A Timeline Restored (Prevent the Past #3)
A Timeline Restored (Prevent the Past #3)
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- Enemies to Lovers
- Steamy Romance
- Suspense & Twists
- Time Travel
From USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Hefner
The thrilling conclusion to the trilogy…
Eli Hernandez spent decades cultivating an image of fear and domination as the nefarious leader of the New Establishment. Yet, deep inside, he still clutches onto the barest hope that his irredeemable soul has vestiges of virtue.
Alora Castillo lost everything one fateful day long ago as Eli looked on, unable to stop the carnage. Resolved to detest him, she must forge ahead when they are thrust together as unlikely allies.
As the ragtag team of time travelers strives to reconnect with their leader, dark forces hide behind the scenes, manipulating fate as the cycle carries on.
Determined to succeed and prevent the past, the team battles the evil regime, unwilling to accept failure. But accepting the yearnings of the heart requires forgiveness—a concept Alora dismissed long ago, no matter how fervently she secretly longs for Eli’s embrace.
Will the team save the world and prevent President Randolph from detonating the apocalypse? Read the electrifying finale now!
Intro Into Chapter 1
Intro Into Chapter 1
Eli Hernandez sat in the dim room of the New Establishment’s compound, several miles from where Washington D.C. used to exist. Now, the former capital was mostly flooded, overtaken by the mighty Atlantic when the ice caps melted. The massive fortified headquarters had been built to showcase the New Establishment’s supremacy over every speck of land left on the planet. Foreboding and menacing, Eli hated the compound with a violent passion.
A muscle clenched in his jaw as he observed his companions through narrowed lids. Tanner Cross, the leader of the Australian faction of the New Establishment, sat across from him at the round mahogany table. Four other high-ranking officers flanked their sides, but it was Tanner who worried Eli the most. Aside from himself, Commander Cross had the most nefarious reputation of any New Establishment leader. However, there was one huge chasm of difference between them: Eli was a spy, and Tanner was pure evil.
Feeling his lips twitch in a humorless grin, Eli recognized that sentiment wasn’t completely accurate, for he’d committed many atrocities during his forty-three years on the planet. They were all compelled by his desire to establish his identity as a ruthless and merciless leader. Eli had learned long ago that cruelty inspired fear, and fear inspired subjugation. Once people were overcome with terror, a person could manipulate their actions with skillful ease. Ironically, performing terrible deeds in his youth had led to much less blood on his hands today.
But still, he had to keep up appearances, and dissenters must be punished or killed if they defied his orders. Unquestioned supremacy was the only way his plan would achieve fruition; the only option for defeating the New Establishment from within. When that day came and the good people of Earth defeated the enemy, Eli would leave the planet behind along with all the memories of past atrocities that haunted his nightmares.
“I’m still confused as to why you didn’t let your men move into Dr. Randolph’s hub when you seized it,” Tanner said, his tone suspicious.
“The hub is small, and the men were better off outside,” Eli responded, doing his best to relay a confidence and calm he certainly didn’t feel within. “Overtaking Solera was our primary goal, and now, that is accomplished.”
Tanner nodded. “Excellent job. The troops I left behind in Australia now rule that continent, and with your occupation of Solera, the New Establishment now controls the entire Eastern Isle. In effect, we have achieved world domination. To my knowledge, the only area that has rebel forces is the South American Isle, and they are scattered and unorganized. It is time for the final phase of the plan.”
“Yes,” Eli said, a muscle in his jaw ticking. “We’ll use the knowledge we acquired at the scientific hubs to slowly introduce electricity and technology to the world. Our subjects will only be allowed to use it through complete surrender. Those who don’t comply will be killed.”
“Those who still believe in democracy and equality for all will perish. Earth no longer has use for willful idiots who believe in these false principles. Only the best of us will survive. Your father would be proud, Eli.”
Hate coursed through his veins as it always did when Eli thought of Victor Hernandez. His father was born with a cruel, vicious streak Eli always feared he’d inherited against his deepest wishes. If so, it meant his soul was already lost. Sadly, that was most likely the case. He was a wasted shell of a man who strived to save the world but inadvertently was the embodiment of all he despised. Self-loathing threatened to choke him.
“Father always dreamed of the day the New Establishment prevailed.”
“We still have several loose ends to tie up,” Tanner said, rubbing his chin as he contemplated. “It seems the mission was botched when you raided the hub during the scientists’ time travel attempt. Dr. Randolph, Captain Rhodes, Claire Finch, and Cyrus Montgomery all appear to have traveled successfully to the past. This will need to be dealt with.”
“I’m already working on that with Dr. Longwood,” Eli said, firm in his effort to keep the secret promises he’d made to Lainey. “You were right to bring him here on the high-speed ocean cruiser he reconfigured for you. He will help us locate the others in the past before they can manipulate space-time. I will ensure it.”
