New Give Away- Risking It All


Giving Away an advance copy of Risking It All. 
How can you win?
Simply comment here with the name of your favorite Blake Brother and your email address. 

Winner will be announced on this page on August 31st, so check back! 

After nearly a year, Bastian Grey is growing discontent with the lack of intimacy in his relationship with Rick Claremont. Can an adopted cat be the key to a real relationship?  


Chapter One
"Turn over." Rick's raspy voice caressed his lips before he drew away to kneel beside Bastian.
"I want to gaze into your eyes while you make love to me," Bastian protested. Rick avoided intimacy whenever and however he could. Rick's eyes narrowed at the words make love, but he didn't respond, no doubt choosing to ignore the comment. Nevertheless, his slender, strong hands guided Bastian onto his side, stroked gently down his spine. Bastian relaxed. At least like this he could see Rick's face, could watch his eyes darken, his cheeks flush.
Rick pressed a warm, soft kiss at his nape, and Bastian moaned softly. Rick could call it fucking but there was too much gentleness, too much caring in his touch, in the brush of his lips, to be anything other than affection and lovemaking.
The smaller man brushed his fingers down, tracing the muscles of Bastian's back, teasing him into relaxing, coaxing him into position. Bastian drew his knee up to the side, giving Rick access to his body. A cap snicked and a slick, gentle finger probed between his cheeks, massaging gently at the opening there. Bastian sighed, pushing into the touch. He needed that touch so much. It shocked him sometimes how much he relied on these "dates" with Rick.
"Good idea." Rick murmured against his spine.
"Uh?" His body focused on the pleasure of Rick's touch, on the heat of his breath whispering across his skin, stirring the fine hairs. The furor of his heartbeat in his ears, the loud rush of blood nearly drowned the words out.
"Meeting at this place today." This place meant the hotel closest to Arden's office complex, a small, discreet establishment in the business district that probably catered to more than its share of nooners and cheating spouses.
"Oh, ooooh." The acknowledgment turned to a moan of pleasure as Rick's finger slipped past the ring of muscle and wiggled its way to his prostate. "Yes." Good idea. Like he'd have been able to do otherwise.
The picnic lunch he'd brought from the deli sat untouched on the little table in front of the window. He'd barely managed to set the basket down and unpack it, scarcely shut the drapes to ensure their privacy, when Rick arrived.
Rick hadn't taken a moment to survey the room, to recognize the romantic scene he'd set. Hadn't sampled the deli meal with fresh strawberries drizzled with creamy white chocolate and champagne served in his sister's best crystal. He'd tugged Bastian into his arms and swept him into a tide of passion that had rapidly pulled him under. They'd landed on this bed, naked, moments later.
And now, "Now." He groaned. Rick hummed, his mouth hovering at the base of Bastian's spine.
"Not yet." Rick worked a second finger in alongside the first, stretching him with frustrating slowness. Bastian writhed, wanting more of that touch on his gland. Always with Rick, he wanted more than the man seemed to give.
"Please." Begging for more, his cock ached, his balls tightened against his body. "I need you." I need you to need me.
Rick stilled and withdrew his touch. Sensation after sensation flooded Bastian. A hot kiss slid along his tailbone. A rough tongue stroke dragged to his hip. A sharp bite shocked him.
Bastian grabbed his cock and stroked it roughly. Rick gasped behind him, and Bastian whimpered. The tearing of the condom wrapper edged into his consciousness. He hated that sound, hated what it meant. After a year of exclusive intimacy, Rick still refused to abandon the protection. Bastian understood that meant Rick didn't trust him. And that hurt.
The blunt head of Rick's sheathed cock nudged against his slicked hole, and Bastian moaned again, arching into the thrust. The stretch and burn of entry faded quickly and Rick hissed in pleasure behind him. Bastian flexed his buttocks, squeezing his lover tightly.
"Oh yes. Honey," Rick murmured, close enough for breath to brush across Bastian's lips. He opened his eyes to find Rick bent forward over him, and grasped the opportunity to stare into his eyes as he slid slowly, completely home.
When Rick's mouth met his, he opened eagerly, sucking the tongue that stroked along his lips, into his mouth. Rick shoved him away and gripped his cock himself. Bastian sighed, clutching the sheets in one clenched hand and the headboard in the other. A bit of a control freak Rick might be, but that obsessive control most definitely paid off in many ways.
