Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

Love Across the Universe

 Twelve Stories of Science Fiction Romance

Set on Intergalactic Shores

 3D Love Across the Universe

NOW AVAILABLE

From Stars and Stone Books

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Summer love is summer love, no matter the planet. Climb aboard your spacecraft and travel across the universe with these twelve tales of love on beaches in the future and among the stars. Includes stories by USA Today Bestselling Author Traci Douglass, Cara McKinnon, A.E. Hayes, Sheri Queen, M.T. DeSantis, L.J. Longo, K.W. Taylor, Mary Rogers, Elsa M. Carruthers, Emmerite Sundberg, Serena Jayne, and Oriana Maret.

Traci Douglass – “A Dream to Build a Kiss On”

A Dreamworld Short Novella

Can passion bloom between a bookish botanist and an analytical android?

 

Cara McKinnon – “The Pirates and the Pacifist”

Kai doesn’t believe in violence. Sam and Dek believe the ends justify the means. Will passion be enough to bridge the gap between the pacifist sent to broker galactic peace and the space pirates hired to keep him away at all costs?

A.E. Hayes – “Tristan’s Tryst”

One mysterious being. Two lovers who find her. Can this threesome handle the heat of this scorching summer?

Sheri Queen – “Red Sand”

If she can only save one thing, which will it be—the red beaches of Mars or a love she can’t imagine living without?

M.T. DeSantis – “The Princess of Sands”

Secrets and lies. Can they be each other’s freedom?

L.J. Longo – “Breathless”

The manager of a resort planet and the head of its secret defense unit team up to save the guests—and discover danger is a potent aphrodisiac.

Serena Jayne – “You Only Love Once”

Carpe diem the hell out of love.

K.W. Taylor – “Reprogramming”

Alex didn’t want to be marooned on an alien planet with a robot, but it may just be exactly what she needs.

Mary Rogers – “Breakfast on Pluto”

A chance meeting of two people unaware of their destiny with each other results in an unbreakable bond, but even duty has its boundaries. Will love help them break free—and will love be enough?

Elsa M. Carruthers – “All B+ut You”

In a world where looks are so important that Genetic Modification is standard procedure, how will those without Genetic Modification cope, let alone find love?

Emmerite Sundberg – “Fluid”

She’s everything she’s ever wanted but with one flaw—they can’t actually touch.

Love Across the Universe 3D Book Closeup sm.jpg

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Sunshine and Snakes: Opening

Here’s me wasting time by writing about writing in real time.

 

I got the opening to ‘Sunshine and Snakes’ today (also the name for Ice which was Ricky. Came out of nowhere since I thought I was going to name him Ignacio and call him Cio. I might go back to this. Don’t know yet. It’s a work in progress. Stop pressuring me!)

Anyways, like in ‘Breathless’, I wanted to start this Action-Adventure Erotica with a good hook. Unlike, ‘Breathless’, the meaningless violence makes sense because this is the story of a hit-man in love (which would make a great band-name).

The scene is Seattle in late fall. Mr. Hank James, a drunk business man on a business trip from the south is on his way back to his hotel. Ricky our POV character, who seems to know more about Mr. James than he should, offers to help him hire an uber and get to his hotel safely. When Mr. James responds with racism and brandishes a hunting knife, Ricky without hesitation murders the man with his own weapon, just like Mrs. James hired him to. The premeditation and professionalism is apparent in how Ricky makes his escape and I hope gives readers a sense of Ricky’s humor and the … I don’t know… ice water in his veins.

I’m a little over 1000 words with that first chapter and I’m not doing an excerpt because it was so short. But I am thinking about the first sex scene so I’ll probably be writing that (and about that) soon. Maybe I’ll write out my outline and post that. Maybe I’ll write Burgess’ opening. You don’t know! I don’t know. My process is wildly unpredictable, so far.

 

 

Sunshine and Snakes

So I’ve been writing about how stupidly busy I am and how I want to waste time by writing about writing in real time. I’m going to try that with this:

bigstock-161335691

While I should be working my day job, supporting my massive comic book addiction, or you know, writing the words I need to earn my degree, I will instead be writing about bad boys!

