Gay Contemporary and Paranormal Romance

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wednesday Briefs #26 The Hollow: Souls Seekers



Copyright 2014-2015 JC Wallace

Each week a group of authors participate weekly in Wednesday Briefs Flash Fiction. Each installment is 500 - 1000 words long and is posted to our blogs each week. After you read the latest in my story, click on the links at the end to visit the other flashers.


~~~~~*~~~~~



When no one spoke, Levi continued. “That’s why I stopped the meds. I thought they were causing me to feel nothing but…” Still that empty lonely echoing within him had continued.


“But it didn’t help,” Dr. Winston said finishing Levi’s thought. “Oh, Levi. This just keeps getting stranger and stranger. I know this is a lot to take in at once.”

More than he could have ever imagine. Levi looked down at the bloody tissue. Blood covered his palm. “Can I use the bathroom?” He could only imagine what his face looked like.

Dr. Winston nodded. “The door behind Jeb.”

Levi sighed. Of course, it was. Levi walked toward Jeb wondering if he would move at all. Just as Levi paused, Jeb stepped aside and motioned for Levi to pass.

Levi shut the heavy wood door behind him and turned the lock. He exhaled at his image in the mirror. Not much blood was left on his face. Quickly, he washed up. Frowning, he leaned into the mirror, focusing on his eyes, searching for any hint that his soul was missing. He didn’t look soulless. He envisioned a gaunt, lifeless image, gray skin, white hair, black, dead, doll-like eyes. No, he didn’t look soulless but fuck all if he didn’t feel it in every cell. “Hollow, unfeeling” as that woman had said. Had she seen the gaping black hole where a soul should have been?

Loss overflowed within him. Overcome with misery, tears filled Levi’s eyes. He squeezed them shut against the burn and droplets rolled down his face. His couldn’t have been more surprised if blood had leaked from his eyes. Reaching a fingertip, he trapped a tear as it rolled past his mouth. Closing his eyes, he pictured the incredulous look on Logan’s face, the defeat Levi had served him, Logan turning his back. Gone.

Shudders wracked Levi’s body as he was overtaken by sobs. Logan, I’m so sorry. He grabbed his cell phone and called Logan’s number, willing him to answer but got his voice mail. The sounds of Logan’s voice pushed him further into remorse. Through blurry eyes, he struggled to text his brother.

I am so sorry. Please forgive me, please!

Hitting send, Levi needed to see Logan. Cleaning his face of any traces of tears, he exited the bathroom nearly smacking Jeb with the door. So close.

“Feel better?” Jeb asked but Levi passed by refusing to answer.

“Well, it’s been a lot of fun but I have to get home. My parents think I’m at class and my last one is over in exactly forty-five minutes. If I’m late, they’ll freak.” Levi walked purposefully toward the door.

Dr. Weston raced to block Levi’s exit. “Wait. Levi, there’s more.”

Levi had enough, way too more than enough. “I’m full,” he assured his former teacher. 

“What more could there be? I’m soulless and if you just keep Mr. Bad Ass Energy over there away from me then all will be good.”

Jeb grunted but said nothing.

“But you can get your soul back,” Dr. Winston said.

The possibility hadn’t even occurred to Levi. “Got any lying around? I’ll take what you’ve got.”

“Levi the only person who can remove a soul is a Seer and the only person who can hold that soul is a Soul Keeper. The entire point of removing a soul is to allow the person to gain a mature conscious. Then the soul is almost always returned, generally anywhere between seventeen and twenty-two. It all depends on the person’s personal growth.”

“So someone has my soul somewhere in a jar on their shelf and their supposed to give it back?” If this day took many more twist and turns, Levi was going to puke.

“In a manner of speaking. It’s the Guardian who decides the right time to return the soul and only the Keeper can return it. There are strict rules that govern Seers and Keepers. 

And souls are not kept in jars. Breakable and all,” Dr. Winston smirked at that.

Levi imagined the “oops” moment of a jar full of soul hitting the floor.

“But we don’t know who my Guardian is.”

“No, we don’t, but we can go to the next best person to tell us the Keeper’s name. Only one person can give permission for an infant’s soul to be removed.”

“I really hope you don’t mean God,” Levi sighed with exasperation.

She shook her head. “Your father.”

Levi stood next to the driver’s door of his car in the parking lot, clutching his keys tightly in his fist. After all the bombs that had been dropped on him, he’d been sent away with two unwanted things. First, a mission to obtain strands of his father’s hair for some Spell of Recognition, in order to start the search for his soul. Second, Jeb.

“You’re not driving my car,” Levi said and wrapped his arms tight around his chest, hiding the keys under his arm.

