After Adil and Esihle meet on a space station orbiting alien refugee Esihle’s home planet of Yalaphor, their relationship of lust and intensity gradually blossoms into love.
Now on Yalaphor, the two care for Sehthe, a young girl who has been orphaned by the same war that cast Esihle out of his home.
To keep their new family safe, Esihle and Adil must come face to face with the worst of Yalaphor, eachother, and themselves.
This heartfelt follow-up to Storm Caywood’s debut novel, Alien Hands, continues a story of redemption and love.
Adil joined him in the kitchen. “I saw the bread in the cupboard. Did you make it? Where’d you get flour?”
Esihle ladled the stew into bowls as he answered.
“I made it from thana grass. Nyaniso taught me how.” He remembered his father’s lessons more every day now. He would never be able to tell him this. Living here, and trying to be a good man, made the loss of his father and his own betrayal of his father’s goals a never-healing wound.
“And saving our energy credits for something more pleasurable than mere sustenance.”
They sat down with their bowls and plate of bread. Adil raised his bowl to his lips and drank in some broth before he spoke.
“It also helps the hospital. Blackouts there are a disaster.”
“Was today hard, my dear?”
Adil shrugged. “No more than usual.” He scooped a piece of vegetable onto the piece of bread and chewed it thoughtfully.
As the meal went on, their silence grew companionable. After they ate, Adil did not return to his chair, instead joining Esihle in his sunken nest and stretched out with his head on his belly. Esihle stroked his hair and felt himself begin to rumble. He had almost dozed off when Adil’s voice roused him.
“So, have you thought about it more?”
Esihle hesitated. “I want to. I really do.” He paused, and let his mind wander to child-sized garden tools, a smaller basking rock beside his own. “But, is it really a good time? Are we, would we be, good?”
Adil shook his head. “There’s never a perfect time. As for being good potential parents? Yes, we are, but even if we weren’t ideal, state care is terrible for children. You know that we can offer so much more.”
“I never imagined myself as a parent.”
This wasn’t true.
“I’ve always wanted it. I put aside the desire for a long time, on the station especially.”
Esihle remembered the man he had met. He wasn’t one who put aside desires, though perhaps the deeper ones. He wouldn’t have imagined Adil with children, but that was harsh, in retrospect. He was there, after all, to take care of people. But it seemed like his position on Orbital Base 7 as a relief doctor was as much about the responsibilities he was evading as the ones he was taking on.
Adil kept talking. “But I always wanted it. A chance to do better.”
Do better, do worse. Esihle never thought of his own parents in that way. As if Nyaniso and Zola had been working on a task, and it was his to evaluate. But then, he was always aware, almost always, of the powers that had constrained them. In many ways the Regime had been his parent.
“Esihle? Are you listening?”
He shook his head. “I’m sorry, Dear, my mind wandered. You want us to do better.”
Adil wriggled up by his face, leaned in and kissed him. “I know we’ll do better.” The kiss grew deeper. “I want us to do it. I think it will create a lot of joy. And love.”
The warmth from Adil’s body soothed him, merging with the warmth from the heated floor of their nest. Earth-style furniture was seen as a symbol of the Old Regime, and more and more homes now had nests in place of sofas. Adil, of course, was delighted by the authenticity. Esihle was sure there was nothing more or less authentic about furniture styles. It was all ultimately arbitrary. He suspected Adil was enamored with this reminder of his people’s reptilian roots. Though he couldn’t judge him for that, not with the satisfaction he took in stroking Adil’s soft hair and soaking in his mammalian warmth.
Adil grew warmer to the touch as they kissed more, pressing their bodies to each other. Esihle could feel his chest rise and fall in the rhythm of his breath. He straddled Adil and began kissing down his body, stopping to lick and bite at his nipples. He’d been so fascinated by these on Adil, his first Human lover. By the feel of them to his fingers and lips and tongue, by the whimpering noises he could draw out of Adil just with a twist, a little bite. He nipped his right nipple a little harder and Adil cried out. He soothed it with his tongue, put a comforting hand there, and continued working down his body…
About the Author
Storm Caywood is a lesbian author living in Western New York with her family and pets. Her writing career started with distributing her girl-detective stories to friends in the third grade. Alien Eyes is her second published work. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, puttering in the yard, or swooning over Star Trek.
