Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday Briefs: Never More Lonely Part 7

This week's prompts revolved around Halloween. There were some great pictures as well as several line/object prompts but I since Halloween didn't quite fit into what I had planned for this week, I went with the line of 'It's alive!' instead. Happy Reading!

Never More Lonely Part 7

"It's alive!"

I make a face at Cooper. "That's gross."

"Hey, mate, it's in your refrigerator. I think the bowl might actually be growling. We need to buy new storage bowls too; I threw one out that had Halloween candy so old that it had all melted and cemented to the inside of the bowl!"

Cooper put the food that was still good in a box as he cleaned out the fridge. "I can't wait to finish this up. We're almost done moving."

Some friends from my jobsite came by and helped us with the furniture. We're just doing the final clean up. Cooper nearly runs his fingers through his hair, grimacing at his gloves at the last minute.

"I can't wait to get clean. Hot shower, then fall into bed."

"I'm tired too," Cooper chuckles, "but we have to make it first."

I wave that away. "Details." Unable to resist, I lean down and kiss him, parting his lips gently and sucking on the lower one until he groans. My voice is hoarse when I speak again. "Maybe I'm not that tired."

"Uh-huh." Cooper grins.

We've been home for two weeks. We finalized the lease paperwork on our new duplex apartment. It's twice as big as my place; my furniture looks a little lost in the enormous living and bedroom but we can get new furniture together. The second bedroom was perfect for my computer, and Cooper was going to set up his home office in there.

Leaving Australia was hard for Cooper. We hadn't gone to see Pete again but he'd been a specter along with us for the entire trip to the airport. The silent strain showed on Cooper's face and the rigid set of his shoulders; our departure had hurt. I hated it. I wanted to make Cooper happy and I couldn't.

I listened to him talk but suggested that he find a counselor. He'd made an appointment for next week.

But right now we're happy. We're moving into a new place, together, and that's something I never would've considered possible. I used to work, then come home to a silent apartment while I waited to Cooper to come online, just to have someone to connect with. I slept, and woke up, alone.

Now he's with me. We sleep snuggled together, and I get to wake up every morning to his gorgeous face. Every night I can touch him, taste the salt of his skin and the spice in his kiss. And sink my cock deep into his body. 

Tucker slams the fridge shut, taking off his gloves. "I think that's it. You done?"

I've been scrubbing the same spot for a few minutes.


We put the box in the car then throw out the trash. I lock the door one last time.

Our duplex has dark blue siding and white trim. We'll have to get a lawnmower because, for the first time ever, I’ve grass to trim. The smell of paint’s strong inside, the interior newly remodeled with rich wood floors and cream colors.

I shove the food box into the fridge then peel off my shirt off. "Shower?" I ask.

He shakes his head. "You start. I'll be just a minute."

"Okay." I'm already unsnapping my pants.

The hot water streams over my head. Cold hands slide across my chest and I yelp. Cooper snickers. "Stop laughing." I wipe water off my face and glare at him playfully.

"You didn't hear me come in?" His eyes are sparkling.


I jockey around, letting Cooper get under the water. I love to watch it slide over his body. He lathers up his hair as I wash his body. He hums happily. His cock is growing as I step close to wash his back.
Dropping to my knees, I wash his legs, then his smooth balls. His cock is hard as I run the cloth up and down.

"That feels good," he groans. I push him back under the water to rinse him off. He gets the shampoo out of his hair as the bubbles slide down his body until he's rinsed. Then I can't resist. I lean forward, still on my knees, and take his cock in my mouth. It tastes a bit like soap, but mostly it’s just clean skin. Salty fluid drips on my tongue as I lap at the small slit in the round tip.

He turns off the water. "Bed," Cooper demands.

Dark satin sheets cover the mattress. I raise one eyebrow. "Nice."

"It'd be nice if you’d get on that bed on your back so I can ride you."

I laugh but I'm instantly so hard that it hurts. Cooper pushes me over onto the cool sheets and then climbs up, kneeling over my hips. He slips a bottle of lube out from under the pillows.

"You planned this," I accuse, my eyes dilating as he drips the slick fluid over my cock and then reaches back to his own ass.

"I want you. It's insane how much I want you."

My hands go to his knees and my answer is swallowed by the loud groan escaping me as he slowly lowers himself down until he’s sitting on my lap.

A short pause and then the time for slow is apparently over. I shout when Cooper lifts up and then rocks back hard, over and over. I watch his cock bob until I can't take it anymore and let go of his legs with one hand so that I can stroke it.

He shudders. "Good." Sweat drips down his face.

I feel him swell just before Cooper comes, his ass clenching around me, forcing me over my own precipice.

"Fuck!" I shout as my hips snap up.

He collapses on me and I hold him close. I feel him nuzzle my shoulder. We both speak at the same time.

"I love you."

I laugh, his head rocking on my chest. Contentment fills me, banishing the last of my loneliness.

The End... yep, that's right! The month is over and this is the end of the story for Cooper and Owen. I hope you enjoyed it! Next week is a whole new plot with new characters! Woo hoo!!

Don't forget to check out all my fellow compatriots of the Wednesday Briefs!!
Lily Sawyer      m/m 
Nephylim         m/m
Cia Nordwell     m/m
MA Church        m/m
MC Houle         m/m

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Howloween Blog Hop Winners!!

So, it's officially done! Thank you to everyone who participated in my first ever blog hop and made it sucha huge success. I got so many wonderful comments, and several new followers. So thank you, again! Now, on to the prize announcements! I used to pick from ALL the entries, including those from every day and those who liked me on facebook.

The Winners* Are:
1. Pricolici pdf copy- Sherry!
2. $10 Amazon GC- Lori!
3. Special Halloween Joke Contest, Pricolici pdf copy- PC!


*I'll be emailing the winners; if they do not contact me within 48 hours new winners will be chosen.

** If you still haven't gotten your copy of Pricolici, I'll be giving away another copy on Nov. 20th when I visit Labelle's Books on blogspot. They also have weekly giveaways, so check it out!

*** Come back later today for another chapter of Adverse Effects, as a treat for all those that didn't win, and tomorrow I will have another installment of Never More Lonely with the Wednesday Briefs.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Howloween Blog Hop Day 4!

Okay folks! Last day of the hop! I've focused quite a bit on my favorite paranormal couple, Tucker and Stelian, from my ebook Pricolici. I'm giving away a free pdf copy of Pricolici to one winner and another lucky winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card. All you have to do is follow my blog,comment on any official Blog Hop post, and give me a way to contact you! Bonus: Anyone who likes me on facebook gets an extra entry too.

Today I want to focus on the main holiday for all us lovers of the paranormal, Halloween! I found a naughty little joke I'm going to share below. I'd love to hear your favorites. As a surprise bonus, the person who can make me laugh the hardest will win a copy of Pricolici, outside my other contest prize offerings!! Everyone else who doesn't win will still be entered in my main contest.

On to the funnies!!

10 Things That Sound Dirty On Halloween, But Aren’t…
1. So…What’d you get in the sack?
2. Once you get under the sheet, start moaning and groaning!!!
3. Just hop on that broomstick and ride it!
4. Those small suckers are gone in a few licks!
5. I got the best piece from that house.
6. Quit screwing around on the porch!!!
7. Stick your hand in and guess what you’re feeling….
8. It was so filled and heavy, I had to use TWO hands!!
9. They’ll suck you dry if they get their teeth in you.
10. I bobbed and bobbed, but couldn’t get my mouth around it!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Howloween Blog Hop Day 3!

Hi folks! Yet another day of the Howloween blog hop and another chance to enter my contest for either a free copy of Pricolici or a $10 Amazon GC. Just follow me, if you aren't already, and leave me a  comment. Don't forget to leave a way to contact you, if I can't, you can't win!

