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Harbinger of Destiny (Time Quest #2)

Harbinger of Destiny (Time Quest #2)

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A Time Travel New Adult Romance

In 2085, humankind is at the brink of extinction. The only hope for survival is to send young men back in time to find fertile women and bring them back to the future.

Unceremoniously dumped by his beautiful and high-maintenance girlfriend in 2085, Joshua Fletcher signs up for the time travel program. He hopes for an escape, thinking that things were easier in the good old days.

But 2025 is no walk in the park, at least not for Amy Brooks. After aging-out of the foster care system, she’s on her own. Making friends doesn’t come easy. She’s doing her best to keep afloat by working in a coffee shop, while attending community college. But secretly, she dreams of a better life and of finding love, yet knows that all she’ll ever receive is pity.

When she meets Joshua, who defends her in a precarious situation, she doesn’t know whether to trust him. He’s just too good to be true.

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About the Book

Excerpt

1 – No Woman, no Cry

Los Angeles, Friday, July 13, 2085

Joshua Fletcher cast a look at the full-length mirror of his closet door. He wanted to look good tonight. After all, he’d made an important decision, and now it was time to execute it. His entire family depended on him. He was the only male descendent of the Fletcher family, the only one capable of continuing the family’s genes.
His female cousins, of which there were few to begin with, had all inherited the gene mutation that made them infertile. As a man, he wasn’t affected by the gene, but it didn’t make starting a family any easier. There were few women who could still bear children, even fewer who were even remotely in his age range. After all, as a twenty-two-year-old self-proclaimed stud, he didn’t want to marry a woman ten years his senior.

Joshua smirked at his image in the mirror. Luckily, he’d met the right girl six months earlier. Not only was she two years younger than him, Kelly was also drop-dead gorgeous and one of the very few women who didn’t carry the faulty gene and could therefore bear children.

His parents had been ecstatic when they’d met Kelly. They had encouraged him to take the next step quickly. After all, women like Kelly were a hot commodity, and despite his young age and the fact that he was still studying medicine, Joshua could offer her a good life. His parents were already eyeing a house to purchase for the young couple as a wedding present. And the subsidies a couple would receive when becoming parents would take care of the rest until Joshua was ready to enter the workforce as a medical doctor.

Kelly would never have to work a day in her life. Her purpose was to help repopulate the world. She was aware of her duty. Her parents had drilled it into her from the moment the gene test had determined that she was one of the lucky few. She was willing to fulfill her duty. Now all Joshua had to do was to make it official. Tonight, he would ask her to marry him.

It wasn’t at all unusual for people as young as Joshua to get married. Ever since basic necessities such as healthcare, food, and—in some cases—shelter, had been guaranteed to every citizen in the world, young people everywhere, freed from student loans, got married and started a family much earlier than their parents and grandparents.

Joshua touched the mirror, deactivating it, and it turned back into the door to his closet. He left his room and walked downstairs. He liked the home he shared with his parents. Even though it was made from the same composite material all houses were made of in the 2080s, a mixture of stone and biodegradable waste, and 3D-printed by one of the many 3D construction companies, the style was uniquely early twentieth century: a Victorian home, yet with all the modern trappings of the 2080s.

While dating, his parents had toured the Museum of San Francisco, a one-square-mile open-air complex that housed original Victorian homes that had been restored after the great Tsunami had lain waste to a large part of the northern California city in 2037. They’d fallen in love with the architecture.

“Mom?” Joshua called out toward the kitchen when he stepped into the first-floor hallway.

“Hello, Joshua. Your mother is in the garden. Do you want me to ask her to come inside?” the house robot asked from one of the speakers in the house.

“No, thanks, Jeeves. I’ll go outside myself.”

“As you wish.”

He rolled his eyes and walked into the kitchen. Sometimes Jeeves could be downright annoying, though the bodyless computer system that liked to be called by the name of a valet from the 1900s, did have its uses.

“Make yourself useful, and order me a car to pick up Kelly. I’ll be leaving in five minutes.”

“Yes, of course, Joshua.”

The French doors to the deck and garden were open, and he saw his mother pruning her roses. He walked outside onto the deck.

“Is that what you’re wearing for your date with Kelly?” The disapproval came from Jeeves.

“Zip it, Jeeves,” he said and flipped him the bird.

By walking outside onto the deck, one of the outside cameras that acted as a security system had captured him. There were no cameras in the interior of the house. Just as well. Joshua liked his privacy. And there was nothing wrong with what he was wearing: a vintage pair of jeans he’d found in a costume store. Pants like that were hard to come by. And he rather liked the way he looked in them.

“Hey, Mom. I’m leaving.”

