Posted in Future Works, News and Appearances

Exciting News for 2020

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching recently and I’ve decided I need to take my writing in another direction and give myself another string to my author bow.

I love writing MM Romance but I’m also very into my fantasy stuff, urban, olde world, LOTR, Harry Potter – I love it all. I started an otherworld epic adult adventure book when I was 16 and I got 30 000 words down and left it to languish. It’s time I finished this story now. So while my focus next year will be this book, I’ll still be writing MM books in 2020, but I may not be as prolific as before. At the moment, I’ve got one due in February and another planned for later in the year.

I adore each and every one of my MM readers and you need to think of it as me slowing down the press for a while. Dipping my toes in another pond  That said, a lot can happen LOL and one can never say never.

I’m well aware fantasy is another tough genre to break into but I don’t really care  I’m lucky enough to write for fun, and if I relied on royalties, I’d certainly be that starving author in the garret. I also know a lot of you love this fantasy genre too, so perhaps I can write something that isn’t primarily in the MM/gay arena but that you’ll enjoy anyway 😍 PS I’ll be writing a diverse range of characters, and who knows who will creep in?

If you’d like to connect with me under my nom de plume and take this new journey with me, the links are below. I will be using my Author Page more for this account. Please feel free to give it a like,

https://www.facebook.com/Elena-Jagger-104254974367623/
https://www.facebook.com/elena.jagger.94
https://twitter.com/elena_jagger

Posted in Fellow Authors, News and Appearances

J. Scott Coatsworth’s “Oberon Cycle” trilogy is out – “Ithani”!

IthaniThe final MM sci fi book in J. Scott Coatsworth’s “Oberon Cycle” trilogy is out – “Ithani”!

Time is running out.

After saving the world twice, Xander, Jameson and friends plunge headlong into a new crisis. The ithani–the aliens who broke the world–have reawakened from their hundred millennia-long slumber. When Xander and Jameson disappear in a flash, an already fractured world is thrown into chaos.

The ithani plans, laid a hundred thousand years before, are finally coming to pass, and they threaten all life on Erro. Venin and Alix go on a desperate search for their missing and find more than they bargained for. And Quince, Robin and Jessa discover a secret as old as the skythane themselves.

Will alien technology, unexpected help from the distant past, destiny and some good old-fashioned firepower be enough to defeat an enemy with the power to split a world? The final battle of the epic science fiction adventure that began in Skythane will decide the fate of lander and skythane alike. And in the north, the ithani rise…

Oberon Cycle Trilogy

Ithani Buy Links

Dreamspinner eBook | Dreamspinner Paperback | Amazon eBook | Amazon Paperback | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads

Book 1: Skythane:

Dreamspinner eBook | Dreamspinner Paperback | Amazon Kindle | Amazon paperback | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads

Book Two: Lander:

Dreamspinner eBook | Dreamspinner Paperback | Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Giveaway

Scott is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card and ten copies of “The Stark Divide,” the first book in his other trilogy, his other trilogy, “Liminal Sky,” with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4753/?T

The eBook for Skythane (book 1 – Ithani is the final book, #3) will be on sale at the Dreamspinner store for just 50¢ on the release date. So if you haven’t read this one yet, here’s your chance.


Excerpt

Venin stood under the dome of the chapel, the waters of the Orn rushing past the small island to crash over the edge of the crater rim, where they fell a thousand meters to the broken city of Errian below.

The Erriani chapel was different from what he was used to back home. The Gaelani chapel in Gaelan had sat at the top of a tall pillar of stone, open to the night sky, a wide space of grass and trees that intertwined in a natural dome through which moonlight filtered down to make dappled shadows on the ground.

This chapel, instead, was a wonder of streaming sunlight, the columns a polished eggshell marble with glimmering seams of gold. Red creeper vines climbed up the columns, festooned with clusters of yellow flowers that gave off a sweet scent.

Both were bright and airy, but the Erriani chapel lay under a dome supported by fluted marble columns, a painted arch of daytime sky and the rose-colored sun blazing overhead.

The last time he’d gone to chapel had been with Tazim, before his untimely death.

Long before the troubles that roiled the world now.

Something drew him back. A need to reconnect with his past. To bridge the gap between then and now, between who he was and who he had become. Taz would have liked this place.

