Sunday, September 25, 2011


*cough cough*

So, Cari... *twiddles fingers*  What's up?  And, um, why aren't we reading new and exciting things on your blog?

Ah.  Yeah.  I could blame life, but mostly I blame myself.  I haven't finished the next part of Pandora and I don't have any new information on story acceptances or cover art or anything, but several of you seemed to enjoy the snippet of Different Spheres I posted last time, so how about I give you some more?  (Thanks for the comments, ladies)  I haven't heard one way or the other about this story yet, but if I keep on posting it here I'll invalidate its publishing mojo, so perhaps that will spur me into getting my tail in gear.

This snippet is a direct continuation of the previous one, which might be a little confusing if you didn't read the other.  Just sayin'.


Shortly afterwards Warren came back, his footstep soft but still audible on the hardwood floors. “Not your style, huh?”


“Here, let me finish it off and we’ll go.” Warren gently took the mug and a moment later Gil could hear it being drained. How long did it take to develop a natural equivalent to asbestos in one’s digestive tract? It had to be the work of a lifetime.

The mug was set down on a small table, and then Warren’s hands were on Gil’s arm again and he was leading him out the front door. They walked slowly down the steps and over to the garage, which Warren keyed open. He had a big garage, and half of it was filled with a 1984 Nissan truck that, for some reason, still drew mechanical breath. The other half Gil had never seen before, and it looked like his perfect record wasn’t going to be broken today. The metal smell was stronger in here, rawer, if that made any sense in the context of something like metal. It reminded Gil of the scent of lightning.

Warren opened the passenger door. “Can you make it in all right?”

“I’m sure I can.” Let’s see, there was the frame, he could see the closest edge of that, which meant the seat was…yes, right where it should be. Gil got a grip on the doorframe and pulled himself carefully into the car, wincing as he felt the weakness in his lower legs. That was a recurring problem, but one he could have totally done without today. He settled with a sigh into the seat, closed his eyes and laid his head back against the torn plastic cushion.

Suddenly a strong arm was looping around his waist. Gil’s eyes flashed open immediately and he turned to look at—look towards, at least—Warren. “What…”

Click. “Seatbelt.”

“Oh.” How disappointingly sensible of him. The door shut and Gil endured the silence for a moment before Warren got in on the other side. The truck started with a rumbling purr. In a few seconds they were down the driveway and headed toward the main road. Their houses were part of a small, wooded subdivision in the northern part of Boulder, but the hospital was still only a ten minute drive. Gil searched for a way to pass the time without silence, which Warren seemed to have a thing for but which Gil himself never liked getting too intimate with.

“I appreciate the ride. Usually if it isn’t so bad I drive myself, but today I certainly qualify as a hazard on the road.”

“Who takes you if it is bad?”

“My sister, who before you ask is off celebrating her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in high style on the seven seas, and is unsummonable for another week.”

“You don’t want to give her a heads up?”

“Absolutely not, Peter would never forgive me. Her husband,” Gil added. “I think this is the first time they’ve been on a trip that wasn’t either work-related or included their children in the whole of their marriage. They deserve their peace of mind.”

“She’ll probably be ticked when she gets back.”

“Have you met her?” Gil asked brightly. “It sounds like you know her. And I can handle ticked from my sister better than I can handle ruining her vacation. Noble cause and all that.” He stared at his hands again, spreading his fingers wide. Too many to count, and he couldn’t really count them when they were all blurry anyway.

“She live close?”

“She’s a Boulder native, just like me. She and Peter have a house a little ways up Four Mile Canyon. Mine’s the ancestral homestead.”

“Folks are gone, huh?”

“For the past twelve years,” Gil sighed. He was tired of talking about himself, and wanted to take advantage of having Warren at his mercy while he could. “Whereas you’ve only been in the neighborhood for six months. Where were you before that?”

“South Dakota.”

“I feel you’ve traded up, but that’s just me. What did you do in South Dakota?”