Protecting his shifter from threats is easy, but can he protect him from his own ambition?
As part of the G-Force Federation, gargoyle Jude is a newly promoted pilot eager to prove himself on his first solo assignment. Unfortunately, his plans go awry when his craft is shot down, leaving him stranded in the desert.
Kirby is a fennec fox shifter on the desert world of Cairo. When Jude’s ship comes under attack he races to help him, and after the crash he offers to guide him back to the base.
Their journey across the harsh desert is fraught with dangers, one of which is the lure of Kirby’s scent as he goes into heat for the first time. Jude’s protective attitude towards him pushes all the right buttons with Kirby, and it doesn’t take much for him to persuade the gargoyle to be his first lover.
When Kirby discovers he is pregnant they know one of them will have to make a sacrifice if they want to raise their baby together, but can either of them give up everything they have ever known?
Jude almost tripped over Kirby when the young shifter did a sudden about-face, darted through his legs, and crouched behind him.
“What is it?” He kept his voice low. Something must have startled Kirby, and he trusted the shifter’s hearing to be far more acute than his own.
He took a few steps, cautiously scanning their surroundings.
By keeping a close eye on the direction Kirby appeared to be focusing on, he was ready for company. The two fennec foxes were larger than Kirby and had a haggard appearance that told of fights and rough living.
Kirby growled and hunched lower.
Jude crouched and placed a hand on Kirby’s furry back. “I don’t like the look of them either,” he whispered. “Do you want me to carry you?”
Kirby hesitated for a moment, before shaking his head and shifting back to human form.
The two newcomers did likewise. The change didn’t improve their appearances. They were older than Kirby, perhaps in their thirties. The larger of them leered at Kirby. “It must be our lucky day. Such a ripe little treasure crossing our path.” He sniffed loudly. “Ah, yes, and untasted. There’s nothing like being the first.”
Jude didn’t like the sound of that, and from Kirby’s shiver, neither did he. He took a step in front of Kirby. “Back off.”
“Stay out of this, human.”
Jude felt Kirby’s hands on his arm, the grip tight. “Don’t worry Kirby, I won’t let them hurt you.”
“You hear that, Sandy? He thinks we want to hurt him.”
Sandy laughed and shook his head. “No, we’re going to make him feel good. I mean, it might hurt him a little, since it’s his first time, but he’ll get over that quick enough.”
Kirby whimpered and Jude reached behind to give him a reassuring pat. “You won’t touch him.”
Sandy smirked. “Do you think you can stop us? His scent is a beacon, drawing us to him—along with every other fennec fox for miles around.”
Jude glanced over his shoulder. Kirby’s expression was one of fear and… guilt? “What is it, Kirby?”
The shifter hung his head. “I’m sorry. I hoped we would make it back to my den before I went into heat.”
“You mean you didn’t realise it was so soon?” Jude asked. He had been able to tell how close Kirby’s heat was from the day they’d met. How had the shifter not realised?
Kirby nodded. “Back on Earth, my kind used to go into heat at certain times of the year, but on this world the seasons are different and it’s hard to tell when one finishes and another starts. Predicting your first heat is kind of hit and miss.”
Sandy coughed to get their attention. “As nice as it is that you’re educating the ignorant human, I’d rather we just get down to business. Right, Flick?”
Flick nodded. “Who gets the honour of going first?”
“You went first last time, so it’s my turn,” Sandy replied.
“But last time it wasn’t such a fresh piece as now. Who went first the last time it was one like him?”
Jude backed up a little, urging Kirby along with him. Maybe they could make a run for it while the two of them were arguing.
They made it about five meters before Sandy noticed.
In a flash the shifter pounced towards them, Flick right behind him.
Jude pushed Kirby out of their way and altered his stance, ready to take on the two shifters. He might not know everything about shifters and their heats, but he knew more than enough about fighting to protect the innocent to handle this pair of would-be rapists.