The chapel here had survived the attack, while much of Errian had not. The city below was a jumble of broken corrinder, the multistory plants that were the main building stock for the city. They would grow again, but the sight of the city’s beautiful white towers laid low struck him to the core.

So had Gaelan looked, after the flood.

Venin turned back to the chapel and unlaced his boots, baring his muscular calves before he approached the fountain that splashed at its center. The cool flagstone beneath his feet sent a shiver up his spine, and green moss filled the gaps between the stones.

Some builder whose name was lost to time had tapped into the river itself to make the fountain run, and the water leapt into the air with a manic energy around the golden statue of Erro, before falling back down to the pool.

Venin knelt at the fountain’s edge on one of the well-worn pads, laid his hands in the shallow water, and let his wings rest over himself, making a private place to pray.

Erro and Gael, spare us from danger and lift us up into the sky with your powerful wings. He gave Erro deference, being that this was his chapel, but he hoped Gael would hear him too. The god of his own people had been known to intervene in mortal affairs before, and if what Quince had told them about these ithaniwas true, they would need all the help they could get.

Venin’s wings warmed.

He looked up in astonishment to see the statue of Erro giving off an intense golden glow. His mouth dropped open, and he stood and stared at its beautiful male curves and muscles. Maybe the gods were answering him.

Venin reached up and touched the statue’s outstretched hand. The shock knocked him backward onto his ass, and he hit the ground hard, slamming into one of the marble columns.

Venin groaned, stunned, and reached back to feel his wings and spine. He seemed to be in one piece.

Taz would have laughed his ass off at the whole thing.

After a moment he sat up cautiously. He wrapped his arms around his legs and stared up at the statue, his chin on his knees.

The glow was gone.

Did I imagine it? He stood and felt the back of his head. A lump was already forming there. That’s gonna leave a mark.

Something had changed. Venin didn’t know what yet, but he was sure of that much.

He pulled his boots back on and laced them up. With one last suspicious glare at the statue, he turned and stepped out of the chapel, taking a deep breath of the moisture-laden air.

Then he leapt into the sky to soar down to the broken city.


Author Bio

Scott lives with his husband of twenty five years in a Sacramento suburb, in a cute little yellow house with a brick fireplace and two pink flamingoes out front.

He inhabits in the space between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into science fiction and fantasy by his mom at the tender age of nine, he quickly finished her entire library. But he soon began to wonder where all the queer people were.

After coming out at twenty three, he started writing the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Crown Books. If there weren’t many queer characters in his favorite genres, he would will them into existence, subverting them to his own ends. And if he was lucky enough, someone else would want to read them.

His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently than most – he makes connections between ideas that others don’t, and somehow does more in a day than most people manage in a week. Although born an introvert, he forced himself to reach outside himself, and learned to connect with others like him.

Scott’s stories subvert expectations that transform traditional science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something different and unexpected. He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark.

His romance and genre fiction writing brings a queer energy to his stories, filling them with love, beauty and power. He imagines how the world could be – in the process, he hopes to change the world, just a little.

Scott was recognized as one of the top new gay authors in the 2017 Rainbow Awards, and his debut novel “Skythane” received two awards and an honorable mention.

You can find him at Dreamspinner here, Goodreads here, on Amazon here, on QueerRomance Ink here, and on Facebook here.

LOGO - Other Worlds Ink

Posted in Fellow Authors

Blog Tour – The Homecoming – J Scott Coatsworth


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AboutTheBook

TH CoverTitle: The Homecoming

Author: J. Scott Coatsworth

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Cover Artist: London Burden

Length: 20,000 words

Release Date: July 29, 2015

Blurb: When his own world is destroyed, Aldiss and his crew barely manage to escape, leaving friends and lovers behind. What was meant to be an exploratory trip back to the home world turns into a mad dash for survival.

When they awaken from stasis on Earth, which was abandoned by humanity five centuries before, they must quickly learn about their new home. While exploring the region around the ship, Aldiss meets Hari, a shape-changer, whose people harbor secrets that might cost the crew their lives.

Excerpt

Hari reached the edge of the woods just in time to see Neru crouching to leap at the two-legs. Young fool.

