Can a Spanish siesta make Matt see his best friend the way
Kieran’s been hoping he would for years?
Matt Robinson just got dumped. Again. With his sister’s
wedding on the horizon, he needs a plus one. Kieran Barker has been in love with his straight best
friend for far too long. It’ll never happen. Having already been left behind when Matt went
to university, Kieran can’t take more heartbreak. So when Matt invites Kieran to spend a whole week
with him on the island of Majorca, Kieran can’t let himself think there’s more to it than lads
on tour. All he can do is play the field to take his mind of the hot, rugby honed body of his
oldest mate. Sexy men are in abundance in Magaluf, right? Matt only wants to cop off with
the bridesmaid anyway. But when Matt’s overprotectiveness about Kieran’s
late-night escapades borders on jealousy, can he even dare to think that there’s more to
their years of flirtations than simple bromance? And can Matt really acknowledge his feelings when
they’ll soon be returning to England, with him back to the university rugby team and two
hundred miles away from Kieran. Spanish Siesta (Flying into Love #2)is a Contemporary, Friends to Lovers,
Bisexual Awakening, Forced Proximity MM Romance featuring a hot-headed rugby Fly-Half
struggling with his emotions and an out-and-proud wannabe dancer suffering from
“Shit.” Matt grabbed Kieran by the arm, and shoved him
back into the elevator, slamming his hand on any old button.
“What the fuck, Matt?”
The elevator shunted and they both had to grab the
handrail running along the lift.
“It’s going down!” Kieran widened his eyes. “How is it going
Matt didn’t say anything. His heart thumped and the foggy
wooziness from the alcohol he thought hadn’t affected him crept up to make his head spin.
The doors opened into a dark space. A basement, maybe? A cleaning closet. He’d hit the
sodding service call button.
Kieran reached out to hit the G but Matt grabbed his arm,
preventing him then yanked them both out and into darkness.
Matt slapped a hand over Kieran’s mouth, “Shhh!”
The elevator doors closed, the lift moving up, surrounding
them in silence. Kieran stared at him, eyes widening. Matt drifted his hand from Kieran’s
mouth but held a finger to his lips.
“What the fuck?” Kieran mouthed.
Matt stepped farther into the dark space, checking the
surroundings. He breathed a sigh of relief when he discovered they were alone then turned
back to face Kieran.
“Why have you shoved me in a fucking broom cupboard?”
Matt’s chest rose with the force of his inhalation. He tried
to calm his thrashing heart. His invasive thoughts. His fear. His nerves. He couldn’t find any
words. How could he explain? What would he say when he didn’t understand any of this
himself? Rationality drowned by his thumping pulse, he closed his eyes to try to steady his
“Matt?” Kieran’s voice was distant but calming. “Matt, you
okay?” He placed his palm to his forehead. “Is it sunstroke?”
Matt opened his eyes at the gentle touch, at the warm
breath trickling onto his skin, at the unwavering concern in shaking lips.
Matt shook his head.
Kieran lowered his hand but Matt grabbed his wrist.
“Matt? You’re scaring the fuck out of me.”
“You think I ain’t scaring myself right now?”
“Why?” Kieran’s question was shrouded by his sharp
“Because I don’t know, Kier. I don’t know what’s
happening.” He squeezed desperate fingers around Kieran’s wrist, glancing down to the
swirls of his tribal tattoo and his breath hitched. “What’s happening to me?”
“Too much sangria?”
Matt pursed his lip, shaking his head.
“Too much sun?”
Matt shook his head.
“You drank the tap water?”
Matt hefted out an exasperated sigh.
“Then, you’re gonna have to tell me.” Kieran licked his lips.
“Because I’m all out of ideas.”
Matt rubbed his thumb along the underside of Kieran’s
wrist, eyes down, not able to look at Kieran as he contemplated what he should do. What he
needed to do. What he was so desperate to do that it consumed his every breath.
Matt cut off Kieran’s words with a kiss.
Kieran didn’t respond. He stood there, eyes wide as if he
couldn’t believe what was happening. Frozen. Stunned. Accepting Matt’s lips on his. Shit. It was wrong. This was wrong. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Fears
confirmed, Matt pulled away, sinking back against the wall, telling his thumping heart he was
Kieran didn’t move. He didn’t breathe either.
Then, he closed his eyes to exhale the words, “You better
not be fucking with me.”
Matt met his gaze through the shadowy darkness. “Give me
half a chance.” It had meant to be a light-hearted joke. Something to lift the mood. It came
out wrong though and Kieran reached for the lift call button.
Matt held out his hand. “Don’t.” He hung his head. “Please
don’t. I got this far. I might need help for the next step.”
Kieran dropped his hand away. Then, after several awkward
moments of silence, he said, “You kissed me.”
“You put your lips on mine.”
“You…were going to put your tongue in my mouth.”
“Are you a fucking snog pundit? Do you commentate all
your kisses in the dark?”
“No, Matt!” Kieran raked a hand through his hair. “Just the
ones that come from my best fucking mate.” He slapped Matt’s chest. “My straight best mate.”
“I don’t recall ever saying I was straight.”
“You don’t have to, Matt. It’s implied in your heterosexual
Matt cocked his head. “Bit last season, there, Kier.”
“I’m going to choke you with bog roll in a minute.”
“We’re in a fucking closet!” Kieran flapped his hands at
shelves and shelves of toilet paper and cleaning products. “Which is so damn ironic, I can’t
About the Author
Brought up in a relatively
small town in Hertfordshire, C F White managed to do what most other residents try to do
Studying at a West London
university, she realised there was a whole city out there waiting to be discovered, so, much
like Dick Whittington before her, she never made it back home and still endlessly search for
the streets paved with gold, slowly coming to the realisation they’re mostly paved with
chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti. And those little circles of yellow spray paint where
the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead
of staring at them vacantly whilst holding a polystyrene cup of watered-down
Eventually she moved West to
East along that vast District Line and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles and a bit
of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job and creating a
life, a home and a family.
After her second son was
born with a rare disability, C F White’s life changed and it brought pen back to and paper
after having written stories as a child but never had the confidence to show them to the
world. Now, having embarked on this writing journey, C F White can’t stop.
Trans Christ born in a
modern-day, transphobic England
The Word was with God. The Word was God. Nothing was
created apart from the Word. The Logos became a trans woman and she dwelt amongst us,
full of grace and truth.
Four men have their lives changed forever: Jude, the
terrorist sent to kill the transgender Christ; Peter, the repressed gay man grasping after a
religion of certainty; Andrew, the slave to his sexual appetites; and Tom, the ardent atheist
with crippling financial problems.
From the towns and moors of northern England to the
shadow of the cross in the City of London… the light shone in our darkness and the
consumer, military technocracy comprehended it not.