Today's article is all about Tucker. I finally managed to corner him logn enough to have a bit of a chat. Enjoy!

Good to see you Tucker.
Yeah, you too. Sorry I wasn't available yesterday.

Did you really fry Stelian's car?
Not so much. Turns out that more energy near an electrical system like a vehicle computer... Stop glaring at me, Stelian. It's not my fault. You told me to go practice.

Should I come back?
No, no. It's fine. I already apologized all day yesterday. He'll get over it or not, whatever.

Why are you whispering?
My mouth's sore. Okay, why are you both laughing?

Seriously, what the hell is up with you two? I burned my tongue on my coffee.

Sorry about that. How about we head outside? I thought maybe you could show me some of what you can do as a hultan.
Sure! No, I won't mess with the weather again, Stelian.

So, how does it feel to find out you're this completely unique magical being?
Because being a lupe wouldn't have been enough? It's weird, to be honest. All I have is what Stelian can tell me, and what I've read in the book that he gave me. I wish there was someone who could tell me how everything is supposed to work.

Is it hard?
Yes and no. Here, we can sit down in this corner. The corner by the stream is my favorite area of the backyard garden.

It is nice, even now. So, care to explain?
Well, I don't know how well I can put it into words. It's not hard finding the magic inside me now, or absorbing energy. Learning to control it is hard. I haven't told Stelian it was an accident, but I really didn't mean to start a thunderstorm the other day and the lightning was a complete fluke. I hadn't called any of it since ... that night.

I wondered if the traumatic use of your magic for the first time overtly would make you afraid of it.
I don't scare easy.

No. Somehow I can see that. You'd have to be pretty strong-willed to deal with Stelian. Did you ever expect to mate an alpha?
As a gay man? No. I really didn't ever expect to mate at all. With the way my pheromones had gone crazy, I'd planned to find some place to hole up far from people-especially lupes. Mating with the oldest damn alpha of them all was a huge surprise. He's a good male and a wonderful mate, even if he is a possessive, growly ass sometimes.

Is he still growling at all the males that come near you?
Yeah, makes Grecia laugh, wench that she is.

So I have this whole list of questions I planned to ask you. Interested?
Do we have to? I don't really feeling like going into the whole 'what was your childhood like, what are your goals in life' conversation.

You don't like to think about either of those things? Or just talk about them?
You're determined to get into my head, aren't you?

Yep. Readers want to know. So spill.
My childhood was not horrible, but not great. My parents died when I was really young and I was raised by Shane's haitas. I was in school before everything went crazy when I turned twenty. I suppose I could go back, but I've always been a fan of history. Shane discouraged me from looking into anything from the past too much but Stelian doesn't care. Have you seen his library?

Yeah, I have. There are a lot of cool artifacts in there.
No kidding, and he has personal stories for all of them! Like that medallion his dad gave him. He's kept that one gold coin on him for over a thousand years. I know lupes can live for thousands of years, but it still boggles the mind.

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I wondered about that. You're not really a lupe, so what does that mean for your life span?
I dunno. Stelian said the hultans he knew, though it was only two, didn't seem to age like humans. But they did die out, you know? Something caused that, somehow. I haven't found anything in the book though. I guess we just take each year as it comes.

So, it sounds like you do have your hands pretty full then, with the new mating, exploring your magic, and all you're trying to learn about hultans.
Yeah. It's definitely not boring. Stelian still needs to loosen up a bit, but I'm working on that with him. Speaking of, I promised him a steak dinner tonight. Part of my apology outstanding. Feel like helping me crank up the bbq?

Of course! Maybe while we do that we can discuss exactly how your magic works.
Ask away, though I really don't understand it yet.

What can you do with it?
It has to do with manipulating energy. I've gotten better at it. I didn't get anymore marks from calling the lightning the other night like the first time.

I remember those marks on your shoulders and arms. Are they all still there?
Yeah. I think they're kind of cool looking though, so I don't mind, almost like tattoos.

So, what can you do with energy?
I seem to be able to call storms, and I can do some healing with it, though I have no control over that. I did start this garden, though; you want to see?"

So, this is it. Dead of winter, and I have watermelons growing. I've been pulling energy from the earth to support their growth. I anchored it and set the edges of the plot. Feel the ground.

It's warm!
Yeah. I've got the ground generating its own heat! Last week, that night it snowed for an hour? Everything in the garden was covered with a half inch of snow, except for here.

That's really cool. Think we can have some watermelon after we have our steak then?
Pretty sure a few are ripe. They're Stelian's favorite.

Is that a blush on those pale cheeks I see?
No. Shut up. You know, you are mean. Don't be an ass or you can't have any steak.

Sorry, sorry. I'll stop.
So the interview is over? That's good because someone needs to make the potato salad and I'm not good in the kitchen.

Fine, I'll go make some potato salad. Don't think you're getting off the hook though, we still have a whole new story to share with my readers.
Don't remind me. That cave is cold and dark; I'm not looking forward to exploring that again.

Well, remember to take extra batteries next time!
I think we should both just agree my lack of forethought to bring spare batteries is really your fault. Now go make that potato salad!

LOL. I hope you enjoyed this little insight into Tucker's character. One last day for the blog hop tomorrow. Don't forget tocomment today (follow me too if you're new) and stop by for another chance to enter my contests tomorrow!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Howloween Blog Hop Day 2

So it's really simple. I'm going to be giving away 2 prizes. One is a pdf copy of Pricolici and the other is a $10 Amazon gift card. I'll be using Random to pick the winners at the end of the blog hop from those that follow me on my blog [old followers just mention that] AND comments on any one of the specific articles I'm running for the blog hop. Both of those basic criteria must be met, however, as a bonus, anyone that also likes me on Facebook will get an extra entry! Don't forget to tell me if your facebook name is different from your blogger name!!

And, while I'll only count one entry per person, per day, if you come back and comment again on the 28th and 29th you get entries for those days as well! So, you can get a grand total of 5 chances to win one of my prizes. Winners will be announced on Tuesday.  **Don't forget to leave contact into! If I can't reach you, you can't win!
Unfortanately for Tucker, his little lightning display got him in some hot water. He might be ready to interview with me tomorrow. Today, I have a picture of Stelian's medallion!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Howloween Blog Hop Day 1!

It's here! It's here! Day 1 of the Howloween blog hop! Welcome hoppers!! For your pleasure I've an interview with one of the main characters from my recently published ebook, Pricolici. I'm sure most of you just want to get to the contest details though! Well ... tough!

LOL. Just kidding. So it's really simple. I'm going to be giving away 2 prizes. One is a pdf copy of Pricolici and the other is a $10 Amazon gift card. I'll be using Random to pick the winners at the end of the blog hop from those that 1) Follow me on my blog [old followers just mention that] AND 2) comments on any one of the blogs articles I'm running during the hop. Both of those basic criteria must be met, however, as a bonus, anyone that also likes me on Facebook will get an extra entry! Don't forget to tell me if your facebook name is different from your blogger name!!

And, while I'll only count one entry per person, per day, if you come back and comment again on the 27th, 28th and 29th you get entries for those days as well! So, you can get a grand total of 5 chances to win one of my prizes. Winners will be announced on Tuesday.  **Don't forget to leave contact into! If I can't reach you, you can't win!


Hi Stelian. Thanks for agreeing to this interview.
I didn’t really agree. Tucker said I needed to do it. Apparently I’m too much of a mystery.

Is that on purpose?
Is what on purpose? Being a mystery?

No, not really. I’m just not big on talking about myself. And I’m usually very busy. I have my business to run, my own haitas, plus the Hunters and I are often busy keeping other haitas in line and ferals put down before they can expose us to the humans.

