Monday, August 21, 2017

From the Writer's Desk - Solar Eclipse and Update

Hard to believe we are entering the last half of August. The summer and this year have really flown by. School will be starting in a couple of weeks and for the first time in four years I didn't have to worry about marching band, I can make plans without having to worry about a band conflict. I do need to write down the home games, because I still plan on attending the games and competitions that I can.  R will be starting college, but aside from helping here and there, I don't have a lot to do. Which is kind of nice. Very weird. I'll learn to live with it. :)  It does make me want to attend a writing retreat - I attended some fantastic ones in the past, but haven't in a few years.

The solar eclipse occurs today - I hope I can see at least part of it.

I have new glasses finally! It took a couple of days to get used to them, but I love them. I can sit at my computer for more than five minutes. I can do a lot of things now. I still like writing long hand and enjoyed reading more. I'm still battling with myself over sitting my butt down and writing, while giving myself permission to do non-writing things like read or research. Or if none of the non-writing writing related tasks work - a free day. Guilt free.

I've spent more days not writing this month than I have writing. However, I've managed to write about 2 hours this past week, so I'm feeling good about that. My goal for this week - Monday through next Sunday - is to write 7 hours. I like the time better than the numbers. Because some times I can write 1000+ words in an hour (15-minutes at a time) and others I struggle to get 250 in that same hour. But, if I'm there for an hour, I have the reward of trying without the guilt of failing to hit a word count. It definitely helps to go to Barnes and Noble for a couple of hours, especially since there is usually people - teenagers - R and R's friends- at my house.

I finished the special project my brother asked for:






Goals this week:
7 hours of writing as defined here
Read 30 minutes a day.

Blessings,
Simone.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Uniform Desires


Part of the Heart of a Hero series, available from Pride Publishing.



Home on leave, Cade Donovan isn’t looking for a hook-up, let alone love. Certainly not while he is out with his brothers. When Cade steps in to even the odds in a fight outside a bar, he is instantly drawn to the man being ganged up on. Acting on instinct, the Marine Corps sniper is drawn to the smaller man like a moth to a flame, refusing to give up until the man is his.

Being the younger brother of the school bully has made Jason Carlson’s life hell. When a man intervenes during yet another retaliatory fight, Jason knows his life and his luck have gone from bad to worse. Warned to stay away from his home, Jason accepts the invitation of his rescuer and soon realises that his life has been forever altered and he can have everything he desires, if he’s willing trust Cade with his heart.

When the reality of loving a man in uniform sets in, Jason must find the strength with in himself to believe and know that love is worth fighting for.


Patience and training have provided him with the tools he’ll need to fight for what he wants.


Excerpt:



“Stop…please!”

The plea—barely a whisper next to the loud music pouring from the Driftwood Bar and Grille—caught Cade Donovan’s attention. Senses flaring he listened again, weighing his options. His gut clenched and he turned to his brothers.

“Go on ahead, I’ll be right in.”

“Cade, where are you going?” his older brother Riley asked.

“Just need something I want to check out.”

“We’ll go with you,” his younger brother Christian said, nodding to his twin brother Riordan.

Cade smiled and shook his head. “Pretty sure I can take care of myself.”

It was rare for all of them to be home at the same time, but they’d managed it—everyone meeting at Parris Island for their sister Cheyenne’s graduation from Marine Corps boot camp three days ago. They had another two weeks before they all needed to be back to their respective bases. Earlier in the night, his sisters had gone to the movies, while their parents had gone to a couples-only party.

“Let us know if you need us to come rescue your ass.” Riordan laughed.

Cade nodded as his brothers headed into the bar. Aware of his surroundings, he made his way around the side of the building. Knowing the music would cover the sound of his boots on the pavement, he kept to the shadows as he scanned the area. At the far end of the parking lot, four men stood on the other side of a brown 1990 Cadillac Seville, kicking and shouting at an unseen person. He made his way along the side of the building and his heart dropped as his intuition was confirmed. Pulling out his cell phone, he sent a quick message to his brothers.

“Four on one. End of lot.”

Cade took a deep breath and hit send. Riley was with the SWAT team in the nearby city of Kalamazoo. Christian and Riordan were both Air Force Combat Controllers. It made sense to get their help, especially if any of the four men had weapons, but he had no intention of waiting for his brothers to show.

“Is there a problem?” Cade asked, striding over to the group then crossing his arms over his chest as he stopped.
“None of your concern, Marine,” said a man with dark hair and the beginnings of a beer belly that his faded University of Michigan T-shirt failed to hide.

