a low, agonized moan from the backseat of the transpo, and she glanced into the rearview mirror to check on her patients. Danny was still unconscious, but his little brother, Kyle, had been drifting in and out of awareness since she’d found him pinned beneath the rubble of what had once been their home. Their father was trading wares at the market. Their mother had given up her life to protect her sons, shielding them from the worst of the collapse with her own body. Neither boy was aware of their loss, not yet. And if she didn’t get them to the Alliance base’s medical center soon, their father might be mourning them as well. She gripped the steering wheel tighter and pushed the ancient transpo to its limits.
She was running out of time.
Time passed in flickering jumps as the miles ticked by. There were flashes of awareness followed by blank stretches where she operated by will and instinct alone. Then she saw it, a plume of dust on the road ahead of her. Someone else was out here, and they were coming from the direction of Fort Saken.
Thank the stars.
Minutes later, she saw the source of the dust, and she breathed a sigh of relief. They were Alliance personnel and better yet, one of the vehicles was marked with the red cross that meant medical help. They must have detected the earthquake and come to assist. She managed to stay conscious long enough to pull over to the side of the road as the others arrived. She finally let herself pass out, escaping the pain that had dogged her every second since she’d dragged herself out of the wreckage of her clinic. Her last thoughts were for the two boys she’d pulled out of the rubble. She hoped they made it.
* * * *
Dr. Vance Sterling hadn’t intended for his first look at the badlands to be during a medical emergency. He’d been curious about the place since arriving in Fort Saken, but there never seemed to be enough time to go exploring, or to meet the people who lived there.
He’d been working his way through the daily reports when his wrist unit started chirping an alert code he hadn’t heard since he’d arrived at his new post six months ago. There’d been some sort of emergency off-base.
He was on his feet and out the door of his office within seconds.
As he ran, his wrist unit continued updating with new information. A quake had hit the badlands. A small farming commune was located near the epicenter. A group would be leaving the base shortly to convey assistance, emergency supplies and aid, including a medical team to treat any injuries.
He broke into a sprint, his long-legged stride sending the other occupants of the hallways scrambling to get out of his way. As the base’s Director of Medical Services, it was his job to organize up the medical team. As the only Class-B Healer in Fort Saken, he intended to be part of that team. His gifts gave him the ability to diagnose with a touch, which was a skill that would be invaluable away from the medical center.
His diagnostic abilities developed as a side effect of his elite enhancements, and they’d set him on the path to becoming a doctor. It wasn’t the life he’d expected when he’d been accepted for elite training, but it was one he took great pride in. He’d been prepared to become a soldier, but instead he’d become a healer.
He and his team found themselves in the back of a vehicle that had been fitted to act as a mobile med-bay. They spent the journey going over inventory and preparing for whatever they might find when they arrived. A recon flight had already gone out, and their initial report wasn’t promising. They’d spotted a handful of badly damaged buildings and no movement.
His wrist unit updated again. The recon flight had spotted a transpo on the road to Fort Saken. They were only a few miles apart. If there were survivors, it seemed they were coming their way. He relayed the news, and his team sprang into action.
The transpo was pulled over to the side of the road when they got to it. They found two boys and one adult female inside, all unconscious. The team split up, working fast to move the survivors out of the ancient vehicle and onto stretchers. One by one, they brought them into the mobile med-bay, and as the first two came in, Vance touched them, doing a preliminary scan to speed up triage.
One boy had internal bleeding and would need surgery. The other was child had gotten off easier. He had a concussion and his left arm had sustained a hairline fracture. The last one to come in was the female. She was the one who worried him the most. She was slender, with a tangled mane of curly red hair, streaked blonde by the sun. Her freckled skin was far too pale for his liking, and there were traces of blood around her mouth, visible through the oxygen mask covering her lips and nose. As he moved in close, her eyes fluttered opened. Hazel eyes, unfocused and full of pain, stared up at him.
She was awake. That was a good sign.
“They will be. What’s your name?”
Her breathing was labored, her voice soft, but she managed to speak. “Ciara. Please, see to the boys first.”
“They’re with other doctors, Ciara. I’m Dr. Sterling. Can you tell me what happened?”
A short bout of coughing stopped her from talking. It took her a little while to speak again, and this time, her voice was even fainter. “Earthquake. No warning. Those two…only ones alive. Clinic destroyed. Had to get them here. Older one is Danny. He’s got a head injury. Little one’s Kyle. Internal bleeding.”
She tried to get up and get a look at her charges, but Vance settled a gentle hand on her shoulder, coaxing her to lie back down. “Lie still and let me check you for injuries.”
“Me? Busted ribs and a partially collapsed lung.”
He suspected her diagnosis was right, which made him wonder how the stars she’d managed to get this far. Most people with her injuries wouldn’t have made it. “Leave that to the expert to decide, okay? I have to earn my paycheck.”
“If it’s your paycheck at stake…” Ciara managed another smile, and he couldn’t help but notice that even dirty, disheveled, and wounded, she was an attractive woman. And one he needed to get into surgery, fast.
“Thank you.” He moved his hands so they were resting lightly on her chest. “This won’t take long.”
She eyed the placement of his hands, then relaxed as understanding dawned. “A healer? Out here?”
“Mhmm. Do you always talk this much?”
“I’m worse when both lungs work.” She laughed softly, which triggered another round of coughing.
By the time it had passed, he’d confirmed her diagnosis with his gift. She had a small tear in her left lower lung, four broken ribs, minor internal bleeding, and a significant amount of internal and external bruising. “You’re going to be okay, Ciara. I promise.”
She nodded, but he could see she was losing her battle to stay conscious.
“When we get to the base, tell Alayna I expect her to visit me,” she asked.
Her request gave Vance a moment’s pause. There was only one Alayna he knew in Fort Saken, and it made sense the two women might know each other. Alayna Grekov-Nielson was the chosen of the generals who ran Fort Saken. She was also a former rebel, and had lived her entire life in the badlands.