Green's Hill-Amy Lane's Home - News

Friday, October 30, 2015

Fan Fic Friday-- Nightmares (SuperBat)

*waves*  So, I'll probably post Halloween pictures tomorrow night to make up for my final disgust with my computer last night. I just couldn't do it--every change of URL was a struggle, and deciding which windows to close to keep my computer from freezing was like playing Fuck/Marry/Kill with my Internet browser. (Fuck GoodReads, Marry Twitter/FB, Kill Washington Post--repeatedly.)  Anyway-- I have a SuperBat bug, and an itch for some Destiel in the future… not that I don't want to write Cartinski anymore, but, you know… varietals.

Oh!  And I took the kids to Plymouth to play with my parents today--and remembered all the reasons I loved Mom & Dad and can effectively forgive them for not being liberals.  *sigh*  That makes me a happier moo.

So, on we go with some SuperBat--and NightMares.

*  *  *

He really hated this night.

He'd smashed--literally, over the head with the side of a warehouse--an entire cadre of drug dealers who had peppered a party with "sample" packets. Not soon enough though-- there had been three overdoses before the ambulances had gotten there, and he'd had to run anyway.

A group of thugs wearing Boehner and Paul Ryan masks were trying to vandalize a local Planned Parenthood, and those assholes he had to string up by their ankles. (Well, not had to, but since he was against killing people outright, it was the best he could do.)

From the BatMobile, while on his way from one crime in progress to another, he'd managed to stop a cyber-terrorist act that would have set everybody's computer on seizure strobe.

And all the super villains were fucking out, cackling their way through the trick-or-treaters in the suburbs of Gotham, slipping razor blades into apples and snakes into licorice boxes and generally, he'd just started injecting them all with sedatives as he passed by, pretending to be an overzealous parent in full dress armor. By midnight, there were several piles of sleeping super villains, passed out on lawns, getting rousted by the police and put in the drunk tank because nobody believed the real Penguin would be harassing little kids on a holiday.

Batman was out of the patience to explain that all the super villains were little kids hyped on tragedy and resentment, and that horror was their sugar rush.

He was just tired, period.

He hauled his ass into the BatCave at the asscrack of a late dawn on November 1st, parboiled himself in the shower and crawled into the infirmary bed.  He still felt dirty, and he wanted nothing to do with what was waiting for him in his room.

An hour later he sat up in his own bed, freezing, sweating, shouting, "No! No! Don't eat the fucking candy bar! Don't take the drug! Don't jump off the goddamned bridge! Jesus, why don't they listen?"

Strong arms wrapped around his shoulders and he was borne down to the mattress, while a firm male body enveloped him in comforting heat. "They heard you, Bruce. It's okay. It's okay--don't worry about it. They'll be fine."

"They never listen," Bruce whispered brokenly against Clark's naked chest. "They never listen."  He fell back asleep--for five minutes. Then ten. Then a whole half-an-hour. At one point, he lay awake, in one of those horrible waking-comas, where he kept trying to sit up but his eyes wouldn't even open.

He heard two voices, Alfred's and Clark's, whispering just outside the curtains around his bed.

"Every year, Alfred?"

"Since he was a small child, sir--even before his parents were killed."

"This is…"

"Master Grayson started leaving town. This day broke his heart."

"I'm stronger than Master Grayson," Clark muttered, and Bruce felt himself relax into sleep.

Yes, Clark. You are stronger, you are smarter, and you have the biggest dick. We all know it. Brag some more…  Even as the thought trailed off, his stomach clenched in fear of the next time he jerked awake, sweating, consumed with the things he couldn't undo.

A warm cloth moved along his limbs, the heat saturating his skin, bergamot and amber permeated his dreams.  He grumbled as the cloth was moved along his chest, under his arms, around his neck.

Between the crevice of his buttocks and thighs. Around his genitals. Then down his legs.

Strong fingers worked the muscles of his calves, his feet, his ass, his lumbar, his shoulders, his neck.  By the time he was rolled over--again--those hands and fingers were working insistently along his arms, and his entire body felt limp and wrung out, a used dishcloth, a scrap of soiled silk, crumpled on the bed.

And he wasn't asleep.

"What time is it?" he mumbled.

"Does it matter?"

"Bruce Wayne has a meeting at--"

"A time that's been canceled," Clark said, his tone brooking no argument.

Bruce managed to open his eyes--barely--and glare. "We agreed, no inter--"

"Interference of The Justice League in Bruce Wayne's business matters. Sue me. I lied. Now either shut up about it or get up, get out of bed, and call the damned meeting if it's so fucking important."

Bruce couldn't move. "You're swearing a lot," he muttered.

"Only since living with you."

"Heh heh heh heh…"  He was naked and clean, and Clark's hands were on his skin. That terrible, chest pressing anxiety wasn't fading, really, but it was… taking a step back, and letting his animal needs be met.  Speaking of…

"Sit up," Clark ordered, pulling at his shoulders. "You haven't eaten in forty-eight hours.  Time for soup!"

Bruce glared at him. "Who told?" he snapped.

"Alfred--and I took your blood sugar before I went with the sponge bath."


"I'm obsessive about my fragile human," Clark snapped. "And you wouldn't let me help, remember? 'Gotham is my business, you go save the world, I'll save my city'. Ring any bells, you obsessive fuckhead?"

"No," Bruce grumped. "I don't remember that. Must be brain damage from my low blood sug--"  The bite of stew shoved in his mouth wasn't unwelcome.


"I'm not ly--ump!"

He glared as Superman, leader of the Justice League and multiple-time savior of Metropolis and Planet Earth, fed him soup like he was an infant.

But the more he woke up, the more he recognized this mood--Clark wasn't just trying to comfort him, he was trying to save Bruce, just like he saved everything else.

Well, it was what you did, when you were Superman, right?

"I'm done," he said, as Clark tried to scrape the bowl.  "I've eaten, I"m fine. I can get up now."

Clark continued with the spoon until Bruce saw little bits of enamel peeling off with the dull edge of the good silver. With a sigh, he put his hands out and stilled Clark's restless bowl-scraping.

"Thank you," he said, his voice soft. "I've eaten. You can come back to bed now."

Clark nodded, not looking at him, and set the bowl on the tray.  He was dressed like any man who'd been wandering the house in the morning--in sleep pants and a T-shirt--and he took nothing off as he slid in next to Bruce.  Bruce rested his cheek on that broad, Fortress of Solitude chest and picked restlessly at the cotton under his cheek.

"Take it off," he ordered.

Clark ripped it down the center, and Bruce let out a half-laugh, laying his head down on the smooth-skinned muscle that protected the strongest heart on earth.  He closed his eyes and listened to that heart beat under his ear for  moment.

"Strong," he said.

Clark ran his hand along his back.  "Very," he murmured.

"You've done your job," Bruce said, smiling a little. "You can get up and go--"

"What haunts you?"

Confused images ran behind his eyes, grownups in masks, overloud laughter, the screaming of children, a still, floating form, water closing over his face, a broken mask and a scarred mouth underneath… pain… violation… fear…

"I don't even remember," Bruce confessed, embarrassed about this, embarrassed because of a nightmare or a child's fear, so deeply embedded in his mind that he couldn't root it out and kill it himself. He owned his neuroses, dammit-- he wore them on his body as armor and drove around in them like a giant fucking tank.

"Tomorrow then," Clark said, running that comforting hand down his back.

Bruce was sated and fed, and still tied, but he purred and ground up against that super-body, unashamed of his hunger.

Clark laughed softly and turned, taking his mouth--but not gently.

The kiss was not gentle, and his hands on Bruce's body were hard, demanding--almost bruising. Bruce stayed boneless, pliant, liquid, as Clark made his body ready, spreading his thighs and nipping at his nipples, squeezing BRuce's cock until it was hard and weeping with need. When Clark slid down the bed and slid two spit-slicked fingers into Bruce's entrance, Bruce gasped--and allowed.

Bruce, the top, the dominator, the one who took the strongest man in the solar system and bent him to his will, bent, opened, and allowed.

Clark thrust into him, aggressive and commanding, and Bruce let the pain wash over his body, the way pain always did. This pain was followed by pleasure, followed by possession, followed by the nightmares, tearing like tattered flags of childhood, disintegrating into wind of relentless sex.

His orgasm swept over him, possessing him completely, a man's body reacting to his lover's complete domination, and Clark's grunt and howl of completion filled him from the inside.  Bruce's neuroses burned away, his memories burned away, his ghosts disappeared like smoke.

Cock and ass and come… flesh and blood and bone…

Painful twisted love, unfurling in his loins, in his body, sending him to sleep for one precious moment, whole and as undaunted as a newborn.


Clark didn't clean them up when they were done--Bruce had fallen asleep as Clark panted into the hollow of his shoulder and ear anyway.  Instead, Clark slid to the side and rolled Bruce over, so he could spoon his shorter, stockier other half, and smooth his sweaty hair from his forehead.

"So haunted," he whispered. "So broken. It's like you were broken and haunted for me alone to fix. Why would the world do that? Why would God do that? I don't understand."

"Because," Bruce said, and dammit how he could fake sleep so convincingly like that, Clark would never know. "I like it when you fix me. It tells me God exists. And the ghosts can scream all they want, but you will keep me safe."

Thursday, October 29, 2015


*  At the beginning of school, I gave Squish's class a bunch of my old swag pens-- the purple ones that had the little plot bunnies on them. Squish reports that she is tickled when she realizes the entire class is using mom's Angst & Pain pens. She also reports that the entire class is tickled because they easily convert to the world's BEST spit-wad guns. *sigh*  Remember that thing about the road to hell and good intentions? I hope the teacher forgives me as she picks spit wads out of her hair.

* As reported on Twitter/FB, Squish left her backpack at home today.  The resounding opinion was to simply let her reap the natural consequences of her screw up.  Apparently the natural consequences of her screw up were for mom to go home, walk the dogs in her pajamas (how they got into her pajamas I'll never know) and then put the dogs BACK into the car, grab the backpack and return it to school, disapproved of barking dogs et al.

I was in my pajamas, in public, at 9:30 in the morning.

Mother Nature is a cruel ass bitch. (And thank you, Kristen, again for the lovely memes to prove it!)

