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Planet Amazon V


Book 6


Gemini Protected


By Crystal Dawn


2017 Copyright by Crystal Dawn


Edited Eagle Editing


Cover by Eagle Eye Covers


This is a book in the Planet Amazon Series. The series is intended to be read in order. It is the continuous and ongoing story of Andrea Staton a soldier/scientist from Earth who becomes Amazon’s greatest warrior.


Planet Amazon the Rebirth Parts 1 &2


Andrea has dreamed her whole life of finding the fabled city of Atlantis thinking it’s the doorway to Atlantis. With the army supporting her, she finally finds it, walks through the doorway, and discovers a primitive culture of warrior women preyed on by the more advanced planet Gallegos. She finds that she must hone her fighting skills to avoid becoming a pleasure slave. She finds love with two slaves, Jonne and Marcus. Marcus is a warrior and Jonne becomes one. She fights for their freedom claiming them both as mates. The prince of Gallegos is captured during a raid. No one realizes he is a prince until Andrea figures it out when questioning him. He is taken back home with a message of peace but the king has no desire for peace. Daval, the prince, decides he wants Andrea so they try to capture her until they succeed. But she escapes and eventually has Jonne’s daughter.

They discover that Marcus is a lost prince of Gallegos and Daval chooses to stay on Amazon with his brother. The king discovers Marcus is his son and ends up capturing Andrea and Marcus. His plan is for them to have a child so he will have an heir. Then he intends to kill Marcus and claim Andrea. Eventually Andrea and Marcus escape lead a rebellion where Marcus ends up King and Andrea becomes Queen. At the end of the story, the confederacy, a group of advanced planets, makes contact with Andrea to find out if she is trying to force Amazon’s and Gallegos’s development.


Planet Amazon II, Into Gemini Galaxy


We discover that Andrea’s brother has been sent in by Earth to see what she’s up to. Andrea starts a campaign against slavers and she and Marcus solidify their rule on Gallegos. Two of Andrea’s cousin’s, Billie and Bobbie, are also sent from Earth to report back on the happenings on Amazon. Bobbie is recognized as the long awaited Queen of the Taureacians and Billie is claimed by the Julians as the ruler of their planet. The three cousins and the Queen of Amazon unite in a war against slavery. The confederacy is impressed with their results and asks them to help fight slavery at other planets in the galaxy.


Planet Amazon III, Gemini Galaxy and Beyond


Andrea takes on the pirates reducing their numbers and the threat they represent. Many of the nobles that Latva had cheated were being helped when she actively began searching for them. Andrea, her cousins, and others take a trip to trade stopping at Taurus II helping those from Taurus I to find a new planet with Bobbie as their queen. The trip ends at Julius where Billie and Valen are coronated as king and Queen of Julius. Daval meets the queen of Kasar and attempts to build a life with her.

She and Ajaks have a daughter named Jasmine during the time at Kasar. Alliances are formed before they head home. Once home, Katie’s birthday celebration brought trouble with it. Andrea was able free those who had been enslaved and save a business that had survived on slavery. Andrea returns to Kasar to save Daval and the queen from her enemies. Daval decides he wants to go home with Andrea. Andrea gets into trouble again on one of Gallegos’s moons. She is abducted by Barden who uses her to handle trouble he has with a dragon.

She returns home to find that Taryn has been captured during the course of her duties and her cousin, Stevie has come to Amazon. She frees Taryn but Stevie stays behind to pursue a relationship with the king of Gorgon. Andrea returns home only to be immediately abducted by King Sarnat and she discovers Katie ask to come along. She also finds out that Lydia, Queen of Amazon, and her closest friend and sister-in-law, was abducted by King Pindost that took Lydia only to lure her in. She eventually convinces Sarnat to let her try to free Lydia, which she does but she is captured herself. She eventually escapes, but Pindost pursues her to Gallegos where he threatens them with destruction. During this time she finds out she is expecting twins with Barden.

To placate him, she and some others, go with him to a colony that has been attacked by a mysterious enemy. He, Andrea, and some others are captured, but eventually are freed. Finally she ends up with Barden traveling to his home world with her children and some of her men. That is where Planet Amazon IV-Saving Gemini begins.


Saving Gemini


Andrea manages to fall into double her usual trouble. She is in a position to either do great harm or great good and her heart is once again torn. There is also another threat lurking just beyond the Trohlers and she and her allies must come together or be defeated separately. Her family is growing and she also takes on a child of the new enemy in an attempt to bring the boy some form of happiness.

She knows she has just bought some time before she is once again called back to strengthen the defenses against what will be their ultimate enemy. Taking the time she has bought to enjoy with her family and friends, it won’t be long before she once again is challenged and tested and she must do all she can to see Gemini, her beloved galaxy, protected.

Prologue


Katie, my oldest daughter would soon be sixteen. The castle was turned upside down as the excitement of the amazing celebration loomed only a week away. Also looming, but in a much less pleasant way, was the call to come to Theos’ kingdom and soothe the beast of war that was becoming restless and could not be calmed by anyone, but me.

At times, it was a burden to be needed so much by so many, but I and my cousins had been raised to heed the call and lend our support to those who needed it. Why Danny didn’t feel that pull was anyone’s guess, but it was good to feel that someone who cared was here at home taking care of things so maybe that was Danny’s part in all this.