“Please help me,” the boy on the ground sobbed out. “I didn’t do anything.”

“You’re breathing, Carlson, that’s enough,” a second dark-haired man sneered.

The four men looked to be around his age and seemed vaguely familiar but Cade couldn’t place them. They’d called the boy Carlson. As far as he knew, there was only one family of Carlsons—the family of the school bully Scott Carlson. Scott had been in his class, so that made the kid his younger brother or possibly a cousin.

“Leave the kid alone.” Cade stepped closer. Regardless of the kid’s relationship to Scott Carlson, four on one wasn’t remotely fair in these circumstances.

“Nobody asked you,” the first man said. “It’s none of your business.”

“Yeah, but seefour on one isn’t fair, unless the one is a Marine. What did he do besides breathing that warrants all four of you beating the shit out of him?”

“His brother made our lives hell growing up,” a third man replied.

“Pretty sure Scott Carlson made everybody’s life a living hell. That doesn’t mean you take it out on his brother. That could be suicidal,” Cade reasoned as the smaller man tried to pick himself up.

“Doubt it. Saw him using his brother as a punching bag a couple of weeks ago. Makes him fair game,” the second man said.

“Bullshit! Why don’t you grow a pair of balls and face Scott himself?” Cade exclaimed. “Stop taking it out on someone smaller than you. That makes you just as bad as Scott.”

Movement caught his attention. Cade turned and blocked the punch, before countering with one of his own, knocking the man to the ground. He stood his ground as the remaining three men stalked towards him. Turning slightly, he stepped forward with one foot and punched the solar plexus and the gut of the closest man. Shifting his weight and pivoting, he kicked a third man in the head, knocking him to the ground, before focusing his attention on the remaining man. The man had been silent during the whole exchange.

Cade returned to the modified fighting stance he preferred and waited for the smaller man to move. He stared into the other man’s eyes until the smaller man looked away and kicked out at him. Cade caught the heel of the man’s cowboy boot and lifted with all his strength, sending his opponent sprawling onto his back.

Ignoring the four downed men, he stepped into the circle of bodies and grabbed the kid’s hand. He spun around, pushing the kid behind him as the sound of footsteps approached.

“What the fuck?” Riley asked, dialling his cell phone.

Cade relaxed, stepped to the side and guided the younger man towards his brothers, positioning himself between the man and his attackers.

“You were supposed to wait for us,” Riordan whined.

“Be smart—stay on the ground,” Christian said, moving towards the four downed men.

“Go find your own fight. Four on one was unfair. Besides, you were too slow.” Cade shrugged.

“Quit your bitching, you three.” Riley pocketedthe device. “Police are on their way. What the hell happened?”

“The four of them were beating up on him for no good reason,” Cade explained.

“I…I need to go,” the smaller man stammered.

“No, you’re waiting for the police,” Cade said. “Well, the on-duty police. Riley is off-duty right now.”

The younger man shook his head and stared at the ground, kicking at a loose hunk of asphalt, holding one arm curled protectively around his abdomen. Cade’s instincts kicked in as he took a closer look at the battered man. Manoeuvring him towards the Cadillac, Cade used the nearby light to look for obvious injuries.

“How bad did they get you?” he asked.

“Just a few bruises.” The man shrugged.
“I’m Cade Donovan. These are my brothers Riley, Christian and Riordan.” Cade stuck out his hand to shake the other man’s instead of running it along his like his gut and cock were demanding.

“Jason Carlson.”



** This book also appeared in the anthology - His Hero, which is no longer available.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Changing Tides




Brett DeMarco is a First Lieutenant in Aelland’s Security Forces and hopes to become the head of intelligence someday. After the death of his fiancée, Brett threw himself into his work, dodging his father’s attempts to get him to marry the right woman, never doubting the career path he’d chosen.

Orion Hellman is the base commander’s personal assistant, has never spoken a word to anyone, and follows orders exactly, helping to ensure the base runs smoothly by any means the general deems necessary. Classified as a manual laborer with marriage out of the question, Orion has no intention of getting involved with anyone.

A chance meeting ignites Brett’s long dead desire and changes everything he knew and gives Orion everything he never thought he wanted.

* (Book 14 in the New Reality Series from Resplendence Publishing  - Books are connected by theme and can be read as stand alone books.)

