What happens when you fall in love with the man that has taken everything from you? Has killed for you? Do you love him and follow him to the ends of the earth? Or do you live and let live and forget about him? Anna has this choice, find out what she chooses in Forbidden by Marteeka Karland now available through Changeling Press, LLC
Anna Garrett has lost everything she has ever known to the Gothe'maran, when she sees him. Like an avenging angel, he punishes those who have wronged her. Then she learns his identity. He is General Khan Mak'un. The man Earth thinks is responsible for its genocide. Also known as Khan the Merciless.
Khan has been sent to stop the bloodshed any way he can. He doesn't expect to find the fearless Anna doing everything in her power to find him. Once he has her, he knows he will never let her go, even though it will probably cost him everything. But his duty to his people and his family proves to be just as much a part of him as this woman who has captured his soul, and he must find a way to reconcile one with the other.
Holding the blood-soaked body of her baby, Anna screamed. Her living room was now a bloodbath. Her husband's body had already been disintegrated, but the bastards who had so viciously murdered both males had yet to do the same with the body of her son. But they were now advancing on her. They'd get rid of the little boy without wasting any effort.
They were the Gothe'maran. Other worlders with the features of humans but a vicious killing streak no dictator on earth, past or present, could ever hope to match.
Part of her mind was conscious of the three men deciding her fate. They would find out that she was incapable of having more children, that they couldn't use her as breeding stock, and they would kill her. Perhaps that would be for the best. She didn't think she could stomach being part of the deplorable process that would bring such monsters into the universe -- her mind and body couldn't survive being brutally raped day after day until she became pregnant only to have the baby taken as soon as it was born.
She'd never even had time to draw her weapon, and her first instinct had been to help the two most important people in her life, not to kill their attackers. Now her main focus was her infant son. Perhaps she should have felt more for her husband, and she was sure she would later, but now she was lost in a mother's grief.
Then, just beyond the three hulking monsters, in her front yard, another man approached through the haze of the smoke-filled air. He wore the uniform of the Gothe'maran, and she thought he was even taller than the giant soldiers before her, but his features, save the midnight hair escaping his helmet, were obscured in the distance. Her gaze froze on his approaching form.
Silently, she pleaded for his aid.
The first warrior reached her and yanked her to her feet by her hair, breaking her rapt gaze. Suddenly everything in her screamed at her to fight. Where before there had been a willingness, if not an eagerness, to just get it over with, to surrender to their sadistic handling until she finally succumbed to the arms of death, now she was taken over by an all encompassing need to fight. If she was meant to die, she'd take a few of the bastards with her.
Her gentleness in laying down the tiny body belied her true feelings. Anna didn't just feel the need to defend herself, she wanted to kill. She wanted to do to these bastards what they had done to her family. Never thinking herself capable of killing, no matter how essential, she now drew her weapon and fired into the belly of the assailant holding her up on tiptoe by her hair. Blood splattered from his back, bathing his companions in the black, almost gelatinous substance. She quickly turned to the next-closest attacker and tried to fire, only to find her gun wouldn't discharge a second time. The Gothies had now drawn weapons, and she knew she only had seconds to live.
Glancing behind the warriors, she saw the newcomer within arm's length of them. Without a word, he reached around one man's neck and gave a sharp twist. The crack of snapping vertebrae seemed deafening, and the last Gothie turned to face the newcomer.
The look of surprise and indecision on the monstrous face of her attacker was unexpected. The Gothe'maran were infamous not only for their brutality, but for their extreme control over their emotions during battle. Nothing caused a Gothie to show weakness.
Before the last soldier could decide whether or not to shoot his comrade, a smoldering hole appeared in the exact center of his chest. He gave a howl of rage that turned to extreme agony. The hole grew wider and acrid smoke rose from the wound as it crept toward his throat and lower abdomen. Ash fell from his body as it was consumed by the strange weapon. The stench of burning flesh was almost overwhelming.
The man who had just saved her life stood looking at her with harsh, black eyes. As usual for one of his race, those black eyes gave away nothing of what he was feeling.
Had he not been what he was she might have found him handsome in a darkly masculine way. His face held harsh angles from his straight nose to his chiseled cheekbones and almost square chin. A pale scar ran vertically from just above his left eye, slightly off center down the length of his face. But instead of detracting from his handsomeness, it only enhanced his special brand of dangerous, manly beauty.
He took a step toward her, reaching out with one hand. She retreated two steps, raising her presumably useless gun with unsteady hands. She knew she needed to pull the trigger, knowing that doing so -- if the damned thing fired -- could mean the difference between life and a miserable death. But that same instinct to fire on her would-be killer insisted she not shoot the man before her.
She felt drawn to him. Something inside her wanted to reach out to this man. The man whose people had just slaughtered tens of thousands of her own in a single afternoon, including the two most precious in the world to her. Self-loathing permeated her mind. And shame.
She gripped the gun more firmly and tried to take aim at him, only to warn him off. This man was important to her. She needed him. He needed her. She knew he needed her as surely as she knew she needed to breathe. Confused, she looked away, and her gaze fell to the body of her son. Alex. Oh, my precious Alex!
Grief overtook her once again, and she staggered to his tiny, lifeless body. As she took him in her arms and cried into his little neck, she felt a stillness come over her. Her crying slowed somewhat. This was a terrible tragedy, something that never should have happened and there would be hell to pay for it, but she would survive. She would survive because the man before her would have it no other way. She couldn't help her husband or her son now, but she could help him.
She looked back at him in astonishment. Those feelings were his, not hers. What the hell was going on?
He took a tentative step toward her again just as the medallion on his collar beeped. He pressed it to his throat as he spoke in his own language.
The conversation lasted less than a minute. When he finished he looked at her once more. "I'll find you again," he said slowly, his harsh accent very thick. Then he was gone. But so was the body of her son. Taken right from her arms.
"No," Anna whispered. Then in a gut-wrenching wail, "NO!" She fell to her knees and wept bitterly until she embraced an exhausted sleep.
Sleep was no comfort though. Her dreams were filled with her husband and baby's screams. Several times she woke from her resting place on the floor where her family had perished. Several times she cried herself back to sleep, unable to move from the only place she could feel close to them. She didn't even have bodies to bury. No way to find closure.
It was only later, when she had managed to move deeper into relatively safe UWA territory, she learned the man who had saved her life was the general in command of the forces trying to conquer what was left of the United States of America and the United World Army. He was General Kahn Mak'un. Also known as Kahn the Merciless.
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