This call seems tailor-made for me. I write a lot about criminals, though I’ve never been one (that you know of). The first novel I wrote, Evasive Love, features a Bounty Hunter falls in love with a drug manufacturer he’s bringing to justice. Second thing is Uninvited Love, about Sal, a prostitute who is not glamorizing his job when he ends up kidnapped. Then came The Dishonest Lover about George, a professional thug who falls for a counterfeiter. This year alone there’s been The Scarf, a criminal shape-shifting fox and Hiring the Tiger, about an ex-bandit tiger.

I have a theme. It’s criminals.

But the one thing about all those guys above is that they are redeemable. Elliot in Evasive Love has stopped making drugs because they’re hurting people, Dimi in The Scarf is hiding refuge animals, so he’s breaking an unjust law. Sal, George, and Roy are all trying to stop being criminals. Nav is a tiger and he’ll do what he wants, bitch.

So yeah, very redeemable guys.

The thing that tickles me about this anthology is that it’s not about good guys. They want anti-heroes. I think it would be really fun to write a love story between two dudes who are unrepentantly bad. One is a hit-man and the other is in the Mafia and I love this idea that they could be criminal together. Not want to escape from crime, or bring anything to justice, just be amoral and in love with each other.

And because I’m experiencing that same spark of excitement I had the beginning of Breathless, I’m going to try this writing about the writing business.

So every day I work on this new story I’ll record thoughts on it and see how it comes together.

The frightening thing about doing with Snakes and Sunshine is that unlike Breathless where the story was contracted before I started writing it, so I knew it was going to be available to readers.  I couldn’t not write Breathless because they had already agreed to publish it.

I don’t know about Sunshine and Snakes. I can submit it and  be rejected. I can implode and stop working on it entirely because I have other writing obligations and nothing forcing me to stick with it.

The bulk of my notes on this story are in this nugget:

“How’s your flight?”

“Good. Sat across the aisle from a little kid. Played cop and robber with him.” Ice [which is not going to be his name, I promise myself] mimicked shooting an imaginary gun around his coat. He looked fucking ridiculous and Burgess had no doubt even the kid’s mom thought the man mockingly shooting her child was totally harmless. “When I got bored, I pretended I was actually dead. Kid spent the rest of the flight crying.”

Burgess laughed. Ice nodded and leaned back, sinking into the couch. That was about as much as anyone ever got from Ice. Even in prison, when he’d ended up in the infirmary with bloody knees and bruised eyes no one in the block could have told what time it had happened. He never made a sound when he got beat down. He never made a sound when he got fucked either.

Bur tapped the beer can. It wouldn’t do anyone any good if he sat around thinking about blow jobs behind bars or the nebulous consent of his cellmate. “So.  How’s Arizona?”

“Full of sunshine and snakes, asshole.” Ice leaned forward. “Listen. Are we gonna kill your Dad or not?”

Hopefully, you won’t hear about this until August when I’ll have a mostly written first draft of my thesis novel and maybe a minute or two to write Sunshine and Snakes.

 

Longo Out!

 

 

Breathless: Part 2 the Not-So-Magical

That brilliant idea of writing about the writing. I really wish I’d done that for Breathless because…


Today it’s the Fourth of July and I hate everything about writing.

Shit went sideways in a big way with Breathless. A lot more difficult to write than I initially thought it was going to be. Which is a problem because that story is already contracted and I am not backing down.

Here’s the premise– the promise I am making to readers– A soldier working night-shift in a cafe, where his primary job is to kill aliens under the planet’s surface that no civilian knows about, falls in love with his boss, who comes in morning to do the prep-work night shift is not doing. Eventually, the boss discovers the aliens and soldier saves him and they kiss and are happy forever.

The story should be pretty fun and quirky. The kind of thing that probably fits in an anthology about Love across the Universe. None of my usual Dark Romance, BSDM, trigger warning inducing hate sex bordering on violence. Breathless should be funny and uplifting.

It is not.

Right now, for some reason, my light hearted Rom-com in space begins like a Military SF/Horror. The first chapter has these soldiers underground, really tense, really dark atmosphere, then BAM! one of the solders gets his head bit off.  Fantastic hook.

But Chapter Two is about the manager and is all butterflies and fluffy romance. It makes no Goshly-dumbed sense (full disclosure, I’m recording this at Starbuck’s and a small child has just sat down, intensely watching me while she licked the face of her pirate pop).