“Good lord.” Mentally Gil slotted Warren’s body in with the paraphernalia of a firefighter. Nearly six feet tall, wiry strength in his deceptively slim build, just put a fireman’s helmet on over that short salt-and-pepper hair and an axe in those hard, capable hands and you had—yes—instant mental pornography the likes of which Gil hadn’t looked at in far too long. A firefighter. Heaven preserve him. “Are you doing that here too?”

“Retired now. I volunteer for the local department, though. You?”

“Oh, I doubt I’d be much use volunteering with a fire department.”

“I meant what do you do,” Warren replied patiently.

Gil knew he was blushing, and he hoped Warren was keeping his eyes on the road. “Oh, right. I’m a professor of Writing and Poetics at Naropa University.”

“You Buddhist?” Gil registered actual surprise in Warren’s normally taciturn voice.

“No, fortunately you don’t have to be much of anything spiritually to work there, which is good as I’m an avowed agnostic who delights in taking the name of the Lord and all his environs in vain. I moonlight as a graduate thesis advisor with a few other universities.” Such as Harvard, Princeton…places he used to work at instead of moonlight for. Places that reluctantly gave you the shaft when it was clear that you couldn’t handle the requisite course load any longer.

“Shoulda guessed.”

“Guessed what?”

“That you’re a writer. You love words.”

Gil hadn’t thought that he had Warren had exchanged enough words up to this point in their relationship for Warren to know that he loved them, but he wasn’t surprised the man was insightful. “I don’t write words so much as assault them these days in the name of improving the writers of tomorrow, but I do enjoy my work.”

This was nice, this back and forth. Gil had another question all ready to go, but then the car stopped. “We’re here,” Warren said. He got out and came around to help Gil down. The brief rush of adrenaline that had pumped him up this morning had evaporated, and Gil felt out on his feet. He closed his eyes, but the world didn’t stop spinning.

“You need a wheelchair?” Warren asked quietly.

“I’d like to say no, but at this point I’m afraid the answer is yes,” Gil replied. Without letting him go, Warren somehow signaled to someone that help was needed and a few minutes later a nurse was there with a chair. Gil sank into it and sighed. Fear licked at the edges of his mind, but he staunchly pushed it back. Breakdowns were for home only, where he could be both alone and ready to comfort himself with literature. Although if he didn’t get his vision back, he was going to have to buy a hell of a lot of audio books.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Upcoming projects and a snippet...because why not?

Hi there!

I've been a little preoccupied lately with getting back a sense of my own Americanness.  Americanosity?  Americanishism?  You know: finding a job, drinking beer without formaldehyde overwhelming the subtle tast of...well, beer, getting a car, enjoying the wide and fulsome variety of food available to us, breaking tiny bones in my foot doing jiu jitsu...which won't stop me from doing more!  Because that's the American Dream, darling.  Doing all sorts of crazy shit to yourself and then having the opportunity to do more of it without dire repercussions.

Just kidding!  Kind of.  I'm trying to be a responsible adult at least 90% of the time.  I'm working, I'm writing, I'm watching my husband construct exotic CNC machines that can carve in three dimensions...yes, he too is happy to be back in the land of easily-findable bits and pieces of high-tech equipment.  As far as the writing goes, which I know is what you're all really interested in, I have the following coming up:

--more Pandora (part 24 or 25 I think...coming this weekend)
--A Blinded Mind, a novella coming out with Dreamspinner in October
--a novel continuation of Opening Worlds (in the Wild Passions antho) due in December
--a follow-up for Shadowed, which I'm still working out the details of with Pink Petal Books
--a couple of short stories thatI've submitted to a few different presses...  in fact, let me give you a taste of one of them.  It's not contracted yet, and if it doesn't get a contract in the next month or so I'll just post it here.  I have several things in my archives that will probably be going up here in the next while, stuff that I can't continue revising.

Anyway, here's a snippet from Different Spheres.


Gil Donaldson woke up, rolled over in his chilly bed, looked at his bedside clock and blinked. He looked again, blinked again, then looked at his hands. Then, in a move entirely atypical for him, he engaged in some cathartic profanity. “Fucking goddamn it.”