Tom Bauer scanned the myriad titles in the Selfish Help,
Mind n’ Body, Religion, and Pop Psychology subcategories, publications propped and penny-
stacked on white MDF shelves.
Pop Psychology? What’s the world coming
to? Tom thought. What he wanted was Death
Metal Psychology, Hip Hop Head-Help, Roland TB 303 Counselling: anything but fluff and
bluff. He started to laugh, at book shops, at life, at himself for being such a useless sack of
shit. How have I ended up
here? he demanded of existence, desperate for
a fix of some arsehole’s fake positivity?
The woman stood next to him reading the inside cover of The Secret slid it back onto the shelf, then hurried away.
The man who didn’t believe in belief pulled a volume from
the packed display and examined the recommended retail selling price printed beneath the
barcode—the book was the same price as a leg of lamb, as three large chickens. How the fuck can I justify spending
that? he thought.
There was enough money to last another couple of months.
His personal account was overdrawn, as was the joint account. There was always the credit
card and the emergency second credit card, the one that Kristin didn’t know about. The
feeling of being overwhelmed, of drowning, washed over him. Tom was scared: scared that
they could lose their house, scared that what had been certain, mundane, predictable was
now fuzzy and nebulous.
He picked out a copy of the Selfish Help bestseller I can make you Bulletproof and tried to read the introduction, but the words expanded and
went blurry against the paper. Kristin stepping up her working hours to full-time helped, but
it wasn’t anywhere near enough to cover the shortfall in his wages: the choice was now
which bills had tobe paid.
Tom knew that he was not on his own: across the Public
Sector thousands of people were being let go, especially, it seemed, in the north of England.
Every suitable vacancy had hundreds, thousands, of applicants. His mind flicked to the visit
he had made to the Didsbury Job Centre that morning: there was nothing, not unless he
wanted to be an amusement park squirrel on minimum wage. He had asked the stony-faced
Employment Agency manager whether a drug habit was a mandatory requirement for the
Some people have no sense of
humour, he reminded himself.
Once he had been on an upward trajectory within society.
Now, Tom visualised his family falling into the abyss of poverty.
Tom pushed I
can make you Bulletproof with its free hypnosis
CD back into the shelf. He stared at the rows of crack-lit books, at the dope publications, at
the trash written by authors selling glass pipes and rocks to the vulnerable, pushers who
peddled badly cut gear to existential junkies. Bluffers and bullshitters, he thought, the lot of you. And yet, I want to buy your
product, get high, face the inevitable come down, buy the sequel. The thought compounded his sense of despair.
That was when Dave Lucas and Bob Nielson from the
Salford Health Trust Planning Department strode past the end of the aisle and took their
seats in the coffee bar. Tom had forgotten the two spreadsheet goons read manga and
graphic novels for free during their lunchbreak. The last thing he needed was Dave—the
Lurch lookalike in his X Files T-shirt—and Bob—his skinny anaemic monosyllabic
sidekick—asking him how he was. And he certainly didn’t want to hear how things were
going back at the office, didn’t want to see that “you-poor-bastard” smile, or, even worse,
the sparkle of glee in the eyes of those spared the executioner’s axe. In Tom’s considered
viewpoint, anyone who still believed in “love for your neighbour” need only set up a
corporate redundancy programme to see the reality of the human: fuck thy neighbour lest
thou too get fucked.
Bob Nielson—a sadistic un-helpful prick in Tom’s
opinion—was the man widely suspected of being the elusive Phantom Logger, that
desperado of the digestive system who delighted in cooking up foot-long turds and
depositing them in the men’s third-floor toilets and leaving without flushing. A closed toilet
bowl lid was a sure sign that Nessie was back in town. Neilson had been spotted giggling
outside Trap One just before one particularly unpleasant discovery. Maybe Bob n’ Dave took it in turns, Tom considered, competing in
their own ghastly gastrointestinal game.
How had those two morons survived whilst he’d been cast
He needed to escape the book shop ASA-fucking-P. Tom
knew that if he had to engage in any form of communication with Beavis and Butthead, he
was liable to murder one, or both, of them; bash their heads in with a British Bake Off
Option One was to hide in the stinking toilets for an hour
like a junkie. Screw that, Tom decided, which left him with Option Two.
Option Two was printed on the flyer that he had been given
by a smartly-dressed woman outside Boots the Chemist on Market Street, a piece of paper
that announced Manchester Cathedral were running a lunchtime programme of speakers
with that day’s febrile attempt entitled, “The
Myth of Eden—a new approach to Genesis.”
Having someone attempt to defend the Great Book of Fairy Tales enraged and fascinated
Tom at the same time.
He decided that facing down a representative of a
misogynistic, homophobic, corrupt organisation staffed by paedophile pensioners would
take his mind off his financial woes, even if only for a short time. Tom wondered if he could
get thrown out of church for heckling. Watch out
all you bishops and kings, he thought, the Pale Rider is at your gate.
He paid for a copy of The Times at the self-scanning machine,
extended it to its full height, hid his head behind the newspaper, and strode through the
main door. Once he was on Deansgate, he stuck his tongue out at Dave and Bob through the
window. The two men didn’t notice, but an old man drinking a latte from a tall glass stared
at him in surprise.
It took two minutes for Tom to walk to his favourite place in
the whole world, the John Rylands library. Tom loved everything about the building—the
décor, the stillness and, most of all, the collection of ancient writings, works that covered
every aspect of the human experience across three millennia: legal, medical, science, and
the history of tribes and lost nations. He could spend his entire life in this one library and still
only scratch the surface of the knowledge within.
Plus, it was free admission.
Through the glass entrance, through the gift shop and café,
up the modern staircase, past the Italian tourists, then into the red-stone vaulted cloisters,
and up the stone staircase to the third floor where Thomas reverently entered the Reading
Room. There, he was greeted by old friends: Luther, Milton, Shakespeare, Goethe, and
Calvin, evidently no girls were allowed in Enriqueta Ryland’s library, apart from the lady
herself. Tom sat at the mahogany table beneath the statue of Gibbon. Trusting in the
presence of this enemy of Faith he read the newspaper, searching all the while for the one-
liner that would transform his life.
Tom finished the easy, then started the medium difficulty,
Sudoku puzzle. Thirty minutes later, he had ground to a frustrating halt. Checking his watch,
he noticed he was late for the Genesis gig at God’s gaff. He had a choice to make—sack off
scripture or go and put the righteous in their rightful place. Still holding the newspaper, Tom
legged it from the library, dove down Deansgate, veered along Victoria, and arrived, gasping
for breath, at the Cathedral doors.
The presentation in the Saviour Chapel had already begun
and all the black metal chairs had been taken. Tom edged right and stood, leaning against
the cold stone wall.
