Tag Archive: Lasair Faol


setanta3

Good morning, Snippetteers! — no, I haven’t fallen off the planet (not that I haven’t tried a time or two, but achieving escape velocity turns out to be a little harder than I anticipated *winks*) I’m still on my writing hiatus, through the end of the month (though I just MIGHT have cheated a time or two *coughcough*), so here’s a snippet from earlier in the WIP. This one’s a little long — I know we’re supposed to keep them to six sentences, but this one has to be eight. (Maybe I need to work on writing in six-sentence clusters….) The two characters in this snippet are Lasair and Bryce, whose book was BLOWING SMOKE. Bryce was an interesting character to write; he turned up in books two through four, first as Terry’s jerk of a boyfriend who had stolen him from Josh, and then forced into a more truly villainous role by the Marfach. And halfway through book four, FIRESTORM, Bryce turned to me and said “Hey, guess who the next book is going to be about…” So I had to figure out how to redeem a character I’d enjoyed making thoroughly detestable and irredeemable. Turns out that until he met his Fae SoulShare, Bryce had never actually had a soul. And in this scene, Lasair and Bryce are sitting on a park bench, not far from the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Washington, D.C., taking a break from walking their puppy, the blind runt Fade-hound Setanta. And talking about what it’s like to be SoulShared.

*********

“Does our soul cause you pain, lover?” There was a line between Lasair’s brows that hadn’t been there a few seconds before. “Would you give it back to me, if you could?”

The question was like cold water flung over him; Bryce couldn’t breathe with the shock of it. He’d been stupid enough to try to reject Lasair’s gift, over and over again; he still wanted to curl up and die with the shame of it, when he remembered how one of his rejections had driven his Fae lover to try to flee back to the Realm. There was nothing inevitable about a SoulShare joining, and he’d damn near thrown the other half of his soul away.

“Please, m’anam-sciar. Please don’t cry.”

********

A couple of links for you —

Rainbow Snippets, your home for all kinds of LGBTQIA+ goodies on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

My page at Riverdale Avenue Books, the home of the SoulShares, where you can purchase in .epub, .mobi or .pdf: http://riverdaleavebooks.com/Books?Filters.SelectedAuthorId=2086

rainbowbed

Hello, Snippetteers! — sorry to be so late this weekend, but I was off at the Renaissance Festival yesterday, and came home too tired to do anything but make the better acquaintance of my pillow!

I’m afraid I’ve gone to seven sentences again — but once again, I think you’ll understand why when you read the snippet. This scene involves Lasair Faol and Bryce Newhouse, the SoulShares introduced in BLOWING SMOKE; they normally live in Greenwich Village, but they’re currently in Washington, D.C. with the other Fae and humans of Purgatory to help out with a growing problem with the way the Fae Realm and the human world interact. Which is what they’ve been discussing just before this excerpt; the first speaker is Lasair.

********

“You fret too much, sumiúl, over things you cannot help.”

“Only because you gave me the soul that makes me give a damn.” Bryce’s eyes watered, stung.

“Would you give it back, if you could?”

The question was like cold water flung over him; Bryce couldn’t breathe with the shock of it. He’d been stupid enough to try to reject Lasair’s gift, over and over again; he still wanted to curl up and die with the shame of it, when he remembered how one of his rejections had driven his Fae lover to try to flee back to the Realm. There was nothing inevitable about a SoulShare joining, and he’d damn near thrown the other half of his soul away.

********

For any of you who are going to be at Gaylaxicon this coming weekend (October 7-9), please stop by the Queer Sci Fi table in the vendor room and say hello!

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And a few links, for your continued reading pleasure:

Rainbow Snippets on Facebook, for more LGBTQIA+ goodies — https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

BLOWING SMOKE (SoulShares #5), Lasair and Bryce’s whole story — http://ow.ly/Xava304M0tD

A SUMMER’S DAY — Shakespearean m/m romance anthology, and a benefit for the It Gets Better Project (my short story, “Deeper Than Did Ever Plummet Sound,” kicks it off) — http://ow.ly/M9Kp304M0jw

FLIGHT — Queer Sci Fi’s third annual flash fiction contest, a fundraiser for the Queer Sci Fi blog (my “Life/Flight” leads it off) — http://ow.ly/PDyp304M0mY

VD2016ad

The Fae of the SoulShares would love to heat up your Valentine’s Day!

Start off with HARD AS STONE (Tiernan and Kevin), at Amazon (http://ow.ly/YidsD), Barnes & Noble (http://ow.ly/Yidzd), Kobo (http://ow.ly/YidF0), All Romance eBooks (http://ow.ly/YidPb), and Riverdale Avenue Books (http://ow.ly/YidZe)

and then move on to

GALE FORCE (Conall and Josh)
DEEP PLUNGE (Lochlann and Garrett)
FIRESTORM (Cuinn and Rian)
BLOWING SMOKE (Lasair and Bryce)
MANTLED IN MIST (Fiachra and Peri)

And while you’re shopping, don’t forget to pre-order WOLF, BECOMING, my Russian shape-shifter novella from Dreamspinner Press – available February 24, and on 25 percent off sale at Dreamspinner through February 15!