His thumb swept across the head of Bastian's cock with perfect pressure, slid through the beads of precum at the slit and dragged them down to smooth his way as he stroked in rhythm with his thrusts. The dual friction was like fire to gasoline, and he spiraled out of control, rapidly finding himself on the verge of orgasm.
"Hmm." His muscles seized, his heart pounded in his chest, and the sudden gush of warmth splattered the sheets and his belly. He jerked a few times as Rick continued to hold him, slowly becoming aware that Rick too experienced the throes of orgasm, his body jerking as he came, filling the condom with muted warmth.
Rick drew away so quickly, catching his breath, that Bastian didn't have time to wonder again what that would feel like, to have his lover's heat splash inside him, coat him intimately.
Bastian rolled to his back, lifting his arms to capture Rick for another kiss. Rick retreated from the kiss before it had even begun, though.
"What? Do I have bad breath all of a sudden?" He teased, but it hurt. Intimacy was withdrawn once sex ended. No cuddling, no snuggling.
"My lunch hour is up. I have to get on to work." Rick scooted backward off the bed, refused to meet Bastian's eyes. He scooped up his underwear from the chair, and hopped, searching for his clothes as though he'd rather look anywhere than at Bastian.
"Wait. Rick, I'm leaving town for my long weekend this afternoon. You have time off too. Arden told me," he added as Rick appeared tempted to deny it.
"Yeah, I have a four-day weekend." The reluctant confession stabbed at his heart.
"So, come snowboarding with me?" He held his breath as Rick stepped into his pants, smoothing out creases with ridiculous attention.
"I can't. I have to study for an exam next week."
"You can study in the room. I got a room with a fireplace in a chalet. It'll be great. We can spend the mornings outside and study in the afternoons, make love in the evenings." God, he was nothing if not a persistent fool.
Rick's face set in stubborn lines, his lips thinned. "No, thank you. I'm not a fan of throwing myself off mountains and waiting to see how many bones I break on the way down."
Ignoring the unsolicited opinion of his hobby, Bastian continued desperately. "Then you can stay in the room, keep the fires burning while I board, and we'll meet up in between runs."
Rick's eyes narrowed as he tugged on his shirt. He'd only unfastened the top buttons and jerked it over his head earlier. Now he had only a few buttons to do and he'd be able to leave. "No. Thank you. I'm not a fan of cold weather, snow, or smoke from fireplaces." He tucked his shirt in now. Time was running out.
Bastian leaped off the bed and snatched his own jeans off the floor, tugging them on and fastening the buttons swiftly. "Rick, we never have off at the same time."
"But..." Rick extracted a comb from his pocket, ran it through his hair, and crossed to the table. He perched on the hard edge of the boxy chair, bare, elegant foot bobbing as he glared at Bastian.
Subtly, Bastian kicked Rick's loafer under the bed. He should be ashamed, but he needed a few more minutes and his sister wouldn't freak out if Rick didn't return to the office on time. She might ask nosy questions and draw accurate conclusions, but she wouldn't be upset.
Rick's gaze darted around the room, seeking his shoes and socks, no doubt. Bastian crossed to the table and poured champagne into the two crystal goblets. He passed a glass to Rick who accepted it reluctantly and slid deeper into the opposite chair. He sipped from his glass, contemplating his wary lover.
"I'll stay home with you then," he offered. Spending uninterrupted time with Rick was worth losing his deposit.
"No, I have to study." Rick's blue eyes met his, and he could tell from their guarded expression that Rick felt pressured.
Guilt washed through him, and he leaned against the chair. "I won't distract you from studying, Rick. I realize how important this is for you." More important than him, that much was abundantly clear.
Rick gulped from his glass, sputtered, and then wiped his hand over his mouth and jaw with a grimace. "Bastian, you are a distraction simply by virtue of being you. I need space, and you, you just don't give me any." His gaze lingered on Bastian's chest, then he grabbed the blue T-shirt off the floor and threw it to him. Bastian caught it reflexively.
Rick stood and crossed the room, returning with his socks. Bastian pulled the tee on and slid his feet into the sandals he'd abandoned under the table when he arrived.
Rick stood, fists on hips, scowling around the room in frustration. Finally he burst out, "Do you see my damn shoes?"
Clearly he couldn't coax Rick into changing his mind. Sighing, Bastian rose and flipped up the disheveled comforter. He kicked Rick's shoes out into the open. "There you go. Will you at least eat with me before you leave?"