Every time, every single time this happened—and it was happening more frequently these days—Gil rued the day he had decided to date a statistician. The relationship had ended years ago, but the man’s interminable reliance on numbers and percentages had somehow rubbed off on Gil, to the point that when he had a relapse the first thing he did (after visiting the hospital, getting pumped up on steroids and going through the circus act that was assessing his new place on the EDSS; after all Gil did have a modicum of sense) was to check the online research compendiums for the newest findings about multiple sclerosis. He had tables that compared numbers from the professional journals Lancet, Neurology and, he was ashamed to admit it and never would unless viciously tortured, Wikipedia. He had the National Institute of Health’s website bookmarked several times on his laptop. His library was filled with books, and they multiplied along with Gil’s scleroses with every relapse.

He had sort of felt this coming on, but he’d been holding out hope it wasn’t what he thought. Gil had spent all of yesterday nursing a growing headache, thinking he was coming down with a sinus infection or, if he was lucky, just a cold. He had taken some pills and gone to bed early, hoping that he would be better in the morning. Instead he woke up and saw double of everything.

After allowing himself a brief moment of justifiable panic, Gil had stumbled out of bed, put himself together as best he could and called Tally. Then he had mentally smacked himself for forgetting where she was, hung up his phone and, after assessing his options, walked very carefully one house down and knocked on his neighbor’s front door.

The door opened after a half a minute or so, letting out the scent of strong coffee, metal and sawdust. It was a very masculine smell, and perfectly suited Gil’s neighbor. It was a shame Gil’s vision was blurry as well as doubled, because he wouldn’t have minded seeing two of Warren Masters clearly.

“Gil?” He could practically hear the appearance of those two questioning lines between Warren’s eyebrows. The two of them were courteous neighbors, but they had never gone out of their way to hang out before. “What’s up?”

“Hi, good morning.” Pleasantries out of the way, Gil plunged right in. “I need you to drive me to the hospital. Please.”

“What’s wrong?” Mmm, you could build a ship out of the timbres of this man’s voice. A terse interrogative that nevertheless resonated with concern, heightened awareness and an increased sense of camaraderie all at once. God, he sounded delicious. Gil forced himself to focus.

“I’m having trouble seeing this morning.”

All of a sudden there was a strong hand under his right elbow, supporting him. Under other circumstances that sort of touch would have been really nice. As it was, it was kind of sad that Gil needed it, because he actually did feel more than a little dizzy at this point. “You think it’s a stroke?”

A stroke? “Oh no,” Gil reassured his neighbor. “No, it’s nothing like that. No, I have…” Wait, didn’t Warren know about his condition? It seemed like Gil must have told the man at some point, he’d been living in the house next door for almost six months, but maybe he had never gotten around to it. Maybe he had wanted to see how long he could fool someone who didn’t know him.

“I have MS. Multiple sclerosis,” Gil clarified finally. “I’m just having a relapse, that’s all. A few shots and I’ll be fine, but I do need to go to the hospital. The one on 4th Street would be perfect, that’s where my regular doctor works.”

Warren, man of few words that he was, nevertheless made an effort. “Give me three minutes. I’ve just gotta finish getting dressed.”

He wasn’t dressed yet? Seriously? Gil squinted, but that didn’t improve the blur by much. He sighed. “I can wait here.”

“Not gonna leave you on the porch, Gil,” Warren said exasperatedly. “There’s a chair right inside the door. Six inch step up to get in, don’t trip.”

Honestly, with Warren’s hands guiding him Gil didn’t think there was much chance of him tripping, but he was careful anyway. The last thing he needed right now was a broken whatever on top of temporary near-blindness. Hopefully temporary near-blindness.

