Recon Marines II: The Marine's Heiress
Recon Marine Vin vows revenge on those who betrayed his regiment but meeting Dr. Emma deflects him from his vengeance. Emma understands Vin as no one else can, but she has nothing but her love to save him before he dies for honor and duty.
Recon Marine Vin takes his vengeance on those who betrayed his regiment until only one traitor remains free. His final manhunt derails when Dr. Emma Lester learns his identity. As if with magic, the petite, energetic woman drags Vin into the problems of the small colony where she's hiding from her stepfather. As a physician, Emma appreciates Vin's genetic enhancements. As a psychiatrist, she understands the ghosts haunting his cold eyes. As a woman, she can't help her growing feelings for the lonely man who is so determined to protect everyone but himself.
But enemies new and old close in on the settlement before Emma can heal the scars on Vin's soul. The battle for Vin's justice and Emma's safety rages across the galaxy when she is kidnapped. Together they work to outsmart Emma's greedy stepfather and the horror produced by a secret, illegal genetics program. Vin had thought only as far ahead at his revenge, but Emma awakens his dreams of a future. But if he can't save her, his heart will linger forever in the empty vacuum of his crushed soul.
Length: Full Novel
Word Count: 81,672
Genre: Futuristic Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, September 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.
Swallowing the last of his bread, Vin considered taking the empty plates back to the kitchen, a very clever excuse to see Emma alone. Or should he wait in his seat for her to come out to him? Vannie’s presence would destroy any chance at an intimate moment. Before he could decide, Vannie gathered up the plates and carried them all in one of his big paws through the curtain. He murmured something to Emma before rejoining Vin.
Vin’s thoughts scattered as he tried to think of another excuse to linger behind and speak with Emma. Speaking be damned, he wanted to make sure she intended to spend the night in his bed again. He would even share more of his revenge plans if it drew her into his arms. She seemed determined to understand him though he believed it was a simple matter. He was a wronged man set on vengeance, but he could be distracted by her attentions for as long as she wanted to give them to him.
“I hear you have more inventions underway in your shop,” Vannie said. “Come show me what you’re cooking up.”
“I don’t cook anything in the shop.” Vin searched desperately through his limited knowledge of civilians and women in particular for another strategy to wait in the café for Emma.
Vannie laughed, the sound a little odd, and wrapped his hand around Vin’s arm. He tugged Vin to his feet. “Let’s have a look at what you have over there.”
Vin let himself be led out the door not because he wanted to show Vannie any of his work but because no logical reason came to him to remain. The night had cooled but had taken on the humidity of the surrounding jungle as it did on the last few days leading up to the rain. They walked side by side to Vin’s dark shop.
As soon as Vin stepped through his door, he sensed the presence waiting to his left. He heard the man breathing and smelled … food? Though nothing but a faint glow from the AI lit the room, Vin saw the fist coming his way. He ducked and moved further into the room so he had space to maneuver.
Moe stumbled as the momentum of his missed blow carried him forward. Vannie bumped into him as he walked into the room and slammed the door shut behind him. Both men cursed, using some profanity Vin had never heard before, and he had no idea of its meaning.
One of the men swept his hand along the wall beside the door and turned on the overhead light. They fixed unfriendly glares at Vin.
What had he done? Only moments ago Vannie had been heaping thanks upon Vin and praising his contributions to Hovel Port. Had he completely missed the real intentions of these men toward him?
“She’s not for you, soldier boy,” Moe spat, balling his hands into fists twice the size of some men. “We don’t ask many questions of those that settle here, but now you’re taking advantage of our girl. You answer to us or we’ll throw you out the gates into the dark.”
Vin kept his hands at his side, trying for cooperative and nonthreatening. Despite Moe’s vow, the two men couldn’t defeat Vin in a contest of hand to hand combat. And even if they could throw him out, they couldn’t keep him out unless he wanted to stay out. Silence stretched, the two men growing tenser with each passing minute.
Vannie finally growled a question. “Well, give us your answers.”
“You’ve asked no questions.”
“Don’t start the dumb act.” Moe took a step forward.
“I’m not dumb.” Vin thought they might want long answers. Civilians often rambled on in conversations. “I have an above average intelligence quotient.”
“Son of a bitch,” Vannie said. “Don’t play with words. You’ve tricked me up until now.”
The confusing conversation opened a well of ache for his brothers. With them at his side, he wouldn’t be so alone in this world that made so little sense. He asked a question of his own. “How does one play with words?”
Moe cursed and leveled a punch at Vin’s face at the same time. Avoiding it took little effort, a small step back and a bit of a lean.
