Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Paradise Post #4

Notes: My brilliant man has slapped the tech equivalent of a band-aid on my computer, which enables it to work until I get the right thing to fix it for real.  Thanks for the suggestions, darlins, I appreciate it!  Also, this is the last purely schmoopy post for the story for a while; I know it’s cute but we need some conflict, right?  Yez, yez we do.  I couldn’t resist one more, though, Cody kind of demands cuteness when I write him.

Also thank you for being patient with my technological challenges.  I need a rugged, outdoorsy laptop, not the slim, trembling waif who lured me in with her smooth lines and delicate keyboard.  Curse you, shallow human nature!
(PS-I got the info I needed to do ebooks now, so where's the best place to start?  Bonded?  Anna?  Anybody want the Shadows and Light series?  Chime in, let me know what you want most out of my free library.)


Title: Paradise


Part Four:  Gettin’ There






                “How close are we now?” Cody demanded, staring intently out at the blackness beyond the viewport.

                “Close,” his dad said for the millionth time as he checked the gauges that monitored the ship’s velocity and angle.  Cody knew all about those.  He could name every single gauge on the flight console, and he could read most of them too.

                “Can’t we go faster?”

                “Nope,” his dad said cheerfully.  “This is as fast as it gets until we get a little closer to Paradise.”

                “And then can we speed up?”

                “Then we slow down, bucko.  Gotta be safe.”

                Cody flopped across the back of the copilot’s chair with a sigh.  “Safe is so boooring.”

                “Poor kid,” his dad crooned.  Cody frowned.  Whenever his father used that tone of voice, Cody knew he was being sarcastic.  “Doomed to a life of dullness and despair by being forced to obey all the safety rules and regs.  Angels weep for you, my son.”

                “You’re not funny,” Cody pouted.  It was a dumb joke, his dad wasn’t funny at all.  He stared ahead again.  “How close are we now?”

                His dad made that slow, special sigh that Cody knew meant he was running out of patience.  “Not close enough for you to be askin’ me that again.  How about you go finish gettin’ ready to land?”

                “I’m ready,” Cody replied quickly.  He was, too; he’d showered and brushed his hair and dressed in his best clothes, the ones Garrett ordered him that made him look kinda like a Space Ranger.  They were blue and green and so cool.  He even had shoes to match.

                “Then how about you go help Garrett get ready?  I’ll holler as soon as there’s somethin’ to see.”

                “Fine,” Cody huffed, rolling his eyes.  He knew a dismissal when he heard it.  He jumped down from the chair and marched off towards his daddy’s room, where Garrett was probably still picking what to wear.  He had more clothes than Cody and his dad combined, and it took him forever to get dressed.

                The door was closed.  “Garrett?” Cody asked as he knocked.  “Are you ready yet?”

                “Almost,” Garrett called out. 

                “Can I come in?”  Cody had learned a long time ago that he had to ask before entering their room when the door was shut. 


                He pressed his palm to the door and it swung open immediately.  The room was kind of a mess; there were a pile of clothes on the bed, another heap thrown over the chair, and the whole place smelled moist, like the shower had been going for a really long time.  No Garrett, though.  “Where are you?”

                “In the bathroom.” 

                Cody picked his way across the floor and squeezed into the tiny bathroom next to Garrett, then looked up at him.  His mouth dropped open.  “Wow.”

                “Wow, huh?” Garrett teased, smiling at Cody through his reflection on the mirrored wall.  “That’s nice.”

                “You look really pretty.”  He did, too, in some kind of bright blue suit that was just as soft as it looked, and sharpened his corners so much that he almost looked like a Build-A-Bot toy.  He’d styled his hair into weird criss-crossing layers that reminded Cody of waves, and his skin was almost glowing.  And he smelled good, like some of the flowering trees in the arboretum back home.

                “Pretty.  Well, that’s acceptable, I suppose, although I was going for stunning.”

                Cody frowned. Stunning? “Like you want to knock people down?”

                “Metaphorically speaking, yes.”

                “Oh.”  Cody considered that for a moment, then patted Garrett’s back.  “Maybe you will, then.”  He didn’t want Garrett to think all his work was for nothing, but Cody didn’t really think he was going to actually start knocking people down.  “Um, what’s a metaphor?”

                Garrett opened his mouth to reply, but before he could say anything the ship’s com sounded.  “Passenger vessel, this is Paradise towel 115, please identify yourselves.”

                “We’re here!” Cody yelled.  He ran out of the bathroom and almost fell over a pile of shoes on his way back to the cockpit.

                “Tower, this is the Icarus, registration number PD37592, out of Pandora,” his dad said into the com as Cody launched himself into the copilot’s chair.  His dad looked over at him and made a “shhh” motion and Cody obeyed, even though he didn’t want to.  He could see Paradise now, a bright orangey-brown circle in the distance dotted with swirls of white. 

                The air changed scents as Garrett joined them, and when his dad turned to look at him his eyes got wide and his jaw dropped a little.  He didn’t even seem to hear the person over the com respond, and Cody wondered if that was what Garrett meant when he said “stunning.”  Whatever, it was annoying and they were going to get in trouble if his dad didn’t talk back.  Cody nudged him with his foot.