He concentrated his energy and hardened his body, letting Sandy hit him just as he turned his chest to stone. Other than a slight tearing of the seams of his shirt, the partial shift didn’t cause too much damage to his clothes. The same could not be said for Sandy’s fist.
The shifter screamed and clutched his hand to his chest. “What are you?”
Jude grinned. “I’m one charged with protecting the inhabitants of this world. And Kirby is under my protection.”
Sandy glared at him. “You’re not human or shifter.”
“No, I’m not.”
Flick, who had stalled his assault at the last moment, drew near. “I think I know what he is. There were stories, from back on Earth, about his kind. Hideous creatures of stone, who had the ability to take human form. They were even rarer than shifters. They were known as gargoyles.”
Jude wondered briefly what the stories said about his kind. From the look of hesitation on Flick’s face, he suspected not all of them were flattering. Not that the reputation of the gargoyles mattered to Jude, in fact it helped to have a fearsome reputation.
About the Author
L.M. Brown is an English writer of gay romances.
She believes mermen live in the undiscovered areas of the ocean.
She believes life exists on other planets.
She believes in fairy tales, magic, and dreams.
Most of all, she believes in love.
When L.M. Brown isn’t bribing her fur babies for control of the laptop, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.
She loves hearing from readers and can be contacted
via her website or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cut Jones knows Samson from his work, but not really. He knows he’s got money, that he likes his whiskey sours extra sweet, but that’s where his knowledge ends. Samson’s come into the bar every few days for a year but has hardly said more than five words at a time, but Cut didn’t mind. Samson was out of his league. So imagine his surprise when Samson asks for his help with a very personal issue.
The pressures of owning his own company and the expectations of his father had Samson Ba walking a razor’s edge. It was only a matter of time before he tried to find a release, but when he does it’s in the worst way. And he’s found by the last person he wanted to see him this way. But things aren’t all bad. Cut offers to help him relieve his stress, and Samson’s sure he’s just being nice, but some opportunities are too good to pass up.
Samson shifted his gaze to Cut, scanning him from boots to the dark blue locs on the crown of his head. Cut shifted, smoothing out invisible creases in his jeans before Samson said, “You look good to me.”
He seemed so sure; Cut felt he had to trust him on this. At least, if he was wrong, they’d get thrown out together. Nothing took the sting out of embarrassment quite like sharing it.
Samson stood aside and Cut preceded him into the restaurant, but then he scampered on ahead to talk to the host, making the whole exercise useless. They whispered among themselves, giving Cut ample time to verify that his ass was just as amazing in jeans as dress pants, before the host escorted them to a secluded corner meant for a party of six or more. The other patrons had enough class to pretend that their meals and conversations were more engrossing than the out of place strangers getting a whole section to themselves.
His anxiety subsiding as they took their seats allowed Cut to take things in properly. He saw the wire brush marks on the metal of the sconces that illuminated the room. When he flicked his gaze up, he saw the hand turned wires on the ornaments hanging from the chandeliers. On the glasses, the stems were so delicate and thin, yet when he picked up his to test that theory, it didn’t feel fragile in the hand. Everything was so refined and well-made in a way that made him feel small and cheap. But he’d push through it for now.
Cut claimed the bench against the wall, preferring to see anything coming his way, while Samson took the chair across from him, his back to the rest of the dining room. He shrugged out of his jacket and set it beside him. Cut took Samson’s when he divested himself of it and did the same. Samson picked up the thin tablet that served as the menu and swiped through it. Cut gave an appreciative glance to those wide shoulders and the bit of collarbone peeking out from the open neck of Samson’s shirt before turning his gaze down to his own menu.
“I recommend anything but the fish. Issues with the suppliers. The beef is very good, though.”
“You really know your stuff.” Of course someone like Samson came here regularly. A high class spot for a high class guy. Cut carefully sipped water from an elegant crystal glass.
Samson put down the tablet, grinned. “I should. I own the place.”
Water dribble down Cut’s chin when he nearly choked on it. He quickly mopped it up with his sleeve. It was better his stubble got a little wet than spraying Samson’s face.