A blonde woman in jeans and a blue t-shirt prowled the
front of the chapel. “Clothes are made from the cotton plant,” she said to her audience,
“from animal hide, from nylon that is made from oil found under the seabed. Clothes are
human constructs of naturally occurring materials. Gravity is a physical law, but our certainty
that the universe is a matter machine is a human construct, a metaphor. Even when we are
given fact, we fashion it into meaning to wear about our person.”
“Amen,” a man in front of Tom said.
“For fuck’s sake,” Tom muttered, shaking his head,
realisation dawning on him that he had made a dreadful mistake.
“Our certainties adjust during our lifetime,” the woman
said, “new knowledge and different learning become more important, people we love die,
friends change, our pets grow old and die, the world around us changes, new roads are built,
and our favourite breakfast cereal has a packaging redesign.”
To his left was a disabled man in a wheelchair—twisted
limbs, twisted face, thick oversized ears, and jam-jar spectacles. Tom averted his gaze. Poor sod, he thought. It would have been better
for him, for his family, for society, if he’d never been born.
“That which is our reality, our certainty, is but a metaphor.
It is unreal in the sense that it is a construct of a construct. All our certainties are torn down
at our death. We arrive at check-in stark naked and shivering, belonging to no culture and
belonging to all. Stripped of all that we have ever wrapped around ourselves, what is
You’re shit-boring, love, Tom thought. Wish I hadn’t
come now. Behind the altar, a huge red curtain
hung from the roof. Tom was struck by how much the church resembled the 2-3-74 temple
in Ultimate Negation 2—the first-person shooter game that had used a digitised version
of the building as the backdrop for all-out war between the remnants of humanity and
hordes of gun-toting alien invaders. The Church authorities had claimed on the TV news that
their Cathedral was a “space for grace,” and the Japanese corporation who had produced
the game had violated this sacred principle. Tom had never heard anything so stupid in all
his life: most city-centre tourist attractions would give their right arm for that kind of
About the Author
I am the author of Trans
Deus, 7 Minutes, Parably Not, and A Particular Friendship. My stories are about the
intersection of faith and sexuality. I am a William Blake obsessive, and I’m working on new
books with Blake’s themes – sex and gender, revelation and rebellion – at the heart of the
People talk about the marriage of true minds, but Alexander doesn’t think this is what they meant. After a cruel experiment binds him to the soul of Rota, an old god, Alexander has one mission: find Rota’s body. Having a godly boyfriend is great, but it would be better to have one that he could actually touch. Unfortunately, even Alexander’s ability to command Rota’s divine power hasn’t helped. A rare book of poetry may finally provide the answer. The expertise they need translating it brings them to Oleander Logue, a young man with plenty of problems that seem at odds with his cheerful nature. Ollie is happy to help, but he’s in trouble with a gangster who demands that Alexander and Rota solve a series of murders first. Desperate, Alexander and Rota accept the case… but it’s not that simple. The gangster’s threats to Ollie’s safety disturb them both, but is that because they’re both growing more attracted to Ollie… or because he’s a potential host for Rota? If they can’t solve these murders, they may never find out.
“Thank you!” Ollie gushed. “That was so cool! You totally just kicked Nathaniel’s ass!”
Alexander swallowed a squeak and forgot how to work all of his muscles. Ollie was so warm, and he smelled like alcohol, cigarettes, and patchouli oil with a hint of vanilla.
“Seriously, that was amazing!” Ollie turned Alexander so he could beam down at him, still hugging him close. “I mean, okay, it’s kinda your fault he got in here, but thank you.” He smiled wider. “Whoa. Your eyeballs are turning all pink.”
Alexander was torn between pushing Ollie away and melting into his arms. The simple affection was making his knees weak, having for so long only experienced physical touch that was designed to hurt. His brain refused to cooperate, and all he could do was stutter, “Y-yeah, they do that.”
Who was that man, Ollie? Rota asked.
Alexander slipped away from Ollie, mourning the loss of contact the second he did. He scrambled to get another cigarette. “Yeah, and what was he? I’ve never seen magic like that before.”
“His name is Nathaniel Ware.” Ollie fidgeted and dipped back into the kitchen, still talking. “He is so not fuckin’ human. He’s, like, a troll dude with tusks and a long tail.”
An Absola? Rota sounded intrigued. Here on Aeon?
The gods had created many monstrous creatures before mortals, including a troll-like race of beings called the Absola. They, along with the other so-called everlasting people, were said to have gone with the gods into the dreaming, and neither Alexander nor Rota had heard of any living in this world for thousands of years.
“Yeah, but not, like, all the way?” Ollie mused. “He’s like a diet Absola.”
“But the Absola don’t control time or space,” Alexander pointed out. “The Faedra do.”
“Whatever! Look, he’s a freaky monster guy, and he works for Sullivan Stoker. Do you know who that is?”
“No.” Alexander grabbed the book to put back in his pocket and followed Ollie. Unsurprisingly, the kitchen was as much of a disaster as the rest of the apartment.
Ollie was pouring red wine into two glasses as he explained, “He’s a crime boss. Like, this big drug lord. And okay, so I may have had a tiny drug problem before. When I first got the eyeballs of Yeris, I had trouble dealing with it.” He thrust a glass at Alexander.
Ollie poured it into his glass and sipped off the excess. “I made okay money translating, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with my habit, so I started taking product on credit. Like, so much. And I kinda owe him a lot of money, and he’s very unhappy with me. I’ve been trying to make payments, and he’s been chill ’cause my uncle is a cop, but—”
“He’s tired of waiting and he’s sending goons after you?” Alexander finished.
“Yeah. Damn. You should be a detective.”
“How about this?” Alexander crossed his arms. “I’ll keep the criminal scum from hounding you in exchange for you translating the book?”
“I, I guess that could work.” Ollie frowned. “Will you…. Will you stay here? I need some time to figure out how to deal with Stoker, and, and I’ll find a way to make the translating work, okay?”
“Okay. I’ll put new wards up, and if anyone is stupid enough to come back, I’ll—”
“Where are you gonna sleep?”
Ollie scratched his head. “My bed is kinda small, but I guess we could share—”
“Your couch is fine.” Alexander blushed miserably. He could not handle the mere thought of being anywhere near a bed with Ollie right now. He had to be going insane. That’s all it was. “Once it’s cleaned up, of course.”
You should take better care of your home, Ollie. It’s quite a mess.
“I know.” Ollie sighed. “It’s so damn bad. I just never have the energy, and I’ve been really depressed. Like, forever depressed. I died a little, my ex is getting married… it’s been a whole thing.”
Alexander had the inexplicable desire to reach out for Ollie. It was obvious he was upset, and Alexander wanted to feel his arms around him again. He stayed where he was, taking a step back for good measure, as if the distance would quell the urge.