Amazon (http://ow.ly/Yi87B), Barnes & Noble (http://ow.ly/YieAl), Kobo (http://ow.ly/YievT), All Romance eBooks (http://ow.ly/YidSo), and Dreamspinner Press (http://ow.ly/YieDB)

Blowing Smoke Final

Welcome, Snippetteers! It’s week five of the run-up to the launch of MANTLED IN MIST (SoulShares #6), so that means a snippet from BLOWING SMOKE, SoulShares #5. There’s been a bit of a hiccup in the production process for MANTLED, so we have at least one more week’s worth of Snippetteering before it actually comes out – but that just means that next week, and maybe the week after, you get exclusive sneak previews of an unpublished SoulShares novel!

For this week, here’s a bit of Lasair and Bryce. (Lasair is the unconscious one; Bryce has just found him in the basement of Bryce’s Greenwich Village brownstone, in the middle of a web of magickal light.) (And yes, it’s seven sentences again. Sorry about that. But hey, the rainbow’s actually ROYGBIV, right?)

*********

The Fae almost seemed peacefully asleep, blond lashes feathered over skin like porcelain, lips pursed slightly in a gentle pout. His chest rose and fell evenly, and only the occasional twitch of a limb betrayed the fact that the light was still at work on him.

Bryce clenched his jaw, trying to ward off a sharp pang of yearning. Yeah, I still want to wake up next to that. Every morning. Now, here, looking at the disheveled Fae, he could see it, could almost taste a morning kiss. I pick a hell of a time to learn to dream.

*********

And finally, a few links…

Here’s the link to the Facebook Rainbow Snippets page, for much. Much more good stuff, all over the LGBTQIA+ spectrum: http://ow.ly/WQlIu

And if this bit of BLOWING SMOKE intrigued you, here’s the buy link – you have a couple of weeks to get caught up on the series before #6 comes out! http://ow.ly/WQlQ6

LasairBryce

Bryce had his usual half-minute warning before Lasair walked in the front door; Setanta sat up on his prized braided rag rug – the one that was probably going to look like a doily under a draft horse in about six months, according to Lasair – and turned his head toward the door, whining softly, tail thumping frantically against the floor.

“What am I, chopped liver? – you’ve had me all to yourself all afternoon.”

The tail thumped harder, and Bryce chuckled. He’d decided to take the day before Thanksgiving off work, not because he had any plans, but because all his clients seemed to. So there was no point in dragging his ass in to the office, and a great deal of point to lounging around the brownstone, getting caught up on his TBR pile, while his SoulShare went out to explore the city.

He actually wouldn’t have minded going along, but Lasair had wanted to go up to the American Museum of Natural History and watch them blowing up the balloons for the parade tomorrow, and given the apparently genetic Fae difficulty dealing with enclosed methods of transportation, that meant Fading to the Upper West Side, which humans weren’t equipped to handle –

The door opened, and Bryce looked up from his book, startled, as what looked like a mountain of Citarella bags lumbered in. “What the hell?”

“Would you mind taking the bag with the eggs? – it feels like I’m about to drop it.” Lasair’s voice was slightly muffled, though now that Bryce looked more closely, he could see his partner’s hair, and a bit of the side of his face.

Bryce unfolded himself from his chair and carefully unhooked the bag dangling from two curled fingers. “Don’t try to come the rest of the way in, you’re going to trip over a dog.” A dog who was doing his best to wrap himself around Lasair’s feet and climb his legs at the same time.

Lasair’s laughter followed him into the kitchen. He set the eggs on the table, then returned to help with the rest of the bags. “Did you leave anything in the store?”

The face he uncovered as he relieved the Fae of a bag of French bread was puzzled, or at least pretending to be. “Quite a bit, actually.”

“I love you, Rapunzel.”

The words came more easily each time he said them, sounded just a little less strange. Who ever would have thought…?

Lasair followed Bryce back into the kitchen, and the two of them started covering the counters and the small table with bags. “What possessed you?” Bryce scanned the bounty – crusty French bread, a bag of Yukon Gold potatoes, eggs, a couple of squash, four heads of various green things Bryce couldn’t even identify, three different salad dressings, wild rice, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and Jesus Horatio Christ a twenty-pound turkey.

Lasair came up behind Bryce and slipped his arms around Bryce’s waist. “Thanksgiving. Although I’m not sure that’s technically possession, you know I’m still learning English.”

Bryce shook his head. “Well, I suppose this will make up for all the years I haven’t celebrated.”

“You haven’t?” He felt Lasair stiffen in surprise. “Why not?”

“Because when I was a kid, Thanksgiving sucked more than just about any holiday.” Bryce closed his eyes, trying not to shudder at the parade of memories – a few family Thanksgivings at his grandfather’s house, put on display by his father to make sure the old man realized the next generation of heirs was being properly raised. Then more years in what was nominally his own house, but had really been taken over by his grandfather after dear old Grandad’s stroke – years of being the perfect kid, and having any perceived imperfections beaten out of him after dinner. And then, after his Deep Dark Secret had come out, and it wasn’t any good pretending to be anything close to perfect any more, he’d taken to feigning illness on Thanksgiving. No one had particularly cared.

