Walking into the penthouse, Warrick was greeted by bags of groceries on the counter and Vereint wearing an apron and nothing else. The sight of that devilish smile and those bare arms and legs made Warrick hitch his step on the way to the hall closet to hang up his jacket.
“What’s going on?” he asked slowly. He couldn’t help tracing his gaze over Vereint, seeing where the brightly colored fabric curved, bent, cupped, and what it did and didn’t cover. It took him an extra few seconds to get his jacket on the hanger and the closet door closed.
“I thought we’d cook dinner together,” Vereint said. “I saw this recipe for garlic butter steak.”
“Steak?” Warrick’s mouth salivated at the thought. “Butter… That’s going to be a calorie bomb though.”
“Tonight’s special,” Vereint said.
“Oh?” Warrick crossed the intervening space and wrapped his arms around Vereint. He peeked over Vereint’s shoulder and couldn’t help grinning at the sight of a bare back and buttocks. He let the fingers of his right hand drift off the apron and lightly brush against Vereint’s skin. He was always so warm.
Vereint obligingly pressed closer to him, one hand going into Warrick’s hair. “Mm.”
“Why’s tonight special?” Warrick asked. He tried to walk Vereint toward their bedroom, but Vereint didn’t move. Warrick stopped pulling at him, resting his whole weight against him instead. If Vereint didn’t want to be moved, there would be no moving him.
“It’s our anniversary,” Vereint said. He must have felt Warrick’s body stiffen with sudden panic because he laughed. “Don’t worry; it’s not our wedding anniversary. It’s the anniversary of the first time I took you hostage.”
“You know, when we were in that bank–”
“And you were wearing that horrible shirt!” Warrick laughed and squeezed Vereint.
“That’s when you fell in love with me,” Vereint said.
“No way,” Warrick said. “You terrorized a bank full of people and took me hostage. I thought you were a brat.”
“A brat that you immediately fell in love with because that’s the kind of person you are. You thrive on adversity.”
“And you being a brat is what you consider adversity?”
“No. I call that ‘charm.’ The adversity part comes in when you try to resist jumping my bones as we sear the rib-eye I’ve got on the counter.” Vereint tugged himself out of Warrick’s arms and headed toward the kitchen. The flirty wink he tossed over his shoulder and the way he flexed the globes of his ass were a dare.
Watching him go, Warrick shook his head with a rueful grin. He could definitely feel the adversity now.
Author: Harper Kingsley
Universe: Kanon-verse (alternate universe version of Heroes & Villains)
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.”
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.”
PROMPTS: I know that other than my daily prompts I’ve been pretty quiet, but that’s about to change. Probably on Monday.
For some reason, though I schedule the prompts in advance, there’s been a handful of times when the prompts haven’t posted 🙁 I’ve had to login and manually hit Publish, which either means there’s a weird glitch or I’m doing something wrong. (I’m probably doing something wrong.)
Anyways, if you’re looking forward to my prompts each day, they are all scheduled to post at 7 a.m. PST. If a prompt doesn’t appear in your inbox by 7:03 a.m., there’s a good chance the scheduling failed. So either let me know on Twitter or in email or in the comments, or wait until I notice something’s wrong and post it myself. Otherwise, there should be a prompt every day.
I’m not guaranteeing that the prompts will be happening until December 31. But there’s a good chance that’s what’s happening.
HVU: What is this mysterious “HVU” I hear you not ask? Well, HVU stands for “Heroes & Villains Universe”, and it is an in-browser game I’m making.
At this point, you can choose whether you’re a “Hero” or a “Villain”, and you can pick out your costumed name. You can choose gender pronoun, hair color and length, eye color, height, and build.
You are stuck with a default character of either Lorelai, Leon, Kelsey, Kramer, or Riddle. The default character is randomly assigned. So, just like in real life, you’re “born” with a name you may or may not like.
HVU bridges the events in the Heroes & Villains books, filling in the gaps. Plus there’s side-stories, bonus content for Patreon patrons, and unlock codes for extra stuff.