                “Sor—sorry, Tower, repeat that last transmission, please?” his dad said, turning reluctantly back to the console.  Garrett just grinned, and placed a kiss on the top of his dad’s head as he came around and shifted Cody into his lap so they could share the copilot’s seat.

                “You’re cleared for landing at the Governor’s private dock.  Berth six.  Just follow the coordinates, Icarus, you’ll do fine.”

                “Roger that, Tower.  Icarus out.”  His dad shut off the com and they all watched as Paradise grew larger and larger in the viewport. 

                “Will they be there when we land?” Cody asked, feeling a little nervous for the first time today.

                “Probably, unless there’s some emergency,” Garrett said, like emergencies were just boring, everyday kinds of things.

                “Do I look as nice as you?”

                “You look great,” Garrett assured him, giving Cody a kiss as well, and even though he wasn’t a little kid anymore and didn’t need kisses, it was kind of nice to get one.  “You both do.”

                “Flattery will get you nowhere,” his dad said briskly, but he was smiling too.  “Time to strap in, guys, we’re going to hit atmosphere in thirty.”

                “You heard the man,” Garrett said.  He set Cody down and gestured to the small seat that was specially installed for him at the back of the cockpit.  Cody pulled it down, hopped up and buckled himself in.  Garrett checked that the fit was snug before going back to his own chair and fastening his harness. 

                The planet got larger and larger, all the black vanishing from the viewscreen, and then they hit the top layer of clouds.  The ship began to rumble.  Cody watched the viewscreen go totally white from clouds, and he clenched his hands around the edge of the seat.  How could his dad really tell where they were going?  It was easy in space, there was nothing to run into, but now there might be something in the clouds and they wouldn’t even see it, and they could hit it and then they’d crash.

                “It’s okay, bucko,” his dad said softly, and Cody figured he must have made a noise.  “We’re fine.  We’ll be down in a minute.”  The clouds thinned, going from white to grey to light brown, and then there weren’t any clouds at all, nothing but clear sky and distant orangey rocks and, right in the middle, a silver city.

                “Wow,” Cody whispered.  It was so different from the Box, so much brighter. 

                “That’s Rapture,” Garrett told him, craning his neck back so he could look at Cody.  “The capital of Paradise.  It’s the biggest city on the planet, with around a million people living here.  Most of the military’s facilities are here as well.”

                A million people?  “That’s a big city.”

                “Compared to Pandora, yes,” Garrett agreed.  The ship turned slightly and headed for a large white structure on a hill.  “That’s the Governor’s Mansion.  That’s where we’re going to be staying.”

                It was huge.  “Your dad lives there?”

                “Yes, but so do a lot of other people.  You won’t get bored.”

                “I just don’t wanna get lost.”

                Garrett chuckled.  “That, too.”

                Daddy was quiet all through the landing, guiding them down onto the fluorescent landing circle and settling the ship with a faint hiss from the compressors.  Maybe he felt nervous too.  As soon as the light went off, Cody unbuckled and went to stand next to his dad.  He took his hand and held it tight.  Garrett peered out of the viewport and grinned.  “There they are!  Ready to meet everyone?”

                Cody’s heart felt like it would jump out of his mouth if he tried to say anything.  He just nodded and held onto his daddy’s hand tighter. 

                Garrett led the way down the ramp.  Cody’s feet felt stuck, heavy and hard to move, and the bright sunlight stung his eyes.  He buried his face in his daddy’s side, and a second later he was picked up and held tight.  “You okay, bucko?” his daddy asked gently.

                “My eyes hurt,” he confessed.

                “Yeah, mine too.  We’ll be inside soon, though.”  His daddy ran a comforting hand through his hair and kept walking forward.  Cody kept his eyes closed, feeling tears seep out at the edges.  He couldn’t see, but he could hear what was going on up ahead.

                “Gare!”  There was a slapping sound, like someone getting a really hard hug.  “Finally!  You know you’re almost a day late, right?”  It was a light voice, not high like a girl’s but excited.  Wyl’s voice.

                “Don’t pretend you learned how to tell time,” Garrett teased him.  “Where’s Robbie?”

                “Last-minute disciplinary session, some moron accidentally discharged his rifle into one of the tanks.  No damage done, but he couldn’t put off dealing with it.  He’s making us all dinner tonight as an apology.”

                “Does he know that?”

                “I’ll tell him when he gets here,” Wyl said cheekily.

                “Wyl, stop monopolizing him,” a woman said.  “Gare, welcome!  And Jonah, Cody, don’t hang back!”  Slender arms enveloped both of them, and then soft hands touched his face.  “What’s wrong, sweetheart?”

                “The sun’s makin’ his eyes tear up,” Daddy explained for him.

                “Oh, poor thing, of course.  Here, give him to me, we’ll go to the terrace and get into the shade.”  Daddy passed him over and Cody found himself tucked against a very different body.  He couldn’t remember the last time a woman had held him, but it was nice.  She smelled even better than Garrett.  He heard his daddy explaining things to the others while she walked until the intensity of the light and heat suddenly vanished.  Cody blinked his eyes open, and the first thing he saw was Claudia’s face a few inches from his.  She was wearing a long white dress and had her dark hair loose around her shoulders.  It made her look younger than she usually did over the holoscreen.