He gathered himself and jumped after Neru, knocking him aside as his teeth reached for the two-legs’ throat.

Neru turned and snarled at him, backing away toward the woods.

Hari stood firm, ears back, hackles raised, and drew the corners of his mouth back to reveal his teeth. Back off, Neru.

The whelp shook his head and grinned with the brashness of youth, until Hari leaped at him and nipped his ear. With a surprised yelp, Neru turned his head, deferring to Hari’s strength. As you say, brother. There was a cockiness to Neru’s look that unsettled him.

The other wolf backed up slowly then turned to disappear into the woods.

Hari caught a glimpse of Mavi watching from the shadows. The old wolf snarled, and slunk off after her son.

What do you seek, old mother? Hari wondered, watching Mavi’s silver-tipped tail flicker into the darkness. It was clear where Neru’s courage and cunning had come from.

Hari turned back toward the two-legs. He was holding a strange stick, not unlike the one that Hari’s grandmother had shown him in the wolf dream.

But it was his face that caught Hari’s eye. He knew that face. The two-legs’ eyes were white-gray, and his jet-black hair was swept to the side.

Despite the danger, he shifted in the manner only a few of the clan are able to do in the cold. He grew quickly taller and less hairy but no less muscled, and stood naked before the two-legs.

They stared at each other for a long moment. Hari felt an immense attraction washing over him. He saw in his summer form that this two-legs was beautiful. His own body responded to this… man… in an unexpected way, seeing and feeling things his winter form could not. Hari leaned forward and sniffed the stranger, drinking in his musk. It smelled enticing. Strangely familiar.

He sensed the two-legs stiffen, and to reassure, him, Hari licked the man’s neck.

The two-legs was trembling now like a young whelp, so he tried something else. He took the stranger’s face in his hands and kissed him.

The shaking slowed, and then the man was kissing him back. Hari was hungry for him, like a starving wolf at the end of a long, hard winter.

It is not the time for this, the keh whispered in his ear.

He broke contact and turned away, ashamed that he was betraying his Clan, and for lust. An emotion of his summer form.

“I’m sorry,” he said to the two-legs, without looking back. “It won’t happen again.” Even he was not sure if he meant Neru’s attack, or the kiss.

He shifted back into his winter form and loped off into the woods after his pack mates.

guest-post

Scott wrote a post for us about where the inspiration for this book came from…

My second stand-alone novella, “The Homecoming”, just came out in late July from Less Than Three Press. The story is a bit of a homecoming for me too.

I call it as my wolfman-spaceman story, but it’s really the story of one man’s return to the planet where his ancestors evolved, but that he no longer recognizes as his own.

It also represents a return to the first universe I wrote about when I tried to launch my writing career in my early teens and twenties. Back then, I created world maps, nations, timelines and histories, and even painted my own globe of this new world I called Antana, and I spent more time there some weekends than I did here on Earth.

The seed of “The Homecoming” was a short tale I’d planned about the end of a world, and the return to another one many had assumed had ended long before. I wrote it at a time that I planned to do a number of stories form that universe, but it never really got off the ground.

It’s something I put away for a long time, and only circled back to last year, in response to an anthology call from Less Than Three Press.

You know how sometimes stories aren’t ready to be told? Well, this one is finally ready, even if the finished piece bears little resemblance to where I started, so many years ago.

They say you can never go home again. Well, that’s almost right. You can go home again. It just may not be your home anymore.

 

BuyLinks

Less Than Three Press

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

Kobo

AboutTheAuthor

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci-fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid-twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

|| Website || Facebook || Twitter ||

RafflecopterGiveaway

Winner’s Prize: E-copy of The Homecoming.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TourSchedule

August 10:

Susan Mac Nicol

August 11:

Wicked Faeries Tales And Reviews

Diverse Reader

August 12:

Love Bytes Reviews

August 13:

Prism Book Alliance

Amanda C. Stone

August 14:

The Land of Make Believe

August 15:

Nephy’s World

August 16:

Man2ManTastic

August 17:

Loving Without Limits

August 18:

Divine Magazine

World of Diversity Fiction

August 19:

Evelyn Shepherd

August 20:

Eyes on Books

August 21:

Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

Carly’s Book Reviews

Posted in Fellow Authors

Andrew Q. Gordon – The Eye and The Arm – Blog Tour

 

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I’m as pleased as punch to welcome Andy back to my blog again. It hasn’t been all that long since he visited me before but he’s always a very welcome visitor. I am thrilled to see he has a new release, which came out on the 14th April, and I’m holding thumbs, fingers and toes that it will do very well for him. He deserves it.