*  Big T got to go off on a rant about his favorite movie directors today-- I felt bad. He kept apologizing, but really, he'd just put a new gloss on his bright and shiny gods and he wanted to share. I helped him do that as much as humanly possible--because Lynch and Aronofsky ARE powerful gods, and I see nothing wrong with the altars at which he worships.

* Big T also got a new computer with his own money. He's so very proud.

*  Zoomboy has been learning about string theory, time travel, the big crunch following the big bang, and WWII.  Today, he told me that he wanted to write a dystopian story in which the Nazis had won WWII and mankind was still working to rebel against their regime. (I shit you not.)

"Oooh," I said, entranced.  "That sounds awesome."

"Yeah, but I need to find a new Hitler-- because he would have passed away even if he lived."

"Yeah," I agreed, and then, heaven help me, I got lost in the allegorical politics that have so much potential given that premise. "And Dick Cheney could be the leader, and Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan could be his minions and…"

"Mom," he said pityingly, "I think I need something more original than that."

I had to give him a high five for that-- he had me there.

*  Chicken is applying for the GRE. I'm so hopeful for her-- I think she'll really enjoy the Master's program at San Diego State.  That said, she is lost in facnfiction as a way to destress, and I'm so jealous that she has that kind of time.

*  Oh!  And we're almost done with the Halloween costumes… speaking of which, which state are YOU from?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Welcome to my Cave

Do you like it?

I've got blankets--comfy chairs, a mini fridge. Chocolate, ice water, cranberry juice, root beer. Jerky for protein.

There are dogs to lick feet and cats somewhere when the dogs are sleeping.

There is NO CRAZY.

None. Just me, huggled in here with my computer. I don't have to go for takeout (cause I might forget my wallet.)  I don't have to interact with other humans (cause I might do it wrong and piss them off or make them sad or just stubbornly refuse to be normal) and I don't have to brush my hair. (It doesn't listen to what I say anyway.)

There is NO CRAZY.

Just ignore the fountain of imagination, of angst, of stress, issuing forth in a visible stream. Ooh, wait, was that a unicorn, squatting on the toilet, crapping ice cream? No, no-- a YouTube commercial, but still. Nice image!  Most of the rest of it is mine-- dragons, sorceresses, hot young men going at it like lemmings on speed and viagra.

Oh, hey, a dead horse!

But there IS NO CRAZY.

I'm gibbering to myself and knitting and watching television… iZombie, the Flash, SUPERNATURAL, BOYS HANG ON, DID YOU MISS ME?  Every sci-fi show I can possibly tape and watch while still managing to eat, sleep, and function is on the TV.

*dangles for my more fiberific friends*  There's YARN. Did you see the yarn? In fact… shh… the walls of the cave are made with yarn boxes. Just pull a brick out of the wall and find your fiber. Shhhh… we even have a special day when we wind skeins and sing to the soundtrack of Guardians of the Galaxy. 

Oh-- and there IS NO CRAZY.

Music… there's music too. It's a mishmash, everything from kids' songs to AC/DC to AC/DC on violin and cello.  Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Springsteen, Greenday, REM, the Killers, Bruce Springsteen, The Shins, Broken Bells, Death Cab for Cutie, Sheryl Crow, did I mention the Bruce Springsteen?

Music… music music music, all in the cave, and it's all pouring through the opening in a cartoon, with the dragons and the elves and the sorceresses and NAKED MEN, TWO PEEN SEX, and COOKIES!

And did I mention?

There IS. NO. CRAZY.

Oh. *blinks*  Really?

Are you sure?

*wraps blanket tighter*  *stares into the glow of the laptop*  *whispers*

Well, I"m crazy, but I promise you, it's safer in here.

You won't get such a promise for outside my cave.

Monday, October 26, 2015

It's not that I expect...

People to worship my gods… but a little respect would be nice.

* * *

My parents are taking the kids to Plymouth for Halloween, and, as expected, this week leading up to the big day has been full of putting together costumes.  This evening, my stepmom called, and we had the following conversation.

Stepmom: Okay-- so what are the kids going to be for Halloween again?

Me: Gravity Falls-- it's a TV show. Chicken and Mate are dressing up too.

Stepmom: Not you?

Me: There's not really a character I could play. I'm wearing a purple zombie T-shirt-- you know, the Joss Whedon zombie who goes "Grr… Argh…"

Stepmom: I don't know who that is.

Me: Uh, you know-- produced Buffy and Firefly and, like, the Avengers!

Stepmom: STill don't know. Whatever.

Me: Well, anyway, he's sort of a god.

Stepmom: Well, to you maybe. Anyway, make sure the kids have name tags for their characters because people ask me and I can't remember.

Me: Uh, yeah. Sure.

* * *

So anyway-- I hung up, and tried to analyze the source of my irritation.

And I think it's this.

I have watched Disney nature flicks from Chimpanzee to Big Cats to Monkey Kingdom. I have seen Mythbusters, at least one Twilight Movie, and Little Red Riding Hood in the theater. I have listened to Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and Earnest and Celestine. Oh yeah-- and The Illusionist. Kim Possible, Phineas and Ferb, The Mighty Fuckin' Morphin' Power Rangers and holy fuck, not one, not two, but fifty-gazunga versions of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IN THE FUCKING THEATER, not to mention That Guy With the Glasses, Game Theory, video game competition commentary, 107 True Facts About Naruto, HOLY FUCKIN' GOD, PIXELS for sweet Goddess's sake.

And I have tried, through boredom, cynicism, and more popcorn than one human should gorge on, never to make my kids feel like insignificant douche-pickles because of the gods they worship.

Apparently, this was because I knew how it felt to be an insignificant douche-pickle, a stranger, a changeling baby under a fuckin' mushroom, because I worshipped at the feet of different idols than my parents.

It makes me want to eat a fuckin' pizza, that's how it feels.

And I remember a long time ago, when Chicken gave my friend's daughter one of the Mexican print dresses my parents had brought back from Puerto Vallarta. It was bright purple and pink, and Chicken loved it dearly but it didn't fit anymore, and my friend's daughter twirled in it and said, "Look, mommy! Isn't it pretty?"

And my friend said, "Jesus, Jenny, it's the ugliest thing I've ever seen. I'm not taking that home."

And I lost a lot of respect for her that day, because her daughter was CRUSHED. And Chicken felt sort of shitty too.

So, life lesson number 523-- hard earned, with a lot of philosophy and binge eating, and I'm just dishing this one out for free.

I don't expect people to worship my gods--although, honestly, a little  happy, healthy proselytizing of, say, yarn, or yarn websites or maybe my favorite gay romance author is more of a "friendly neighbor sharing" sort of thing than it is expectation of worship. As they used to say when they'd drag us kicking and screaming to to Bible study because our parents wanted free daycare, "We're just spreading the good news."

But it's okay if they don't worship--  it's not required for friendship or any other ship for that matter.  If someone is a quilter or a sewer or a jet-skiier and not a knitter, well, A. More yarn for me, and B. They have different stories and that's always awesome.

I am fine worshiping my own gods-- just as long as nobody shits all over them. To love a person is to respect their gods. It's as simple as that.

So there you go.  Put that one right next to "Don't expect boys of a certain age to smell any way but heinous and try not to shame them for the stench coming off their feet and pits: It's not their fault." Respecting your children's gods is something that will make you feel better about your relationship with your children--#truefax.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Go Warrior Hamster Go!

Chicken gave me a Warrior Hamster .gif and
I will treasure it ALWAYS.
So, you all may have noticed a little holiday coming up next Saturday… what is that? Hallow's Eve? Samhain? Halloween?

Okay-- let's face it. It's the time we stock chocolate in our cupboard "For the kids" that we then eat in massive quantities so that on the actual day itself we have to run for the grocery store and combat the other desperate people there like we're stocking up for the zombie apocalypse.

And it's time to make costumes for the kids.

This year the whole family is into Gravity Falls, which is GREAT because the characters are dressed in very distinctive, easy to obtain clothing.

And it sucks because there's no way I can walk into a store and go, "Hey, I'd like this in a size 14!"

But that's okay-- we've worked very hard to be able to create the perfect Mabel sweater, and tomorrow is going to be my day to totally pony up and do that.

I'm also going to make Dipper a tree hat.

Squish has already made matching sparkly witch hat headbands for herself and Waddles the (stuffed) Pig, and we have a vest and an orange shirt for Dipper. (I plan to draw a big dipper on his forehead too.)

All we need now is a tie and a Fez for Mate (who wants to be Grunkle Stan) and for Chicken's Wendy hat to come in.

Yeah, I know-- nothing really screams "Mom" in these costumes, but that's okay.  I've got my Joss Whedon shirt with the "Grr… argh!" zombie and a purple spider hat to match-- I think I'll be okay.  I just hope I can make Squish's shirt with enough sparkles. I mean, rhinestone letters for her name, and sparkly paint for the rainbow-- I can't lose, can I?  (You all know I'm kidding and that the likelihood of me getting sparkles all over the house, myself, and the dogs is high, right?)

But that's okay. I'm actually looking forward to it. I want Squish to go, "See! Mom made my Mabel shirt!"

Cause everyone nows those are the best costumes, right?

So, you know-- if you're used to getting in touch with me tomorrow afternoon and you can't… you know where I'll be.

Eyeball deep in glitter-paint and sinking fast!

And loving being a parent, because this age doesn't last for too long. (Or if it does, your grown kids can get their own damned costumes.)

Peace out!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Everything We Learned in School Is Bullshit

Okay-- first I'll clarify the statement I made on Twitter--

The other day, when I thought the apocalypse was starting as I sat on the toilet, apparently what was really happening was that the local SWAT Team was serving an eviction notice, and issuing condemned building notices to be taped in the windows.  Apparently that day one of the idiot assholes next door was standing on the roof trying to get away. (Kids, seriously. Don't do drugs. It makes you stupid.)

Anyway-- that was exciting, and then I went to aqua, which I did today, for that matter.  And when I got back today, after picking up the kids, there was a construction crew boarding up the house.

"So," I said, walking up to the two construction guys with Geoffie in my arms.  "Uh, how bad was it?"

"We've seen worse," one of the guys said. Then he looked around.  "But there was a lot of heroin needles in there. That was pretty bad."