This house wasn’t cold like Gil’s but his hands still felt clammy. Strange. A second later Warren pressed a mug of coffee into them. “Help yourself. It’s fresh brewed, black. I’ll be out in a minute.” Then he was gone and Gil was left with his hands warming around a cup of coffee that, if he was lucky, had had Warren Masters’ lips on it this morning. He sampled the coffee. God, strong. Ugh, no, God wasn’t enough deity to properly encapsulate the strength that was this coffee. This coffee was Olympic, Titanic and Chthonic all at once, and just as hard to swallow. Gil choked back his single sip and felt it burn the whole way down. Well, now at least he knew his sinuses would stay clear.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pandora Post #23

Title: Pandora

Part Twenty-Three: Planning for Future Use

Notes: This is the next part of a spin-off story of a series I posted on Literotica (titled Bonded, as Carizabeth) and the subject matter is m/m sci fi. Dirty yummy R-rated sci-fi in this one. Plot wise we’re getting really close to some major ups ‘n downs. I’ll work my tail off in September to keep you satisfied:)

Happy Labor Day!


“You’ll just feel a little pinch…”

“That is not a little pinch,” Garrett said through gritted teeth. “That’s a big fucking pinch inside of my skull.”

“I offered to put you out,” Dr. Reynaud reminded him as she attached the optic nerve to his new left eye. “We could stop with this one for today, you know. You could do the other one tomorrow, Garrett.”

“Once is enough,” he groaned, “just finish it fast.”

“One more minute,” Dr. Reynaud promised. Garrett felt the forceps move to his right socket, heard the scrape of metal on metal and then felt the cool dampness of his new eye being inserted into his head. There was another sharp pinch, the slithering sensation of tubes withdrawing and then a damp cloth was wiping at his cheeks.

“A little seepage,” Dr. Reynaud murmured, “but overall I think it went really well.” Once she was done she put a mask over Garrett’s eyes. “No using these until I’m sure the transfer has settled. You have to stay here in recovery for six hours. Once the mask comes off you should expect light sensitivity to be a problem for a few days, and remember that the color of the irises will change a bit.”

“Six hours?”

“Six hours,” Dr. Reynaud affirmed before walking away.

“Lovely.” Garrett kept his face neutral until Rickie was gone, then sighed. Six hours. It wasn’t that he hadn’t expected that, but Jonah was still at work and Cody was playing at a friend’s new house “outside”, so Garrett was alone. Which meant he’d be bored. Yeah, he had holos and books he could listen to, but nothing was so entertaining these days as his guys.

Ah, well. Time for some preemptive personal psychotherapy. Garrett opened up his journal, which he’d grabbed off of the bedside table before being brought to the infirmary.

“Ready to record?” the cartoon voice boomed.


“Journal record number forty-four, recording.”

“So, I now have the attention span of a six year old,” Garrett told his journal. “I blame Jonah completely. Two weeks of living with him and Cody and anyone would be ready for the next great thing after fifteen minutes. Cody is exhausting and don’t ever let anyone tell you differently. He’s also great, don’t get me wrong, but I have no idea how Jonah is raising him on his own. Then again, when the village rejects you, what can you do but go on?” He stopped for a second, considering how he wanted to record the next part. Pissy and annoyed was definitely an option, but that wasn’t how Garrett wanted to immortalize himself. “It’s finally their turn to get a house Outside. Cody’s really excited about it; they went looking at their options on Jonah’s last day off. I didn’t go with them. It’s not like I could offer an opinion on wherever they’re going to be living, I was blind at the time. They both wanted me to go anyway, though…

“They want me, and I love them, but I can’t stay here,” Garrett murmured, feeling the bone-deep ache of melancholy settle into him. “I just can’t. This place isn’t me. The entertainment is minimal and insipid, the luxuries are practically nonexistent and there aren’t very many options for enlightening personal discourse outside of holo films. There’s no university here, there are very few options for continuing education, there’s no real way to travel except by leaving the fucking planet, and that’s not advised more than twice a year due to ‘potential health risks’ for naturals. And it’s not like Jonah and I could go anywhere without Cody.

“Actually, you know what I really want? I just want to freeze things right now. With all of us living together on the ship, no pressure to integrate into Pandoran society, all of us healthy—you know, mostly—and my family safe. Now is great. Now is…it’s almost perfect.” It’s so close to perfect.