The promise I made at the beginning of the story does not fit with a romance novel. No matter how *snicker* killer that hook is, it’s not suitable for the story the rest of the work wants to tell. In a novel, there’s more time for the soldier to grieve, for the romance to develop above this bleak hidden world, but with only 10 Thousand fruit-caked words, I cannot do it. *laspe in to Scottish accent* I simply canne do it. Word counts suck money ball.

(And Daddy has taken his precious little face-licker away.)

Anyway, so the whole process of reigning this monster in, tightening it up, cutting all sorts of really fun and exciting bits that did belong in the story, but were not serving it to the max was a royal pain in the ass. I did not anticipate this in the beginning since I had such fire. I knew exactly where I was going, how I wanted to tell the story. I had the fun opening scene with the morning guy being snarky and funny and putting these giant cyborgs in their place, then the soldiers shamefacedly going in the back and there’s a giant alien getting hacked up and dissolved.  Much better hook for a romance novel. That also ended up getting cut because I needed to get to the relationship even faster.

In a novella, you have such a short amount of time to bring it all together.

I wish I’d been writing about the writing so I could have caught all these little nuances  and why it’s so weird and difficult to do what we writers do.

During the revision, I spent a lot of time thinking about the beginnings and endings and the promises we make that the ending has to pay off. And working that backwards so in the end everything that’s paid off had worked hard enough to earn the pay out.

And I wish I’d be recording that in real time, because I think this happens to me every time I write a novella (one of the reasons I want to write about the writing is because I have such a terrible memory for the process). I’d like to understand my own better. You know, anticipate how much writing a novella is going to fuck me up emotionally.

Because it does.  I think my natural writing is novel length, and probably epic in scope due to the nature of the worlds I build. But I’m writing most novellas.

Writing things that are shorter is painful. When I’ve written short stories successfully, I’ve cut them off just before the point where they become novels. A character remains trapped where in a novel they would escape, or gives up completely in a place that would otherwise just be the inciting incident for their journey of self discovery.

Cover Reveal Love Across the Universe

 

 

Love
Across the Universe

 
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
 
Publisher: Stars and Stone Books
 
Date of Publication: August 1 2017
 
ISBN-10: 0-9977081-8-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-9977081-8-9
ASIN: B071JSHCGC
 
13 Stories of
Science Fiction Romance Set on Intergalactic Shore 



#spacebeachlove

Summer love is summer love, no matter the planet. Climb aboard your
spacecraft or time machine and travel across time and space with these
thirteen tales of love on beaches in the future and among the stars.
Includes stories by USA Today Bestselling Author Traci Douglass, Cara
McKinnon, Rhonda Jackson Joseph, A.E. Hayes, Sheri Queen, M.T. DeSantis, L.J.
Longo, K.W. Taylor, Mary Rogers, Elsa M. Carruthers, Emmerite Sundberg, Serena
Jayne, and Oriana Maret.
Traci Douglass – “A Dream to Build a Kiss On”

Can passion bloom between a bookish botanist and an analytical android?

Cara McKinnon – “The Pirates and the Pacifist”

Kai doesn’t believe in violence. Sam and Dek believe the ends justify the
means. Will passion be enough to bridge the gap between the pacifist sent to
broker galactic peace and the space pirates hired to keep him away at all
costs?

A.E. Hayes – “Tristan’s Tryst”

One mysterious being. Two lovers who find her. Can this threesome handle
the heat of this scorching summer?

Sheri Queen – “Red Sand”

If she can only save one thing, which will it be—the red beaches of Mars
or a love she can’t imagine living without?

M.T. DeSantis – “The Princess of Sands”

Secrets and lies. Can they be each other’s freedom?

L.J. Longo – “Breathless”

The manager of a resort planet and the head of its secret defense unit
team up to save the guests—and discover danger is a potent aphrodisiac.

K.W. Taylor – “Reprogramming”

Alex didn’t want to be marooned on an alien planet with a robot, but it
may just be exactly what she needs.

Mary Rogers – “Breakfast on Pluto”

Doing the right thing isn’t always what’s best—but sometimes it pays
off.  A chance meeting of two people unaware of their destiny with each
other results in a bond too difficult to break, but even duty has its
boundaries. Will love help them break free—and will love be enough?