Andy has a wonderful give-away going on and below you can see the hauntingly beautiful cover and read all about the second book in his Champion of the Gods series. I hosted Andy when he had the blog tour for his first book, The Last Grand Master.

So now we have the intriguingly titled, ‘The Eye and The Arm’ with its simply stunning cover

 

EyeAndTheArm[The]FS

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: The Eye And The Arm

Series: Champion of the Gods #2

Author: Andrew Q. Gordon

Length: 99,775 words/296 Pages

Release Date: April 14, 2015

Blurb: Champion of the Gods: Book Two

After defeating Meglar at Belsport, Farrell returns to Haven to recover from his injuries, but Khron, the god of war, has other ideas. He gives Farrell a new mission: free the survivors of the ancient dwarf realm of Trellham from their three-thousand-year banishment. To fulfill Khron’s near impossible task, Farrell will need the help of his distance ancestor, the legendary wizard Kel. But Kel has been dead for a thousand years.

Farrell finds information hinting that Kel is alive, so he moves his search to Dumbarten, Kel’s birthplace. To reach Dumbarten unannounced, Farrell and Miceral disguise themselves as mercenaries on board a merchant vessel. Their journey is disrupted when pirates attack their ship. While attempting to subdue the attack, Farrell is struck down by one of Meglar’s minions.

Unconscious and trapped in his own mind, Farrell’s only chance for survival rests with Miceral and the peregrine king Rothdin entering his thoughts and helping him sort fact from illusion. To reach Farrell, they will need to rely on an untested spell from one of Kel’s spellbooks. If they succeed, Miceral can guide Farrell home safely. If not, Farrell will destroy not only himself, but Miceral, Rothdin, and everyone around him.

Excerpt

Farrell pointed toward a set of massive doors, held shut by several slabs of stone, each wider than a man was tall. Hallways similar to the one they used radiated around each side of the entrance. “Come on, what we really came to see is this way.”

Farrell led them to a wide avenue directly opposite the doors. Flanked by ten-foot statues of heavily armed dwarves, the portal felt anything but welcoming.

“This place is amazing.” Miceral touched the cool stone almost reverently. “My people lived in Northhelm almost three millennia, and we never achieved anything close to this.”

“This?” Farrell’s amusement leeched into his voice. “You haven’t begun to scratch the surface of amazing.”

Their steps echoed around them as they passed dozens of stone sentries carved with such detail, Farrell expected them to leap off their perches and challenge his admittance. The air felt cooler moments before the tunnel opened on all sides. Their path ended a couple of steps beyond the tunnel, leaving them looking down on an open space. Stairs leading up and down stood empty on both sides. The small globe created tiny twinkles as it flickered over Farrell’s shoulder, but otherwise failed to illuminate more than a few feet beyond the pair.

“Give me your hand. It’s easier to fly than walk from here.”

Miceral’s warm hand touched his, and he laced their fingers together. Slowly, Farrell pulled them off the platform and into the emptiness below. They passed a column as wide as their bedroom, drawing a whistle from Miceral.

“Let me light our way a bit better.” Feeding his globe more energy, he sent the rapidly expanding ball higher. Beyond his sphere, a dim point of light appeared, getting brighter as the globe approached. A heartbeat later, an enormous flash blinded the pair.

Farrell felt Miceral’s hand nearly crush his before the pressure eased back. “Honorus’s balls, Farrell, you could have warned me.”

“Sorry. It’s been a while and I forgot how bright the flash is.”

“What just happened?”

Farrell smiled and swept his arm around the now lit cavern. Visible below, a city larger than Belsport sat in eerie silence. Wide boulevards ran straight and true north/south and east/west, creating perfect grids filled with low stone buildings. A hundred feet above the floor, an empty balcony ringed the entire cavern. Rows of windows stretched skyward, reaching at least a third of the way to the ceiling.

