Sunday, August 27, 2006

short story: THE DEAL

THE DEAL


Camden Colgan seldom took pleasure in a woman’s discomfort as much as he reveled in Candice Lane’s. Despite her sweet-sounding name, Candy Lane was anything but sweet. She was a shark in barracuda-infested waters. He fully intended to make her discomfort last.

“So we’re done here,” she asked.

Camden leaned back into the comfortable couch cushions with a satisfied sigh and smiled at his host, watching the man standing behind Lane blanch at the gleaming flash of sharp canines.

Lane swallowed, but refused to be intimidated. She had no choice but to acknowledge that Camden represented a threat she wasn’t equipped to handle. But this was her territory, her office, and by god, she wouldn’t let him see her apprehension.

“Yes.” Lane’s relief wafted over Camden like a humid current that matted the hairs on his exposed arms. He would need a shower after this. “Our deal?”

“Stands,” Lane assured him. “I am a woman of my word.” In truth, she’d been prepared to pay a lot more. Camden’s services didn’t come cheap, but the bonus he’d requested for the successful and timely completion of his task barely registered. Independence City’s foremost crime boss had no problem throwing in something extra when it didn’t cost her.

Eager to get this over with, Lane pressed a button on the communication console on her desk. “I’ll have delivery arrangements made as soon as you—“

“That won’t be necessary,” Camden interrupted. “The young man in question is downstairs.”

Lane’s glee drifted over Camden much like the woman’s relief had only moments before. Camden nearly shook his head. He could live another six hundred years, and he still wouldn’t understand it. A minute ago Lane had feared him and rightfully so. Now her arrogance was firmly back in place. Vampire, professional assassin or not, Camden’s threat had just been downgraded because he preferred to rut with the males of the species. Lane wasn’t the first to fall prey to that idea. She wouldn’t be the last.

She raised her shapely brows in an unspoken question.

“Daniel.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me.”

“Daniel?”

“He is in your employ, is he not?” He was. Camden had checked.

“Yes, but—”

“One of the people in your employ. To be used at my discretion and how I see fit. That was our deal, was it not?”

“Yes. But Daniel, he’s … “

Camden waited. His glance strayed over Lane’s shoulder and met the disapproving stare of Noel Lane, Lane Enterprises’ heir apparent. His stare buckled under the hard glint in Camden’s eyes.

“I have the finest whores, male and female, in this city,” Lane rallied. “Daniel isn’t one of them.”

If she heard her son’s “He is now” fall over her shoulder, she gave no indication of it. Camden heard it, though, and it drove him to his feet. He felt a momentary surge of satisfaction when mother and son flinched.

He smiled sweetly, baring just enough of his fangs to drive the message home Lane had all but forgotten. She’d made a deal with the devil, and she’d signed the contract with blood—not hers, but that was a technicality.

“I’ve made my choice.”

Truer words couldn’t have been spoken. He’d made his choice a long time ago. Young Daniel hadn’t been more than a gangly pre-teen, a wide-eyed gorgeous kid with his father’s features.

“He’ll grow into a fine young man,” Jeff Lane had prophesied, catching Camden’s interested gaze on his son. “You’ll have to wait that long,” he’d said. “You better wait that long,” he’d warned, knowing his friend was known to indulge his hedonistic nature on occasion.

“I will,” Camden had promised. “I will.” But he hadn’t.

“Daniel works in the garage. He isn’t trained. He has no experience.”

Camden suppressed his disbelieving snort. He couldn’t tell if she operated under the assumptions of a mother or if she really didn’t know that her son was anything but inexperienced. “Maybe that appeals to me?”

He’d come across a teenage Daniel years after his father’s death, drunk, high on more than one illicit drug and about to go home with a stranger. It hadn’t taken much to persuade the nameless john to find new companionship; it would have taken a lot more willpower to resist the teenage temptation than Camden could muster at the time, still grieving for his lover, the man whose features the boy wore. Maybe it would have been easier if Daniel hadn’t been so darn determined to get fucked.