Least of all Bryce Newhouse.

How had he ended up in Lasair’s arms? And why was Lasair’s shirt wet?

“What is it, súmiul?” He could feel Lasair’s lips moving against his ear.

“It’s stupid.” He struggled to speak past the lump in his throat. “I didn’t care how much Thanksgiving sucked when I was a kid. I didn’t have a fucking soul, I didn’t care about anything.” He palmed away his tears.

Lasair’s palms were cool against Bryce’s hot cheeks. “Maybe you didn’t care then. But you can care for that little boy now.” A kiss fell on Bryce’s forehead. “And you can let me cook for him, and feed him, and give him the kind of happiness I saw as I walked around this city today.”

“I don’t think you’re really a Fae.” Bryce tried to laugh. It was either that or start crying again.

Lasair smiled, the smile that had first proved Bryce truly had a heart. Maybe the smile that had given it to him. “Oh, but I am. Fae do understand gratitude, though I’ll own most of us think of it more as a sense of liability.” Kisses brushed Bryce’s cheeks. “But I rather like the thought of being perpetually in your debt.”

Another attempted laugh was cut off by a kiss that meant business. Bryce was just starting to melt into it when a startled yelp was followed by the unmistakable sound of a dozen eggs hitting a linoleum floor.

“Setanta,” they both groaned together.

Off the table,” Lasair added.

The Fade-hound’s tail wagged furiously, clearing the kale and the endive and the God-knew-what-else off the table to join the eggs.

Lasair laughed. “Take him back in the living room, súmiul. I’ll put things away.”

Shaking his head, Bryce did as he was bid, flopping down on the sofa with the ecstatically wriggling puppy.

Giving thanks.

He was late to this particular table, no doubt about that… but as his face was washed by an adoring puppy, and his Fae partner puttered around the kitchen putting away enough food for an army, Bryce settled back on the sofa with a hesitant smile.

It was good… no, it was fucking amazing… to have so much to be thankful for.

All five

Ask my teenager, and I’m sure he’ll be glad to tell you all about how his Mom larned her readin’ and writin’ and cipherin’ by scratching on the face of a shovel with charcoal. But even the oldest of dogs have been known to learn new tricks, and I’m going to spend this weekend meditating on the mysteries of the QR Code.

I’m listing all the buy links for the SoulShares below, and I’ll be updating (and filling in the blanks) as I get links. If any of the links don’t work for you, let me know in the comments below and I’ll do what I can to fix them. (Which will probably involve telling my son that Mom’s out of charcoal again…)

SOULSHARES BUY LINKS

Hard as Stone (Tiernan Guaire and Kevin Almstead)

Amazon (Kindle) — http://www.amazon.com/Hard-As-Stone-Book-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B00YB9RSNI/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Amazon (Paperback) — http://www.amazon.com/Hard-As-Stone-Book-SoulShares/dp/1626011931/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

All Romance eBooks — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-hardasstonebookoneofthesoulsharesseries-1815080-340.html

Barnes & Noble (Nook) — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hard-as-stone-book-one-of-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1121999716?ean=2940151651233

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/hard-as-stone-2

Gale Force (Conall Dary and Josh LaFontaine)

Amazon (Kindle) — http://www.amazon.com/Gale-Force-Book-Two-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B00ZG85LVY/ref=la_B009M8XQP2_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434072678&sr=1-5&refinements=p_82%3AB009M8XQP2%2Cp_n_feature_browse-bin%3A618073011

Amazon (Paperback) — http://www.amazon.com/Gale-Force-Book-Two-SoulShares/dp/1626012016/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434070650&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=rory+ni+coileain+Gale+Force

All Romance eBooks — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-galeforcebooktwoofthesoulsharesseries-1825463-149.html

Barnes & Noble (Nook) — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gale-force-book-two-of-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1122095801?ean=2940151450300

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/gale-force-2

Deep Plunge (Lochlann Doran and Garrett Templar)

Amazon (Kindle) — http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Plunge-Book-3-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B01096BDXM/ref=la_B009M8XQP2_1_6_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435115747&sr=1-6

Amazon (Paperback) — http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Plunge-SoulShares-Rory-Coileain/dp/1626012075/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1436488478&sr=8-2&keywords=Deep+Plunge+Rory+Ni+Coileain

All Romance eBooks — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-deepplungebook3ofthesoulsharesseries-1840037-340.html
Barnes & Noble (Nook) — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deep-plunge-book-3-of-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1122189321?ean=2940151138369

Barnes & Noble (Nook) — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deep-plunge-book-3-of-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1122189321?ean=2940151138369

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/deep-plunge-1

Firestorm (Rian Sheridan and Cuinn an Dearmad)