                “Hi,” she said with a smile.  “Better now?”

                “Yeah,” Cody replied, wiping his eyes on the palm of his hand.  “Sorry.”

                “Oh, you don’t have to be sorry, sweetheart.  I’m sorry I didn’t think ahead.”  She kissed his cheek and set him down, but kept one hand on his shoulder.  Cody let her pull him close.  “You are even more handsome in person.”

                “Thank you,” he said, still shy but starting to feel better.  He looked at the table they were next to.  There was a bassinet on top of it, rocking itself gently.  “Is Renee in there?”

                “Yes.  She’s sleeping right now, but you can still take a look if you want.”

                “Sure.”  He stood on one of the chairs and leaned over to see into the bassinet.  There was Baby Renee, hair wild around her head and one foot stuck in her mouth.  She was sucking on it as she slept.  “She’s eating her foot,” Cody whispered.

                “Maybe it tastes good,” Claudia whispered back.  “Like chocolate.  You could lick it and see.”


                “Or maybe she’d like yours better,” Claudia suggested.  “You could let her use it for a while, see if she thinks it tastes good too.”

                “Not these feet,” Garrett said, suddenly behind him.  Cody used his hand to help jump down and looked around for his dad.  He was heading towards them, still talking with Garrett’s dad, Miles.  “They get spontaneously covered with dirt, it’s like magic.  Even on the ship, I don’t know how he does it, but I find fresh grass stains on his clothes.”

                “But not today,” Cody argued, “’cause I just took a shower!”

                “It doesn’t matter, Cody needs his feet,” Wyl cut in.  He was a little shorter than Garrett, a little skinnier, with dark hair and dark eyes and a wide grin.  “Remember what I said we’d do when you got here?” he asked Cody.

                “Go for a bike ride?” Cody said.

                “Exactly!  And you can’t ride a hoverbike with a baby attached to your foot.”

                “You keep your bike away from my baby,” Claudia scolded him.

                Cody finally began to relax.  It was just like talking to them over the holoscreen, just as funny and kind, except it was better because they were really here now.  He reached out and took Wyl’s hand.  “When can we go?”

                “Only after you put your things away in your bedroom,” Daddy said as he and Miles finally caught up.  Cody didn’t know Miles very well; he was working a lot of the time when Claudia called.  He looked a lot like Garrett, except grey instead of blond, a little taller and a little less polished.  He held out a hand to Cody, who shook it.

                “Welcome to Paradise, Cody,” Miles said warmly.

                “Thank you, sir.”

                “Not sir.  Just Miles.  Ready to see your rooms?”

                “I get more than one?” Cody gaped.

                “Oh, son,” Miles said, turning him towards the mansion, “have you seen the size of this place?  You could have ten rooms in you wanted them, but I thought we’d start with three.  Want to take a look?”

                “Yes,” Cody said, following him towards the door.

                Three whole rooms all to himself, hoverbike rides and Claudia and a huge house to play in…

                This was going to be so much fun.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Busty in a Bad Way

Bad news, darlins.  Well, inconvenient, at least.

My laptop has decided not to accept being plugged in any longer.  No matter how I try, she won't charge.  At least not with the cord.  (I might--might--have cracked the casing of the plug's receptacle somehow by, oh, carrying it around a bit callously.  But that's no reason to stop working!) 

So now I need to get that repaired, and/or find an alternate way of charging the battery until a repair can be made.  Which translates to me kicking my man off his computer to write this (Dawn of War 2 can wait, dammit!) and also means I won't be writing as much or as quickly as I want to.  My priority is the next part of Paradise, but I've got other stuff I just need to do, with limited ways to do it. 

*Cue wailing cry of despair*   Nooooooooooooooooooooooo......

No, I'm sure it'll be fine.  Soon.  Fine soon!  *twitch--twitch*  So the laptop's a little busty right now, we can fix it.  Because we are such fixy fixers.  That, or I lose my mind and mug someone for their iPad.  Beware, bitches.  Beware.

So anyway, Happy Saturday:)

Monday, August 20, 2012

HAPPYFUNTIMES!!! (re: reviews:)

There's been a brief but brilliant cascade of awesome reviews for some of my stuff lately, and I want to share them with you here, because if you're on the fence about a story I want to tip you off it (onto the soft and gentle side, of course!) and if you need a reason to recommend a story to a friend, these might do it for you.  Thank you to the reviewers, you are all.  So.  Cool. 

All reviews are helpful, but really good ones are just...um...well, you know how it is when you're really, really happy and your frail self can't contain it and you shout it to the ceiling/sky/door/clock/computer/husband's face, and you get funny looks but you just don't care?  Yeah.  Kind of like that.

The first two are for my story Reclaimed, the last one in the Treasured trilogy (which is now a collection, btw, called Pursued).  It rounds out the story of Daniel and Rhys, in what I hope is a satisfying way.

It was reviewed by Jenre, here: Well Read: Review: Reclaimed.  And here's a highlight:

At about 22,000 words, this isn't a long book. It does, however, round off the series in a very satisfactory manner and I waved off these characters into their HEA feeling that I was pleased to have known them. Those of you who have read the other books in this series will, like me, be keen to see the end.