Elsa M. Carruthers – “All B+ut You”

Lou is looking for the right guy and finds him where she least expects.

Emmerite Sundberg – “Fluid”

She’s everything she’s ever wanted but with one flaw – they can’t
actually touch.

Serena Jayne – “You Only Love Once”

Carpe diem the hell out of love.

Oriana Maret – “Renewal” 

She’ll brave the arms of destruction to shed the arms that betrayed.

 STARS AND STONE BOOKS        GOODREADS       
 
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It’s Here! Crazy Little Spring Called Love is Available!

This delightful fantasy romance anthology features eight magical stories inspired by the awakenings and renewal of springtime. If you love gods and goddesses, fairies, djinn, druids, mermaids, dryads, and magic of all varieties, Crazy Little Spring Called Love delivers!

And you can buy it now!

Amazon iBooks | Kobo


 Traci Douglass – “When Hermes Met Eos”

One night. Two star-crossed immortals. Will their vibrant connection survive beyond sunrise?

Sheri Queen – “The Girl with a Broken Wing”

A story of courage and sacrifice–and finding love where you never thought to look.

Cara McKinnon – “Love at Dawn”

Sometimes mortals need a little push from a god and goddess to fall in love…

M.T. DeSantis – “A Hunt for Love”

Can a djinn and a clueless guy beat the clock, avoid the curse, and maybe even find true love?

L.J. Longo – “Seaweed and Silk”

A mermaid: hundreds of miles from her home on the ice, on a ship with a troll, a goblin wizard, and a pack of wolves. What else can go wrong? Oh, right. A flippin’ sea monster.

Mary Rogers – “Spring Fling”

A druid’s bargain gives Carson revenge against his former lover Carrie–at the price of her memories of them together. But did she truly steal his magic all those years ago? Or was the real theft his heart?

Elsa Carruthers – “Welded”
Welding Witch, Rena, is on the run. She’s not looking for love, but all the magic in the world can’t keep the sparks from flying when her rivals, Nate and Duke, find her.

Heather Bythesea – “Cherry Blossoms in the Wind”

A dryad denied roots. A man from across the sea. A forbidden love that becomes a story for the ages.

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR AUTHORS

STARS AND STONE BOOKS: http://starsandstonebooks.com/

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34686292-crazy-little-spring-called-love

FACEBOOK RELEASE PARTY: https://www.facebook.com/events/2062183134008615/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/starsstonebooks

ANTHOLOGY WEBSITE: http://starsandstonebooks.com/crazy-little-spring-called-love

 

Excerpt from Hiring the Tiger

Personal opinion that might get me in trouble: One of the reasons I like to read/watch m/m is because there seems to be a more equal play field. I don’t know if it the power-dynamic, or that I watch less amateur gay videos, but the men always seem to enjoy sex more.

Given my proclivities towards writing about violent sex, I’ve always hesitated to write an F/M couple. Though logically I know there is no difference between tying up a guy or a gal, in my heart, it feels wrong… exploitative, when women are subjected to forced consent in my fantasies. They’ve got to deal with enough shit in real life; they don’t need my gutter mind.

However, I think with Jasprite, I found my compromise.  


Except from Hiring the Tiger

Nav worried the lady wouldn’t like the look of the bands, too dirty, too bold. Then he scoffed because he didn’t give a damn if she liked the look of them. Then he worried she’d decide he was a frivolous expense.

Fuck the bet, he’d take for her free. Now, he wanted her.

Now she was here.

He smelled her in the hallway, potent and sexual. She walked with quick long strides and opened the door before he could decide if he ought to be found in the balcony or on the bed.

Jasprite locked the door after she entered, then dropped the key into her front vest pocket. She grinned at him, the kind of leer men give the village girls washing their clothing at the river. It made him feel curiously misplaced.

“So, the captain was wrong. The chest was delivered safe and whole. You didn’t even open it.”

“I didn’t have the key.” He’d resisted the desire to pick it. “Ramsay also said you ought to hire a soldier to do this work.”

“A miscreant will do the job more thoroughly.” She pulled off her suit jacket and hung it on a wall hook, never taking her eyes from him. “Though, I’ll be honest, I don’t like animals. Especially, large ones. They don’t take direction well. Your witch said you’re a tiger.”