Amazon (Kindle) — http://www.amazon.com/Firestorm-SoulShares-Rory-Ni-Coileain-ebook/dp/B011AKJNAG/ref=sr_1_7_twi_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436489308&sr=1-7&refinements=p_27%3ARory+Ni+Coileain

Amazon (Paperback) — http://www.amazon.com/Firestorm-Book-Four-SoulShares-4/dp/1626012105/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436549455&sr=1-1&keywords=rory+ni+coileain+firestorm

All Romance eBooks — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-firestormbookfourofthesoulsharesseries-1846722-149.html

Barnes & Noble (Nook) – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/firestorm-book-four-of-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1122266522?ean=2940151024006

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/firestorm-54

Blowing Smoke (Lasair Faol and Bryce Newhouse)

Amazon (Kindle) – http://www.amazon.com/Blowing-Smoke-Book-Five-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B011HE7RG2/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1436754435&sr=1-3&keywords=Rory+Ni+Coileain

Amazon (Paperback) – http://www.amazon.com/Blowing-Smoke-Book-Five-SoulShares/dp/1626012121/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

All Romance eBooks – https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-blowingsmokebookfiveofthesoulsharesseries-1851332-149.html

Barnes & Noble (Nook) – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blowing-smoke-book-five-in-the-soulshares-series-rory-ni-coileain/1122287929?ean=2940150794184

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/blowing-smoke-5

And, just for good measure –

“Ilya and the Wolf” (Dreamspinner Press, short story, Russian shapeshifters) – Amazon (Kindle) – http://www.amazon.com/Ilya-Wolf-Rory-Ni-Coileain-ebook/dp/B00QEUP9XS/ref=la_B009M8XQP2_1_7_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436845609&sr=1-7

Heart of the Oak (Ellora’s Cave, novella, Gille Dubh) – Amazon (Kindle) – http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Oak-Boys-Will-Book-ebook/dp/B00FBF4XIY/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436845523&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Tempted+from+the+Oak+Rory+Ni+Coileain

Tempted from the Oak
(Ellora’s Cave, novella, Gille Dubh) – Amazon (Kindle) — http://www.amazon.com/Tempted-Oak-Rory-Ni-Coileain-ebook/dp/B00J8N6SY2/ref=la_B009M8XQP2_1_8_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436845564&sr=1-8

Rehabbing the Villain

What do you do when a character you had a great deal of fun making thoroughly detestable over the course of three books looks you in the eye and tells you he wants his own book? That’s the predicament I found myself in courtesy of Bryce Newhouse, the Greenwich Village investment banker everyone — and I do mean everyone — loves to hate in GALE FORCE, DEEP PLUNGE, and especially FIRESTORM. Well, I do love a challenge… so here’s a bit of Bryce’s journey. BryceDanielSune7

“What the fuck do you mean, he’s ‘otherwise occupied’?” Unable to glare at the person who was pissing him off, Bryce directed his ire at the air conditioner. Which the fucking landlord wasn’t going to be able to fix until Tuesday at the earliest, and why he’d thought he needed to interrupt Bryce’s Saturday afternoon with that news Bryce had no fucking idea.

A couple of hundred miles away, Josh LaFontaine sighed. “He’s in a meeting, Bryce. This is just another work day for us, you know.”

Remind me again why the hell I called? “I knew that, that’s why I called the studio. And since when do tattoo artists have meetings?”

“I don’t see where that’s any of your business.” Frost rimed on the words.

Neither do I, he nearly blurted. To say he’d been rattled by his close encounter with the heart-stopping Lasair Faol would be the understatement of the decade. Left trembling in a way he’d literally never been before in his life. But that hadn’t been the worst. The worst thing about it was the way it had made him start thinking. About the methodical way he’d spent more or less his whole life shoving everyone who might otherwise have gotten close enough to want to do for him what the blond god in his bedroom wanted to do for him out the nearest windows or under the nearest trains. Figuratively speaking, thank God.

Which contemplation, naturally enough, had turned his thoughts to Terry. Even before whatever had happened this morning, it had been frustrating, being unable to remember why he’d thrown Terry out. Now the inability to remember had graduated to being frustrating as fuck. I seem to have fallen in love with the f-bomb. I suppose it beats hell out of falling in love with anyone else. At least from the perspective of the hypothetical anyone else.

Oh, right, it was his turn to say something. “I wouldn’t have thought Terry needed a social secretary, but as long as you seem to have given yourself the job, would you mind telling me when would be a better time to call?” Acquiring a conscience, if that’s what had happened to him this morning, hadn’t done shit to improve his social skills. No reason it should have, either.

“Why are you bothering?” There was an edge to the tattoo artist’s voice now. “And Terry’s getting on with his life just fine, no thanks to you.”

Jesus. He’d called because… damned if he knew. Had he really thought he could make things right with Terry with a phone call? When he still couldn’t remember how he’d made things wrong in the first place? Not to mention all the bad blood between him and LaFontaine, and him and Dary. Him and pretty much everyone he knew, come to think of it. Not just an asshole, a stupid asshole. “Maybe this was a bad idea.”

