Tuesday Teaser – Keys (Out September 30)

Keys-2

I’m super excited about this particular book. It’s the first time I reached the 60,000 words point. It’s actually a little bit longer (pats self on back).

Right now through September 15th you can pre-order a print copy through Dreamspinner for 30% off here. If you are going to GRL they will bring it and you won’t have to pay shipping.

You can pre-order an ebook here

BLURB:
My name is Octavius Septimus Stalk, but my friends call me Oss. I live in the City of Keys, a town of gears, keys, locks, and wonder. Our forefathers banished magic long ago, bolted the doors and locked everything up tight to keep people out and the town’s secrets in. Four Lock Lords control what information is left, and everyone else is left struggling to survive.

Despite what Thorne, my naïve lover, thinks, I was an orphan, but not a victim. When I walked the streets at the age of twelve, I learned fast where to steal the best food, how to use my daggers, and where to hide my would-be attackers’ bodies. No one suspected me of such violence. No one knew then or now that I have magic inside me.

Now, power hungry men intend to release the magic for their own benefit—at the expense of the rest of the city. We will stop them, even if Thorne must battle his own kin, even if I must reveal my hidden talents and the role I seem destined to play.

****

Excerpt

“For all the locks in the world, there is just one key, and with his
will, he can free the world.”
High Prophet Thomas H. Locksten—Prophecy of Keys

Bong

Bong

Bong
The clamoring bell from the Lock Tower filtered into my dreams,
a loud, obnoxious nudge reminding me to wake up and begin my day.
My name is Octavius Septimus Stalk. My friends call me Oss, and my
enemies hide from my blades. Stab one key keeper for grabbing your
ass and you never live down a violent reputation.
The brush of warm lips across my bare shoulder pulled my
attention to my bedmate. I always go from slumber to full alert with
little space for sluggish-headedness in between. Growing up a street
rat gave me certain habits I doubt I’ll ever be able to break. My instant
alert ability, the most minor of my infractions, came in handy when
Thorne wished to give me a proper send-off for the day.
“Morning, love.” Hawthorne Smith, Thorne to me, had a deep
voice that shivered down my spine like vibrations from the tolling
of the Tower bell. I’d stood next to it once while it rang, hiding out
from guards. They’d stopped their pursuit at the bottom of the stairs—
wiser than me I suspect, and happy to keep their hearing. Two days
later my eardrums were still ringing.
Thorne had a similar effect on me. I could still feel his hands
roaming my body days after we’ve made love. He’s lasted the longest
of any of my partners, if rushed gropings in a dark alley counted as
partners. Thorne has assured me it doesn’t. He’s certain I need no one
else and is determined to keep me sated enough I seek no others.
“Morning.” I don’t repeat the endearment. I’ve grown fond of
Thorne in the three months we’ve been warming each other’s beds,
but love took longer than that, or it should. I don’t know anyone in
love, so it is only guesswork on my part. Growing up on the streets
didn’t lend itself to being a trusting, loving person. My cold nature
has scared off more than one potential lover before we’d even reached
a properly dark bit of street to relieve some tension.

Thorne traced a finger down my back. My body jerked like a
marionette dancing along a string. Thorne knew how to be a proper
puppet master. Groaning, I pushed back into his touch. I craved my
man. Deep down I hoped to keep him, but I buried that ambition
in the darkest corner of my mind along with all my other dreams
and expectations. The Lord of the Keys didn’t easily grant scrubby
key keepers their heart’s desire. If Thorne stayed mine until the next
quarter cycle, I’d consider myself blessed.
“Hey, did you go back to sleep?” Thorne rolled me onto my
back. I smiled at the vision above me.
I dare anyone to wake up to that face and not feel their heart
hiccup at the sight. Thorne had the golden tan of a city guard. The
sun didn’t just kiss Thorne, it used its tongue and devoured him in
its shiny embrace. Thorne’s skin had the burnished glow only a man
working outdoors could acquire and hard, thick muscles from pulling
himself up rope ladders to reach the dirigible ships.
Becoming a guard took dedication, and Thorne had only one
more level before he reached Master of the Guard. Pride for him had
my lips parting in a smile.
“I was thinking of you.” I winced over my words. They sounded
far more foolish aloud than drifting through my head.
“Good. I want you to always think about me.” Thorne’s green
eyes sparkled down at me like the rare glass in the church windows.
He grabbed my hips and dragged me closer as if he couldn’t stand the
two inches of space between us.
I melted a bit at his show of strength. I had always prized my
smaller form for my ability to squeeze through tiny spaces, but I
didn’t wish the same shape for my lover. I preferred my bedmates big
and strong. The green eyes and cocky smile were optional but greatly
appreciated. Inhaling deeply, I breathed in his scent of cinnamon and
sunshine, an odd combination but one I always thought of when near
Thorne.

