Cyberevolution VI: Cyborg Nation
It was supposed to be a routine mission to collect a pediatrician for the off-spring of the emerging cyborg nation. But rogue Cyborgs, Gideon, Jerico, and Gabriel realize fairly quickly that they have a unique opportunity to gain a mate/companion-Bronte. The rub is they weren't programmed for courtship. With no idea of how to woo the object of their desires, they fall back on the only skills they have to persuade her-their programming as pleasure bots.
Length: Epic Novel
Word Count: 106,216
Genre: Sci-Fi/Futuristic Romance
Rating: Spicy/Erotica, contains graphic sex, graphic language, graphic violence, multiple partner sex, some humorous scenes/situations.
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, February 2013
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Bronte Nichols’ thoughts were focused inwardly, as they so often were, as the lift settled and the doors opened. There was a man standing in the cubicle, which was so unexpected it actually pierced Bronte’s abstraction. She stared at him blankly, partly because she was surprised to see anyone at all so early in the morning and partly because, for some unfathomable reason, she discovered he was not completely in focus.
Prompted by the instinctive urge to keep from being left behind, she leapt inside just as the doors began to close again. Uneasiness washed over her even as she yielded to the impulse, effectively trapping herself inside with the stranger. It wasn’t just that he was big—really big—a stranger, or even the fact that she so rarely met up with anyone at all when she arrived at work so early.
His stance seemed relaxed, unthreatening, and yet Bronte sensed that he had tensed when he’d seen her just as she had when she’d spotted him and there was something about that that set off alarm bells in her head.
After staring at him owl eyed for a moment, she finally remembered her manners, nodded politely in greeting, and turned to stare at the doors instead, or rather the level indicator. She didn’t exactly see the screen displaying the levels the lift was passing. In her mind’s eye, she was shifting through the vague impressions her eyes had recorded of the stranger.
She was certain he was a stranger to her. In the first place, she never spoke to anyone aside from her staff members and the parents of her patients … and of course her patients. In the second, as distracted as she generally was with her own thoughts, she still thought she would have noticed a man as large as the one behind her if she’d run across him in the medical center before. He wasn’t just tall, he was big, muscular if the form fitting, one piece suit he was wearing was any indication, and she thought it probably was. It looked like the uniform of the med center’s security guards, but there was something about him that, somehow, just didn’t seem to go with the uniform.
Not that she’d actually been able to make out much more than that about him—big, very tall, and dark hair. His features had seemed pleasingly regular—but blurred so she wasn’t so certain she could trust that impression. She was certain he had dark hair though it seemed it had been slicked tightly against his skull in a very odd sort of hair style—not the way the security guards generally wore their hair at all. In fact mostly they just shaved their heads so that there was little more than stubble sprouting from their scalps and sometimes not even that.
Which brought her mind back to the subject that had engrossed her before the doors of the lift had opened. “My glasses,” she muttered under her breath. “Now what did I do with them? I’m sure I had them when I left the apartment. I distinctly recall that I had them.”
“On your head.”
The deep, resonant voice behind her startled her. Not only had she not realized she’d been muttering aloud, but she’d become so engrossed in her conversation with herself she’d momentarily forgotten she was sharing the elevator. Her lips parting with surprise, she whipped her head around at the sound of his voice, lifting a hand absently to her head as she did so. Her fingers connected with something in her hair, dislodging whatever it was.
As it fell, she and the stranger both bent instinctively to catch it… and butted heads. The blow made Bronte’s knees buckle and she sat on the floor of the lift, one hand flying upward to massage the throbbing knot where their heads had connected. “Oh! I do beg your pardon! Are you alright?”
His face came into focus as he leaned down, wrapped the fingers of one hand around her left upper arm, hauled her to her feet, and then shoved the glasses he’d managed to rescue onto her nose. Briefly, his face came into sharp focus before blurring again when he moved too close for her eyes to focus with the aid of the glasses. Bronte felt her face reddening as she gaped up at him and it sank slowly into her mind that he was quite the most handsome man she’d ever run in to, either literally or figuratively.
Not that she made a habit of running into strange men! She had had a few accidents, however, and she grew an even brighter red until her skin was no doubt rivaling her dark auburn hair as she recalled her last embarrassing encounter with a man.
She’d rather liked Dr. Pool, too, or at least thought she might be interested in the man on a purely feminine level, but he’d been far more embarrassed by the collision than she was. He had made it a point to give her a wide berth after she’d mowed him down at the corner of the connecting corridors where they had their respective offices and she was fairly certain she’d blown yet another, rare, opportunity to find a soul mate … or at least a fuck buddy.