“I agree–”

“What the fuck?” A puppy dropped onto the sofa. A puppy that couldn’t possibly have climbed to anywhere he might have fallen from, and had been shut into the bedroom not five minutes before. He could see the bedroom door from where he sat. It was still closed.

“I beg your pardon?”

“I. Uh.” Bryce set the phone on his thigh and switched it to speaker, so he could gather up the bewildered puppy. “My, um, houseguest has a dog. It’s not supposed to be up on the furniture.”

“You have a houseguest?”

“Do you have to sound so fucking surprised?” Bryce cradled the squirming pup awkwardly. “It is my house. If you can have a guest in it, I’m thinking I probably can too.” Shit. He’d had to go and remind himself of Conall Dary. Again. Maybe masochistic tendencies were yet another surprise discovery waiting for him today. It was hard to imagine why else he was rubbing his own nose in that particular piece of his past yet again. I’ve walked this part of memory lane twice already today, can’t I give it a miss now?

No, something else about the memory was nagging him. Something very similar about the two men involved. Something about the eyes. The way they’d seemed to see straight into him. Before he’d been an ass to both of them, anyway. His very special talent.

There was more. When he and Terry had walked in on Dary and LaFontaine, hadn’t there been a length of silver chain on the bedroom floor?

The door to the bedroom opened, banging against the wall, chasing all thoughts of chains from his head. Lasair strode into the living room, his intense turquoise gaze fixed not on Bryce, but on the dog. Which was actually just fine. It meant Bryce didn’t have to be ashamed of staring, at least for a few seconds. He’d been taken by surprise in the bedroom, by those kisses he could still taste. He hadn’t really looked at the heart-stopping blond, his improbable blue eyes and his bite-and-be-bitten lips and his perfectly chiseled body. He’d just fallen against him and let himself be kissed. Touched. Wanted. At least, until he’d come to his senses and gotten the hell out of there. No, he couldn’t even take credit for that much common sense. His escape had all been the landlord’s doing.

However it had happened, it was a good thing. No way could Bryce let himself get involved with a man like Lasair. Even if a miracle had happened, and he now somehow had the capacity not to be a total dickhead, he was still missing something very important. Namely, the ability to be anything else. If he let this go on the way Lasair apparently wanted it to–who the hell am I kidding, I want it too–there was only one way it could end. Very badly. For both of them.

Still, he could look. He could dream. For a second.

The spell shattered as Lasair came toward him with the obvious intention of taking the puppy. Bryce’s arms closed around the dog instinctively. Or it would have been instinctively, if he’d ever had an instinct to protect anything but himself.

“Earth to Newhouse?” The plaintive voice came from the phone still precariously balanced on his thigh. Lasair’s efforts to take the dog away from Bryce ceased. The blond was staring at the phone as if he expected it to leap from Bryce’s thigh and bite him in the face.

This all really, really needed to get weirder. “I’m here.”

“Look, you aren’t planning to come down to D.C. again, are you? That Christmas visit of yours, you made Terry cry, you pissed off Conall, and just a word to the wise, if you ever even try to set foot in Purgatory again, Tiernan’s going to let Lucien use you as a medicine ball.”

There is no way I could ever make up for all the shit I’ve pulled. The sudden bleakness of the thought left Bryce feeling as if all the air had been sucked out of him. It goes all the way back to my childhood and here I sit, piling on more every time I open my mouth. But at least Lasair had finally heard, straight from the horse’s mouth, what a horse’s ass Bryce was. Hopefully that would save him the trouble of proving it to the blond Adonis himself.

“Conall? Tiernan?” Lasair was still staring at the phone like a spooked horse, and he spoke carefully, almost reluctantly. “Are you speaking of Conall Dary and Tiernan Guaire?”

Silence. “Who wants to know?”

Fuck. Lasair hadn’t even heard the Bryce-is-a-dick part. “My houseguest,” Bryce grated. And how the hell did his ‘houseguest’ know both Dary and Guaire?

The blond glanced at Bryce, eyes wide. “I’m… a friend of theirs.” He rested a hand on the puppy’s head. “A friend of a friend, actually. Are they in there with you?–can I speak with them?” The way the blond was nodding toward the phone, it was almost as if he thought LaFontaine was actually inside it.

Bryce shook his head. He’d discarded the raving lunatic explanation for the chained-up man in his basement early on, but maybe it was time to come back to it.

The tattoo artist sounded almost as puzzled as Bryce felt. “They aren’t here, no. I could pass your name along, have them call you back, if you want.”

“No, that’s not necessary. But where are you?”

Considering the context, that has to be one of the strangest questions I’ve ever heard. “He’s not in the phone, Rapunzel.”

“Whatever it is you’re using, Bryce, it’s way too early in the day for it.”

“Fuck you very much, LaFontaine.” Bryce touched off the phone, the urge to slam something down making him nostalgic for something from his grandfather’s house for the first time he could remember. One of those old heavy black phones would have been so much more satisfying to hang up.

