I wonder why it is that bagels smell so amazing when passing through a train station? I've found this to be true in any train station I've visited that has a bagel stand. Maybe it's because the scent is intensified in a closed space. Maybe it's because the bagel shop owners have a fan that sends pure bagel essence into the station causing travelers to drift in demanding smears butter or cream cheese on the somehow crunchy and soft circles of loveliness while they are still warm. I enjoy this scent so much that if I have to make a connection anywhere near Union Station in LA en route to my many appointments, I always choose to walk through the complex rather than ride the next two stops to connect just to smell those bagels. I also love old train stations and this one is really gorgeous. I shall have to make time to actually have a bagel and enjoy the comings and goings of the station sometime soon.
Simple Cooking on a Sunday
I'm giving my freezer a break and even restocking it a little today while making some deceptively simple fare. I'm revisiting the roast chicken and the meatloaf. For this dinner, we'll have the chicken with fluffy mashed potatoes and just to be extra decadent, some bread stuffing and gravy! There was an insane sale on whole chickens and hamburger, so I couldn't resist. And it's always good to occasionally work on the basics. According to every major cookbook I've read and TV chef I've watched, the roast chicken is how a cook is judged. Oh, I forgot to mention that veg will be the insanely inexpensive fresh corn (6 ears for $1). Crazy cheap and so very sweet right now. The roast chicken will also yield roasted chicken bones which means more lovely stock for soup. I'll need more as I've been making soup a lot lately. Of course, it's finally decided to get really hot here, but what can you do?
There have been some changes at Sybaritic Press. The big one is that all of the titles are going to be available on Kindle including a big upcoming, long awaited opus. I also took the opportunity to have Jon change the covers of The Gift of Surrender and The Price of Surrender. They are, as you can see, very sexy. I had him do this in anticipation of third book. Sybpress is about to get fairly busy. We're working on another Demonspawn book for those who crave more adventures the Vampire and the Doctor. We're not completely back in business yet. But it is nice to have some new titles coming out.
I've been very excited about my writing this week. It's reached that point where spending time with my guys is my big treat for the day. I thus have to finish my chores and errands, and writing some pages that involve being with them is my treat for the day. I love that even more than when the frenzy descends that forces me to churn out pages until the thing is done. When I'm in this sort of place with my writing, the experience is productive and there is time to savor the ride. And this wonderful turn happened because of something I chanced to catch online this week.
I was fortunate enough to follow Jane Espenson during an online discussion about writing. She always gives the best most succinct advice on spinning plots and crafting characters. My favorite type of that night for quickly figuring out a character was 'what does the character want and how is that being frustrated.' Brilliant. That creates a plethora of material in a very short span. The advice was particularly timely as I work on A Soldier's Destiny. I have a whole new novel full of characters that all want something and every one of them is being frustrated in some manner. For my main guys, Rik and Vincent, they were looking for lives that were dedicated to training and research. What they are getting is situation after situation that involves the potential for extreme violence. Some of that violence is visiting them in the heart of their Foundation. For Rik, the situation is particularly daunting, because he had hoped to distance himself and Vincent from the perception that they are primarily killers. However, it is the fact that they were crafted and conditioned to be such innately ruthless killers that makes them the only beings capable of dealing with the Vampire, Simon Molinar when he appears. They are the only beings that can unnerve him, because they will kill him without hesitation if they are pressed to, Meanwhile, Vincent is growing more and more worried about Rik's well being as his humanity is being taxed further and further. It is revealed that Rik nearly killed himself before Vincent reappeared in their world. He remains fragile in some way. In this book and likely for those to come, Vincent has assumed the role of Rik's protector. For the first time, readers will see the calculating soldier in Vincent. And readers will begin to learn about his experiences in the other world.
Excerpt from A Soldier's Destiny
Warning Adult Content Yaoi or Homoerotic Themes If you read it, I don't want to hear complaints.
It was only 2200 hours when we finally finished prepping for Molinar's inevitable appearance and reached the apartment, but all of the restfulness I'd felt at the end of the vacation evaporated. Fortunately, we were to be alone at the apartment. Bobby was going to spend as much time with Ellie as he could before reporting to his next post. Though he would be just across town at Central Command, he wouldn't be visiting very often at first. Vincent didn't begrudge him that time. He and I could managed to find ourselves at the base whenever we wanted. This was not the case for Ellie. I was grateful that we were on our own. I was feeling far from social. Percival was his usual, indispensable self. He hadn't scheduled any meetings for us until 0900, giving us time to work out then have a leisurely breakfast before getting back into the Foundation's routine.
Still, I was out of sorts. My thoughts were racing with all the things that were undone in my office. My mind was somewhere else completely though I was responding to things Vincent said. That is, until I finished the locking the door. Then, I was pressed against it. Vincent had me by the hair. My cheek was pressed firmly against the smooth cool wood.
“Do I have your attention?” He asked softly very close to my ear.
My eyes slid closed. I sighed. “Yes.”
“I don't believe you,” he murmured, licking my ear. “You'll have to convince me.”
I was dragged into the bedroom and tossed onto the bed. Before I could recover, Vincent was on me, stripping me naked. Then, he was straddling me. My wrists were crossed over my head and pressed against the mattress, pinning me. His glare had more anger than desire in it. I was confused.
“Why?” I asked with a hard swallow.
“You need this,” Vincent murmured. “You're too much in your head sometimes.”
I almost chuckled at that, but my Lover's face was far too serious. I was too much in my head most of the time. That's how I never saw how he'd felt about me before he disappeared for all of that time. I was crazy enough to sometimes worry about all I continued to miss. His hold tightened on my wrists.
“Stop it,” Vincent ordered. His voice was soft, but there was an edge of steel in it. Then, he tilted his head to one side to kiss me. His mouth was hot and sweet as always. His kiss was intense, stealing my breath with my moan.
Vincent's free hand was caressing my torso lazily and slowly. Oh God, he was going to slowly drive me insane. I groaned against his lips, arching my body in a silent plea to be released.
“Not a chance, Rik,” he whispered pressing my wrists firmly with one hand while the other played with a very sensitive nipple. “Not yet.”
While he toyed with my nipple, Vincent slid his tongue slowly down my neck to the curve of my shoulder where he bit then sucked at the skin.
I cried out, arching against him again as I instantly hardened. Though I felt him smile against my skin, it was clear that this assault on my body, mind and senses had just begun. Later, much later, I would wonder where all of that patience and control during our love making came from. But right then, my mind was gone. All I could do was feel him and what he was doing to my body.
Vincent's free hand moved down my torso as his lips took over torturing my nipple. I felt him grasp my erection with a sure hand. He stroked me to just before I found release, but then, he denied me. The bastard did that over and over while muffling my frustrated cries with that diabolical mouth. He took me up and down like that I'm not sure how many times before I was mindless and nearly exhausted.
“Look at me, Rik,” Vincent commanded softly.
Somehow, I dragged my eyelids open. The torture continued. Vincent's eyes were so dark with desire that the gold was nearly enveloped by the dark. I moaned loudly just as the climax coursed through my trembling body. He watched as I was wracked with intense pleasure. He watched as I rode through it all. Finally, he smiled his most angelic, frightening
“My turn now,” he murmured.
Vincent still held my wrists as he turned me on my side. Despite the lead in my limbs,
I pulled the outer knee up to receive him. He grunted in approval then quickly prepped me. It seems my torture had had a profound affect on him as well. Had I been more aware, I may have been smug about it. But I had no mind at that point. My body needed him in me to complete the circuit. That was all that was the only thought I had left in my brain.
With blessed speed, Vincent pushed inside me, canting his hips to unerringly caress my sweet spot with each thrust. I was hard again then barreling toward completion in what seemed like an instant. Vincent had barely touched me when I came again. This time, the intensity of the energy between us and my exhaustion sent me into the bliss of oblivion.
It was early morning when I woke. I was on my back with Vincent half covering me. His golden head rested on my chest. His hair fanned out everywhere. Upon my movement, his arms tightened around me.
“What time is it?” He mumbled against my chest.
“0530,” I replied. The alarm wouldn't sound for a half an hour.
Vincent raised his head to look at me. His expression was softer than the night before. He seemed very pleased at what he saw.
“You look much better,” Vincent murmured with a smile. “I'm glad further measures aren't necessary.”
I felt my brows raise. “Further measures?”
He smirked at me. “I wasn't letting you out of this bed until you looked relaxed.”
I was flummoxed, unsure whether to start my day or take him up on that challenge. Vincent gave him a lazy smile.
“You know you won't be able to stay away from that desk,” he murmured.
“Your insight is correct, as always,” I sighed before rolling him beneath my body. “Good morning, Love.”
He was smiling when I gently kissed him. He moaned into the kiss, making me wish for much more than a half an hour head start.
“We can take our time in the shower,” Vincent suggested as my lips moved to his elegant neck.
I sighed. My lover was right. It was easier to get out of that bed if we didn't start something. I rolled off Vincent then offered him my hand.
“Where did you find all of that patience and focus in bed, Love?” I asked mildly as I shampooed his hair. “It was only a couple of months ago where you were all but ripping my clothes off and having me almost without prep.”
Vincent hummed his pleasure at what my fingers were doing to his scalp.
“One of your most important lessons was to learn the objective well then learn what you need to get it done,” he replied almost languidly. “I take care of you, Rik. After what happened with Ms. Becker, I realized that I had to be aware of everything that could hurt you. Sometimes that will mean protecting you from the Foundation. Sometimes that means protecting you from you.”
I rinsed the great mass of hair carefully as I considered Vincent's simple, direct statement. It was impressive. He would have had to analyze me like any other target then decide on the best strategy to defeat me. It took not just skill but a patience in extreme situations I had not seen in him before. It had to have developed during his time away.
“You were always my best, most adaptive Altered,” I murmured as I dried his hair. “You put all of that study and strategy into me?”
Vincent looked up at me levelly though his cheeks flamed slightly. “You are mine, and you are my life. I can't think of anything more important.”
I gaped at him for a moment, profoundly moved. Then, I crushed him against me and kissed his temple.
“Lord, I love you,”I whispered.
His arms looped around to squeeze me close. “I love you so much, it frightens me some times.”
“I'm not afraid,” I assured him. “It's what we need. And your stomach is growling.”
Vincent swatted my butt before pulling away. He smiled sweetly at me. “Let's get to it.”