Excerpt --


Tension eased in Lieutenant Brett DeMarco’s shoulders as he neared his base, Fort Tottenham. The lights from the city and surrounding businesses had faded away miles ago. Unlike his father’s base, Fort Landry, a Strategic Military Command base, the government required a ten-mile business and city free zone with a limited number of people allowed to live in all directions from any Tactical Command base or installation. Farmers were given permission to reside there so long as their property measured between five and two hundred and fifty acres. In exchange for inexpensive land and lower taxes, the owners agreed to abide by a curfew and lights out whenever the order came down from the base.



Light from the car’s headlights caught movement on the side of the narrow, two-lane road. Brett tapped the brakes, slowing the vehicle as a trio of deer stared at him. The way his week was going, hitting a deer would be the perfect way to end the one vacation he took each year.



His one full week of leave coincided with the anniversary of General Vanessa Landry’s accidence to the Presidency and the day celebrated as the date of rebirth of the country. He’d been spent it with his parents. The visit had started off with another fight with his father about who Brett should marry. He’d been reminded that the time to make his choices was coming up and they needed to be submitted in writing with his signature as approval. Brett had countered by stating he needed a sponsor but it didn’t have to be a parent. He could ask his boss or the base commander to sign off if he needed to. His father had threatened him and Brett had started to walk away until his mother had interceded.



The week had ended with his father trying to set him up with younger men he personally deemed appropriate. Brett did not. He couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. After years of yelling at him to marry a woman instead of a man, his father had conceded too easily. It made him suspicious, even as his father began suggesting younger men to him. Those his father found acceptable were all good-looking men with the manners and intellect found in the children of officers and high-level public administrators. They’d all seemed stiff and emotionless next to Brett’s memories of Orion Hellman, and none had the golden-brown eyes and uncommonly long brown hair.



A figure stumbled out into the middle of the road pulling him from his thoughts. Brett slammed on his brakes, yanked the wheel and prayed he’d miss the person. The car skidded to a halt several feet beyond where the man stood. Brett looked in his rearview mirror and saw him fall. Throwing the car into park, Brett jumped out and ran over to them.



“Are you okay?” Brett asked, kneeling. The red from his taillights cast an eerie glow over the scene. The man wasn’t someone he recognized. While they were closer to the medical clinic on the base than to other facilities, it was reserved for military personnel only. The civilian medical center was about fifteen miles away, close to the center of town. Blood coated the man’s face and hair, and bruises were starting to form. “I’m going to call for help. I’ll be right back.” Brett started to stand.



The man grabbed his arm and pulled, shaking his head.



“You need help,” Brett replied.



The man shook his head again.



Brett stared down at the man. If he did nothing, the man would die. He wasn’t even sure if the civilian medical center would send a response team this far out. The military emergency personnel travelled off base only for military personnel or their dependents. The man’s shirt was bloodied and torn, exposing more of his battered body.



Brett squeezed his eyes shut, trying to prevent the familiar images of his deceased fiancée from pressing forward. The similarities were too close to be discounted, but left him no closer to knowing who was responsible. “I-I need to take you to the base.”



The man tried to push himself up.



“Stop, you’re going to make everything worse. You don’t want me to take you to the base, right?”



“No base,” the man said, his voice soft and cracking.



“I suppose I can take you to the clinic instead. You’re a civilian?”



“Yes.”



“All right, let’s get you into the car.” Brett helped the man up, trying not to dwell on the fact that he was probably breaking another rule or wonder why the man was so far from the residential areas. But the man needed help, and as a military officer, he was duty bound to help. More than that, he knew, was Taren’s influence. No one should suffer as his lover had.



The ride into the city’s center was quiet. Brett’s passenger refused to answer questions or talk until Brett tried to turn down the road leading to the medical center. The man adamantly refused to go to the large clinic, instead giving Brett directions to a different place, in an area of the city Brett had never been to. Nerves taut, he made his way through the winding streets until he came to an area of abandoned and crumbling buildings, most of which looked as if they might have been warehouses at one point. He stopped at the edge of an alley.



“Here?” Brett asked hesitantly, unable to hide his dismay.



The man nodded. “Thanks for the ride, but you should’ve left me where you found me.”



Brett turned and stared at the man, astounded at the first full sentence he’d said. “You need medical help, I can—”



“You’ve done enough. I don’t like medical centers.” It was eerily similar to what Orion had basically “told” him.



“How—”



“End of the road. Turn left. Two miles turn left again. First working light, turn right. You can find your way from there.”



Brett nodded and watched the man pull himself out of the car then disappear into the shadows. Had he helped an enemy of the state get away? Noise from the other side of the street caught his attention, reminding him why he didn’t want to wait around. He carefully followed the other man’s directions until he was familiar with the area then made his way back to base. Parking in his assigned spot in front of his building, he turned off the car and grabbed his bags. His heart was heavy with another secret he couldn’t tell.