Jeb stood about two feet away from Levi. Holding his hand out, Jeb waited with that calm, annoying demeanor for Levi to hand over the keys. He would be waiting a long time. Levi could be stubborn, too.

“Let’s go, kitten.”

“What the hell?” Levi sneered. “Don’t call me that.”

Jeb smirked. The gesture was both unnerving and alluring at the same time. Gods, Levi wanted to hate him and kiss him at the same time. "You remind me of a kitten. Curious and wary at the same time. Full of spit and fire and energy. I can feel it coming off of you in waves," he whispered almost seductively but then dropped his hand. Levi took that as a sign victory for his fortitude, however instead of moving away came closer. Levi backed up against the driver’s door as their chests almost touched. Levi had to strain his neck to look into Jeb's face. Jeb leaned forward resting a hand on the driver's window behind Levi. "And you're ready to attack at any moment. You look like you want to scratch my eyes out right now or...maybe crawl into my lap and purr."

Levi gritted his teeth forcing the need to touch the solid chest before him. He couldn't let Jeb get the better of him. The untrustworthy man was playing Levi to get his way. “Have you ever heard of personal space?” The words, which were meant to come out with more force, were merely a whisper.

Jeb fixed his gaze on Levi. Other than the slight movement of his eyes, not a muscle twitched, as if he were carved from stone. Damn, those eyes could see right through Levi. And the heat pooling in his groin messed with his head. Shit, was he getting turned on?

“You’re afraid of me.” Jeb’s voice was raspy and self-assured.

Levi stiffened his spine and pulled up his chin. “No, I’m not.” Hard to sound convincing with a shaky voice, and yes, he was frightened by the man...and definitely turned on. That was twice today he’d felt something mirroring lust.

Jeb leaned closer, his cheek brushing across Levi’s causing him to shudder as Jeb whispered into his ear. “You should be.”


##


Monday, February 9, 2015

Welcome Jon Keys with his new release Razor!





Hey JC! Thanks for hosting me on the stop on the blog visits! Razor’s what I’m here to talk about and it was released by Decadent Publishing on Feb 6th. It’s my first urban fantasy and I’m excited to see what people think. It’s part of Decadent Publishing’s Beyond Fairytales collection. Razor is a retelling of The Little Folk from Brother’s Grimm. Yeah, I’d never heard of it either. LOL. I hope everyone enjoys Razor as much as I did.
~ Jon ~


 Blurb:
When the world crashes down around your ears, sometimes all you can do is punt and hope for the best. That’s exactly what James and Micah decide to do when one of them is diagnosed with cancer, and the other discovers a serious heart defect. When the doctor tells them to start working on their bucket lists, the two take a trip in an effort to create some good memories, and forget the ugly truths, while they focus on their time in each other’s arms.
Their vacation turns into much more than they anticipated when they find themselves drawn to a club like sailors to a siren. Several sexy waiters, some unforgettable lap dances, and one whip-wielding stud later, they stumble upon the answer to their prayers. Their sex is wild again, and the pair find themselves living for tomorrow. But with every answer comes questions, and Micah’s search for more may destroy them both.
Will they be able to recover from his thirst for the truth? Or will the men always live walking on the edge of a Razor?
eBook Links: 

Excerpt from Razor:

Micah made the landing and stood watching James ascend. A few seconds later, he reached the top and looked around. They found themselves outside a door almost as dark as the night, set into a wall of Cimmerian brick that disappeared into the gloom on either side. The doorman standing beside it was equally striking. He stood taller than James’s six feet, and wore only a black leather kilt and heavy boots that seemed to consume the lower part of his muscular legs. No one would dare challenge the man. His torso rippled in ways James had never seen before. His face was rugged, covered with a few days’ scruff trimmed precisely along his jawline. Before he could think of what they should do, the doorman spoke.
“Welcome to Razor. What’s your pleasure tonight?”
James stood speechless as the deep bass of the man’s voice resonated through the night. “The music. The music is wonderful. We caught it from a few blocks off and wanted to hear more.”
A smile emerged on the man’s face and changed him from executioner to guardian. “Of course, the music. You’ve found the right place. Just in time, too. Tonight is drawing to a close.”
He grasped the bronze door pull that was easily as long and thick as James’s forearm and opened the massive door with little apparent effort. He motioned them into the portal with a wave. “Go. Enjoy yourself.”
The pair moved toward the opening and peered inside. The room was dim, except for an empty stage bathed in warm light. James noticed the musical trio creating the instrumentals that had lured them through the foggy night. They glanced back to the grinning bouncer who encouraged them forward with a nod.
