Retribution (Kall Alien Warriors #3) - Sue Lyndon

Chapter 1

EARTH 2072

Please make it stop.

Shouts rang out from the kitchen. Cabinets slammed. Glass shattered. Hate-filled curses pierced the air.

Layla closed her eyes and huddled deeper into the oversized sofa, pulling the blanket up to her chin. Her stomach twisted, and her throat burned.

She should leave before it got worse. Before Michael turned his fury on her. But she was too nervous to move. The door rested just beyond the kitchen. To reach the corridor outside the apartment, she would have to walk right by her angry husband.

Perhaps angry wasn’t the right word. Insane? He wasn’t himself. Hadn’t been for a long fucking time. She barely recognized him as the man she’d married only two years ago.

A lot could change in a year or two. Wars could be fought and lost. Humanity could be conquered by a powerful race of aliens. Resources could become scarce. People could turn on one another, even on those they were supposed to love and protect.

“Fucking Kall dictators and pathetic human cowards and…” Unintelligible words followed, but she knew Michael was ranting about the Kall aliens again. The war had claimed his eighteen-year-old son, Amos, only a month into the fighting. Since then, Michael’s loss had festered into something dark and unpredictable.

She swallowed hard, thinking of the rebel flyers she’d recently found hidden in his sock drawer.




Her left cheek tingled, right where he’d struck her for asking questions—the one and only time he’d laid hands on her, though she worried it wouldn’t be an isolated incident. At the time, she’d been desperate to learn his level of involvement with the rebels, but he hadn’t given her any straight answers yet.

The flyers were dangerous. Possession of such paraphernalia could lead to imprisonment in a Kall-run detention camp.

And an actual honest-to-God affiliation with the rebels?

Well, that could lead to a much worse outcome.

Execution. Forced labor. Torture.

A shiver ran down her spine.

She glanced at the clock. It was just after two in the afternoon. She was supposed to meet Fiona at the café in an hour. Would her friend worry if she didn’t show?

She pulled out her portable comm, preparing to send a message, when Michael stormed into the room with all the fury of a hurricane. His livid, red-rimmed gaze settled on her. His eyes teemed with accusation and her blood ran cold.

Before he reached her, she knew what he would start shouting about. It was an argument they’d had time and time again. One that never ended well because he refused to believe her.

He snarled and hauled her off the couch, his fingers digging into her upper arms. Okay, now this was the second time he’d laid hands on her in anger. Fuck. She wished she’d vacated the apartment before his ranting turned to something worse.

“Michael,” she whispered, searching his glassy eyes. Vaguely, she wondered how much he’d had to drink today and if he’d consumed anything else. Sometimes she found empty, unmarked pill bottles littering the counters.

“Renowned Kall expert Layla Remington.” His tone was cruel and mocking, and his lips curled in a sneer. “Did you know what the Kall were planning when you spent those two years on their planet? Did you know how many humans they would eventually kill? Did you know they would conquer Earth and become our fucking overlords?” He shook her hard enough to make her teeth rattle.

She pushed at him and twisted in his grasp, finally escaping his hold. She backed away and glared at him, rubbing her sore arms. He stood near the couch, anger radiating off him in waves as he stared her down with those damnable glassy eyes. He looked positively deranged. Like a complete stranger, even.

“You need help, Michael,” she said. “I still have contacts at the White House. I can make some calls and get you the help you need.”

He sneered and took a step toward her. She lifted her chin and held his gaze, refusing to back down. If he declined help, she was out of here.

“You need rehab and grief counseling,” she said. “And I swear to God, if you touch me again, I will call the authorities.” This last threat felt empty, even though she meant it. The cops didn’t always come when you called these days.

He picked up a vase from the coffee table and hurled it against the wall, too close to Layla’s head for her liking. She gasped and moved