Blessings, 
Simone.



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Defining Writing

Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines Writing as:

  1. :  the act or process of one who writes: such as
     a :  the act or art of forming visible letters or characters; specifically :  handwriting
    b :  the act or practice of literary or musical composition
  2. :  something written: such as 
    a :  letters or characters that serve as visible signs of ideas, words, or symbols 
    b :  a letter, note, or notice used to communicate or record 
    c :  a written compositiond :  inscription
  3. :  a style or form of composition
  4. :  the occupation of a writer; especially :  the profession of authorship
 The question is not how the dictionary defines writing, but how does a writer define writing. This has been a sticking point for me for a while. For the longest time when I said I needed to carve out writing time, I meant I needed to sit down at my keyboard and write. And that is what was meant or at least how I interpreted it when I heard that piece of advice.

Fantastic.

Except, there is more to writing than that. Regardless of what you write.

So, I made a list of writing related activities.

1. Working on the story - writing it
2. Characterization
3. Plot development (I'm a pantser, so this is not something I sit down and plan, but some do and it's a writing related activity)
4. Updating Series Bible or other Story Details sheets
5. Research (This is very NON inclusive list)
  a) Setting
  b) Careers
  c) Laws and Law enforcement
  d) Military
  e) Cultures 
  f)  History
  g) First Responders
  h) Medical
  i) Architecture
  j) Creation Myths
  k) Mythology
  m) News reports/articles
6. Setting Construction (what places are you going to use or are you part way through and decide you actually do need to know the layout of the apartment, office, fire house, bar, or whatever else is needed)
7. World Building - This is different than the locations where the story takes place - this might be the actual world, or just different cultures that need to be developed - and that isn't always an easy process because of how inter connected everything in a culture is.

Some decisions are made as you write, but sometimes you need to stop the writing to research something to go forward. For me, this is especially true any time I am developing a new culture or exploring a topic that I'm not as familiar with.

Regardless of when a task gets accomplished - maybe the goal is to finish all of the pre-writing - characterization, plotting, set construction, world building, or anything else - before sitting down to write the first word of the novel, it still falls under the topic of Writing. Therefore, writing time is not just for putting the words on the keyboard - that's important , if you don't do the actual writing of the story part - all the rest of it is wasted time and energy - but also for all of the pieces that make up the process of writing a book.

A book is a project in the sense that that there are dozens of pieces that need to be accomplished individually to create a final product. All of those pieces require time - time that needs to be carved from very busy days.

Why is this important?

Guilt.

Good old fashion guilt.

Guilt because I should be writing the story and not wasting time doing the research or working on characters or sketching apartment layouts or looking at pictures of mansions or even watching a documentary or three on a topic. But, there are no minor details in story telling. None. Because there is a reader who specializes in one of the things I write about - I don't know them, I can't ask them, but if I'm asking them to spend time in the story I'm telling, in the world I've created, then I owe it to them to create the most accurate and believable world I possibly can.

To me it's like someone saying an airman flies jets/airplanes. No, they don't. An airman is the lowest ranking enlisted person in the US Air Force, pilots fly jets and they are always officers. It's not a general term used in the service, it's a generalized term sometimes used outside the service by non-service personnel or for inter-service rivalry. It's a seemingly minor detail, but one that will pull me out of the story where I may not get back into it completely or may not finish it at all.

Guilt gets in the way of writing. For me, it's probably at least one of the reasons I put off writing, because I know that I'm going to be writing during that session but working on developing a culture or figuring out if I can make the bad guy who I want and if what I want to happen can actually happen.

Writing time is precious. It's carved out of a day filled with family, a day job, mental/physical health issues, and broken water heaters. So, writing time is for everything I need to do to make my story real, to make it as good as it can be.

Blessings,

Simone.


Monday, August 7, 2017

From The Writer's Desk - Seven Days In and No Writing Yet

Technically, we are 7 days into August, today. It's arguable that there have only been 6 days of writing/work so far, because it's early Monday morning. Except, I'm supposed to be getting up at 4. I haven't done that in a couple of weeks, and I haven't written anything story related since last Monday.

I know some of the issues.