“You own this whole place? By yourself?”
“I hope you don’t mind me showing off a little. Everything you get will be gratis, of course. So go nuts. I needed you to know that I really can pay whatever you ask. I’m serious about this.”
Cut moved to the edge of his seat. Just because no one was blatantly watching didn’t mean they weren’t listening. “Explain what you mean by this? I have an idea, but we’ve got to be on the same page.”
“O-of course.” Samson wet his own lips with a little water.
He seemed a little flustered. That was the last thing Cut wanted.
“Why don’t you start from the beginning?”
“It’s a bit much to say over the table.” But it had to be said. If they didn’t have honest, open communication from the beginning, there was no point in starting at all.
But if Samson had concerns about being overheard, Cut had a simple solution. He scooted over on the bench. “Join me. There’s plenty of room on this side.”
Samson froze and swallowed so hard Cut swore he heard it. He thought that might have been a step too far, but Samson came around to his side of the table, and they sat hip-to-hip. The cushion was wide enough to accommodate both of them with room to spare. A server rushed over and repositioned Samson’s place setting before disappearing as quickly as they came.
There was that scent again, sweet and thickened by Samson’s natural aroma. Cut was suddenly aroused and uncomfortable. He shifted to adjust his cock into a more comfortable position, and his thigh brushed against Samson’s. The bigger man snapped his leg away for an instant before he relaxed again. Somehow, knowing he was nervous too helped Cut relax. Maybe too much.
He rested a hand on Samson’s knee and squeezed. When he realized what he’d done, Cut pulled away and set both his hands on the table.
“So,” he coughed. “Let’s start with the alley and why you were there.”
About the Author
Stories longing to have words put to them were in Jet’s heart from an early age. Jet enjoys exploring the connections and similarities between people whether they be shifters, vampires, or aliens, rendering the unknowable very knowable indeed.
Jet’s days are spent toiling away at a keyboard, slumped over a pen and paper hunting for those words, or playing around on twitter with a partner, and two rambunctious cats for company in the temperamental North Eastern US.
Fifteen minutes under a stream of hot water sounded perfect.
A basket wrapped in translucent cellophane sat on the pink countertop of the exterior vanity. Other than lubricant, Luca had no idea what the other tiny bottles could be, but the little foil squares were self-explanatory.
He stepped into the bathroom off to the right and braced as he turned on the lights. White tile, white tub, plain white toilet, pink towels with red hearts, pink shower curtain. At least they spared the room any permanent scars.
Luca closed the door and gripped the hem of his shirt.
Nox’s voice came from the other side of the door. “I called for pizza, it should be here by the time you’re out.” Then the door opened. Luca spun around.
Nox wore nothing, leaving every curve of muscle, every ripple of perfection, every inch of intimidating cock, bare.
God, that hooker had been right.
There were only so many things a guy standing around naked could mean. Would Nox expect something like that? He’d saved Luca’s life. And with that kind of debt could Luca even tell him no?
Worse, did he want to?
Did he want to know what it felt like to be touched, to be kissed, to be tasted and do all those things to another person in equal amounts?
The idea teased his insides until his balls pulled tight and his cock threatened to swell.
Luca jerked his gaze back up.
“Your clothes.” Nox held out a hand.
Luca pulled the edge of his shirt lower. “What about them?”
“Give them to me so I can lay them on the heater to dry.”
“It’s okay, they can just hang in here.”
“They won’t dry in here.” Nox was right. Luca knew he was right. And since these were the only clothes he had….
Luca gave Nox his back and peeled off his shirt. He set it on the sink and kicked off his shoes, then unbuttoned his pants. He froze with his hands on the waist of his jeans.
Nox pulled Luca around. The man’s presence, the rich musk and spice of his skin, the heat radiating from his body rushed over Luca, sucking the air from his lungs. Nox lowered his head, parted his lips and inhaled, carrying away Luca’s exhale. Nox moved to Luca’s cheek, his neck. There his breath heated Luca’s skin. Nox tilted Luca’s head back and followed the column of his neck with another deep inhale.
