Hi and welcome back! Today is the second day of the Naughty After Dark Blog Hop and we're going strong! A few quick reminders before we get to the down-and-dirty fun stuff. ;-)
I'm blogging each day through midnight the 22nd of February with this hop. All you have to do is leave a comment on any of my posts during the hop and you'll be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a prize package: winner's choice of a PDF copy of one book from my back list AND for US residents - a box of flavored Body Finger Paints; for non-US residents - a $20 gift certificate to the online store of Bath & BodyWorks. Winners will be announced Friday, February 24th, on my blog.
Yesterday I invited you in with my first published release. Today I want to share with you my next published story, Malathix Soul 1: Soulless. Published by Changeling Press last summer, this one made me giddy when it finaled in Changeling's Shamrock Challenge Contest. Check it out:
Space Lord Theradon, of the merchant planet Malathix, lives on the edge of a darkness that threatens every human around him. He must find the piece of him that’s missing or face his demise.
Laya Brummel unknowingly carries within herself the means to his survival. If only she would stay still long enough for him to explain. But she’s seen the horror of what a Malathix alien can become, and fear keeps her constantly running away from him.
When the pair finally comes face-to-face, will it be too late to stop the death and destruction, or will they find something deeper to hold them together and save them both?
Province of New Texas, Earth, in the Year 2142
“She’s here, Camden. I can feel her,” Theradon, heir to the throne on planet Malathix, informed his second in command.
Camden Royst nodded his acknowledgement. They walked deeper into Club Neon, a large cavern of a place lit by a million watts of flashing neon and black light. The sight was disorienting and painful, and Theradon blinked, shifting internal protective lenses over his corneas.
“Damn, I hate places like this.” Camden rubbed his fingers across his eyes. “My eyes hurt like a son of a bitch.”
“Mine, too.” Theradon waited until Camden oriented himself. Putting up with Earth’s atmosphere and human quirks, such as their infernal need for multi-colored lighting, had been another fucked up mark against this ass-backward planet. It was hell to adjust their bodies into a level of comfort to maintain social contact. Chaotic places like this club threatened to bring out the beasts within them, and without their souls to keep their beasts in check, violence reigned.
“So, where is she?” Camden asked. “Do you want to go after her or wait again to see if she comes to you?”
“I hear that sneer.”
Theradon and Camden stopped at the upper edge of the dance floor, hands on leather-clad hips, surveying the disorienting scene before them. Long, crowded bars flanked the left and right of the spacious room while the entire sunken floor before them crawled with people gyrating and contorting themselves in a semblance of movement the humans called dancing.
“Well, Theradon, what do you want me to say? You know if it’d been up to me you’d have taken that human the first night you found her.”
“That human’s name is Laya. Show some respect.”
Camden held up his hands. “Sorry.”
“If I’d taken her that night, I’d have killed us both on the spot. You saw what happened to Lex. When he saw Laya’s friend, he tore the damn place apart. I wasn’t about to risk either of our lives.”
“You still should have told her.”
“You’re pushing, Camden. Just because you got lucky in telling Deidra before you claimed her doesn’t mean Laya would’ve taken the news the same way, especially after witnessing what Lex did. Besides, asshole, that information is supposed to be classified until the claiming.”
Camden dropped his head, properly chastised, while Theradon gazed through the shifting crowd again. His beast craved time to come out, but Theradon was a Lord of Malathix. He would never willingly unleash his beast on the innocent.
Camden’s voice rose over the din. “What are you going to do now?”
“I don’t see her yet. Maybe she’s in the back. Let’s grab a seat and see if she comes out. I can wait a few more minutes. But one way or another, this chase ends tonight.”
* * *
“Laya! Laya, he’s here!”
“What? Now? Damn it.” Laya’s hands shook as she sloppily put aside the drink tray she’d been carrying. Smoking liquid poured from the tall glasses. She knew Theradon had been near, in the city at least, because she’d started feeling horny a few hours ago. She always felt the need for sex when he was in the vicinity. Damn it! Theradon was the last man in the galaxy she wanted to have sex with. Or so she kept telling herself.
“You’ve gotta get out of here.” Zee went so far as to untie Laya’s waist apron and push her toward the back door. Laya rubbed her hands on her skirt as if to rub away the sudden anger boiling up inside. Anger at Theradon running her ragged, anger at that thing living inside her, and anger at her best friend for pushing her beyond the point of exhaustion.
“No, Zee.” Despite Laya’s quaking nerves, she locked her knees and stood firm.
“No? What do you mean ‘no’? He’s gonna kill you. Go!”
“Damn it, Zee, I said I’m not going anywhere.” Laya twisted herself out of Zee’s grasp. “I’ve run enough. It’s been two years, and I’m tired of running. I’m tired of not knowing why he’s after me in the first place.”
Zee backed Laya into a corner and dropped her voice. “That asshole’s going to kill you.”
“I don’t know that.”
“Has it been so long that you’ve forgotten what happened that first night you saw him?”
The way he stared at me like he was drinking me in. The way his hand caressed my face. The way --
“It must have.” Zee shoved her own shirtsleeve up. Puckered scars marred Zee’s arm. “Don’t you remember what his friend turned into? Those pinprick teeth, the skin that turned into some kind of armor, those fucking knives for fingers! I don’t care what’s up with those aliens, but we’ve gotta keep going until they leave and go back to their stinking planet.”
“What if he never leaves me alone? I won’t hide the rest of my life.”
“So fucking what? You’re alive, aren’t you? You saved me once, and I promised to watch your back.”
Laya closed her eyes and laid the back of her head against the wall. Zee spouted on, indignant, and Laya let her; her friend was only telling the truth. But what Laya had said had been her truth. She couldn’t go on anymore. She was physically exhausted from constantly watching over her shoulder, moving from town to town every couple of months, scared and uncertain. But what alarmed her the most lately was that foreign presence inside her. It was fading, and though the loss should have made her happy, instead she felt frightened. Somehow, she was fading right alongside this thing that had slammed into her ages ago. To Laya’s way of thinking, if she had to go, she’d rather get answers instead of hiding like a coward.
Malathix Soul 1: Soulless is available at Changeling Press
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