Betania Breed Book 2
A Sci-Fi Alien Romance
I will go off-mission. For her.
I am a cyborg. Half-human, half-machine.
My creator optimized me until I was exactly what he wanted. I have turned into an elite bounty hunter. My orders are simple. Anyone who endangers the certain survival of the human race is my prey.
The word failure is not part of my vocabulary.
Compassion is nothing more than a phrase.
My mechanical heart does not recognize feelings.
Until an assignment leads me straight to Mara. My creator’s beautiful daughter.
To her, cyborgs are nothing more than henchmen who quietly take care of anything that humans shy away from. When my eyes catch hers, I feel an unexplainable connection. Mara awakens something in me that I can neither hunt, nor kill.
*She* becomes my prey.
The most impossible hunt of my life.
* * *The Prey is Book 2 of the Betania Breed Series. * * *
Warning: Intended for mature audiences.
Can be read as standalone.
Dark. Powerful. Sexy. This will be a ride you won’t want to miss.
“OMG!!! My first cyborg read, really really amazing.” –Amazon Reviewer
“What a wonderful follow up to the first story in this series! I enjoyed seeing some of the same characters and how they affect the story moving forward. I can not wait to read the next part of this series…” –Amazon Reviewer
“Top quality writing!” –Amazon Reviewer
“Outstanding Book!!!” –TOP 500 REVIEWER
“…the twists and turns of the story will surprise you and turn you on your ears!” –Amazon Reviewer
“This is going to be a great series to read. It was well written, interesting and unique characters.” –Amazon Reviewer
“You definitely want to grab this book.” –Amazon Reviewer
“I’m blown away...Absolutely fantabulous…everything I come to expect from this author. So many surprises throughout that I stayed up late just because I could not put this down. Johar and Mara are such strong characters with lovely sexy chemistry throughout and carry it through to the mysterious end. Bonus for me was Shazuul who became a great secondary character.” -Amazon Reviewer
“LOVE THIS SERIES.” –Amazon Reviewer
“On top of the amazing characters and world building, you also get a fast-paced, action-filled story line that is full of twists and turns and passion. I can’t wait for the next one!” –VINE VOICE
“WOW WOW WOW” –Amazon Reviewer
“It will keep you glued to its pages.” –Amazon Reviewer
“I liked book one so I thought I would try book two. I am glad I did.” –Amazon Reviewer
“This series is AMAZING! The characters are so complex. I laughed, seethed, giggled, screamed, cringed and was relieved.” –VINE VOICE
“Wow! Every time I thought I was getting the picture, it seemed to take a divergent path.” –Amazon Reviewer
“let me say….I love sci-fi romances. So it’s a given that I’ve read a lot of them. So it’s hard sometimes to find something that’s different from all the rest. Jenny Foster has no problem doing that though. Her books are full of adventure and those little sweet moments that we all love. Foster has made a book that is new, refreshing, and FREAKING AWESOME! A book I have spent the last 3 days laughing and crying over. From the first page you get sucked in and you don’t come out until the end. It leaves you breathless and wanting more! I can’t wait for book 3!!” –Amazon Reviewer
“This has been one of the best Scifi books I have read in a long long time.” –Amazon Reviewer
Also available as audiobook on Audible
While I am hastily packing my bag, I am thinking about this strange assignment and the even more strange circumstances surrounding who is accompanying me. The thing that bothers me the most is that my father gave a cyborg the explicit job to take care of me. Just like all of the other men and women who serve on this space ship, I have been trained very well. I can handle weapons with skill, and usually hit my target. I can oppose any oncoming opponent by throwing him over my shoulder and almost debilitating him. I can make bombs using only few things, most of which can be found on almost any planet. I can free myself from bonds, and have solid basic skills in seducing an enemy, just in case I need to make him let down his guard. I can definitely manage without a babysitter. And if I did ever get into a situation where there was no way out, I have my poison ring. Its spike, thanks to a clever mechanism, would fill me immediately with a painless, fast-acting poison.