So, you’re single?
“Rota!” Alexander barked, angrily chanting inside his head, Shut up, shut up, shut up!
“Yeah. Duh.” Ollie snorted and slurped more of his wine. He swayed and leaned against the counter, eyeing where Rota was hovering behind Alexander. He grinned. “Okay, wait. Are you hitting on me?”
I believe we are, yes. We’re not very good at it, but we’re making an effort.
“No, we’re not!” Alexander gritted his teeth. “Hey! You look good and drunk. Book. Now.”
“Please,” Alexander hissed.
“Okay, okay, sure thing.” Ollie was still grinning. “You know, if you were hitting on me, I would have to tell you—”
A portal opened up and a hand slid through, snatching Ollie so fast that he dropped his wine. The glass hit the ground, shattering as the portal closed.
Just like that, Ollie was gone.
About the Author
K.L. “Kat” Hiers is an embalmer, restorative artist, and queer writer. Licensed in both funeral directing and funeral service, they worked in the death industry for nearly a decade. Their first love was always telling stories, and they have been writing for over twenty years, penning their very first book at just eight years old. Publishers generally do not accept manuscripts in Hello Kitty notebooks, however, but they never gave up.
Following the success of their first novel, Cold Hard Cash, they now enjoy writing professionally, focusing on spinning tales of sultry passion, exotic worlds, and emotional journeys. They love attending horror movie conventions and indulging in cosplay of their favorite characters. They live in Zebulon, NC, with their husband and their children, some of whom have paws and a few that only pretend to because they think it’s cute.
For homicide detective Mac, it’s been a good year. Having Tony to go home to
makes him a better cop and a better person. For Tony, it’s been hard being in love with a
man he can’t touch in public. Evasions and outright lying to friends and family take a little of
the shine off his relationship with Mac, but Tony is determined to make it work.
As the Minneapolis Police Department moves into a hot, humid summer, Mac is faced with a
different challenge. A killer has murdered two blond women, and the police have no real
clues. Mac hates to think that another murder may be the only way they’ll make progress
with the case. But when that murder happens, it hits close to home for Tony. And suddenly
Mac faces an ultimatum: come out into the sunlight and stand beside Tony as his lover, or
walk away and live without a piece of his heart.
About the Author
I get asked about my name a
lot. It’s not something exotic, though. “Kaje” is pronounced just like “cage” – it’s an old
nickname, and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I’ve been writing far longer than I care to
admit (*whispers – forty-five years*), although mostly for my own entertainment. I write
M/M romance, often with added mystery, fantasy, historical, SciFi, paranormal… I also have
Young Adult short stories (some released under the pen name Kira Harp.)
After decades of writing just
for fun, my husband convinced me I really should submit something, somewhere. My first
professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out in May 2011. I now have a good-sized
backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published, including Amazon
bestseller The Rebuilding Year and Rainbow Award Best Mystery-Thriller Tracefinder: Contact.
A complete list with links can be found on my website “Books” page at https://kajeharper.com/books/.
Love is an earthquake that relocates the centre of the universe.
Oakley Hoffman is a walking, talking natural disaster. Not only does he seem to be the only functioning adult in his family, but he also stomps around creating irrational earthquakes with every badly thought-out ridiculous move he makes. He barely survived lockdown, and with life returning to something that vaguely resembles normal, Oakley has landed himself an inconvenient infatuation with his former best friend. Well, if he’s totally honest, he’s probably nursed that crush for years. Yet, this time around, infatuation has brought a bad streak of jealousy to boot.
Force Majeure is a 32K novella featuring childhood friends to lovers in adulthood, with explicit content intended for mature readers. No trigger warnings.
Force Majeure refers to a clause that is included in contracts to remove liability for natural and unavoidable catastrophes that interrupt the expected course of events.
The clinking of the lock to the Demircis’ apartment kicks me out of my daydreams, and my heart jolts as I jump to my feet, almost tripping myself up in an effort to not look like I’m loitering.
“I could hear you a mile off,” Cem says, shuffling out into the hall, shivering despite the duvet draped around his shoulders like a royal cape. “You need to go to work and stop trying to scratch my head through the walls.”
He sits on the step. Too weak to fight the pull of his presence, I plonk down beside him, probably bruising my arse in the process, because I know I’ll get what I’ve been craving. Cem has always needed contact, and here I am, being squashed against the wall as he leans his body against mine and his head falls heavily on my shoulder.
“I’m a dick,” he says, bang on with the self-reflection.
“Yeah,” I want to shout at him, scream in his goddamn face, shake him until he gets his head in gear and sees how he has shattered my world. But I don’t. I can be a calm, reasonable person, and I have far too much self-control to fall apart in front of Cemil Demirci.
“I got carried away at the weekend,” he continues. “There was a party, and then I stayed over with friends, and time just kind of evaporated, you know?” Excuses. Always excuses.
“You have an exam today,” I say. If I sound angry, it’s because I can’t help myself.
“It’s under control.” He sighs deeply and turns his head so his nose is pressed into my shoulder. That’s something else he does to reel me in. Why do I let him so cheaply buy my forgiveness? “I studied all week, so I’m good. It’s all in here.” His hand pokes out of the duvet to point at his head. “I’m not worried about the exams.”
I’m not worried either. Cem is too clever for his own good. He’ll read a book and memorise every line, quoting it back at me in long, rambling sentences I barely understand. Nor have I ever seen him use a calculator. He scribbles down numbers at frightening speed on whatever surface he can find and then does the calculation in his head.
Cem knows stuff. Far too much stuff.
“I miss you,” I whisper without meaning to. Even shielded by all the jealousy and anger I feel, knowing I’m slowly, irrevocably losing him again, it’s the truth. He is the calm to my inner storm, and I will forgive him for anything and everything. And I hate myself for it.
About the Author
Sophia Soames should be old enough to know better but has barely grown up. She has been known to fangirl over TV shows, has fallen in and out of love with more popstars than she dares to remember, and has a ridiculously high-flying (un-)glamourous real-life job.
Her long-suffering husband just laughs at her antics. Their children are feral. The Au Pair just sighs.
She lives in a creaky old house in rural London, although her heart is still in Scandinavia.
Discovering that the stories in her head make sense when written down has been part of the most hilarious midlife crisis ever, and she hopes it may long continue.
Find me on social media @sophiasoames on all platforms
Christina Stern is a Russian based artist. Quick sketches and portraits drawn in pencil are what she likes to do the most. Her work can be found on @christinastern on Instagram
Aurelia Morris is a cover artist, photographer, Photoshop wiz and eternal fangirl. She works in many mediums under more aliases that she can keep track of.
