Tag Archives: #loveacrosstheuniverse

Love Across The Universe: Excerpt from Breathless

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.


Breathless: by L.J. Longo

A soldier and a café manager find themselves trapped beneath the surface of a resort by the deadly beasts native to the planet. As they fight to survive, they discover danger is a potent aphrodisiac.

 

As part of a hidden military outfit protecting rich civilians as they vacation on the resort planet Pangaea, Nathan Oyola planned to keep secrets, fight aliens, and maybe tan under the rays of an artificial sun.  What he did not expect was to fall for his so-called boss, the manager of the café located directly above the aliens’ nest. When the native wildlife starts behaving more aggressive and strange than usual, how will Nathan keep them secret and keep his new-found love safe.

 

Excerpt:

“Mott. Your little girlfriend is early again. Tell him to f— off.”

Sarge marches at the front of the company, but her voice carries over the bloated carcasses of tonight’s kills—about twenty ten-footers. My platoon guards the rear in case their stench attracts more roaches looking for an easy meal.

When I look past the pile of tentacles and blood to the omni-pit’s mouth, the concrete is bleach white. Overhead UVs are on. Tianjin Ki is in the warehouse above.

“10-4, ma’am.”

The company chuckles as I jog by. Even the grunts know I’ve got a thing for our boss, but the idea of Old Iron-Jaw dating the planet resource manager makes them laugh.

And it should. It’s fucking ridiculous. Tianjin Ki can do better than a lead-head.

I hand my ruck to Sarge as she asks, “You got a clean apron?”

“Nope. But I got a dirty one.” I hand her my helmet and head to H.Q.

“Mott!” Sarge barks.

I turn, my Shock-87 raised, radiating heat in my metal hand, ready to roast.

Not exactly civilian attire.

“Oh.” I kill the charge and hand Sarge my gun and my clips. She smiles, wrinkling the scarred skin around her unblinking electric eyes. “Wash-up good, lover-boy. Gotta look cuddly for Mr. Ki.”

There’s nothing cuddly about my face. I see it when I change my BDU for my civvies and Moon Kaa apron in H.Q. Or more accurately, I see the cybernetic gleam of my jaw and right forearm because the shadows have swallowed my dark skin. What’s left of my reflection is a half-metal ox squeezed into a too-tight uniform shirt. Just some asshole cyborg impersonating a civilian. Badly.

My platoon strips the shells and hacks through thoraxes. Ro-Jo, my second-in-command, finds time to tease. “Take one for the team, Iron-Jaw.”

I wave her off and ignore the platoon’s chuckles, until How-Town pipes in. “Yeah, maybe if you treat Ki real nice, we’ll get a raise.”

I scowl at him from the stair and the laughter silences. How-Town, only six months on the roach path, holds a machete like it’s a teddy bear and quivers under my glare.

“Sorry, sir. I didn’t mean to speak out of turn.”

“You better be sorry,” I answer somberly. “I always treat my bitches nice.”

The platoon laughs and returns to liquefying the dead roaches.

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 and 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.


About the Author:

L.J. Longo is a queer author, a geek, a feminist, sometime pirate, and is an ARe best-selling author of Erotic Romance. An Evernight author, L.J.’s work appears in The Dishonest LoverDark Captive: Manlove Edition, and Evasive Love. L.J.’s story “The Scarf” appears in Owned by the Alpha: Manlove Edition and the first book of L.J.’s first series, Hiring the Tiger: Heart of the Mountain is now available.

​Find more thoughtful, hot erotica at Graceful Indecency where L.J. offers free erotica and contests to win romance e-books. L.J. also sometimes takes a break from writing and messes around on Twitter and Facebook.


Amazon: L.J. Longo

 

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.

Breathless: Part 1 The Magic

Sometime in May, I had the brilliant idea to write about the writing in real time. However, I suck at blogging. Still, I had a voice recorder full of excitement and so I thought I’d share the thrill of catching the idea with you.

All of this was written on Memorial Day 2017.