The other review for it came from Sensual Reads, here: SensualReads Reclaimed Review.

Beautifully written with two magnificent heroes, Reclaimed shows love can save the day. Reclaimed will also have you on the edge of your seat as the plot unfolds and we cannot be sure what will happen next. Great job for Cari Z.

And just now, like 5 minutes ago, I learned that Alex at Between The Covers reviewed Changing Worlds, which if you know me you know is my baby, my longest published work so far.  And it rocks.  Rocks!

You can find it here: Between The Covers: Changing Worlds Review.  Highlight!!!

Having enjoyed the short story that this novel expands on, I was excited to hear that Ferran and Jason's story continued. And, for the benefit of people who hadn't read the first story, it's included in the beginning of the novel. (Two for the price of one!) I had already read it, but I re-read it, despite everything being explained in the novel itself (for those who choose to skip reading or re-reading the short). I was reminded how much I enjoyed the short, and with its happy ending, it was almost difficult to begin the novel, knowing there would be challenges in their future.

But I did, and I'm glad I did. A majority of the story is rather calm, action-wise, but it's tense in the relationship and political quandaries that arise. The last few chapters are incredibly compelling, and I eagerly ate through them. A great exploration of different cultures, xenophobia, and what really is the last great frontier--love. Oh, I mean space.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Paradise Post #3

Notes: Any sci fi fans familiar with the Space Madness trope?  It’s been touched on by Asimov, Niven, Star Trek writers; a lot of greats.  I briefly considered delving into it here, but c’mon, I’m not mean enough to make a kid go crazy.  I decided on Space Ennui instead, compounded by a judicious touch of claustrophobia.  But don’t worry, Garrett fixed it.  He’s such a fixer.
(PS-Whoever makes me a picture of a panda crossed with an orangutan, I will love you forever:)

Title: Paradise

Part Three:  Empty Spaces Make Empty People


Three solid weeks of flying through space equaled definite boredom after about the first week.  The fastest route from Pandora to Paradise didn’t get close to any sights interesting enough to detour for, and the blackness beyond the hatch was rarely broken even by a distant star.  Most of space was just…empty.  Of everything.  No life, no color, no heat or fission or exciting chemistry.  Just unending expanses of nothingness that could drive a person insane if they let themselves go.

Garrett had never been bothered by the vastness of space.  Of course, he’d been a rather dramatic teenager, the sort to color his entire room black and listen to angry, hopeless music.  The melancholia of such nothingness had appealed to his angsty side, and the solipsist in him kind of liked the idea that he was the only sure thing that was real, and that everything else was just something he’d dreamed up.  He got a strange sort of comfort out of looking around and seeing a forever’s worth of nothing. 

Jonah just ignored it all.  He didn’t like it, didn’t dislike it: for him, flying was his job, and it didn’t really matter where he was doing it, he just had to worry about getting from point A to point B.  If he played his music a little louder in the ship than he did at home, and if the lights were a little brighter, well, those were valid coping mechanisms and that was fine. Being on a ship was second nature for Jonah, having grown up a Drifter, and Garrett knew he didn’t have to worry about his fiancé. The problem came from Cody, and it was one Garrett felt he should have seen coming and planned for.

Cody was a kid, an active, bouncy kid who liked to run around and climb things and generally get his kicks exhausting himself.  He hadn’t grown up shipboard like his dad, and he wasn’t used to tight quarters like Garrett.  He’d been adequately distracted for a while, working his way through the movie holos, finishing the homework packet that was supposed to last the entire three weeks and learning the basics of flying a ship from Jonah.  For about a day after that he was antsy, unable to sit still, fighting back against every suggestion for how to pass the time that either of them came up with.  The next day he was worse, listless and sleepy but not wanting to go to his room, and protesting vigorously when either of them tried to get him to go to bed.

Cody finally cried himself out and fell into an exhausted sleep in Jonah’s arms while Garrett spelled him at the controls.  They stared at each other over his head and shared a tired smile.

“We’re going to have to figure something else out,” Garrett said quietly.  “We are not doing this for another two weeks.”

Jonah scrubbed a hand over his face tiredly.  “I know.  Not sure what more we can do, though.”

“Well, he’s not sleeping when we are, clearly.  I have the white noise generator going in his room, it’s set to mimic the sound of rain falling at home, but it’s not doing the trick.  He’s not comfortable enough to fall asleep even with that.”

“Huh.”  Jonah looked down at Cody and then back up.  “This is probably gonna annoy you, but…we could try letting him sleep in our room?  It worked when he had nightmares, and he’s not that much older now.”

“Why would that annoy me?”

Jonah quirked an eyebrow and Garrett chuckled.  “Well, yes, that, but I can be a monk for the duration of this flight if it means Cody’s in a better mood.  Because what I can’t deal with is him being as moody as I remember me being at this age.  I know exactly how much of a pain in the ass I was as a child and there’s no way our kid is heading down that road.”

“It’s a short term solution, though.  He needs something to do while he’s awake or he’ll start breakin’ stuff.”