Vampires and werewolves live long lives. The Sleepless City
saga might have ended but the story continues…
Someone is hunting supernaturals.
Vampire Simon Hawthorne and his human partner Ben
Leyton’s plans for a peaceful holiday with family are hijacked by the New Zealand
Tensions are on the rise in Wellington. Supernatural
councillors are disappearing. Werewolves are suspicious of anyone human or vampire. If
they don’t work together, their enemy has already won.
And no one with a connection to the supernatural world is
Rupert looked mildly affronted. “I am not in hiding. The council
were trying to get me involved, and I make a point of not getting mixed up in their politics,
whatever the cost, considering that cost is usually too high for anyone but them.”
“You’re hiding from the council?” Ben asked. “I can understand
that. They hijacked Simon’s delivery at Auckland airport, then blackmailed him into helping
“If this is supposed to surprise me, you’re a few centuries late
with that titbit of information,” Rupert said. “I have yet to meet a council I enjoyed doing
business with. Though there was that group of werewolves in rural Japan a couple of
hundred years ago that—”
“Why are you here?” Simon cut Rupert off before he could
start on one of his stories. Although neither he nor Marion would admit it, they shared a
predilection for embellishing stories about their pasts.
Rupert fished a large envelope from his pocket and handed it
to Simon. “This is the information I have, but it’s not a lot. They cover their tracks well, apart
from that massacre in Brisbane nearly ten years ago. There is someone in Wellington who
provides a safe haven to anyone in our community who asks for it. Nothing much happens in
the area that Elard doesn’t know about. You should talk to him.”
“You’re not going to help?” Ben asked
“Heavens, no.” Rupert raised an eyebrow. “At least Simon
knows better than to ask that.”
“Rupert’s better at staying in the shadows and orchestrating
things from afar. If we need help, I’m sure he’ll be there…” Simon glanced at Rupert. “… but
only on his own terms. I’d ask him to join our team, but it would be a waste of time.”
“Totally a waste of time.” Rupert grinned and nodded towards
both of them in turn. “Now, I must be off. I’ll be in touch. Watch yourselves, gentlemen. I
don’t enjoy funerals.” He blurred towards the door. It opened, then closed behind him, and
then he was gone.
“He’s kind of how I remember him, but not,” Ben said
“The not, would be because you didn’t know what he was
then. He’s not hiding it now, though he’s never completely upfront about anything.” Simon
emptied the envelope, took a pile of neatly typewritten sheets to read, and gave the rest to
Ben to look through. “Rupert’s always had his own agenda. It’s how he’s managed to survive
“Uh-huh.” Ben shook the papers he held. “There’s something
loose in here.” A small card fell to the floor. He picked it up and his eyes widened. “It’s a
business card, so guessing it’s Elard’s.”
“And?” Simon asked, knowing there must be an ‘and’.
“He’s a Catholic priest.” Ben read the words on the card out
loud. “Fr Elard Reith, St Ansgar’s Parish, Newtown. We help those who ask.” He groaned.
“Oh great, I was hoping to avoid Uncle Martin while I was here.”
“Uncle Martin?” Simon asked. Ben had mentioned him once or
twice, but he’d got the impression Ben’s father’s brother wasn’t that close to the rest of the
“Yeah. He lives across the road from St Ansgar’s and always
acts like he knows stuff the rest of us don’t.”
“Perhaps he does.” Simon got up to pour some more tea.
“I hope not.” Ben didn’t look happy. “It’s starting to feel like
however hard we try to keep my family out of all this, fate is making damn sure they keep
About the Author
Anne Barwell lives in
Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced
that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as
though Kaylee may be winning. Anne works in a library, is an avid reader and watcher of a
wide range of genres, and is constantly on the look-out for more hours in her day. She likes
to write in series and even so called one shots seem to breed more plot bunnies. Her writing
is like her reading – across a range of genres, although her favourites are paranormal,
fantasy, SF, and historical. Music often plays a part in her stories and/or her characters are
She also hosts and reviews for
other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the
New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Her books have received
honourable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best
gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards.
We are not alone. In the year
2050 mankind’s never-ending quest for proof life exists in the universe is answered—in the
form of massive spaceships that appear without warning above the capitals of all major
nations. The name of their planet is Tah’Nar—and it is dying. The United States sets up a
lottery system, and each young man between the ages of twenty-three and twenty-eight is
assigned a number. Once a year, for the next five years, numbers will be drawn and a new
set of one thousand males will be collected. The media coined the expression ‘The Harvest’
for when the Tah’Narian’s collect these young men.
Genres: Sci-fi romance, Mpreg Romance
Tropes: Forced proximity, forced DNA change, aliens
Themes: Alien abduction
The stories are not
standalone. They need to be read in order.
Captain Keyno Landium Shou is a Tah’Narian starship
captain who has been granted the right to take a mate, any mate, he wants during the last
harvest on Earth. Dale was seventeen when the aliens first appeared. His parents assumed
he’d be safe since the final collection would be done before he turned twenty-three. He
didn’t fall within the guidelines established, so they took for granted he had nothing to
fear. They were wrong.
Excerpt from The Harvest: Taken
I was seventeen when the aliens first appeared, so my parents
assumed I was safe. The final collection would occur before I turned twenty-three. I didn’t
fall within the guidelines the aliens had established, so I thought I had nothing to fear.
I was wrong.
Exactly one week before my twenty-third birthday, an
extraction team showed up to collect me. My parents were distraught, and I fought them,
but nothing stopped them from taking me. Somebody somewhere had made a terrible
mistake. But no one would listen to me.
“I’m not supposed to be collected!” Men in SWAT gear
dragged me to a waiting van. One of the aliens stood off to the side, watching. I dug my feet
into the ground, trying to halt the parade of their progress. Two human soldiers were beside
me, trying to secure my arms behind my back, but I kept twisting and jerking, frantic to
break their hold on me. “Listen to me! I’m only twenty-two years old.”
“Son of a bitch, stop jumping around, you little fag,” the man to
the right of me hissed as he grabbed at my wrist and twisted.
“Fuck!” I yelled as pain radiated up my arm. I managed to get
my other arm free long enough to get in a good solid shot at the asshole who was currently
trying to twist my hand off. I busted his nose. Anger boiled in his eyes as he whipped his arm
back to strike me.
Before the blow could land, the Tah’Narian with the extraction
team jerked the man away from me by the front of his shirt. Another human took his team
member’s place immediately, but my focus was on the alien, not the other man holding my
The alien lifted the human completely off the ground and
shook him like a rag doll, snapping his head back and forth. The Tah’Narian’s low growls sent
shivers up my spine as he spoke to the team member. And his strength was astounding. The
man the alien lifted wasn’t a small guy, by any means, and he lifted him with one hand. Then
he tossed the guy to the ground, pointed at me and babbled something I couldn’t
“I… I… okay. I won’t touch him again.” The team member
stumbled back to the van, never looking back at me.
