Defender (Battle Born Book 4)

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Defender

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Copyright © 2016 Cyndi Friberg

Cover art by Dar Albert

Editor: Mary Moran

 

Electronic Book Publication, January 2016

Trade Paperback Publication, January 2016

 

Edition One A

 

With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the author, Cyndi Friberg.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

 

Praise for
Beyond Ontariese

 

Taken by Storm


Taken by Storm
had it all—tense action, suspense, erotic sex, humor and a wildly imaginative plot.”

~
The Romance Studio

 

“Unplug the phone and put the kids to bed; once you start reading
Taken by Storm
you won’t want any interruptions!”

~
Fallen Angel Reviews

 

“For a story that will delight, entertain, and keep you on the edge of your seat, I highly recommend
Taken by Storm
and award it RRT’s
Perfect 10
.”

~
Romance Reviews Today

 

 

Operation Hydra

“I highly recommend
Operation Hydra

it’s one of the best science fiction romances I’ve ever read
. Perfect 10!

~
Romance Reviews Today

 

“Outstanding! This segment only whetted my appetite for more. The heat between Kyrsta and Trey could cause a nuclear meltdown.

~
Simply Romance Reviews

 

 

City of Tears

“WOW!
City of Tears
by Cyndi Friberg is one amazing blend of science fiction at its best and romance at its hottest…”

~
eCata Reviews

 

 

Defender

Cyndi Friberg

 

Battle Born, Book Four
:
Two years of unimaginable abuse have left Chandar emotionally damaged. In a final act of treachery, her captor wiped her memory clean in an effort to conceal his evil. Now she’s free and working to rebuild her life, but what use is a harbinger who can no longer see the future?

 

Raylon, the rebellion’s fiercest warrior, has known nothing but hardship and pain. Rescuing Chandar awakened feelings he thought long dead within his soul, yet she sees him as her champion, a protector to drive back her fear. He, on the other hand, is tormented by inappropriate thoughts and desires that would horrify her. He has never wanted a female as much as he wants Chandar, but he knows it’s impossible. She’s much too fragile, too vulnerable, to see him as anything but her defender.

 

The forces determined to squelch the battle born rebellion are rapidly gaining strength. If Chandar can regain her abilities, her insights would be invaluable. An ancient ritual will allow her to access the strength of her lover, but the only man she will even consider is Raylon. Does he know her too well to see beyond her past or can two damaged souls find happiness fighting for a common cause?

 

Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Crusader

About the Author

Other Titles by

Chapter One

 

“Damn, it feels good to finally get this thing started.” Raylon Lasenger matched the long, purposeful strides of Garin Nox, his best friend and commanding officer. “We’ve been on standby for the past six months.”

“It’s been longer than that.” Garin paused for a quick look around. They stood on the wide concourse, one of two extending from Lunar Nine’s main entrance. Though many aspects of the outpost were rudimentary compared with current technology, the structure itself was an engineering marvel. Built inside a massive cave on the dark side of Earth’s moon, Lunar Nine followed the cavern’s natural curve, creating a wide, multi-level half-circle that seemed to embrace the docking area. The concourses could accommodate forty ships. At present, there were only six. “The
Venture
exploded almost two years ago. We’ve been making preparations ever since.”

Raylon nodded as they continued their trek toward the
Crusader
.

As usual, Garin was right. Discontent had run rampant among the battle born for decades. They were an oppressed underclass, forced into military service or used as menial labor, trapped by the circumstances of their birth. Their grievances weren’t new, but losing the
Venture
with over nine hundred battle born soldiers aboard lit the fires of rebellion. And they’d burned brightly ever since. But a successful revolution needed more than angry men. It needed competent leaders. As one of only four generals in the Rodyte military, Garin had the authority and connections to bring about change. He wasn’t the rebellion’s only leader. He was, however, its most powerful.

At the top of the access ramp they were scanned, confirming their identities and clearance before being allowed onto the ship. “I know you went to the palace to announce our intentions,” Raylon prompted as they headed for the nearest elevator bank, “but I want details. Did the guards put up much of a fight? Describe the look on Quinton’s face when you stopped being nice.”

A smile slowly bowed Garin’s lips, the expression as indolent as his movements. He’d just declared war on the Rodyte elite. Raylon wasn’t sure he could have been this composed. “I can do better than that, my friend.
Crusader
, access
Phantom One
. Authorization, Garin Nox 92123.”

“Ready, General Nox, and welcome aboard.” The
Crusader’s
operating system responded in whichever language it had been addressed and sounded slightly female, a popular option on a spaceship full of unmated men.

“Activate a viewscreen at my current location and play file 289-82.”

One of the walls beside them flickered with internal light and then the garish opulence of the throne room in Keirestine Palace appeared within the display. Raylon turned toward the image, curious about the events yet already resentful. He’d never been to court. Images from news feeds and entertainment vids were as close to royalty as he’d ever come. Quinton Keire sat on the ancestral throne, his thin body nearly lost in his colorful robes. Rather than looking regal and imposing, as a monarch should, Quinton reminded Raylon of a child playing dress up. The eight massive guards flanking the throne only accented the waifish appearance of the man they protected.