ScheduleAnnouncement

Hey, it’s only taken me the first month of 2015 to figure out what I’m doing the rest of the year – not bad!

First, the biggest piece of news I’ve had in a while – the first four SoulShares books, HARD AS STONE, GALE FORCE, DEEP PLUNGE, and FIRESTORM, are temporarily unavailable (except, as of this writing, for the paperback versions still up on Amazon, but those will be coming down shortly). The reason? New editions are coming out through Riverdale Avenue Books, starting in April! With a few additions and corrections (it would have been polite of Conall to inform me that he was a true redhead rather than a strawberry blond sometime before the end of book three, for example), AND a new Fae glossary for each book. AND…. (yes, there’s more!) the fifth book in the series, BLOWING SMOKE, coming out in May! (Follow me on my Amazon page, http://www.amazon.com/Rory-Ni-Coileain/e/B009M8XQP2/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1 and you’ll get updates when each one comes out!)

Here’s my publication schedule for the first half of 2015:

April 22: HARD AS STONE (SoulShares #1) – new edition
April 29: GALE FORCE (SoulShares #2) – new edition
May 6: DEEP PLUNGE (SoulShares #3) – new edition
May 13: FIRESTORM (SoulShares #4) – new edition
May 20: BLOWING SMOKE (SoulShares #5) – first time in print!

And while I’m being so gosh darn organized, here’s my schedule of conventions for the year:

CONvergence (Bloomington, MN) – July 2-5 (science fiction/fantasy)
Rainbow Con (Tampa, FL) – July 16-19 (LGBT media)
Midwestern Book Lovers Unite (MBLU) (Minneapolis, MN) – October 22-25 (romance writers/readers)

There’s something there for just about everyone, I think – come visit me! (And the Fae, and the Gille Dubh, and the oboroten’ – we’re a package deal!)

Remember when summer was about sleeping as late as you could get away with, biking to the library once a week, and spending as much of the remaining time as you could curled up in your secret private reading nook, devouring one book after another at a pace that made the librarian assume you were the supplier for your entire family?

I wish that had been my summer. Really. Instead, mostly I just heaved a great big ol’ sigh of relief when I tore August off the calendar. Here’s why…

My original contract for the SoulShares was for four books — Hard as Stone, Gale Force, Deep Plunge, and Firestorm. And it specified that I had 15 months to turn in all four books. Now, if I were able to write full-time, that would have been no sweat. But between the Evil Day Job and my family obligations, I generally only have a few hours a night to write. So after four books in 15 months (plus a couple of novellas), I was a great big stressball. But I had a new publisher who really, really wanted the fifth SoulShares novel, so I kept pushing, and turned in the manuscript for Blowing Smoke at the beginning of June. Then there was a short story to write, to submit for a Dreamspinner Press anthology (look for “Ilya and the Wolf” in Celebrate! — the Dreamspinner Press 2014 Advent Calendar anthology, and also as a stand-alone story, the beginning of December!). (Yes, it’s shifters. *grins* You’re welcome.)

Then July happened. I had to move, and downsized from a house to an apartment in a suburb a half-hour’s drive away, chosen because it was close enough to my son’s college that he could commute by bus and because they would let me keep my elderly golden-retriever mix, Fiona, and my Cornish Rex kitty, Grace O’Malley. One (small) carload at a time, we moved that house, all through the month of July. Three days before the final move, Fiona died. (Needless to say, between being burned out and dealing with the move and my sweet girl, not much writing happened in July…)

Then August happened. I started writing again (Bound in Oak, Tales of the Grove #3). The publisher with which Blowing Smoke had been resting comfortably since June announced that it was terminating all its freelance editors, including mine, and that all outstanding manuscripts would be reassigned to its staff of in-house editors. Now, there’s a very good reason why I became a lawyer rather than an accountant, but some numbers even I can crunch, and I realized that I would undoubtedly be an old(er) gray(er) lady by the time SoulShares #5, which had not yet gotten as far as first edits, saw the light of day. So I exercised my contractual right to pull the manuscript… and on Labor Day I sent it off to another potential home. Any and all crossed fingers, good wishes, prayers, and the like will be greatly appreciated, and hopefully I’ll have good news to report in a couple of months!

Now it’s September. I’m still working away at Bound in Oak (which may end up being a working title only, as Ellora’s Cave only wants titles to contain the word “Bound” if they’re BDSM titles, which this definitely isn’t), which I hope to have done by mid-October. And come visit me at the Midwestern Book Lovers Unite Conference, September 26 to 28, at the Minneapolis Airport Marriott — http://midwesternbookloversunite.wordpress.com/ — I’m hosting a table at the Dinner with the Authors, and I know this really great Mongolian restaurant five minutes from the hotel….

And finally… you’ve been waiting so long, and so patiently, for Blowing Smoke, it would be remiss of me not to leave you with at least a taste. Enjoy! — and comment!