Luca’s heart skittered in his chest. “What…what are you doing?”
“Why?” Luca leaned away only to have Nox move closer. So close his cock brushed Luca’s hip.
Nox swallowed, and his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down. He made another lap, huffing in quick short breaths rather than long slow ones. Nox loosened his grip. He cupped the back of Luca’s head and made circles on his arm with his thumb.
For several long moments, Nox stood there, then slowly he raised his gaze. “You’re sick.”
Luca’s stomach dropped.
Nox seemed to catch himself. He let Luca go and retreated. “I’m sorry, that was…” He turned.
“Leukemia.” Luca had no idea why he said it. Nox was right, it was none of his business. Even if he could smell the disease.
Could other people smell Luca’s cancer? He’d never even considered the idea.
Nox turned back around but stayed at the door. “Are you getting treatment?”
“Not this time.”
The muscles across Nox’s shoulders tensed, and he balled up his hands.
Luca shrugged. “I’ve had it twice before. Treatment isn’t an option this time.” Luca gave Nox his back again and stripped off the rest of his clothes. He left them on the sink, climbed in the tub, and closed the curtain.
Nox was a momentary blur behind the sheet of gaudy pink plastic, then he closed the door.
About the Author
I am a writer of contemporary and speculative fiction and artist of all things monster. I live to create new worlds and the people in them. Several of my books have been best sellers both nationally and internationally. I have also been a finalist in the LAMDA awards, the “Oscars” of gay literary works.
I do my best to write original stories with powerful characters and emotion as well as a fast-paced plot. My goal isn’t just to deliver a good story but to take the reader into the story and let them experience the characters as if they are right there with them.
While almost all my books have a romantic element, I will be the first to admit, they are not traditional romance. In fact, I’d like to think there is nothing traditional about them. And the stories I paint are done so way outside the lines of traditional genres.
One of my favorite things to do as a writer is push the boundaries of what makes a story and to deliver the unexpected and maybe even change the perspective of the reader.
My characters are more often than not, beautifully flawed, not always the good guy, and make mistakes. Their stories will take dark turns which, in the end, make the light at the end of the tunnel all the brighter.
If you’re looking for something different, exciting, and unique, my books are for you.
Check out my website for updates and how to contact me. I love hearing from fans.
Dive into the first volume of a bleak cyberpunk tahgmahr you can’t afford to miss. What would you sacrifice to survive?
By 4042 CE, the Hierophant and his Church have risen to political dominance with his cannibalistic army of genetically modified humans: martyrs. In an era when mankind’s intergenerational cold wars against their long-lived predators seem close to running hot, the Holy Family is poised on the verge of complete planetary control. It will take a miracle to save humanity from extinction.
It will also take a miracle to resurrect the wife of 331-year-old General Dominia di Mephitoli, who defects during martyr year 1997 AL in search of Lazarus, the one man rumored to bring life to the dead. With the Hierophant’s Project Black Sun looming over her head, she has little choice but to believe this Lazarus is really all her new friends say he is–assuming he exists at all–and that these companions of hers are really able to help her. From the foulmouthed Japanese prostitute with a few secrets of her own to the outright sapient dog who seems to judge every move, they don’t inspire a lot of confidence, but the General has to take the help she can get.
After all, Dominia is no ordinary martyr. She is THE HIEROPHANT’S DAUGHTER, and her Father won’t let her switch sides without a fight. Not when she still has so much to learn.
The dystopic first entry of an epic cyberpunk trilogy, THE HIEROPHANT’S DAUGHTER is a horror/sci-fi adventure sure to delight and inspire adult readers of all stripes.
The Disgraced Governess of the United Front was blind in her right eye. Was that blood in the left, or was it damaged, too? The crash ringing in her ears kept her from thinking straight. Of course her left eye still worked: it worked well enough to prevent her from careening into the trees through which she plunged. Yet, for the tinted flecks of reality sometimes twinkling between crimson streaks, she could only imagine her total blindness with existential horror. Would the protein heal the damage? How severely was her left eye wounded? What about the one she knew to be blind—was it salvageable? Ichigawa could check, if she ever made it to the shore.