His mother turned to him and smiled as she walked toward him. She was beautiful, her hair black as a raven’s, her eyes a bright grey, her skin dark brown. His mother was the product of a mixed-race union, while Joshua’s father was white. Marriages like his grandparents’ and his parents’ were very common. After the race riots in the early 2030s, wide-sweeping reforms had taken hold, and over the next two decades, racial equality was finally spreading to every corner of the world. In the world Joshua lived, race wasn’t of consequence anymore, because once economic inequalities were removed, all that was left was one race: the human race. Everybody was pulling in the same direction to take mankind off the endangered species list. And Joshua would do what was within his power to save humankind from extinction. Luckily, this task involved his favorite pastime: having sex with Kelly.

“You remind me of when your dad and I were dating,” his mother said, pointing at his pants. “You sure you want to wear that? I mean…” She hesitated and met his eyes. “This is an important night.”

“I know what I’m doing.” He chuckled. “Besides, Dad told me he was wearing jeans when he proposed to you. And it looks like that worked out fine.”

His mother laughed softly. “Because we both love history and everything retro. But Kelly is different… uhm… more, I don’t know… sophisticated?”

“It’ll be fine, Mom, trust me.” He leaned in and kissed his mother on the cheek. “Don’t wait up for me. I’ll stay over at Kelly’s tonight.” He winked at her. Celebrating their engagement in the only way he cared to: making love.

“Do you have the ring?” she asked.

“What ring?”

“The engagement ring, of course.”

“You know as well as I do that you don’t need a ring to propose marriage. It’s expensive, and a total waste of resources. A wedding band will do just fine when the day comes.”

“Yes, but…” She paused and motioned him to follow her into the living room. “Kelly is a very beautiful young lady. It doesn’t hurt to give her a little enticement.” She opened the antique armoire and reached inside.

“Mom, that’s really not—”

When she turned around, Joshua stopped himself. She was holding a tiny box in her hand. On its white velvet cushion sat a gold ring with a sparkling ruby as the center stone, surrounded by tiny diamonds.

“But that’s from your grandmother,” he said, shaking his head. “You can’t… It’s a family heirloom.”

She smiled at him. “I don’t see a better use for it than giving it to the woman who’ll make sure our family continues.”

Joshua wrapped his arms around his mother and hugged her tightly. “You’re the best.”

She sniffled and peeled herself out of his embrace. “Now, go, before I start crying.” She pressed the box into his hand.

Joshua took it, closed it, and shoved it into his jacket pocket. “I love you, Mom.” Not wanting to get emotional in front of his mother, he pivoted and left the house.

The car he’d ordered was waiting at the curb. He let his gaze run over the vehicle. It wasn’t the usual red or silver oval-shaped self-driving cab he normally got when he ordered transportation. It appeared that he’d been upgraded. While the shape was the same, it was white with silver accents, looking almost like a cloud. He’d have to have a serious word with his mother when he returned. She was trying to make him look like a knight in shining armor.

He doubted that Kelly would even understand this subtle nod to history. She wasn’t interested in history. She was into fashion, music, and movies. She loved parties and vacations. She was enrolled in the local university, but Joshua wasn’t even sure what major she’d chosen. Not that it mattered, because once they were starting a family, Kelly wouldn’t have to get a job.

Joshua tapped his wrist to activate his holocom, and a hologram popped up and hovered over his left arm. He pointed it toward the car’s lock, and the two devices communicated with one another.

“Welcome, Joshua,” a female computer voice sounded from the car, and the door slid open.

Joshua entered and sat down in the comfortable seat. He tapped his holocom once more and the car door slid shut.

“Where to?”

“Kelly Shipley’s house, please.”

“Your estimated arrival time is 6:42 p.m.,” the computer voice announced, and the car pulled into the street and merged with traffic.

“Would you like entertainment, Joshua?”

“Music from the 60s,” he said and reclined his seat, closing his eyes to meditate to the music.

Techno-funk suddenly blasted from the car’s built-in speakers and made Joshua jerk up and almost hit the sunroof.
“Music from the nineteen-sixties,” he demanded. The music stopped. Just to make sure the computer knew what he meant, he added, “Like the Mamas and the Papas.”

“Calling your mama,” the computer voice responded.
He already heard the dial tone. “No, don’t call my mother.” Sometimes, computers could be downright annoying. If he wanted something done right, it was best to do it himself.

“No music, no phone calls,” he instructed the car’s computer system.

Instead, he pulled up his holocom, tapped on his music library and synced it with the car’s speakers. Moments later, the hippy sounds of a California band from the 1960s filled the car. The Beach Boys. He liked their vibe. He’d learned to appreciate their vintage sound from his father, and he understood why his father was such a fan, even though the band members themselves were long dead. The music always made him happy and carefree. And it was the perfect start for his life with Kelly.

