Project Mars Book 2
by Jacey Holbrand & Elizabeth Monvey
Genre: M/M SciFi Romance
In the future, be careful who you trust…
Ben Stockton lives on a dying Earth. A poisoned atmosphere and fertility issues are only two of the reasons people flock to the Project Mars Lottery, hoping to win a chance to go to the Red Planet. When Ben’s husband, Dain, is targeted as a potential DNA donor, the once exciting prospect of starting over turns into a nightmare.
Forced to work for the governmental scientific agency, Sector, Dain is sent to Mars on a secret mission, while Ben has to remain behind. Separated from each other, they try to cling to the memories of their love as well as the hope that one day they’ll be reunited.
But Sector has different plans for the couple. Unbeknownst to Ben, Sector has used him as a test subject in a desperate bid to cure the sterility problems facing the human race. Impregnated and left alone, Ben stumbles upon the underground resistance. It will take all his strength to find the love of his life before Dain is lost to him forever.
The beeping alerting Sven Robinson to an incoming call seemed to grow more incessant with each passing second. He had a good guess as to who was on the other side and why. His secret counterpart on Earth, Doctor O, had been kind enough to apprise him of Sector Main’s message that’d been sent to the Las Vegas headquarters, and he expected Trask to be reaching out right on O’s heels.
Robinson didn’t have to reread the electronic mail that had come over the secure server to remember what it’d said. Sector Main had received some troubling information. They planned to dispatch two diplomats to Las Vegas and do an audit of all the systems.
Tired of listening to the annoying computer chime, he pushed away from his lab table, went to his computer, and connected to the GIN network. Trask, who appeared to have sprouted a few more grays in his dark hair, appeared on his screen.
“You need to return to Earth,” Doctor Trask said without preamble and a frantic cast to his gaze. “Sector Main is coming. They want to go through our servers. This cannot be happening. Not now!” Trask’s hand formed a fist and banged the desk so hard a book at the edge bounced and fell to the floor.
Sven drummed his fingers on his desk and nodded sagely. “I suspected this was coming.”
“What?” Trask exclaimed. “You don’t seem the least bit surprised. Don’t you realize we need to nip this visit in the bud? You can stop this—”
“Why would I do that?” Robinson interrupted.
“Our servers have the names of everyone we’ve experimented on. They’ll charge us with crimes against humanity.”
Robinson bridged his fingers. “I have spent years here on Mars for this very reason. The people we’ve brought here are the idyllic specimens of acceptable DNA. Earth is a lost cause. Has been for years. But Mars is what I’ve created.”
“You never planned to return?” Trask asked, seeming shocked at the revelation. “But … the experiments. The farm! These were your projects, not mine!”
“They are merely the stepping stones to the real salvation of our species,” Robinson said calmly. “When man first arrived on Mars over a hundred years ago, those pioneers couldn’t have imagined how quickly technology could’ve expanded. I’ve created a utopia on Mars where the best of us can thrive. Very soon we’ll have no need for anything on Earth.”
Trask frowned. “What about me? Do I get to join you?”
“Eventually,” Robinson promised to shut the other doctor up. How people feared the man was beyond him. He disliked Trask’s weakness of getting wound up and whiny so easily when confronted by his superiors, but for the time being, he still needed the doctor. “Stockton has eluded me, but I believe the implantation took. He might have fled under the protection of Tarak Dev or one of Dev’s resistance groups.” He coughed to get the distaste of saying the word “resistance” out of his mouth. “I can’t wait until the day the resistance here is crushed, and then Mars will be completely mine.”
“Yours? Don’t you mean ours?”
“Of course,” Robinson said smoothly, nodding his head to placate Trask. “Sector has ruined what could have been an explosion of human evolution with their humanity laws. On Mars, we can be God.”
“You should let Tarak Dev go, though,” Trask said sharply. “This obsession you have of destroying him will be your Moby Dick.”
“He betrayed me!” Robinson snapped. “He betrayed what Sector was reaching for, bringing life back onto a dying planet. He chose his wife over science.”
“Right. He chose his wife over his job, while you chose your work over your wife, and you let it ruin a friendship.”
Robinson glared at the screen, wanting to put his fist through it and into Trask’s mouth. No one needed to remind him of his time in DC and how he’d been turned on by a man he’d mentored and given everything to, including his trust.
Appearing to realize the error of his ways, Trask took a deep breath. “What do I do about Sector Main?”