Breathless Press Birthday Blog Hop!

Breathless Press Birthday Blog Hop
Scavenger Hunt
August 24 – 27th 2012

 Welcome readers to the Breathless Press Birthday Scavenger Hunt Blog Hop!
I'm thrilled to participate in the Birthday Celebrations for Breathless Press!
First of all, I have an awesome short story entitled Nothing to Forgive that you can download from the Breathless Press website in any e-reader format (including kindle!)
That's a free gift to all readers from me and Breathless Press!
But, I'd like to offer another lucky reader the chance to win a $5 Breathless Press GC
How can you pocket that gift card?
My next release from Breathless Press is Risking It All on September 7, and it’s the fifth book in an ongoing series. All you need to do to be eligible to win my  gift card is head over to the Breathless Press Website and discover the name of that series. Then use the raffle copter thingy below to leave me the series name, and like my fan page on FB.  Two other winner will receive ecopies of Risking It All.
On the 31st the rafflecopter thing conducts a random drawing to select the winners.
Winner will be informed via email and announced on this page on September 1st.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BUT...It's Breathless Press's Birthday!

And we've got a gift for one lucky reader! Visit every blog in the hop, and locate the eighteen clues- blue letters. Create a list of each author whose blog you visit (Don't forget to leave a comment so your visit can be verified!) and the blue letter you found on their post, unscramble the message, and email the whole list to Olivia.ventura@breathlesspress.com .

(Note: You are only eligible to win if you visit & comment on ALL blogs!)

Your email makes you eligible to win a 50 BOOK LIBRARY! Fifty books of your choice from Breathless Press! That's approximately a $150 dollar value!

Participating Authors:

DC Juris    Gayl Taylor         Em Woods          Havan Fellows
Hank Edwards     Leona Bushman       LB Shire    JR Boyd  
Dianne Hartsock           Lee Brazil            Carrie Pulkinen
Raven McAllan             SJ Thomas           Yazmin Subha
Kiru Taye            Doris O'Connor     Jamieson Wolf-      Story Orgy Blog


Crawl in Bed With Jean Joachim

Crawling Into Bed With
Jean Joachim
And a Good Book

Important things first, are these sheets silk or cotton?
 The finest Egyptian cotton, 600 thread count. Only the best for you, Lee. *wiggles eyebrows*.

What are you wearing?
 A short black jersey “nightie” with stretchy straps ending in tiny red bows. It’s barely long enough to cover my…well, you know.

What are we snacking on in bed while we read tonight?
 Hmm, nothing crunchy, with crumbs. How about a hot fudge sundae with mint chip ice cream and whipped cream on top? Or maybe with soft ice cream? All the better to lick off your…uh, fingers. Yes, fingers. Whew!

If I open this nightstand drawer, what will I find?
An unmentionable toy, my Nook, a copy of Dodsworth by Sinclair Lewis, and peppermint flavored…oops, naughty naughty, Jean. That’s a secret!

Do you roll up in the blankets like a burrito, or kick the covers off during the night?
 I roll up in blankets, perhaps leaving a foot sticking out. I’d love to roll up with you, Lee. Just slide over here…that’s right, get up close.