She became aware suddenly that the man, the stranger, was still gripping her arm, his gaze wandering over her speculatively. “Do I know you?” she asked politely, certain that she couldn’t possibly have met him before. But then, he was being very familiar, really, for someone who didn’t know her.
Bronte blinked. Apparently he did know her. “Yes?”
His frown deepened instead of clearing. “B. A. Nichols?”
Understanding dawned. Bronte chuckled, but she felt her blush rising again. “My father was Bryan Alexander Nichols. I’m Dr. Bronte Alexandra Nichols.” She hesitated uncomfortably. The plan had been that she would join her father in his practice once she’d completed her residency. She had so been looking forward to it, too, getting to work beside a man of his reputation, getting the chance to actually get to know her father at last. She certainly hadn’t had the opportunity when she was growing up. After her mother had died when she’d been little more than an infant, her father had settled her with his sister and her brood, and she’d only gotten a handful of visits from her godlike father over the years. “Uh … my father’s dead,” she added baldly. “But I’ve taken over his practice. Were you looking for a pediatrician?”
Her stomach seemed to drop at the realization that that must, indeed, be why he was in the medical center, though it seemed an odd time to be doing so. Her first appointment wasn’t for hours yet. Tamping her disappointment at the discovery that he was a potential patient, or at least must have one—a child—and therefore must be contracted, or at least involved with someone, Bronte glanced down at the hand that still gripped her arm and then noticed she’d attached her badge upside down when she’d put it on that morning. No wonder he’d had trouble reading it!
She tugged at her arm as she reached to adjust the name badge. Almost reluctantly, it seemed to her, he released his hold on her then reached past her and tapped the panel used to select levels. The lift braked, stopped, and began to descend as rapidly as it had been rising. The action reminded Bronte belatedly that she’d forgotten to key in the level she wanted. She discovered when she turned to look at the panel, though, that the lift had already shot past her level.
Her lips flattened in irritation as she reached to press her level. She hadn’t just come early because she never slept well and was too restless to remain in her apartment any longer. She’d intended to catch up on some of her paperwork—which was why she’d been so distracted to begin with. Dread always filled her when she had to tackle the mounds of paperwork she allowed to build up while she attended the part of her job she actually enjoyed … interacting with her patients. And then, too, she’d been worried that she’d misplaced her glasses … again.
She really ought to have her eyes fixed, ought to have done it already, but there never seemed to be time. And actually, the prospect unnerved her, though she wouldn’t have admitted it under torture. She was a physician herself, for god’s sake! It didn’t look good that she was such a coward about facing medical procedures herself!
The lift settled and the doors opened.
A man, dressed much as the one behind her, stepped into the lift.
Bronte tried not to stare, but he was much like the man behind her—very tall, built like a tank, and dressed in the skin tight uniform that left very little to the imagination and made it impossible for her not to notice as her gaze flickered over the broad chest and shoulders, bulging arms and well developed legs … and the almost obscene bulge at the apex of his thighs. She shuffled over to give him room and then looked up as the sense of being loomed over swamped her, discovering that both men were looming over her because she was sandwiched between them and they were looking down at her.
“This is Dr. Nichols,” the first man said to the second, drawing Bronte’s gaze for a moment before she glanced at the man he was speaking to.
After trying to adjust her glasses and discovering that both men were too close to bring into focus, Bronte shoved her glasses onto the top of her head. She was a bit stunned to discover when she had that the second man was as unusually attractive as the first, though they looked nothing alike beyond the fact that both were dark. The new arrival, though, was not quite as dark. Whereas the first man’s hair was as black as night, his eyebrows a thick, straight line above eyes a steel, almost eerie blue, the second man had hair of a slightly warmer shade, though still very nearly black. She might have thought it black if not compared to the first man’s hair. His brows were also dark and thick, but arched. At the moment, one was lifted upward while the other had descended in a look she could only think was displeasure, even if not for the cool assessment in his emerald green eyes.
“B. A. Nichols?” the second man asked, obviously no more pleased than the first man had been.
Bronte tried not to feel slighted, but she couldn’t prevent the resentment that swelled in her chest. It was completely unfair to compare her unfavorably to her father. He had had many years to build his reputation, after all! Given time, she fully intended to live up to his name … but there was the rub. It was a hard act to follow, and she’d been viewed under a microscope and compared unfavorably almost from the time she’d arrived in medical school. “I am imminently qualified, I assure you!” she responded somewhat defensively. “Although I have not had the years to build my reputation as my father did, I graduated at the top of my class and I have been practicing for several years now.” She couldn’t help but notice they looked unconvinced. “And, of course, I have the added advantage of having worked with a man of vast experience in the field.”