"Oh," I said, not surprised. "Any, uh, meth cooking?"

"Yeah--but not much, like from a while ago."

I nodded, thinking that explained why three weeks ago my eyes had been burning and the "buyer" activity had increased outside the house. That was just about the time we'd all started calling the cops.

"So the house wasn't--"

"There's some broken windows, and a lot of drug paraphernalia, but its pretty sound."

I left the boys to work while we unloaded groceries in the house, but inside I was just so, so grateful.  They were gone. The place had been boarded up. The meth-cooking squatters are gone.  And you know what else I found out?

The guy across the street, who's sort of a curmudgeon with an iron fence and dogs?  Apparently his son in law is in charge of evictions in this locale. Which explains how it happened so fast.

So we don't have to gather the family and move, and I, for one, am very very grateful.

All that being covered, I do believe I promised a little bit of Cartinski!

*  *  *

"Sheriff Stilinski!" Derek said in a panic. "Sir, did you forget what day it is?"

John stared at him from his desk for a moment, nonplused. "Tuesday?"

Derek made a sound of impatience-- which was something he rarely did.  In fact, most of the time he treated John with sort of an exquisite courtesy, as though believing his boyfriend's father wasn't just going to go batshit on him with a shotgun wasn't ever in the cards, but Derek would do everything in his repertoire to try to keep it from happening.

Impatience, from Derek, meant that something was dire.

"Derek?" he asked hesitantly. "Uh, what's wrong with Tuesday?"

Derek glowered and slid into the room, closing the door behind him. Yeah, sure, Parrish knew about the supernatural nature of Beacon Hills, but Derek had left before that happened, and he didn't trust easily.  "It's the night of the full moon, sir," he said, eyes darting as though he were trapped. "And we're in a time of peace right now, which means…"  He gestured at John to make the leap and catch up.

John stared at him in horror because he was already there. "Oh, dear lord," he muttered. "Fuck. Carter is staying in Eureka tonight--I'll try to get over there and sleep in his spare bedroom or something."  Carter was watching his children-- John wasn't going to intrude on his boyfriend's child time, but… but the full moon, during peace time. Ugh.

Derek nodded. "I knew you could see reason-- are you going to warn anybody else?"

The Sheriff looked up outside his window and watched as all of the non supernatural deputies began to shift uneasily, standing up and putting on their jackets and making to get the hell out of dodge.  All of the supernatural deputies looked up at the clock with an air of long-suffering. He knew they didn't turn furry if they didn't want to--but apparently they just made shit too intense for the everyday average guys who were fine facing bullets but apparently not so great with the full moon.

"I think they already know," he said dryly. He stood up and started to gather his jacket, his keys and his cellphone. He paused at the door. "So, uh, Stiles…" he asked delicately, and he was not reassured when Derek licked his lips, his stunning blue eyes hooded and ripe with something John did not want to think about directed at his baby boy.

"Stiles and I are gonna be fine," Derek murmured. "But you should probably find a safe place to hole up, okay?"

"Yeah," JOhn muttered, hoping he wasn't really abandoning his town to Babylon. "Sure. Back tomorrow morning."

He tore out of there like the fiends of hell were after him.

One of the first things that Carter had done was outfit his Jeep with bluetooth speakers, so he could talk to someone without looking at the phone. John hated new technology, and he wouldn't have used it if Carter hadn't rigged it to interact with his phone whenever he was in the car.  The fact was, he didn't know how to not use the phone in the car anymore, and once he'd muttered to himself, "Dammit, I need to talk to Jack!" and had found himself actually talking to Jack while he'd been out on a call.

So he was relieved when he slid behind the wheel, turned the car on and said, "I need to speak to Carter."

"I'm sorry, Carter is out on a call."

John groaned. "He needs to get this message, dammit-- like right now!"

"This unit understands, Sheriff Stilinski. But Carter isn't able to be reached--"

"Can I leave a message?" he asked, not sure what he could say.

"At the tone, leave a message.  Beeeep!"

John took a breath.  "Carter, it's the full moon. Every werewolf in Beacon Hills is in heat. I'm coming to your place--I'll sleep in the car in the front of the house if I have to, but please, don't make me watch werewolves fucking. Hang up, car."

There was no dial tone.

"Dammit, car, hang up."


"This call is over!"

"Message deleted."

John let out a little sob and decided to spend his energy getting to Eureka as fast as he could.

He passed not one, not two, but three werewolf couples, fornicating in the woods as he drove.  The last one was Scott-- he was sure it was Scott, he'd recognize that werewolf anywhere, and Scott was was viciously humping a young pup of a male werewolf as the Sheriff passed the border from Beacon Hills to Eureka.

Wow, that was uncomfortable, but John figured it made him lucky on two counts. Count one, Stiles had been going on forever about how Scott and Liam had needed to get together, and apparently the big werewolf orgy under the moon was their time.

Count two, it hadn't been Derek in human form, fornicating with John's son in public.

Dude, it was pretty much John Stilinski's lucky day right there, anybody would say that oh yes they would.

but that didn't stop John from speeding through Eureka, taking the turnoff to his boyfriend's house with enough speed to slide the back end right into a tree.  It didn't even phase him-- he got control of the Jeep and continued to race down the road until he saw the glimmer of the forcefield that would keep him out until Carter got home.

Well, John understood that Carter's teenage son was there, babysitting the daughter Jack had helped raise and the one he'd spawned but hadn't.  John was all for keeping them safe-- and he'd never even met them.

He came to a halt and cut the motor, sighing with relief.  Then it hit him.

God, he was hungry. And wide awake. And he had nothing to do until Carter decided to come home.

Goddammit. He was about to become the world's most bored man. He functioned on four hours of sleep for Christ's sake-- what was he supposed to do, just sitting outside, in woods where no werewolves fucked? It was just so… so peaceful, out here, and so quiet… and so… so un-werewolf-infested and…

*  *  *

Jack saw him, sleeping in the front of his Jeep as Carter pulled up.  He looked rumpled and tired and dear.  Carter's car had tried to tell him he'd had a car, but Carter had been neck deep in mad scientists trying to turn the town's water supply into grape jelly, so he hadn't been able to answer.

Now he figured that had probably been a pretty important phone call.  He parked his own car and hopped out, tapping on John's window.  John startled awake, looking disoriented and hostile fora moment, and then he rolled down his window.  "Sorry," he mumbled. "I fell asleep."

"I gathered," Carter cracked, grinning. God, he looked delicious, eyes opening and closing as he tried to orient himself, square jaw a little slack from sleep.  "So, what's the deal?"

"It's the full moon," John mumbled, frowning. "It was horrible--"

"Casualties?" Jack asked, suddenly afraid. He hadn't heard that the full moon caused more deaths, but that was because until he and John hooked up, nobody from either town talked to each other!

"No!" John protested. "Sex! It was all over the damned town! Werewolves humping everywhere! And they howl, and they don't care where they're shoving their things… and they knot. It's not a myth-- they knot even human, and all the humans apparently love it because they're all screaming, 'My God, do that more!'"  John shuddered and sank into his seat.  "So," he finished. "You know. I'd rather sleep in front of your house than go back to that."

Carter adjusted himself and stared at his boyfriend with big eyes.  "I'd, uh, rather take you inside, introduce you to the family, and see if Sarah couldn't activate the sound proof walls."

John stared at him, lean mouth slightly parted, and Carter took the opportunity to stick his head in the window and plunder. Ah, sleep and grumpy Sheriff. Carter loved that.

Carter pulled back from the kiss and smiled, thinking that his own night had just looked up considerably. "So," he said, feeling smug and self-satisfied, "how about we go inside and I feed you, and we introduce you to the kids, and then put them to bed."

John squinted at him, apparently two sentences back. "Sound proof walls?"

Carter grinned lasciviously. "Sheriff Stilinski, I really don't know what knotting is. HOw about sometime this evening, you tell me, okay?"

Oh! Carter could tell by the flush that washed his cheeks that he'd caught up with him now.

"Fine," John m uttered. "I'll tell you what it means-- but I won't demonstrate!"

Jack threw his head back and laughed. It was going to be a very good night!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Perils of Bureaucracy and the Wisdom of Apocalypse Boy

So, like many of my fellow authors, I submitted to the RITA's today--
the hardest part is preparing myself for the fact that there are so many wonderful authors that my previous nomination was probably a fluke. That's okay-- I have so much love and respect for my fellows, that I think if anyone I know is nominated next time out, I'll be pretty damned thrilled for them too. One year could be a fluke, one author could be an accident, but this genre has so much to offer-- I look forward to seeing it grow.

All that being said, a lot of us had a moment of "Tech hard! Grok make computer go! Go, Grok, go! Go, computer, go!" while we were filling out the forms.

Which is what prompted me to write the Tweet that inspired the meme that you see before you!

A meme I'm going to treasure for a very long time! Thanks, Kristin!

And in other news--

Zoomboy (seen here in his @midnight costume as Apocalypse Boy, complete with camera induced psycho eyes and the furry minion at his feet) has apparently had a whole lot of free time on the computer.

ZB: Mom, Christopher Columbus was a truly horrible person.

Me: Yes, he was.

ZB: He exploited the natives and enslaved them and mutilated them and sold the girls into prostitution.

Me: You're right-- he was a really awful human being. I'm impressed-- you learned this in school?

ZB: No-- The Oatmeal. 

Me: Where all good liberal boys go to learn their history-- I understand.

And seriously-- while I am depressed that kids are continually taught that Columbus was a hero (he was an asshole) it's nice that there are little bits of actual history floating around.

And now, if you will excuse me, I need to contemplate the traffic ticket and the failure to appear charge tacked to the end of it (I was at GRL), and figure out if I will get my royalty checks soon enough to pay that bad boy before I get my license suspended.

And then I'll be repeatedly banging my head against the desk-- wasn't I just here?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Honey, I'm home...

Okay-- so, today is my first REAL day home-- real as in I sort of accept that I'm alive in the world and I must drive things, be a player in my own life.

It apparently also means that life gets weird.

But I'll get to that later.

First off, the following:

*  We're watching Back to the Future in honor of Back to the Future day. Big T and I both cracked up when Marty was late-- seriously, the genius of that scene is that to some of us? EVERY DAY is the day the clocks lost time and we were late.