It would be lying to admit that a small finger of jealousy didn’t beckon to me at times, Danny’s life with Lydia was stable and calm. They rarely left Amazon and they were still as deeply in love as they had been from the moment they met. I had been able to get Danny to accidently trigger the gene in about half a dozen more females which had been a help, but more men had been found to have the gene and Lydia had even accidently triggered at least two on Amazon where we hadn’t thought any would be.

Now it was time to make the final arrangements for the sweet sixteen party and see the important decisions made before we had to leave to meet King Theos. All our allies would be here to wish Katie a happy future. Many already had ships circling the planet and some of their crews were already on shore leave enjoying the local flavor.

I wished the dread would disappear just until the party was over. My responsibility to my galaxy and even beyond never left me, not even for a moment. Someone called me, Rena was back from her trip for the confederacy. Now my whole family was here and I would find a way to relax and enjoy it. Now that the children were older, these times when they were all together would be rare.

Chapter 1

Returns


“Taryn, you brought my baby back,” I declared as I kissed and hugged Rena and then moved on to Taryn.

“I wish to spend a few moments with you in private,” Taryn whispered in my ear as Rena escaped to do whatever it was teenagers did.

“That would be lovely,” I whispered back. I’d not seen him in three months even though he had a room at the castle and spent all his downtime here now, unless he took me to Dymond with him which had happened only twice in the nearly three years since the treaties with the Trohlers.

Life had been moving at a fast pace for all of us. Taryn was heavily in demand making treaties and mediating them for the confederacy. He was their best full time ambassador and I was proud of him. Both Katie and Rena worked with the confederacy when needed and Katie sometimes took assignments where a female representative was determined to be needed. Her success rate was a hundred percent partly because she refused to give up until common ground was found and an agreement struck.

Rena was sent in for those less vexing problems or to events like coronations that simply required attendance. It was clear already that she had the skills needed to someday become an incredible ambassador. Sammy assisted Marcus and he had mostly planet based responsibilities although he did represent Gallegos once in a while off planet.

Luke and Dia assisted Daval with the trade agreements on the moon. The plan for the prison had gone off without a hitch and Willer had turned out to be the perfect warden. The only problem was we had underestimated the need and it was full to capacity without our own prisoners that were still in the jails here. Luckily, we didn’t have many since work was plentiful and we now had a judicial system in place that gave out appropriate punishments to fit the crime. Minor offenders were given fines or community service leaving only repeat offenders and serious criminals to be locked away. Still, plans for expansion were underway and with the money we made from the confederacy for housing their criminals, we would have no trouble paying for it.

Marcus had sold the sentences of half a dozen murderers and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. They were gone and the deed was done. They had lied to him and because he thought me too softhearted, he had hidden the whole thing from me until the deal was completed. They had told him they wanted them for a mining operation, but the truth was they had a fight, to die or be free. It was on a planet, Drummond, that wasn’t part of the confederacy and they had many activities there like slavery that was illegal elsewhere.

These fights they sponsored were to the death and they bought vicious murderers and tried to have a fight weekly. I tried to take comfort in the fact that he’d only sold those that I had marked as completely unredeemable, but what if they won their fight and came back here to seek revenge? Since we took good care of our prisoners, they would have a better chance at winning. We fed them well and they had medical care. They were even given a chance to exercise three times a week in the prison courtyard. Part of the agreement Marcus had made had been that the prisoners wouldn’t be brought back here, but how could that be enforced?

I hoped in the future he would let Willer make these kind of decisions. Over time, I had learned to trust our Chief Warden and I wished Marcus had discussed it with him first. Anytime I thought about those cold blooded men loose in the galaxy, shivers ran down my spine. Death matches were hard for me to even think about much less watch, but I would need to know the outcome of these.

The trade center was doing great and Wynn had been the best choice I could have made even though the loss of him on my squad and as my friend and confident daily, had been felt. It seemed there was a great need for a place traders could meet to make deals and complete transactions. Especially a place where the best guards available anywhere protected both the place and the people present. We had a bank where the money of hundreds of worlds was available and it was capable of making any electronic transactions needed.

Hotels and restaurants were there, anything from the plainest to the most luxurious accommodations were available including those fit for a king or queen. Conference rooms with the best security in the galaxy, storage facilities for those who needed to unload before the buyer was able to pick up, dock workers to help with the loading or unloading, and entertainment for those on a prolonged stay was also there. Almost anything, furniture, raw materials, even technology, could be bought if the price was right and from time to time, bargains could also be found.

The success of the trading center had even astonished me. It made me glad Daval had Dia and Luke to assist him, because mediators were often requested and they, even at their tender age, were two of the best. It seemed all my children so far thrived on the excitement of wheeling and dealing and I was glad. Had they not enjoyed it, doing it would have made them miserable and they would not have been any good at it. Instead, they competed for who got the most assignments and bragged on their successes.

Henry was now a junior Lieutenant with the confederacy. It was similar to a military academy position on Earth except they actually served on board a ship. Henry had been granted an exception and he was onboard with Taryn wherever that happened to be. He was assigned to the squad that guarded ambassadors which was often his father or one of his sisters. So far, none of the boys had shown an interest in ambassadorial duties even though they had training in diplomacy.