Well, thanks for making time for me then; I didn't realize you were quite that busy.
It’s not like I had much of a choice. The power’s out. My excuse of having to do paperwork is not exactly logical when it is this dark. Plus Tucker can be persuasive.

I don't think I am going to follow that last statement. What did happen with the power? I wasn’t expecting a meal by lamp light.
Tucker was playing with his magic and zapped the power pole again. It’s a good thing calls route to my cell phone if the house line is down. I’m pretty sure he did it on purpose. And Grecia made the chicken; I’ll pass along your appreciation.

Well how about I just ask my questions then?
Sooner we’re done the better. Please proceed.

What has been your favorite occupation?
Well I’ve certainly had quite a number over my lifetime. Thousands of years on Earth will do that to you. I’ve been a soldier, a blacksmith, a farmer; at one time I even bred horses for a living. But if I had to pick one, I’d go with hunter. My wolf certainly enjoyed it more than sitting here behind this desk. Though, the corporate world can be quite cutthroat. Just last week I managed to purchase a building under a developer’s nose that was planning on building a club too close to mine.

Oh? What are you going to do with it?
I was thinking about giving it to Grecia and Marevin. That woman can seriously cook. She was over just last night to drop off the chicken you enjoyed so much tonight and made this awesome pasta dish I can’t even pronounce for us too. But it was delicious. Besides, I like to help my haitas diversify. The world is changing almost faster than some of us older lupes can keep up with nowadays.

What is your most treasured possession?
My mate. Shit. Ow, Tucker. Okay, so he’s not a possession and he has no sense of humor lately. I keep forgetting he’s learned how to shock me with those little energy bursts and my growl doesn’t scare him anymore.

I guess I don’t need to ask who is the greatest love of your life is then?
No. You don’t.

I'm just going to ignore that look. Moving back a question, so what is your most treasured possession?
If I had to pick one thing, I’d say my father’s gold medallion. The face is almost worn off the front, but I’ve had it since I was less than five hundred years old. He was killed during the war, but he gave it to me before he left.

Were you close with your father?
As much as we could be. I didn't agree with his plans to stay in the lowlands. I wanted to move our haitas into the mountains where it would be safer. He went to war; he didn't come back. So I moved the haitas. I still loved and respected him though, and I wish that he hadn't died.

Speaking of moving, what has been your favorite journey?
Anything by modern conveyance in the last 50 years. Can you imagine what the sea crossing was like back in the 1700s? Pure hell, especially for our wolves. The crew knew what we were, but we had no way to run, no hunting for months at sea. The last time I had to go to Europe it took only twelve hours.

What is your most marked characteristic?
Tucker! Don’t listen to him, that is not what I was going to say. Stop laughing, little lupe, it’s your turn next. And I am not an ass! Why don’t you go practice outside? The moon is just as bright as this lamp.

Okay, are we close to done yet? What else is on that notepad?

Moving it right along then. When and where were you the happiest?
Do I have to answer a question that sappy?

Well, I could bring Tucker back in here to help convince you. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.  Shall I?
You’re really not very nice to us, are you? Fine. Meeting Tucker. Even though he was a pain in my ass and passed out on me. 

Okay, no more emotional questions. Keep going.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Well, I’m not independently wealthy, exactly; I have to work. Being around for years and years doesn’t mean that I have some corner on the market before things happen. I won’t lie and say that I’m not comfortable though, as is most of the Pricolici. The one thing that might be considered an extravagance is the small plane I own. But, it isn’t just for private business use; it’s also used for haitas business. The Hunters can’t exactly travel commercial when we have to track down feral lupes outside our local area.

You mentioned your age before, and I know you've lived through so many years it boggles my mind. Out of everything, what is your greatest regret?
I thought I said no more emotional questions.

I can get Tucker anytime. Your growling doesn't scare me either.
Fine. Just ... don't tell Tucker I said this. I will always regret that I was unable to protect Phell’s wife. He was my friend for a very long time, and we faced many battles together. I wish that I could have reasoned with him, but he went after my mate. Even more than that, I wish Tucker hadn’t had to kill him. Taking a life, even one like Phell, damages something inside you.  

Now no more inner secret type questions. 

Out of everywhere you’ve lived, where did you like it the best? Where would you like to live, if you could be anywhere?
I like it here, but my favorite place is my cabin in the mountains. It reminds me a lot of the simple lifestyle from my early life. It’s simple, no electricity, no cell service, no computers. Just a single room with a giant bed, a fireplace and acres of forest to roam as my wolf. I plan to take Tucker there in the spring.

What in the hell was that?

You’re asking me?
Well I wasn’t asking the gods and no one else is here. Stay here.  

Is Tucker okay? He didn’t blow anything up did he?
He’s fine but Tucker just called up the mother of all thunderstorms. He’s going to get sick standing out in the rain again; I’m going to go get him. We’ll have to do this later. Or not, damn it; that lightning strike almost hit my car! I partially blame you, you know, you gave him these powers!

You can interview Tucker tomorrow. If I let him live that long.

Well, isn't he just a sparkling example of wit and charm? I hope Tucker will be ready to sit down for his interview tomorrow! In the meantime, check out this excerpt. Don't forget to follow and comment to get your entries to win a free copy of Pricolici or a $10 Amazon GC.

"Oh yes. You're very special," Stelian said as he bent down to drag his nose up Tucker's neck. A stinging bite at Tucker's ear and a low growl stopped him when he tried to jerk his head back.


Tucker froze at the order from a voice laced with the wolf's growl. The ache he’d felt earlier from the bartender had nothing on the way he felt from the suddenly overwhelming surge of lust that emanated from Stelian.

Something welled up inside him and Tucker felt his eyes shift. Everything became sharper and clearer when he saw through the eyes of his wolf. He knew his normally murky green eyes now shone as golden as the larger lupe's.

Entranced by the angles and shadows he'd missed with his human eyes, Tucker stared at Stelian's dusky skin where it stretched tight over his sharp cheekbones. The Pricolici were mostly old lupes that had emigrated from Romania. They’d passed that coloring on to their pups. Stelian’s Romanian blood gave him a deep skin tone and even the yellow eyes of an excited werewolf looked natural on him, as if he was never fully human.

Tucker couldn't help but lick his lips as he stared at the strange lupe's strong and handsome face that matched the hard, muscular body he’d been pinned against earlier. All lupes were stronger than they looked, but Stelian was taller and more heavily muscled than the biggest male in his old haitas. Unbidden, the power inside Tucker poured forth and met Stelian's aura.

There was a sensation of blending, a mingling of two different yet similar forces. Stelian’s hand was hot against Tucker's neck as he tugged at his chain, pulling his face closer to Stelian's. The lupe's breath puffed against his lips, only inches away from Tucker’s. It startled Tucker and he jerked away, his power snapping back inside him like a rubber band as his chair tipped over backward. Tucker fell over with it, landing on his back. He tucked his body and then rolled into a crouch, facing the larger lupe.

His body was vibrating from growls deep in his chest as he glared at Stelian. "What did you do?" It startled him when his voice became lower and deeper. His inner animal wanted out, but he didn’t know if it was to fight or play.

He didn’t really want to do either. He edged toward the door.

Stelian jammed his thumb at his chest. "Me? I did nothing but answer your call, little lupe.” He smirked. “I’ve been able to feel you for days now, getting closer. You've been in my territory before, in this very room in fact. As soon as you entered the club, I knew what you were."

Tucker stopped and pulled himself erect, his hands clenched in frustration at his sides. Would this lupe ever make sense? "That's impossible! I've never been here before. I'd remember."

"Not in person, but your spectral aspect has been here."

Tucker scoffed. "Spectral aspect? What in the hell are you talking about?"