Garrett waved a hand dismissively.  “I have an idea about that too.  He’s done with his work, so now he can help me with mine.”

“Cody’s a little young for complex climate modeling, don’t ya think?”

“He’s not too young to learn to use the simulator,” Garrett replied.  “I don’t need it right now, but I can teach him to use the animate feature.  He’s tired of watching shows?  We’ll let him make one instead.”

“Martina would kill you if she knew you were lettin’ him play around with the priciest piece of equipment in the lab,” Jonah smiled.  “I’m kinda surprised she let you bring it with, honestly.  Doesn’t she have a tendency to hang on to things?”

“Like a vulture clutching a carcass.”

“A what?”

Oh, right.  Minimal experience with animals.  “A vulture is a type of bird, a scavenger.  It’s big and ugly and smart, and it’s very opportunistic.  They’ve been introduced on over a dozen worlds in the central system, in part to keep down the rest of the cloned animal populations. 

“By the way, whoever thought redesigning Old Earth animals and putting them in wildlife reserves based on their ‘cuteness’ was a goddamn idiot.  There’s this zoo, Chibi World?  Most frightening experience of my young life.  They crossed a panda with an orangutan, and the thing ripped through its enclosure and tore around the park like a mad thing.  My class had to barricade ourselves in the cafeteria and wait for the robots to tranq it, which took hours.”  Garrett shook his head, then pointed a finger at Jonah.  “Speaking of which, the pet thing?  Is an absolute no, as far as I’m concerned.  Pets are nothing but pain and suffering.”

Jonah stared at him with slightly wide eyes.  “What the hell’s a panda?”

“I’ll show you sometime when Cody isn’t around, being all impressionable.”  Garrett set the helm to autopilot and stood up.  “Let’s go to bed and see if it works out.”

Cody didn’t even wake up as they all settled in, and he slept a solid eight hours nestled between the pair of them.  He woke up when they did though, and insisted on being with at least one of them at all times, which meant fast, solitary showers and accompanying him to his room to change his clothes.  Breakfast was a little subdued, with Cody on the edge of pouting as he chased his cereal around the bowl with his spoon.

“So,” Garrett said cheerfully as he finished his coffee, “are you ready to go to work?”

Cody frowned.  “I don’t have any more schoolwork, I finished it all.”

“Not that kind of work.  This is special work.  Something very, very exciting, something completely brand new.”

“How exciting?”

So exciting,” Garrett confided.  “And important.  And I need your help to do it.”


“Really.”  He stood up from the table.  “You ready?”

Cody glanced at Jonah, who smiled.  “Go on, bucko.”  Those few words of approval were all Cody needed, and he grabbed Garrett’s hand and pulled him down towards the makeshift lab that used to be the ship’s gym.

“Is it in here?”

“Yes,” Garrett said, heading over to the simulator and turning it on.  He loaded the simplest visual program up and pulled a chair over for Cody.  “It’s got to be done with this.”

Cody stood on the chair and looked into the viewfinder of the machine.  “But I don’t know how to use this.”

“I can teach you,” Garrett said.  “We’re going to use it to make a holofilm.  One about what things are like back on Pandora, since my family hasn’t gotten to come and visit us there yet.  We can load images and sounds and you can draw the things that aren’t in the database.”

Cody looked at him solemnly.  “That sounds really hard.”

“It’s going to take some time, that’s true, but you’re smart.  I wouldn’t ask you to do it if I didn’t think you could,” Garrett told him.  “I’ll help whenever you need me to, but I think this would be a great gift for when we arrive.”

“Do you think it will make your family like me better?”

How was this even a question?  “Are you kidding me?” Garrett scoffed, leaning in and hugging Cody around the shoulders.  “You’re their absolute favorite.  Every time they call, who do they want to talk to first?”


“Exactly.  They can’t wait to see you.  I’m hoping this will make them like me better.”

Cody giggled.  “They already like you!”

“Yes, usually, but a little extra ammo never hurts.  So.  Want to learn how to load the environments?”


The morning was pretty slow, hampered by Garrett’s compulsive need to step in and help until Cody finally told him he could “figure it out by myself, okay please Garrett?”  The afternoon went better, Garrett only stepping in when Cody needed help drawing something or tracing a movement pattern in 3-D.  Jonah joined them after dinner so Cody could show them what he’d come up with so far, and he duly gave it the praise it was due.

That night, as Cody lay sleeping between them, Jonah whispered, “You know, you’re kinda brilliant, darlin’.”

Garrett smiled lazily.  “What, because I kept Cody distracted?”

“Because you made him happy,” Jonah corrected.  “You came up with a game plan, something to do to keep him interested, and it’s educational too.  Maybe you should moonlight as a teacher.”

“Mmm, no.  I’d sooner shoot myself in the face than stare down a class full of seven-year olds every day, but thanks for thinking nice things about me, babe.”  He grinned.  “Between you teaching him to fly and me teaching him my job, I think Cody will be ready for colony-wide domination at around ten.  Then we can move on to the rest of the Fringe.  He’ll make a wonderful despot.”

“Don’t give him ideas.”

Monday, August 13, 2012

New and Refurbished

Hey darlins!  I have two new releases this week.  Lets discuss, shall we?