Nav grinned. “She’s not wrong.”

The lady’s eyebrow raised with annoyance. He wasn’t playing properly. He tried to be timid again. “Did you want proof, Lady Doughton?”

“Never had a tiger for hire.” She grinned at her name then pulled the string of jewels out of her bun, plucked something from the string, and tossed something over to him. He caught a key. “Open the chest.”

He knelt and opened the red chest with a gamely smile.

The smile left quickly. “Holy Hades…”

Under the layers of cotton were shackles, collars, whips. Long thick phallic statues of carved and polished wood, glass, and shining metal molded for a very specific purpose. Gags, hoods, dozens of other toys he’d never seen even in the most wicked books.

She chuckled, not a pleasant sound. “I knew you wouldn’t be ready.”

“Uh…” He looked from the box to her. He wanted her strong thighs, those tempting breasts, her cruel smile. But the box … men were supposed to use toys like that, not women.

“You like my collection?”

“I don’t know, actually.”

She hummed, unimpressed with his answer. She sauntered over and peered with him into her box of deviance. Her thighs were level with his face, and he inhaled the rich fresh wetness between her legs. He wanted her so much.

Nav swallowed, uncomfortable on his knees. He should have been the one staring down at her. She should have been the one to feel small and desired. Instead, she’d made him nothing more than his throbbing cock and his wordless mouth.

“Yes, this is exactly my problem with large animals. Especially ones that belong to other women.” She gripped his chin.

“I don’t belong to Yenna.”

She grinned. “I know who you belong to.”

Nav shivered a little at the ownership in her confidence.

Jasprite let him go. “I do like a pretty face though. So, I’ll make an exception for you, tiger.”

She could still tell him no? He wasn’t sure he had the option himself.

The woman unbuttoned her vest. “Pick out what you’ll let me use on you and I’ll tell you what you’re worth.”


That’s me!

Hope you enjoyed. Get the full story on May 3rd here.

Cover Reveal!

So with all the excitement about Owned the the Alpha:Manlove Edition and Crazy Little Spring Called Love I haven’t had time to really talk about my new release from Evernight. Hiring the Tiger is the first book in my first series!

This is the cover:

Hiring-the-Tiger-evernighpublishing-2017-finalimage

“Hiring the Tiger” was originally written for the Owned by the Alpha… non-manlove edition, but was accepted for Romance on the Go instead (because fate wanted you all to be able to read the fan-fiction I was writing of my own side-characters).

Heart of the Mountain tells the story of a group of shifters as they struggle to escape the witches who created them and survive in human society.

Nav is the hero of Hiring the Tiger and the one thing he knows is that a tiger shouldn’t be picking tea-leaves and carrying luggage. But that’s the only job Navarro sees in his future. He’s learned to be humble since he and his friends, a wolf pack, exchanged their former careers as highway robbers for prison.

Then Lady Jasprite Doughton, a merchant with all the grace of the far East and the wealth of the West, whirls through the village on the back of a dragon and reminds Navarro what it means to want something. With her dominating sexual tastes and her powerful personality, Jasprite challenges his body, his lust, his loyalty to his friends, and his own worth.

After all, is gold enough to buy a tiger?

 

It comes out May 3rd! You can get it here! Teasers soon!

 

First Chapter of “Seaweed and Silk”

Crazy Little Spring Called Love: Eight Magical Stories of Fantasy Romance is coming soon! This delightful fantasy romance anthology features eight magical stories inspired by the awakenings and renewal of springtime. If you like fairies, djinn, gods and goddesses, druids, mermaids, magic, and true love, then pre-order on Amazon!


They gave me my own author page and cover: L.J. Longo – “Seaweed and Silk”

Seaweed and SIlk
Svildna is not the type of mermaid who suns herself on the ice all day. She can kill a shark, scour a keel, and patch a sail as easy as they comb their hair. So she’s more than capable of escorting The Apple Jack and its crew to the warmer southern waters. When a storm blows the ship off course, she finds herself in dangerous waters, under suspicion, and falling in love with the last man she’d expect.


Excerpt from “Seaweed and Silk”

“Gonna be a bitch of a storm.” Gekko grumbles at the bow over my head.