 

 

Chapter Four

Greenwich Village
New York City

The first thing Lasair saw when he opened his eyes in the human world was an ass. A very nice, scantily-clad ass, although he might have been more appreciative if his face wasn’t bumping into it every few seconds. And if he felt even a little less as if he’d just been run over by the King’s best racing chariot and its entire eight-horse team. Over the thunder of his heartbeat in his own ears, he heard a muffled thumping noise and occasional grunts.

And a whimper. Culin was somewhere nearby.

Tipping his head back, Lasair saw a staircase, dull grey wood. Arching back as far as he could–not far, thanks to the chains–he could see as far as the floor at the bottom of the stairs.

He blinked. The floor glowed faintly, in the auroral hue of pure unbound magick. Not possible.

“Great, you’re awake.” The baritone voice was slightly out of breath, and the speaker sounded more than slightly put out. “Would you mind holding still until I get you upstairs? I’d rather not drop you on your head, you’d probably pull me down with you.”

I beg your pardon for occupying space. Lasair bit his tongue, kept the words to himself, and let his head drop. He could feel an arm now, wrapped around his thighs.

The jarring stopped, and he heard the creak of a door opening. His own personal scenery remained pretty much the same, but with poorer lighting. Then another door. Light. Furniture half-glimpsed, and other doors.

“Oh, fuck. The one door I forgot about.”

The floor suddenly came a head closer, and Lasair got a glimpse of beautifully muscled calves as his bearer bent his knees. There was a click, and another door opening.

Then, suddenly, Lasair was lying on his back, with Culin at his side. On a bed, he presumed. He was getting tired of presuming. The chains were bad enough–truesilver chains were forged to burn in the presence of a channeling, and they surely did–but being trussed like a roast made it much worse. He strained to sit up, but the chains made it impossible to do more than raise his head and shoulders.

Which was enough to let him see where he was, and who had carried him up the stairs. He was in a small bed-chamber, lit by pale sunlight from a single window. The first human male he had ever seen looked down at him, wearing nothing but short trousers of some soft fabric and a deep frown. His hair was nearly dark enough to be chort-gruag, bark-hair, like the tree folk out of legend. But on this male, it was nothing to be scorned. It suited him. So did his mustache, a rarity among Fae. Eyes of dark green watched him warily, glancing every so often at Culin.

He must be ravishing when he smiles.

“Do you have a key to those chains, or do I need to cut them off?” The male’s voice was rough, almost harsh.

“If I had a key, believe me, I wouldn’t be in this situation.” Lasair winced. He didn’t remember most of his transition, other than the agony of the beginning of it, but whatever had happened to him after that had left his head feeling as hollow as the inside of a great bell. And any word, any sound from him was a mallet pounding on the bell.

“All right. Wait here.” The male’s stare raked him from his head to his feet; he put up a dark brow, turned, and left the bedchamber.

Culin whined softly.

“It’s all right.” Lasair murmured. “It’s going to be all right, tréan-cú.” He had called Culin strong, a strong hound, since the pup’s birth. Names channeled power, even names given by one with little magick of his own.

Now all I have to do is be right.

When the male reappeared, he was carrying a long-handled pincers with a metal beak. This he fitted to the chains, and started to bear down on the handles. Doing so brought out splendidly defined arm muscles and a thin sheen of sweat. I would give my left nut not to feel like I’ve been pounded flat and scraped up off the stable floor right now.

“These are stronger than they look.” The male checked the wicked beak of the pincers, running long, slender fingers over the cutting edges as if he expected to find them notched by the chain.

Humans were very different from the way Fae lore drew them, at least if they were all like this one. This male was as handsome as any Fae, in his way, and the measuring intelligence in his gaze was as exciting as his strange beauty. “They’re meant to be. But you ought to be able to cut them.” Now that the links had no magick running through them, and had been given no new purpose to know.

One dark brow went up as the male re-set the pincers. “Mind if I ask what you were doing chained up in my basement at six in the morning?”

“Yes.” Shit, I should have expected that. One thing the old stories weren’t going to tell him was what humans thought of Fae, several thousand years after their parting of ways. Even the most trusting Fae–assuming such an exotic creature existed anywhere–would be skeptical under the circumstances. And he had even less reason to be trusting than most.

Why had he forgotten that?

Happy Prideanniverthday!

TiernanMikeGrell

 

This weekend hits a lovely trifecta — it’s Pride weekend, and tomorrow (June 28th) is both my birthday and the second anniversary of the day I signed the contract for my first books, the SoulShares series (featuring the exquisite Tiernan Guaire, pictured above.) To celebrate, I’m offering y’all, in a very hobbit-y fashion, presentses! — an (unedited) excerpt from Blowing Smoke, the fifth Fae novel and the first in the Broken Pattern series, and a giveaway. Comment below with your e-mail address by 8:00 p.m. Central time on Sunday, June 29th for a chance to win YOUR CHOICE of: (1) an autographed paperback of your choice of any one of the SoulShares novels (Hard as Stone, Gale Force, Deep Plunge, and Firestorm), (2) Kindle copies of both Tales of the Grove novellas (Heart of the Oak and Tempted from the Oak), or (3) an autographed (by me) copy of the lovely picture above, drawn for me at ComicCon Minneapolis by the amazing Mike Grell).