"I told you. I know what you are. Don't try to deny it." Stelian glared at him and Tucker glared back with equal intensity. He knew he shouldn't antagonize him. Stelian was the strongest lupe he’d ever felt, but he needed answers.

"What am I then?"

"A hultan."

"A hultan," Tucker repeated flatly. He shook his head and crossed his arms over his chest. "What in the hell is that exactly?"

"A priest. A hultan is a priest."

Tucker burst out laughing. He closed his eyes and laughed until tears leaked out of the corners. Stelian growled. Tucker could smell his anger. Normally he’d be running out of the bar as fast as he could, but he couldn’t seem to leave. Now this crazy lupe thought he was some holy man. "I don't think so. I'm not even Catholic. Nor do I wish to take vows of celibacy." Tucker shivered at the thought and rolled his eyes.

Stelian made a dismissive sound and looked at him in disgust. "You’re impossibly young. You know nothing."

"True." Tucker shrugged. He couldn't argue with truth. "I've only been a lupe for six months."

Stelian's eyes widened and then squeezed shut. His hand came up to pinch the bridge of his nose. He took a deep breath. "You transformed on your twentieth birthday?"


Stelian's eyes were still shut but his hand fell to his side. "You are only twenty years old?"

Tucker frowned at Stelian and then folded his arms across his chest. "Yeah, so what? You're all of what, twenty-seven?"

Stelian’s eyes opened and the look in them was full of things Tucker couldn’t fathom. “I am two thousand three hundred and sixteen years old."

Don't forget! Extra contest entry for those who like my author page on Facebook. My Facebook Page

If you just can't wait... Purchase links:

To head back to the Blog Hop List of Participants, Click Here!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

M.A. Church with Lust & Ice

The perfect mate for a cold-hearted human with no redeeming qualities? A prince of hell, who else?

My latest release is called Lust and Ice and is a Dark Desires novella, available October 19th from Razor's Edge Press, a Changeling Press LLC Imprint. Yes, this is one of my dark stories. :) And yes, lol, there's a HEA—of a sort. When dealing with a Prince of Hell things can get twisted. So, there's HEA... then there's this kind of HEA.
Two more novella's spin off this book and the Bad Boys Club. In Lust and Ice you'll meet Kain's friends—Hugh, Jordan, and Allen—and they're as bad as Kain. Jordan and Allen's book will be next in the series.
Razor's Edge Press A Changeling Press LLC Imprint

They call him Ice. Kain's a spoiled rich man's son with money to burn. An endless parade of men through his bedroom has left him empty and wanting. When he and his friends meet at their usual nightclub and place bets on who'll score for the evening, Kain eyes a sexy stranger. Electricity jumps between them, and Ice decides the handsome man will be in his bed screaming out his pleasure before the night is through.
Dark and deadly desires are Asmodeus' calling cards. Those that fall to his wicked ways are doomed to an eternity of unfulfilled lust in the second level of hell. This is no man to be played with... because this is no man. He's the Prince of Lust, one of the seven princes of hell. And he's been granted the right to take a mate by his master, Lucifer. He's searched through the ages for the one that will satisfy his sinful needs, but none have made the cut.
Until now.
The Bad Boys club has picked the wrong targets this time -- hell's come to claim its own.

Asmodeus toyed with his straw as he glanced over the crowd on the dance floor. There were a few that caught his eye, but nothing that got his blood pumping. His appearance not only fit in at Night Moves, but called certain types to him, preferably men. For the last hundred years he had taken to seducing the males of the human race.
“Mmm, there’s something about taking a strong man and bending him to my will, having him first beg not to be fucked…” He ran a hand down his chest, drawing several pairs of eyes, and shivered. “Then later beg to be fucked.”
Frowning, he glanced over the dance floor again; he damn sure wasn’t going to get lucky sitting on his ass up here. He smoothed his hair behind his ear and a brilliant, sizable ruby stub flashed, as did the ruby in his signet ring on his left hand. He looked down at the tribal tattoo that started on his right wrist and extended up his arm. Thanks to the shirt, no one could see the tattoo snake over his shoulder and unto his neck. It also meandered down from his shoulder and covered the right side of his chest, then continued to his groin.
His dick was thick, but not overly long, and covered in small knots. There the tattoo crossed over his body and continued down his left ankle. Those that saw the tattoo in its full glory were already doomed, although they didn’t know it. Once his prey submitted to him, the end was never far behind. The fear in their eyes and the frightened begging that came from the lips of his prey as he drained them always excited him, made his orgasm much more intense.
The problem was that once he finished feeding the pleasure was gone, and loneliness bombarded him.
Now the mindless pleasure, the thrill of the hunt and his prey’s fear were no longer enough. He wanted -- Satan help him -- he wanted a mate. Someone who would belong to him ‘til the end of time. He’d made his wishes known to his lord and was granted the right to take a human, if he found one that fit his needs. So far no such human had been found, and he had looked -- extensively.
A perfectly shaped eyebrow raised above wickedly sinful eyes. Several men and women had played the game and fallen for his dark looks -- they regretted it eternally.
He was no man to be played with… because he was no man.
Shifting in his chair, his eyes landed on a group of humans across the openness of the second floor. A new mortal joined them, another male. There was a restlessness that shimmered around him that snagged Asmodeus’s attention. This one appealed to him, very much so. Even with the noise of the crowds and the thumping bass of the music, he could hear them. The longer he listened to the one named Kain, the more his dick swelled.

M.A. Church lives in the southern United States and spent many years in the elementary education sector. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have two children. Her hobbies are gardening, walking, attending flea markets, watching professional football, racing, and spending time with her family on the lake.
But her most beloved hobby is reading. From an early age, she can remember hunting for books at the library. Later nonhuman and science fiction genres captured her attention and drew her into the worlds the authors had created. But always at the back of her mind was the thought that one day, when the kids were older and she had more time, she would write a book.
By sheer chance she stumbled across a gay male romance story on the web and was hooked. A new world opened up and she fell in love. Thus the journey started. When not writing or researching, she enjoys reading the latest erotic and mainstream romance novels.

Where to find me:
Twitter @nomoretears00

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday Briefs: Never More Lonely Part 6

This week there were several image prompts, some word, and line prompts. I opted to use the line prompt, "Look into my eyes." I hope you enjoy this installment of Never More Lonely.

Never More Lonely Part 6

"Look into my eyes." The nurse's voice is quiet but firm. Pete turns his head and looks at her. "Good morning Pete, you have some visitors," she says. "Is that okay?"

He blinks. "Sure." His voice is deep and steady.

I come to visit Pete as often as I can, but I can’t tell anyone why. I make sure I never go when his family is there though. They are part of the apostolic church and had lived through some of the most conservative times. They aren't bad people but they'd been very strict when we were growing up.

Pete was supposed to be at my place that night. I'd helped him sneak out and meet a date at the movies. His parents hadn't even allowed him to go to movies, calling it 'Sin'ema, much less date. If they'd known he was seeing a guy they would've probably had a stroke.

Instead, Pete had skidded off the road in my car before he'd ever gotten there. I was supposed to be in the car with him but I'd had a horrible cold and was coughing up a lung. I'd stayed home and stayed whole.

He’d put his head through the windshield. He’d lived in a care facility ever since.

"G'day," Pete says. "Do I know you? Are you friends with my parents?"

I wish that Owen could hold my hand but his solid warmth against my back is soothing.

"No. I'm your friend, Pete. My name's Cooper. We went to high school together."

Pete's head cocks and his eyebrows scrunch. "We did?"

It isn't one of his really good days. Sometimes he recognizes me from my last visit. It’s been a while. "Who's he?" Pete asks, pointing at Owen.

"Oh, hi." Owen shuffles his feet behind me. "I'm Owen. I'm visiting Cooper."