I can’t see nothing but sunrise water from my station below the bowsprit of The Apple Jack. The sky, redder than shark’s blood, bathes the ice flows and barely penetrates the black ocean. The breaking water flares around my tail in icy splashes, and I lean out of the merrow shelf, holding the metal bar. High above Gekko stands shivering on deck, bundled to her long green nose in her over-sized quilt.

“Well, look who’s here! Morning, Ms. Wizard. I never saw you up so early. You gonna disappoint the wolves and take your share of breakfast for a change?”

I’m not entirely sure what a wolf is. When I asked they said they could turn into wolves, that it was a kind of animal. Something like a shark only on land and in packs. Four men in our little eight-person crew are wolves.

The wind-chill reddens the tip of Gekko’s nose and floppy long ears. A goblin from the tropics, even a wizard like her, has no business being this far north. “Can you feel that storm, Seaweed?”

“I’m a mermaid, ain’t I?” I’ve given up on getting the crew to say my name. Svilnda is apparently too hard for land-dwellers. “Told Captain about it last night. By the course he set, he means to barrel under it before it breaks.”

“Hope we’re fast enough.” Gekko clutches her blankets tighter.

Hoping it will sooth her fears, I make a show of my magic and move a chunk of ice noisily away from the bit of metal, canvas, steam that keeps her afloat. “Captain knows what he’s doing.”

“More than you do certainly.” The goblin plops down at the bow and looks out at the wild water.

The waves chop across the horizon. Little mountains of white foam with only occasional towers of ice to break the endless ripple of the sea. Below the waves, a blue whale keens for her calf; I hear it in my mind. They’re running from the storm.

“Did you talk to Tan about this storm?” Gekko calls down.

Instantly, thoughts of the storm disappear, as if the danger of tumultuous skies cannot coexist with Tan and his warm smile.

It’s a funny thing about how his smile changes his face. He’s fierce ugly when you don’t know him. The fellow ‘s enormously tall and made of stone. I don’t know what race that makes him. Not one I’ve ever heard of, though I suspect stone-people don’t make a habit of swimming in deep water. With the pebbles across his face and arms grating when he talks and a bare chest that’s just a wide swathe of sheets of sliding stones which he only covered with a weird half-dress thing called an apron, he looks strange and hard. Until he notices you and he smiles. Then you hardly notice the pebbles and certainly when he start chatting in his deep voice or whistling soft, sweet melodies it’s hard not to like him.

The name Seaweed is Tan’s fault, but I’d never hold it against him. He was only teasing because I wear woven kelp instead of seashells. Seashells are for the mindless rich maids who sun themselves on the ice all day and comb their hair and flirt shamelessly with sailors and other idle fools. I’m not pretty, or rich, or idle. I’m a merrow who can scour your keel, weave you a seaweed shirt, or patch your sail. I can tan a seal skin and kill a shark better than I can comb my hair.

And sailors like Tan and the wolves never give me a second glance. In a way, I’m proud to be above their leering—means I’m part of the crew, not some pretty thing to look at—but I’m sometimes a little ashamed too. Everyone likes to be beautiful now and then.

Though Tan, when he smiles, can make anyone feel special.

“Seaweed! Did you—”

“Why would I talk to the ship cook about the storm?” Of course, that’s no reason to sit and smile thinkin’ about him when there’s a goblin wizard waiting for your half of the conversation. “What’s he gonna do? Bake it away?”

Gekko snorts. “Don’t be nasty, mermaid. Tan’s got more experience with ships than you ever will. Captain only hired you because you bid cheaper than any other merrow in the job auction. It was a mistake and I’m not much interested in being aboard the ship that suffers from a water-witch’s learning curve.”

I stare hard at the sea until I’m sure I’ve swallowed my pride. No sense in annoying the wizard. Not when she’s right.


Find the anthology on social media and online:

STARS AND STONE BOOKS: http://starsandstonebooks.com/
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34686292-crazy-little-spring-called-love
FACEBOOK RELEASE PARTY: https://www.facebook.com/events/2062183134008615/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/starsstonebooks
ANTHOLOGY WEBSITE: http://starsandstonebooks.com/crazy-little-spring-called -love

First Chapter of “The Scarf”

I’m so excited to be part of Evernight Publishing’s new anthology: Owned by the Alpha Manlove Edition, that I thought I’d post the first chapter of my story here. Buckle up, bitches, here’s “The Scarf.”