“I have others. Untrained. Untouched. Boys. Young men.” What she didn’t have she could procure.

She must have known about her son, Camden figured. She’d sent him away. He hadn’t been there, had been somewhere else on off-world business, and she’d sent him away. In an effort to control the out-of-control teenager, she’d shipped him off to one of those preparatory military academies that excelled at beating the individualism out of young men.

Camden knew he was being overly dramatic. But after Jeff’s death, he’d taken to watching over his son from the shadows, determined to wait for the kid to grow up. Losing him to the military had been a blow only his familiar’s sensible influence had softened.

He’d come back to claim his prize as soon as he’d learned that the adult Daniel had gotten himself discharged, somewhat less than honorably.

“I’ve made my choice,” he repeated, not bothering to hide his impatience. The rancid smell of discomfort that suddenly permeated the office pulled his lips off his teeth in a humorless smile.

Lane reached for the communication console again, pressed a button, and barked a simple command at her assistant, “Bring Daniel.” She met Camden’s glare with a hard stare of her own. “I am a woman of my word. And I am also a business woman who likes to guarantee the quality of her product. But in this case—”

“I will hold you harmless,” Camden promised with a snarl. He was beginning to tire of this charade. He’d dragged this out long enough. He turned to look out the panoramic window and calm his rising urge to tear Lane’s throat out. She was Daniel’s mother, for god’s sake! She was supposed to refuse, not worry about her professional reputation for offering less than satisfactory goods.

Just as he was about to suggest he wait elsewhere, a perfunctory knock sounded and a young man swept into the office.

“What?” The single word carried a surprising amount of disdain and apprehension with it, which paled in comparison the life that burned in hazel eyes.

Only decades of experience kept Camden from gaping. Jeff had been right. His son, the gangly pre-teen, the very angry teenager who’d been anything but virginal had turned into a fine young man.

In an ill-fitting oversized mechanic’s overall. With an oil smear across his cheek and bloody knuckles. Camden caught himself smiling. He wouldn’t have put it past Lane to exploit her son’s looks. Her protest not withstanding, he hadn’t been entirely convinced that she didn’t offer Daniel as the occasional business incentive.

“With this, I consider our business concluded, Mr. Colgan.”

Daniel’s hazel eyes followed the direction of his mother’s gaze, and he found himself caught like the proverbial deer in old-fashioned headlights. His knees would have buckled had he not learned to control himself.

“You see that man, Danny,” his father had asked, one arm around his bony shoulders, pointing to a tall blond walking away from them. “He’s a very good friend of mine. His name is Camden Colgan. Remember that name, son. One day he will come for you.”

“You’re here for me?”

“Yes.”

About damn time, he wanted to snarl. What took you so long, he wanted to ask. He’d thought once before Camden Colgan had come for him, but their ways had parted after an exhausting hour. “For good?”

“Yes.”

Daniel grinned. “So I can be Whistler to your Blade?”

Camden caught the 21st century pop culture reference and returned the grin. “Something like that.”

“Let’s go.”

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fun, no-plot, sexy writing exercise

Totally inspired by Sherrilyn Kenyon's DarkHunter universe.

Also, it seems most authors go for the big animals, the tigers and leopards and wolves. I wanted something else, a different mammal. Something mischievous. Otters and bears don’t usually interact. They avoid each other. Bears don’t prey on otters, but on documented occasions they have a snack …




Warning: This is an explicit writing exercise. Two guys. Sex.



High on sex pheromones, they tumbled into the moonlit cottage and sprawled ungracefully over the hearth rug. Briar, with his superior strength, had his lover beneath him a heartbeat later. His fingers were already in the belt loops of River’s jeans, tugging viciously, when River found his voice: “Not here. Briar! Get off.”

“Why?”

“They’ll hear.”

“You’re shitting me?”

“No.”