I still don't have new glasses, but I haven't been writing by hand either. There is a lawn mower in my office area along with an assortment of boxes, because I don't have a shed to store them in. And I don't know when that is going to happen. There is a guest over every day. They are here when I get home and until 30 minutes before I'm supposed to be in bed. Until a few days ago there was also a smaller guest who thought they needed to be entertained by me all day/evening long.  Then there are a variety of doctors appointments for the last two weeks and the next two along with college orientation.  Then to add to the mix, my hot water heater died. It's under warranty. Shipping for the parts is not. The labor and service call. Also not under warranty. All of which means, I haven't felt like writing. I haven't felt like dealing with anything else.

But, I want the book done, so I have to figure something out. Because really, the guest will probably be around for a while. Although, school starts soon. Thankfully. There is a write-in tonight for the group that was formed during NaNoWriMo one year and continues to grow and adjust with new and leaving members. But, I may just go to Barnes and Noble, where I can have a whole table to myself.

It's interesting, the quirks you uncover as a writer. It sounds nit-picky. I need this and this and this. The book I'm reading put some reason to it. Some writers need absolutely no distractions, others need everything exactly so, and for some others we need to FEEL safe. That's where I fall. I need to feel safe, to feel in control of things. I have certain idiosyncrasies when it comes to writing - I need the book's playlist going in either iTunes or YouTube. A new project always needs a title before I can start writing it - no matter how developed the story and characters are - and place holders like Untitled Fantasy won't work. But, the other part is feeling like I have some control, some balance, some safety in my life.

So, I will probably take myself to Barnes and Noble for a while tonight and see if I can get rid of this stagnation and get back on track. I want the book finished by August 31st. It's doable.

My goal this week is to write 7 hours - at least one hour every day. Long hand or on the computer. But to write at least 1 hour every day.

I'm still reading Rebecca, but my brother asked me for a favor before his wedding next month, so I will be working on that for a while this week. It's stitching up fast, it's just a pain in the butt.

Blessings,

Simone.

Monday, July 31, 2017

From the Writer's Desk - Into August

Tomorrow is the 1st of August. This year feels as though it has flown by.  A lot of the people I know have said the same thing. Some of it, I think, is that too many of us are always looking forward to the weekends, towards some future date or event. Some, I think, may be that age thing.

I have finally finished transcribing all of my handwritten pages. I revised as I added them, changing things or catching an inconsistency. I wrote further after I finished transcribing. My spreadsheet deal says I'm about 67% finished and I need to write 768 to finish Behind the Masque by August 31st. That is my deadline. Self-imposed, but a deadline all the same. There is a slight hiccup with those numbers though. When I entered the original word count goal - I figured 75,000 words should give me enough room to tell a story - it's contemporary, fairly straight forward.

Then my characters got involved.

I'm just over 50,000 words into it. I'm fairly certain this will hit 100,000 words. Or close to it. At least the first draft. Then I'll sit on it for a bit before revising it again - and submit it. It started out intended for one thing, but took a duck walk early on. So, I'll submit it. Hopefully it's liked and accepted.  I have more details to add when I start revising. Questions that I wrote in the margin of my manuscript that may or may not require research or rewriting depending on what happened at the end of the story.

My goals are time based instead of word count based. My focus WIP is Behind the Masque. My goal is to write at least 1 hour every day. To spend at least half of that actually writing sentences that belong in the story. But part of writing is also research, it's also character development and set design. There is a lot more to writing, then simply sitting down to the computer or notebook and writing. I had to give myself permission to do that. If you're writing a paranormal, sci-fi, or fantasy then there is a lot more that has to be done. Because worlds and cultures must be explored and created in addition to figure out where the characters are heading now, because they don't care what you as the writer wants. Not really. They don't even fake it.

In reading news, I'm reading Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, which was not listed on the books (here) I was going to choose from.

So,7 hours of writing - 1 hour per day this week. My 30-day Writing Challenge is also supposed to kick off tomorrow, which is 1 hour of actually story writing, not any part of the writing process.

Happy Reading.

Blessings,
Simone.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Bissari Confederation

 The Bissari Confederation Series --

The Bissari Confederation, is a confederation of planets and solar systems that united against common enemies and found strength in numbers. This is the chronicle of the current affairs and events of the Bissari Confederation.

Bond Mates -- Book 1  --

 






 Excerpt:



“What’s your pleasure soldier?” the soft male voice purred, the words wrapping around him.

Thane ap del Kala did his best to ignore the voice and the fingers, which trailed cautiously up his thigh. He’d come in for a drink and sex, if he found the right person. Six months on patrol in space along the borders for the Bissari Confederation had taken its toll. Twenty-four hours left of a two-day leave while the ship underwent minor repairs. He normally didn’t take a quarter of that, spending just enough time away from the ship to find some relief. This time he’d taken the whole thing, needing to rid himself of the stress and tension from the last few months. The bar, a short shuttle ride from the star port, was clean and the boys working were legal and healthy. It was his favorite place to come when they stopped at the star port.