They stepped into the room and paused to take it in. From the elaborately carved dark mahogany bar lined with every imaginable type of liqueur, to the lovingly worn floor that had seen thousands of pairs of feet during its existence, it was all club. The couple moved inside as the door closed behind them with scarcely a whisper.
As they studied the room, two things struck James. First, they were the only customers. Second, everyone else in the room wore very little and were male. Their smiling waiter stepped to their table. James swallowed hard as he looked at the man standing before him. He dressed in the same boots as the bouncer, which were buckled to just below his knees. The remainder of the waiter’s clothing consisted of a black leather jockstrap filled to capacity.


Bio:
Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, and comic books.
A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Welcome Raine and Sion O'Tierney and their new release Alchemy Ever After!

Welcome the dynamic duo (as well as husband and wife!) - and two of my good friends - Siôn and Raine O'Tierney to the blog!!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Sharing Worlds

Several years ago, I wrote Raine a silly little M/M story about a rather dense alchemist and his jealous lover. I’ve written a lot of short stories for her through the years, but for some reason, this one stuck in her head and she would always return to it and ask me to tell her more about Maketh and Raj.

It stuck in my head too, and eventually I incorporated it into a larger story that I’ve been working on periodically since high school. I developed the characters further (inspired in part by fan art Raine drew of them), and developed them and the world they inhabit that much more as a result.

When she asked me if she could write a continuation of the world I’d built using her own characters (innocent Idrian and the ice sculpture) I was startled. I knew she’d liked the story, but I wondered why she’d want to enter my world—she has plenty of her own.

What she created as she played in my world was new and exciting and it got me excited to expand further. A collaboration was born. Hopefully, you are as inspired by the world and characters we’ve created as I’ve always been! I can guarantee there will be more world-sharing in the future.

—Siôn O’Tierney

ISBN-13: 978-1-63216-301-1
Pages: 56
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Categories: M/M Romance | Steampunk | Fantasy

BLURB:
The city of New Alexandria is filled with powerful magicians-in-training and mechanical follies, the world’s largest library, and marvels beyond compare. The allure of this modern metropolis draws young people from all over the world, but Idrian has come instead for the opportunity to learn the new art of alchemy.
He’s been taken as an apprentice by Maketh, a scholar experimenting with new ways to combine technology and the ancient mystic arts. Together they’ve animated a living ice sculpture. Idrian cannot wait to unveil the sculpture alongside the other wonders at the annual Spring Festival.

After witnessing his master in a passionate embrace with another student, Idrian’s mind drifts to things beyond alchemy. And when a warm touch accidentally awakens the consciousness within the living sculpture, Idrian learns firsthand about physicality and the magic of passion.


EXCERPT:
Pushing through his fear, Idrian put his palm against the frigid thigh—marveling that the warmth of his hand did not melt the ice. The artisan his master had commissioned was quite talented. The sculpture was crafted into the perfect likeness of a man. Broad shoulders, tight with hard, corded muscles, and a strong, lovely face. The sheet contoured to its body, hiding nothing of its form. Idrian stared for a long time. Did his master feel that the student Raj was lovely, as well? The way he kissed Raj—the hunger in it—Idrian thought he must. Was that all it took? Being in the presence of someone quite lovely?

Idrian would like to know what a kiss felt like.

Made bold by the privacy of the room and his titillated disquiet, Idrian decided he’d try, just once. And so, hair falling in his face, he leaned over the low table and with only a hesitant little gasp, placed his lips against the hand-chiseled lips of the living sculpture. It was as one might imagine kissing ice would be: numbingly cold with none of the passion he’d earlier witnessed. But as he made to pull away, he found his lips stuck for a brief moment as hot skin will stick to ice. Then it was skin to skin. The sculpture had caught Idrian’s bottom lip and pulled it firmly into his mouth. Sucking at it. Nibbling it.

Idrian gasped and tried to yank free, but found an icy arm snaked around his waist, pulling him down onto the slab, holding him there, trapped.

“You… are… warm.” The living sculpture, which should not have even been able to speak, breathed against him.


BUY LINKS:
 
 

GIVEAWAY:
Rafflecopter prizes: $10 Amazon.com giftcard and an e-copy of Alchemy Ever after

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Raine O'Tierney lives outside of Kansas City with her husband, fellow Dreamspinner Press author, Siôn O'Tierney. When she's not writing, she's either asleep or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. Raine believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers! Writing for 20+ years (with the last 10 spent on M/M) Raine changes sub-genres to suit her mood and believes all good stories end sweetly. Contact her if you're interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!