The first one is my short story Having A Ball in the Dreamspinner Press anthology Animal Magnetism.  The ball refers to a ball...python.  Yes, I went for the obvious porn angle, but can you blame me?  Animals are the theme, am I going to pick a fluffy kitty?  A flopsy bunny?  Hell no!  Pythons all the way!  That being said, the story is more sweet than anything else, and I think you're going to like it.  Find the anthology here:

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Whether it's a dog, cat, or something more exotic, the animals in this collection of romantic m/m stories serve as the catalyst for bringing lovers together. No matter how the encounter begins, by the end of each story, with a little help from their finned, furred, or feathered friends, our heroes have discovered some animal magnetism of their own.

The other new release is actually a compilation of my Treasured series, with Daniel and Reese.  It's called Pursued (thanks to Tiffany for the title:) and includes all three novellas, and while I didn't have the time to edit them into one solid, cohesive novel, it's still a nice way to get all three stories at once, and a good introduction for people who haven't read about these guys before.  Which is a shame, because they're awesome, and you should!  Now is your chance.  Carpe diem!  You can find Pursued at Pink Petal Books, here: 

What began as a chance encounter in a museum for Daniel Hart and Rhys Daveth blossomed, sometimes painfully, into a romance that spanned continents, endured secrets and defied danger. The pair of men couldn't be more different; one a scholar, dedicated to preserving the past, and the other a shape-shifting thief bent on stealing history for his own gain. Their road together was never easy, but in the end love proved too strong for their warring inclinations to conquer. This is their story.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Paradise Post #2

Notes: Dirty post!  Oh, this is a dirty post, folks.  Don’t read if you don’t like things explicit.  A little plot with a lot of porn thrown in for good measure.  Finally, yeah?  Yay for smut!  I’m so happy to give it to you.  More soon.  We’re leaving Pandora after this next post, darlins.

Title: Paradise

Part Two: An Evening In


                Pandora City’s hospital was probably the nicest building in the entire colony.  Of course, it was the building that got the most use, and so setting it up to be a comfortable, efficient place was a reasonable expectation, but it wasn’t just nice there: it was posh.  There were private suites for families decorated with beautiful but resilient furniture, a playground for children, a small theater that played a new holo every day and took requests when there wasn’t a waiting line, and a dedicated health worker for every new case that came in.  Even simple, routine visits like updating Cody’s vaccinations warranted the red-carpet treatment.

                Dr. Reynaud checked the sleeping boy’s temperature and smiled over at Jonah.  “Still a slight fever, but it’s gone down a degree in the last hour.  I think he’ll be back to his normal self by morning.”

                “Hyper and noisy?” Jonah joked, but honestly that was how he preferred his kid, not this quiet, listless version that whimpered with discomfort as he dozed.  Jonah stroked his fingers carefully through Cody’s damp curls, a gesture that soothed both of them.

                “Just like a little boy should be,” Dr. Reynaud agreed.  “I’ve talked with the chief medical officer on the governor’s staff on Paradise, by the way, and made sure he’ll have all the necessary technology and medications on hand that Cody might need.  I’m still sending doubles of some pills with you though, just in case.”

                Jonah looked up at her with surprise.  Before he could ask, though, she said, “Dr. Caractacus asked me to make sure everything was in place before you left, just in case something needed to be ordered on their side.”

                “Thorough of him,” Jonah commented, thinking that it was something he should have remembered to take care of himself.  Then again, one of the benefits of having a partner—a fiancé, his subconscious teased him, fiancé, fiancé, whispering it like it was something secret and special and rare—was that he didn’t have to take care of everything by himself.  Garrett was good at planning, and Jonah was more than happy to cede over a lot of the details of their trip, mostly concerning himself with getting Cody ready and squaring things at work.  He tried not to think too hard about what they were getting ready for, or the people they were going to go see.  Garrett’s family.  The most important people in his life, behind Jonah and Cody, and part of a social circle that Jonah knew very little about.

                Not that he hadn’t talked with all of the major players more than once.  Jonah was comfortable with them over a com, but heading into their turf with nothing to recommend him except Garrett’s sometimes-baffling regard and his admittedly incredible kid was a little daunting.

                “Mr. Helms?”

                Jonah jerked his head up.  “I’m sorry?”

                “I said, I’ll be back in another two hours, all right?” Dr. Reynaud repeated.  “Cody should sleep through the night, and I recommend you get some rest yourself.  There’s a bed in the adjoining room there.”  She gestured towards a smoky glass door.  “You don’t want to be too tired to deal with him when he wakes up.”

                “Right.  Thanks.”

                Dr. Reynaud smiled one more time and turned toward the door.  Jonah was ready for silence to descend again, leaving him with his swirling thoughts, but instead he heard a soft exclamation.  He looked up and saw Dr. Reynaud almost run into Garrett in the hallway right outside the room.  “Garrett!  I didn’t think you’d be by this evening.”

                “I didn’t either, but happily I was wrong,” Garrett said, his voice low and rich, none of its expressiveness lost despite being quiet for Cody’s sake.  “How are you, Rickie?”