Can I put my cold feet on your calves to warm them up?
Let me turn the electric mattress pad on. Okay, now bend your knees, rest your feet flat on it… the pad, of course. It will turn you on…your feet will heat up anyway. Or I could heat them up manually. heh heh.

What are we reading?

The Renovated Heart!! Here’s an excerpt:
Sipping her Cosmo, Kit looked around La Nuit Française—a posh, intimate French restaurant decorated in turquoise, red and gold, tucked into the west side of Manhattan. Beautiful people dressed in expensive clothing pretending to be someone important filled the restaurant. In addition to paying through the nose for the good food, they were also paying to be seen. Save me from such pretention. Wearing a sexy dress in midnight blue silk, her dark cerulean blue eyes shining, her spun gold hair draping well below her shoulders in loose curls, she was the loveliest woman in the room.
A man approach her table, she smiled at her husband, Johnny, as he plopped down in the empty chair across from her.
He ordered a beer plus another Cosmopolitan for Kit.
“You look great, Kit,” Johnny said, taking a swig of his beer. His gaze lowered to her neckline then returned to her face.
“A fresh look for a new start…tomorrow I launch a new life. We both do.” She picked up the second Cosmo and took a sip.
“We need to talk about tomorrow,” Johnny said, looking down at the silverware.
“I’m ready. I’ve crossed off almost everything from my to-do list.”
“You and that damn list. Always lists. Look, the trip…the trip is… Well. The trip is just for me, Kit.”
“What do you mean?” Her brow furrowed, her eyes darkened.
“I mean, I’m not taking you with me,” he replied, shifting in his seat, avoiding her stare.
“What?” she asked as her breathing became shallow, her chest tightening. Her heartbeat pounded in her ears.
“This is my big break. I’ve been playing in crummy clubs for ten years, waiting for this chance. I…I want to do it alone,” Johnny said, finally able to look at her.
“Johnny, you can’t be serious?”
“I am. I filed for divorce, Kit.” His hands toyed with his beer glass.
“Divorce?” Tears stung the back of her eyes.
Buy links:

Website – http://www.jeanjoachimbooks.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/jean.joachim.5
Twitter: @jeanjoachim


Tantalizing Tuesday 2A - Am I in Your Book?

Am I in Your Book?

"I don't love you." Wayne let his hands slide to his sides, conscious that crossing his arms would seem defensive. Why the hell had Noel shown up now?
Noel laughed, tapped the e-reader against his thigh. "I just read your books. You can't lie to me."
"That's called fiction." No one but Noel would know that it had a basis in reality. Who'd have thought Mr. Nothing-Written-After-1800-Is-Worth-Reading would even own an e-reader, let alone bother to download and read romance novels?
Striding forward, Noel crowded Wayne back aginst the wall. "Some people might think so, but I recognize a few things...Well, you can control the guys in your stories, Wayne, but you can't control me."
"Just leave." His heart raced and he hoped to fuck Noel couldn't hear it, because it was practically drowning out every other sound in the room.
"No. You may say you don't love me any more, but, you still want me. This doesn't lie." Noel pressed forward, their hips rubbing together. Wayne trembled with frustrated desire.
"I didn't say you weren't sexy. I said..."
"You don't love me. I'll settle. For now." Noel's lips closed over his and Wayne swallowed his curses as passion overflowed.

Check out the others:

Crawl in Bed With Adriana

Crawling Into Bed With: Adriana, who wishes to be A Most Unusual Mistress

Important things first, are these sheets silk or cotton?
Silk, and decadent, sent from Paris before the Corsican caused havoc. Do they not feel cool to a heated body?

What are you wearing?
What a question to ask a lady. I am wearing a smile. Why are you clothed?