“So what? I want to fuck you. You’re mine, and I don’t care who hears.”

“Briar!”

“Fine.” Briar scrambled to his feet and marched off in the direction of his bedroom. He was back in River’s sight a moment later, gloriously naked and aroused, a bandana dangling from his outstretched finger.

River cocked a brow.

“Gag,” Briar explained.

River slanted him a look that spoke volumes.

“I’m going to fuck you with or without the gag. I’m serious, River. I don’t care who hears.”

River sighed and climbed to his feet. He was as horny as the were-bear. He wanted to rut as much as his lover. Unlike Briar, though, he was fully aware of the clan of predators outside the quaint cottage. He had no business being here; this was bear territory. They barely tolerated him as it was. If they decided they had enough of his trespassing, Brian wouldn’t be able to protect him against his clan elders. Not that River’s hormones cared. They jumped like fleas whenever the bear came near him.

Briar watched the play of conflicting emotions flit across his lover’s face and pressed his advantage. “Undress,” he commanded.

River’s scruples stood no chance.

The bear swallowed as one slender hand disappeared down the front of River’s jeans, popping buttons along the way. Oh, he held no illusions. He knew River’s obedience didn’t come naturally. The otter had been trained well. He responded to the order of a superior predator, not the request of his lover.

A smile tugged at the corner of Briar’s mouth when he noticed River wasn’t wearing the slinky new underwear he’d had spent a fortune on. He loved the small act of defiance. No, the otter’s compliance wasn’t an inborn trait.

River was naked a moment later and exactly what Briar had wanted to see. Even in the flickering light of the lone candle staving off the darkness he was beautiful.

He wasn’t overly tall. Slender, even a bit on the thin side, though Briar hazarded a guess that that had more to do with River’s recent ordeal than the otter’s natural build. They were tough creatures, otters. At the top of the food chain in their natural habitat, predators in their own right. In their human form, though, there was no room for fat on that slender frame, which made them susceptible to the cold, one of their few flaws.

Fine, highbred features. Large eyes. Ears that were just a bit too large to be entirely human. But they lay well hidden beneath the lustrous fall of cognac-colored hair that just barely brushed River’s shoulders. Not that they took an ounce away from the delicate beauty River wore with such disregard.

Not for the first time Briar wondered just how old his submissive lover was. His age was difficult to gauge. Weres lived longer than their human counterparts, matured differently. The man before him appeared to be somewhere north of eighteen but south of twenty-five. He’d likely look that way for a decade.

At the thought of River by his side for that decade, Briar’s heart leaped past his frenzied hormones. Unwilling to entertain the thought of such a permanent bond with a prey animal, though, Briar growled and surged forward.

River’s fight or flight instincts barely had the chance to kick in. Before the animal in him could take control, Briar impaled him and he was lost to the thrill of physical dominance. The clan of bears outside their cottage forgotten, he cried out. His back arched off the wool rug with Briar’s slow withdrawal. An involuntary and utterly sexy, low moan followed his cry.

His eyes closed. His hands searched for purchase, clawing the carpet, finding a strong wrist next to his hip, curling around the flesh there, feeling a frantic pulse beating beneath the skin. He loved the pain, and unlike Briar, he didn’t think it was a conditioned response. When Briar’s thick cock, aided now by the slick lubrication of blood, drove back into his bowels, he groaned.

He forced his eyes open to watch the bear working over him. Briar had his dark head bowed, chin on his chest, hair falling into his face, plastered to his sweaty skin. His eyes were open. Their feverish brilliance focused on the body beneath him.

“Move, River,” he growled, hooking his hand behind a knee, pulling his lover closer.

River obliged. He rocked his hips, changed the angle of his pelvis and crossed his ankles behind Briar’s back, forcing the bear closer, deeper yet. He struggled up on his elbows, lifting his face, licking, kissing, and suckling the chest right before his eyes.

When Briar came with a silent growl, River followed him with a hoarse cry.