So I try to write everyday, but after the craziness of March through May where I edited and published three novellas I was mentally exhausted and without a project.

This made the second half of May very strange for me. I haven’t felt like myself because I haven’t been sticking to my habit. I’m not as happy when I’m not writing (there been times in the past when my partner, literally told me to go away and write because I was being mean).

I still have been working on Witch, Ghost, Dog, Clone (which is a huge fantasy project that is also my graduate school thesis project), notes for the rest of the Heart of the Mountain series, and tinkering with old stuff. But I haven’t had a real project, because I’ve been writing like God-damned demon I needed a break.

So I took a break. Watched some Jessica Jones and Supernatural. Read some Deadpool.

But yesterday, for whatever reason, the writing came.

Rather than struggling to put words on page (or you know, text on screen) I found myself fluidly being drawn into a story. I knew the characters instinctively, I saw where the plot was going, I even had an opening line.

It’s an idea I thought up working at Starbucks. There’s long hallway that leads to a parking garage where they kept the garbage. One of my jobs was to walk to trash for this hallway and as a writing exercise I’d describe the hallway in my head in different voice and tones. How does it look from a horror novel from the monster’s POV? What about in a  romance novel?  What about in a comedic mash-up of the two where dude is so much in love that he’s listening to his music and dancing along, and never notices the giant bug demon hanging on the ceiling.

Somehow I got hung up on the idea of monsters and I put my Starbucks experience in the Buffy verse. My little place on Grove St. was actually nestled on top of a Hell-Mouth and and the reason nothing was ever done in the morning was because evening shift was killing demons keeping those bastards underground.

I had this fun image of David Wong, Kevin Smith, and Nora Roberts mashup where the romantic lead is this oblivious dude on night shift who falls for his boss who works the morning shift. Boss thinks Dude is an asshole because the work is never finished, so Dude starts working his ass off in the last half hour of the day to get everything done and impress Boss.

I teased this idea while writing Heart of the Mountain, and Witch, Ghost, Dog, Clone, and turning in the final edits for Seaweed and Silk and The Scarf. As I took out the trash, I’d daydream about someone getting locked out of the cafe and then devoured in the hallway. Or a soldier dropping down to the Hell-Mouth and hunting demons Dean and Sam Winchester style.

Then at some point, I had to submit a story idea to an romance anthology from the same people that brought you Crazy Little Spring Called Love. I knew it was science-fiction and I knew it had to happen on a beach. My brainstorming and searching through old stories brought me nothing. Neither did asking my sister (a hopeless romantic) for advice.

But I didn’t have time to write, because it was a Starbucks day, so I went to work. Of course, night shift had made a royal mess of things. Disorganized pastry case. Oddly curated sandwich selection. No cold brew made. And of course, they put in the wrong garbage bags. Instead of triple bagging the one for the coffee grounds (wet coffee grounds is the smell of trash. Nothing else smells as much like trash as wet coffee grounds), they’d put in a bag so tight it had stretched to fit over the edges.

Being witty as fuck at 5:30 a.m., I mentally demanded, “why? Did the bin see it’s youth floating away and decide to chaseit ‘s former glory with tight-ass garbage bags?  Did the trash make questionable sexual decisions and the bin squeezed into a female condom for protection?”

What I actually said was, “hum. Must have been busy. I’ll change this now.”

And my boss remarked on how pleasant I was and cussed out night-shift for me.

Instantly, I had the character for Dude’s love interest. Someone who could be mentally shredding everyone else to pieces while remaining pleasant to work with. It suddenly occurred to me, my story wasn’t happening in a Hell-Mouth, but on an planet so big that it was mostly beach. The brainless monsters Dude was hunting weren’t demons, but aliens, the insentient beginning of life. And when Boss found out, he would handle his rage by making Dude breakfast and smiling.

I even had a title for it.

Breathless.

 

And about 3000 words into it now. I’ve got a word count limit of 10k. I’m aiming to finish this puppy by Wednesday when I go back to Starbucks again.

Happy Memorial Day, folks. Wish me luck.