Where duty and passion collide—The Twelve Systems Chronicles.
In a society where honor is revered and love is a luxury, a woman in peril and ruthless warrior enter into a dangerous contract. To survive, Lilian vows to give Lucius her complete obedience. To achieve his ambitions, Lucius vows to keep Lilian alive. Keeping those vows will prove more difficult than either of them could have imagined.
Lilian is twenty-four, well-educated, disgraced, destitute and desperate. Raised to wealth and power, her expectations of a bright future were destroyed when her father was executed for foul crimes. Her family name is erased, their cartouche melted, their property forfeit. Determined to survive and protect what remains of her family, Lilian becomes the apprentice of a powerful warrior. For three years, he will train her for a position in the Cartels. In return, Lilian will yield him absolute control of her mind and body.
Lucius Mercio is the preeminent warrior of his Cartouche, and the Cartel it dominates; the Serengeti Group. Ruthless, clever and ambitious, Lucius’ wealth, influence, and power are exceeded by few within the Twelve Systems. It is not sufficient. Lucius intends to take his Cartel to unimaginable heights with the aid of Lilian’s brilliance. He faces only one obstacle. Lucius must keep Lilian alive.
In the second volume in the Twelve Systems Chronicles Lilian’s enemies are more determined than ever to see her destroyed. A ghost from her past will imperil her future and threaten to destroy Lucius’ slowly developing trust. To survive the next set of challenges Lilian will need to find new reserves of courage, wit and determination.
When Lucius’ motivations and ambitions are revealed, they are far more extraordinary than Lilian imagined. His rivals are about to increase in number and ferocity as they seek to limit his expanding wealth and power. They will use any means to undermine and destroy his plans including his notorious apprentice. To advance his ambitions, Lucius must be more ruthless and devious than ever before. To succeed, Lucius requires Lilian’s brilliance. To make use of it, he must keep her alive. It is going to prove more difficult than he anticipated.
Life within the Serengeti Cartel is perilous, riddled with malice and intrigue that can threaten the mightiest of warriors. For Lilian – brilliant, despised and one misstep away from execution for her father’s crimes – all that stands between her and destruction is the powerful warrior Lucius Mercio. In return for his protection, Lilian became Lucius’ apprentice, yielding control of her body, will, and intellect. The desperate gamble has paid off. In defiance of all expectation, Lilian has survived nearly a third of her trial by ordeal, but it is far from over.
Determined to raise Serengeti to the pinnacle of power in the Twelve Systems, Lucius has ruthlessly exploited Lilian’s brilliance to achieve his ambitions. Within seasons, he will lead Serengeti to new heights with the launch of Bright Star, the first stellar exploration venture in over two centuries. With each new success, Lucius’ rivals multiply while a traitor stalks the halls of Serengeti, determined to thwart Lucius by any means. As the viciousness of her enemies escalates, Lilian is forced to confront the past and choose between betraying her oath of loyalty to Lucius and protecting the deadly secrets of her father’s dark acts.
For a year and a half, Lilian has endured the hostility, spite, and deadly violence of those who despise her for her father’s crimes. If not for the protection of the powerful warrior Lucius Mercio, Lilian might not have survived. Without Lilian’s courage and brilliance, Lucius might have lost the Serengeti Cartel to a vicious traitor. Instead, Lucius has total control of his Cartel, and few within Serengeti will risk his wrath to torment his apprentice.
Determined to advance his ambitions and reward Lilian for her role in his success, Lucius prepares for the voyage to Fortuna in the Fourth System. There, they will oversee the next phase of the first interstellar space exploration in two centuries. Lilian’s anticipation soon turns to dread as dark dreams haunt her nights, increasing in frequency and force as they journey to Fortuna. On a distant world, cut off from her few friends, Lilian will face dangerous intrigues as her nightmares take form.
Ruthless, devious, and ambitious, Lucius Mercio has elevated the Serengeti Group to the third wealthiest cartel in the Twelve Systems, cementing his place among the twelve most powerful members of the ruling warrior class. With Lucius’ rise, his enemies increase in both number and subtlety. Few will dare to attack Lucius directly, instead they will move in secret, targeting the most vulnerable aspects of his empire including his disgraced and reviled apprentice, Lilian.
As Lilian begins the third and final year of her trial by ordeal, she is more determined than ever to survive and repay Lucius’ protection and trust with loyalty and diligence. Expecting only the meager assignments reserved for apprentices, Lilian was stunned to receive the conservatorship of a valuable Vistrite Crevasse—an honor reserved for proven and trusted warriors. When a lethal disaster strikes Desperation Mine and Refinery and imperils Lilian’s conservatorship, hidden adversaries seize the opportunity to plot the downfall of Serengeti.