*  The following thing happened that I thought was amazingly cool--
    When we were driving down to San Diego, Kim Fielding was nice enough to listen to Loreena McKennet's "The Highwayman" while I narrated. (It's hard to hear what's going on if you're not listening for it.)  Since we were both big fans of the "tragedy songs" of the sixties-- "Last Kiss", "Leader of the Pack", "Tell Laura I Love Her"-- you get the picture-- I thought she'd enjoy it, and she did.  Anyway, she got home, and her daughter was reading that poem in school the day after we got back, so Kim told her daughter about the song, and now her daughter's teacher is playing the song for the class.  I actually did this with a Frank McCourt section that mentioned the song, back in the day when I was teaching, and I cannot tell you how tickled I am that this tradition is continuing. Makes me happy enough to sing… Tell Laura, I looooooovee her! Tell Laura I neeeeeed her…..

*  Okay-- and to the potty thing.  See, I took a nap before my aqua class (which I can do now that the class has gotten moved back. Yay!)  Anyway, when I woke up from the nap, I… well, you know. Potty. Yes. That.

So there I am… uh, indisposed… when the dogs start going bananas. Seriously apeshit. "Auuooooooooohhhhh!!!!"  Howling and barking and such… and, well.


But the bathroom has a window. So, I reached out and opened the window and peered through.

And saw six SWAT guys creeping in on the house with the drug dealers. One of them was JUST holstering his gun as I opened the window, and they were all straightening from their crouches as though determining the threat had passed.

I wasn't taking any chances. As soon as I wiped I was jumping in my swimsuit and heading for class.

I would far rather the world come crashing down on my head when I'm in the pool than when I'm on the potty. 

I'm just saying!

Oh-- and the funniest part? Was hearing the guys break up the shooting party on the front porch of the condemned house. "Okay then… see ya, I guess."  "Yeah--talk to you later. Call me tonight?"  "Course. See you at the station! Bye!"

Oh!  And thanks so much to Kristin Caldwell Peto on FB, who keeps making my memes for me.  She's got a delightful sense of humor, and I'm so grateful she shares!

Things to Remember on a Road Trip

* Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cake hole.

* Posting Twitter updates whenever somebody says something absurd actually makes things go faster.

*  The person who sits in back usually is okay zoning out and wishing for teleportation to be invented.

* The person who drives through LA traffic is allowed to have the LEAST amount of driving time after that to make up for the trauma.

*  Diet rules don't exist on the road.

* Nosh is to be shared.

*  Quoting Quick Change with the line "I saw a sign, Phyllis!" is even funnier when you're lost on Rosecrans Blvd., looking for a sign to I-5, with somebody actually named Phyllis! (True story!)

*  The best thing about the ubiquity of McDonalds and Starbucks is that you can always use the bathroom and get consistent refreshment. And if you survive the road trip after that, it's perfectly acceptable to not step foot in either establishment for months afterwards.

*  That being said, you can also pee at a Jack-in-the-Box.

*  It is okay for the passenger to inflict one song--and one song only--upon the other occupants of the car with the admonition of "You must love this song or all of my life is a LIE!"

*  All stops along the way are potty stops. This means if someone is dropping you off, be prepared to clear a way to the potty.

*  If you've used your friends bathroom at the end of a road trip, it's always nice to stop and chat a while, even if you're itching to get home ;-)

*  Even true things like, "I have a dead cat in Galt!" sound really frickin' hilarious at the end of the trip!

*  Driver is allowed to swear loudly and colorfully at traffic.  It will be everybody's turn to drive, after all…

*  If someone points out a song on the iPod rotation that ends up having a special significance to someone else after the trip, that's because the trip alone was good karma.

*  There is a Chevron somewhere on the Grapevine that pumps air into your gas tank and deceives it into thinking it's full, thus charging you $60 for a full tank of gas. No, I don't remember which one-- we only figured it out right before we got to Rosecrans Blvd. of the badly marked I-5 signs.

*  You know it was a long trip when the potty humor comes out.

*  You know it was a really long trip when anyone filling their gas tank looks like The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove.

*  You know it was a good choice to go with friends when you remember more about the good company than you do about being locked in a box for a 12 hour trip.

*  You are just as grateful for you road-trip companions the day after the trip as you were when you were giggling your way through 300 miles of valley farmland.

Kim Fielding and Chris Koehler, you guys were awesomesauce, and I had a really good time. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

FanFic Sunday?-- Interlude

Okay folks-- has been a LOOOONGGG GRL, but I enjoyed myself very much. Had dinner tonight with Ethan Day, and spent the afternoon visiting with Chicken, surviving San Diego traffic, and visiting her cat. Huzzah!

But I miss writing and I miss home and since my eyelids are drooping, I'm going to pitch a little John/Jack interlude about home.

*  *  *

John Stilinski's first day back at home was pretty forgettable-- mostly because he was so drugged he forgot most of it.  The next day, Stiles and Derek were around to help while Carter went and cleared out his inbox and made sure Jo could handle everything for the moment.

John awoke that night, still recovering from the humiliation of his potential son-in-law helping him to the bathroom--because there was a once-strange man rattling around his room.

"God you're loud," John mumbled. "It's a good thing Eureka's perps are all marshmallows, or you'd be dead."

Carter snorted. "Yeah, well, it's a good thing all your perps are werecreatures--with the gas you've passed since I've walked in here, you could kill them all dead."

Stilinski scowled. "Fucking pain meds. They knot up my insides like nothing else. Nungh."

Carter came to his bedside and touched his cheek carefully. "Here--let me go text Fargo that we need something easier on your stomach, and it'll be here in the morning."

"Wait--no! I don't want any special…"

But Carter was slipping into the hall with his phone, leaving John in the dark.

The better to fall asleep, right?

He woke up again, and Carter was lying next to him, one careful hand under Carter's blond sad, the other one lying gently on John's waist.

"This is nice," John mumbled. "How long's it last."

"Most nights," Carter mumbled back, kissing his neck.  "I only stay at Sarah the house when I'm watching the kids."

John grunted and allowed his touch, letting the gruff healing steal through him. "Too bad this house couldn't be Sarah. Derek and Stiles keep telling me they're cleaning shit downstairs, but it sounds like a fucking construction zone."

Carter made a noncomittal noise, and John fell back asleep.

The next morning the underground vacuum tube that Carter had ordered installed began to work. The first item shuttled between Eureka and Beacon Hills was John's non-binding pain meds.

The second thing was a drawing from Jack's daughter that she'd done for her childcare worker.

The third thing was a missive from Allison asking if the system worked well enough for Jack to get off her back and come back to work.

John answered that one with a hand-made thank you note.  And a promise to Stiles and Derek to never, ever, ever ship any of Beacon Hills's freaky assed trouble to their sweet marshmallow neighbors in Eureka.

Thank you

Thank you for reading,
Thank you for caring,
Thank you for coming to talk
And for sharing.

Thank you for loving
And laughing
And traveling
And packing
And flying/riding/train-ing/trying
To come to new places
And joyfully crying.

Thank you for meeting me,
For greeting me,
For hugging me

For looking through my eyes a bit
And--like me--never getting over it.

Thank you for loving
My heartbroken boys
And sobbing their heartbreak
Embracing their joys.

Thank you for cheering
For underdog teams
And the kid who's least likely
To see beautiful dreams.

Write for you? Yes!
Sign for you? 'Course.
Hug you? Oh please?
You forgave me for the horse!
YOu forgave me for the tears!
You forgave me for the pain!
You finished the books and you read them again!

So thank you, my readers,
My fans and cheerleaders,
Thank you for loving the books that I love,
The ones that I read and the ones that I write
I love you, I love playing with you,
I'm sad to bid you goodnight--
Sadder still that tomorrow
I'll bid an adieu
And one last, heartfelt, Goddess blessed
Thanks ever so much, I'm so humbled and honored,
So grateful and joyful
gesture of gratitude
To each and every

Night GRL 2015--
Thank you :-)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Go Chicken, Go!

* Chicken started volunteering at GRL. At this point, everybody I have met knows the following things about my daughter:  

A.  She's stunningly beautiful.

B. She's old enough to be here.

C. She would love to talk books.

D. She's as bad at paperwork as I am.

E. Mom couldn't be happier or prouder that she's here.

* If I listed all the awesome people I met today, my brain would explode.

*  That being said, Kaje Harper, Jaime Samms, and K-Lee Klein put on a lovely panel, as did Rhys Ford, Charley Cochet and Lisa Henry.  I love hearing other writers talk about the thing that drives them. Tis an awesome moment.

*  For dinner we got to watch pretty women dance hula, and an amazing man juggle fire. Yeah, he caught fire too, but he put it out pretty quickly.

*  I had a bunch of LOVELY people at my table for dinner-- and they seemed happy to see me, so that made things much more awesome!

*  I got inside and called my family because I'd missed out on calling them two nights running. Tonight's #hashtagwars theme on @midnight was #CrapperBooks. My family needed me to call so I could tweet Harry Potty and the Half-Clogged Bench , Game of Thrones, and If you give a pea a pee.  It was almost like I was at home!

*  Almost like I was at home-- the fact that I called out "Assholes!" sharply over the phone and they paused, as though knowing they sucked.  Ah, I miss my dogs.

*  The Grapevine flooded over today-- and I'm SO relieved that it looks like it will be done raining by tomorrow so we might get home on Monday! Because cars were getting swallowed up by mud, and it was scary!

*  And on that note, I'm going to bail, cause I've got sleepiness I need to take care of.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Getting Lost

Well, I made it to the airport in time to pick up Mary Calmes and Jaime Samms…

But it took us an hour to get back.

I don't know… something about the freeways here, and the way this featureless road winds between mountains we're moving too fast to examine… I can't really put my finger on why San Diego is so hard for me to parse in terms of places.  I mean, directions aren't my strong point, and they probably never will be, but I've figured out parts of Burlingame by now, and I've been there a couple of times, each time a year apart. AFter all the time I've spent in San Diego there's got to be SOME reason I can't spot the landmarks.

But besides that, I'm having a wonderful time.

Saw Chicken tonight when we went out to dinner, and she's… beautiful, confident, and, hopefully, happy. She's taking her 17 lb. cat to the vet tomorrow because Valkyrie takes the sport of vomiting very seriously and Chicken is afraid she's harmed herself.