“Does your ego weigh you down when you climb up the
ladders?” I asked, sliding my hand across his furred chest. Thorne
had the body of a man, not like my smooth skin that refused to sprout
more than a few random hairs.
Thorne flexed an arm. “My muscles compensate.”

Moon Pack Monday

wolf

Parker paced back and forth. Elliott would be home soon. Everything had to be perfect. Elliott deserved nothing but the best. For the past week Elliott had been working overtime for Anthony trying to get everything ready for tax season. He’d called Parker earlier letting him know he’d be wrapping everything up tonight. It was time for his sweet wolf to have a bit of pampering.

The door swung open revealing a rumpled Elliott. His hair stuck up all over probably from running his fingers through it.

“Hey love.” Elliott’s tired smile twisted Parker’s heart.

“All done for the year?” He better be or Parker was going to be talking to Anthony about overworking Elliott.

“Yep.”

“That’s a lot of work for one club.”

Elliott grinned. “Anthony asked me to help out with some of his other properties.”

Parker held back a snarl. It was a good promotion for Elliott. He didn’t need Parker being anything other than supportive.

“Are they finished too?”

“Yeah, that’s why I was late.” Elliott walked up to Parker. He tilted his head up for a kiss. Parker shortened the distance between them and took the kiss offered. He knew how hard it was for Elliott to initiate anything. Parker would never leave his mate hanging.

Elliott tasted sweet. He probably had a piece of candy at his desk before coming home.

The kiss lasted several minutes before Parker pulled himself together enough to pull away. He had to keep focus.

Elliott’s slightly dazed expression boosted Parker’s ego. “I’ve got a special surprise for you.”

“What?” Elliott grinned, his eyes glowing bright.

“This is something you have to it.”

“What?”

“They finished our house.” After Parker exploded his house he’d petitioned to have a new house built on pack lands. Even thought Silver preferred everyone together there had been enough of a group wanting houses to start a small community.

“When can we see it?”

“Now.”

Elliott practically glowed with happiness. Parker would do anything to keep that expression on his face. “You’re not going to blow this one up are you?”

Parker laughed. “No baby, this one is for you.”

“I love you.” Elliott kissed Parker on the cheek then dodged when Parker tried to tickle his ribs.

Parker grabbed Elliott’s waist and tossed him over his shoulder before slapping him on the ass. “We can go see the house tomorrow. Call Anthony and tell him you’re taking the day off.”

“Yes Parker.” Elliott laughed as Parker carried him to their bedroom.

Tuesday Teaser!

Hmm…what should I share today? So many story ideas are running through my head all of the time.

* * *

He’s a sneak peak from Owning Oliver (it might change but here is an unedited bit)

Oliver jerked awake. His crossed his arms and rubbed his hands up and down his skin trying to rub some heat into his frigid skin. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe it wasn’t happening. He closed his eyes and took a deep cleansing breath.

“I’ll just call.” Anthony had never lost his temper over Oliver checking up on him before.

His fingers shook as he picked up the receiver. He usually liked his old-fashioned phone with its curly cord and rotary dial but with his dreams jumbled and a heavy sense of foreboding weighing him down like a stone weight he could barely breathe.

“Shh, babe. It’s all right.”

Oliver jolted when a thick arm wrapped around him to cradle him back into his embrace.