She couldn’t afford to think that way. It was a matter of “when,” not of “if.” She would never succumb. Neither could car accident, nor baying hounds, nor the Hierophant himself keep her from her goal. She had fourteen miles to the ship that would whisk her across the Pacific and deliver her to the relative safety of the Risen Sun. Then the Lazarene ceremony would be less than a week away. Cassandra’s diamond beat against her heart to pump it into double time, and with each double beat, she thought of her wife (smiling, laughing, weeping when she thought herself alone) and ran faster. A lucky thing the Governess wasn’t human! Though, had she remained human, she’d have died three centuries ago in some ghetto if she’d lived past twenty without becoming supper. Might have been the easier fate, or so she lamented each time her mind replayed the crash of the passenger-laden tanque at fifth gear against the side of their small car. How much she might have avoided!
Of course—then she never would have known Cassandra. That made all this a reasonable trade. Cold rain softened the black earth to the greedy consistency of clay, but her body served where her eyes failed. The darkness was normally no trouble, but now she squinted while she ran and, under sway of a dangerous adrenaline high, was side-swiped by more than one twisting branch. The old road that was her immediate goal, Highway 128, would lead her to the coast of her favorite Jurisdiction, but she now had to rediscover that golden path after the crash’s diversion. In an effort to evade her pursuers, she had torn into a pear orchard without thought of their canine companions. Not that the soldiers of the Americas kept companions like Europa’s nobles. These dogs were tools. Well-honed, organic death machines with a cultivated taste for living flesh, whether martyr or human. The dogs understood something that most had forgotten: the difference between the two was untenable. Martyrs could tell themselves they were superior for an eternity, but it wouldn’t change the fact that the so-called master race and the humans they consumed were the same species.
That was not why Cassandra had died, but it hadn’t contributed to their marital bliss. And now, knowing what she did of the Hierophant’s intentions—thinking, always, what Cassandra would have said—the Governess pretended she was driven by that ghost, and not by her own hopelessness. Without the self-delusion, she was a victim to a great many ugly thoughts, foremost among them being: Was the fear of life after her wife’s death worth such disgrace? A death sentence? Few appreciated what little difference there was between human and martyr, and fewer cared, because caring was fatal. But she was a part of the Holy Family. Shouldn’t that have been all that mattered? Stunning how, after three centuries, she deserved to be treated no better than a human. Then again, there was nothing quite like resignation from one’s post to fall in her Father’s estimate. Partly, he was upset by her poor timing—she did stand him up at some stupid press event, but only because she hoped it would keep everybody occupied while she got away. In that moment, she couldn’t even remember what it was. Dedicating a bridge? Probably. Her poor head, what did the nature of the event matter when she was close to death?
That lapse in social graces was not the reason for this hunt. He understood that more lay behind her resignation than a keening for country life. Even before he called her while she and the others took the tanque to the coast, he must have known. Just like he must have known the crash was seconds from happening while he chatted away, and that the humans in her company, already nervous to be within a foot of the fleeing Governess, were doomed.
Of the many people remaining on Earth, those lumped into the group of “human” were at constant risk of death, mutilation, or—far worse—unwilling martyrdom. This meant those humans lucky enough to avoid city-living segregation went to great lengths to keep their private properties secure. Not only houses but stables. The Disgraced Governess found this to be true of the stables into which she might have stumbled and electrocuted herself were it not for the bug zaps of rain against the threshold’s surface. Her mind made an instinctive turn toward prayer for the friendliness of the humans in the nearby farmhouse—an operation she was quick to abort. In those seconds (minutes?) since the crash, she’d succeeded in reconstructing the tinted windows of the tanque and a glimpse of silver ram’s horns: the Lamb lurked close enough to hear her like she spoke into his ear. It was too much to ask that he be on her side tonight.