She felt a little uncomfortable about that claim, but it wasn’t exactly a lie … just a slight prevarication. She had worked alongside experienced physicians while she was doing her residency and she had her father’s case studies, after all.
The two men exchanged a long, speaking look above her head and seemed to come to a decision. After a moment, they shifted slightly away from her, still crowding her personal space uncomfortably, but not quite as uncomfortably as before.
She dragged in a shaky breath, not realizing until that moment just how unnerved she’d been.
Not that she wasn’t still more than a little unnerved.
She felt overly warm, too.
Actually, now that she thought about it, she felt almost … dizzy, definitely jittery. Distracted by that realization, she fell to analyzing her reaction. It dawned on her after a very few moments that her chaotic response was on a purely feminine level and had very little, if anything, to do with any primal sense of threat. Pheromones, she realized dimly as she inhaled and felt her body react to the chemical even though she wasn’t actually aware of the scent. The combined testosterone of the two overpoweringly male strangers was enough to bring any self-respecting, red blooded female instantly into heat.
Rather pleased by the discovery that, despite her preoccupation with the sciences, she could indeed react like any other woman, Bronte flicked a tentative smile at the newcomer, who glanced down at her as the lift, at last, stopped at her level and the doors began to open. She’d already tensed to step off when the opening doors revealed yet another man, dressed as the first two.
This one, however, was fair … and carrying a rather large piece of equipment that was heavy enough it made every considerable muscle in his upper body and arms bulge with effort. Bronte was so mesmerized by the powerful display that she wasn’t aware that the man had crowded her into the back corner as he stepped into the lift with his load until she stepped on the feet of the man behind her and fell against him. An arm came around her waist, molding her to every deliciously hard, sculpted inch of his body. Embarrassed at her clumsiness but grateful that he hadn’t allowed her to fall when she’d lost her balance and fell against him, Bronte tipped her head back to smile at him apologetically. “I am so sorry! Excuse me!”
He met her gaze, his arm tightening around her. A shiver chased down her spine, but she wasn’t certain if it was because the icy color of his eyes made him appear so cool and detached, or if there really was no warmth in his gaze. Something long and hard rose against her buttocks, however, that completely disordered her mind. “No problem,” he responded after a long moment of hesitation, his voice as cool and as lacking in inflection as his gaze.
He didn’t let go of her at once. In fact, he didn’t let go of her at all. Bronte looked down at the arm clamped around her waist and then toward the doors of the lift just as they closed. “Oh!” she exclaimed. “This was my floor!”
The blond man, she discovered, was looking her over with the same detached interest the other two men had. Groping for the glasses she’d shoved on top of her head, she winced as strands of her hair, tangled in the piece, parted company with her scalp as she dragged the glasses down to help her see him more clearly. The face that came into view sent a jolt through her.
It was hard and angular, purely masculine and yet so classically formed and appealing ‘beautiful’ was the first thought that popped in her mind. Framed by long, beautiful blond hair that hung loosely well past his shoulders, ending just past the hard male breasts that still bulged from the thing he held, she was dimly aware that hair that luxuriant should have looked completely out of place on a man who looked so very, very … male, and yet it didn’t. The glossy, wavy hair only seemed to emphasize his masculinity, to set off his god-like perfection to greatest advantage.
What were the odds, she thought distractedly, of finding herself in a lift with three such exceptional specimens? Astronomical, she decided, even though she couldn’t seem to focus her mind on running the calculations, because she hadn’t seen a single man in all her years that came close to even one of them.
“This is Dr. Nichols,” said the man behind her at just about the time Bronte managed to free her gaze from the sapphire-eyed blond god before her and glanced down at what he held.
She frowned as she stared at the filing unit he held and a flicker of recognition dawned. Instantly diverted, she looked the piece over more carefully. It didn’t just look familiar. It was familiar! It was hers!
Doubt instantly swept over her, though, as it occurred to her to wonder why in the world anyone would take her files from her office—the whole filing unit! She frowned, wondering if she’d forgotten to pay her office rent and was being evicted … or if they’d simply decided to move her. Indignation filled her at that thought.
“This is B. A. Nichols?” the blond man questioned, tilting his head to study her curiously. “The data banks listed a male.”
“Obviously not current,” the black haired man holding her commented. He almost seemed to shrug. “They are … inefficient.”
Bronte craned her neck to look up at the man. “They?” she echoed, feeling the sting as a personal insult even though she had nothing to do with updating the data bank herself.
He caught her face in the crook between his thumb and forefinger before she could look away, studying her face with that same unnerving intensity of before. “She is obviously qualified, however, in her field else she would not be practicing medicine.”