The other, much more interesting question is, why my father prepared this assignment in secret – and why he isn’t going himself. He might be quickly approaching 70, but thanks to a life-prolonging serum, he is as fit as a forty-year old – and one who is in damn good shape, at that. The only thing that marks him as a senior is his white hair. Other than that, he has the health values of a much younger man. I throw my underwear (not pretty, but comfortable) and my shirts (ditto) on top of the pile of clothing, without going to the trouble of folding any of it. Who cares if I run around in wrinkled tops and baggy pants? And anyway, they will be hidden by my lab coat. If we really do run into a head of state, I would have to wear a uniform like everyone else, and that is already on board, thanks to my father, along with all of the other official stuff.
I arrive on board the ship at the same time as the cyborg. I just can’t get used to calling him by his name, but maybe I should, to keep the peace. I notice that I am grimacing, thinking about the fact that we are supposed to be equal partners. I am supposed to coordinate with a machine-human. What was my father thinking? Surely, he has his reasons, but I am still grumbling because he hasn’t shared them with me.
I smile at the attendant, and he steps back, startled. I realize that my feelings must be written all over my face. The smile probably looked more like a snarl. Behind me, the cyborg clears his throat, and I turn around, ready to put him in his place. But before I can say anything, he speaks up. I looked into his gray-green eyes for a split second too long. “I suggest we meet an hour after our departure, so we can study what’s in the file and determine our next steps.” He may have formulated this as a suggestion, but his tone leaves no doubt that this should be taken as an order. Everything bristles inside me, but since I was going to say exactly the same thing, I agree. I grab my bag, which has passed through the lock without a problem, and turn around. My quarters are at the front of the ship, where there is a nice view of the depths of the universe. I have just set off in that direction, when the red alarm lights flash to life, and a shrill warning tone almost makes me go deaf. Now what, I think, and stare at the cyborg who is looking down at the two security officers. You can really say “down”, because the huge machine-human stands head and shoulders above the two of them.
“Is there a problem?” I ask, and make my authority known. I look at the cyborg, but it is one of the officers who answers.
“Mr. Johar here,” he practically spits the formal address at his feet, “has illegal weapons with him.” He holds out an old-fashioned dagger to me and points to a tangle of metal, ropes, rubber cords and various other things, all of which look pretty harmless to me. No, I don’t ask the cyborg why he needs all of it. I will ask him later about where he got the antique-looking dagger. Now, all I do is give the guards the signal to let him pass and to hand him his luggage, but the pimpled one with the protruding Adam’s apple stands his ground.
“I am sorry,” he says, with an oily voice that sounds exactly the opposite. “But these kinds of weapons are not allowed on a space ship of this class. I have to confiscate the dagger and handcuffs.” He waves the metal shackles back and forth, suggestively, in front of my nose. The cyborg, who is standing next to me with his arms crossed, stares down at him without a word. I, on the other hand, don’t have the patience to deal with the bastard politely any longer, and I put on my best mask.
“Don’t lie to me,” I say, with an ice-cold voice, something I learned from my father. “I can tell when someone isn’t telling the truth.” Indeed, his eyelids twitch, an undeniable sign of his increasing uneasiness. We scientists have a bad reputation among the people. They accuse us of being ruthless and lacking compassion. I use this to my advantage mercilessly. “If you don’t want to end up as a test subject on my father’s table, then I suggest you let Johar pass.” I straighten up to my stately height of 5 feet, two inches, and stand close to the officer, purposefully invading his personal space. I can smell his rancid sweat, but he still isn’t ready to give up.
“I will report this to your father,” he spews towards me. Small droplets of spit hit my face, and I have to force myself to not wipe them away with the back of my hand.
“You do that,” I say. I say the next sentence so softly, that he has to lean forward to understand me. “I will dissect you myself while you’re still alive. It will give me the utmost pleasure to implant your brain into a primate and put you on exhibit in a freak show.” Out if the corner of my eye, I saw Johar flinch. I suspect he is laughing, but since he has his head down, and his hair is falling in his face, I can’t be sure. Everything I just threatened is total nonsense, of course. We would never do anything like that, and in any case, it would be a waste – any monkey is smarter than the puffed-up wretch who is standing in front of me.
In the end, he hands the bag to Johar, including the dagger, and gives me a murderous look.
When we are out of sight, the cyborg stops. “Thanks,” he says. “That was very nice of you.”