The edges of Thane’s senses tingled. The dormant psychic link programmed only for his soul mate vibrated. Every Karrgi knew the signs. One of the many humanoid races in the universe and the Bissari Confederation, his people had innate abilities gifted to them centuries ago. He knew when his soul mate was nearby. Every Karrgi knew when they were with meters of their soul mates. He’d brushed off earlier signs as the result from being in space and with out sex for too long. Now, within feet of his soul mate, there was no disputing the fact. Growling, he shook his head. Nothing good could come of meeting someone here. A bar on the fringes of a star port was a decent place for sexual release, but not for finding a life mate.

“I can do hard, soft, fast, or slow,” the male said, his fingers dancing lightly over Thane’s neck. “You could even spank me.” The words were soft, whispered against his ear, followed by a flick of a tongue.

Thane finally turned his attention toward the barfly. He knew their type, most were prostitutes looking for money, some wanted a way out of their current situation, but a few were simply after a good time. The practiced movements and voice that went straight to a man’s cock told him which type this one was. Money was a strong motivator. Briefly, Thane wondered what happened to make the boy choose this option.

“Who runs you?” Thane asked. He had no desire to enter into any sort of agreement without knowing exactly with whom he would have to negotiate if he was right. And everything proceeded like it should.

“I run myself.”

“Owner?” Thane asked, unconvinced.

“No.”

“How long have you been down here?”

“Maybe an hour,” the man purred. “I’ve never seen you here before.”
“Don’t toy with me,” Thane spat grabbing the thin wrist before it could reach his groin.

“Six months. Long enough.” The voice lost its sultry sound but still connected with his cock.

Slowly, Thane let his gaze wander over the would-be seducer standing in front of him. Taking his time, using the full range of his senses and abilities, he looked the barely-legal man up and down. Brown eyes peered out from under unruly sandy hair. A small, lithe body radiated need—not the sexual need that the young man might prefer, but the need to be loved and accepted. The thin, clingy material he wore did little to hide anything, including the image Thane sought. In the center of the younger man’s chest, over his heart was a pacing tiger in bright, shimmering white—the boy’s soul mark. It matched Thane’s slightly bigger version and that any Karrgi would see in green. The soul mark appeared green to everyone, but one’s life mate.

Soul mark. Bond mates. Thane mentally swore. If he didn’t bond with the man soon, there was a strong possibility he never would. Especially if the boy continued to work and live here. The idea instantly set Thane on edge. His man. His mate. Not some common prostitute. Not any more. No one would touch his mate like that, again. Ever.

“How old are you?” he demanded. He knew the owner of the bar; too many military personnel came through here for him to be even slightly careless about age.

“Turned eighteen three months ago. You can check. I know the rules. Sixteen for consent and just about anything else. Seventeen to work anywhere in any system. Eighteen if you want in here,” the younger man recited and removed his necklace. A small pouch hung on the chain, and he pulled out a one-inch metal disc and held it out.

Thane shook his head, took the disc and signaled for a reader. The bartender nodded and smiled, handing over a small square black and gray box with a large screen on the top of it. “Name,” Thane demanded, staring at the rent-boy.

“He’s legal, Commander. I did the verification myself,” the bartender said.

“I go by Wolf,” the younger man bit out.

Thane nodded. Not only had he found his mate in a bar, plying the oldest trade in the universe, but the man wasn’t even Karrgi. He’d known it was possible, however rare, for a Karrgi’s bond mate to be of a different race. The smaller man’s race didn’t matter where the laws and traditions of bond mates were concerned. Age and experience dictated that Thane was responsible for the younger man by Karrgi law. Thane knew that now that he’d found his mate, he should leave military service at the end of his current tour, return to his home world with his mate and settle down. Should. It wasn’t a law, he didn’t have to. Not really.

Sliding the disc in, Thane read the important details that verified the man’s age, identity and his valid work permit before using his security clearance to read more of the other man’s file. Taladari orphan. He blew out a breath. By choice or circumstance, the man was parentless. Thane had dealt with the Taladari before. They were a conservative, family-centered race of humans that passed information and skills from parent to child. Children who were fostered or adopted would learn the skills provided by that family. Orphans would learn whatever the State deemed necessary and were left to fend to on their own. Removing the disc, he handed it back.

“I think I prefer Breyan or Tiger. You’re too young to be a wolf, and I’m not fond of Mykel.”