What are we snacking on in bed while we read tonight?
I am snacking on French Champagne, eating syllabub and fruit from my session houses. Although… eyes Lee up I like the look of you. Hmm, you could be edible. However, you I see, have brandy and pound cake. Do you know there is a new way of thinking that rich food can kill you…

If I open this nightstand drawer, what will I find?
Your important parts sore? Truly this is private. Sigh very well. My bible, my sponge and vinegar to soak it in. Mistress must take such things into account, especially with a man so potent as I believe Ash to be. And now it seems, it also holds some silken ties…

Do you roll up in the blankets like a burrito, or kick the covers off during the night?
What is a burrito? I wrap myself in my blankets unless I have Ash to warm me. Sadly, he is not amenable. Eyes Lee up and down again It can get rather cold in these draughty houses. All I need is a hot body or a hot brick.

Can I put my cold feet on your calves to warm them up?
Not unless I can put mine on your back… or front?

What are we reading?
We are reading my story to happiness. A Most Unusual Mistress.


Why be a wife if a mistress has more fun? All Adriana has to do is get Ashley to agree.

Finding her intended bollix deep in his mistress, when she was trembling with wanting, did not impress Adriana. If being a mistress entailed being part of such passion, then a mistress only she would be.

Ashley. Earl of Addersley thought otherwise. He wanted a wife on his terms. Terms that would send this lady of the ton screaming, or would they?

 Excerpt …

“I fear, my love.” He kept his voice calm despite the anger now raging within him. “You do not have the facts assimilated correctly. For why am I to be blackened as a cheat and a liar?”

Her chest heaved, once more unknowingly allowing him a cock-tightening view of her breasts straining at their confines as they threatened to spill out and...and what? Demand attention? Hardly. Protest his attraction? More likely. Receive his touch? Dare he? Regretfully, Ash reminded himself just whom he was facing. He held his hands out in supplication. However, Adriana had not yet finished blackening his character.

“Because you are one? Any man who states he is no longer harboring a mistress and is then found bollocks-deep inside said mistress only days before his wedding is not to be believed,” she said, her anger evident in her words. He watched, fascinated, as she picked up two small, exquisite Sèvres vases from the mantle and threw them at the wall in quick succession. They shattered in the hearth, and Ashley waited for her reaction to such damage. Adriana showed no sign of even noticing her wanton destruction and merely dusted her hands on her skirts.

Unusually, no servant appeared to discover the reason for such noise. He wondered if such temper was the norm, and the servants well used to it.

He chose not to ask her.

 “Therefore,” she said. “I do not believe anything you say to me. Lud, she is treated better than me. Have you ever touched me with such desire?” She laughed bitterly. “Perchance I should phrase that have you ever touched me? We both know the answer. Yet I have seen the way you look at me when you think you are unobserved. Indeed, on one occasion, my lord, I was the observer as you took yourself in hand and fisted yourself until you spilled your seed while shouting my name. So I know you are not indifferent to me. But touch me? Make me come? Pah. Do I not deserve the attention you paid her?”

“You are to be my wife,” Ash said stiffly. He knew his face reddened in shame, for he was ashamed of the discomfort he had caused her. “However,” he continued, ignoring the ripple of excitement her query had aroused, “not my whore. I respect you.”

“I would be better off as your mistress and get the body and the fucking I desire,” she said frankly. “Lud, Ash. I want your love, your body, and to be fucked. If that is not to be my culmination, then let me be your whore. For a twelvemonth, I have spied and regarded you in secret, stroking myself after peering at you without your knowledge. Lud, I ache for your touch. If, as your wife, I do not receive all that I desire, I do not desire to be your wife. Why should I settle for less than all you can—if you chose— give me?” she demanded. “Just because it is assumed women of our class do not enjoy more than the mere mechanics of sex, or indeed, merely tolerate a husband’s touch, do not assume that of me. If, as your mistress, I will receive more than duty demands, then make me her. However, don’t bother to make me your wife. I have too much esteem to settle for less than I deserve.”

He wondered if he imagined what he heard. “And you feel you deserve to be my mistress?”

“Well, I deserve more than a ten-minute fumble once the lamps are dimmed.”