Garrett rubbed his shoulder absently. He had a vague suspicion that if Wyl was here he would be punching Garrett’s arm right now and giving him advice that he didn’t want to hear but that still had value. Fuck, but Garrett missed him. Wyl and Robbie and his dad and Claudia. Everyone.

“Hey, doll.”

Garrett immediately shut off the recorder, turning towards the source of the voice. “Who’s that?”

“Who do you think, doll?”

Garrett smiled despite himself. Nothing lifted you out of the blues like a snarky teenager. “Tamara Carson, I presume.”

“Yeah.” Her tone was swollen with the sullenness of someone who had no desire to be doing what she was doing, but did it nonetheless.

“And you’re here to…what, insult me into feeling better?”

The girl blew out an exasperated sigh. “No. I have to do mandatory community service and I could either do it on ship in the infirmary or at the kindergarten out in the Box. And I hate it out there.”

“In the city?”

“It’s not a city,” Tamara scoffed, “it’s a fucking block. And Pandora City is a stupid name for a capitol anyway.”

“Yeah, I hear you,” Garrett said noncommittally. “Why do you have mandatory community service? Did you break into another ship?”

The silence provided its own answer. “What, again? Really?”

“It’s only the second time I’ve ever been caught!” Tamara replied hotly, coming a little closer. Garrett heard the sound of a chair scraping across the floor. “I’ve broken into dozens of ships without anyone knowing. You just got lucky that one time.”

“Lucky?” Garrett arched a pale, barely-there eyebrow. “You were breaking into my ship in the middle of a room filled with thousands of people. And I don’t care how good your friends are at spotting, which by the way they weren’t, nobody is going to ignore a large group of loitering teenagers who are trying to look innocent.”

“Yeah, well…maybe. I was in a bad mood that night.”

“I could tell,” Garrett said, “but being in a mood is no excuse for doing sloppy work. I take it that you got caught this last time?”

“Yeah.” The words seemed to pour out of her suddenly. Garrett wondered if it was easier to speak to him because he was still technically blind and couldn’t meet her eyes, or if it was just because he was taking the time to listen. “I would never mess with one of the regular runners because I know the pilots need those to be solid all the time, but I’m so fucking bored in school here and my dad is always busy anyway and I already knew I could break into your ship, so the only other private vessel I could find was Senator Dowd’s. I got past her first couple layers of security and made it all the way into the ship but then her thermal sensor ratted me out. She and my dad had been having dinner over some kind of planning meeting and the security officers brought me right to them and I thought my dad was going to lose it. They’re thinking about expanding into a new area,” Tamara added casually. “I bet my dad wants to name it Carsonville, because then he’d have left something behind that would last. He wants Pandora to be his legacy.”

Garrett couldn’t help snorting a little.

“I know, some legacy, right? I told him he should have another kid if he wants someone to carry his name for a couple centuries, and then he told me that I was enough and why would I think that and blah blah blah, but it’s true! He always wanted his kid to go into the military. Know what a natural can’t do? Go into the military.” Garrett heard a low thump, like something being kicked. “We also can’t become exploratory scientists, medical doctors, government pilots or even colonists for any place other than this rock. We can’t become professional athletes because our bodies can’t take the training and competition. We can’t learn deepwater diving or mining or spend too much time in a weightless atmosphere. We can’t do anything cool. Everything about us sucks.”

Well, that was a low pronouncement if ever he’d heard one. “When I was a kid I was put into a mental hospital for a while,” Garrett said casually. “One of the other kids there was a natural. He hadn’t done anything stupid to himself like I had, he was just depressed, and we got to know each other while I was there. He was incredibly smart, a lot smarter than me, which I say with all due modesty makes him a genius.

“I kept up with him afterwards. He ended up getting hired by the government to be a covert operative in the central system, searching out slavers who were selling and transporting people to the Fringe. Slavers like targeting naturals, even though they don’t live as long under rough working conditions, because naturals kind of slip through the cracks, you know? A lot of them are ashamed of their condition so they tend to be reclusive, or work out of their homes. A lot of them don’t have families. It makes them much easier targets than the average Federation citizen. They’re much less likely to be missed, and less likely to be searched for once they are missed. The last time Rory and I spoke he was retiring after a very long and satisfying career helping thousands of people.”