“Did you get my last name too?” Breyan snapped.

“I did. Mykel Breyan Treadway, son of Moira Treadway. I still prefer Breyan,” Thane replied. “I am Commander Thane ap del Kala from the Karrgi home world of Ragini.” He could easily use his security clearance to find out what happened to lead Breyan to this path, but he wanted more than that with his mate. He wanted there to be trust and communication between them.

“You look good enough to eat Commander,” the man purred.

“I’m in no mood to stay here and flirt. I assume you have a room somewhere.”

Breyan nodded. “Five minute walk from here.”

“Let’s go.”

“You—I—yes sir.”

They walked the three blocks to the large house where Breyan had a room in companionable silence. The place was small, but clean and neat. A large bed dominated the area. A kitchenette was in one corner and a door was in another. There was little to suggest that the occupant wanted to stay here or actually lived here.

“How long have you lived here?”

“Two and a half months. I got it when the guy living here previously met someone and moved in with them.”

Thane nodded. “I want to see all of you.”

“Details first,” Breyan said, suddenly looking nervous. Thane knew the look, had seen it plenty of times on new recruits. It was the one that told him the person just realized they had monumentally screwed up.

“Details, yes. Prices, no.”

“No. I’m not free, and if you’re not paying, I’m not willing.”

Thane smiled and stepped back. The kid wasn’t completely stupid. But, if Thane had been like some men, those words would mean nothing, and he would take what he wanted from Breyan. Depending on the investigator afterward, the claim of rape from a rent boy wouldn’t be worth reporting.

“I’m Karrgi, and an officer in the Bissari Confederation military.”

“And that means what to me?”

Thane blew out a breath and ran a hand through his hair. Stepping forward, he placed a hand on Breyan’s chest.

“The Karrgi know when they’ve met their soul mates. In Ragini and other Karrgi home worlds, it’s easy to meet your mate. For those of us drawn to space, it’s more difficult. Our legends tell us that generations of wandering and centuries of war led to the development of a special psychic connection. We can look at a group of people and know in moments if our soul mate is present.”

“How?”

“We can see soul marks.”

“Soul marks?”

“Everyone has a soul mark, something that is indicative of the person, of the couple and a matching pair binds two souls together. One mark will call to its mate and change color in the presence of that mate. Your soul mark tells me that you’re my soul mate—that you belong to me and I to you.”

“I don’t have any marks,” Breyan protested. “Do they appear after sex?”

“A soul mark isn’t a physical mark. It’s part of your soul. After sex, we’ll share a bond that usually includes a mental connection and an increase in sexual energy. My eyes, Karrgi eyes, will turn green, the color of life, love and purity. A trait that I’ve never heard another race share. Sexually, we’d be sated only by each other.”
 



 






Solar Storm -- Book 2



Baynebridge Cormack, youngest son of a high powered business man, lives a reckless and carefree lifestyle. While on vacation with friends, the luxury starship they are riding on rips in half, separating Baynebridge from his friends and leaving him with life threatening injuries, vulnerable to kidnappers and slavers.

Rogan, Captain and owner of the SkyHawk, takes the young man aboard when no other ship will, knowing the danger he’s in and tries to hide his whereabouts from those trying to force the Confederation’s political hand.

The two men fall in love unexpectedly, but can their love survive run-ins with saboteurs, kidnappers and unexpected danger from within Baynebridge’s own family? 



Excerpt:


Red lights flashed. Sirens wailed. Bayne Cormack sat up in his bed and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. His gaze swept through the large slate gray room and landed on the empty bed next to his. He wondered where his friends were. And why the irritating alarm was sounding. Someone had to have an explanation. He’d paid too much money to be woken up in the middle of the night for something stupid like a drill.

Pulling the sheet from the bed, he wrapped it around his waist. The blue accents appeared to be an eerie shade of purple in the red flashing light. The door leading to the main living area of one of the luxury starliner’s stateroom slid open partway then stalled before continuing to open. Hanging onto the sheet with one hand he ran to the cabin’s second bedroom, swearing when he found it empty.

Heart pounding, he ran through the cabin and pressed the control panel next to the door. It hesitated before sliding open. People in the blue and gray uniforms of the Centuriian Starlines rushed by, occasionally joined by the dark blue uniforms of Bissari Confederation military personnel.

“Brace for impact!” Someone shouted.

