Justice Page 1

Author: Laurann Dohner

Series: New Species #4

Genres: Fantasy , Romance

Chapter One

Jessie watched Justice North from the far corner of the room and bit her lip. She really wanted to work up the nerve to approach him. He’d been on the news often but he appeared even taller and better-looking in person.

Not too many people intimidated her but the man who had been appointed the leader of the New Species Organization by his own people was one of those rare few.

She respected strength and courage, something he seemed to have in abundance.

She debated the wisdom of having a conversation with him. Justice gave orders to her bosses and held the power to change some of the task-force policies that she didn’t agree with. The chance of finding another opportunity to have a chat with him was slim to none. She wasn’t allowed to attend briefings her team leader held with the tall Species leader. Her opinion was irrelevant to him but the issues were important.

She hesitated, considering the ramifications. Tim Oberto would haul her ass into his office if he found out she’d gone over his head. He’d be his normal loud self and tear her to verbal shreds.

Her gaze swept the room, studying the New Species. They were brave for all they’d endured, every single one of them a victim of big business screwing them over.

A pharmaceutical company, Mercile Industries, had created genetically altered humans using animal DNA, had reared them inside secret facilities and forced them to endure decades of horrendous testing on their tortured bodies. They’d done it to make money and worse, they’d been funded in part by the government.

My tax dollars , she grimly acknowledged and clenched her teeth over how deeply that pissed her off. Mercile had pitched proposals to come up with miracle drugs that would help injured US soldiers heal faster, become physically stronger and enhance their reflexes. Those idiots in DC had eaten it up and signed the checks to pay for the research but later denied having knowledge that live test subjects were involved.

She gave them some credit for acting immediately to discover the truth when rumors surfaced of the illegal practices. Once officials had proof, military and police forces had worked together to rescue any survivors imprisoned by Mercile Industries.

New Species were created with US tax dollars and born on American soil, which made them citizens.

The first facility had been raided and the survivors had been rescued—freed.

Locations of three more hellish places were discovered after employees were interrogated. The teams had hit them hard and fast, rescued more victims and all hell had broken loose. Hundreds of victims needed to be housed. They’d been placed in secure locations and the blame game began. The US had given the New Species a newly built military base, which they turned in to Homeland, a Species-run community to keep them safe from the outside world. Under pressure from the government, Mercile Industries was quickly settling claims brought by New Species. With some of that money they’d bought a second large section of land they named Reservation.

A big body bumped Jessie, drew her from her grim thoughts and she smiled up at the male. New Species were easily identified by their animallike features. They weren’t completely human but weren't all genetically altered with the same genes either and dubbing them with that title spanned all the differences. Some had been mixed with large-feline DNA, some with canine and some with primate.

“Sorry,” he grumbled as she peered into a pretty set of catlike eyes.

Feline , she silently identified his mixed species. “No problem.”

He moved on and she sighed in disappointment. Not many of them wanted to talk to humans. She couldn’t blame them after all they’d been through. Mercile Industries had labeled each one with a number and called them experimental prototypes. The staff had treated the children as if they were subhuman, lab rats, without souls. They’d led cold, harsh lives, only leaving their cells for training or testing.

The new race they’d created wasn’t docile as Mercile had projected in their grand scheme. Some of the growing Species rebelled and killed the humans who had spent years harming and torturing them. Instead of lab rats, the company had hundreds of angry, bitter, really strong prisoners who’d had enough of their shit. That fact made Jessie smile. Good for them. I hope they took out a bunch of those bastards.

Mercile decided to see if they could produce children from the males and females. It was a faster process for a female to give birth to another altered child than it was to spend millions of dollars to replicate the procedure that created them. Mercile had wanted to be rid of the originals, start over and learn from their mistakes. Their attempts to breed the unfortunate victims were unsuccessful. The males and females were unable to procreate.

That’s when Mercile started selling the other experiments they'd created. Jessie felt rage thinking about the Gift Females the drug company used to lure in more investors.

They purposely made smaller females with nonaggressive-animal DNA and used drugs to control their growth rate to make certain the females never reached over five foot four. The board members of Mercile Industries and all the rich contributors to the secret projects were given Gift Females when enough money exchanged hands. Jessie wondered if that was why the original scientist walked out on Mercile. The doctor who had designed the New Species had destroyed her research and disappeared, taking the knowledge with her. It was bad enough they’d created people as test subjects but to hand them over to sadistic perverts seemed a hundred times worse.

Gift Females were sold into sexual slavery. They'd been locked up, hidden away and grossly abused. Those were the females that Jessie helped recover and the ones that kept her up at night, unable to sleep.