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Authors: Michelle Miles

Tags: #romance, #erotic, #love, #paranormal, #bahamas, #atlantis

Tempting Eden

BOOK: Tempting Eden
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Tempting Eden

 

By Michelle Miles at Smashwords

 

Copyright 2013 Michelle Miles

 

 

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

 

This eBook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to
other people. If you would like to share this book with another
person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If
you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not
purchased for your use, then please return to Smashwords.Com and
purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of
this author.

 

Chapter One

Sabre knocked on Helene’s door and waited for
her to grant him entrance. When she didn’t he pushed it open and
peered into the small confines of her apartment. In the darkness he
could see shapes of her furniture strategically placed in her home.
She was meticulous in her décor and he knew there wouldn’t be as
much as a speck of dust on anything. He could see sunlight slashing
through the cobalt waters beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows and
fish swimming by as though they had not a care in the world.

Stepping inside, he closed the door and
listened in the silence for some hint of life.

“Helene?”

No answer. He flipped on a light to chase
away the shadows and scanned the room. Everything was in its place.
The sofa sitting atop the handmade Atlantean rug, the modern art on
the walls and the heavy wood coffee table and end tables. Yet there
was no sign of his sister.

“Helene, are you here?”

Her bedroom door opened but still she did not
emerge. She knew he was there, opened the door to let him know
where she was yet didn’t come out to greet him. Balling his fists,
he charged toward her bedroom…and stopped short in the
entrance.

His baby sister was curled on her side on the
bed with her knees drawn up to her chest. Her eyes were closed and
her dark hair was fanned out on the pillow behind her. A stabbing
pain slashed through his heart.

“I came to check on you,” he said.

“I don’t need you to check on me, Sabre.” Her
voice was cold, unfeeling. Desolate.

He paused, not sure how to proceed. He knew
she was hurting. He knew she was devastated. He also knew she would
survive. She had to. She was all the family he had left. He
couldn’t bear the thought of losing her too.

He didn’t want to ask about how she was
feeling—he knew the answer. He also didn’t want to tell her he
wanted to make sure she was all right—that would cause her more
pain. She’d lost her child after all. She’d been angry and
depressed since.

He’d talk to her about something else.

“I’ve been called to a special meeting with
General Bastian,” he said.

“So?” She never opened her eyes. Never looked
at him.

“It’s also a meeting with the president. Top
secret.” That got her attention and she finally blinked open her
eyes. He pressed on. “General Bastian thinks it’s about what’s
happening.”

“What’s happening? You talk as though it’s
nothing to be concerned about,” she snapped. “Do they even really
care, Sabre?”

She sat up, her chocolate locks falling
around her face. Her thin, gaunt face. He could see the shadows
under her eyes and her sunken cheeks and it pained him. She was not
the lively young woman of their youth he remembered. The one who
looked up to him as her hero. The one who used to tease him about
his fascination with humans. It was why he joined the Guardians and
why he worked so hard to become General Bastian’s
second-in-command.

Why he wanted to keep her safe and make sure
nothing ever happened to her.

“Yes, they do. And they are concerned. That’s
why they’re going to do something about it.”

“What can they do? We’re a dying race and
everyone knows it.” She clutched the blanket tighter around her
shoulders, shivered and laid back down. Her back was to him as
though she’d shut him out already.

Sabre feared their world—the one they’d so
carefully built over the last few centuries—was coming to an end.
He’d known it was bad—he’d experienced it firsthand when his sister
miscarried. Her husband, devastated by the loss, committed suicide.
The losses had been so hard on her she’d fallen into a deep
depression. One he couldn’t get her out of.

But their tragedy wasn’t unique. The women of
Atlantis could seldom conceive and if they could, like his sister,
they couldn’t carry the babies to term. Atlantean geneticists had
determined their race had become too small for them to survive.
Even his general wasn’t immune to the tragedy. His wife had lost
their child.

The men and women of Atlantis would soon be
extinct.

“What if they found a solution?” he asked.
“What if they discovered a way to allow us to continue on? To make
sure you could conceive?”

“What if who cares?” She flopped over, sat up
and glared at him. “I’ve begged you for weeks now, Sabre, to get me
out of here. I don’t want to stay here any longer. Can’t you
understand? Take me to the surface. Leave me there. Why can’t you
do that?”

“You know why I can’t.”

He clenched his fists. They’d had this
argument so much it was old news. Why couldn’t she understand her
place was here? Going to the surface was strictly forbidden and she
knew it.

“Yeah. Duty and honor and all that shark
shit.” She rolled her eyes. “Leave me alone.”

Frustration clawed through him. It took all
his self-control not to grab her and shake some sense into her.
Going to the surface was never a good idea. Humans weren’t stupid.
They would be able to see she was not one of their kind right away
by the tiny gills behind her ears. And then they would run tests
and ask her questions and demand to know where she came from. Which
would lead them right to the lost city of Atlantis.

Several centuries ago a human scientist found
the location of Atlantis. He had come to their world and learned
everything he could about them before returning to the surface. The
mistake had been allowing the human scientist to return. He’d
spread the word about the fabled lost city. The next thing they
knew the Atlanteans were invaded by humans determined to “out” them
and make the location of the secret continent known. They’d raped
their women and pillaged their city, stealing artifacts to take
back. That left the Atlanteans no choice but to fight back and that
was when the Guardians had been formed.

“I’ll go,” Sabre said at last. “But if
there’s a way for our race to survive I will do whatever necessary
to make sure that happens.”