Chapter One

 If I threw money at fights—and unless I’m in them, I don’t—I’d bet a lioness would beat an ogre. Don’t misunderstand, Chief Uzegar is no lightweight, but against a full-grown lioness with her claws out…

The lioness showed up a few minutes ago outside my office building, yowling for half the shifters of Matawon to hear. Of course, the police station is just across the street and the chief is a hands-on fella. So five stories below my window, there’s an ogre brandishing a cudgel, two humans holding a blanket like a shield, and a lioness coated in blood. Her back is shredded, but Uzegar didn’t do that kind of damage. If she doesn’t back down or attack, she’s going to bleed to death.

I raise my window to get her attention. When she looks, the humans get the blanket over her and force her transformation. Uzegar body-slams her changed form, though on two legs she’s still big enough to cause trouble. He gets his big green arm around her throat and she goes down.

“I need help, you bastard!” the lioness shouts.

Shit, she’s only a teenager. Can’t be more than fifteen.

What does a shifter lioness need protection from? I guess her witch, but a witch isn’t going to leave blood like that. Not even on a run-away familiar.

“Why the hell—” Uzegar stops himself from yelling at a kid. “We were understandably afraid, miss. We’ll get you medical attention. Who attacked you?”

“Wolves.”

The ogre looks up at my window. “How many?”

“There’s a pack of them … eight or nine. They’ve got all the shifters in Down-City afraid for their lives. The smaller ones they beat. The strong ones … they kill. They make us run their drugs… Sell our time.”

What kind of sicko is buyin’ a teenager’s time? I guess the kind that wants to whip her back until she’s a bloody mess. Hope he got what he paid for and she gutted him.

Uzegar helps the kid to her feet. “Come on. Let’s get you inside. Have a witch heal—”

“No witches!” The lioness jerks away from Uzegar’s hand. She staggers, turns her face upward. “Hey, you’re Truman Wolf, ain’t ya?”

I straighten a little in the window. “Yeah.”

“You’re only half with them.” She sneers and thumbs at Uzegar. The blanket slips. She’s about to turn lion again, except Uzegar takes her shoulders and steadies her. “You gotta fix Down-City.”

She glares at the police. “That’s what you people are supposed to do, ain’t it? Fix the rotten places?”

“Let’s fix you up first, okay?” Uzegar turns her toward the station doors with all the daintiness an ogre with a cudgel can muster.

She flings him off like he’s a feather, and then turns to me. “The wolves mauled a swan and the police didn’t do nothing. The wolves put a lynx in the hospital and the police didn’t do nothing.”

I’ve never seen so much anger mixed with so much frailty as in this kid.

“A couple months ago, the ravens asked me to get outside help. They said, oh that Truman Wolf tracked down at a missing bear cub. Maybe he can help.”

The lioness pauses—blood loss or shame. “But I told the ravens I didn’t have a problem. I didn’t need nothing to change, did I?”

She laughs, a dark disturbed sound. Chills my bones. “A lioness can protect herself, right?”

Uzegar catches her as she falls and he sinks with her to the pavement. He orders his men, “Get in there and bring Miss Denise out here. Make sure she brings her books.”

The lioness points up at me. “You fix Down-City, wolf. I got the scents you need. Left ’em by the dumpster.”

There’s a plastic bag flapping in the wind. “I’ll see ’em.”

She uses the last bit of her strength to roar at me. “You fix it, wolf.”

I nod and that calms her down. She passes out, and I guess that’s fine, ’cause that’s the only way the charity witch is going to get near her.

****

“These two and the alpha are the ones who attacked her.” Uzegar compares the contents of the plastic bags with the report Joyce-Lynn—that’s the lioness—gave. “The sleeve belongs to a dog named Staid.”

It’s a green and white scrap of flannel drenched in blood, but a wolf doesn’t go in for my line of work if he can’t stomach the scent of gore. Staid was terrified when Joyce got his sleeve. And though the best of dogs has a right to cower when a half-grown lioness bats at his head, the acrid salt scent of fear soaks through his clothes. Not a brave man, this Staid.

“Got him.” I put the cloth aside.