The bear’s supporting wrist buckled and he let himself fall into the sweaty embrace of River’s arms. They lay there for a moment, panting or, in River’s case, gasping for air, with a racing heartbeat and thundering blood in his ears.

“I thought you didn’t want anyone to hear us,” Briar teased after a while.

“Fuck you.”

“Later.” He withdrew and swatted River’s hip. “Up. Up. On your hands and knees, boy.”

River complied with a grin. He had the playful, lighthearted nature of his animal cousins. Was an unrestrained and uninhibited, too, which made his kind a prize to the sex traffickers who specialized in weres.

Briar tried not to think of that. His hands on either side of River’s narrow hips, he arched his back and lowered his head to watch himself slide into the enticing depth of his lover.

Heat teased him, searing his engorged flesh, offering him ecstasy deep within the writhing form of a beautiful, utterly willing and oh so pliable River. Thrusting hard, he slid himself home. Clenching his teeth, the moan, an animalistic, guttural sound, still tumbled past his lips. Good god, he’d found heaven.

He slid his arms around River, pulling him up and off his hands, drawing him against his own sweaty chest – balancing them both on their knees. He set a pace as slow as it was relentless. Thrusting. Sliding and gliding within River whose slender body fit perfectly with the hulking form of the bear.

River’s hands clutched at the muscular arms supporting him. His head fell back and his cheek brushed against Briar’s face.

“God,” he gasped.

“I aim to please,” Briar managed breathlessly, his chin on River’s shoulder. His eyes closed as the orgasm washed over him. Seed, red-hot and boiling, poured out of him like molten lava. And with it River’s name, in a hoarse, unintelligible cry.

His pace slowing, he stayed inside his lover’s body until the liquid fire in his testicles cooled and relented. Then, they fell.

“Briar?’ Muffled, tired, from somewhere beneath their dark, spent bodies.

“Hmm?”

“Get off me.”

With a grunt, Briar rolled over. A heartbeat later the spent body next to him flashed into his animal form. The sleek, streamlined river otter disappeared in the shadows of the cottage, escaping through the dog flap inside the backdoor as Briar’s father stormed through the front door.

“Where is he? Where is that weasel?”

“Gone,” Briar sighed.

“One day,” his father warned, snatching River’s pants off the floor and throwing them at his naked son. “One day I will catch his peddling ass and then he’s going back in his cage.”



Brick

Saw an awesome movie tonight. Brick. Very very interesting. Loved it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt grew up mighty fine, I have to say. Excellent performance.

If I were writing movies, that’s the kind of movie I’d like to write. Fortunately, I write books … and while I have that noir streak, I’m more prolific with the upbeat stuff.

Go watch Brick.

Speaking of fine actors. Gale Harold’s back on TV. This doesn’t mean a thing to you unless you’ve seen Queer As Folk. Remember Brian? He’s got a new show. Vanished. First episode wasn’t bad, but I can almost guarantee it will be canceled. Why? Because I’d like to keep watching it

Monday, August 21, 2006

Team work :-/

I don’t like team work. Never have. Never will.

Somehow, though, I managed not only to survive what should be considered a milestone of teamwork, but I actually enjoyed it. Talking of PURGATORY here. Years and well over 250 chapters worth of teamwork.

And the crazy thing is I’d do it all over again

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Been busy

I’ve been very busy this past week (yet still feel like I hardly got anything done).

I set up a MySpace site. With the help of a free editor I got the sort of minimalist site done I like. You know, nothing fancy. No flashing bells and whistles (is that a mixed metaphor?!). It made me wonder why I chose the font color I have. Couldn’t remember the reasoning behind the purple.

Until I revamped my website and my choice became clear. Since I’m not very good with html and such, I rely on editors and templates. And the template I chose for the website came in purple, brown or some awful green. Purple it was.

Since I’m anal that way, I carried the purple over to this blog and now the MySpace site.