I think that cat is too mean to kill, myself. But Chicken loves her desperately, and I"m just enjoying watching her and her cat.

We set up our swag on the swag tables tonight-- which is exciting because everybody has so much fun stuff! Mr. Andrew Grey was sweet enough to let me use his table, since he didn't have anything up there, and at first I was going to say no… then it turned out I had enough stuff to put up there, and I was like, "Uh… that's embarrassing. I'm a swag pig!"

I put on my presentation about setting this morning-- and I was proud. I think I used the slides just enough, and for the right reasons, and but I didn't rely on them.  However people kept asking me, "Oh, how was that?"

I was like, "I don't know-- there wasn't a test at the end!"

I think people were engaged and walked away with something important, and this makes me happy-- if I don't post my materials for the presentation by next week, somebody poke me and let me know. I've gotten some lovely positive feedback on the character materials I have there from the last time I do this--and, yanno, since there IS no test at the end, I think the feedback will have to do!

And mostly it's been a lovely full day--I've received an amazing scarf from Ms. Rhae, and a gift for Zoomboy, as well as a plot bunny from Lissa Kassey for Squish.

The sexed-out stuffed turtle I got from Ms. Brandi Godbehere is all mine ;-)

And with that, I'm going to go clean up and go to bed. I think I was trying to recover from the drive yesterday all day today, and tomorrow is going to be bigger!

Night all!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Moments from packing...

Tomorrow I leave for San Diego, but, Goddess bless it, not alone, and I am thrilled! I am swinging through Davis to get the awesome and snarky Mr. Chris Koehler, and then we're heading for Turlock to get the lovely and outrageously fun Ms. Kim Fielding. Together, we shall road trip it down to San Diego, just us, our luggage, and swag. (It has occurred to me that I have more than my share of swag and luggage. My shame is great.)

Anyway-- I bring you the following bits from a very busy day:

Squish: Mom, do you think reality inhibits creativity?

Mom: Why are you naked in the bedroom while I'm packing?

*  *  *

Mate: So, what did you need from the All-Shit store when I come back from my meeting?

Me: Azo. Any kind you can find.

Mate: You're going on a trip to San Diego tomorrow?

Me: Yup.

Mate: That could be the saddest thing I've ever heard.

*  *  *

Chicken: No, I'm not fired. I just smoked us all out of the restaurant--but they said I'm not fired!

Me: 0.0

*  *  *

Big T: Sure I'll cook dinner. You want ground beef and shredded potatoes and vegetables, right?

Me:  Right.

A few minutes later…

Big T: So… squash. Does squash count as a vegetable.

Me:  Unless it's butternut.

T:  Okay.

A few minutes later…

T: What constitutes a butternut squash.

Me:  The squash in the fridge was a butternut squash.

T:  I think I won't put that in the dinner pot.

Me:  Good idea.

(btw-- he did a really good job with everything else. Very tasty!)

*  *  *

Zoomboy, watching @midnight with Chris Hardwick:  Mom, what's a dildo?

Mate: We're just not talking about that tonight.

ZB: Cool.

A few minutes later:

ZB: So, better debate questions?

Me:  Yup, that's the hashtag war.

ZB: Why are dogs.

Me: Perfect.

*  *  *

Me:  "Yes, this Amy Lane."

Kinko's/FedEX:  "Yes, Ms. Lane, we have your banner and your copies?"

Me:  Oh holy CRAP I totally forgot about that.

Kinko's: Well, we'll hold it for another three months.

Me:  But I need it THIS WEEK.

Kinko's: Oh. So, tomorrow or--

Me:  Tonight. I'm leaving RIGHT NOW.

*  *  *

And wish us luck and safe driving, and hope the little dogs are okay with out me.

And the humans.


And this:

It's about time the cats got their own article!  Thanks BookTaster!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

.. or Was it Left? (The rest of yesterday's fic)

And we start with our intrepid heroes right before poor John gets put in the hospital, shall we?

* * *

 John thought that, if she hadn't ripped Carter's heart out, he might actually have liked Allison, Carter's ex.

Or at least she would have been his type.

"I'm sorry, Carter," she said acerbically, "you want me to what?"

"The alternative energy whatsis ," Carter said bluntly. "You need to drop it. One of our guys is out there with some sort of weapon, and his son and his son's friends can't protect themselves with it up."

The pretty woman with the amazing dark eyes and lovely dark skin frowned. "But the only way that thing would be a problem for anybody is if…"  She frowned at John.  "Your son's a supernatural being?"

John grimaced. "Not since his junior year in high school," he said apologetically. "But all his friends are werewolves."

"And his boyfriend," Carter said helpfully.

"Yeah him."  John didn't even want to think about his uneasy friendship with Derek Hale right now.  "They're running for their lives-- can we maybe take down the barrier so they can get away?"

"And figure out who's got a laser that converts to plain old bullets when it passes the barrier," Carter said, all business. "This guy is trying to kill innocent--"

John made a noise.

"They're innocent," Carter insisted, "People!"

"Well," Allison said with an indulgent smile, "since you're worried, we can put someone on it. But remember, this is Eureka, Jack-- we don't really get casualties here."

"Yeah, well people drop like flies in Beacon Hills," John snapped, "so maybe we could get a move on!"

Allison's head snapped back liked he'd hit her, and suddenly she looked actually concerned.  "Oh… yes. You're right. I'm sorry… here…"  She hit a button at her desk. "Fargo!"

Five minutes later, John was standing in a situation room with green X's and red X's and Carter and Allison standing together and finishing each other's sentences.

Fucking wonderful.

"So," Carter said tersely, "this spot here is the power source for the cross-preternatural-atom-smasher thingie--"

"And it's not working well,"  Allison muttered. "It wasn't well designed. It may just break down by itself--"

"Well we can't count on that!" John protested. "You people may have that kind of luck, but believe me, it doesn't run in Beacon Hills!"

"I hear you," Carter said distractedly. He was busy tracing the line with his fingers. "Okay-- that's the barrier, and it's part of his defenses-- if we destroy that--"

"But you can't just destroy it, Carter," Allison said, her tone lecturing and familiar at once. ""You have to shove something in here-- see?  This part right here?  That will complete the circuit.  And then get out of there because it won't take much to overload and short out. Now, Peterson--"

"The werewolf employee you fired," Carter supplied helpfully.

"Hey-- we didn't fire him because he was a werewolf--"

"But he didn't know that, so now he wants to kill all the fucking werewolves to prove something to you--"

"I'm sorry!" Allison exclaimed. "Look-- we had no idea there were so many of them. We didn't expect that barrier to catch anything, you understand? We're going to have to hire the guy who designed it back--we thought it was nuts!"

"We live forty miles away," John snapped, out of patience with their banter. "Forty goddamned miles. Somebody could have looked up our crime rate to see if maybe there wasn't something there. So right now, we've got to go put a… what? Something non-conductive in there, and we've got to do it before the… hey-- wait-- what's that?"

"That's Peterson," Allison said, assessing the infrared scans. "And he's tracking something."

"That's it!" John turned and stalked to the doorway. "I am going to go commandeer a goddamned car and get out there. That is my son he's tracking, and if it's not my son, it's his friends or his boyfriend, and basically kids I've known my whole life. So you people stay here and design kill jars for Tinkerbell, and I'm going to go save my kids."

He was halfway to the opulent elevator that would take him to the equally impressive atrium/foyer of the company when Jack appeared at his elbow.

"Jesus, John-- way to make an impression!" Carter laughed.

John cast him a sour look. "Are you sure she's gone back to her first husband? Because you two were pretty freakin' cozy. Maybe you can man the situation room and watch me become a little dot on the screen too.  Wouldn't have to move away from this madhouse if your boyfriend's a little dot on the screen, right?"

"John…" Carter soothed. "You know it's not--"

"Yeah. I get it. Not that easy. You've got kids. I get it. I've got kids, and your people are trying to kill them, and I'm not happy about that."  The elevator dinged and the two of them trotted down the steps and toward the entrance.  "I would really love it if nobody ended up dead, because believe me, it doesn't always go that way in my corner of the hell mouth, okay?"

Carter bumped shoulders with him. "Yeah, John. I get it. Let's go save your kids."

*  *  *

Stiles jumped his bike over a tree stump and around a big tree.  Behind him, he heard the weapon fire, and a bullet-- or laser bullet or whatever--ripped into the giant redwood he'd just used as shelter.  Another shot sounded, and he heard a yip of pain.

"Derek!" he shouted, just as Derek rounded the corner, barreling full speed. God, he wasn't sure how long the two of them could keep this up.

Sometime in the last hour, Scott and Liam had recovered their werewolf powers and for a moment, they'd distracted their pursuer while Stiles had tried to gain ground.  But he'd heard the gun report, and a couple of yips, and then silence, and his heart was pounding in his chest with worry.

God-- not Scott. Not Liam. They were probably just healing-- right?

Derek seemed to be able to shake the plain lead bullets that the laser was shooting, so they should-- right?

The barrier that had crippled Scott and Liam at the beginning had been fading in and out-- it was weird. It was like the power source was malfunctioning, and Stiles was beginning to hear a fluctuating, piercing whine as they ran.

But beyond the worry and the hope, there was the other worry and hope, and that was that they were being herded somewhere. There was a destination in mind. That was good, because Stiles knew his dad was coming to help. If there was a destination in mind, that meant his father wouldn't just be blindly wandering the woods trying to find running kids and wolves and asshole with a weapon, his dad could find them. 

It was a hope.

It was a hope that bloomed full grown when he steered the bike out into a clearing--and then turned and  stuck to the inner perimeter of the forest, because any idiot knew he was a sitting duck in the middle of the clearing.

The clearing was full of long grasses, with some sort of big machine whirring in the middle.  Oh, yeah-- probably the power center for whatever the barrier was. They were going to have to destroy that thing in a hot hurry, weren't they?  Stiles tried not to hit trees and brush while he scoped out the big scary machine, and it wasn't until he got about a quarter of the way around the perimeter--debris being shot around his head, that he realized that Derek was pretty fucking wily.