                Didn’t it just figure that he knew the staff well enough to call them by their first names when Jonah was still struggling to remember all of the pilots on the colony’s roster.  “Fine,” Dr. Reynaud—Rickie—grinned.  “Cody’s sleeping better now, he should be a hundred percent by tomorrow morning.”

                “That’s great.”  A few more polite words and Garrett was in the suite, and silently closed the door behind himself.  He came over and Jonah stood up to meet him, pulling him into a tight hug.

                “I thought you were gonna pack tonight,” he murmured into Garrett’s hair, savoring the warmth of his strong arms across Jonah’s too-cool skin. 

                “I got bored.  Thought I’d come and see my guys instead.”  Jonah ignored the frisson of contentment that sent down his spine and let Garrett pull away to look at Cody.  “He’s a little flushed.”

                “Still has a bit of a fever,” Jonah admitted.  “It’s gone way down, though.  He’s restin’ better too, not so tossy and turny now.”

                “Good.”  Garrett laid the back of one of his hands against Cody’s soft cheek, his eyes a little cloudy as he looked at him.  “Is it weird that I just want to crawl into bed and hold onto him for a while?”

                “Nah, I fight that all the time,” Jonah chuckled.  “He used to have nightmares, wanted to sleep in my bed.  Those went away around his fifth birthday, and I swear I went into withdrawal when he stopped comin’ in.”

                “Whipped,” Garrett nodded sagely.  “Whipped is a good descriptor for this sad state of affairs.”  He turned and wrapped his arms around Jonah again, this time twining them around his neck.  Garrett was a little shorter than Jonah, just enough for him to make it look naturally sexy and not just coy when he gazed up through his long dark lashes, like he was now.  “I guess I’ll just have to crawl into bed with you, then.”

                “We’re in a hospital,” Jonah protested before he could stop his stupid mouth.  Fortunately Garrett wasn’t put off.

                “We’re in a private suite,” Garrett replied, slowly pushing them back towards the glass door.  “With two bedrooms, note.  And unless Cody is planning on waking up, which I doubt as long as we can be quiet, we’re not going to be disturbed for several hours.”  He smiled, and there was nothing coy or scheming about it, just happy desire.  “And I missed you, and I want you now, and you’re going to let me have my way because you love me.”  He twisted the handle on the door and ushered them through effortlessly.

                “You make a good case for it,” Jonah said a little breathlessly, his hands starting to wander across his lover’s—fiance’s—lower back, skimming down his hips and across his ass.  Garrett arched into the touch even as he shut the door behind them.

                The room was dark, with no windows and a low, slowly oscillating white light travelling up and down the walls.  The colors were meant to be calming, but all they did for Jonah was make him more and more desperate as they cast Garrett’s face into shadow, accentuating the sharp lines of his cheekbones and chin, the sultry twist of his mouth and his pale eyes, somehow bright in the darkness, almost as though they were backlit.  His sleek blond hair was styled back and away from his face, and Jonah gave into his impulse to mess it up and slid one hand up Garrett’s spine, across the smooth skin of his neck and into the soft, feathery strands.  He got a grip and pulled Garrett’s head back, just enough to expose his throat, then bent and scraped his teeth across the point of Garrett’s jaw the way Jonah knew he liked, the way that always made him shudder.

                “You haven’t even gotten to my closing argument,” Garrett gasped, grabbing Jonah’s free hand and sliding it down his back.  He slipped their fingers beneath the waist of his pants and down the silky skin of his ass, then nudged Jonah’s hand towards his crease.  A moment’s exploration found the surprising slickness, and Jonah felt his arousal go from simmering to nearly boiling over in a second.

                “You got yourself ready for me?” he asked, his voice so grainy he barely recognized it, but Garrett seemed to like it, if the sudden hitch in his breathing was anything to go by.

                “I didn’t want to waste time if there wasn’t much of it,” he said, coiling one leg around Jonah’s thigh.

                “And this is what you want, baby?”  Jonah circled his finger around Garrett’s hole, covering the tip with moisture before he pushed inside.  Garrett groaned.  “Shh,” Jonah chided him, pressing his finger deeper into that slick heat, almost dizzy with how turned on he was.  “Can’t be loud, don’t want to wake our boy.”

                “I won’t,” Garrett gasped, getting onto the tiptoes of his foot in an effort to make it easier for Jonah’s fingers to penetrate him.  “I just—I want you, I don’t want to wait.”

                “What if I want you to wait?” Jonah asked, turning them so that Garrett’s back was towards the bed.  He removed his finger and pulled his hand away, then cut off Garrett’s complaint by picking him completely up and letting both of them fall onto the mattress.  They bounced once before the pressure controls caught on and leveled off their momentum, and Jonah used the newly-firm surface to grind down against Garrett, torturing his needy arousal through three layers of clothing.  Just because his lover didn’t feel the need to wear underwear didn’t mean Jonah was about to go commando.

                “What if,” Jonah growled, biting at Garrett’s collarbone even as he opened the front of his shirt, “I want to take my time with you?  What if I want to suck your cock until you’re begging for mercy, what if I wanted to open you up by rimming you instead of you cheatin’ at home with your fingers?  What if I want to make you suffer for me, darlin’?”  He licked a line up Garrett’s neck, then mouthed hotly at his earlobe, loving how it made Garrett whine.