Oh, oh damn.

He’d been drunk last night. After talking to his father he’d left work and headed for the closest bar. Brief flashes of memory were coming back to him now. A pair of sparkling green eyes and a wicked grin had lured him into the unusual invitation to a total stranger. “I have to make a call.”

“Not if you’re upset.” The firm refusal had shivers rolling up his spine. He’d always been a sucker for a strong-willed man. With his father’s overbearing personality he should’ve rebelled against anyone telling him what to do but Oliver couldn’t resist a man who knew his own mind.

“I have to make a c-call, Anthony needs me.” His dream swamped him, visions flashing in his mind. Pain, so much pain. Oliver trembled. It took him a moment to realize the soothing noises came from his companion.

“I’ve got you babe. Who’s Anthony? I don’t like competition.”

Oliver choked on his laughter. “He’s my boss. I’ve got to call him.”

“Why?”

“I had a dream. He’s in trouble. I have to go help.” Oliver sat up. He turned to see his bed companions. Damn, his drunk self had much better taste than his sober self. Hard muscles covered a wide chest.

Oliver licked his lips.

“Oliver?”

“Huh?”

A deep chuckle sent a warm vibe through Oliver’s body.

“What kind of trouble?”

“I-I don’t know but I have to go see.”

“Are you psychic?”

Oliver lifted his eyes from the man’s gorgeous chest. “Listen, I appreciate your concern but I’ll be fine. I hate to kick you out…” he let his words fall off.

“Don’t worry I’m coming with you.” His bed companion whipped off the covers and completely derailed Oliver’s thought process. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to wear clothing. Other than a strange scar across his stomach that looked like some sort of wild animal had tried to tear out his stomach, the stranger had no other flaws.

“What?” How had he lost control of this conversation?

“If you don’t know what kind of trouble you’re heading into I’m not going to let you go by yourself.”

“Y-you don’t get to choose.” For a confident person Oliver couldn’t find it in him to be more aggressive with his statement. He instinctively moved closer to the stranger in his bed.

Strong hands slid into his hair and yanked him closer. “Of course I do. Don’t you remember you’re mine?”

Before he could respond to that ridiculous statement, his bed partner plunged is large hands through Oliver’s hair and yanked him close. Strong lips pressed against Oliver’s. Oliver sighed against his lover’s lips. His entire body hummed with need as if he were attuned to the man playing him like a fine instrument.

When his bedmate released him. Gold fire flared briefly in the stranger’s eyes.

“Oh, fuck. You’re a shifter.”

“Memory coming back, babe? I know I should’ve waited until you were more sober but I couldn’t resist your pretty blue eyes.”

Oliver blushed. He’d never had anyone talk to him like that. He was a skinny wizard geek who spent his life avoiding attention. How did he end up with a gorgeous shifter snuggling beside him?

Someone rang his doorbell pulling Oliver’s attention away from his bed companion.

“Excuse me.”

“Sure.”

Despite his words Oliver’s companion pulled on his jeans. Shirtless he followed Oliver to the front door.

“I can answer on my own.”

“I don’t doubt it,” The shifter smirked.

Moon pack Monday!

wolf

Henry pulled the Shepherd’s Pie out of the oven and set it on the counter.

Five

Four

The kitchen door banged open. His mate Dakota stomped into the room, his brilliant wolf eyes immediately narrowing in on the hot dish.

“Looking for something?” Henry asked.

Dakota dragged his gaze from the food the glare at Henry. “You do that on purpose?”

“What?” Henry crossed his arms and leaned against the oven door.

“Lure me down here.” Dakota stalked closer to Henry, his wolf always lived closer to the surface than the others. Some pack members gave Dakota a wide birth because of his feral nature. There were prejudices against a wolf that turned into a man versus a man who could turn into a wolf.

“I like you close.” Henry wouldn’t defend his wish to have his mate with him.

Dakota usually helped out in the kitchen but he’d been out of the kitchen all morning and Henry had been too busy to hunt him down. His mate didn’t always prefer his human shape and Henry didn’t allow him in the kitchen in wolf form.