"From where? You have a weird accent."

Owen laughs. "To me you guys have the accents."

That makes Pete smile. "Guess so."

Walking into his room, I hold out the bag in my hand. "These are for you."

"Really?" He takes the bag from me and opens it. "Oh! Yum. These are my favorite!" He pulls out a handful of passionberries with a wide grin and pops a few in his mouth, chewing quickly. "Thanks mate! It was ace of you to bring these. Must have cost big bikkies though. It’s cold outside."

I shrug. I see Owen soundlessly echo Pete's sentence in confusion.

"A friend with a greenhouse grows them, it wasn't too bad. I got a mate's rate."

Pete finishes the berries in his hand then puts the bag down. He's watching me with those big brown eyes. His fingers trace the seam on his jeans, wiping berry stains on them. “You’re nice. Thanks.”

Nice. I shake my head.

He looks at me carefully. He bites his lip, then says, "You look sad. Because of me?"

"No." I shake my head. "It's because of me. See, I'm moving to the United States."

"You don't want to go?" Pete’s mind was broken but he wasn’t stupid. "Or are you sad because of something else?"

My eyes burn and it hurts to swallow. "I want to go, but mostly I'm sad because I won't be here anymore."


My breath catches. How do I explain? Admit that it is my fault he’s here? I'd come up with the plan to sneak him out on his first date. Pete's head injury, the fact that he’ll never be able to function normally, and will spend the rest of his life in a care facility—all of that is my fault. And now I wouldn't even be here to be his friend, to do what I can to make it up to him.

How in the hell do I tell him that I was abandoning him to go live a life he should've had?

Owen's hand slides down and rests on my back gently. He'd spent hours listening to me talk earlier; he knew why I felt guilty. He'd told me that deep inside I knew Pete wouldn't blame me if he knew how I felt and could understand. Spending my life alone wouldn't take away Pete's brain damage and make him whole.

"I'm going to miss coming to visit," I finally say. A few tears escape my control. "I'll miss you a lot. You’re my best friend."

Pete leans forward and pulls me into his big arms. He smells like Acqua di Parma shave gel he'd always had to have from David Jones. His voice is like a deep rumble in my ear, but I can't understand him.

I pull back. "What?"

"It’s nice of you to come and to bring me the passionberries, but," his eyes met mine, "I don't really know you."

I close my eyes briefly.

"My nurse tells me lots of things, but I don't remember." Pete points to a picture on the nightstand labeled Mom and Dad. "I don't even remember them, not really. They were here yesterday and they seemed so sad. Now you're sad too."

He runs his hand through his hair. "I don't like making people sad. Maybe moving will make you happy."

Struggling, I try to find control. I’m making Pete unhappy, the last thing I want to do. Owen's quiet but his touch helps me calm down.

"I think I will be."

A wide smile crosses Pete’s face. "Good." He yawns. "Sorry. I was up really early; the guy down the hall was upset again. I think I'm ready to take a nap."

Pete and I hug one last time. "Bye," I say quietly.

"Bye, Cooper." He looks at Owen who’s already standing by the door. "Nice to meet you."

Owen nods. "You too, Pete. Thanks for letting us visit."

I stand up, letting my friend go one last time.

Owen takes the keys from me when we get outside. He waits and when I break down he holds me.

"It's hard now but it'll be okay, Cooper. I promise."


Thanks so much for reading this latest installment of Cooper and Owen's story. I hope it wasn't too predictable! Now that you're done, don't forget to check out the other Wednesday Briefer's flash stories!

Lily Sawyer      m/m 
Tali             m/m
Nephylim         m/m
Michael Barnette m/m    flash virgin!!!!!!
MA Church        m/m

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dialogue: What You Don't Say

Dialogue: What You Don't Say

Do you ever wonder why some dialogue works in stories and some doesn't? Why you can picture one conversation better than another? In my vast reading, I've come to the conclusion it is often what the character doesn't say that is just as important as what they do!

People aren't robots that lay out lines and leave their conversation at that. We wave our hands, wiggle our eyebrows, shift in our seats, cross our legs, nod, shrug ... the choices are endless. The point is, body language is vital to good dialogue. This is, of course, a big part of the aspect of writing considered 'showing'.

For example:

"It was this big," she said.


"It was. Maybe even bigger."

"Did you actually see it?" I asked.

"Well yeah. If you come over tonight you can see it too. I know you want to."

So, what do you think? Do you have any idea of what the conversation is about? Can you picture it?

"It was this big," she said.  She spread her palms apart.

My mouth dropped open. "No!"

She grinned. "It was." She pushed her hands farther apart. "Maybe even bigger."

I leaned over the table. "Did you actually see it?" I asked.

"Well yeah. If you come over tonight you can see it too. I know you want to."

I covered my face with my hands but I couldn't block out her giggles.

See the difference? The second option is much richer and shows you the character's emotions, yet all I did was show actions, no thoughts or emotions. We subconciously associate certain actions and positions with certain emotions and moods. Body language tells us how characters feel about the subject they are discussing and the person they are speaking to without having to actually spell it out for the reader. Authors have to go beyond the character's words themselves and add the appropriate body language, if they want to have a successful flow to their story dialogue.

A key to providing those physical cues comes from knowing them. Observation is the best method for picking up on those subtle clues we tend to forget we even notice. One way is to people watch. It can be done anywhere, the grocery store, coffee shop, club, park, work... and then the author can incorporate what is seen while writing. Keep an ear out for the dialogue at the same time, of course, and twice the work is done at one time!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cia's Reviews: Aaron by J.P. Barnaby

Cia's Recent Reads Review

AaronAaron by J.P. Barnaby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed Aaron, as hard to read as it was. The trauma Aaron experienced, and the realism with which you portrayed his actions afterward, were incredibly well done. Spencer's character showed exactly how much research J.P. did, which is the #1 requirement in a great story imo.

The writing flowed. I started reading this and kept going until I finished at 1 am. Now, I stay up late reading a lot, but this time I was tired; I just couldn't go to sleep until it was done though.

For all of my enjoyment the ending felt a bit abrupt. I looked down in shock when I saw the word Epilogue to check the percentage read and my frown when I saw 95% probably would have scared my family, had they been awake. The story had to end somewhere though, and while I think it could have been expanded a bit to show more of Aaron's relationship with Spencer, I don't think that this book was truly about that. It was about Aaron's recovery, so the ending fit.

If I had to pick one actual thing to quibble about, it would have been the lead up to Aaron's ability to cry. There were several mentions of the fact that as bad as he felt he couldn't cry, not even when he truly wanted to for the emotional release. Yet, when the moment finally comes it was very understated. We were locked into Aaron's head, and feelings, for a lot of the book but at that one point I felt like the scene just didn't have the emotional impact that it could have. He cried but that loggerhead the should have released seemed anticlimactic.

However, that one small issue in regard to the whole is minor. I really liked Aaron and it was worth waiting to purchase it.

Goodreads: View all my reviews

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Author Feature: Lugh

Today I'm featuring one of my favorite authors, and a new blogger, Lugh. He recently self-published one of his short stories called Catara. A very interesting story, and one with many unexpected elements, it is definitely worth picking up! Now, it took me months to get to know Lugh, inch by painstaking inch, but for you guys I managed to get him to interview for me!

       What are your current projects?
 §  There are a few actually – Binding, a poetry anthology, and Rhyzomic Transmutation – they are all in various stages of development at this point in time.

 Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. 
§  gave me a lot of support when I needed it, however a shout out has to go to OWWW (other worlds writing workshop) where I learned how awful a writer I was at age 18.  They gave me a goal... took a while.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
§  Female characters, but I’m getting better at those.  The next big challenge is making aliens more.... alien.  Humanoid with functioning anatomy just like humans is just too.... easy.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
 §  Toughest criticism – ‘You couldn’t write your way out of a wet paper bag.’
§  Best compliment – ‘Tell me there’s more coming soon.’

Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point?
§  I pull the blankets up but they aren’t Martha Stewart made.

Chocolate or Vanilla?
§  Scoop of each; mixing things up is what I do best.

How did you come up with the title to your ebook?
 §  Ah Catara... it was the name of the place visited and since the story is mainly a story about the culture of the Catarians from the POV of Math, then it only made sense.

Do your characters try to make like bunnies and create ever more convoluted plots for you? Or do you have to coax them out of your characters?
§  Math is a little reluctant.  Katu wants more face time.  It’s possible, I’ve not decided yet.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
 §  Writer... oh I was young, grammar school I guess.
§  Author... when I had my first piece published in high school (even if it was the school paper).

Do you have any writing rituals?
§  Must have tea and pretzels.
§  tv off, music media on
§  always write erotic scenes to Christian pop

Single people work more. Are you single?
§  Single yes, but I have a 5 year old which I homeschool and a 17 year old which I send to institutionalized education.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
§  On it says I’ve written 59, but those are nearly all short stories.  Things over 25000 words about a dozen, most not even on site. Of those, which is my favorite?
§  It’s hard to choose.   I guess I would have to say RT (which is under rewrite now) followed by the Ulfric of Magog or the Wizard of Iz.   

Do you eat your fruits and vegetables?
 §  Yep, love em.  Like my protein too.

What are you wearing?
§  Black and white plaid fleece pajama pants, black boxer briefs, white socks, and a white NASA Kennedy “I need my Space” Center t-shirt.

Thanks for opening up a bit Lugh! Now, read on to find out a bit more about Catara and where you can buy it!

Blurb: It was supposed to be a simple shopping trip, just Math and his mother. However, nothing is ever simple for Danyl’s Idenk. Katu would do anything to avoid joining the temple, and has. Then an off-worlder shows up and the temple doesn't seem like such a bad choice after all.


JUNE, 4, 642 AC
Journal Entry #1
This journal belongs to: Mathew Patlyk Khoury.
Date Started: June 4, 642 AC
Entry 1: I am so excited. I finally got the journal upgrade I’d been wanting. It’s about time, too, I’ve only been asking for it for two birthdays or would that be hatching days? I’ve always wondered about that. I mean since I wasn’t really born ‘of a woman’ like most children are. A life support accelerator isn’t exactly a womb you know?

Anyway, the esteemed Captain and my biological father said no, I couldn’t have it; but Mother said my idenk, Danyl, had one, so I could have one too. I don’t see how they could ever imagine treating us so differently, we are the same genetic material, Danyl and I. Yet he asks and Father usually caves in while if I ask, I have to earn it. I still had to earn this upgrade by complying with medical. They had come up with another round of scans to help determine my suitability and stability for a diplomatic position with the Triumvirate Alliance of Sol before I could get the journal. It was worth it though — every bit.

I’m still trying to determine what they would do if I decided I didn’t want to take a diplomatic position? Just because they’ve been grooming me for one practically since I could walk, I mean, what if I decided to take a planet bound position? Then again, I would miss this — traveling from planet to planet, gathering information, and seeing so many different races. I think it’s in my blood to journey through the stars. I know it’s in my dreams. They’re getting worse, by the way, the dreams. I don’t want to talk about this to the medics, especially Dr. Ethos, but there is a voice in my dreams now. It’s calling to me, asking me to come to it, to be with it. I want to go, but I don’t know where it is.

So, I don’t know what to do, I mean, why am I having these dreams?

And that one dream where someone is telling me a story is back. I swear, I can recite the story almost verbatim now. It goes like this:

“In the time of chaos, before the age of dreams, the gods spoke and it became. One weary father, El, had seven restless sons. So to occupy them while he did his work, he gave them an orb of cosmic dust and iron ore that was separated from the rest.

Their joy caused intricate symphonies of life to play over its surface as they removed the stuffs they didn’t want, tossing it at each other, creating comets in the process. Heavens separated from earth, and earth from water. Night and day came as one godling spun the orb like a top, the others laughed and kept it spinning for their amusement. Unfortunately, a part broke off but it stayed near their playground, so they left it alone and barren. Another tried to stop it, so it could be repaired, but it wobbled along its cosmic path causing seasons to become.

Grasses sprouted and trees formed as the godlings were hungry and wanted fruits to eat. Singing to the ocean, one created fishes and the things they might eat. Laughing, another brother created sharks so the good fishes would not over-breed. One of the younger sons experimented with things that could fly through the air as the fishes swam the seas while an older one whispered to the dust and brought forth creatures that walked on it.

Needing one creature to have dominion over all, but unable to agree on its form, they decided to have a contest. Each would go off alone and create one creature giving it what it would best need to rule over the rest.

The eldest took dirt, added snow and created it in his own image – alabaster flesh, long limbed, and fair haired with jade for eyes. The second eldest’s creation looked much like his elder brother’s because he spied upon his brother’s creating, but he knew he would have to make his look different so he gave it dark hair and smeared it’s flesh with sienna and used dark topaz for eyes. The third watched the other two and plucked his creation’s flesh from the soot of a volcano, its eyes from the coals, and infused it with fire and passion. Everything about it was dark, except the ivory he used for teeth. The fourth created his from the mud of a river and used two river stones for eyes, while the fifth found some honey, mixed it with sand and ocean water, using black opal for eyes. Pleased with their creations they came to the appointed place and shared them each with the other.

The youngest two were more fanciful than their brother-gods. The next to youngest watched his older brothers and created his to be like theirs, but his were thinner and lighter than his brother-gods’ creations, with slanted eyes of lavender and long limbs infused with strength. Pleased with it he breathed life into it, but being young and new to creating, he did so before he removed the song of creation. Ashamed of his mistake he caused his error to hide within, to lay dormant until awakened by someone who understood the mysteries of life. Then he turned it loose in the world, going to his brother’s empty handed lest they see his mistake.

The youngest had no interest in what his brothers were creating. He cared not one whit about the dominion over all. As the youngest, he knew they would not choose his creation anyway. So, he spent his time creating fanciful beasties: horses with horns, beaver like creatures with duckbills, birds who could not fly but who could swim, mammals for the oceans and fishes for the land, huge lizards that served no purpose but to amuse him, small creatures covered in prickles, peaceful creatures armored for battle. To these he gave life without thought, but the last he thought about and thought about then decided. With his hands, he pulled apart a rainbow and watched as it collected the colors of the torn rainbow. Then he pressed it into his most fanciful creation — a creature with wings, fearsome with its fangs, claws, and armored hide. It became a creature like no other, destined to spend part of its life like an insect, part like a reptile, and part like a mammal. It had the ability to become self-aware, but it had to earn it. It understood the mysteries of life. Grinning he carried his winged creature to his brothers who all laughed at his musings as he knew they would. Six brothers decided all the creatures were worthy of life, created for them mates, and solemnly breathed life into their creations. The seventh just watched knowing his creation roamed the northern wilds.

The youngest grinned as his precious bearers of the mysteries of life took wing.”

I’ve searched all of TAoS’s databanks for creation myths that might have triggered the dreams and there are none similar. Then I broadened the search to all known humanoid species and again, there are none. So, I don’t know what to do, I mean, why am I having this dream that is obviously related somehow to someone’s creation?

I just don’t understand, but then again, maybe I’m not intended to understand at this point. I’ll figure it out later.

Anyway, Mother and I talked about this journal keeping, and now that I am supposedly entering my young adult years, she says I should keep nothing back. As if it were possible! Doesn’t she realize that every time I enter my KARI unit and link to the IAN the ship’s computer has direct access to my brain via the neurocath? I mean it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if they can implant lessons they should be able to read and alter memories, you know: read/write/erase. How stupid does she think I am?

