Love Across the Universe is a sci-fi romance anthology from Stars and Stones Publishing.
Get it here from Stars and Stones
Or from Amazon
My story in Love Across the Universe is “Breathless”
An military sci-fi romance where a marine and a café manager are stranded in an alien nest just under the surface of a resort planet.
Selection from “Breathless”
There’s a galaxy of tubes and conveyor belts overhead that connect the port to fifty feet of stock shelves. Moon-Kaa Cafe is the largest restaurant on the planet, which isn’t as impressive as it sounds since BABs has only been inhabited for fifteen years. Still, the fresh water ocean, the miles of green beach, the dozens of luxury resorts bring vacationers from all over the galaxy. The visitors outnumber the permanent population by six to one. And nearly all of them will eat, at least once, at Moon-Kaa Cafe.
Tianjin Ki’s office stands next to the shelves with windows to the warehouse and the backroom. The door’s propped open. Too early for him to do paperwork. He’s in the backroom— I glimpse his milky skin, his red tie through the shelves. Doing our job.
Tianjin can do every job at every resort on this fucking planet with about ten minutes notice. Not only does he open the cafe three or four days a week, I’ve seen him pull shifts at the deli when Graham had the flu, at Quassar’s grill to give Ms. Jessica time off to plan her daughter’s wedding. Once I spotted him at The Boiler Room behind the bar, which still makes my heart flip a little. I don’t think he saw me, though I’d never managed the courage to visit the men’s only club afterward. If he saw me, he recognized me. The crowd was entirely vacationers. Besides, there are precious few cyborgs on BABs. They all work nights at Moon-Kaa Cafe.
Tianjin steps into my full view, pausing before the sliding doors between the kitchen and the shelves. He smiles for himself. That’s the kind of person he is. Sweet, cheerful. Even with all his power, Tianjin says ‘thank you’ to the lead-head who takes out the trash.
Even across the warehouse, I can appreciate the crispness of his white shirt on his slender shoulders, the neatness of his sleek black ponytail, the way his trousers accentuate the curve of his ass.
I’d like to mess up every part of his calm.
What would he do if I called, “morning, boss, care for an old fashioned B.J. from a lead-head?” Bet those trousers would slither off his legs. Bet he’d be shocked if I dropped to my knees in front of him. But maybe he’d laugh and grab my hair to press my face against the curve of his cock. Maybe if I did a good job he’d take me by the hand and lead me into the freezer with a mischievous grin, lean over a bushel of mangos to offer his ass.
No, he wouldn’t. Not while working. Not with a guy missing half his face.
The door thumps open. Tianjin disappears into the cafe.
Absently, I rub my jaw and stroll across the grate of the pit. We’ve got a pastry case to fill, pre-made sandwiches to put on display, water bottles to stock. Since everything on BABs either dissolves in a week or can survive a nuclear bomb, the garbage bins we left sideways on the floor weight about as much as Tianjin.
I prep my lie. Where’s night-shift? In the pit, clearing a blockage. There was a stench. Routine maintenance.
Through the grate, the hoses splash, and since I know I’m looking for a couple tons of dead flesh, I can see the roaches. No one on day shift gets close enough to smell the gore and chemicals. No one, not even the planet’s resource manager, knows about the monsters on the other side of that mesh.
No civilian does.
Pangaea INC, the official owners of the planet, pay us ex-soldiers good money to make sure those beasties stay a secret.
So, I guess, if there’s one job on BABs Tianjin Ki can’t do, it’s mine.
Reveiws from Goodreads:
“This was a well rounded out story involving the unlikely duo of an Ex-soldier and a resort manager. The story was action packed with alien bug slaying and blooming new romance. I know that sounds like it wouldn’t work – but it totally did. “