                “Then I’d have to remind you,” Garrett managed around his breathy exhalations, “that we’re on a timetable and that we’re not exactly alone here, and sometimes speed is a necess—a nec—fuck it, it’s an evil but so are you, so just fuck me already, damn it!”

                “Quiet,” Jonah said as he pulled back just far enough to get Garrett’s slacks down and off his long, golden legs.  He shed his own clothes with a minimum of interference, just far enough out of Garrett’s reach to make him pouty but not grabby, then leaned back in and slid his hands under the backs of Garrett’s knees, bending him in half.  Garrett went gracefully, way too hot to look ridiculous in that position like almost every other person alive would, and Jonah’s heart gave an unexpected lurch as he looked down at his fiancé, brilliant and beautiful and giving everything he had to Jonah, to Cody, to the idea of them being a family.

It made Jonah want to be tender, but Garrett was writhing against his hands, needy and demanding without saying a word, and he clearly didn’t want tender.  Jonah dipped two fingers into Garrett’s body, closed his eyes as they went in easily, helped by lube and Garrett’s personal preparations, then put Garrett’s calves over his shoulders, lined up and slowly pressed his dick inside the hot, tight ass that belonged to him.

The hiss that slowly left Garrett’s mouth was music to Jonah’s ears.  They had a lot of toys; Garrett liked variety in the bedroom and Jonah was learning to like it himself, but sometimes there was nothing like a simple, straightforward and completely relentless fuck, and that was what Jonah gave him.  The first stroke was the slowest; he picked up speed immediately, keeping it long and deep while exercising complete control of Garrett’s hips, leaving him unable to do anything but lay there and take it.  He couldn’t even make the noises that Jonah knew he wanted to, and Jonah treasured the wanton frustration on Garrett’s face even as he got closer to the edge himself.

He let go with one hand and reached for Garrett’s cock, but Garrett shook his head.  “After,” he panted and Jonah nodded tightly, then grabbed his hip again and hammered into him, eyes closed and head arching back as he lost himself in Garrett, pounding his tight, clinging hole faster and harder until one last thrust tipped him over the edge, and he slammed in balls deep and came with a near silent groan.

Garrett held him in place with his heels against Jonah’s back, quivering quietly while Jonah came down from his orgasm, until finally Jonah felt like he could move without getting dizzy.  He pulled out slowly, absorbed Garrett’s sigh with a kiss, then shifted positions until his face was level with Garrett’s cock, flushed bright and hard.  Jonah laid his lips reverently over the head even as he brought his hands up between Garrett’s legs and slowly pressed three long fingers into his warm, sticky hole. 

“Yesss,” Garrett whispered, his voice wrecked even though he’d barely made a sound so far.  He rocked his hips desperately, sliding between Jonah’s mouth and his hand.  Jonah took his as deep as he could, loving the taste of Garrett, loving his scent and the soft, squelching sounds his fingers made as they fucked his loosened body.  Garrett’s hands pressed down on his head, his lungs heaved like he was running a race and Jonah decided, finally, to have mercy.  He curled his fingers so that they hit Garrett’s prostate and rubbed, gentle for a few thrusts, then hard.  Garrett clenched around his fingers, thrust his cock as far down Jonah’s throat as it would go and stopped breathing, coming in absolute silence, all tremulous tension and exhausted restraint.

Jonah hummed and swallowed, relaxed his hand and slowly pulled his fingers out, one at a time.  He wiped his fingers off and pulled himself up the bed to lie next to Garrett, kissing his shoulder and chest and marveling, like he did almost every time, at the fact that they were actually doing this.  Not just fucking, but loving, having a relationship, getting married.  Garrett was his fiance, he was going to tie himself to Jonah and Cody legally as well as emotionally.  It was kind of overwhelming.

“You’ll be happy to know,” Garrett said after a few minutes of quiet worship, “that my ship has really excellent soundproofing.  Really, truly fantastic.  Each room is like an island unto itself.”

“That’s good news, darlin’,” Jonah murmured, smiling against his lover’s sweaty skin.

“I thought so.  Otherwise I might have an aneurysm trying to keep quiet one night, and that would be tragic.”

“A terrible waste,” Jonah agreed.  He pulled back and sprawled out beside Garrett, grateful now for the cool temperature in the suite.  “To show my appreciation, I’ll let you take the first shower.”

“We could shower together,” Garrett suggested hopefully.  “Cleanliness oriented activities only, I swear.”

“Can’t trust you,” Jonah shook his head mock-regretfully.  “You’ve got odd ideas of what constitutes an activity.  One of us should be with Cody, just in case.”

“Oh, fine.”  Garrett heaved himself up with a sigh, grabbed his clothes off the floor and stalked off to the attached bathroom, giving Jonah an excellent view of his bare ass and thighs, shining with cum and lube.  It was hot enough that Jonah felt himself stir, despite his recent orgasm, and he mentally smacked himself for insisting on being responsible.  He rolled to his feet, walked to the door and cracked it open, just to check.  Cody was still on his side, eyes closed, completely still except for his quiet breathing.  The room was otherwise empty.

Maybe there was time for a friendly shower after all.