Jasmine was already in training at the tender age of seven, she often accompanied Katie and had even gone with Rena once. She already showed talent and ability and would soon go on her own. Kashu had also been given training in every area he showed interest in. He was a formidable opponent in a fight, shrewd when making deals, and willing to help others in need. It was his choice to only stay on Gallegos, the moon, or Amazon. I think he feared being found and taken back by force. His assistance was helpful to Daval and to Marcus. In every way, but birth, he was a prince of Gallegos.

The younger children all trained and received responsibility as was deemed appropriate. Some chafed at the watchful eyes and limited freedom, but none had shown signs of the impulsiveness of the oldest three, at least not to the extreme those three had displayed it. Katie, Rena, Sammy, Dia, Luke, Henry, and even Kashu all had squads they commanded that traveled with them almost everywhere they went. Soon Jasmine would have a squad as well and she was very excited and even though she was very girly, she was one hell of a warrior. Henry had not had his long and he and those he worked with when he was with Taryn, were still adjusting. The confederacy and Henry’s commanding officers were all aware of his position and the need for extra protection. They were finally learning to make use of the extra man power instead of ignoring it.

Now I sat down with Taryn and Rena to enjoy a lavish breakfast and catch up with them both. “Where is Henry?” Taryn asked.

“Sparring with the squads, no doubt,” Rena answered. Henry was predictable, he intended to follow his father’s path as a soldier and eventually an ambassador. For now all his attention hinged on fighting, riding wild horses, training dogs as trackers and guard dogs; it was a new thing we were working on, and playing the guitar. He had developed some musical abilities and he played while Katie sang. She had inherited the same beautiful voice, in a feminine form, that Jonne had. It had not hurt her when she was asked to sing during negotiations. Hearing her voice often seemed to add to her already natural enchantment and it made them more receptive to the deal at hand.

“We can all join him after we eat. He often breakfasts before he goes,” I added.

“I had hoped to pursue other activities first,” Taryn said.

“Ewww, Dad!” Rena screeched. “I don’t even want to hear about that.” Rena’s attitude toward sex especially between her parents and each other or them and anyone else had taken a dramatic turn from accepting it as natural when she was younger, to finding it embarrassing now.

“What are you talking about young lady?” he demanded.

“You and Mom having sex.”

“That’s not what I was talking about though I’m sure we’ll get around to it,” he finished.

“I’m ready to go. See you guys later. Yuck.” Rena rushed off without a backward glance leaving both of us smiling. Taryn may have only sired Henry, but he was a father to all my children and they called him Dad. Even Katie who had originally called him by name or Uncle Taryn now called him and the others dad.

We followed after her and entered the arena to find a rousing sparring match going on between several squads, but not mine. As the senior squad, it was generally accepted they were the best so there was no point in them participating unless they were training the others. This was for bragging rights as third best squad which was still an honor. Sammy and Rena both cheered on their squads in one of the arenas, while Henry and Dia cheered on theirs since Luke’s had been defeated. He quietly spoke to his squad assuring them this was an opportunity for improvement and that true champions learned from their losses. He also pointed out that all these squads were selected from among the best trainees from several planets and there was no shame in losing to such excellent soldiers as long as everyone had done their best.

I was proud of him for putting his squad first, because all my children were competitive and I was sure the loss hurt. He would be teased ceaselessly until the next distraction came up or they had another contest. Maybe I would invite him along with Katie and me as we checked out another property with an eye toward restoring it and returning it to its rightful owner if they were ever found. Even though I had been home at least half the time the last three years, other projects like those on the moon and some agricultural ones like growing chocolate, coffee, and the fish plant, had also claimed my time.

Additionally, Daval had found that I wasn’t the only woman he could sire a child with. My youngest children were a little over a year and Valen had sent me a dream message. They needed me and Daval as soon as possible. It had been several months since we’d visited and I always loved to visit Julius, but the urgent nature of the request made me worry about what it might mean.

We found out moments after arrival. Two beautiful, but unhappy babies were brought out to meet us. It had made my men realize that children could result from their trysts when we were on Julius or anywhere else they might find comfort. So it was that seven months later, we were back on Julius and Daval was meeting his children for the first time. Valen told him he had sired a pair of twins, but the mother, a female servant at the castle, had not survived their birth. The children were born close to the eight month term that Julian women carried their young, but they had been poorly fed since formula wasn’t readily available.

Two servants brought in the two children, a boy and a girl. The boy looked like a Julian except for his barely blue skin while the girl looked like Daval despite her light blue tint. The boy was handed to Daval the girl to me. I fell in love with them instantly. Everyone left the room so Daval and I could talk.

What am I to do?” He wondered.

Be the best father you can and I will help you. They will have plenty of brothers and sisters to help love them.”

You would accept them into your life?”

Oh, Daval. How could you ever doubt that? Such perfect babies and they are a part of someone I love with all my heart. How could I not love them too? We must find out if they have names yet. We can’t just call them baby girl and baby boy.”

Daval kissed me and I saw tears in his eyes. All my men loved children, but I don’t think they ever considered they might have unknowingly fathered some. Most of the females they shared time with on Julius were well known to us and related to Valen. Had they become pregnant, we would have known, unless they purposely tried to hide it.