Across from them, at the far end of the city, a wide swath of ground sat empty and unused. Above this open space, temples to the gods stood lonely watch over the abandoned city.

“How’s this for amazing?” Farrell asked.

The smile Miceral flashed him said more than words. “Beyond anything I’ve ever imagined. I can’t believe you kept this from me this long.”

“Hey”—he moved the pair westward toward the temples—“I need to keep a few surprises or else you’ll tire of me before long.”

Leaning over, he kissed Farrell’s cheek. “Never happen.”

Fumbling for a comeback, Farrell pointed up. “To answer your earlier question about the light, there’s an incredible crystal in the roof of this chamber. It is massive, easily bigger than our entire suite. The crystal collects and stores light, then amplifies it before releasing it slowly. My little ball of light will fuel the crystal for weeks if I don’t turn it off.”

 

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BUY LINKS

DSPP Link  

Amazon Link  

Amazon UK Link  

Are Omnilit Link

 

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TOUR SCHEDULE

April 14: Man2ManTastic || The Purple Rose Tea House

April 15: Anne Barwell

April 16: Cate Ashwood

April 17: Author Susan Mac Nicol

April 20: Divine Magazine || Gay.Guy.Reading and Friends

April 21: Love Bytes Reviews || Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings

April 22: Nic Starr || Diverse Reader

April 23: Prism Book Alliance || Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

April 24: BFD Book Blog || MM Good Book Reviews

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write.

He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of eighteen years, their young daughter and dog.  In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day and not get the shakes.

Follow Andrew:

On Facebook

On Twitter

Or just email him

GIVEAWAY

FIVE Winners will win one e-copy of ANY book* each from DSP Publication’s backlist.

*Giveaway is of any currently released DSPP book, which excludes the books that are on pre-order and “The Eye And The Arm”.

Rafflecopter Link

 

 

Posted in Fellow Authors

Book Tour- Ashlyn Forge- From Johann to Tannenbaum 8th February

Today I’m pleased to welcome Ashlyn Forge to my blog as she continues her book tour for her novel ‘From Johann to Tannenbaum’. Welcome, Ashlyn 🙂 It’s lovely to have you here and I hope the tour so far has gone well.

FJTT Front
promo
So tell us what this book is all about ?
Johann Andreas IV is a rich loser who has a raw deal in life. He is handsome, yet with a poor self-image, clever, but still uneducated, and despite being the heir apparent in his grandfather’s will, he’s about to be thrown out with nothing.
In the underground colony of his birth, two things matter the most to its denizens: a name, which will guarantee his wealth and status, and a designated branding tattoo, the only thing allowing Colony-Dwellers to live safely underground. Johann has one year to secure both.
His grandfather’s unexpected passing has propelled Johann to the foreground of his family. He must learn the family business within the year. He’s up to the challenge but one thing stands in his way; his mother has plans of her own…and they don’t include him.
 
And here’s a little more about the author…
Ashlyn Forge has called four different continents home, America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Having spent most of her childhood staying out of trouble in upstate New York, she now lives in Japan. She is currently working on her “Toys and Soldiers” series, which is set in a Sci-Fi Fantasy underground world. The books of the series are released out of order with the debut (book 1) “In Liam’s Wake” and “From Johann to Tannnenbaum” released in 2013. Book 2: “Beyond Riley’s Slumber” as well as “The Stuff of Dreams” and “Erosions” are slated for publication in 2014.
 
Read an excerpt here :

Johann worked well into the night, having received a message on his interface around six o’clock from Kobal. Dinner was off, but they’d reschedule.

“Right.” Time and again he’d repeat that single-sentence text to himself and snort bitterly. “Yeah. Right.”

He was late in leaving the office, and, as anticipated, most workers had retreated to the area designated for staff by the time Johann arrived at the seemingly empty kitchen. When he saw the outline of someone sitting at the table in front of the food that had been set out for him, he approached with caution. It wasn’t a body he readily recognized.

Tanner sat hunched at the table, writing on a piece of paper.

Johann paused, thinking back to the days prior to figure out when or where the E had gotten that paper. He made a mental note to count his stack tomorrow.

“Hi.”

The E’s bald head snapped up, and he gave a weak smile. Tanner’s brown eyes settled on the paper once more. He studied what he’d written and pushed it forward.