Well I have to go; an important message is coming through from Father.

Mathew stayed close to Geba while they passed through Customs. The formalities never changed even if the planets did, thought Mathew, as they stood in line. This was his first visit to Catara so everything was of interest; even the breathing apparatus they had to wear to alter the atmosphere to the correct mix for human lungs. In preparation he had studied everything the databank had on these interesting people, it wasn’t much though considering all the times Geba had been here. Besides, Mathew recalled, she ordered me not engage in any form of communication attempt with the Catarians. Nor was I to eat or drink anything on planet. It didn’t make much sense because usually when we visited a planet we had a local meal at the very least and were encouraged to engage with the natives.

However, according to the databank, the Catarian race was so unlike any other race Mathew had seen that some of his mother’s warnings made sense.

Although the information in the databank did not do the Catarian people justice — they were a stunning race, beautiful with their hairless, smooth skin that seemed blue in the dull late afternoon sunlight. Catarians were blue; Mathew wondered how that had been missed in the anthropological information he had downloaded from the ship’s computer, and that made him wonder how much of the other information was incorrect.

The buggy, pulled by a furry, orange, lizard-like beast for which the databank had no name, bounced along the road with others of its kind. Gawking, Mathew tried to take it all in: wild-looking patches of vegetation; clusters of rough-hewn and natural stone buildings; Catarians going about their daily lives. One building in particular caught his attention as it stood apart from the other buildings, with the grass trimmed short around it. It was a small, round building made of smooth blue stone. He thought to ask his mother about it, but at that time the bazaar came into view and all other thoughts were lost.

What seemed like hundreds of Catarians milled around the market dressed in everything from simple sack-like garments to flamboyant wraps and trousers; the mishmash of color made Mathew’s head spin. They disembarked and joined the throng of the marketplace. Bodies jostled against Mathew as he competed for space with Catarians out doing their shopping. The strong musky scent of the Catarians combined with the scent of something foul being burnt assaulted his senses even through the breathing apparatus; he choked back bile.

“Please don’t get gravity sick now,” Geba pleaded as she instructed the driver to meet them on the far side of the market. Then she turned to Mathew. “This is such a bland planet. Don’t you think so, Mathew?”

Math looked around; trying to figure out how she thought the kaleidoscope of color around them could be bland. The colors were vibrant: oranges, yellows, reds, violets, greens, and everything in between. However, the only blue he saw was the exposed skin of the people.
And the noise they made! Hawkers yelled at the passersby extolling the value of their goods over their competitors; passersby called to each other in greeting; live animals, kept in cages and pens, added their various growls, clicks, grunt, and squeals to the general din. It was enough to make his head spin.

“I think it’s marvelous,” Math said with a smile.

Geba turned and looked at him. The expression on her face seemed to ask, “Are you feeling well?”

Math looked away. The databank said the Catarians were tall and slender with a longness about their limbs. It also said they were frail. A small Catarian carrying a seemingly impossible load crossed their path; it was then he decided all the information he had retrieved from the databank was invalid. It had been incorrect about too many things thus far.

Math’s observations were interrupted as Geba turned into a lime green tent and began haggling for what appeared to be trinket boxes in rudimentary Catarian.

Math followed the transaction well enough from what little Catarian he was able to pick up from the databank. The speech patterns of those around him helped considerably, too, as the Catarians went on about their way. He listened carefully though hoping to learn more than was in the databank.

Looking at the items she wanted to purchase, his mother approached the seller,

“How much for that worthless thing?”

The Catarian quoted a price and Geba shook her head, stating a lower price for a large number of them. This continued, quietly and with little emotion on either side until they reached a mutual price and amount along with a delivery time.

“Thank you for your generosity,” Geba told the Catarian as she paid him.

“You have fine tastes in trinket boxes,” the Catarian told Geba as he packaged the display item to go. Once they reached an agreement, they both nodded their heads once and parted. Never once had Mother looked the Catarian in the eyes nor smiled. Her facial expressions stayed neutral the entire transaction.

Journal Entry #2
Having this journal so easily accessible now makes recording my thoughts so much easier. I was concerned that maybe Mother could be wrong about the Catarians but to watch her trade with them, maybe she is correct. The one craftsman never even attempted to look her in the eye, and while I stared at him, he ignored me totally. They haggled, but it was done so quietly they could have been discussing the weather, which is perfect by the way. I don’t know what I’m trying to explain here, except that the other vendors and hawkers are so loud its beginning to make my head hurt, and this one was loud too, until he dealt with my mother. Then he went quiet. I just don’t understand it. What are the Catarian’s hiding? Are they hiding anything? Maybe it’s just me over-reacting. I’ll have to think on it some more.

As they headed deeper into the market to find a booth that sold the material, silqween, Mathew noticed his mother was more tense than usual.

“What’s the matter, Mother?” he asked walking beside her.

“Nothing is the matter Mathew, except that you are here. Your father seems to think you will not embarrass the TAoS, but I just somehow doubt it. Danyl couldn’t manage and you won’t either.”

“I’m not Danyl, Mother, you should know that.”

“I do know it. That’s the problem. Danyl did what he did because he’s irresponsible; you will get yourself in trouble because you are not Danyl. You are different. You can’t be different here Mathew.”

“I’m no different here than you are,” he replied slightly confused at her accusation.

“Mathew you are different anywhere you go. Like that Izoparana, you’ve not yet given it up, that makes you different.”

“I thought it made me responsible. I’ve not lost it.” He countered sliding past a family of Catarians to keep up with her. “You could have taken it away.”

“No, I couldn’t have. It was given to you.” She sighed. “I think you will find what you want over there.” She indicated to the left with a thrust of her chin.

Mathew looked and saw several booths to choose from, each of which offered a different design or pattern. Mathew found one he liked and pointed it out to his mother.

“How about this one instead, Mathew?” She indicated a shirt of a slightly different cut.

He looked at it and shook his head. “I like the color in this one better.”

“Math, they are both the same color,” she insisted.

“No, they’re not. Don’t you see it? That one has more red and this one has more green.”
Geba blinked, “Mathew, they are both gray. Different shades of gray, but both gray.”
Mathew looked from one shirt to the other. They were definitely not the same color and neither was gray.

“No Mother, they’re not. I think the green will bring out the color of my eyes better.”

“Mathew Khoury, don’t you dare argue with me here. They are both gray, understand?” she practically growled at him.

Mathew gulped and nodded. “I still like this one better,” he finally replied, wondering what was wrong with his mother that she could not see the colors.

They were clear as day to him.

His mother made the purchase, selecting the shirt that Math did not want for Danyl. While she was discussing price, Mathew found a woven belt with a pouch on it for incidentals. Many of the Catarians wore them and it seemed like a good idea to him as well. He chose one that would complement his shirt

“I would like this too, please.”

Geba did not question how he spent his money and added the belt to his purchase. When she was finished, she handed Math the bag to carry. He took it without a word and they continued on their way through the market until a leather shop caught Mathew’s eye. “I’d like to look over there, please.”

“What do you need there?”

“New boots.”

“Of course you do. You do understand they probably will not have any that fit your feet.”

“We can look though, right? These are almost too small and the ship’s stores don’t have the next size I will need.”

“We can look; just don’t get your hopes up.”

“Yes ma’am.”

Mathew waited while his mother talked to the dark blue skinned craftsman and then tried on the two pair of boots that he suggested after looking Mathew’s feet. The second pair fit as if they had been made for his foot with a little room to grow.

Smiling and speaking directly to the craftsman, Mathew said, “These will do.”