You see what terrible happenings I have endured? Men!

My poor long suffering author Raven has a web and a blog
as well as Facebook sites. www.facebook.com/rmcallan


Welcome guest Angel Martinez

Aliens Among Us and the Sub Zero Launch Today

In the early days of Science Fiction, alien species lived on every planet. Our sister planet, Mars, was inhabited at various times by little green men, four-armed, monstrous warriors, cephalothoracic beings with faulty immune systems, and very human-like beings with surprising cultural differences. Jupiter had intelligent life. Venus was populated. Every visible star had habitable planets in orbit.

With advances in telescope and dish technology, we know better now. We are, sadly, alone in our planetary system. Most stars with planets have them orbiting either too close (molten rock city) or too far (primordial soup? Sorry, we don’t have a microwave to defrost it.) The universe is absurdly vast and to believe ourselves alone in it seems a terrible arrogance, but the chances of finding our fellow stargazers diminishes over prohibitive distances. While it’s fun for the science fiction writer to speculate about alien cultures even in the modern era, we tend to be more circumspect in our placement of non-human species and less generous in their frequency.

This doesn’t mean we’ve given up on wild cultural speculation. Heaven forbid. We see three solutions to the problem of alien culture scarcity these days. First, the social evolution of humans on this planet still provides a heck of a lot of story fodder (just look at The Hunger Games, or Anne Tenino’s 18% Gray.) Dystopian and false-utopian futures are multiplying and spreading like English ivy right now. (If you’ve ever had English ivy in your backyard, you know what I mean.) Another path current science fiction writers take these days involves human Diaspora–a spreading out of humankind across the galaxy until we lose track of each other, changing in unexpected ways to adapt to new environments and living conditions.

The third? Ah, one of my favorites. Genetically altered humanity. Custom-built humans. Genetic manipulation is here, folks, and while the media wants to make you hysterical and frightened about it, we’re not going to end up with fifty-foot ants tearing down cell towers. The possibility of purposefully altered humanity strikes a chord in me, though, and opens up so many possibilities. 

For Gravitational Attraction, I created the Corzin, super-warriors who are the product of careful genetic manipulation and selective breeding. For Vassily the Beautiful, readers got to meet the Silka brothers, all genetic constructs without biological parents, each with unique abilities built into his DNA.

Sub Zero (released 8/19!) contains a race of completely altered humans, almost to the point of being unrecognizable as human. Altered blood chemistry, changes in physiology, the addition of a nictitating eyelid, these were all intended as adaptations to a frigid environment. While their creation was for avaricious and evil purposes, as mine slaves, the dangpo have been free of their creators long enough to develop their own culture and values.

Come join the dangpo and me on our little adventure. Oh, and Aren, too. I suppose he can come along.

M/M Science Fiction Mystery
An AmberPax Forbidden Liaisons Story

“I was enthralled with this masterfully told, perfectly executed tale. The romance and mystery are equally important and go hand-in-hand. There is a harmony to this story that drew me in, comforting and challenging me at the same time. I watched the characters unfold, and marveled at the beauty I discovered on this cold, ice world. Fantastic. A must-read.”--Tom Webb, A Bear on Books

Major Aren Dalsgaard's newest assignment is to investigate a series of murders on the frigid planet, Drass, where relations between the Treaty settlers and the natives have taken a nasty turn. A linguist and trained xenologist, Aren should be the ideal Special Investigations officer for the assignment. So what's the problem? Drass is where he died, more than a hundred and twenty years ago.
Sent by his family to the chigyel city, Nyachung finds himself confronted with a murder charge, racial prejudice, and a cryo-revived investigator who claims to be a hero from his grandmother’s generation. Major Dalsgaard could be crazy or he could be lying, but the sincerity in his spring-green eyes disturbs Nyachung more than anything else he encounters in the foreigners’ city.
Confronted with mysterious black boxes and a beautiful yet evasive young man as a prime suspect, Aren hopes he can solve the murders before his fierce sexual attraction to Nyachung gets the better of him…

