So I'm finally posting about a non-story topic! Well, no, that's a lie. It's a story topic, just not Reformation. Possibly sci fi, though. What the hell, am I on something? Be clear!
Okay. I have two new releases coming out this month. One is Friendly Fire, my m/m contemporary with Ripide, which--contemporary, I know, rare as hen's teeth!
The other is the re-release of my most epic sci fi novel to date (because Reformation isn't finished yet, ha), Changing Worlds, put out by Dreamspinner. It has a new cover and everything!
I'm super excited about both of these stories, and I wanted to have a contest for them. Being me, this is a contest that means I get to do extra work, which is great! Here's the deal: if you're one of the first two people to send me proof of preorder for either of these titles (I did this before with just Changing Worlds and didn't max out) then I will write you a custom flash fic, either concerning any character from any previous story of mine, or going off of your prompt entirely. Prompts are dangerous things with me, people, you never know what I'll do.
So email me, DM me on Twitter, hit me up on FB, message me here: I don't care. Just let me appreciate you for buying my work! Your support means a lot to me.
As for the person who did respond earlier, she wanted an epilogue of sorts for Reclamation, a near-future dystopian story I did for the MM Romance Goodreads group a few years ago. And I did. And it's posted below. Enjoy!
Reclamation (original link here: http://www.mmromancegroup.com/reclamation-by-cari-z/)
(One Year Later)
“I could make you tres leches cake.”
“Rosa—” Matt tried, but she rolled right over his protest.
“Flan! I could make a flan, it would take me no time at all!”
“The tortillas are fine, Rosa.”
She put her hands on her hips. “Tortillas are not for special occasions! This is special, isn’t it?”
“It is special.” It was the anniversary of their first real date, their post “Matt-as-Cali-the-stripper-and-Grayson-in-a-mental-health-clinic” date. Technically, they’d started things off at Arroyo’s, and Matt had picked up two orders of pollo poblano special to commemorate the fact. The tortillas, though, were Rosa’s. Matt had followed Grayson home that day to get a book from him, stayed to snack on Rosa’s tortillas, and ended up spending the night. Admittedly, he’d slept on the couch, but that couch had been better than a home for him for a while.
It had been a very weird date, in retrospect, but it had also been the start of a real, honest relationship between Matt and Grayson. And now it had been a year, and Matt was living here again with the man he loved, and he wanted to make sure Grayson knew exactly how loved he was. The combination of working as a paramedic and taking nursing classes was running Grayson into the ground, but as he was very happy to point out, “It beats Reclamation by a long shot.”
“You have a low bar for satisfaction,” Matt had informed him when he first said it.
“I must have, if I’m dating you,” Grayson teased.
“Trust me, I know.”
Grayson’s sly expression had melted away into concern. “Matt, I was just kidding. You get that, right? I love you.”
Yeah, Matt got it. Matt also got that there was always, at least in his mind, going to be a subtle disparity between himself and Grayson. It had nothing to do with how well Grayson loved him, and everything to do with his own sense of self-worth, which was less shitty these days but still not pristine.
It had been a year, and Matt still wasn’t quite convinced that he was worth the trouble. A year’s worth of dates, of romantic gestures, of Grayson making a point of ensuring he was off work and didn’t have classes for a couple hours in the evenings, so they could at least have dinner together once Matt was done with his shift. A year of Grayson wanting him around not just for what he could do for him, but because he loved him and wanted to spend time with him. Even if all they did was read James Bond novels aloud to each other while one of them cooked, or watched ancient Disney films together, or did the environmentally responsible thing by sharing showers. Long showers, but still! Responsible!
Tonight was Matt’s turn for a romantic gesture, a little sign that he hadn’t forgotten how far they’d come from their genuinely ludicrous beginnings. Hence, the recreation of their first date. And their first date hadn’t included Rosa’s homemade desserts, so…
“Rosa, we’re fine, I promise!” Matt glanced at the computer in his forearm. “Look, he’ll be home any second.”
“Fine!” She threw up her hands. “Fine, I’m going! But don’t blame me when he wonders why there isn’t something dulce waiting for him.”
Matt couldn’t help it. “I’ll just tell him I’m sweet enough to be his dessert,” he said with a smirk.
Rosa shook her head despairingly. “We have thin walls here, you know. Tima can hear you sometimes. You make my daughter blush terribly.”
“I’ll buy her some earplugs,” Matt promised as he ushered Rosa out the door. He raced to the bedroom and pulled out the thin, tattered jeans that he hadn’t worn since his nights at Johnny Rock’s strip club. He tugged them on, left his shirt on the floor and topped it all off with a pair of cheap plastic sunglasses. There. Costume complete. Mouth guaranteed to drop.
Hey, his time as Matt the stripper hadn’t been all bad memories for them.
Matt was debating between pushing the glasses up or leaving them down when he heard Grayson open the door. “Matt? You here—hey, whoa. What’s this?”
“What’s it look like?” he called back.
“It looks like Arroyo’s finest. And Rosa’s tortillas, and a—a book?”
Matt came to the hall door just in time to watch Grayson turn the book over in his hands. “A biography of James Bond. You found a biography of a fictional person?”
“He’s a really popular fictional person,” Matt said. “And you have all the novels already, so…”
Grayson glanced over at him, then did a double take. “Hi.”
“Hi. Wow. Okay, what am I missing, Mr. Detective?”
“Can’t I just want to do something nice for you?” Matt asked, pushing off the wall and sauntering over to Grayson. It had been a while since he’d put that roll in his hips, and the effect it had on his boyfriend’s attention span was lovely. Grayson put the book back down, narrowly missing his dinner plate, and hooked a finger in the top of the jeans, tugging Matt in close.
“You do nice things for me all the time,” he said, sliding his hands down Matt’s bare back and cupping his ass possessively. Matt wrapped his arms around Grayson’s neck and resisted the urge to kiss him. If they started that, dinner would be congealed by the time they got back to it. Grayson obviously wasn’t taking that hint though, pressing a kiss to the soft spot beneath Matt’s ear and trailing his lips down his throat. “Why go all out tonight, though?”
“It’s—hnng.” Damn it, the food was going to get cold. “It’s becau—fuck, do that again.” Screw that, dinner was going to end up on the floor in another minute or two, because Matt was going to shove Grayson down on the table and ride him like—
Rap rap rap.
Grayson groaned and lifted his head from Matt’s collarbone. “That’s Rosa’s knock.”
Rap rap rap.
“She’s not going to give up.”
Matt sighed. “I know.”
They drew apart reluctantly, and Grayson took a few deep breaths before heading over to the door and opening it. “Hey, Rosa—”
“Here.” She thrust a delicious-smelling plate at him. “Churros. The best I could do on short notice. Enjoy your anniversary, and next time,” she glared around him at Matt, “you let me make you something better!”
Grayson looked bewildered. “You didn’t have to make us anything at all.”
“Food is love,” she said simply. “Love is for family. And Matt is a darling man, but he can’t cook to save his soul.” She patted Grayson on the cheek, then turned and walked back to her apartment. Grayson shut the door slowly.
“First date,” Matt said sheepishly. “After the whole…thing.”
“Oh. Oh.” Grayson smiled and looked at the table. “I get it now. I can’t believe you remembered all this.”
“Eh, I try.” I remember everything we do together. “I guess we should eat, then?” The churros were fresh, after all.
“Yeah. We can finish our celebration later.”