Granted, the dogs of the Lamb were far closer, and far more decisive about where their loyalties stood. One hound sank its teeth into her ankle, and she, crying out, kicked the beast into its closest partner with a crunch. Slower dogs snarled outrage in the distance while the Disgraced Governess ran to the farmhouse caught in her left periphery. The prudent owners, to her frustration, shuttered their windows at night. Nevertheless, she smashed her fist against the one part of the house that protruded: the doorbell required by the Hierophant’s “fair play” dictatum allowing the use of electronic barriers. As the humans inside stumbled out of bed in response to her buzzing, the Disgraced Governess unholstered her antique revolver and unloaded two rounds into the recovered canines before they were upon her. The discharge wasn’t a tip-off she wanted to give to the Lamb and her other pursuers, but it hastened the response of the sleeping farmers as the intercom crackled to life.
“Who is it?” A woman’s voice, quivering with an edge of panic.
“My name is Dominia di Mephitoli: I’m the former Governess of the United Front, and I need to borrow a horse. Please. Don’t let me in. Just drop the threshold on your stables.”
“The Governess? I’m sorry, I don’t understand. The Dominia di Mephitoli, really? The martyr?”
“Yes, yes, please. I need a horse now.” Another dog careened around the corner and leapt over the bodies of his comrades with such grace that she wasted her third round in the corpses. Two more put it down as she shouted into the receiver. “I can’t transfer you any credits because they’ve frozen my Halcyon account, but I’ll leave you twenty pieces of silver if you drop the threshold and loan me a horse. You can reclaim it at the docks off Bay Street, in the township of Sienna. Please! He’ll kill me.”
“And he’ll be sure to kill us for helping you.”
“Tell him I threatened you. Tell him I tricked you! Anything. Just help me get away!”
“He’ll never believe what we say. He’ll kill me, my husband, our children. We can’t.”
“Oh, please. An act of mercy for a dying woman. Please, help me leave. I can give you the name of a man in San Valentino who can shelter you and give you passage abroad.”
“There’s no time to go so far south. Not as long as it takes to get across the city.”
It had been ten seconds since she’d heard the last dog. That worried her. With her revolver at the ready, she scanned the area for something more than the quivering roulette blotches swelling in her right eye. Nothing but the dead animals. “He’ll kill you either way. For talking to me, and not keeping me occupied until his arrival. For knowing that there’s disarray in his perfect land. He’ll find a reason, even if it only makes sense to him.”
The steady beat of rain pattered out a passive answer. On the verge of giving up, Dominia stepped back to ready herself for a fight—and the house’s threshold dropped with an electric pop. The absent mauve shimmer left the façade bare. How rare to see a country place without its barrier! A strange thing. Stranger for the front door to open; she’d only expected them to do away with the threshold on the stables.
But, rather than the housewife she’d anticipated, there stood the Hierophant. Several bleak notions clicked into place.
One immaculate gray brow arched. “Now, Dominia, that’s hardly fair. Knowledge of your disgrace isn’t why I’ll kill them. The whole world will know of it tomorrow morning. You embarrassed me by sending your resignation, rather than making the appearance I asked of you, so it is only fair I embarrass you by rejecting your resignation and firing you publicly. No, my dear. I will kill these fine people to upset you. In fact, Mr. McLintock is already dead in the attic. A mite too brave. Of course”—he winked, and whispered in conspiracy—“don’t tell them that.”
“How did you know I’d come here?”
“Such an odd spurt of rain tonight. Of all your Jurisdictions, this one is usually so dry this time of year! Won’t you come in for tea? Mrs. McLintock brews a fine pot. But put that gun away. You’re humiliating yourself. And me.”
About the Author
M.F. Sullivan is the author of Delilah, My Woman, The Lightning Stenography Device, and a slew of plays in addition to the Trilogy. She lives in Ashland, Oregon with her boyfriend and her cat, where she attends the local Shakespeare Festival and experiments with the occult.
Find more information about her work (and plenty of free essays) here.
To save his unborn babies, he must put his trust in strangers.
Jax has made mistakes in his life, the biggest of which was falling for Lyndon. His love died when Lyndon refused to claim him as his mate after Jax discovered he was pregnant. His feelings turned to hate when his babies were stolen from his care the day they were born.
Reliant on Lyndon for the cream he needs to survive, Jax does everything he can to keep him happy and he lives for the day when he will be reunited with his children.