Thuds and muffled screams came from the lab up ahead, only serving to underscore the sergeant’s anxiety. Aren bulled through the door and skidded to a stop, speechless in shock. Nyachung lay on his back on the gurney, stripped to the waist, arms stretched out to either side and strapped down to extensions. The staff had shoved something soft between his teeth, either to keep him from breaking them or to keep him from screaming too loud, and they had electro-pulse leads attached to his forearms, directly over the venom sacs and spur pads. The shocks from the hookup came in pairs, the first forcibly extending his arm spurs and the second zapping the sac in an attempt to force the venom out.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Aren bellowed.
The tech stared at him, nonplussed. “Getting your venom sample, sir.”
“By torturing him?”
“It’s standard operating procedure, sir.”
“Since when is physical abuse standard procedure in any branch of the service?”
Sergeant Wickstrom gave him a little nudge. “Sir, use of force in the obtaining of information or cooperation is up to the discretion of the facility commander. It’s in the manuals.”
“In the—you must be joking.”
“Afraid not, sir.”
Aren rubbed both hands over his face. “God. Barbaric century.” Then he stalked over to the tech. “Unhook him, please. Not only is this inefficient, it’s inhumane. Do you have any idea, Corporal, how sensitive those venom sacs are?”
The hapless corporal gulped a breath. “I…don’t know, sir.”
“Imagine hooking one of those damn things up to your testicles and then shoving another up your urethra. That should give you some idea.”
“Yes, sir.”
The poor tech had turned green. Aren patted his shoulder, not wanting the boy to pass out. “Just turn it off. Unhook him. There’s a better way to do this. Several, actually. You could have just asked him for a sample, but now that he’s a shuddering mess, he’ll need some help.”
While the tech unhooked the leads, Aren went around the gurney undoing straps.
“Sir, you know he’s a murder suspect, right?”
“Oh, yes. Terribly dangerous, I’m sure. Maybe you should stand back. Safety first.” Aren perched hipshot on the edge of the gurney and gathered Nyachung into his arms as he switched to dangpo. “Are you with me, little one?”
“Why are they doing this?” Nyachung tangled both fists in the front of Aren’s jacket, shaking uncontrollably.
“Sh, sh, they want some of your venom. To compare it to the venom in the woman you found. If it’s not your venom, then you didn’t kill her.”
A hoarse sound, more sob than laugh came from the little tale-singer. “They could have said so.”
“Yes, they should have.” Aren held up a collection tube. “Can you do it on your own?”
Nyachung held out one shaking arm, well away from Aren. He curled his fingers, forearm muscles contracting. “I can’t,” he gasped out.
Gently, Aren placed his hand under Nyachung’s elbow. “Will you let me help you? I know we’re strangers and this is in front of others, but it would be better than their way.”
Black eyes gazed up at him, wet with unshed tears of pain. “All right. Do you… Have you done this?”
“I have.” Aren massaged his thumb over the tense forearm muscles a moment. Then he reached around, encircling Nyachung with his arms, partially hiding him from prying eyes. He pressed gently on the pad with his thumb, pushing the arm spur out as one would a cat’s claw. Keeping the pressure constant and the collection tube held over the spur in two fingers, he turned his attention to the venom sac. Besides the obvious places, this was the most sensitive spot on a dangpo male’s body.
He caressed the tender, abused skin, barely holding back the urge to curl forward and kiss the spot where the electro-pulse had been. Nyachung made a sweet, whimpering sound that shot straight to his balls and Aren hoped he was holding the stone-faced expression he was trying for. He began to massage the sac, his thumb describing slow, gentle circles. Nyachung twitched in his arms.
“Easy, little one, easy. As soon as you’re able.”
With a soft cry, Nyachung hid his face against Aren’s chest, his body shuddering with pain as he released his venom. His poor sacs would most likely be tender for days but he had managed enough to fill the tube...

Be Yourself

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955