Nathaniel Stockton and Grover Silas Ranger are faced with the ultimate test to their relationship when the Project Mars Lottery comes to town. Nate wins a chance to have his dreams come true: to live and work on the red planet with his love. Yet his husband, Ranger, doesn’t see the point of going from one bad place to another. But an evil organization called Sector has a completely different idea for the couple.
Kidnapped, experimented on, impregnated, and sent to Mars, Nate realizes too late he trusted the wrong people.
Ranger fights to find a way to Nate. Will he make it to his love before their dreams and lives are irrevocably broken by distance, a pregnancy, and the corrupt agency?
“Huh. There’s nothing in here describing in detail what the studies involve.”
“So? Whatever they do, don’t you think it’ll be worth it? We either make money to go to Mars, or we go to Mars on their dime.”
Whatever they do? A chill ran through Nate. Maybe this is too good to be true. “I don’t know. I was hoping for a bit more info before I made a decision. They’ve included a lot of legal stuff… An NDA, a waiver, an NCC but no particulars. What if they give us a drug that causes irreparable harm to us? Who knows what kind of side effects we’ll experience?”
“Is there a number in there? Or a link to an FAQ to find some answers to your questions?”
“No. There isn’t. I’m telling ya,” he waved the page, “this all seems—”
Before he could say, “fishy,” an intense rapping sounded on their front door.
Nate shrugged when Ranger glanced at him with questions in his gaze. Ranger went to find out who was there.
“Nathaniel Stockton?” a big, beefy male dressed in a black t-shirt and black pants inquired when Ranger greeted him. Two more huge men, dressed the same, flanked the first.
“No. That’s me,” Nate said coming up behind his husband.
Across the hall, a door opened. One of the brutes shifted to check it out, and Nate caught a glimpse of one of his neighbors. A scrawny man, who was a sliver in the doorway and couldn’t block the sight of the cubicles filling the living area. From what Nate and his roommates knew of their neighbors, at least ten people lived in the apartment across the way, dividing up the space with the compartments and sharing the kitchen and bathroom as common areas. Cubicle living was a step up from the cage housing Nate had heard of, but it was still sad the only way to afford a roof over a person’s head was to shove together in already cramped quarters.
The neighbor gasped at the sight of the burly guys and slammed his door.
“Good,” the one asking for Nate said. “Come with us.”
Ranger put his arm out and blocked the doorway. “He’s not going anywhere. Not without explanation and not without me.”
“Move to the side, sir. We have orders to bring Mister Stockton with us.” The huge bodyguard-type man stepped forward.
“Orders?” The chill Nate had felt earlier returned. “By who?”
“By Sector.” Doctor Horrigan came into view. His uber-white, toothy grin appeared sinister. “Doctor Trask had us on standby. You’ve received the package of information about the study?”
“If you could call it that,” Nate supplied. “More forms and legalities than anything about the study.” Something’s not right. Nate’s unease grew. His skin reacted as if thousands of tiny, nipping bugs crawled all over him. Then what the doctor had said clicked. “Trask said you guys weren’t affiliated with Sector.”
“I believe Doctor Trask mentioned we are not associated with the lottery.” Doctor Horrigan winked and shifted his mouth to a half smile. “As for the forms, they explained the compensation, though, correct?”
“Nate, who’s this guy?” Ranger looked over his shoulder at him.
“Doctor Horrigan. The dude who delivered the bad news to me at the lottery exams.”
“And the man who will make your dreams come true,” the doctor added, sounding like one of the shiftless salesmen down on the street corners selling their fake cure-alls. “Now, if you’ll come with us, we can start you two on your new lives.”
Ranger dropped his arm, moved, and filled the doorway with his body. “We haven’t made a decision yet about joining the study. We haven’t signed anything. You can’t take us anywhere.”
The burly men closed in on the doctor as if they expected a fight to break out in any moment. The doctor held up a hand. His grin disappeared. “Sure. Okay,” he said in a snarky tone. “But, really, what is there to think about? All that money?” His voice sounded edgy, almost on the verge of frantic anger. “It’s more than the two of you will ever make. It’s a no-brainer. That’s why we arrive at potentials’ homes right after they receive the download. This way there’s no delay in doing what needs to be done and starting on the new path.” He narrowed his gaze at Nate. “I thought you wanted to go to Mars.”
Jacey Holbrand believes life and love comes in all forms and should be celebrated. She’s committed to her muse and writing so she can share her stories with readers. Hot days. Sexy nights. Come play in her world. Jacey loves to hear from readers!