Good God, the extraction team and that alien could somehow
understand each other. Momentarily distracted, I didn’t have time to react when another
team member handcuffed both my arms tightly behind me. Someone on each side held me
tightly, determined to march me to that waiting van.
“Let go of me, dammit!”
“Stop fighting, kid. You can’t win against five of us.” The new
guard fastened a second set of cuffs higher on my forearms. “Plus there’s that alien, too. You
just saw his strength. The more you fight, the harder this is going to be.”
I slumped in their arms, the fight draining out of me. “What did
“Basically, that you’ve been chosen by one of them,” one of the
guys from the team leaned down and whispered to me. “I’m sorry, kid. Never heard of
something like this happening. No more talking, or they’ll gag you next.”
Horrified, I hung in their arms as they dragged me to a waiting
van. I desperately wanted to ask him what he meant about being chosen, but after his
warning, I was afraid to say anything. What the hell was going on, and why were the rules
being changed all of a sudden? These aliens weren’t supposed to be able to pick and choose.
That defeated the whole purpose of having a lottery system.
Book Title: The Harvest:
Cover Artist: Alicia
Release Date: January 1,
This book does not end on a
cliffhanger. The spinoff books follow.
Adapting is a word Dale Michaels has become familiar with.
As he settles into his new life with the Tah’Narian starship captain Keyno, Dale has adapted
to life with an alien, space travel, and having his body mutated so he can carry a young. He’s
closed the chapter on his old life. Living on Tah’Nar, Dale has a loving mate and good
friends. He’s helped cement peace with the Onfre. Sure, being double-dosed during his
harvest led to some serious drama, but that’s over. Dale’s happy. But life is never that simple. Even though Dale loves Keyno, he still struggles
with the way the Tah’Narians harvest young males as mates. Dale finds himself hijacked by
his own body, courtesy of his extra dose of Tah’Narian DNA. Then there’s the devastating
secret his mate, Keyno, has hid all this time. And if all that isn’t enough, outside forces
threaten to rip Dale’s hard-won peace apart as well. Join Dale for a non-stop adventure and a love that
crosses several worlds and transcends space.
Book Title: Bound by
Fate-The Harvest Young (The Next Generation #1)
Release Date: May 15,
It is a standalone story
and ends on a cliffhanger for the next couple in the series.
Half human and half Tah’Narian, Szin doesn’t fit with either
race. His appearance is mainly human, but he’s able to have a young. Unfortunately, that’s
his only Tah’Narian characteristic. He’s smaller and weaker than other young. Szin’s eighteenth birthday has passed and time’s
running out. He has to stop his childhood friend, Takeo, from making the worst mistake of
his life: claiming Szin as a mate. Takeo deserves an equal who’s as fierce as he is, something
Szin most certainly is not. Since before Takeo was born, he’s known Szin was
his. Nothing and no one, not even Szin, is going to stand in the way of claiming his mate. He
understands Szin feels he isn’t good enough, and he’ll do anything to convince Szin
otherwise. Including taking drastic measures to ensure his mate listens. Takeo is the ultimate blend of human, Tah’Narian,
and Onfrevian DNA. He’s pure predator, and his sights are set on his mate.
Book Title: Bound by
Destiny – The Harvest Young (Next Generation #2)
Release Date: October 1,
It is not a standalone story and ends
on a cliffhanger for the next couple in the
Destiny brought them together even before they were
born. Raiden Shou, a fierce and loving Tah’Narian warrior,
has everything he ever wanted. A loving mate, a highly sought-after position as Chief
Helmsman of the Unity, and now the possibility of a young in the near future. But destiny
never promised life would be easy. A chance encounter with the Ne Reyn goes horribly
wrong, an enemy from the past makes a reappearance, and egos flare out of control. A
rejection turns lethal during a trip to Quai to collect mates for the Tah’Narian Volunteer
Program. Jealousies threaten to destroy Raiden’s perfect life. A plot is hatched, and Raiden’s mate, Dayo Kwen, is
kidnapped during a mission. Time is running out as estrus looms on the horizon for Dayo.
Once it strikes, Dayo knows his body will betray him. He’s alone, scared, and surrounded by
enemies. Can help from the most unlikely sources change the course he’s set on? Will
Raiden and Dayo overcome the obstacles they face? Only their belief that destiny bound
them together can save them.
Book Title: Bound by
Love – The Harvest Young (The Next Generation 3)
Release Date: June 21,
It is not a standalone story
but does not end on a cliffhanger.
Will history repeat itself? Years of peace are shattered with a devastating
strike against the very heart of Tah’Nar, and war threatens once more. Prince Hamza Shou: Young to King Duran and King
Consort Jolak. Grief stricken. Angry. Vengeful. Screams of the dying stalk his waking
moments. Death surrounds him even as he plots. He’s losing himself to the darkness and
growing colder to those around him, including Neo. Brought together by some universal
force and bound by love even before they were born, heartache tests the ties that bind
them. Dr. Neo Kere: Young to Doc and John. Sorrowful.
Worried. Overwhelmed. He’s seen males draw their final breath. What doctor hasn’t?
However, his experiences didn’t prepare him for wholesale murder. The last gasps of the
dying stalk him too. But he took an oath to preserve life, and he doesn’t want the death of
innocents on his conscience. And now his oath is being tested by the very male he loves—his
mate, Hamza. Or will the same mistake be made
again? Extinction once hunted the Tah’Narians. Now they
threaten the Ne Reyn with the same fate. Can Neo change the destructive path Hamza
treads before the darkness swallows him? Or is it too late?
Book Title: Bound by
War-The Harvest Young (The Next Generation 4)
Length: 75 000
Release Date: June 21,
It is not a standalone story, but it is the finale in the series.
A brief moment in time can change
everything. Laken Fihk has no idea his destiny waits for him on
the Unity, a Tah’Narian starship. But all it takes is one look at the incapacitated male, and Laken
knows that’s his fated mate. Which is a problem, because the severely beaten, bloody, and
unconscious male is the Blishue warrior named Torin. The species is considered sadistic,
cruel, and without mercy—bloodthirsty monsters who kill without regard. No one, absolutely no one, is going to be happy if
Laken claims Torin as his. Torin, member of the Blishue House of Dorntok,
has found his mate and nothing will stop him from claiming Laken. So what if he has
Tah’Narians doubting his honor, Ne Reynians wanting to kill him, and a battle brewing that
could jeopardize all he holds dear? War has bound them together, and nothing can break
them apart. He and Laken will overcome all obstacles to find a love that could last a lifetime.