“Good. I like being near you too.” Dakota jumped up to sit on the stainless steel counter in front of Henry. Good thing he cleared that spot off in anticipation of Dakota coming. He’d learned to anticipate his mate. Dakota lifted his chin waiting for his kiss.

Bracing his hands on either side of Dakota, Henry pressed his lips to Dakota’s. No way would he leave Dakota hanging. Dakota only showed affection to Henry and he liked to encourage that side of him.

Dakota slid his cheek against Henry’s, one side then the other, marking him so no one else dared to think they had a chance. “Mine,” he growled, his voice rough with disuse. Dakota only spoke when necessary and not often.

“Always sweetheart. What have you been up to?”

“I was with Dare on the rooftop.”

Henry froze in surprise. “That’s good.” He supported anything that integrated Dakota more into the pack.

Dakota nodded. “The tiger is soothing.”

“Soothing, huh. I think Steven has a different take on that.” Dare often drove his mate Steven to the edge of his patience.

Dakota’s disdainful snort made Henry smile. “Steven needs more stillness. Dare understands a proper nap.”

Henry laughed. “I’m sure he does.”

“Is that ready yet?” Dakota tilted his head toward the food sitting on the counter.

“It’s still hot.”

Dakota nipped at Henry’s ear before leaning back. “Come back to the apartment. I’ll keep you busy until it’s cool.”

Henry glanced around at the mess of his kitchen. “Let’s go.”

Blog Story – Part 10

Silence met Vin’s melting. For several minutes no one spoke.

“You are far more powerful than I gave you credit for,” Vin said. His eyes were calm but watchful as if waiting to see Vin’s next trick.

“I have my moments. Sorry about the freezing, that comes out when I panic.” At least he hadn’t caught anything on fire this time.

“Better freezing than flame,” Jess whispered.

Vin nodded. He waited to see if Loren would comment further but he calmly continued his meal. “I am sorry if you think I am being overbearing. I can’t stand the thought of my mate being somewhere vulnerable.”

“I can understand that. But you have to know I’ve fought hard to be independent of my family. I’m not going to just move in so you can take care of me now. I can take care of myself.”

Loren set down his fork. “So it seems. However there is always someone tougher and I have powerful enemies.”

Vin had no rebuttal. He knew there were many beings out there some who were completely immune to magic no matter how powerful. It only took one ghoul to take him out. He raked his finger through his hair and slouched back in his seat. “I don’t see a compromise. I don’t want to leave my dorm.”

“I can keep an eye on him uncle,” Jess offered.

Vin smiled at Jess’s eagerness. He knew his friend didn’t want to have to find a new roommate.

“And who is going to watch over you? The reason I even met my mate was because he had to haul your ass out of trouble.”

Jess cleared his throat. “Um, true but come one Uncle Loren the entire reason I chose that school was to attend with Vin.”

Loren sat up straight. “Why?”

“Because he’s my best friend! You can’t claim him and take him away, he was mine first!” Jess threw his napkin on the table.

“You forget one little detail, my young nephew,” Loren purred.

“What?” Jess crossed his arms over his chest.

“Vin claimed me.”

Blog Story – Part 9

These are a bit short because I’m catching up :)

***

“I’m glad we got that out of the way.” Vin ran a hand up and down Loren’s arm. Loren’s gaze snapped over to him.

Vin sucked in a breath at having Loren’s complete focus. That much attention aimed at him had his heart beating a bit faster. Loren sniffed. Could he smell Vin’s blood pumping faster through his veins?

The food arrived and Vin turned his attention to his food. He’d worry about Loren tasting him later. Eating was easier said then done. With each bite Loren watched his mouth as if waiting for Vin to say something.

“So what now?” Vin could feel the threads of fate binding him with Loren. A light glow of energy flowed around them revealing to anyone with sight that they were fated.

Loren took a bite of rare steak, his gaze never leaving Vin’s.

“You move in here to live with me.”

“What?” Vin’s mouth dropped open. “I can’t do that I’m at school.”