“You have the means to hide everything,” Robinson murmured. “Don’t forget that the new biotech formula can alter memories if needed.”
“Of course!” Trask took another breath. His anxious demeanor eased. He smiled. “Oh, I just remembered something. If you’re determined to bring him down no matter what, I may have found a way to get your whale.”
Robinson cocked his head. “How so?” Perhaps Trask will continue to be of use to me after all.
“Nate Stockton is one of the nanotech recipients. He has a cousin, Ben Stockton, and one of the undercovers managed to get the DNA of that cousin’s husband.” He reached for a tablet and brushed his fingertips along the screen. “The sample matched to an ex-NFOP officer. Dain Cardile. We can use Ben and Dain to track down Nate Stockton and Tarak Dev.”
Robinson grinned. “Wonderful. Do you what you need to do to get that cousin under Sector control. Force him, if you need to. Once we finish with the farm, you can leave Earth and join me on Mars. Sector will have no more control over my vision of a perfect society.”
Project Mars Book 1
In the future, be careful who you trust.
Nathaniel Stockton and Grover Silas Ranger are faced with the ultimate test to their relationship when the Project Mars Lottery comes to town. Nate wins a chance to have his dreams come true: to live and work on the red planet with his love. Yet his husband, Ranger, doesn’t see the point of going from one bad place to another. But an evil organization called Sector has a completely different idea for the couple.
Kidnapped, experimented on, impregnated, and sent to Mars, Nate realizes too late he trusted the wrong people.
Ranger fights to find a way to Nate. Will he make it to his love before their dreams and lives are irrevocably broken by distance, a pregnancy, and the corrupt agency?
The phone rang, dragging Nate from his thoughts.
“I’m gonna put it on screen,” Ranger called out from the kitchen.
The wall flashed to life, and a dark-haired man with dark eyes, appeared. The stranger reminded Nate of the doctor at the lottery exams—lab coat, stethoscope, well-groomed—but this man was older and seemed to have an edge to him.
“Hey,” Nate greeted. “What can I do for you?”
“Am I speaking with Nathaniel Curtis Stockton?”
“Yeah.” Nate took a swig of his drink.
“Wonderful.” The man smiled but the expression didn’t reach his eyes. “I am Doctor Rafael Trask. I am one of the lead scientists in a series of special clinical studies being performed. I understand you failed the medical section of the lottery exams?”
“Yeah.” The guy’s voice sounded cool … exact. Combined with the discord of his face, Nate sensed an air of danger surrounding the man. Creeped out, Nate was hesitant to say too much.
“Well, first off, let me say, we are not associated with the lottery. But should you participate in our studies you may have another chance at traveling to and settling on Mars. We also offer outstanding compensation. Despite whether you are or are not picked for travel, you will pretty much be set for life.”
Ranger strolled into the room and sat beside Nate, twirling the comm-wand between his fingers. “What are these studies?”
The man’s eyes narrowed. “Who are you?”
“His husband,” Ranger answered. “Whatever he’s to be involved in, wherever he’s going, I’ll be at his side. What’s all this about?”
Doctor Trask leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers together. He looked down his nose at the camera on his comm device, appearing to contemplate what Ranger had said and giving Ranger a once-over. The doctor reminded Nate of a vulture.
“Okay,” Trask said. “Like I was about to mention to Mister Stockton, we are trying to find cures for people who did not pass the medical aspects of the lottery exams due to their diseases. We are also looking into the sterility epidemic and chromosomal changes in the female population.”
“Could you hold a moment?” Nate asked, grabbing the wand from Ranger and muting the call. He pointed the wand at the screen. “Do you think this is legit?”
“Yeah. It could be.”
“It might be the answer to our Mars problem.” Nate smiled, feeling a glimmer of warm hope spring up within him again.
“Perhaps. Should we see what’s what with it?”
Nate unmuted the call. “What if we say we’re interested?”
The doctor lifted a corner of his mouth. “I will digitize a package of information to you, and then we will be in touch with further instructions.”
“Well,” Ranger said, “count us interested.”
“Wonderful,” the doctor drawled.
Jacey Holbrand believes life and love comes in all forms and should be celebrated. She’s committed to her muse and writing so she can share her stories with readers. Hot days. Sexy nights. Come play in her world. Jacey loves to hear from readers!
Elizabeth Monvey is the pseudonym for a single mother from Los Angeles. She writes manlove stories, where the hero meets the man of his dreams because happily ever after is one of her favorite things.