Bronte stared up at him, fighting the mesmerizing effect he had upon her, realizing dimly that although his words seemed no more than a dispassionate appraisal of her skills as a physician, the look in his eyes, to say nothing of the brick hard erection digging into her backside, seemed to indicate his thoughts were not entirely on her credentials.
“What’s going on here?” she managed to ask as it finally dawned on her that there were undercurrents besides those heated waves eddying through her at the nearness and rapt attention she held of all three men.
Instead of answering her question, the man released his hold on her. She stared up at him a moment longer and turned to look at the other two men. She hadn’t imagined she held center stage. The other two men were studying her with the same intensity. Without any indication of discomfort at all, they held her gaze for several moments and then the three men exchanged a look very like the one the first two had exchanged before when the second man had gotten on the lift.
“She is young. Should we look for someone with more experience?”
Bronte frowned indignantly at the man with the dark, brown hair, torn between a feminine desire to maintain her youth and a professional desire to defend her experience. “I am young,” she snapped. “I was not only at the top of my class. I was the youngest in my graduating class! And I took over my father’s practice nearly a year ago … besides my years in residence! I am fully qualified!”
None of them looked as impressed as she felt like they should have, but then again it struck her that, of the three, she’d never seen anyone any better at hiding their thoughts behind such expressionless masks. Aside from the faint frowns that flickered across their faces, that looked like a mixture of speculation and puzzlement, they gave nothing else away.
They seemed to come to some sort of tacit agreement, though, as the lift halted once more and the doors opened. Bronte’s gaze was drawn by the movement. Surprise filled her when she discovered they were on the roof. In the distance, the sky was just beginning to lighten with the promise that the sun would soon crest the horizon.
Closer to hand, though, blocking most of the view, sat a sleek black star cruiser, its hatch open and gangway extended like a tongue. She’d barely registered the ship, which had no business at all on the roof of the med center since it was clearly not an ambulance, when a blast of light erupted, slamming into the roof inches from the lift opening. The concussion of the blast stunned her, seemed to knock the breath from her lungs.
It didn’t have the same effect, or even nearly that effect, on the three men. The man still holding her yanked her off her feet and charged off the lift directly behind the other two. Contrary to what she might have expected if she’d had her wits about her, the blond did not toss his burden aside. Instead, he ran full tilt toward the gangway as if the thing weighed no more than a feather. The brunette dragged a laser pistol from the holster strapped to his leg and returned fire as the man holding her charged past, also firing with his free hand as he raced toward the cruiser with her under one arm as if she was no more than a feather. He wasn’t even winded when he’d raced up the gangway and deposited her none too gently into a seat.
Stunned, expecting any moment to feel her body disintegrate along with the ship around her, Bronte’s gaze followed instinctively as the man raced to the control console, working the controls so quickly his hands were little more than a blur of movement even before he dropped into the seat beside the blond. An explosion rocked the ship, effectively diverting Bronte. Gripping the arms of the chair she’d been dropped into, her head swiveled of its own accord toward the deafening sound and the metallic pinging of flying metal. She was just in time to see the brunette land flatfooted on the deck, slamming a hand against the control that lifted the gangway and sealed the hatch.
Without comprehension, she stared at the now ragged uniform he wore, taking in the gashes along his arm and leg and the blackened, gaping flesh where lasers had torn into him. There was little blood. Lasers tended to seal the flesh and veins even as they burned through them. What caught her attention and held it, though, was the gleaming metal, not bone, exposed by the wounds.
She was still staring at the metal, trying to wrap her mind around everything that had happened and the implications of seeing metal rather than charred bone, when the man stalked up to her, grasped the restraints she hadn’t had the wit to fasten and quickly fastened her in. He’d barely done so when the craft shot from the roof like a launched missile, plastering her to the back of her seat.
The man grabbed her seat back to keep from being pitched toward the rear of the ship. The metal groaned, as if it was about to be ripped loose from its mooring, but, thankfully, held as he launched himself across the aisle and managed to land in the seat apparently reserved for him.
That feat shocked her almost as much as everything that had gone before. She couldn’t begin to guess how many G’s the ship was pulling in its almost vertical climb, but she knew it would take superhuman strength to combat it.
Any man, no matter if he was built like a tank, as this one was, would have been plastered against the bulkhead at the rear of the cockpit.
The truth, despite the implications, was slow in coming simply because of the shock and her absolute unwillingness to accept what her senses told her.
No wonder, she thought, feeling faint and cold with sudden terror, these men were such marvels of perfection, so perfectly wonderful and beautiful if every way. They weren’t men at all! They were rogue cyborgs … and she’d just spent the last fifteen minutes convincing them that they should kidnap her instead of looking for a doctor that was more experienced!