Traffic was smooth. Through the tinted windows of the car, Joshua saw the landscape and other cars whizz past him, though he couldn’t see who was inside the other vehicles. The windows had been designed to provide absolute privacy.

It didn’t take long to reach Kelly’s parents’ house. In fact, he was almost twenty minutes early. But it didn’t matter. He was eager to see Kelly and not afraid to show her his eagerness. Before he jumped out of the car, he told the car’s computer to wait for him to return so the car could drive them to the small beachside restaurant where he would propose to her just as the sun set over the ocean.

The house that sat high on Mulholland Drive was modern, its 3D-printed materials forming a structure that looked like it was made of steel, glass, and concrete. From the driveway, the glass entrance door afforded a look into the enormous living room with a view over Los Angeles. He pressed the doorbell and waited. Moments later, Mrs. Shipley came into view. When she saw him, she froze for an instant, then marched to the door and opened it.

“Joshua?” she asked. “I wasn’t expecting—”

“Hi, Mrs. Shipley, I know I’m early, but I can wait if Kelly isn’t quite ready.” He made a step toward her to enter, but she didn’t move. In fact, she blocked him.

“Yeah, uh, about that…” She cast a nervous look down the hallway to where the kitchen and dining room were located.

“Is something wrong?” Joshua asked, a weird feeling spreading in his gut.

“Mom? Are you coming?” Kelly called out from the hallway. “We want to open the champagne.” Kelly came into view. “We are—” She abruptly stopped when her eyes fell on Joshua.

“Kelly…” he said, but his voice trailed off. She was dressed for their date, wearing a short azure-blue dress that accentuated her slim figure and her long blond hair that cascaded over her shoulders. The sight took his breath away.

“Joshua… uh…”

There was an undertone of something in her voice that he couldn’t quite identify. It couldn’t be a surprise. After all, she knew he was coming. Was it dread? Impossible. Still, her facial expression was one of discomfort. But why? She couldn’t be sick. After all, she’d just mentioned opening a bottle of champagne. But why before the date? Had she guessed that he was planning to propose tonight?

All those questions raced through his mind in a millisecond.

Mrs. Shipley turned to Kelly. “I thought you sent him a message,” she said low under her breath, though Joshua had no trouble hearing her.

“What message?” Joshua asked, his gaze ping-ponging from mother to daughter. Neither seemed to find the words to answer him.

Suddenly a man came from the hallway and appeared in the foyer. It wasn’t Kelly’s father, but rather a much younger man, perhaps ten years older than Joshua.

“Darling,” he said and put his hand possessively on Kelly’s lower back. “What’s going on?”

That’s when Joshua noticed it: the diamond ring on Kelly’s finger. All air left his lungs. He stared at Kelly and the man whose arm was around her waist.

“Kelly?” But Joshua was unable to ask the question that lay on his tongue. Why ask it, when he already knew the answer?

“Corbin, why don’t you and I join my husband on the terrace, and give Kelly a moment?” Mrs. Shipley said suddenly.

“Of course,” the man said, and a moment later the two disappeared down the hallway.

“I’m sorry, Joshua,” Kelly finally said. “You must have known that I… that you weren’t the only one who…”

Frozen, Joshua clamped his jaw shut, fighting for self-control, fighting not to run after the bastard that had taken Kelly from him and beat him to a pulp. Instead, he glared at Kelly.

Kelly sighed. “I’m really sorry, Joshua… but—”

“But what?” he interrupted. “You played me. You used me to get a better offer. What was I to you? A prop?”

“It wasn’t like that,” she protested. “Corbin and I are just more compatible. Our families are in the same circles…”

That’s when it clicked. He knew who Corbin was. Or rather, he knew about his family. Inside him, his heart was breaking.

“Save your breath! Why don’t you just admit that he bought you! I’m not stupid. The Carmichaels want their heir to have children, so they bought him a woman who can guarantee that their name lives on.” He welcomed the anger fueling his words now. Better anger than showing her that she’d hurt him. “I hope you’ll be happy with him.”

He pivoted and left, not waiting for an answer.

About the Time Quest series

Time Travel New Adult Romance

In 2085, humankind is at the brink of extinction. A mutated virus originating from a worldwide pandemic in 2025 has rendered 99% of women infertile, yet has no effect on men. The only hope for the survival of mankind is to send young men back in time to find fertile women before the virus infects them.

However, the space time continuum may not be disturbed since any change in the past may wipe out the future. Therefore, only women known to have died during the 2025 pandemic may be chosen. But will they come willingly?

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