As soon as they'd burst into the clearing he'd sunk to his stomach, and while Stiles was dodging bullets and debris--

Derek was stalking their attacker-- but Stiles wasn't sure it was on the safe side of the barrier. What would happen if the thing went up-- would Derek be rendered helpless and naked for a few vital moments, like Scott had been?  God, what would happen if their attacker got caught in the barrier if it fluctuated up while they were struggling.

Oh hell-- not attacker-- he wasn't alone like they thought.


Derek lunged at the guy with the gun and they both heard a "Don't worry, Dad! I'll amp up the barrier! He'll never live!"

Stiles panicked.

Wolf sounds and gun sounds were echoing throughout the clearing, and Stiles steered his bike through all of that deadly openness---

And was almost broadsided when a little electric police car burst in through a barely-visible dirt road.

The car screeched to a halt in front of the cement block holding the freaky machine, and Stiles's dad jumped out of the passenger side of the car, holding…

A baseball bat?

"Dad!" Stiles called out. "Dad-- what are you--"

The weapon fired-- but it was aimed inside the barrier, so a very effective laser shot out and cut the electric car in half.

"Aw crap," Carter muttered. He pulled out the weapon in his holder and went running in the direction of the trigger happy sonofabitch who killed his car.

"Stiles get down!" John called. "And call Derek off that guy-- Jack'll get him. He's a--"


They could all hear the full snarling cacophony of a full-on werewolf fight.

"Dad, you're one of them!"

"Oh Jesus, save us all," John muttered.


John and Stiles both looked up in time to see a kid in his late teens pick up the fallen weapon by the struggling furry bodies of Derek and a werewolf John had never seen before.

"Derek, no!"  Stiles cried out, and at that moment, the fluctuating whatever it was next to John gave a giant fuzzy red throb.

The two struggling werewolves because two struggling naked men, and Carter drew up short, exclaiming, "Oh that's not pretty!"

And the kid with the gun stood there with his finger on the trigger, his chin quivering. "Dad…"

Okay.  John recognized an opportunity when he saw it. He grabbed his bat-- Stiles's bat, actually, it was in the back of his car-- they'd passed it on the way.

Stealthily he made it to the power thingie, which was designed pretty much like any bad-guy's machine ever, with a big sparking gap in the middle that would fit a baseball bat perfectly. (John wondered if maybe Eureka wasn't a giant supernatural node exactly opposite of Beacon Hills's energy signature, because if this had been in Beacon Hills, it would have A. Looked a lot less simple and a lot more sinister, and B. Been guarded by something deadly that John had never heard of. No wonder Carter thought he could do anything-- his town pretty much cake-walked the hard stuff.)

He drew near the hydro-atomic-preternatural-energy-whatever and pulled out the bat, never taking his eyes off the kid.

Who apparently had gotten over his shock at finding out his father was a werewolf and had decided to kill them all.  And Stiles was the person closest to him, so that's where he aimed.

"Hey, asshole!" John called, and he couldn't miss the panicked look Carter gave him, or the way he stopped sneaking up on the kid and looked from John to the kid in back in agony. Tackle him, or shoot him? Tackle him or shoot him?  What a terrible choice.

Maybe John could save him.

"Look! You may want to take cover," John called out, edging closer to the reactor, "Because I don't know what this is going to--"

He shoved the bat into the space, and then hauled ass--toward the kid with the gun.

"Mister, what did you do?"  The kid asked in a panic.

"Michael, run!"  said his father, naked and disoriented on the ground.

"Don't talk to me!" Michael shouted. "You told me they were horrible, and you're one of them?"

The gun leveled toward Derek and Peterson on the ground again, and Stiles threw himself in front of both of them.

Jack leveled his weapon at the back of Michael's head and said, "Michael, put the gun down!"

MIchael looked behind him to see what the new threat was, and John shoved Stiles out of the way, hissing, "Get Derek out of here before that thing goes!"

Stiles grabbed Derek, who was staggering now, wobbling on his two feet, and looking behind him in confusion. Together they started shambling toward the forest, and just as John heard Stiles shout, "Scott! Liam! Get out of here, we don't know what's going to happen when that thing goes!", Michael leveled the weapon at John…

And the generator for the barrier shorted out, sending a shockwave of preternatural and hydro-atomic energy rocketing around the little clearing.

And the gun went off.

And that was the last thing John could remember.

*  *  *

And now he was loopy in the hospital, and everybody was taking responsibility for the fucked up kid and the dad who didn't want to be a werewolf.

And John just wanted Carter to stay.

"Scott's okay, you know," Carter said quietly, when John wandered off.

"Yeah," John smiled. "You said. Love that kid like I love my son. Don't want the werewolves to get killed. Is that so bad?"

"No."  Carter held his hand up to his lips.  "You know… Allison was by while you were out."

Ick. "Wonderful. Did you practice reading each other's minds and trade parenting pro-tips?"

"No," Carter said again. "We talked about how easy it would be to pave a road between Eureka and Beacon Hills off the main drag."

"Why would you do that?" John asked suspiciously. "Don't you have a talking house or something?"

"Yeah," John conceded. "And Sarah really loves my family. But.. you know. I could, maybe, hang out there when it's my turn with the kids, but…"

John swallowed. "So… like shared custody. I get shared custody of you with your stupid electronic town."

"Do you not want any custody at all?" Carter asked, and John looked up and saw his blue eyes held the same expression they had when Carter had propositioned him in the bar, those months ago.

They held hurt.

"Of course," John muttered. "Full custody would be nice. Full custody would be…"  Suddenly he started to chuckle, low and evil. "So that talking house," he muttered. "Would that be… you know… vacant, when you're not there with the kids?"

"Yeah?" Carter said doubtfully. "Why?"

"Cause I bet a werewolf and his boyfriend could live there. What do you think."

Carter nodded, and relaxed. "I think that sounds really good."  He closed his eyes then, and held John's palm to his cheek. "Almost as having you better sounds. You ready to get out of here? They say you can go home tomorrow."

John rolled his eyes, falling asleep already. "You're gonna make a shitty nurse, Jack Carter," he said distinctly.

"You're the idiot who's putting himself in my care," Carter murmured. "You have only yourself to blame."

Of course he did.

John closed his eyes and dreamed of waking up next to a man, an equal, a partner.

Dreamed of making love to that person at night.

Dreamed of making a life and a home in a way he'd never suspected.

Dreamed of Jack.

*  *  *

Okay-- probably not next week, when I'll be at GRL, but the week AFTER, we'll see Jack nursing John back to health.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

And Then the Wolf Zigged Right

 Okay guys-- I was hoping I'd finish this installment tonight, but it's been something of a day, on the tail end of something of a week. I'm going to hit you with my best shot and hope for the best, okay?  (Turns out my best shot was not much. Sorry!  Maybe I'll add more to it tomorrow.)

*  *  *

"It was not," John Stilinski said muzzily from the hospital bed. "Not Jack's fault, not Stiles's fault…"

"Dad!" Stiles said, at the same time Jack squeezed his hand.

"znice," he mumbled. "So nice my son loves me. Would be even better if there wasn't such a big fuss everyone trying to get killed. That would be real frickin' nice."

"I'd have to agree with that," Derek muttered, sending Stiles a dark look.

"I was not trying to get killed!" Stiles retorted. "What I was trying to do was keep a certain werewolf from getting killed!"

"So was I," John said happily. "Me too! Scott--I was trying to keep Scott from getting killed."  He sobered, all business.  "We know Scott," he said, looking at Carter like Carter would find this totally okay. "He's Stiles's best friend-- good guy. Alpha werewolf. Lost his girlfriend in high school, very sad."

"Not as sad as him trying to date all those women when he's nuts bout Liam," Stiles muttered.

John shook his head like he was trying to wave that way. "I don't want to know about Scott's sex life," he begged. "I know way too much about yours."

"Well right backatcha," Stiles snapped, and Derek was a dear and smacked him on the back of the head.

"That's your fault,"Derek hissed. "Now let's make sure your dad's alright so he can talk to Carter!"

John smiled at his son, feeling like the whole world was a big balloon, and nodded. "Fine," he said, still stoned. "I like Carter. He's okay."

Stiles grunted and glared some more, but Derek nudged him meaningfully.  Stiles sighed and kissed his dad on the cheek. "Get better, Dad. We'll check with you a little later, okay?"

Sheriff Stilinski nodded, and then stared at Carter for a moment.  "You're staying, right," he said, eyes big.

Carter pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. "You asked," he said after a sigh-- but he was still squeezing John's hand.

"You like me," John said loopily. "Can't ditch a bozo who likes me."

A corner of Jack's mouth quirked up. "Yeah, neither can I--but I'm telling you, Johnny boy, it's a rough sell when you jump into a hydro-electron atomic capacitor with nothing more than a baseball bat."

John nodded. "I'll be honest-- I was going for the guy with the gun."

"Yeah, I figured when the capacitor went off. You were damned excited about running in font of that thing, do you know that?"  Jack shuddered, and it was John's turn to squeeze his hand.

"We'll have to agree to disagree," he slurred, but Jack shook his head.

John groaned inwardly. He had the feeling Jack was not going to forgive him easily for how it all went down.

* * *

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Yeah, yeah-- still here!

So, thank you to everybody yesterday who chimed in, both with suggestions and commiserations.  I guess it's a mark of how concerned I really am that I was actually the first one to contact authorities--and now we'll just have to wait and see.  Mate and I have a plan--to be implemented after GRL-- and have some discussion under our belts, and sometimes just having a plan of action and a course of, "If this, then this," is all you need for some peace of mind.

In the meantime, preparations for GRL continue apace--and the kids…

OKay-- so I'm leaving Mate at home with them for an entire week, and something occurred to him.

"Hey, I'm going to need a schedule for when to pick them up, right?"

And oh my god YES because the kids have just… I mean, we do soccer and dance already, but now add GATE, Choir, and chess club to the mix and…

We need an honest to God schedule.

Squish was asking me, "Mom, do you ever think about alternate universes?"

"Yes, all the time, why?"

"Because, I like to think about a universe in which I take karate instead of soccer. Or sometimes a universe in which I take nothing at all and just sit home and do nothing everyday."

"You think that sounds like fun?"

"For a while, yes. But I think I'd get bored."