For a moment he totally forgot his Mother’s orders. The craftsman did not smile back. Math was confused at first. Why had the Catarian not smiled back? Was it really taboo or just not a custom of these people to smile during business transactions? Mathew sighed as Geba paid for the boots. Then he put them on, placing his old ones in the bag with his other things. Then he carried everything without a word so they could continue on their way through the market.

“Whatever possessed you to speak in there?” Geba snapped at him as soon as they were out of earshot of the booth. “You were told not to speak, not to make eye contact, and not to smile. Can you not follow the most simple of orders, Mathew?”

“Yes ma’am I can. I just forgot is all. Why is it so wrong to smile or to look them in the eye? They are a beautiful race, Mother.”

“It’s not that it’s wrong, it’s just not done, Mathew. The trader that first brought me here taught me what was allowed and what was not allowed. I’m trying to teach you. IAN says you are intelligent, yet you can’t seem to grasp a simple restriction on interaction with one race.”

“So, you’ve never smiled at them?” Math walked docilely beside his mother as she headed to the far side of the market and the other booth she needed to visit.


“Nor made eye contact?”


“Then how do you know it’s wrong?” Mathew asked.

“Because I was told it was and that’s all I need, Mathew.”

“I’m sorry, Mother, I just want to understand, and I can’t seem to understand if I’m not allowed to do the things you demanded of me. It doesn’t feel wrong to smile at them, nor to look them in the eye. It does feel wrong to do what you are doing and refusing to accept their differences as good.”

On this side of the market, the crowd was thicker due to the goods being of a more everyday nature, including more foodstuffs.

“It’s those differences that will get you in trouble Mathew. They are not human.”

“No, they’re not, but we should at least treat them as if they were something other than a creature deserving our contempt.”

“I don’t despise them, Mathew; I just treat them how I’ve been taught to treat them.”

Finally, after a search, his mother found the booth she needed

“And I can only treat them how I feel is right, Mother; you way feels wrong.”

“I don’t want to hear another word. Here is the shop I need. You will wait out here and stare at your new boots, understand?”

“Yes Mother,” he sighed and stood outside the booth, off to the side, trying not to look at anyone or anything specific.

The yellow and indigo striped awning of a booth caught his attention. It sold large, dark red, melon-like fruits. Mathew’s stomach growled; it had been a long while since breakfast and he would not be allowed lunch until they returned to the ship. Against his mother’s orders, he slyly watched the Catarians as they passed by, while appearing to be looking at the booth. A few spoke apologies for pressing against him too closely, and he responded in kind. The rudimentary Catarian in the database included a few words of nicety as well as words directly related to trade. However, Mathew was learning more from the Catarians as he heard them speak. Besides, he considered, it would not do to be rude even if it went against his mother’s direct orders. The database at least had been correct in the rudimentary Catarian language module.

Growing tired of holding his bag, he sat it down between his feet, and continued to wait for his mother to return.

As he pretended not to watch, one small, light blue, Catarian fell down practically at his feet. Without thinking of the consequences or his mother’s orders, he offered his hand to help it stand back up. Accepting, the child placed her hand in Mathew’s hand. It was delicate, more drawn out than a human’s hand, and when it touched Mathew’s, her gratitude flooded his mind. Once she had gained her feet, she thanked him verbally before scampering away. Only now, her “thank you” meant so much more. As their hands touched, her emotions conferred the depth of her thanks and he was better able to understand the depth of their language. It was no wonder the TAoS agents couldn’t learn to speak Catarian. The language was only partially vocalizations, thought Mathew.

Math considered this new development while he kept watching the booth with the red fruits. If the Catarian language was only partially vocalizations and partially transferred emotions then it would explain why most traders could not grasp even the rudimentary Catarian in the database. However, it would not explain the orders to not attempt any contact with the Catarians, unless someone, somewhere had made full contact with the Catarians and did not want it to happen again. Mathew sighed. He would have a bit to discuss with his father when he arrived back aboard the ship. And maybe the PRD too, they were always on the lookout for telepathic and empathic races, especially if they could interbreed with humans.

The natives kept pressing close, but his mother still had not concluded her business. Just as he finished logging the information for future reference, another Catarian caught his attention. The Catarian was shorter than the others around it, but still as tall as Math was, and its skin was a bit darker than those around it were — nearing indigo. The Catarian walked as if it were trying not to be noticed. Math looked away, unsure if he should be watching, but there was something about the Catarian’s movement that kept drawing Math’s eyes back. Slinking up to the table of red fruit, the small Catarian picked up one in front of the merchant, who did nothing to stop the action. Mathew watched all this unfold, ignorant of the local laws, unsure if the Catarian was stealing or if it was within its rights to take the fruit. When Math looked over at the Catarian, thin, almost nonexistent lips parted showing small, black, sharp teeth. It was a grotesque imitation of a human smile. Mathew smiled back, his mother’s warning ringing in his mind. Math wasn’t sure what that gesture meant in the Catarian culture, but he just couldn’t help himself.

The Catarian walked toward Math, a wicked looking blade in its hand. Math looked around for help — for his mother — anyone. He did not know what the Catarian’s intent was. Was it going to cut the fruit or something worse?

As if sensing Math’s growing fear, the Catarian lifted the fruit and sliced it open, the juice spilling out over its hand as it offered the cut fruit to Math. Their eyes met. Math’s breath caught in his throat and there was an unfamiliar tightness in his chest as he gazed into the molten silver pools that rippled between the shores of the Catarian’s eyelids. He took the gift, and while their hands were still touching, conveyed his thanks with an empathical, emotional pulse.
The Catarian nodded and pulled its hand away to slice off another piece. They chewed their fruit together. Math found the juice was slightly bitter but the flesh was chewy. It is good. Mathew thought as he realized he had disobeyed another of his mother’s orders and did not care one whit; he had been hungry.

The Catarian gave Math a second piece. Its fingertips brushed Math’s hand, and Math felt heat rising to his cheeks. Something raw passed between them that Math could not explain, but he knew he did not want the Catarian to leave.

The juice dripped off Math’s chin and the Catarian reached over to wipe it off. Mathew turned his head ever so slightly and the Catarian’s fingers came in contact with his lips. His tongue flicked out and he tasted the fruit on its fingers. The Catarian smiled again and Math leaned forward, invading its space. The musky scent of the Catarian did not even bother him as they stood a breath apart sharing more than just the fruit. Images flooded Math’s mind: images of Catarian life on the streets, life as a young Catarian lived. Its name was Katu. It had a mother, father, and brothers. One of Katu’s brothers served in the temple of the Gahpa. The feelings came hard and strong with each image, a strong sense of awe and fear of the Gahpa, as well as respect for those who served.

So in tune were they with each other that they did not notice the pall over the crowd nor people back away from them until they were both being picked up and dragged away. The large Catarians — Peacekeepers — came the name of them from the memories Katu had shared, moved quickly through the crowd, half carrying, half dragging a kicking and screaming Math and a limp Katu. Math’s outraged yell carried across the market alerting everyone in earshot — including his mother — to the situation. The crowd parted before the Peacekeepers as puzzlement rolled off Mathew in waves. Was what he did wrong somehow? If so then, why did it feel so right?

Mothers grabbed their children and no one looked directly at the scene as it occurred.
Geba ran out of the shop, the memory of Danyl’s run-in with the Peacekeepers suddenly fresh in her mind.

“Stop!” Geba yelled after the two Peacekeepers. “Blast it, drop my son!” she continued yelling, knowing they would not obey her. She ran to keep them in sight, having to fight the crowd that closed in behind them. “He has immunity!” She tried one last time before barreling through the crowd, fighting to keep them in sight while her mind frantically tried to figure out how to get Mathew out of this mess.

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Lugh's Blog: Land of the Fey