This is coming up in Sept/Oct (see for once I have an almost date) BWAHAHAHA
Dreamspinner Press will be publishing my first book over 60k a steampunkish/fantasy book.
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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.