“So he was like a Federation spy?” There was a note of interest in Tamara’s voice.

“Yep. He was totally innocuous looking, you know? Usually he played up the “poor little me” natural thing so he could lure people in, and then once they fell for it, they never got away. Rory was an amazing guy. He could break into almost anywhere, he was a master of disguise, he was a trained pilot and a sniper and he could make explosives out of anything—”

“They taught him how to do all that?” Tamara broke in.

“Most of it. Some of it he picked up living on the Fringe for over a decade. Pandora,” Garrett waved one hand around as though to encompass their current situation, “is on the Fringe but not really in the Fringe, if you take my meaning. Only one small colony with a highly specialized population? Not a good place to set up a smuggler’s den, not when the weather is so damn bad all the time. But there are other places out here that are crawling with pirates and smugglers and body snatchers and slavers and a whole host of perversions that I’m sure you’d rather not hear about.”

“No, you can tell me!”

“No, seriously, you don’t want to know, you won’t sleep for a week,” Garrett promised her. “How about I tell you how to beat a thermal sensor instead?”

“I already know about reflective blankets,” Tamara sighed. “It was a tight fit getting into her ship as it was, I would just have torn a blanket up.”

“Next time use thermal paint.”

“Isn’t that toxic?”

“It isn’t when applied over a bodysuit,” Garrett replied. “You won’t be able to make a proper reflective suit out here, but I know for a fact that the science lab has gallons of that paint stored away. Spray it on over some tight-fitting gear and add a facemask once you get on board. As long as you’re in and out in less than five minutes, most thermal systems won’t pick up the heat of your breath.”

“Cool.” The chair scootched forward a little more. “What else?”

They kept talking until Jonah showed up hours later. He was apparently just in time to hear Garrett detailing to Tamara how to jury-rig a personal antigrav unit out of an old ship’s compressor and a plastic sheet.

“That’s more’n a little dangerous though, isn’t it?” Jonah commented as Garrett stopped for breath. He and Tamara both made faint noises of surprise.

“Homemade antigrav units are always dangerous,” Garrett said after a moment, “but that doesn’t mean they can’t be useful sometimes. I made this one when I was fifteen. I threw it off of a building and it hovered for more than three minutes before the motor gave out.”

“Were you shootin’ for a three minute trial?”

“Five,” Garrett confessed with a smile.

“Lucky you weren’t wearing it, then,” Jonah said, coming over and sitting down on Garrett’s bed. “I got permission from Rickie to spring you a little early, if you want to head home now.”

Garrett paused, hearing Tamara sigh. “Yes, I do want to head home. Tamara, let me know when you have your next shift here, okay? I’ll tell you five different ways to build a flamethrower.”

“Cool. Um, so, bye.” Overly tall boots clomped away quickly.

Jonah chuckled and ran his hands down Garrett’s arms. “You’re kinda a bad influence on her, you know.”

“I’m a creative influence,” Garrett corrected, standing up and leaning into Jonah’s embrace. “She needs an outlet for her intelligence and creativity or she’s going to go crazy cooped up here.”

“Sensin’ a kindred spirit?” Jonah suggested lightly, but Garrett could feel him tense up. Garrett chose to change the subject.

“How long before I can rejoin the ranks of the sighted?”

“’Nother half an hour or so,” Jonah said. “It’ll be just us tonight, though. Cody’s stayin’ over at a friend’s house. Our new neighbors have a kid in his class.”

Garrett suddenly felt chilled. “You found a place you want to take, then.”

“It’s a nice little berth. Three bedroom, two bathrooms, all hooked into Pandora’s grid…it’s really close to the park, and the playground.”

“Oh, the playground.” That was one place that Garrett had visited, although he’d been blind for all of it. He’d pushed Cody on the swing for a while before Jonah had convinced him to take a turn. It was old fashioned equipment, deliberately squeaky and quaint. “I’m sure Cody loves that.” Shit, shit, shit.