“As you ensured the capture of all the dissenters at the hub?” Tanner asked, arching a sardonic eyebrow.
“It is unfortunate that Zach, Elle, Sara, and Marie escaped,” Eli said, the lie smooth on his tongue since that had been his ultimate goal. “Alora is wily and a capable fighter for someone so slight. She killed three of my men before they could blink, allowing the others to escape.”
“Then she needs to be exterminated,” Tanner said, scowling. “She is a threat to our rule.”
Eli took a measured breath, knowing he would only get one shot at saving Alora’s life again. “I see a better option.”
Tanner sat back in his chair. “I’m listening.”
“I feel Alora can eventually be turned to our side. It would be an extreme waste if we killed someone with her cunning mind before we at least tried to sway her to the cause.”
“And what advantage would we gain from turning her?”
“She has an extensive network on the South American Isle. Her family was highly revered before my father murdered them in front of her when she was a teenager.” He smiled, cruel and sinister, pushing down the bile that rose in his throat. There was no place for sentiment as he strived to save the woman who hated him with every fiber of her being. “She would be an effective resource in getting others to follow us. I believe they will listen to her as we systematically employ our rule across the Isle.”
“And how do you plan to turn her? From what I’ve heard, she has vowed to never align with the New Establishment.”
“Why, isn’t it obvious?” Eli asked, leaning forward and resting his forearms on the table. “I’ll marry her. An allegiance between us will cement an alliance between a natural born leader of the South American Isle and the designated leader of the Eastern American Isle. I know you see the merits of this since it’s the same reason you chose to marry Svetlana.”
“True,” Tanner said with a tilt of his head. “I married Svetlana because she was the daughter of a former head of state on the European Isle, and many were loyal to her. Although I find her repulsive, the alliance has been fruitful.”
“And my alliance with Alora will deliver the same result.”
Sighing, Tanner studied Eli while silence pervaded the room. “I see the logic, but Alora has quite a bit more…personality than Svetlana,” Tanner said, waving his hand as he searched for the word. “I don’t see her eagerly entering into a marriage with the son of the man who murdered her family.”
“Let me deal with Alora,” Eli said, already anticipating how furious she would be when she learned of his plan. “Taming her will be fun, and I’ve never shied away from forcing a woman to do something against her will. It will only cement my nefarious reputation.”
Tanner’s lips curled into a menacing grin. “Indeed.”
Eli tamped down his shiver, determined not to show any weakness. Tanner’s reputation included instances of many misdeeds, including assault of women, and Eli needed to project the same willingness to violate others. Inside, the flames of self-hate burned in his gut. Although he’d committed disreputable deeds in his clandestine attempt to save the world, Eli would never sexually assault a woman. Knowing it was imperative the others at the table believed him capable of the act, he threaded his fingers together, clenching his hands.
“It will be a pleasure to crush every ounce of fight from Alora. I’m excited to break her. There’s nothing like taming a spirited woman.”
“All right. I agree to your alliance with her if the others do as well.” Tanner regarded the other men at the table, all of whom nodded in consent. “With that resolved, what about the others who escaped?”
“I will marry Alora and bring her along on the mission to find Dr. Randolph’s team. She knows them well, and her insights will help me track them down. I’ll take a small battalion with me and anticipate it should only take a week or two to locate them.”
“They’ve most likely been trained in evasion by Hunter and Cyrus,” Tanner said.
Eli shrugged. “No matter. I’ll find them. And, unlike Alora, they won’t be so lucky. They have no ties to the outside world. No scattered rebels who revere them. Once I locate them, I’ll murder them.”
Eli had other plans, of course, but it was imperative no one at the table knew them.
After several more minutes of discussion, the meeting adjourned, and Eli ran a hand through his thick black hair. Expelling a ragged breath, he began the trek to the cellblock that sat below the sprawling compound. Alora was being held in one of the secure units, and he felt it best to break the news to her as soon as possible.
After all, it wasn’t every day one was forced to marry their greatest enemy against their will. She would be livid.
A strange sense of anticipation lined his gut, and his lips twitched into a grin. Although Alora hated him with her entire being, Eli found the stunning woman a magnificent foe. Filled with a strange excitement about their confrontation, he admitted his washed-up soul felt alive when he was around Alora. Sparring with her. Absorbing the biting insults from her cunning tongue. He reveled in every ounce of hate she sparingly threw his way.
Perhaps because they were the only snippets of emotion he ever granted himself to feel.
Ready to face the woman who consumed his thoughts, he trailed down the stairs toward the cells.
Two enemies become reluctant allies to save the world!