We took the children to the room we were given to use and I nursed them sparingly having learned my lesson about starving children. Each time I gave them more until they were up to a proper amount for their age. Daval gave it some thought and named them Sari and Bari, two solid Julian names. I think he hoped to give them a connection to their mother and I loved him all the more for it.

Daval wanted to waste no time, so we took them home in the morning. Valen and Billie understood, this had been a life changer for Daval. I noticed after that he was less playful with women and kept more to himself around strangers. He committed himself to his four children and the rest of us completely. I made an effort to give him more time, but I only had so much to give. The children fit into the family perfectly, as I had expected, since they were born to it. We all loved children, so it was no hardship to make room for them. They were now the youngest by about a year. Children of various ages filled the castle and I was busy with them as well, because mother was my most satisfying role.

After an early lunch, Katie and I planned to slip away, but I went over to invite Luke along too. The problem was secrets around here were hard to keep and I ended up not only with all the oldest children, but several of the younger ones. Only the under-five crowd stayed behind and that was only because they didn’t know what was going on.

We were going about an hour away to a midsized estate. The lord had disappeared making me wonder if Latva had him dealt with harshly or even if he’d been killed by accident. Even though, much to everyone’s surprise, the former king had made a strong effort to be a grandfather to the royal children, he still wasn’t always straight forward about his past activities. Each of the children had developed their own relationship with him. Katie and Sammy seemed quite close to him and they even visited him from time to time. I let them go because they could defend themselves and I had seen signs of a deep change in him. Learning of his royal connections had changed his outlook for some reason.

The ship was midsized since we had several squads with us. Any enemy would be foolish to attack, but we’d been pretty safe on Gallegos since I’d returned from my trip to meet with the Trohlers. Slavery here was now nearly nonexistent except for a few lords that held to the old ways. They could buy no new slaves and children couldn’t be born into slavery. There were also strict rules on the treatment of slaves and failure to follow them even with one slave deprived that lord of all of them. The king also aggressively bargained for slaves. Once he had them, they were set free and given jobs and a place to stay.

Things on the planet were looking good, our new problem was that things on the moon were a little rougher and wilder. It was full of indigents that somehow made their way there from all over the galaxy and not all were looking for honest work. These people generally stayed on the moon and if they caused trouble they were dealt with, each in whatever fashion fit their situation.

Feeling pretty confident that there would be no trouble beyond the difficulties of dealing with a long abandoned estate in hellish condition, I boldly went forth with my oldest children on my heels as the squads either unloaded things we might need or hurried trying to catch up. The outbuildings were mostly lost, except for a few that were stone. The walls stood, but the doors and roofs were no more. The manor house was a large one, in its day it must have been impressive. The exterior walls were stone and the roof resembled slate, but it was broken in spots. I hoped it could be patched rather than replaced. The door was heavy and still standing so I pushed it open and strode inside.

Imagine my surprise when it was inhabited. A child ran away screaming, I’d never had that effect on a child before. Now adults came toward me hesitantly. “Who are you and what do you want?” A man said as he stepped out of the group.

I sensed they were psychics of some sort and not of my world at all. They looked much like my citizens, but there was something odd about their eyes and I couldn’t tell what since they never held eye contact. Their hair, too, had a lavender tint and while that was easy enough to imitate, I suspected it was natural.

“Who are you and what claim do you have on this property?” I asked.

“What gives you the authority to question us?” he asked.

“We ask in the name of the queen,” I said with much authority as more of the squad joined us. All female soldiers wore a form of Amazon warrior gear. There were accoutrements that could be worn to designate rank or awards, but I and the females on my squad rarely bothered with those.

“How do I know the truth of that?”

“You must know you don’t own this property and in fact are not even a citizen. You aren’t legally here so what does it matter? Who are these people with you?”

“We are a family, much like a clan that travels together. Our planet sought to eradicate us, so we fled,” he explained.

“You have talent, why do you seek to hide it?” I asked.

“We have heard so many conflicting stories about the queen, we were afraid to address her,” he admitted.

“What of Dunre? Have you not heard he chooses who he takes in his colony? Why did you not approach him?”

“I have heard good things about him, but we know the queen supports him. He would asked her and feel bound by her opinion,” he added.

“Hmm, I can see your quandary. Why don’t we take you and anyone else you need with you to see Dunre and find out his opinion?”

“Can you do that?” he asked.

“Yes, soldiers have been told to direct mystics of all kinds to Dunre so he can decide how to help them. The queen truly has other things to do besides torturing or mistreating visitors. Would you tell me where you heard these unflattering stories?”

“They speak of them at home on Herakles Two. Some say she lures our kind in to imprison them,” the man whispered.

“Have you not heard both her cousins rule planets of psychics?”

“That does not guarantee good treatment from her,” he observed.

“What of the king?”

“I’ve heard he denies her nothing,” he admitted.

“You might be surprised. Katie, why don’t you and your squad escort him to Dunre? Bring him back once something is decided. The rest of us will start on the field, the yard and the outbuildings so we won’t disturb anyone. Everyone get to it.” People scattered to get to work. I turned to the man who still stood there.

“Is it usual for women to be officers?” he asked.

“No, there weren’t women in the army at all until the queen came, but everyone gets a fair opportunity to reach as high as their skills and abilities can take them,” I explained.

“That sounds fair,” he agreed.