“Yeah.” After a moment Jonah placed a kiss on Garrett’s temple, then backed away. “C’mon, let’s make our way back home. I’ll make you dinner.”

“I’ll be able to see in half an hour, I might make you dinner instead.”

“After all the warnin’s you’ve given me about your cookin’? Thanks but no thanks, darlin’, I’d rather do the honors tonight.”

“Probably smart,” Garrett agreed.

They walked slowly back to Jonah’s apartment. It was nice not having to use the wheelchair in public, and Garrett never felt insecure when he was holding on to Jonah’s arm. Once they were in the apartment Garrett took over their motion and started pulling Jonah towards the bedroom.

“I thought you were hungry,” his lover protested with a laugh.

“I am, but not for food. How long until the bandage comes off?” Garrett asked eagerly.

“Twenty minutes.”

“I can make twenty minutes fly by if I’m giving you a blowjob.”

Fuck, Garrett,” Jonah muttered, grabbing him and pulling him back so that their chests were flush. “You…”

“Don’t you want me not to fret?’ Garrett offered, running one of his agile hands down Jonah’s chest and over the crotch of his jeans, cupping the growing hardness there. “Don’t you want me nice and relaxed?”

“More likely to be relaxin’ for me than for you, darlin’.”

“I can come from blowing you,” Garrett promised him. “I want to come that way. I want you to lie down and let me play with you and jerk you and suck you and make you feel perfect.”

“It’s always perfect with you,” Jonah confessed. “Never felt anything like it.”

Garrett pulled his mind away from the obvious love in Jonah’s voice, from the dangerous commitment it hinted of, and back to sex. “We haven’t christened this hall yet, have we…”

“Not in the hall,” Jonah replied firmly, keeping Garrett from going to his knees. “With my luck I’ll fall over and hit my head, or Cody will suddenly come home or somethin’.”

“How about the couch, then?” Garrett said. For some reason he wasn’t anxious to go back to the intimacy that was Jonah’s—their—bed, not yet.

“It is closer,” Jonah mused.

“A valid consideration, so the couch wins.” A few seconds later he had Jonah sitting, and a second after that he was sinking down, sliding his body over his lover’s as he dropped to his knees. Jonah moved restlessly, his fingers working their way again and again through Garrett’s short hair as Garrett pushed Jonah’s legs apart. He undid Jonah’s fly and freed his erection, leaned forward and hovered over the tip for a long moment, unmoving, just breathing moist, hot breaths over the head. God, Jonah smelled so good, like musk and sweat and warmth. Pursing his lips, Garrett placed a gentle kiss on the head, then trailed his mouth down the shaft until his lips brushed Jonah’s sac.

“You have no idea what lookin’ at you like this does to me,” Jonah husked. “Garrett, you look…” He trailed off into a groan of frustration as Garrett took him in one warm hand and stroked him, softly at first, gradually quickening. “Take me in,” he whispered.

Garrett didn’t reply, just smiled and flicked his tongue out, tasting his lover, lapping up the wetness that gathered at the tip of Jonah’s cock. Just before Jonah started to beg Garrett opened his mouth and inched down Jonah’s length, cataloguing every millimeter of it with lips and tongue. When he couldn’t see what he was doing, he relied on every other sense so much. Garrett had played around with sensory deprivation, of course, but it was different knowing that you couldn’t look. Knowing that he had no recourse was an incredible turn on, even though technically he probably could use his new eyes now.

Garrett sucked Jonah slowly, opening his throat on the down strokes to take him all the way in and licking his way back up before his lips crested at the head. He fondled Jonah’s balls, rolling and tugging and pulling them down when Jonah got too close, and the whole time he didn’t lay a hand on himself. The only touch Garrett got was Jonah’s knees pressed against his shoulders and his hands, his big, warm hands, tracing over the curves of Garrett’s head, moving with him, not forcing him down or deeper or faster but just taking everything he had to offer and cherishing it. It felt amazing, being held like that, and that was why when Garrett felt Jonah’s breathing really pick up the pace and felt the fluttering that meant his lover was coming start in his abdomen, he let his own iron control go and tightened his abdomen and groin and came, without touching himself, right into the scrubs he’d been forced to put on in the infirmary. A second later Jonah followed, filling Garrett’s mouth with his seed. Garrett heard his name as a long, drawn-out groan, and he swallowed and smiled and pulled away just far enough to lay his head against Jonah’s thigh.