She said nothing as he turned and left her.
He closed the door behind him and headed to the conference room to
meet General Bastian and the president of Atlantis.

 

Chapter Two

Sabre wasted no time getting to the
conference room. When he entered General Bastian, leader of the
Guardians of Atlantis, stood at the window, his hand pressed
against the cool glass. Sabre joined him and peered out at the dark
waters, watching the sea life come and go, swimming by as though
oblivious to the Atlanteans under the ocean. And they were—there
was something special about living under the surface.

“It’s as though I can feel the pressure of
the ocean,” Bastian said. “Even though I know this thin glass
protects us from it.”

“Yes, sir,” Sabre said, agreeing. Because he
didn’t know what else to say.

“Do you think we can be saved, colonel?” He
turned to him as he asked it, his dark eyes glittering.

“I don’t know, sir.”

He sighed. “I hope for our sakes we can. I’ve
lived my entire life protecting Atlantis secrets under the sea. My
Guardians have gone to great lengths to keep humans on land from
leaning our location. But now I wonder how wise that was.”

Sabre’s brows knit. “What do you mean,
sir?”

“Were we so arrogant to think we could
control our environment? Perhaps we should have let the humans know
we were here. Then maybe we wouldn’t be dying. Maybe we could have
had an alliance with them. Something that would allow us to live in
harmony.” He shook his head.

“We tried once, general, when the human
scientist came here. Dr. Rabbin nearly destroyed everything we
built.”

“Could have been an isolated incident.” He
smiled and clapped Sabre on the back. “I should forget it. It’s
merely wishful thinking on my part.”

Behind them the door swished open. In unison
they turned to see the lead geneticist and two other scientists as
well as the Atlantean president and vice president file into the
room. Sabre had expected his general and the president to be at the
meeting. He had not been prepared for a meeting with everyone else.
Surprise quickly followed by unease went through him. Bastian and
Sabre took a seat across from the leaders and scientists.

President Otes wore his usual dark suit with
his black hair slicked back from his regal face. He couldn’t look
more like a politician if he tried. Vice President Invonna—a woman
not much younger than the president—had a studious look on her
pinched face. Wide eyes. Mousy brown hair pulled back in a tight
bun. She never wore makeup either giving her that severe
unattractive look. The lead geneticist, Dr. Franco, had thinning
brown hair, an elongated face and pointed nose. He spoke with a
grating nasal tone of voice.

But seeing the scientists gave Sabre hope
they’d solved their infertility problem. If they had then perhaps
he could tell his sister and convince her to try whatever method
they’d discovered. Maybe it would pull her out of her darkness. He
knew how much she wanted a family.

“General Bastian and Colonel Sabre, thank you
both for coming on such short notice,” President Otes said.

“What’s this about, Mr. President?” Bastian
asked.

With a glance to his left and right at the
others, the president cleared his throat. “I’m sure you are both
aware of the state of our society.”

“I read the doctor’s report as did Colonel
Sabre.” Bastian nodded to Dr. Franco. “The outlook seems fairly
grim. I’m not sure why I was given the report or what the Guardians
can do to help.”

“The Guardians have long been heralded as the
warriors who keep our land secret from the humans,” Otes said. His
glance went between Sabre and Bastian.

Sabre wondered where this was going. He knew
as everyone did the elite soldiers were the only ones authorized to
return to the surface. It was how they could keep their underwater
world safe from those who would destroy it. His heart sped up a
notch.

“Now it seems we must look to them if we
intend to save ourselves,” Otes continued.

Bastian leaned on the shiny table lacing his
fingers. “How?”

Otes shifted in his chair in discomfort and
pressed his lips together. Whatever he had to say he didn’t want to
say it. It was common knowledge the soldiers could go to the
surface—they’d been engineered by Dr. Franco. Not only did they
have the small gills behind their ears, but the doctor also
discovered a way to give them the breathing capacity of a fish.
They could survive the water pressure as they swam to the surface
and back. They didn’t need a protective suit as the humans did when
they dove thousands of feet into the sea. The Guardians of Atlantis
often had to patrol the surface to get rid of the nosy humans.

“What the president is trying to say,
general, is in order for our race to survive we must find other
ways of procreating. By mixing our DNA with human DNA we believe it
can strengthen our lines. The human women will be able to carry to
term. I believe human DNA is what can save us,” Franco said. “My
suggestion to the president and the other leaders was to have your
soldiers swim to the surface and bring back healthy females.”

Sabre stared at Franco in disbelief. He
intended to mix their pure Atlantean blood with a
human’s
?
Beside him his general tensed.

“Are you out of your minds? Not only are you
talking about kidnapping, but you also intend to bring humans into
our city? A city we’ve painfully kept from them for thousands of
years?” Bastian asked.

“The subject would have to come willingly,”
the doctor said without feeling. The words “the subject” sounded so
clinical.

“If we don’t do this,” the president said,
“then we will all die. There will be none of us left to carry on
our society.”

“Then we die.” Bastian’s tone was cold and
harsh. “What do you think will happen if the citizens of Atlantis
learn the truth about what you’re doing? There will be an uprising.
They wouldn’t approve of the powers-that-be playing god. And,
frankly, neither do I.”

“That’s why this entire operation is to be
kept top secret, general,” Otes said. His gaze landed on Sabre
then. “Is that clear?”

“Top secret, yes. But this is madness,”
Bastian said.

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