Raylon glanced at Garin. “Who recorded this? How’d you get a camera past security?”

Garin chuckled, clearly pleased with himself. “The vid is courtesy of
Phantom One
.”

The Covert Strike Ships or Phantom class shuttles were brand new and loaded with all sorts of interesting features. Garin had snatched the six ships from the manufacturer several months before their scheduled release so the rest of the star system didn’t even know they were operational.

“I can’t wait to pilot one,” Raylon muttered as his gaze drifted back to the display.

In the recording, Garin knelt before the throne. Zilor, his youngest brother, was at his side.

“Danvier stayed out of sight.” Raylon nodded as other elements of the mission fell into place. “That was smart.”

“No need to endanger a harbinger,” Garin agreed. “There’s been too much of that lately.”

Harbingers were powerful clairvoyants who could see into the future and often a whole lot more. It would have been foolish indeed to risk Danvier needlessly. Still, his knowledge of
Phantom One
had been needed for the mission.

Before Garin could say more, the confrontation began. Quinton came down off the dais and approached the Nox brothers. “Stand up and look at me,” Quinton demanded. They obeyed, then Garin stepped forward, drawing the crown stirate’s attention.

The following conversation was fast and hostile. In the span of a few sentences Garin established himself as the focal point for the battle born rebellion. When Quinton ordered his guards forward to apprehend the brothers, only half of them responded. A scuffle ensued. The physical exchange wasn’t even long or violent enough to be called a fight. Raylon’s disappointment was soothed somewhat by the final image. Quinton Keire, Crown Stirate of Rodymia, crouched behind his thrown, cowering like a child.

“I’ll upload the file tomorrow morning and let the data stream do the rest.” Garin deactivated the display and continued down the corridor, Raylon at his side. “Images speak louder than words and that last image says it all. Quinton is unworthy to rule our world.”

Raylon nodded. They’d needed a strong statement to motivate people to action. Statements didn’t come much stronger than open defiance against a planetary leader. Unfortunately, Quinton’s response had been just as strong. “You’re not worried about the bounty? Five million credits is a lot of money. And that’s for each one of you.”

“Bandar wasn’t even there,” Garin flared. “How can Quinton justify a bounty on someone who played no part in the disruption?”

They reached an elevator bank and both men stepped inside the first available car. “Deck One.” The car was set in motion before Raylon spoke again. “Everyone knows you Nox brothers are thick as thieves. You’re not battle born yet you support the rebellion. That in itself demonstrates your family’s dedication to each other. You’re an elite general, one of the most powerful men on Rodymia. Why would someone like that dirty his hands with our traitorous rebellion?”

“Because it’s the right thing to do. Quinton has mismanaged our planet to the brink of ruin. The mistreatment of the battle born is a tragic symptom of a much larger problem. We need a ruler who will listen to his advisors and then
lead
.” One corner of Garin’s mouth twitched as he added, “And I love my brothers.”

The elevator opened and they walked out onto the topmost level of the midsized ship. “If someone managed to bag all three of you, they’d earn fifteen million credits.” Raylon paused and looked at Garin. “There are many who will be swayed by such a sum.”

“It’s not going to change my mind. We’ve come too far for regrets or second guessing. This needs to be done, and clearly no one else is going to do it. The guild masters are almost as useless as Quinton.”

“Can’t argue with you there.” Raylon motioned toward the Starlight lounge, which was down the corridor behind him. “You want a drink before you turn in?”

“Sure. Might actually get me to sleep for a change.”

A noticeable hush fell over the room as they walked in. The phenomenon made Rayon smile. He used the lounge as an unofficial office, so everyone was used to seeing him. The legendary General Nox, on the other hand, was a rare treat indeed.

Raylon led Garin to a kiosk and selected one of the alcohol-based beverages. As with most battle born soldiers, they both preferred
g’haut
, a potent, gut-burning liquor.

“I’ll never get used to bars on battleships.” Garin shook his head as Raylon handed him a shot glass filled with
g’haut
. Only the most recent line of ships had been equipped with the kiosks and the lounges in which to enjoy the drinks. The concept was still experimental.

“Quantities are strictly controlled and it decreases the need for shore leave,” Raylon quoted.

“Yeah, I got the memo.” Garin chuckled.

Suspecting they wouldn’t be here long, Raylon sat down at the nearest table.

Garin did the same. He sipped his drink for a moment then pity clouded his gaze. “Chandar still remembers nothing?”

Raylon tensed. Chandar was the female harbinger Raylon had helped rescue from her abusive captor, Akim Farmon. Raylon hadn’t set out to become her protector, but the poor thing had been so traumatized by her captivity that she’d latched on to him like a lifeline and wouldn’t let go.

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