“It is not always possible, but the queen tries to be fair. Good luck to you,” I finished.

I headed outside and threw myself into heavy yardwork. It made up for the workout I missed by being here instead of the castle. It seemed like they had just left when I saw them returning. The man and one of the women had gone with Katie and now they made their way back into the house as Katie came to tell me what Dunre had decided.

“Mama, Dunre has decided to take them into the fold. They barely escaped with their lives and he said they are a good fit for the temple. He thanks you for sending them. You have gotten much done while we were gone,” Katie praised.

“We have, but I’m sure our people will be happy to get back to the castle to eat and end the day.”

It seemed I found more than I bargained for wherever I went and we’d been lucky they hadn’t been murderers or some other violent criminals, even though I felt confident in our ability as a group to deal with anyone and anything. We helped our visitors load up and dropped them off at the temple before we made it to the castle. I was pleased with what we had accomplished and hoped to accomplish more before Katie’s party. Soon after the party, we would be heading back see King Theos and hi part of the universe. There had been a radical change in the situation that was causing a need to mediate the treaty or so he said.

The confederacy would be sending Taryn with us and all those present last time, Barden, Pindost, and Sarnat, would be present again. All my men and all the children would go this time, but a plan would be prepared in case any danger was found to be present so the children could be gotten to safety. Gen and Koddo already waited for us at the castle. Gen would represent Amazon and Koddo would represent the Trohlers for now. Until we left, I would enjoy time with my old friend and her lover who had become a friend to me over the last few years.

We got to the castle and everyone unloaded quickly. Gen’s stories were known through three galaxies and no one wanted to miss a single tale. I hurried to my room, bathing quickly and fixing myself up in one of my sexiest outfits. I wore a deep purple bra and panty set that barely covered the essentials with a lavender pair of sheer harem pants and a top of the same material with long sleeves that tied off showing much of my midriff. The material was silky, my makeup minimal, except for my smoky eyes, and anklets and bracelets made sweet sounds as I walked.

I saw Gen sitting at the end of one of the banquet tables entertaining the crowd, but a seat had been saved for me. Sliding into place, I waited as she finished the tale of the hounds from hell. It was about how I had acquired my two favorite dogs. Since then, they had had many litters and all the children had their own dogs. They were big and could be vicious when called upon for protection, but they were beautiful and affectionate to their owner when treated with love and respect. That was true of most animals and most people too. We had searched everywhere, but never found another dog of their breed.

“Tell a story now so I can rest my voice, Andrea,” Gen coaxed.

I had gotten out of the habit lately, but I knew that wouldn’t get me out of telling a tale. It was my decision to go with Romeo and Juliet. My story brought out tears from the females and jeers from the males. I didn’t think I had told it before and I didn’t know why I told it now. Katie went next with MacBeth, Sammy with Hamlet, and Rena with Julius Caesar, all of them were Shakespeare plays. My older children had all learned about Earth literature from textbooks that had been sent from Earth.

“These tales all have a similar sound. You’ve not told them before, why have you kept them hidden?” Gen asked in her usual forthright manner.

“They are rather heavy and the end is not always happy. These are stories from a famous storyteller of Earth. He was legendary in his time much like you are here,” I explained and Gen flushed with pleasure. She was an exceptional person to be good at so many things and I was truly blessed to call her friend.

The younger children switched to more light hearted tales of witches, dragons, and fairies. They were already accomplished story tellers having learned around the table on Amazon. Now that the meal was over, it was time to go to the ballroom. While we no longer had an open house nightly, right now we did because of all the guests arriving for Katie’s shindig. Royalty and ambassadors, sometimes both from planets in other galaxies and next door, all hurried to what was considered the event of the year.

So many were coming that we had to hold the official one on the moon. It would be the day before the one our planet celebrated locally. Sometimes politics took over our life, but we made the best decisions we could. One party for the politicians and another for everyone else. Now they would deal with visitors both political and personal up to the day of the first event. Politicians were all being boarded on the moon while friends and family stayed at the castle.

It was exciting to look around and see all five of my regular men at the table. Over the next few days Barden, Pindost, and Sarnat would arrive. They were all regular visitors anyway. It still was lively when they all were here. Radey, Pindost’ son was tall for his age and built like a bull. Shadey, Sarnat’s daughter, was tall for her age, but willowy like her father’s race. Both had their respective father’s coloring. Both fathers were incredibly doting. Fallon, too, spoiled his sister and it was strange for him and Katie to share a sister. I thought she gave them common ground, something Fallon desperately wanted.

Lander came in and sat by Katie. She was cool to him, he had a lovesick expression on his face and we all felt for him. Katie may have had a crush on him when she was younger, but the only thing I saw now when she looked at him was a friend. Lander is a member of her squad that she often in the past used to escort her, but I think her attachment to Fallon will prevent anything from developing between them now that Lander finally sees her as a woman. She denies she has feelings for any man, I still think she secretly cares about Fallon, but he hurt her terrible with his callous disregard when she was younger and she is determined to keep him at arm’s length for as long as she can. Princes tend to be arrogant so being taken down a notch won’t hurt him.