No matter what. Destiny doesn’t make mistakes. Trigger Warnings: violence, mention of past sexual abuse and rape, flashbacks
About the Author
M.A. Church is a true
Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends
her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hard-headed aliens on far-off planets, herding
her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s
a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!
When not writing, she’s
exploring the latest M/M novel to hit the market or watching her beloved Steelers. That’s if
she’s not on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two grown
She is a member of Science
Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
Alone and in London for the first time, Alex Anderson is
being hunted by the darkness as the fates have
seen fit to turn his dream holiday into his worst nightmare before he even steps foot out of the airport.
An archaic evil hungers for him and will stop at nothing to
possess the twenty-two-year-old and the coveted secrets that have been hidden from Alex his whole life.
All that stands in their way is a two-and-half-thousand-year-
old spartan Commander named Nikos and his fellow guardian sidekick Jin; a pink haired descendant of the goddess Hekate.
Nikos will move heaven and hell to protect Alex even if that
means protecting him from himself.
When boy meets man sparks fly and an instant bond is felt,
a connection that feels as old as the fabric of time.
But Alex must first learn to trust Nikos and Jin while
fighting his anxieties that have controlled his life if he has any hope of surviving what’s to come.
The Last Son Of Venus is the first in the fast-paced LGBT
fantasy romance series of the same name
featuring queer male characters, high fantasy creatures, magic and the true gods of old. The Last Son of Venus will take you on a long multi-series journey to a well-deserved HEA. So come and join Alex and Nikos and see what the Fates
have in store.
Bitter wind violated my exposed flesh, sending a deep chill
to the very core of my bones. Mother had warned me that London was cold, but I thought
she meant cold like Melbourne in winter, not winter in Antarctica. If it wasn’t for the fact
that my jumpers were all packed down at the very bottom, I would have stopped and added
an extra layer of protection. But I was cold and feeling far too lazy to reorder my bag, so I
went without. Yes, I was an idiot.
As per the map’s instructions, I turned right onto Gillingham
Street. It was becoming really
hard to focus on the map because the streets were barely
lit. I cursed myself inwardly that I didn’t just buy a portable phone charger, but I would be
sure to rectify my error first thing tomorrow. My goodness, this would be a lot smoother if I
was using my phone’s Google Maps. Anyway, what was done was done.
For a Saturday, there was very little nightlife, which I
thought was odd considering what I knew about Londoners and drinking, although I have to
say my knowledge on the subject was like ninety-five percent based on Geordie Shore
reruns. But still, there was not a soul on the street.
I could feel my anxiety grow; it wasn’t helped by the fact
that some random man told me someone was trying to kill me—though he wasn’t some
random man, was he? He knew my name. I felt a shiver run up my arms; I didn’t think I
could feel any colder. Maybe I should have stayed and heard him out before running
away…again, if I had, maybe he had a portable phone charger.
Looking back down at the map, I estimated I had maybe
another six-minute walk ahead, although I wished I had just paid for the stupid cab fare, but
I really couldn’t justify the cost for, what, maybe four hundred metres. I walked further
every day on my morning run.
The light flickered in the lamppost above. How strange. It
flickered again, but this time, it didn’t light back up. I was plunged into darkness as the rest
of the streetlights also extinguished.
THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP
My anxiety started to peak, and my instincts told me to get
out of there fast. All of a sudden, I felt eyes on me. Shit shit shit. My pace quickened into a
slight jog, my bag swinging heavy behind me.
Why did it feel like the approaching darkness was watching
me? I looked up to the sky where once a moon sat giving light to the sky, but now it was
gone, shrouded by darkness. I started to shake uncontrollably; I couldn’t tell if it was from
the cold or my anxiety. Both seemed to be at war for dominance over my body and mind.
A sound emerged through the darkness, muttered voices. I
started to run, every fibre of my body telling me to do so. My flight response was fully
active, I flew down the street, but the voices seemed to be gaining on me. They were now
close enough to hear what it was they were chanting. “Consumptura est lux tenebris.” They
repeated it over and over.
I crossed the street in mere seconds, but was stopped from
going further by a gate of iron. I turned to go around, but to the left of me, I found that the
men were closing in on me. Looking to the right, they were doing the same yet only metres
Fuck fuck fuck, my only option was to jump the fence. It
wasn’t very tall, so I knew I could make short work of it. I put my hands on the spikes and
pushed down, lifting my body. I swung my legs up and jumped down. The hem of my shirt
got caught on a spike, lifting my shirt up, trapping my arms. “FUUUUCK!” I yelled, trying to
fumble myself free. I was shaking so violently, I could barely unhook it, the process taking
minutes rather than seconds.
It came loose just as the men closed in. It was then that I
realised my duffle bag’s strap must have also gotten caught on the spike as it lay broken just
on the other side of the fence, but I could clearly see the men’s robes of red now. I hadn’t
the time to retrieve it. I’d have to let it go and hope I found it later after I had made it to a
Even the darkness seemed to draw dimmer. How was that
possible? Turning, I started to run, pushing past plants and shrubs, pulling my shirt back
down as I ran.
Their chant suddenly changed, I could now hear their voices
ringing in my head as if they were whispering right into my ears. “Arbores et plantae saxa
animari, prohibere eum.” Their chant had changed. It felt as if the trees were drawing
closer, which couldn’t be so.
Something grabbed my foot. I let out a scream as I fell to
the ground hard. What was that? I looked around, but all I could see was grass. I must have
tripped over a root or something, though I couldn’t see one. Getting back on my feet, my
left ankle felt swollen, and as I put pressure on it, I let out a loud scream. I hoped against
hope that it was just twisted and not broken. I tried to run, but the pain was just too great.
CRASH. The gate lifted from the ground and flew into a
tree. The robed men continued to follow me. FUCK.
“HELP! Someone, anyone, help me!” I shouted.
One of the men raised his hand at me, and my voice
faltered. I tried to let out a scream, but my voice was gone. What in the name of Ursula the
sea witch was this? All I could do was try limping away.
Roots lifted from the ground before my very eyes, spraying
moss into the air, leaving the earth a maze of traps, clearly designed to stop my escape.
What was I to do? I tried to hop over them, the pain forcing tears to fall from my eyes. But
the pain didn’t stop me. I continued to push myself, for my life clearly depended on it.
“Corrumpam vineam eius,” shouted one of the robed men.
Instantly, vines fell from the trees and launched themselves at me. I ducked and missed the
first one, but the rest found their target, instantly forcing me to the ground, wrapping
around me like dangerous pythons.
The roots curled up, pulling me to face the robed men,
forcing me to watch as they approached. The men were dressed in robes of red. I could just
make out a crucifix scar on one of the men’s outstretched arms. Wrapped around their
hands were what looked to be rosary beads, but something looked wrong. It seemed like
the beads dug into their hands, drawing out a dark fluid.