“Holy shit.”

“I like being able to provoke that reaction,” Garrett informed Jonah a little muzzily.

“Did you—”



Garrett shrugged. “Practice. Motivation. You being you. Take your pick.”

“You’re a man of many talents.”

“I am,” Garrett agreed with a smile. “Hey, has it been twenty minutes?”

“Nearly,” Jonah replied after a moment. “Get up here.” He pulled Garrett up onto his lap and it didn’t matter that he was sticky and probably smelly and soon to be uncomfortable, at the moment it was absolutely perfect.

The video com beeped. “New message,” Jonah commented as he stroked up and down Garrett’s back.

“For you or for me?” They had started routing all of Garrett’s incoming calls over here a week ago.

“Looks like it’s for you. From Paradise.”

Garrett snuggled closer. “Does it say from who?”

“From Miles.”

“From my dad?” Garrett pulled back a little. “That’s strange. He never sends me messages. They either come through Claudia or we talk directly.”

“Want me to play it?”

“Sure.” Jonah shifted, and a moment later the message began.

“Hey, Gare.” It was Miles, and he sounded tired but also really, really…god, what was that? “I want to get back to Claudia before she wakes up so I only have time for a short message. Claudia went into labor last night, and an hour ago we delivered your new little sister. This is Renee,” and there was that tone again, and now Garrett recognized it. It was the tone that meant love. “Renee Emmanuelle. She’s seven pounds two ounces, eighteen inches long and cries fit to wake the dead, and she’s the newest member of our family that can’t wait to see you in person. We’re looking forward to your return, son. Claudia sends her love. I’ll call again once I can get all the family together.” The beep indicated that the message was over.

“Oh,” Garrett whispered. “Oh.” He turned towards Jonah. “Is she beautiful?”

“You can look for yourself,” Jonah said, and his voice was very soft. “It’s been twenty minutes.” He reached behind Garrett’s head and pull the mask’s adhesions loose, then slowly withdrew it away from Garrett’s face. The lights were low but Garrett was still cautious opening his eyes all the way. Blurriness slowly resolved as he blinked. The first face Garrett sought out was Jonah’s, seeking reassurance even though he wasn’t sure why.

“Do they look all right?”

“They’re violet,” Jonah murmured, framing Garrett’s face with his hands. “Like a newborn’s eyes.” He kissed Garrett gently. “You’re perfect. Incredible.”

“I missed seeing you,” Garrett confessed.

“Missed seein’ you too, darlin’.” Jonah kissed him again, then turned towards the vid screen. “Go on and take a look at your family.”

Garrett turned and saw the final still frame of his father’s message. Miles looked tired, but he was smiling down at the baby cradled in his arms. The baby’s eyes were turned towards the camera though, and Garrett could see that they were violet too, wide open and staring in that blankly curious way that babies had. Renee had black hair that stuck up in every direction, and apart from that she was pink and chubby and very much an infant. His little sister.

“She is beautiful,” Garrett said. He stared a little longer at the still. “He looks happy, doesn’t he?”

“Your dad? Yeah, darlin’. Why wouldn’t he be?”

“Were you happy?” Garrett asked, turning to look at his lover. “When you got to hold Cody, despite everything?”

“The first time I picked him up changed me,” Jonah said seriously. “I knew what he was, knew the problems, but holdin’ him…there’s no better feeling in the world than holding your child for the first time, knowin’ they’re yours. It’s scary as hell, but it’s amazing too.”

“It must be,” Garrett said, glancing back at the picture. There was so much possibility in a baby, all future and hope and nothing to look back on with regret. He shuddered, suddenly getting a taste of that fear Jonah had mentioned, and that his father had to be feeling even now. So much opportunity that could go in so many different ways…amazing, but scary as hell.

“It must be.”