Marcus got up first and came to escort me to the ballroom. Nobles already gathered there and they were all waiting for their first glimpse of a royal woman. Katie might only be sixteen, but she already had the look of a woman. Her gene wasn’t active yet, but sometimes I could feel it telling me it was just waiting. I didn’t think my children’s genes would have to be activated. They were strong enough to activate themselves. Time would prove me right or wrong. The men stared at me, but most of them had figured out I was not for them. Now they practically drooled as they waited for my daughter to come in. Here sixteen was considered old enough to wed, but neither I nor her fathers agreed with that.

I pitied the man that tried to claim her before she was old enough. I could see by the reactions on their faces she had stepped into the room, they wanted her. Maybe we needed to monitor her dress a little closer. They were like a pack of dogs all salivating over a juicy bone. Rena came in with Sammy next and a few eyed her too. Even Dia wasn’t safe from these lecherous men with bad intentions. Luke escorted her and Henry brought in Jasmine. The younger children went to the nursery to play. These kind of gatherings held no appeal to them and I hoped they wouldn’t for a while.

“I’d hoped I might claim a dance,” Latva said as he whisked me away from Marcus who stood looking stunned. They’d developed a relationship of sorts where Marcus no longer threatened his life daily. Latva for his part tried not to get on Marcus’ nerves most of the time.

“Tell me, Latva, what happened to the Nortons?” I asked.

“Are you still at work restoring estates?” he asked.

“Yes, and that one is my current concern.”

“You won’t believe me, but I honestly am not sure. I heard Lord Norton moved his family to Sarace to take a job offer then I never heard another thing. There must be some of his family left since they had a dozen children. The oldest son was a brooding male. He always made me nervous, not enough to leave them alone, but enough to proceed cautiously. The females flocked to him and he was hard on them. Jee, I think they called him, never knew for sure if it was a nickname or his full name. I hope that helps, although I doubt you’ll find them. It’s a tough part of the galaxy they went to. It’s near that planet that has those death fights.” Latva took me back to Marcus and he sat with the children a while before he left. It was nice that he was being helpful, but I saw little hope in finding them since I’d been searching for years now.

Tomorrow I would give Wynne the information and see if he could help since he had many contacts all over the galaxy now. Wynne had stayed single and he and Donel still saw each other here and there. She visited Dunre, but her main home was Taurus II where she was a leader among her people. I missed her, but she would be here and I hoped Bobbie would be too.

Even in only three years, there had been dramatic changes in my life. My children had grown, some a great deal, my squads had changed, some of my experienced members had moved on to jobs with more authority like Wynne, who managed the trade center, and Jazzy who had taken over Steffan’s old job since he was now Marcus’ right hand man. Jazzy and Lotharo had wed and had two sweet children of their own. Lotharo was still with me and in charge of my second squad, but I wondered how long he would remain.

I felt a shift in the air and looking up, my breath caught in my chest. Valen and Billie stood there so I got up and ran to them jumping into Valen’s arms. I’d not seen them since we’d picked up our children, Sari and Bari.

“What a sweet greeting you have for me,” Valen whispered looking well satisfied at my reaction. I greeted Billie and their older children next. Kortez was nine and Breanna eight. Both looked like Julians and could have been from Valen, his brother, or his cousin. They were beautiful children and full of life and love, as well cared for offspring usually were.

I knew where my night would be spent, it would be in the arms of this incredible man. Billie made her way to Marcus. He would not be spending his night alone either. With that decided, Valen and I snuck off as soon as we could without seeming rude. Deciding it was best, I took him to my room. It was rarely used and more for storage of my personal items. It still had a bed and it was made and ready for us.

Once inside the room we touched hands, and although my mind could process information ten times better now, he sent such a load of it that I would be sorting through it in my sleep. I sent him a load as well. Now he pulled me in close were I could feel his heat and breathe in his sweet aroma. He smelled like a sea breeze, fresh, clean, and invigorating. Valen was all male and tonight, he was all mine. Often I wondered why I never conceived with him or my men with Billie or Bobbie. I know Valen and I had wished it so many times. A miniature reminder of our time together would delight me and he wouldn’t mind having more children. I’d slept with Kalen as well and not conceived.

Pushing those stray thoughts from my mind, my attention focused on him. He looked exactly as I remembered him, strong and handsome. His expression was one of love and want, something I could relate to as need started to make itself felt, starting in my lower belly and washing over me. He undressed me so quickly, I didn’t even notice, until I felt cool air hit my feverish skin. I began to work on his clothing, it was easy to remove and the reward was great as I touched his silky smooth skin stretched over hard, tight muscles.

Valen hadn’t changed much since the day I’d met him. Since he’d already been doing the duties of a king, he didn’t even have the added signs of responsibility, they’d been there even then. His touch was feather soft and full of devotion. There were times I thought his love for me greater than anything. It wasn’t unusual for him to consume me in my dreams. That was where we saw each other the most and we lived out our fantasies there.

My Julian king was a robust lover at times and tender to the extreme at others. Tonight he started sweet and tender, but impatience, something I rarely saw in him, pushed him to speed us along. Now he was like a beast, thrilling me with his speed and his strength. He tossed me on the bed and jumped on top of me, causing even greater excitement to flood my body. I was ready for him, anticipation drove me wild and I was his, ready to be taken in whatever way he desired.