Happy Pride! And it’s been an amazing couple of years, and I’m looking forward to many more!

 

Excerpt from Blowing Smoke, Chapter Two:

It took a while to get up all the glass slivers, find the mop, and mop the floor, but it was time well spent. Ever since coming home to the stench it had cost him five grand to get rid of, Bryce had a horror of having anything around the apartment that might smell.

He stowed the mop back in its cupboard. There was a place for everything, and everything in its place, especially in a little New York apartment.

Of course, he’d been that way for a long time. His grandfather had moved in with them when he was seven, after his first stroke, and overnight his room had become the one place where he’d been able to have things the way he wanted. Most of the time, anyway.

He limped back to the table, nursing a bruise on his hip where he’d fallen against the counter. Funny how he’d never managed to pair up with a man as fastidious as he was. Or even close. Aren’t we all supposed to be fussy? He usually drove most of the men he picked up, or who latched on to him, completely bugfuck crazy in the space of a few days.

Terry hadn’t minded, though. He’d been perfectly happy to let Bryce be Bryce, all the while scattering costume sketches and leotards and water bottles and leg warmers everywhere. On purpose, sometimes, he suspected. There had been one time, when Bryce had started to pre-heat the oven for coq au vin, and the strange smell that had filled the apartment had turned out to be roasted ballet slipper.

Bryce’s throat felt tight. He tried so damned hard to drag me out of myself. Drag my head out of my ass. Why the hell did I throw him out? He still couldn’t remember, even after almost a year. He’d asked Terry, but Terry hadn’t wanted to talk about it. Bryce supposed he wouldn’t, either, under the circumstances, but it still would have been nice to know, to get back some of those lost memories, even second-hand. Even painful ones.

Painful? Who am I kidding? I’m a dick. I probably laughed when I did it. Though he couldn’t have treated Terry any worse than he’d treated the parade of men who had followed him–

Bryce froze. What was that?

A barely audible sound, but he realized it had been there, on the very edge of his hearing, for a while. A soft whimpering. And, just as he started giving the sound his full attention, a tiny howl.

What the hell? The guy on the second floor, whose name Bryce had never bothered to ask, had a Rottweiler, but it had a bark like you’d expect from a monster that size and he’d never heard it whimper or howl. Besides, the noise sounded like it was coming from downstairs, not upstairs.

Fucking wonderful, an animal of some kind trapped in the basement. The landlord had a strict policy, all vermin were supposed to be reported to him so he could take care of them before the city caught wind of any problem. Not that Bryce gave a shit about anyone’s policy, but having someone other than him take care of rodents in the basement was his idea of common sense.

Another faint howl.

Rats don’t howl.

No, but dogs did. Bryce hated dogs. Not just Cujo upstairs, he’d hated them all as long as he could remember. His grandfather had kept mastiffs, before his stroke, and Bryce had been about four years old the day one of them had run him down on the front lawn until he tripped and fell, and had gone for his throat. He’d pissed himself from fear before his grandfather called the dog off. His mother had demanded the dog be put down, his grandfather had laughed, and dear Daddy had taken a belt to him for wrecking his new trousers.

The howl didn’t sound like a mastiff, though. Not even close.

I should at least find out what it is.

Bryce methodically unlocked all the locks on the front door, turning the second deadbolt on his way out so the door wouldn’t lock behind him and leave him in the foyer in his underwear. The door to the basement was closed, but not locked; he let himself in and left the door ajar.

The whimpering continued. Bryce reached around the doorjamb and fumbled for the light switch. The light didn’t stop the sound, either. Frowning, he bent to peer down the stairs.

A man lay unmoving on the grey cement of the basement floor. A man with long blond hair curling in soft waves around his face and an amazing body in what looked like someone’s idea of a Ren Faire costume, dark green. Wrapped around in silver chains, so tightly he wouldn’t have been able to move even if he’d been awake, and the linen charred where the chains touched it. And a whisker-faced brown and grey puppy lay on the man’s chest, sprawled out on its side, shivering, its belly rising and falling with rapid panting breaths.

Bryce took a few steps down the stairs. The pup stirred, raised its head maybe an inch, and howled. Not really a howl, more like a pitiful wail. Then it turned away from him, nosing at the man, crying.

He was confused as fuck, and he didn’t like the feeling. What the hell was going on with the man? He tried to imagine some combination of circumstances that could have ended with a Robin Hood type–a fucking gorgeous Robin Hood type, probably a model, just the kind to put a tent in his shorts under other, less bizarre circumstances–chained up in his basement. Unconscious. Smelling of smoke. With a dog. He came up blank.

Great, now the puppy was looking at him. There was something strange about its eyes, he could see that even from this distance. It was having trouble holding its head up, too, he thought.

What the hell am I supposed to do about this? About a dog he was supposed to hate, and a man he was supposed to… well, what? Catch and release?

One thing, at least, was clear. Bryce owed the intruders as much as he’d ever owed anyone else.

Nothing.

Clear, right?