Well, she had GATE last night, and then dance, and then we saw The Princess Bride in the theaters, and then she woke up early to go to choir, and this afternoon, picking her up got drawn out because it was ZB's first day of chess club.

Tonight, after soccer, she cried for about fifteen minutes, not sure why she was crying.

And then went to bed a half an hour early.

Because that's why we dream about the alternate universe where video games are the most action we get all day and the rest of the world is made of sleep.  That's not the world we live in, and we miss it.

So, on that note, and with a trip to Folsom Octoberfest looming in my Friday night future, I think it's time for me to go to bed.

But I've got six more things to do first….

South Fast

So, it all started about a month ago.

The house to our left has been vacant for a while, but it was bought by a real estate company and they've been trying to flip it.  Unsuccessfully I might add--because our entire neighborhood has let our yards die in the drought, and our block looks like the last stop of the zombie apocalypse--which might explain the other thing that happened.

See, on our other side, a lovely, ailing elderly woman has lived for the past forty years. She finally passed away over the summer…

And that was the problem.

Apparently, her children didn't know what to do with the house.  It sat, vacant, and obviously vacant, for nearly two months.

And one night, about two weeks ago, somebody drove by and dumped a bunch of mattresses on the front yard.  That's it-- bare, ugly mattresses, no blankets, no nothing--and a chest of drawers with all the actual drawers taken out.

I sat, wondering if I should call someone to clear that shit out, and two nights later, we heard people move in.

Now, remember, I work extremely odd hours--so when I say "Night" I mean twelve-thirty a.m.  And there were kids running in and out, small ones, and adults, swearing loudly-- as in, "Get the fuck out of my way you little fuckin' shit!" kind of swearing, not just as they were moving in, but during all hours of the day after that.

There didn't seem to be any "moving"-- as in furniture, etc--but there DID seem to be a lot going into the garage from a beat up brown sedan without a back window.

And swearing at the kids.

And people at odd hours.

And the back house window-- the one that looks into our bedroom--has been tinted blood red.

And then, one of the men whom I've seen repeatedly, a skinny gangster with pale pale skin, black hair, a black mustache and zero body fat, took great care in locking a black bicycle to a post on the front porch.

The garage is obviously up and running-- and this guy seems to stay here--so why the black bike?

And why the people, different people, mind you, going into the house at all hours when the bike is out front? And why do they all gather to one place to smoke-- outside the house?

And I swear, two nights ago, I heard the sound of violent vomiting out front, and a fire truck pulled up-- no siren--and stayed there for quite a while.

Their garbage has a lot of large plastic containers in it, and a lot of old chemical containers.

And I keep waiting for a smell--a definitive smell of any sort--but all I'm getting is itchy eyes and the entire family is suffering what feels to be an allergy attack. Is it?

God, I hope so. I really really hope so.

But the fact is, suddenly our kind of tetchy neighborhood is looking downright scummy, and no amount of internet surfing can bring me any comfort. And what seemed to be a doable situation-- i.e., swimming along in an upside down loan because it kept a roof over our heads-- is suddenly a terrifying situation.

The house next door has turned into an episode of COPS, or Miami Vice, or the six-o'clock news and we are left floundering for ways to protect our family. Do we gather our shit and get the hell out, defaulting on our loan and trashing our credit and any plans we had to send our younger two kids to college with any security at all?

Do we hang in here, hope it's allergies, and seriously pray the house next door doesn't explode while we're all sleeping in our beds?

Do we put a time limit on it? Say, if these guys don't show signs of getting the hell out in a month, then we try to get out before the meth poisoning is too bad?

I mean, I'm a writer. I have a writer's imagination. I could be wrong, right?  I was walking the dogs yesterday morning, and the morning's group of smokers was hanging out in the corner of the driveway--a woman, a man, and a little girl.  The little girl had her backpack, and was smiling at the dogs, and when she and her mother both said, "Aw, cute dog!" I smiled back and waved and kept walking.  Why would somebody bring a kid to a meth buy, right?

But it was 9:30, and she was plenty old enough to be in school, and she wasn't.

And I'm worried. I mean, with any luck, I'll wake up tomorrow and these people will have moved, or I'll figure out that they're just moving in and I didn't see it, and what sounds to be a blender in the garage doesn't have anything to do with meth manufacture in spite of what the websites say.

But what about without luck?

Because the alternatives are terrifying, and remember? I'm a writer--I can imagine a lot of bad shit.

But someone on FB had a suggestion-- they suggested this be used in a book.

Just remember-- when this situation pops up in a book of mine? This is one situation you know I've been researching--mostly because I'm looking for a way out.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

General Weirdness

*sigh*  You know that feeling that someone is never going to get you and yours? Ever. Like when I got into the hot tub at the health club with the woman who said, "Oh, no-- my whole family was so glad when the kids outgrew animated movies. I never have to see another Pixar picture again!"

I knew right then we could never been friends.

Have you ever felt that way about your own family?

Chicken got her birthday cards from both sets of grandparents--and my stepmom already told me about hers.  It was one of those social things where I laughed, but inside I was thinking, "Uh… I don't get it."

The card said, "Well, now that you're 21 there's more than one way to get free drinks for your birthday."  And then you opened the card and there were two pink balloons taped to the other side. After seeing the picture Chicken sent me, I think--and don't quote me on this--that the implication was either A. That Chicken could stuff them in her bra so she'd have cleavage, or B. That she should practice blowing things for beer.

If anyone has a meme that could quite convey the level of stunned horror that smacked me in the face when she sent me a picture of said card, I would be forever grateful.

"It's better than the one that dissed people with small dogs," she said apologetically. "Because that one was trying to actively slam you, but otherwise…"

"It's horrifying," I said, still flailing.

"God yes," she responded. "So glad it's not just me."

No-- not just her.

At the same dinner, it came about that a younger friend of the family had invited my sister to her "naughty lady party".  My stepsister was horrified--because this was like her niece or something and, ew!  And I was sort of horrified by the general concept. I don't do naughty lady parties-- I mean, I've been invited to one in my whole life, and the level of discomfort was like… well, think of an extra-large ribbed tampon on a light day.

Yeah. But the mental chafing was worse.

And while I'm pretty frank about sex (obvs) I think there is a really wide, indelible line between talking generalities and then getting specific about your own sex life with a group of people and visual aids.  I mean, I can raise my eyebrows and insinuate "sumpn sumpn" all I want, but that doesn't change the fact that nobody actually wants to envision me and Mate doing "anythn anythn" in the flesh, because, uhm, EW.  I mean, that's my one hard and fast rule-- I don't write anybody I know in real life having on page sex. (Much to Darrin's disappointment--I know, he told me himself, bless him!)

So given all this, after my sister said, "Yeah, no-- I couldn't go. Just too weird,"  I concurred, with, "Yeah-- naughty lady parties, just not my thing."

And my stepmom said, "Really? It's not your thing? I find that hard to believe."

-.-  And, again, if someone could come up with a meme for this, I'd be much obliged.

Because I think the implication was, because I write porn, I want to share my sex life in explicit detail with friend and stranger alike.

Please don't dissect the many ways that could be offensive. I'm trying to keep my optimism.

But once again, in the situation in which the people who love me longest and best know me the least--and my children as well.

*sigh*  I have yet to be able to capture that dynamic on page.  People always want a bad guy for those interactions. They always want to say, "racist, sexist, misogynistic, shaming…"

Whatever. The fact is, my parents sent my daughter a birthday card and a gift--how bad could they be? They came to dinner with Mate and I, so we could do birthday week, and they invited my sister when I--being the overcommitted flake that I am-- forgot, and that was really kind.  They are genuinely interested in my children--even if they don't understand them.

Love--and understanding and generation gaps and communication--they're all such prickly enterprises. I know my parents get frustrated because my children and I are so close I didn't leave a lot of room for other relatives. I don't know what to tell them-- I know when I was nineteen, I couldn't wait to get out of the house, out on my own (with Mate of course) and into a future where people assumed I was competent and not somehow defective. And now that I have grown children whom I assume are competent and not somehow defective, and with whom I communicate daily, I am baffled that they are not trying to run the fuck away from me much like I ran away from my parents.  Mate and I are frequently heard to say, "Really? You want to hang with us? Why on earth… never mind… come on, we're going for ice cream."

Once, my parents wanted a moment of privacy and told us all to leave them alone in a park in the worst neighborhood in downtown Sacramento. It took them ten minutes for the lightbulb to go on and come find us, and by then I'd already seen the flasher show his junk to the drug addict who propositioned me while the homeless guy barfed on the tree. I was thirteen.

Chicken--at 21--texts me when she sees this stuff, so I can assure her that she will only be marginally scarred for life.

Big T saves the story for me, so he can tell it in person.

And I, in turn, try not to insinuate that my children should stuff their bras or their jocks or practice blow jobs to get lucky in bars.

I guess every generation has it's own variations on traditions--and it's own approach to life, right? And if your own parents don't embarrass the crap out of you, who will?

Monday, October 5, 2015

*Kermit Flail* October, Pre-GRL style!

*gasps for breath*

Holy COW! Did you all see that? That was SEPTEMBER! It went at the speed of light-- we'll never catch it now!  

*wheezes to a halt*

Well, here we are in October, and it's right before GRL in San Diego, and dudes… going so fast. And I"m getting SO excited!

So here we have a bunch of BRAND NEW AUTHORS that I'm happy to see into the fray--Antonia Aquilante, Lissa Kassey,  Ki Brightly and R.J. Jones-- as well as some authors that I've met both personally and on line!  Can we say hello to the funny and brilliant Cat Grant, who has an unexpected release this month?  How about Andrew Q. Gordon, who is one of the nicest--and the brightest--men I've ever met! As well as Anna Martin-- sweet as pie and lovely in person; Devon Rhodes--stunning and brilliant and with the world's most amazing smile; Talia Carmichael, the infinitely kind and kinda shy; August Li, KING of the the beautiful cover art, the wicked snark, and the amazing world building, and, pulling up the rear (they don't even have buy links yet) my beloveds, Cherie Noel and Rhae Camdyn, do staunch allies and lovely people who have been working together on a soooooper sekrit novel that they only just now revealed.



by Andrew Q. Gordon

Forty years ago the Spirit of Vengeance—a Purpose—took William Morgan as its host, demanding he avenge the innocent by killing the guilty. Since then Will has retreated behind Gar, a façade he uses to avoid dealing with what he’s become. Cold, impassive, and devoid of emotion, Gar goes about his life alone—until his tidy, orderly world is upended when he meets Ryan, a broken young man cast out by his family. Spurred to action for reasons he can't understand, Gar saves Ryan from death and finds himself confronted by his humanity.