But that’s not all I did this week. I also wrote some PURGATORY stuff. Anyone here read PURGATORY? If you have, you’ve encountered Etienne. I love Etienne. He’s a great character. I’m immensely proud of him. I sometimes wish Soren could be more like Etienne. Oh, I think they’d make good friends, but Soren is nowhere near Etienne’s league. Soren’s an immature, spoilt brat, and I’m doing my darndest to keep him that way.

I should say Soren is very similar and yet totally different from my other characters. Oh, he’s got the usual Nadja-trappings, the angst and father issues and all that. But he’s also the least mature. In that respect he’s unlike any of my others and I’m tempted to have him grow up real quick, because I’m not in my comfort zone with an immature character.

But, alas, I’m going to have to give him some time to figure out his shtick. I know where I’d like to see him end up, and I know he’s got similar ideas. It’s just the getting there …

Anyway :-) I worked a bit with Etienne this week, between the MySpace set-up and the new website layout.

Writing plans for this coming week:


More Etienne. He’s going to have to blackmail his father and Felicity Reibold, bitch extraordinaire, into freeing an innocent man from prison.

And, if I can, chapter 7 of THE GHOST CRAB.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

This absent-minded writer is worse than any professor

I woke up ready to write, inspired and motivated, sentences already forming in my head. That’s rarely a good thing, because I get so distracted I can manage to drop off my first-grader at school, but forget her backpack at home. Sigh. Didn’t do that today. Instead I hustled into the kitchen to make a cup of decaf coffee, called my dad to wish him a happy birthday, booted up the computer and then eventually found my way back to the coffee machine, wondering why there was no coffee.

No water!

I’d forgotten to fill the machine with water.

I was probably channeling my characters. I have two of them who are coffee-“challenged” (I’m not sure why; I’m not that much of a coffee aficionado by any stretch of the imagination).

On the good side: I got all those sentences out of my head and, TR, if you are reading this, which I doubt, I'll have an Etienne post or two for you.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

new website; important!

I’m changing the domain name/web address of my current website. This will likely result in some downtime. I have no idea.

Keep your eye on the old site. Once it’s gone, try to find me at
http://www.nlgassert.com/.

Wish me luck.

THE GHOST CRAB chapter update

I’ve posted chapters five and six on Nigel’s site. If you’re interested, have a look see. Keep in mind, this is a work in progress and YES, the title will change. Also, I try to post on a weekly basis, but some chapters take longer, others never seem to get off the ground.

Most importantly, work on THE GHOST CRAB will likely stop or slow down considerably when revisions for THE PROTECTOR begin some time in September. I simply don’t have enough writing time to work on both books.

That said, it’s coming along nicely and I’m beginning to enjoy it very much. (I’ve had issues with this story for a while.)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

THE PROTECTOR: pre-order now

THE PROTECTOR has become available for pre-order. Check out http://www.seventhwindow.com

Nothing like good news and a Red Bull to get me going ;-) Chapter four’s done! If you’d like to read it, go to Nigel’s google group and have a look see.

It’s a drag

Today I succumbed to the siren call of energy drinks. Ever since I gave up my sleep medication and thus restive sleep, I’ve been dragging my feet, getting reacquainted with chronic fatigue. Ugh. I haven’t even had energy (or will) to sit in front of the computer. I’ve been staring at the half-finished chapter four nightly, adding a sentence a day. Oh, it’s going well. I’ve got the whole chapter done in my head. I’ve got the next two chapters done as well. I just haven’t moved what’s in my brain to the page. Yet.

So today I bought two Red Bulls. According to at least one guy on my husband’s nightshift, energy drinks are not to be underestimated. I drank one earlier, and here I am. I don’t hold much stock in caffeine or energy drinks, but, hey, I’m willing (and desperate enough) to try. Most of all, I am an absolute believer in the placebo effect … you know, mind over matter. I think it works therefore it works.

Works for me.

Btw, THE PROTECTOR contract has been signed. Revisions will begin sometime next month.