He pulled my hands up above my head holding my wrists so I would not interfere with his plans. I was putty in his hands as he stroked and licked me into submission. Valen was dominating, more so than usual and I wondered if having to comply with his queen’s decisions had been difficult for him. From what I’d seen, they generally agreed, but maybe that had changed recently. It was clear that regardless of who was making the decisions, Julius was thriving. We did much trade with them as did Amazon and Taurus II which helped all four planets.

Taurus II had taken off as soon as the terraforming was complete and they had slid into a position as a leader in the confederacy beyond what anyone could imagine. They provided ambassadors and mediators throughout the known worlds. Agriculture, mining, and certain technologies also thrived there. All the citizens were pleased with their queen and the king she had chosen. Their best soldiers trained on Amazon or Gallegos, just as the Julians did.

Valen was pushing me toward my release, but it caught me off guard when it struck. He didn’t hesitate joining us as I rode out the tremors and aftershocks of a massive climax. Shivering, he began to move and picked up speed until he was a massive thrusting beast, filling me and ruling me. I suspected this was how he ruled his queen as well, regaining the power he lost in the other decision making whenever they were opposed.

Even though he had just gifted me with an incredible orgasm. My body didn’t hesitate to speed toward the next one. Valen was a magnificent lover and as close to perfect as a man could be. I had truly been gifted with incomparable and amazing men in my life. My body tightened around him pulling him into a climax he attempted to delay, but could not. I knew the moment he gave in and just enjoyed the pleasure that we shared. Completely depleted, we wrapped around each other and fell into a deep restorative sleep. He was just what the doctor ordered and I hoped to have him often before he left.

Morning came and Valen woke me with a kiss and followed with so much more. It was delicious and naughty to lie abed and enjoying incalculable pleasures. We should rejoin the others, but he coaxed me into staying just a little bit longer. When we finally showered and dressed, we left to join the others at breakfast, but most had already left going to carry out the tasks on their schedule. Once we finished, we went to the arena to see if anyone lingered there sparring or exercising.

We had picked the right place and it seemed that Valen’s soldiers and ours were in a contest for bragging rights and whatever side bets had been added. The battles were energetic and the fights prolonged since everyone wanted to win and the fight was not just personal, but for the whole squad’s standing. Soldiers fought harder when their comrades’ reputations were also on the line. Our presence was immediately noted and Marcus waived us over to where he and Billie sat enjoying the competition.

I had to admit the fights were rousing and a great deal of skill and talent was on display. My children were not taking part having been disqualified as experts, whatever that meant. In my opinion, anyone participating was and had better be an expert or they would be massacred. I would admit that my children could beat anyone I knew except me, one of my men, or my cousins. Valen I considered one of mine even though I realized he was Billie’s. I had never been with Bobbie’s king nor had I ever fought him or seen him fight.

In the end, my second squad ruled the day, but it was a hard won victory. Valen’s king squad was very good and so was Billie’s queen squad. Marcus had never had a squad since in his view all soldiers were his. He did take one or both of mine whenever he needed them, but he never took a squad from the children unless they were with him as well.

Now everyone was hyped up on adrenaline and we needed to decide what to do with them. I needed to go check out several properties, but that was work and our guests were on vacation. “My squads and I must go to work for the day, but feel free to ride horses, make use of a ship, or visit anywhere the mood might take you,” I offered.

“Where are you going?” Valen asked.

“There are still deprived nobles and abandoned properties. Three fourths have been prepared for their owners and half of all of those were returned. With more than a hundred total, that still leaves roughly twenty five to fix up and fifty to find the owners for.”

“Latva should be horse whipped. Why hasn’t he assisted more with this?” Billie asked.

“I don’t think he had any of the records. All he really did was give his approval and collect his reward.”

“Sounds typical of him. He never cared about the resulting misery his actions caused. A poor king if ever there was one and it was good he was deposed,” Billie offered. She patted Marcus’ arm as if to give him comfort, but Marcus and even Daval had long made peace with who and what their father had been and what he was now. He was not the evil despot he had once been, but he still had a fair way to go to become a good man. At least he had learned to feel something for others and he seemed to love the royal children whether they were of his blood or not.

It proved there was good to be found in anyone, because I had had to dig deep to find it in him. There had been others that had required hard work to get at the small kernel of decency they hid deep inside. Even Flirn had finally found a better man deep inside and Ajaks had helped him establish a legitimate business on the moon. He came around rarely and when he did, he held himself back knowing I would welcome nothing more than friendship.

Everyone agreed to go with us, so we divided into two groups with Lotharo heading one and taking Henry’s, my second, and Rena’s s quads with him to a small fifty acre estate a two hour flight away while we headed to a larger one thirty minutes away. When I had first come back from Theos’ kingdom, I had taken my squads and additional people to the farthest point away from the castle to work on the lost estates there. We had stayed for three weeks at a time working on one estate after another during that first year. As a result, most of the estates left in need of work were within a two hour flight of the castle.

When I took everyone else with me, Marcus was my only mate present. All the others were getting caught up or ahead in their own work so they could relax and enjoy Katie’s celebration and leave on the trip afterwards without guilt. All my men had an amazing sense of responsibility, much like my own. We landed on a small two hundred acre estate. They didn’t really use acres as a measure, but the centons they did use were only the slightest bit larger than acres.