“Gus.” Uzegar chucks a black tank-top my way. “Joyce got the whole shirt because he launched at her as a wolf.”

“Bold fella.” I sniff then recoil from the noxious tang. “Stupid fella. This stinks of sky-seed. Must’ve been high as a god-damned moonbeam.”

The chief’s gray-green face breaks into a smirk. “I’ll check his record.”

“I’ll probably find him first.” Gus must’ve broken his nose to tolerate his own stink. “I got him. Not likely to forget him either. Do we have the alpha?”

“Lioness says he’s all over Down-City.” Uzegar reaches into his coat to bring out an evidence bag. “Had to wrestle this from her.”

“What is it?” Something sky-blue and blood-brown is inside the plastic.

“Scarf. She got help on her way out. Won’t tell us about it, but…” Uzegar scans his report. “Figure it’s a place to start.”

Joyce’s blood soaks one end of the scarf. Otherwise it’s soft and clean as I bring it to my nose and sniff. That may be the last sane thought I’ll ever have.

The scent strangles me with longing.

Fox. Cedar-rose cologne. Touch of magic. Notes of wine. Clean, deeply arousing fragrance. Not that I have a thing for foxes. Not that I would think twice about cedar-rose cologne—applied sparingly, just enough to mask the animal musk for humans—if I passed a shifter wearing it in the street. Except, if I passed this fox in the street, I’d have to haul him into the nearest dark place and fuck the shit out of him.

Uzegar doesn’t notice. “You done?”

“No.” I breathe deep at the scarf. I’m not giving this back. I need this smell. Need to hold it in my lungs until I can hold that fox. “It’s, uh, faint and … important. I need to keep the scarf.”

Uzegar shrugs. “There’s a history of wolf attacks below Tenth Street.”

I don’t care about wolf attacks. The lioness, her blood, and desperation, are a distant memory. My world has turned into the scent of a fox. He wore this scarf often. Days of his life are imprinted in the slippery silk.

Uzegar is still talking. What about?

“…sniff around Down-City. See if there’s anything to her story.”

My fox is effeminate, the type of man who wears women’s scarves. He needs my protection. Maybe he’s scared … alone. He’ll catch my scent. He’ll want me. He’ll trust me.

“Tru, you listening?”

“Uh…” My head swims and my eyes hurt from too much light. My cock throbs and I’m in awe Uzegar can’t hear my heart banging.

His eyes narrow. “You mad or something?”

Mad? Sure. Stark-raving mad. Wild-animal-who-shouldn’t-live-in-a-city mad. “No, I hear ya. I just need…”

To find and fuck this fox. Right now.

“Sniff around Down-City. Look for a protection racket. Got it?”

****

I jet across the street, slam the door to my room behind me, and pop open my trousers. My cock shoots out like it’s been suffocating. The open air makes the throbbing more painful so I wrap my fingers around the shaft to deal with my unreasonable lust.

I drape the scarf over my face, sip that remarkable scent. Cedar-rose, wine, fox. My own personal love poison.

My fox would be lithe, move like smoke. Hair red as sunrise. Pretty face. Small build. His scarf—this scarf before the blood—would trail after him, float as he darts.

I imagine him running across the street in the police station, the scarf a silken tail. He looks over his shoulder and smiles. We’re playing. Lean hips swerve, strong legs leap. He navigates over the desks, waste bins, and scrying pools. I barrel after him. There’s a trace of lust on the wind, stronger when he turns down the dead-end past evidence. He lets me catch him. His face angles down, red hair wild. His eyes—got to be green—lift with innocent longing. Unknowingly sensual, his hands caress the dusty brick behind him as I close in.

His fragile body flutters and melts under my strength. When he moans, his voice is a song. Lust overwhelms the cedar-rose cologne. He wants me with the same maddening desire. I’ll break his little body with sex, make him mine through raw force, spray all over his back and ass and claim him.

He’ll cling to me when I finish. I’ll take him across the street to my apartment where he’d live now because he belongs to me. I’ll fuck him until my lust is sated.

Then I’ll ask his name.


That’s all for now, folks. Hope you enjoyed Chapter One of “The Scarf”.  Be sure to follow me so I can send you details about where to find Owned by the Alpha Manlove anthology (which is full of similar goodies by fantastic authors).