Vannie grabbed Moe’s arm before he swung again. “Listen, Vin, we don’t know your business, but Emma has been under our protection since she arrived here. We let you have your secrets but you’ve stepped over a line when you seduce our sweet girl. It can be a lonely life out here for such as her. We won’t have a wandering warrior taking advantage of her giving nature.”
Vin knew what seduce meant. Had he taken advantage of Emma? Hadn’t any reluctance been his? The Recon Marines had stopped taking blame when innocent a while ago. “I didn’t seduce her.”
“Then how did she wind up in your bed? She’s turned away the attentions of pretty men before.” Moe lifted his fist and shifted his weight as if getting ready to attack. “You’ve been sniffing after her since the day you helped her with Russ.”
“Her cooking smells delicious. Everyone who eats in your café sniffs it.”
Moe took another ineffectual swing and then followed it with a looping hook that Vin retreated from.
Vin heard her footsteps outside before the door opened. Emma strode in and then froze in place. Her eyes widened. “Vannie, Moe, what are you doing here?”
The two men glared at Vin and remained silent. They didn’t even turn toward Emma, very disrespectful behavior toward the women they claimed to protect.
Vin answered for them, glad he completely understood a question. “I think they were informing me that I need their permission to have you in my bed. But they’re wrong that I seduced you by helping Russ. I don’t know why it’s wrong, but they’re angry that I sniff the wonderful aromas of your cooking.”
Moe dropped his hands, relaxing his fists. He shook his head and turned to Vannie. “Either he’s the best actor I’ve ever met, or he speaks a different language.”
“I speak many languages, but I have excellent comprehension and deliverance of the common tongue you use.” Vin wondered if Moe had a disability.
Emma slammed the shop door closed and sauntered around her friends to Vin’s side. She placed her hands on her hips and faced them. “I’m sure Vin must have misunderstood. You two didn’t trap him in his shop and try to intimidate him into staying away from me, did you?”
“I don’t feel trapped, Emma, nor do I feel intimidated.” Vin wondered at the heat in her voice though it seemed directed at Moe and Vannie.
“Have you ever felt intimidated, Vin?” But Emma kept her glare on the other men.
“Not by other men.”
“Emma, dear, you know we only want what’s best for you,” Vannie said. “Did you just hear how he talked? There’s something not right about this man. We don’t even know why he’s on Merris Five. He’s inserted himself into every working of this town, made himself useful, and managed to stay close to you.”
“I know that.”
The men looked from Emma to Vin and back again. Finally Moe spoke. “You know he came here to get close to you?”
“I appreciate how you two have set yourselves as my guardians even though I never asked for your protection. But I’m not a fluff-headed young girl. I’m an experienced doctor and I figured out who Vin is and why he’s here a little while ago.”
“You did?” Vannie asked. “You didn’t share that with us?”
Emma sighed, and her angry posture relaxed. “Vin’s secrets are his to keep or not. He did come here because of me but not for me.”
Moe shook his head. “That makes no sense. Did the admiral hire him or not?”
Emma looked toward Vin, and he understood the question in her eyes. A warm spurt of joy followed that understanding. He’d been able to share unspoken communications with his brothers and for a little while with Yalo. Only people sharing a closeness of spirit could do that.
Vin switched his gaze to the two men who didn’t return his smile. “I’m looking for the admiral for my own reasons. I haven’t been able to find him, but I learned he had mounted a wide search for his stepdaughter, Emma. I found her and decided to wait at her side until the admiral comes for her.”
Vannie’s fist rose alongside Moe’s this time. “You gave her location to the admiral?”
How had Vannie deduced that from what he’d told them? Maybe he wasn’t very high on the intelligence quotient. “No.”
“You’re just going to wait here forever until he finds her?” Vannie asked.
“I have nowhere else to be. I can wait as long as it takes, but he’ll find her soon in the same way I did by eliminating places she could be.”
The two men relaxed though Vannie still looked angry. “Why do you want to find the admiral? We heard the rumors he was hiding, something about his involvement in the military trials of those infamous Recon….”
“Holy bastard in hell,” Moe cursed. “And you’re one of those Recon Marines.”
“You must not tell anyone,” Emma ordered. “Vin is supposed to be dead. Someone might come for him if word gets out.”
Warmth spread through Vin again, larger this time. He wanted the men gone so he could be alone with Emma.
“Emma, he’s dangerous.” Vannie looked at his fists and dropped them to his side. “One of the most dangerous men in the universe.”