The wind changed, and the smell of metallic ooze hit my
sinuses, causing my nose to curl. That answered the question of what the fluid was: it was
blood. I struggled with everything left in my body, but it was no use, the vines just grew
tighter and tighter, almost to the point of breaking bone.
“Help me,” I prayed inwardly. “Someone, please.”
A man in the centre stepped forward chanting with the
others, “Accipere auferat divina virtute.” Something jabbed into me sharp like a needle,
causing unimaginable pain to flow through me. I screamed and screamed, but no sound
escaped me. Whatever it was it felt like it was crawling through my veins.
He continued forward towards me, chanting. Only a few
feet away, I could now clearly make out his face that was hidden by a hood. He looked to be
in his mid-fifties with a full white beard, long hooked nose, and beady black eyes. He
kneeled beside me and raised his outstretched hand over my face. I tried to close my eyes,
but they were forced open. The man squeezed his palm into the rosary beads, which I could
now see were made of jagged barbed wire that cut into his flesh. As the man squeezed,
blood fell like water droplets over my face. On impact with my flesh, it sizzled like acid; it
smelled like it too. I was truly dead. My only thought was on my parents, hoping they would be able to get past my death. My vision started to
fade to black. This was the end of me. My eyes finally closed. I had no strength anymore.
Maybe death wouldn’t be so bad? And with that thought, it all went silent.
The earth reverberated. There was loud running, yelling,
and what sounded like sandbags hitting a wall, but I couldn’t open my eyes to see. They felt
like they were welded shut.
“You must continue the chant!” shouted a voice that felt
like spiders crying in my ears.
The chanting started again. “Accipere auferat—” But was
cut off mid-sentence as what sounded like thunder struck the earth. I needed to run, move,
get up, break the bonds holding me. My brain told me this, but it was as if I was buried
Something dropped beside me. It radiated warmth. I
wanted to lean into it. I tried to but failed. I wanted it closer. “Please come closer,” I begged
the universe, and by some grace, it did. I felt a hand on my cheek; it was warm to the touch.
Who was this? What was this? Again, I tried to open my eyes but failed. I started to panic
again. This couldn’t be the end. My mind started to race. Mentally, I was thrashing back and
forth, wishing my body to do the same. This feeling of disconnection was the scariest thing I
had ever felt.
“By Zeus, Alex, gods fucking dammit, your lips are blue,”
growled a familiar voice. Was it the Adonis? It sounded like him, and for some unexplainable
reason, I hoped it was him. I could feel his hands on me. Everywhere he touched, I felt
“Jin, we’re going to need a recovery charm,” he yelled at an
“Babes, I am fucking busy if you didn’t realise, you know,
holding off the Priests of Bellum Sacrum,” bit back an unknown, effeminate voice.
“Fuck it all to Hades, you couldn’t have just come with me
at the train station.” The Adonis’s voice turned gravelly. But I couldn’t follow him at the train
station because he was a stranger. I didn’t know him; therefore, I couldn’t trust him. But was
he here now to save me? So maybe that meant I could trust him?
“Fuck it, we’ll have to swap,” called the Adonis back to the
person he called Jin, I assumed.
No, don’t leave me! He can not leave me. Don’t take the
warmth away. I’m so very cold. As if he could hear me, he assured, “Don’t worry, Alex, I’ll be
back.” Then he was gone. The coldness set back in, his warmth only a haunting
Thunder struck the earth again; there were more screams
of pain and terror. The smell of metallic ooze grew almost too strong to possibly bear. A
thud beside me. Was it the Adonis? It couldn’t be because this person didn’t radiate warmth
like he had. Was he friend or foe?
“Queen, don’t even stress, okay, I’m here to help you, boo.”
It was that voice again; it was distinctly fem, but like fem male, not a fem female. I assumed
it was Jin, but I really wished I could open my eyes and stop all the guesswork.
“Álysoi kaí desmá nýn spázete.” I felt warmth all over my
body. Suddenly, I felt weightless like I was flying in the air. The darkness began to fade as a
white light came towards me. I tried to meet it halfway.
Light burst into my reality as my eyes flew open,
temporarily blinding me as my eyes readjusted. A man who couldn’t be any older than
myself stood over me, his hair fairy-floss pink, kept neat and short on the side with a front
fringe that covered the tops of his brows.
“Is he awake yet?” yelled the Adonis from somewhere just
out of my field of view. “Yes, fuck, give me a second, Miss Bossy Tiger,” snapped the pink-
haired man. He turned and spoke to me, trying for a soothing voice, but came off very
“Hi, Alex, my name is Jin. I’m going to need you to stand up.
Can you do that for me, dolls?” But wasn’t I tied to the ground by vines?
“Jin, get him the fuck up now. We need to move!” said the
Adonis, running back into view. “I’m trying,” he responded.
“Then try harder.”
Before I could process what was happening, one of the
robed figures instantly appeared
behind the Adonis, bloodied dagger outstretched ready to
strike, going for the killing blow. “NOOOOOOOO!” I screamed, sending out a blast of energy
that felt like it came from my
very soul. I couldn’t let the Adonis die.
Gusts of power forced the robed man into the air, flying
back with a loud crunching sound
into a tree. The dagger burst into smoke. It took me a
moment to realise what it was I had done. My body retracted inwardly, instantly forming a
ball. What had I just done? I started to rock
back and forth, tears falling from my eyes.
THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP
I was a freak, and I may have just killed someone. I needed
my mother to tell me it would be okay, but she wasn’t there, so I didn’t know what to do. I
needed to know I didn’t just kill someone. “Shhhh, calm down, it will all be okay,” said Jin
But it wasn’t going to be okay; nothing was. It would never
be okay again. “Right, fuck this. Get the fuck up now, idiot, before you get us all killed,”
growled the Adonis.
I just looked at him, like was he kidding? Like really, was he
kidding? The rudeness. I was
going through something. Instantly, my anxiety and grief
turned to anger like a light switch. I was standing up, pointing my finger at him. “Who the
hell do you think you are? Do not EVER talk to me like that again, do you understand?”
The corners of his mouth turned up slightly; the barest
whisper of a smile ghosted his face. “That got you up, now didn’t it?”
About the Author
Scottish Australian author Dion Marc lives and breathes queer art. Whether he is
painting, writing, sewing or dancing naked in
the moonlight he does it with pride. He is a practising Hellenistic polytheist who believes in healing the world one hug at a time and that
drinking tea without a biscuit is a horrendous
Dion has spent over eleven years working full time in film and television as a Makeup
Artist, Hairdresser, Wig Maker and Costume
Designer. For the last year Dion has been working on the award-winning theatrical shows Hamilton, Moulin Rouge and more recently
full-time on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
as a hair and makeup artist.