“Why?” Bayne asked, disbelief swirling. They were supposed to be on a pleasure cruise, a scenic trek through a couple of star systems before they reached their final destination. His thoughts turned to his three friends. They had all spent the evening drinking and dancing in one of the starliner’s many clubs, and each one had hooked up with a different man. Although, if Bayne knew S’yvyn, there was probably a woman in with them somewhere. The man found himself playing with more couples than anybody else Bayne knew or probably would ever know. Bayne shook his head and wondered where his friends were and if they were okay.

“What’s happening?” a female voice asked. A middle-aged woman peeked out of the room across the hall. She looked irritated and scared, echoing his own emotions. He took a deep breath and schooled his features into a long practiced blank façade.

“Don’t know,” Bayne replied, the noise from the alarms wreaking havoc with his head. “Was told to brace for impact.”

“Why?” A younger looking man asked joining the woman.

Bayne shrugged. “Didn’t say.”

“Pirates maybe?” the woman asked, paling.

The man shook his head. “Maybe we’re going to hit something.”

Bayne nodded, outwardly agreeing with the man. Pirates would be bad. They’d been known to go after smaller starliners, but he’d never heard of them attacking one this big. Hitting anything heading for Van Tora Kai was generally considered suicidal by everyone, since the planet was home to a huge military force. Service personnel always fought back, usually taking the lives of pirates, not bothering to hold them prisoner.

“Rogue meteor,” Bayne offered.

The man shrugged his agreement and pulled the woman back into their stateroom. Bayne watched the door close behind the couple and contemplated his next move.

An older woman in a dark blue uniform bellowed into a communicator as she rushed down the corridor. “Push the override. Open all the goddamned doors. We’ll be sitting ducks. Get the Mayday out!”

He recognized the uniform insignia and rank. She was either the captain of the starliner, or more likely one of the military starcruisers.

This ship was owned and operated by Centuriian Starliners, a civilian company, and had a final port at Van Tora Kai. The space station funneled tourists to one side of the planet while transporting service personnel to the other side. The planet housed the largest military academy and training grounds dedicated to space operations in the galaxy. It was the reason why he and his friends had taken this trip, a last hurrah for Garek, who had followed family tradition by applying for and being accepted into the academy. Eventually he would become an admiral, but first he was looking forward to years as a pilot in the military’s latest starfighter.

The first tremors hit the ship, and he lost his footing. His body lurched forward into the wall and then sideways down the hall. Somewhere along the way he lost hold of the sheet he’d used to cover himself. Pushing his arms out, he tried to stop tumbling about, grasping at anything he could use to secure himself. The ship creaked and groaned. People screamed. Bayne’s left arm throbbed from where he had landed on it. The ship rolled from side to side, tossing him along the corridor as he tried to get back to his cabin. Pain lanced his body. His right arm bent at an unnatural angle. Blood tickled the side of his head. Lights flickered and died. Artificial gravity went offline and he found himself floating to the ceiling with everyone and everything else.

“Why hasn’t the generator kicked on?” Bayne demanded. There were shouts and screams, but no one answered his question.

He needed to get dressed and to find his friends. Keeping his injured arm close to his body, he tried to pull himself along the ceiling to his room. The continual rocking of the ship along with the appearance of more and more debris made any real progress impossible. Everything from clothes and bedding to dishes, toys, and pieces of metal meandered through the corridor, their momentum driven by starliner’s movements.

Metal crunched. The ship lurched violently back and forth. Bayne reached out, catching the doorframe leading to his cabin with both hands as he was about to fly past it. He screamed in pain and pulled himself forward. Agonizingly slow, he dragged himself into the stateroom, now dreading how big it was, and slowly moved toward the bedroom. The ship pitched and rolled, flinging him from one side of the cabin’s main room to the other, colliding with cushions, empty glasses and decorative items. He slammed against the wall, cursing when a chair that either hadn’t been bolted to the floor or had worked its way loose hit him. His head bounced against something hard. Darkness engulfed him.

****
Bright light shone from behind his closed eyes. Bayne blinked rapidly, he could make out blurry moving shapes from where his body had become entangled with some of the furniture. He tried to move, but his body protested. He cried out in pain before he could think to stop himself.

“Help!” He called out. His voice sounded rough and foreign to him, his throat raw. “Help!”

“Shit! Live one!”

“Hold on kid!”

Bayne nodded and closed his eyes. The light and pain burrowed into him. He hoped his friends were okay. He’d never be able to face anyone if they weren’t. The cruise had been his idea. Rough hands grabbed him.

“Hold on kid. We got you. That med transport still around?”

“No sir. Said they were overloaded as it was, they were heading—”

Bayne lost the fight to stay conscious.
****