When Jax discovers he is pregnant for a second time, he is terrified his second litter will be taken from him, too.
Ty is a dual-gendered feline who dreams of carrying his own babies one day. If they are fathered by Cal, the sexy feline he feeds from, it would be even better. Ty’s parents have other ideas. They don’t wish the public to know that their high-born son is dual-gendered, and arrange for a mating festival to take place so Ty can choose a dual-gendered mate of his own.
Although Ty has no intention of submitting to his parents’ wishes, something about Jax draws Ty to him and when he and Cal discover Jax’s secret, they know they must help.
Ty and Cal offer Jax a way to escape Lyndon’s clutches, but Jax knows almost nothing about the two felines who have offered to claim him.
The stakes have never been higher and Jax must learn to trust again, or risk losing everything.
Ty helped Jax into the boat, and once they were seated, Cal joined them and rowed them out to the middle of the lake.
“Privacy at last,” Cal said as he pulled in the oars. “Though you could have picked somewhere away from the water.”
Ty snorted. “And have Lyndon lingering around?”
Jax frowned. “Are you saying you deliberately ditched Lyndon?”
“We are,” Cal confirmed. “We wanted to talk to you privately.”
“Yes,” Ty said.
“What about? It’s my uncle you’d need to speak to if you wanted to claim me as your mate.”
Ty gave another snort, this one even louder than the first. “Don’t you get a say in the matter?”
Jax trailed his fingers in the water. “Not really.”
“Why not? It’s your life?” Cal said.
Jax sighed, but didn’t say anything. It hadn’t been his life for a long time, but how could these two felines possibly understand that?
Ty took hold of Jax’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “Jax, we know you’re in some kind of trouble, but we can’t help you if we don’t know what the problem is?”
Jax finally looked at Ty and saw nothing but compassion in his amber eyes. “You should choose another mate, not me,” he whispered.
Cal slowly inched over from his seat and sat at Jax’s feet. “Ty will choose whoever he wants. Take it from someone who knows. Now, why don’t you tell us what the issue is with Lyndon?”
“There is no issue.”
“I disagree,” Cal argued. “I saw him fucking you in the garden earlier. Does your uncle know you’re not a virgin?”
The world swayed around him and Jax thought he might throw up. Then a strong arm wrapped around his shoulders, and he leaned into Ty, the strong steady heartbeat of the feline next to him helping to keep him calm.
“Yes, my uncle knows,” he whispered. “But he doesn’t know Lyndon is the one who has fucked me.”
“He doesn’t?” Cal asked.
Jax shook his head and toyed with the hem of his kilt. He shivered, even though he had put on his warmer cloak before they’d begun their walk. His uncle did know about Lyndon. He just refused to believe it.
“Tell us what happened,” Ty encouraged. “We want to help you.”
“Why?” Jax asked. “You don’t know me. I’m just a stranger who’s been paraded in front of you because I happen to have both female and male genitals.”
Cal took his hand and gave it a quick squeeze. “Because what I saw in your face when Lyndon walked away this afternoon was not the face of a feline in love with his devoted servant.”
Jax gave a bitter laugh that he quickly tried to suppress. “I haven’t been in love with Lyndon for a long time, if I ever was.”
“Your uncle seems to think a lot of him,” Ty commented.
“That’s because he doesn’t know the real Lyndon,” Jax replied. “If he knew what he was really like… oh, who am I fooling? He’ll never believe a bad word about him.”
“Why not?” Cal asked.
“Because Lyndon is my uncle’s primary food source, too,” Jax said.
“That’s no reason to believe him over his own nephew.”
Jax shrugged. “He won’t hear a thing said against him. Believe me, I learned that lesson the hard way.”
“Talk to us,” Ty urged.
Jax could tell he wasn’t going to get off this boat until he told them what they wanted to know. Perhaps he could give them an edited version they would accept.
About the Author
L.M. Brown is an English writer of gay romances and all male ménage romances.
She believes mermen live in the undiscovered areas of the ocean. She believes life exists on other planets. She believes in fairy tales, magic, and dreams.