Thursday. My day to post. I think I'll follow in the footsteps of others and post an excerpt. I have three novellas from Samhain, and together they make up Josh and Kir's story. This excerpt is from Monster, the first book, and gives you the set-up for the series. But if you comment, you can choose to win Monster, Zombie or Minder.
Next week I think I'll talk about Swordspoint, the book that started me down the road to m/m love. (I've even named a character after Alec, though he's nothing the same. Has anyone else read Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner? (Another big influence was Lois McMaster Bujold's A Civil Campaign, because I wanted Byerly and Ivan to get together. I doubt I was the only one.)
Josh handed over the cheap kit and Kir took it with a jerk.
“Thanks,” he mumbled.
“You can keep it. Do you have your own pump?” Josh knew he didn’t.
“No. But if you’re in a hurry…”
Josh leaned against the tree. “I’m not.” He kept his smile on low beam. “I can wait. You can use mine.”
Kir held his gaze for a moment, going wide-eyed.
Oh, baby, don’t tell me you’re easy. This was the monster the agency had hunted for over a year?
“Thanks,” Kir repeated. A man of few words. A monster of few words, Josh reminded himself. It was all well and good to get into his role here but he shouldn’t forget that Kir was a twenty-two year old psychotic Minder.
Kir crouched down and went to work while Josh eyed him. Just as well the boy wore loose clothing. Josh didn’t need that distraction right now. Dark eyes and faux naiveté were bad enough. Not that Josh pursued youth or inexperience but he had an unrewarding protective streak that was easily aroused.
Rather than openly admire the boy’s body, he watched the families walk, bike and skate past on the all-purpose asphalt path. Kir came here every day and Josh had chosen to catch him on Sunday when the crowd could explain his own presence and make him less of a perceived threat.
A couple of minutes later Kir rose with a sheepish expression. “I never get flats. I don’t know what happened today.”
He frowned. “I don’t think so. I didn’t see any.”
“Would you like to use the pump?” Josh brandished his.
“You sure are polite. That’s the fourth time you’ve thanked me.”
Kir ducked his head endearingly and Josh wondered if he were being played. Fine, let the boy think he was in control and Josh was charmed by his artless act. Josh passed the pump and made finger contact.
Shivering, Kir pulled away. Psis often didn’t like to be touched, but the boy’s expression conveyed surprise, not recoil. He crouched down quickly, though not before Josh observed a flush.
This is like taking candy from a baby. “I hardly ever use this park, though I live near by.”
Kir glanced at him. “I come here all the time. When it’s cooler, I run.”
“I’m not surprised. You have runner’s legs.”
Instead of acknowledging the compliment, Kir concentrated on attaching the pump to the tire.
“Actually, I’m glad I stopped,” continued Josh. “The sun is getting to me. I’m heading home for a drink soon.”
Kir’s arm worked the pump furiously and Josh waited, giving the boy time to absorb what was happening. When he was done, Kir rose and wiped his face with the sleeve of his T-shirt.
“I hope you have lots of water,” said Josh.
“Uh, some.” Kir stood on the balls of his feet, ready to spring. Under normal circumstances, Josh would never move on someone so skittish.
“Come back to my place and hydrate yourself.” Josh kept his words light.
Kir stared, as if he were a deer caught in headlights, and Josh was annoyed that a part of him felt bad. Either the monster was a very good actor, or he really couldn’t decide whether or not to accept the invitation.
“Can I have my pump?” Josh held out his hand.
This time Josh didn’t force the finger contact. He just took the pump and attached it to his bike. Kir watched as Josh slung a leg over the bicycle’s bar. “Coming?” he asked, as if it were no big deal.
Kir blinked. “Okay.”
“Follow me.” Josh set off and didn’t look back.
As he sped up, he wondered if he’d played it too cool. For a real hookup, he would have pushed harder to make Kir know he was wanted. But in this situation, the less Josh appeared to care, the better. The boy had good reason to be suspicious. The agency had been hunting him for a year now.