“It wasn’t nice,” I say. He really has a nice voice, deep and relaxed. Not gentle. It is too rough for that. Masculine is the word that comes to mind, and I push out of my head right away. “It was necessary so our departure wouldn’t be delayed.” I speed up and get on the elevator ahead of him. He gets in next to me, and I notice how quietly he moves. You can barely hear his footsteps on the smooth plastic floor. “Deck four,” I say with a loud, clear voice. He is silent. Damn it. That means that his quarters are also on the upper deck. Just like a high ranking officer.
* * *
It turns out that he is in the quarters right next to mine. Our rooms are connected by a door. I tell myself that this is nothing unusual for officers who are leading a mission together, even if my stomach churns in warning. I should be able to hear what he is doing through the thin walls – unpacking, showering – but there is no sound at all. Yes, cyborgs shower, too. Their metal is water resistant and doesn’t rust, and the rest of the human needs to be cleaned and fed like a pure and genuine human being. I distract myself by taking a nice long shower and afterwards, I put on my favorite shirt and old jogging pants. I pull my light hair into a knot at the back of my head, tightly until the skin on my face is taut. The strict hairdo gives me a sense of security, which I think I will need. If all crew members are like the guard – dumb and arrogant at the same time – then this will be a difficult trip. At least we don’t have a human captain on board. Navigation is accomplished through the computer, and it takes its orders directly from me and Johar. As long as we don’t tell it any differently, it will keep heading towards our destination at an even, moderate speed.
The cyborg is already waiting for me in the conference room. I sit down and push the file over to him, since I finished reading it after my shower. I wait until he has scanned through all of the pages and has digested the information. If the papers were to disappear for some reason, I would be able to access his storage system. These are the kinds of small differences that separate him from the human community, I think to myself. No human can think and act as factually as a cyborg, and their expanded capabilities exceed what is normal. They are merciless fighters and show no grace. Somehow, that which once was human in them, disappears when their artificial limbs, expanded memory and optimized muscles are put into action.
He catches me staring at him, lost in thought. His cool look makes me blush, and I fight against it with great difficulty. Why do I feel like he can read my thoughts? He releases me from my embarrassment by snapping his fingers and giving the order to display the map. On it, we can see Earth and, some distance away, our destination. Betania is the name of the planet where the pregnant Cassie and her Qua’Hathri warrior were last seen. “Your father noted in the file that the signal that shows the existence of the children went silent about 262 sun miles from Betania.” He stands up and puts his index finger on a spot that is precisely, down to the last millimeter, 262 miles away.
I stand up, too, and go over to him. Not so I can see the projection better, but because I don’t like having to look up at him from a seated position. “That means that they have left Betania and are now on their way to another planet,” I think out loud. He looks at me with a twinkle in his eye that I can only describe as wry. I continue on, slowly, without letting the ridicule in his eyes upset me. “But since my father programmed the ship computer to fly to Betania, I assume that we will start our investigation there.
“Your father didn’t program it. I did,” he corrects me. “I am responsible for tracing the prey. You are in charge of the medical part when we have the woman, her children, and perhaps the fathers on board.” A normal person would consider his voice to be expressionless. I hear pride in it. Pride that he can make important decisions, and has a role with so much responsibility.
I will need to keep an eye on him. He is displaying far too many traits of a human for my taste, and that won’t go well if it lasts. If he still thinks that I intervened with the guards out of pure friendliness towards him, then there could be complications. A cyborg who is too attached to a human is useless. And I will certainly not be the kind of human who encourages a Halfling like him in that way. “What are your plans once we land on Betania?”
“I will make inquiries, and take up their trail. Find people who knew them and who know where they are headed.” He shrugs, as if this were all too obvious. It probably is, for him.
“Good,” I say. “I will accompany you.”
He raises his eyebrows. “No. It could be dangerous, and I don’t work as a team.”
“I don’t, either,” I remind him. “But my father gave the order for us to lead the mission together, so that is what we will do.” I try my trick of stepping closer. But either he doesn’t have personal space like humans do, or he doesn’t care. Instead of stepping back, he gets so close to me that our bodies are almost touching. I am proud that I stand my ground, but I am a little uneasy being this close to him. The cyborg is standing so close that I can feel his body heat, which is a little higher than a human’s because of the mechanics that are always working inside him.
For what feels like an eternity, we look in each other’s eyes.
End of the Reading Sample.