Spending time with Ryan helps Will claw out from under Gar’s shadow. He recognizes Ryan is the key to his reclaiming his humanity and facing his past. As Will struggles to control the Purpose, Ryan challenges him to rethink everything he knew about himself and the spirit that possesses him. In the process, he pushes Will to do something he hasn't done in decades: care.

The Prince's Consort
by Antonia Aquilante

Legends tell of large cats defending the principality of Tournai, but such creatures have been lost to time.

Or have they?

Prince Philip inherited the throne at a young age, and since then, his life has centered around ruling his country and resisting those pressuring him to take a wife and conceive an heir—forcing him to hide his attraction to men. When kind-hearted Amory is offered to the prince in exchange for more time for Amory’s father to complete a commission, both Philip and Amory are horrified. But Philip agrees to keep Amory at the palace, where they gradually become friends, then lovers. For the first time in his life, Philip is free to share not only his heart, but the magical shape-shifting ability that runs in the royal bloodline.

Neither Amory nor Philip imagined falling in love, and they certainly don’t expect the lengths those who oppose their relationship will go to keep them apart—maybe even resorting to murder.

Storming Love: Wild Fire
Jade & Conrad
by Talia Carmichael

Life brings an unexpected complication to a man who was only seeking some relaxation, yet what he found was a man who would light his soul on fire…
Jade Blakstone wanted some time away from his hectic schedule and took a trip to get away. He never expected to find a man who would strike all the right notes within him. Together they burn hot and fast, making Jade wonder if there is more between them than just a passing dalliance. But as hot as they burn for each other, so do the wild fires that have broken out. Conrad is a firefighter and Jade fears that they will be over before they begin when he goes to fight the fires raging in Northern California.
From their very first meeting, Conrad Kendrick knew Jade was something special. Now he just had to convince Jade that although they have chemistry, there was something that was even sweeter—the connection of two souls who have found

Evolution: Genesis
by Lissa Kassey

Evolution made music history when one bandmate turned vampire and another joined the vampire hate movement Preservation Group. Gene is trying to cling to the music as his relationship with Kerstrande begins to spiral into the darkness of hidden demons. Jaded by his years as a vampire flunkie, Kerstrande uses his newly won power over New York City to destroy his enemies and protect Gene. But a demon called a Fallen begins to take control of KC, slowly devouring his soul and through him the entire city. Battling against the evil that wants to destroy him, Kerstrande fights to hold onto Gene’s brightness.
A power unlike any other grows within Gene and shines like a beacon to the demons surrounding him. Realizing that only he can save his lover, Gene is willing to do anything to shake the darkness loose. Even if it means reshaping the future, the band, and his own existence.

The Shape of Honey
by Ki Brightley 

Yulian Volkov is an entrepreneur and lone werewolf who hates the city. At a pack meeting, he learns the only member he’s attracted to is being expelled for crimes unspecified. Yulian strikes a deal with the pack leader to allow Rolly Witten to live on his farm and work in his Meadery. Although enjoying handsome Rolly’s company, Yulian must tread carefully, since Rolly doesn’t trust him and the pack doesn’t acknowledge homosexuality exists. Meanwhile, Yulian stealthily courts Rolly by teaching him the value of his wolf side.

Rolly, who’s known he was gay since he was a teen, has accepted a life of solitude—and a life of crime. He has no desire to relocate. Yet Yulian’s trust in his ability to do honest work builds his confidence. As life is settling well for them, Rolly learns a friend from his old pack had a crush on him, and he’s torn between returning his friend’s feelings or pursuing the budding relationship with Yulian. But that’s not their worst problem. Assassins are trying to take out both wolves, and they need to figure out who wants them dead or all the trust and happiness they’re building together won’t matter.

Cairn and Covenant
By August Li

An assassin’s unexpected mercy granted Octavian Rose his life and freed him from his father’s control, but it left him with little more than the clothes on his back and the determination not to waste his chance at a life of his choosing.

As Octavian sets out to make a name for himself, he refuses to compromise his ideals for money or status—a decision tested as he works his way up the ranks as a mercenary fighter and novice mage. Along the way he forges friendships, takes lovers, and makes bitter enemies, all while striving for the power he feels he deserves and can wield fairly.

With the advent of the Blessed Epoch and the discovery of new cultures, the world is changing. Octavian’s decisions will affect not only those closest to him but will have profound worldwide consequences that he cannot begin to imagine. For twenty years, Octavian does what he must, and his choices bring him brilliant victories alongside crushing losses. Time and again, he must choose between what is right for all and what is beneficial to him, while hoping for the wisdom to tell the difference.

FREE Short—A Lesson and a Favor
Eight years before meeting Yarrow and Duncan in Ash and Echoes, the man now known as Sasha lived and breathed for a single purpose: to kill for gold and the glory of his cult and dark god without emotion or hesitation. In this lost tale of Sasha’s early career, he’s dispatched on a difficult mission—one with a surprise in store for him.

FREE Short—Archer's Regret 
Sylvain Damasca has seen and done it all since walking away from his wealthy family and the promise of a future title. He’s had more men, money, and adventure than he can count—including a part in the founding of Rosecairn—but he’s restless, and no amount of gold, wine, or casual companionship can scratch his itch. It might be time to deal with the one thing he left unfinished, if he can find the courage to face the only man who ever got underneath his skin.

The One That I Want
By R.J. Jones

Jason escapes into the magic of a Broadway play every weekend. Musicals always have a happy ending and for a few hours he can believe there’s a happy ending waiting for him, too. When the tall drink of water who works on the top floor of Jason’s building, wants to take him on a date, Jason is surprised. After all, Jason is awkward and skinny, and sees himself as a boring accountant, while Paul is tall, dark, and incredibly hot.

Despite Jason’s reservations, Paul and Jason start dating and attending the shows Jason adores. But if Paul likes musicals as much as Jason, why does he always doze off? Is Paul leading a double life? Does he have a wife tucked away somewhere?

Jason knows Paul is hiding something and when the secrets come out, Jason finds his fantasy comes to life, right there on the stage.

Hopelessly Devoted
by R.J. Jones

One year on from Paul's proposal, Jason is living a life he never dreamed of. As he fusses with his tie and readies to walk down the aisle, he reminisces about the previous twelve months. It hasn't all been smooth sailing for the happy couple in the lead up to their wedding, with obstacles big and small thrown in their way.

Marrying one of New York’s most eligible bachelors has Jason’s stomach in knots. Expectations of their society wedding are high, but out of love for Paul, Jason goes along with the grand plans because he understands Paul’s family has a reputation to maintain. But Paul has a surprise up his sleeve that just may see Jason getting the wedding of his dreams.

Follow Jason on his journey as he prepares to marry one of the most eligible bachelors in New York and find out just how Dave got his name.

Rites of Passage
by Cat Grant

Adulthood sucks.

With college graduation behind them, Seth Thompson and Bilal al-Mansoori enjoy their last carefree summer. But the perfect future Seth’s envisioned since high school—moving to New York to pursue a career as an artist—doesn’t appeal to city-phobic Bilal. A job offer allowing Bilal to remain in upstate New York drives a wedge between them, and Seth’s family’s well-meaning interference doesn’t help at all.

A trip to the UK for Bilal’s sister’s wedding offers a chance to get back on the same page. But their holiday is abruptly cut short when the unthinkable happens…

And Seth faces the very real possibility that he may never see the man he loves alive again.

Storming Love: Wildfire
Caleb & Shaun
by Devon Rhodes

Sometimes saying goodbye can end up saving a relationship. 

Breaking up with Caleb was the hardest thing Shaun had ever done. It left a huge hole in his home and in his heart. But feeling like he was constantly competing with Caleb's adrenaline-rush hobbies pushed him to make a he constantly second-guesses, especially now that Caleb's gone with his Hot Shots team for a big fire in California. 

Caleb knows he's a lucky man. His family supports him and he's able to do what he loves for both work and play. It took losing Shaun, though, for him to realize that his priorities were out of whack. And now his luck might be running out as his crew gets trapped by a fast-moving fire line. 

All they really need is a second chance...if Caleb can stay alive long enough to make it home.

My Prince
By Anna Martin

After growing up in a rough part of town, George Maguire worked his way out of Manchester and to a career as a design engineer. Alexander van Amsberg, an architecture student at the University of Edinburgh, wasn’t the sort of guy he normally had explosive, hotel-room one-night-stands with. Alex was charming, classy, and, as George later learns, Prince of the Netherlands.

Fate brings them together again, and Alex makes sure to get his sexy stranger’s phone number this time. Despite all the reasons why they shouldn’t work, something clicks, and Alex thinks that this time, he might have found the right guy. But Alex’s aristocratic ex stirs up trouble in the press for George and his humble family, and Alex realizes he has to get real about having a boyfriend from the wrong side of town.

While George acknowledges his modest upbringing, he doesn’t let anyone insult his family. Life’s no fairy tale, and regardless of his royal title, Alex might destroy his one chance for happily ever after.

Say Hello to Jackass Flats
by Cherie Noel and Rhae Camdyn

On the surface, Jackass Flats seems as common as ticks, tornadoes, or tumbleweeds on the plains of North Texas. But, scratch past the small town charm of Mama Cee's restaurant, or Gear Grinders Garage & Machine Shop, and you'll find a whole mess of interesting goings on. Mix a DEA investigation running off the rails, a Paul Bunyan sized French émigré dealing exotic cars, a long eared, lonely deputy scouting for stuff and nonsense at the infamous local casino, and a bow-chicka-wow-wow romance track playing at full volume, and things get spicy with cayenne, cilantro, and a heartwarming dash of good natured hilarity. As Sheriff Drayton Jeepers likes to say whilst stroking the road kill he claims is a toupee, "No one south of the highway lives in their own skin." Yeah, we don't know what he means either, but finding out promises to be fun!