Johann decided to sit and did so slowly as he picked the paper up. The very texture made him want to cry; it was from the office. By the Colony, how much more paper can be sacrificed for the good of communication? What he saw made him pause for some time. It was a picture. He’d seen E drawings before. Hell, when he’d called up Queen and Tanner’s profiles to see if they were single, he’d seen a few samples of Queen’s artwork. The man was a genius with a brush. Tanner, however…was much less sophisticated than the other E’s. When Johann lowered the paper and saw Tanner’s smug look, he focused on the picture again and finally laughed.

“So this is your way of giving me a message?” Johann pointed at the drawing. “I guess this is Queen?”

Tanner took the paper back, ran his thumb along the pen to change the ink color, and scribbled green hair on the stick figure.

“Ja.”

“Right.” Johann studied the message again and smiled in spite of himself. He turned the paper around to Tanner for inspection as he spoke. “So Kobal told Queen to tell me he wasn’t coming.” He pointed down to the second row of pictures to show Queen’s stick figure with a frowny face. He took on the same gruff tone the E was noted for. “So Queen said ‘hell no, I’m not going.’ So you’ve decided to come tell me. But that was a good three hours ago.” He got to the final image with the Tanner frowny face, made all too clear that it was Tanner because he’d drawn everyone else with exaggerated eyebrows, yet this stick figure was the only one without. “So you’re pissed because you waited out of the kindness of your heart and I took a long time to get here?”

Tanner only gave him that calm, pleasant look Johann had come to like. When the man folded his arms and sat back, Johann bowed humbly.

“So sorry.” He didn’t get a response, so he clapped his hands together and bowed. “So sorry. Sorry.”

In response Tanner pushed the tray of food forward and sat up with his elbows on the table as he pointed to what was on the tray.

There wasn’t much, but then again, Johann wasn’t surprised. Marian had brought the hammer down, and although Gulliver didn’t usually act all that servile to her, whatever Marian threatened to do must have convinced the cook to take heed.

The sight of the soup, bread, and yogurt caught his attention, and he nodded.

“Right. A hearty meal.”

With no way of making conversation, Johann waited for Tanner to leave. The E didn’t budge; he just sat and watched him. For an instant Johann missed Gulliver. Sure the man couldn’t talk, but at least he could understand.

Now Johann truly felt like he was talking to himself. He sighed and started on his soup. Halfway through, he noticed that Tanner had slouched lower to watch him, eyes on Johann’s mouth.

“Oh yeah, you guys don’t eat, huh?” At the curious look, Johann decided to offer some of his food. “Never? You just never eat? Not even for pleasure? Some of you eat for fun, don’t you? Here, try it.”

The gesture prompted Tanner to sit back and shake his head. He took interest in the bread roll next, and Johann studied him closely. As large as Tanner’s body was, despite all the power he exuded just by being there, he did appear harmless on many levels. There was a gentleness about him.

He didn’t think of it as much of a risk when he broke the bread and handed a piece over. Tanner looked at him cautiously and then took the piece. He seemed apprehensive, to say the least, but he took a bite and spat it out immediately.

Johann smiled and then laughed when Tanner looked from the bread roll to the paper he had scribbled on and nodded between the two.

“It does not taste like paper. Come on,” Johann mused.

When Tanner reached for the paper and threatened to take a bite, Johann sat up to snatch it from him.

“Stop already.” Johann chuckled. “Other than the fact that they both burn easily—”

Tanner made an attempt to snatch the paper back, but their fingers brushed, and a slight spark flickered between them at the contact.

Johann stood cautiously. “What the hell…”

He managed to catch a glimpse of Tanner’s eyes widening in fear before the paper caught fire.

No doubt in an attempt to shield Johann, Tanner pushed him back.

The very touch of the E’s hand on his skin made Johann howl.

Johann looked up from the burn mark on his chest. Tanner stood, both hands engulfed in flames, staring at the offending appendages, clearly at a loss of what to do.

A chime sounded, and the System’s voice boomed. “Fire. Oxygen depletion in five, four, three, two…

The kitchen door slid shut, and the lights dimmed. Tanner was the only light source then, his fists burning blue. Within a matter of seconds, there was no more air for Johann to gasp.

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