“What do you need school for? You don’t need to ever work again.” Loren’s displeased expression spiked Vin’s anger.

His magic flared out. Ice coated the floor. A light frost slid across the dining table and Vin’s breath puffed in front of him in a visible cloud.

“Pull it back buddy.” Jess wrapped a hand around Vin’s arm. “Don’t let him get to you.”

“He’s trying to take over my life.” Jess knew how hard Vin had worked to be free of control. His family would’ve locked him in a tower and used him for his magic if they could’ve gotten away with it. Vin had escaped them to go to school. When he graduated they expected him to join their world. Vin had other plans.

Anything but go home was pretty much it at this point.

“Vin, you can’t freeze my family!” Jess’s panicked tone snapped Vin back into the present.

Taking a deep breath he concentrated on warming the room. After a few minutes the ice vanished leaving behind wet patches on the floor. Vin evaporated those carefully. It would be a shame if the beautiful parquet flooring was damaged.

Teaser Tuesday (On Sunday)

I’m continuing my goal of making up for my less than stellar posting last week!

* * *

This is from my book Gears which will be coming out after Keys. Keys is out October 1st from Dreamspinner Press (probably. it’s not on pre-order yet)

Please remember this is unedited and subject to change!

* * *

“Oss, let me know when you want to go. I’ll be in my workshop.”

Oss turned to face him. “I’m thinking tomorrow. Can you shut down your shop?”

I nodded. “I haven’t really re-opened it yet.”

Business had been good lately and I saved every penny in case I needed to escape. I never slept without an escape plan, a remnant from my time on the street. My mechanical curiosity shop had been open for several years and I’d started to have quite the clientele among the city’s elite. There was a bit of satisfaction getting money from the people who used to ignore me or kick me as they passed. The ones I remembered from those lean years were charged a lot more.

Bidding everyone goodbye I headed home. Thorne’s butler sneered at me as I passed. When he turned away I dropped one of my mechanical bugs. The little beetle would run around and wreck havoc. Served the ass right for how he treated Oss. I didn’t care about if he liked me but Oss lived here and I wouldn’t tolerate him disrespecting my friend.

Smiling I headed home.

The walk from Thorne’s house to my workshop took me through the posh Fourth Quarter. Everything in this quarter had the sheen of perfection. Well-maintained streets, freshly painted houses and smooth, filled in streets. Beggars weren’t welcome here. Halfway across the square a shadow moved.

I reached into my pocket and wrapped my fingers around the handle of my pistol. Unlike Oss who preferred his blades, I needed distance in my kills. I persuaded an illegal witch to place a silence spell on my weapon. When I pulled the trigger no sound would alert anyone of what I’d done. Luckily the witch had been willing to swap her spell for a gear wren. Those of us without money traded our skills and never told anyone the full extent of our abilities.

“Marbrey.” The whispered voice had me taking my hand off my weapon.

“Affie.” I watched the street urchin approach. I hadn’t seen him since we opened the door to the underground city. His eyes still had a blue ring around the edges where mine still had a metallic tint. Something about breaking the seal had affected all three of us, magical backlash perhaps.

“I came to warn you.” Affie whispered. His throat had been damaged years ago, his voice now barely above a soft whisper. I still hadn’t found a solution to Affie’s issue even with my tactics.

“About what?” The city, filled with dangers could turn on you in a minute. Murders and thieves hid in the shadows and law enforcement did little to stem the tide of corruption and murder.

“The Magistrate is looking for you.”

“Why? I thought they told him to back off?” After Oss became Key King he’d sent word that I was hands off.

Affie shook his head. “I don’t know but it can’t be good.”

I nodded my agreement. The Magistrate never came around for good reasons. I had escaped his orphanage as a child only to have to deal with him on the street. He’d tried to shake me down for cash when I opened my store but after a few bribes to some local thugs I kept him back. He isn’t well liked by the street people so I didn’t have to pay much to get them protect my store.

“Thank you Affie, let me know if you hear anything else.”

“You’re welcome.” Affie paled then his eyes flared bright blue swallowing the dark bits.