I had to admit this was the worst I had yet seen. The house had been all wood and was a total loss. It had been small and didn’t really look like a noble’s property, but more like a farmer’s. This, I would have to research more. Some noble’s properties were small because parts had been sold off in the past or because they had been gifts from the king for bravery in war to second sons. The difference was war heroes also got gold and built fabulous houses to go with their new titles. This was a simple man’s home with no luxury in any part of the house.

For now we would burn the house after we ensured nothing of value or anything dangerous that might explode was in it. It was the easiest way to deal with it and it had no stone foundation so there was nothing of value left to save. We started in the small house, but everything was well into decay. A thorough search was done to ensure no heirlooms that were salvageable were left behind and a few small items were pulled out to be taken to the castle and stored for the missing owner. I noticed a metal box and peered inside amazed to find books, ancient tomes in good condition. These I would read through, I felt compelled to do so. The book box was sent to my room.

Katie and Sammy wished to do the honor so they used blasters on full to start the fire. I’d never seen anything burn so fast. Before long, it went from a small two story house to a simmering pile not as high as I was tall. Some of the smells that escaped weren’t pleasant either. We began to clean up the yard throwing brush and burnable items into the pile to be consumed by the hungry flames. Outbuildings, already collapsed into piles of wood, were tossed into the fire. Allowing the fire to spread just a bit, we saved some time mowing by burning dry grass and brush that had spread all the way to the house.

The pile was only smoking ash and coal now. Two young volunteers would camp out here to watch the fire and be picked up in the morning. I made the decision to put a prefabricated building here instead of rebuilding the house. The housing market on Gallegos wasn’t keeping up with demand because we were having a population explosion. Many people from other worlds wanted to live here and we had generous rules governing patriation. The housing available wasn’t sufficient and our builders couldn’t keep up. As soon as the house was available, we had a long list of people available either to manage the property or just rent the house depending on what was deemed best.

We headed back to the castle with just enough time to clean up before supper. Valen came to my room with me and I noticed someone had brought his bag and left it here. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings to have him for this whole week since I saw little of him and loved him dearly. We showered together, maybe that was a mistake since we were the last to arrive and everyone watched us as we entered. For supper, it was family and close friends. Latva sometimes came, but not tonight, I was sure he would be there for the dancing later and he was. He claimed the second dance and he swung me around the floor.

“I’m working a nearby estate. It’s not like the others,” I observed.

“The Caral farm?”

“Possibly, why would you bother with a small farm?”

“It bordered a Lord Faye’s property and he and the farmer had a dispute. The man was bold and the oldest son of a fifth son. His grandparents had seen all their sons settled in some way or another. The first inherited the title and the lands, the second was set up as an officer, the third called by the gods, the fourth bought a business and he became a merchant, and the last and final son was bought a farm. They were very fertile since they had four daughters as well. They were smart and kept them away from the castle until they were married when they left their care in the hands of their husbands.”

“Why do I get the feeling I don’t want to know what happened then?”

“One was wed to a powerful lord that I thought it wise not to upset. She was the prettiest, another was wed to a friend of mine so I let her be as well. The third had warts all over and it bothered me. The final one came to stay at the castle a short while, but she was such a shrew I sent her home after just a few days. I don’t know how her husband stood her, but he seemed happy to have her back,”

“Do you really expect to get the best of a woman when you force them?”

“It didn’t matter, she was not that desirable, not even compared to my options before you came to us.”

“If that was so, why did you bother to pursue her?”

“That’s simple. I was bored and I could.”

“I’m speechless.”

Our dance was over and he returned me to my seat. He visited with Katie briefly and then I noticed he made his way out. Latva had truly had a dark character before we met and even for some time after. It still didn’t seem like he truly understood why so many of things he had done were wrong, even now. At least I could say that I was sure he no longer hurt anyone and he had even helped some through programs I had that he gave to generously. All the prisoners he had hired on the work release program had said nice things about him and a couple of them had stayed on and still worked for him. When he was king, no one would have seen anything positive in his future.

A soldier was making his way through the crowd toward our table. I could only hope it was something positive or unimportant. It was clear now I was his target so it must involve one of the areas I took an interest in.

“My queen, you have a visitor,” he said.

Had the soldier had more information he would have given it so I knew he didn’t know who or why the visitor was here. I followed him to the hall where I saw a tall handsome man waiting for me. He was young and well dressed. This was no impoverished noble, so who was he?

“Queen Andrea? I’ve been told you are looking for me. My name is Jee Norton,” he said his voice deep and smooth.

“Lord Norton isn’t it?”

“My family’s title and lands were stripped from us a decade ago,” he observed.

“Have you any interest in reclaiming them?”

“And just what would I have to do to receive such a favor?” he said, his voice almost seductive.

“It would not be a favor. It is an attempt to redress grievances against the old king and right wrongs.”

“So it’s true what I’ve been told. You are just adorable, trying to be the sword of justice. I had thought none of the stories were true at all, but you really want to do good,” he laughed as he spoke. “What do I need to do now to reclaim my family’s position?”

“Are you the heir and rightful owner?”

A sad look came over his face. “My father still lives for now and I know it’s his wish to go home to die. Is the house livable?”

“I’m so sorry about your father. The house will be livable soon. We’ve started working on it and the lands to make them capable of supporting the property.”


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