The regular, weekly blog is below this excerpt.
Here it is, as promised. Note: This is homoerotic fiction and may not be to everyone's taste. This is also very much un'betaed. Continue at your own riske and without yelling at me.
To remind everyone of the plot for A Soldier's Fate:
Love was the Easiest Battle
Colonel Rik Heron thought he and his lover, Major Vincent Greven, were finally free. They had survived the treachery of military commanders and retired to head a foundation dedicated to the well being of their kind. Their lives would be filled with love and satisfying work making the lives of Altered soldiers better. But fate is not that kind. The landscape of the Foundation was as treacherous as any battlefield. The demands of their new roles and intrigues of the staff nearly tear their relationship apart. And despite the purge of mad generals, someone is still trying to kill them. To make matters infinitely worse, Bobby Greven, Vincent’s brother, disappeared with his squad during his first mission out of training. Thus Rik and Vincent must put on their uniforms and become weapons once more.
This excerpt occurs about a third of the way into the book. Rik and Vincent have had a huge personal crisis from which they are recoverying when Bobby's sudden, unexpected and very surprising love life causes a peculiar situation. To dissuade his brother from making a serious misstep, Vincent reveals a secret involving Rik that he had held since they were first serving together.
“Um...guys...I want to go to a brothel,” Bobby said before taking a bite from his sandwich.
I couldn’t have been more surprised if he had announced that he was going to clown college. Thank God Vincent had put down his knife. He gaped at his brother while I blinked at the young man.
“Are you stoned?” Vincent exclaimed hotly.
Bobby turned red, but his jaw was set and his eyes flashed. This was serious, but Vincent was on a tear.
“We just spent two hours with your girlfriend, and you want to be with a hooker?” Vincent demanded.
“You were Ms. Kramer?”
I almost chuckled at the thought of Bobby still using that formality while they were in bed.
“Bobby,” I said while placing a calming hand on Vincent’s. “You can see while we’re confused.”
“I want to go because of Ms. Kramer,” Bobby replied. He sighed in frustration when we continued to gape at him. “She so sophisticated and...I’m not. I thought that if I got some experience...she wouldn’t get bored with me.”
My lover sank onto a chair. His expression was odd, and his cheeks were very red.
“That won’t work,” Vincent said softly. “If someone else tries to touch you, it’s repulsive. Makes your skin crawl.”
“Vincent?” I asked after a hard swallow. “What are you saying?”
“Someone made me that kind of offer,” he replied. His gaze was intent on the floor. “He figured out that I wanted you. He knew I didn’t know anything...”
“Vincent looked up at Bobby. “I really wanted to learn, but every time he reached for me, I flinched...couldn’t help it.”
I stared hard at Vincent, but his eyes pleaded with mine to wait. I looked at Bobby instead.
“Your first experience should not be a matter of commerce,” I said. “there will be no real feelings thus nothing that can translate to being intimate with someone you love.”
Bobby looked uncertain.
“None of her reactions will be heartfelt,” I explained. “You may as well rent an automatron.”
“Yes,” I assured him. “It wouldn’t be good for the relationship if you handled Ellie like a sex worker.”
“We’ll get to that,” Vincent said. His voice was still quiet. “That first time is really important, and it should happen between people who care about each other. It meant everything to me that my first real kiss was with Rik. I didn’t know what I was doing, and that didn’t matter.”
“But aren’t guys supposed to know more?”
“How old-fashioned of you,” I chuckled. “Ellie is unconventional, and so are you. She is willing to risk a great deal to respond to your letter. I was clear to us today that she knows what you’ve experienced. I believe she was deeply touched at you wanted her to be the first. It meant the world to me to be Vincent’s first.”
“What is Ms. Kramer missing?”
“She can’t cover us or Altereds as a reporter anymore,” I replied. “That may adversely affect her career. Then, there sill be all the muttering about her hooking up with a young stud.”
“Or boy-toy,” Vincent added derisively. “I hear that a lot when people think I can’t.”
I frowned at that.
“How much could she lose?” Bobby fretted.
“It’s hard to say,” I replied honestly. “But she is well aware of the risks and still wants to explore the possibilities.”
Bobby swallowed hard. Vincent patted his shoulder.
“You’ll be fine, Bobby,” he said confidently. “You’ve got past the hard part. She noticed you and is interested. Smooth move.”
“How did you get a tux for New Year’s Eve?” I asked as the mood lightened.
Bobby smiled. “General Braun helped me rent one with my savings. I think he was amused by it all.”
“I’m sure of that,” Vincent snorted. “But you did all right.”
“It helped that her date got hammered,” Bobby laughed. “I don’t know what I would have done if he hadn’t. That guy was really good looking.”
“I think you would have found a way, young Greven,” I replied. “You’re good at improvisation – the mark of a great soldier.”
“Thanks, Rik,” Bobby replied with a shy smile. “So, Ms. Kramer came to see you?”
“Yes, Ellie was worried that you were throwing away your affections before you had any experience,” I replied.
“What did you tell her?”
“We told her the Grevens make up their minds about whom they love quite young,” I assured him. “And they have a surprising amount of maturity and commitment.”
Bobby beamed at us. He really was as beautiful as his brother. No wonder Ellie was blushing so much.
“Are you guys really okay with this,” Bobby asked as he ate his sandwich.
Vincent smiled his small shy smile. “I could tell you that you’re taking on too much with your Induction and training.”
“And you’d be right,” I added.
“But fighting your heart can be dangerous, too,” Vincent murmured. “It wasn’t good for me or the squad. Probably sent me to the Medical Wing more than once from injuries. But you can’t let this split your focus, Bobby.”
“I won’t,” Bobby said resolutely. “Becoming an Altered is my priority. That’s why we’re just exchanging letters now.”
The rest of the evening passed quietly. All of us appreciated just how normal that night was. I needed to talk to Vincent about what he had revealed earlier, but it could wait while we enjoyed each other’s company. There were a finite number of evenings like that left. Vincent had been grateful that I let sleeping dogs lie, but he tensed as soon as I locked our bedroom door. Somehow, I knew who it was that had made him that offer. Knowing the man was dead didn’t really help.
“You couldn’t have protected me,” Vincent said softly as he flopped onto the bed. “You wouldn’t have seen.”
“How did he see?” I countered.
Vincent shrugged. “I think he saw me watching you.”
“You watched me? Where? When?”
Vincent blushed, lowered his eyes to consider the floor. I moved to where he sat, reaching out to tilt his chin up. I smiled at him.
“Please, tell me.”
“You would read under a tree near your office window,” he replied. His eyes warmed. “I could watch you from my quarters without your seeing. I loved catching you that way. You looked so serene and...”
“And what?” I asked softly.
“Kissable,” Vincent replied with a sigh. “I’d lose track of everything watching you...dreaming of touching you or having you touch me. I think Raden saw me then.”
Vincent saw the guilt and regret in my expression. He shook his head at me emphatically.
“He couldn’t force me, Rik. Even then, I was too strong for him. He never touched me. And he never stopped me from watching you. I didn’t care if he saw me,” Vincent said. His tone was quiet but intense.
I can’t stand that anyone offered you that – especially over me,” I whispered. “I shielded you from many eyes and advances.”
“A few dozen over the years,” I muttered ruefully. “Far too many, considering your age.”
“None of them matter. I was always yours and yours alone,” Vincent murmured. “Please, Rik...don’t let anyone – especially him come between us. We’ve been through too much.”
My lover gasped when I reached out to caress his elegantly strong jaw, moving back to grasp his ponytail.
“I wish I had known, and yet knowing would have been torture,” I whispered, tracing his lips with the index finger of my free hand.
“Why? Why torture?”
“I could have never done this?”
Lord, I loved Vincent’s kiss. He was yielding to me, allowing me to press him back onto the mattress. I covered him with my body as we kissed. I petted his hair after our lips parted.
“Tell me, love,” I asked softly. “How had you planned to have me back then?”
“Is this all about you night?” Vincent demanded mildly.
“Tell me,” I gently pleaded. “I didn’t get to be courted.”
“Jerkwad,” he chuckled.
“I didn’t have a plan,” he admitted. “I knew you sometimes dated men, but I never saw you with anyone like me.”
“Love, you are singular in every way.”
Vincent smiled as he rolled his eyes. “I had no clue other than if I was enough of a pain in the ass, you would stay close to meditate with me or keep an eye on me. For a long time, that was enough. It was all I thought I could get...when I came back and you held me like that on the battlefield – I couldn’t believe it.”
“As you walked away from me toward all that fire in that pit, the memory of our last year together in the squad slammed into my mind,” I murmured. “It finally dawned on me why you had made me more crazy in that time than you ever had, yet I couldn’t stand to have you out of my sight. You had become a man. You were of age, and I wanted you. But you were still under my command. It had been impossible to let myself think of you as a lover.
“Still protecting me,” he observed.
“Hard habit to break, Love.”
“Protect me now, Rik. I need you.”
My lover was vulnerable then. We had been through almost more than we could stand in recent days. We were still healing emotionally. I knew what he needed. I still knew how to protect him.
“You have me, Love...body and soul,” I whispered, rolling over so that he was on top of me.
Vincent peppered my face with kisses. His eyes were solemn – almost reverent when they met mine.”
“I love you,” he said softly. “It’s not just about wanting you.”
“You show that to me every time you look at me,” I replied. Then, I smiled. “It’s okay to want me, too.”
“Cocky bastard,” Vincent murmured before kissing me.
The kiss was hot, almost rough though his hands were gentle. I couldn’t think after that. His mouth was working me. First, there was that long, incredible kiss. Then he took me with his mouth, pushing me toward climax then pulling back over and over until I was rendered into a mindless and pleading plaything. My diabolical lover was then pushing into me. I didn’t climax while he pounded into me just how much he owned me, but the intense and constant state of bliss I had until lapsing into sleep was more than enough.