This is a new gay erotic steampunk romance (whew) short that's been accepted into an anthology being planned for Sizzer Editions - an arm of Renaissance eBooks. I don't have a release date or title yet but I figured I'd tease you a bit with a quick look into this world.
(c) 2010 Maura Anderson
Cage stepped out of the boarding house he’d taken a room in, one of the less disreputable ones in this section of Honolulu, and carefully blended into the stream of bodies flowing down the worn wooden pedestrianway. A frisson of excitement—or tredipation, perhaps—heated his belly. Six long years since he’d last visited Honolulu port but the smells and sounds brought back the events of his last visit as if it were yesterday. The memory of the most intense pair of peridot-green eyes he’d ever seen sent a pang of loneliness through him. Harland’s eyes.
He could do nothing about the British airship captain and the fact their loyalties were at odds, even if their bodies were in exact agreement. Pining for him did no good, though he’d tried for a while, but it was time to put aside his obsession with the other man and move on with his life. To help that cause along, he’d made sure he had time to look for some temporary companionship during this lay up. He needed someone to take the edge of the loneliness that seemed to envelope him like a cloak these days, even if only for a few hours.
Eyes squinting against the bright afternoon sun, even under the unfashionably wide brim of his palm fiber hat, Cage pressed himself against the railing of the narrow pedestrianway to dodge a weaving pair of men making their way down the street past him. Despite the thick miasma of wood and coal smoke, not to mention the faint, sweet tang of opium, he could tell the two had not even taken the time to bathe before seeking out the seedier areas of the airship port and each other.
If their frequent pauses to grope each other and exchange clumsy, wet kisses were anything to do by, the two men didn’t seem to be at all bothered by either their own odor or the amusement of a few of the more interested onlookers. They disappeared into the doorway of the by-the-hour boarding house several doors back. The scarred wooden door swung out and then quickly back shut again after admitting the two men.
A breeze would have been welcome to clear away the remaining musk of their sweaty uniforms. Wool wasn’t the best choice in the tropics at the most temperate of times and today was far from temperate. The few natives foolish enough to be out in the thick heat of day were dressed in loose linen for comfort in the summer heat.
Unfortunately, Cage was not free to go as simply dressed as the natives. Even out of uniform, there were regulations that must be obeyed.
Cage eased back into the press of traffic on the pedestrianway. A strong shove pinned him back against the pitted brass railing, the impact almost but not quite disguised the feel of fingers easing into the pocket of his civilian overcoat. A quick grab gained him possession of the thin wrist of a Hawaiian urchin attempting to pick his pocket. Unrepentant, if not overly skilled, the small boy twisted out of his grip and disappeared into the crowd, bare feet silent on the boards of the pedestrianway. He would likely seek out a more lucrative—and less aware—victim, since Cage’s pockets were already empty before the pickpocket struck. Only a fool kept his papers or money anywhere accessible in this port.