Siôn O’Tierney is a philosopher and gamer, but above all else, a consumer of stories. The best decision Siôn ever made was marrying his high-school sweetheart a week after graduation. (For the stories, and the sweet, sweet author monies.) These days, Siôn lives in Kansas City with his wife and writing partner, Raine O’Tierney. His free time is spent editing and walking the family's long-haired dachshund, Iron Klaus (maybe that’s not free time after all).

Homepage: Raineotierney.com


Monday, December 22, 2014

Welcome Chris T. Cat with her new release, Swordplay!


Welcome Chris T. Cat to the blog today with an excerpt from a new release, Swordplay!
 
Buy links:
Dreamspinner Press:
 

Blurb: After leaving his dream job as an Atlantic City detective, Jeff Woods has moved to Washington DC with his life partner Alex Fisher and Alex's disabled little brother Sean. Parker Trenkins, Jeff’s ex-partner on the force, has made the move as well, along with his significant other David. Jeff and Parker partner up once again, but in a new way, as owners of their own detective agency.

Life is difficult at the best of times. Sean loses sight in one of his eyes, a direct result of being pushed into the Atlantic by a homicidal maniac a year ago. In his struggle to deal with everything, a restless Alex enrolls in Tai Chi classes at a nearby school.

As it happens, a murder case Jeff and Parker take involves the head of that very Tai Chi School, Charles Cooper. Cooper is a suspect in the murder of a financial corporation official. He appears to have motive. Jeff and Parker's investigation arouses the real killer’s interest, and if they don't uncover his identity soon, it may be too late for them.

 
Excerpt from Chapter One:

“Earth to Jeff. Someone in there?” Parker was standing next to me, waving his hand in front of my face.

“Fuck off, Parker.”

“Wow. Remind me not to talk to you before you’ve had decent caffeine input. Now, come on, why are you so tired? I’m your new shrink, remember?” Parker blinked his blue eyes at me in mock-offense, flipping a lock of black hair back.

I snorted. Coffee aroma filled the air, and the water bubbled enticingly. After rubbing my hands over my eyes, I leaned back in the chair and looked up at him. The man drove me crazy on a daily basis, but he was my best friend—right after Alex, my lover, of course.

“Oh boy, this is going to be a long story, isn’t it? Hang on, I need to sit down.” With a theatrical flourish, he heeled a chair closer and fell onto it with gleeful expectation written all over his face.

“Sean’s going to lose sight in his left eye.”

Parker’s mouth dropped open, and for a long time neither of us said anything. I stared at him, wondering whether I should’ve cushioned my words a bit. His jaw muscles tightened, and he worked hard to get words out of his mouth. I’d probably worn a similar expression yesterday when Alex broke the news to me after the visit with the eye specialist. Sean was only seven years old—only seven. Didn’t he’d already suffer enough with his cerebral palsy?

“You can’t just drop a bomb like that without giving me fair warning,” Parker protested.

I shrugged. “Sorry.”

“Are you sure?”

I gave a curt nod. My eyes stung stupidly. Alex had tried so hard to keep it together, but in the end he’d wept for hours, cuddled up against me. He’d cried endlessly for his little brother and what he had to go through. I’d feared he’d make himself sick—which he had, but only once—and when he’d finally fallen asleep, I’d lain awake in our bed, helpless and hurting.

“What about another opinion? Maybe—”

“Parker, that was the third opinion. We noticed he was getting clumsier and he was losing focus on his left side. His sight in that eye has gone down to ten percent, and it won’t take long for the rest to vanish too. We’ll cope.”

Whether I wanted to reassure myself or Parker didn’t really matter, did it? At least I’d had enough presence of mind not to throw that platitude around when I talked to Alex. He never bought into any of them. Parker, however, did from time to time.

“Does Sean know?”

Pain closed like a vise around my throat, and I coughed in a deliberate attempt to get rid of it. “Yes. We explained it to him.”

“How did he react?”

I grimaced. “He was worried about his other eye, but the doc said it was okay. Sean’s main concerns were if he was still allowed to go to school and if we’d still love him.”

I bolted from the chair, choking on my last words, and stalked over to the coffeemaker. I poured milk into Parker’s mug, added two spoonfuls of sugar, then attempted to grab the glass carafe. My hands shook.

Parker materialized next to me, nudged me aside, and filled our mugs. I was still blinking against the wetness in my eyes. Maybe it was a good thing I’d had no time for breakfast earlier. I wasn’t sure if it would’ve stayed down anyway. Alex hadn’t even tried to eat this morning. He’d been white as a sheet when I left. I hadn’t wanted to come to work, but the money had to come in from somewhere and—

 
Chris T. Kat
Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there's any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.


Links: