Panoply on Smashwords

Panoply, a story collection, is now live on Smashwords.

Excerpt: “Overwatch”-segment; Drawing; Whatever

Title: Overwatch
Author: Harper Kingsley
Universe: Kanon-verse (alternate universe version of Heroes & Villains)

EXCERPT –

Here I am, he thought. One day older. One day closer.

He squeezed his eyes closed. Drew a deep breath in through his nose. Then he pressed the button that raised the top portion of the hospital bed to an upright position. He clenched his teeth against the pain, feeling the lines around his nose and eyes pull tight.

If he lived, he would carry reminders of this experience forever.

Finally the pain shifted, released. He could breathe. The tears weren’t threatening to squeeze their way past his eyelids.

He took a few moments to regain his composure. Then he shifted the fingers of his left hand onto the call button. Concentrated. And pressed.

Thirty seconds later a nurse appeared. “Good morning, Blue Ice. Are you ready for your pain medications now?”

Warrick thought about saying No. Thought about pretending to be strong for one more minute and continuing to suffer through this agony that had become his life. Then he thought about cool relief from the nerve pain caused by his continuous brain seizures.

“Sir?” the nurse asked. “Is that a Yes or a No on the pain medication at this time? I need a verbal reply, as per your instructions.”

Sometimes Warrick cursed his past-self. That self-assured fool that had never truly believed he could be brought so low. Who never would have imagined a time when all he’d want was for someone else to make the hard choices, because he hurt too much to even care.

Y-y-yessss,” he hissed out through his teeth.

Then there was sweet relief at the hands of his beautiful caretaker. He didn’t know her name, but he loved her with all the fervor of someone finally released from the grasp of wretched misery.

He drifted for some timeless state of being.

A few precious moments completely free from pain.

Time was pressing in on itself. Soon these moments wouldn’t exist. He would count his blessings in seconds, not minutes. Then milliseconds. Then no relief at all. Pain would become his world.

And then he would die.

I hate this, he thought for the millionth time. Why won’t someone come save me for once?

The door slammed open hard enough to take a gouge out of the wall. Caspian didn’t pause in his entrance, coming right to the side of the bed, his grin a fierce baring of teeth. His eyes were like blue fire.

Warrick’s breath caught. He was all aquiver. He felt a desperate hope blooming in his chest.

“I found it. I found it!” Caspian reached his hand toward Warrick’s face, then ever-so-gently, careful of his friend’s propensity for pain, brushed his finger along the arch of Warrick’s cheek. “As long as you hold on, you miserable fuck, you’re going to be out of this hospital bed in a month, walking around. But you’ve gotta hold on, you hear me War? Can you hold on?”

Warrick drew in a shuddering breath. He formed the words slowly, carefully, wanting himself to be clearly heard. “Y-es. Ho-lding onn iss hw-wha-at I do b-es-t.

/END EXCERPT

crossposted at Kimichee.com

*

I’ve been drawing a bit, which has really helped my imagination come up with storylines and characters.

I got a copy of “Drawing and Painting Beautiful Faces with Jane Davenport” and I’ve been trying to make the people I draw look more attractive and less lopsided. I really like this book. I’ve been carrying it around with me, and I’ve been drawing with colored pencil so I can’t erase anything, and my people’s lips are beginning to look like lips.

*

About the Warrick thing up there ^ ^ – Things are a bit different in the Kanon-verse, and not just where “Pulse of the City” is concerned. It’s why things are so different in “Tuesday Night.”

“Allies & Enemies,” by Harper Kingsley is live! [superhero, mm, novel]

Allies & EnemiesTitle: Allies & Enemies
Author: Harper Kingsley
Series: Heroes & Villains (Book Two)
Cover art: Aisha Akeju
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: mm, superhero, urban fantasy, sci-fi
Word count: 129,000

Summary: In the wake of the death of the Fabulous Kims, Vereint cannot forget Melissa, the little girl they left behind, a girl that now has no family. Certain he and Warrick can be the family she needs, he pushes to adopt her. That she proves to have superpowers only confirms he’s right. Melissa is their darling daughter by day, and by night she trains to become Blue Devil, sidekick to Blue Ice.

Then the unthinkable happens, destroying the happiness Vereint and Warrick worked so hard to build—a tragedy so great that the long-vanished Darkstar returns with murderous intent …

It’s here! Allies & Enemies is currently live at Less Than Three and at Smashwords.

Are you excited? I’m excited.

And if you feel like you need to catch up on the series, here’s the links for Heroes & Villains at Less Than Three and at Smashwords.

EXCERPT of Allies & Enemies:

The sun struggled to shine through the clouds, and it was one of those days destined to be miserable. Not just because of the weather, but because of the girl sobbing out her heartbreak on a sterile hospital bed, the sheets pulled up around her shoulders as she buried her face in the flat and lumpy pillow.

Vereint clenched his hands together on the handles of the two shopping bags he held. It took all of his willpower to keep from running into the room and scooping her into his arms. Instead, he stood in the hallway and watched through the window as she mourned the loss of her parents. Behind and to the left of him, he could hear Warrick talking to the nurse and the social worker, and Vereint was sure everything was just about worked out.

They were going to take that little girl home and give her a family and make sure she grew up knowing that she was loved. He didn’t think they could ever erase the loss of her parents, but they would try their best to make her realize she still had a whole life to live and they would be there for her.

Vereint heard the slight scuff of dress shoes on the linoleum floor, and then Warrick’s arm settled across his shoulders. He didn’t hesitate to hug Warrick’s wrist against his chest. He breathed in the scent that his brain uniquely identified as Warrick Reidenger Tobias and something screaming and tight in his chest released. “Do we get to take her now?”

“I talked them around,” Warrick said. “There will be social service visits and we’ll have a social worker assigned. They’ll still be looking for any family she has, but she gets to go home with us tonight. They say she’s all right, just shaken up, so it’ll be better for her if she doesn’t spend another night in the hospital.”

“Good.” Vereint had never been fond of hospitals. Just the smell and the sounds were enough to make him uncomfortable; he couldn’t imagine how miserable it must be for a grieving twelve-year-old who had watched her parents die. “The guest room will be fine for tonight, and tomorrow I can go and get things to make it more comfortable.”

He’d get her a few things to make her feel welcome, then later after her grief had a chance to settle he would take her to pick out things she wanted for herself. It would give them a chance to bond. He wondered what she looked like when she smiled.

“Here comes the social worker,” Warrick said.

There was the clack-clack of sensible pumps attached to a tall, thin woman with a pair of no-nonsense glasses perched on her nose. She looked like she might be kind, but also as though she didn’t suffer fools. The subdued floral print of her purple and black blouse showed she had a softer side that they would be able to appeal to.

“Mr. Georges-Tobias, Mr. Tobias, I’m Nancy Daniels and I’ve been assigned to Melissa’s case.” Her handshake was brusque and businesslike. She wasn’t ready to be friends, not until she was sure of them, but Vereint knew she was the kind of ally they were going to need. He’d done a bit of research about child services, and while money could take them far, they would need her help to smooth away the minor irritations of the legal system.

He smiled at her, trying to pour on the charm without going too far over the top. “Thank you. I’m just glad you’re letting us take her home with us.”

She sighed. “It will be nice for her to be out of here. From what the nurses have said, last night was not a good night for her.” She walked toward the door. “Come along and I’ll introduce you.”

Warrick reached the door first and held it open with easy grace. He brushed his hand against the small of Vereint’s back as Vereint passed by him. Vereint gave him a smile before his attention was caught by the girl on the bed.

Melissa was a cute Korean-American girl with long black hair and a triangular-shaped face. She was short, her body so tiny that her head looked large in comparison. With the opening of the door, she hastily sat up, raking her hands through the tangled mess of her hair and scrubbing at her eyes with the corner of the sheet. Her face was still blotchy and red, but her chin firmed as she pretended she hadn’t been crying.

“What do you want?” she asked, her lips twitching as she tried to maintain her control. She blinked rapidly to clear the gleam of tears from her eyes.

“Hello, Melissa,” Nancy said, her voice gentle and soothing. “I know you said you want to leave the hospital, and that’s why I’ve brought these two gentlemen with me. This is Vereint Georges-Tobias and his husband Warrick Tobias. They want you to stay with them until everything gets figured out.”

Melissa gave them a suspicious glare. “I don’t know them. I don’t want to go anywhere with them.”

“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to,” Nancy said, “but Vereint and Warrick are offering you a safe place to stay.”

Vereint stepped forward, shifting the bags until they hung from his left wrist, and held up his hands, palms out so she could see that they were empty. He gave Melissa a tentative smile. “Hi. I can tell you want to get out of here. I don’t much like hospitals myself, and it must be pretty cold here at night, huh?”

Her black eyes were still suspicious, but she gave a nod of grudging agreement. “The blankets are thin and you can hear everything that goes on at night. I think the man in the next room died last night; there was a big ruckus and people were running in and out.” Her chin was a hard nob that she refused to let tremble.

Vereint pressed his lips together. He’d pushed for her to be put in a different unit of the hospital, but her brush with the freeze ray that had shot her parents meant she needed close observation. At least, that had been the line the doctor had given when Vereint had asked if she could be discharged two days ago. Vereint didn’t think a lonely and sterile hospital room was a healthy environment for a traumatized child. He didn’t want to see her spirit damaged.

The fact that she was defensive made him like her more. He’d felt as though something had stabbed him in the chest the first time he’d seen her after her parents’ death. He’d never believed in fate, but it was obvious to him that he and Warrick had to take her home and raise her as their daughter. There had been so much hurt in her eyes when they’d met his and so much spirit beyond that, it had been no effort at all to nudge Warrick into grudging action.

/EXCERPT

Allies & Enemies, by Harper Kingsley. Chapter 5 [superhero, mm]

Title: Allies & Enemies
Author: Harper Kingsley
World: Heroes & Villains
Genre: mm superhero
Summary: Warrick comes home after a bad experience. They have to deal with the aftermath and revelations.

 CHAPTER FIVE

 Brushing Mr. Cuddy turned out to be one of those things he really enjoyed. He wouldn’t have imagined it could be so soothing, but there was just something about it. Running the soft bristles through his silky white fur and hearing the whispery “shush-shush” sound and his reverberating purr of satisfaction.

Mr. Cuddy opened one slit-pupiled green eye to give Vereint a rolling look. His front paws kneaded at the couch cushion and Vereint could feel him pushing back against the brush demandingly.

“Are you still playing with that cat?” Melissa asked disbelievingly. She was standing in the living room archway with an energy drink in her hands. “You’re going to get too attached and Miss Cuddy’s gonna be pissed you’ve stolen her husband.”

Vereint wagged the brush at her. “I’m not trying to steal her cat. She left me a whole list of things she expects me to do for him. Brushing him every night was on it.”

“And how exactly did she talk you into cat sitting?” Melissa stepped into the living room and leaned her elbow against a chair back.

“She didn’t want to put him in one of those animal hostels and was completely upset,” Vereint said. She’d been pitiful and he’d been desperate to get her away from his door. “How could I tell her no when she was so desperate? Besides, Mr. Cuddy is a great cat.” Continue reading Allies & Enemies, by Harper Kingsley. Chapter 5 [superhero, mm]

Allies & Enemies, by Harper Kingsley. Chapter 4 [superhero, mm]

Title: Allies & Enemies
Author: Harper Kingsley
World: Heroes & Villains
Genre: mm superhero
Summary: Vereint and Warrick are still adapting to having a teenaged girl in their lives.

 

CHAPTER FOUR

Life settled into a routine they could all live with. The whole having a kid thing no longer seemed like such an emotional ball kick and Melissa really began to seem like a member of their family.

It was hard keeping Warrick’s identity as Blue Ice away from her, but it wasn’t like they hadn’t been practicing liars before. Vereint’s supervillain past seemed more like dirty laundry than Warrick’s predilection to go out and save the world.

Melissa spent most of her weekdays at the expensive prep school they’d gotten her into. Burstow Academy was the same place Warrick had gone to as a kid, so she received a legacy benefit, and even though her last name was Kim, it was well understood that she was a member of the Tobias family. Special treatment abounded.

There had been a few rough spots, like when Vereint got called in because Melissa had been “acting out.” He’d shown up nervous, expecting to hear that his kid had killed someone or leveled a large chunk of the school. Instead he’d had to bite his lip hard to keep from calling the teacher a “Nominal bitch” to her face and flinging her desk at her. He still had a few anger issues he hadn’t managed to tame.

Some jerk had called Melissa a chink whore. So naturally she’d kicking him on the shin and cursed at him in Korean. By the time Vereint got there, the kid had already been sent home with an ice pack and Melissa had nearly been suspended for physical assault. He’d had a long talk with her about how physically attacking someone was not the correct response, especially when she was at school, and she seemed to really understand. Especially when he pointed out that his being called into school was not a good thing.

Vereint was proud of his level of control. Nobody died and he got Melissa’s suspension revoked. But that teacher had been added to his List.

Other than a few minor issues, Melissa settled into school with the kind of easy grace other kids envied. It seemed natural that she would become popular and join after school activities such as Cheer Squad, gymnastics, and drama club. She was so full of energy that she was constantly looking for something to do with it.

Life was good. Continue reading Allies & Enemies, by Harper Kingsley. Chapter 4 [superhero, mm]

Allies & Enemies, by Harper Kingsley. Chapter 3 [superhero mm]

Truly, Vereint is desperate to fit into normal life. I think that’s what I like about him. Sure, he messes up, but he tries hard. He just can’t help it that sometimes he forgets how breakable other people are.

Title: Allies & Enemies – Chapter Three
Author: Harper Kingsley
World: Heroes & Villains
Genre: mm superhero novel
Rating: mature
A/N: Sequel to Heroes & Villains.
Summary: Chapter One & Two HERE (opens in another window.) Chapter Three has Vereint panicking over his parents wanting to meet Melissa. Yet Warrick can’t be found.

 

CHAPTER THREE

Life with Melissa wasn’t all roses and happiness. She was a grieving girl, and once the shocked placidness wore off, she was a bit of a spitfire. There were definite traces of a brat in there.

There were a couple of times where Vereint had to remind himself that he wasn’t a supervillain anymore. There were a couple of times where Warrick had to remind him rather forcibly as well, though those little scuffles usually ended in fabulous makeup sex, so he didn’t mind that as much. Still, having a kid around was a whole different world for them. It added depth to their relationship or something.

Vereint’s mom, Sandra, barely gave him any warning before she was in a car with Patrick and Hank, promising a long visit. She was desperate to see her new granddaughter and she wasn’t going to let anything get in her way, Vereint included. Not that he would ever try to block her from anything–he wasn’t that stupid.

His mother was a force of nature wrapped up in a human skin.

Instead, he made sure the apartment was immaculate. He liked hearing Melissa’s soft giggles as he raced around at human speed washing dishes, folding laundry, vacuuming, and preparing a feast for their guests.

“You could help me, you know,” he said, giving her a sideways glance. She was curled up on the couch, her little feet wearing brightly colored striped socks.

She shrugged. “I could. But you seem to be having a lot of fun.”

He switched off the vacuum cleaner and put his hands on his hips. “That’s it, little lady. Get your hiney off the couch and go make sure your room is clean. My mom’s going to want to see it first thing to make sure you’re not living in squalor.”

There was a visible shifting behind her eyes, as though she was contemplating telling him to go shove it. Finally, she threw her feet off the couch and stood up, padding quietly toward her room.

“I’ll be in with fresh sheets in about ten minutes,” he called after her. “I don’t want to see a single toy on the floor.”

“Gotcha!” she called back.

Vereint stood there for a long moment. His life really had become something very different and strange, yet it was a good kind of strange. Warm and quietly happy.

He shook his head and switched the vacuum cleaner on, going back to making sure all the lines in the carpet bent the same way. He paused midway through to light the scented candles on the coffee table and on both end tables, sniffing contentedly as he worked.

He glanced at the decorative sun-faced clock on the wall and had to wonder where Warrick was and when he was going to be home. Warrick had promised that he would be here when the Georges appeared. Continue reading Allies & Enemies, by Harper Kingsley. Chapter 3 [superhero mm]

Heroes & Villains: Psychotic, by Harper Kingsley [superhero]

Aside

PsychoticTitle: Psychotic
Author: Harper Kingsley
World: Heroes & Villains
Genre: mm superhero
Word count: 8750
A/N: This story is set during part three of Allies & Enemies. It began as a cut scene and was expanded.
A/N 2: Includes excerpts of upcoming stories. First two chapters of Allies & Enemies, the first two chapters of The Panic Pure, and the opening of Normal Again.

Summary: Warrick should stay safe in their little cabin in the woods, but sometimes that whole superhero thing gets away from him.

Available at: Amazon, Smashwords for $0.99

EXCERPT:

He’d given up that life. He wasn’t that guy anymore. He’d made promises and commitments. But that was all in the past tense. He was in the moment, in the now, and there was the thunder red of rage-rage-rage burning across Vereint’s brain.

All this time, Warrick had been so great about following the rules. So why did he have to fuck up now?

Vereint had come back to an empty cabin, a TV still showing GNN, and a note. Warrick had seen something that called for Blue Ice, so he’d gone off to handle it.

Vereint’s panic as he chased after Warrick had gradually turned to burning anger. Didn’t Warrick understand what putting himself in danger did to him? The sense of helplessness and suffocating worry that he felt?

Vereint wanted to scream in Warrick’s face, but he knew he would end up on his knees begging him to never leave him. And that patheticness only made him angrier. Never in his life had there been anyone to bring him so low as Warrick could.

By the time he reached the warehouse, he was mostly in control. Then he broke the lock and slid open the door. It felt like the moment froze in front of him, the air going heavy and still.

Warrick was dead.

There was blood everywhere in a butterfly spray, and at the center the torn cocoon. Flesh splayed open in pink and white ridges of muscle and tendon. Eye sockets blackened and exposed amongst the brain matter. Warrick’s face was pasty and still, his shattered lips still parted around where his teeth had been kicked out.

Vereint sucked in a hissing breath and his hands clenched into claw shapes at his sides. He was going mad. The world was a riot of bright reds and softer pinks and the glistening lengths of intestine. The image before him soaked itself into his brain. Becoming the truth of his existence.

Then he noticed that the Blue Ice uniform was wrong. It was one Vereint knew for sure had been ruined in a fight with Behemoth. He’d thrown it away himself, which had been a real hardship. It had been his favorite.

Just that quick he knew someone was messing with his brain.

It was as though someone had snapped a new lens on a camera, everything coming into focus. He could still see the mind fuckery of the illusion, but it was hollow and thin, all the emotional impact removed.

There were two men in black three-piece suits standing next to a card table. They were laughing and joking, placing bets on how long he would freak out.

As his mind started working again, Vereint’s eyes were drawn to the vibrating silver device on the table. He’d only ever heard about them, but he was sure that it was a Psiren. It produced sound waves focused to some frequency that could force the human brain to experience different emotions. The feelings drawn up were so strong that some people experienced correlating hallucinations.

Vereint tried to make his body convey terror and grief and was glad of the ski mask he’d pulled on before leaving. He’d never been that great of an actor, which was why he usually let Warrick do the lying for the both of them.

His eyes slid to the back of the room where he’d spotted the glint of a blade pressed tight against the real Warrick’s throat. His jaw clenched tight with fear and anger.

Warrick wasn’t moving, was flopped limply, but Vereint could see the minute quiver of his breaths. He was pulled across the over-sized lap of a man that had to be a good fifteen hundred pounds.

Vereint recognized the man as Jericho Slim, sometimes called the Knife Man because he could do horrible nightmare things with a blade. He could draw them out of his flesh like gall stones. He would gag and a blade would come out from between his lips or sometimes it would just be slivers. It was said he could spit his Needle Darts faster than a viper and he could hit a target up to two hundred feet away.

Even though he was sure he was faster than Jericho Slim, Vereint didn’t want to risk the guy getting lucky. It was better to play it safe and maneuver the situation to keep Warrick alive. Because a single scratch from one of Jericho Slim’s bioblades and Warrick would rot from the wound like it was the bite of a Gila monster; it was a horrible way to die.

After what he figured had to be a good five minutes of shivering, shaking, and quavering garbled cries, Vereint let himself sag to the floor with a low moan. From what he knew, an improperly used Psiren could cause catatonia in people that had experienced severe psychological trauma.

He was worried about Warrick. With his history and not possessing Vereint’s natural protections, things were worse for Warrick. Being hit with the effects of a Psiren could give him permanent brain damage.

Vereint was certain he was going to be killing some people today.

/EXCERPT

EXCERPT: Allies & Enemies, by Harper Kingsley mm superhero

Title: Allies & Enemies
Author: Harper Kingsley
Genre: mm, superhero, action adventure, drama
A/N: Still trying to get a hold of a good cover 🙁 Paid good money for a load of nothing. Might end up with a generic quivering camera photo of flowers or fruit or something for a cover; still deciding.

Summary: Starts where “Heroes & Villains” left off. Vereint could be a terrifying and unstoppable force and it was just luck that he showed even the tiniest bit of concern for other people. If he had been completely amoral he would have been a monster so terrible he could almost be seen as a force of nature.

The sun was struggling to shine through the clouds, but it was just one of those days guaranteed to be miserable. Not just because of the weather, but because of the girl sobbing out her heartbreak on a sterile hospital bed, the sheets pulled up around her shoulders as she buried her face in the rather flat and lumpy pillow.

Vereint clenched his hands together on the handle of the shopping bag he held in front of himself. It took all of his will to keep from running into the room and scooping her up into his arms. Instead, he stood on the other side of the glass and watched her mourn the loss of both of her parents all alone. Behind and to the left of him, he could hear Warrick fast-talking the doctors and the police and anyone else he had to and Vereint was sure everything was going to work itself out.

They were going to take that little girl home and give her a family and make sure she grew up knowing that she was loved. He didn’t think they could ever wipe away the loss of her parents, but they would try their best to make her realize that she still had a whole life to live and that they would always be there for her. Continue reading EXCERPT: Allies & Enemies, by Harper Kingsley mm superhero