The game isn’t ready for the public yet, but I’ll be posting a link here on Monday so ya’ll can try it out before everybody else.
WHAT’S TO COME: Well, I’m putting out my prompts, I’m putting out HVU, I’m working on Tuesday Night, I’m working on a few short stories, and once that novel bridge is built, there’ll be ATR. And if HVU is successful, I’ll be porting the game to Ren’py.
Any codes or bonuses earned in the browser version WILL carry over to the Ren’py version. So if anyone buys a code bundle or something, everything you get will transfer over. (The same codes will work in the browser and Ren’py versions.)
And of course, a Ren’py game is going to be more robust and more capable of different actions. As it is, the browser version of HVU has had me pulling out my hair for all the things it can’t do. (OMG, I’ve crashed my shit like 10 times trying to get this game to do the impossible.) For now, I’m settling for a fun game-story experience and my browser games are going to be simple text-based things.
Expect free game codes to be peppered through future posts. You should be able to type the code name into the search box and find any codes you’re missing. For example, “Code Aleph” was introduced a couple of weeks ago and might prove useful on Monday. Just saying.
Anyways, I’mma go outside with my dog and scribble in my notebook for a while.
Have a great day.
If you’re purchasing anything on Amazon and would like to help me out with my money woes (I’m poor), please consider using my Amazon Affiliate link. I don’t make a whole lot, but your help is enabling me to buy the Kid a new pair of khakis this month, and I consider that a win.
Title: 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 …
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.
Ugh, it’s the middle of the night and I got up and ate a big bowl of cold spaghetti. Now my stomach is feeling all roly-poly “I think I’m going to be sick”-oly. I’m starting to feel tired again and I’ll go back to bed in a moment, but until then I’ve been planning out my NaNoWriMo.
I know, right? It’s practically the middle of the month and I’m just starting my story. But it’s actually the third story that I’ve started for NaNo, but it’s the only one I don’t think I’m going to discard. Those other ones left me feeling doubtful, this one makes me feel hopeful. It’s called “Freeform Jazz” because I’m not-so secretly a weirdo.
The rough start:
Jazz – real name: James Leopold. He was nicknamed Jazz because that’s what his parents were listening to when he was conceived. It’s a horrifying story he really didn’t want to know about, but it wasn’t something he could forget. Not when they insisted on listening to jazz music every year around his birthday and got all moon-eyed toward each other. It was disgusting.
But you never have to worry about it again, he thought. You’re never going to catch them being all kissy faced and sweaty-rumpled. You’re never going to see them ever again.
“Are you all right, son? Is there someone I can call?”
Jazz blinked and looked at the man that had stopped next to his perch on the stone planter. “What?”
There was infinite patience in the brown eyes that looked at him, a sad understanding that made Jazz want to slap the guy just because he could. “Would you like me to call someone for you?” the man asked.
“Why?” Jazz asked, cocking his head.
“Because you’re crying.”
The man pointed and Jazz realized that it was true. Tears were streaming down his cheeks and he hadn’t even noticed them start. He scrubbed at his face with his sleeve and thought that he was supposed to be embarrassed. Really, he was just tired. Exhausted in a way that made even breathing seem too hard to take.
“I’m … I’m all right,” he said. “You don’t have to call anyone. I’ll be fine.”
The man didn’t look like he believed him, but gave him a nod anyway before heading toward the stone steps. He had a black cane that went with the limp in his left leg. Jazz wondered what had happened to him.
Maybe you just met the real life John Watson, he thought. A smile tugged at his lips, but it didn’t last long. Not when he couldn’t seem to stop the helpless tears that kept escaping his eyes as he tried not to think about his parents. His tragically dead parents.
Jazz mopped at his face and forced himself to his feet when what he really wanted to do was hug his knees to his chest and just break down. But how lame would that be? A nineteen year old weeping in front of the public library because he didn’t know what else to do.
He hated feeling so helpless.
Don’t tell anyone at Wattpad, but I’ve decided that it’s the origin story of GlenDal (from Heroes & Villains). Everyone knows I’m a big Sailor Moon fan, plus there’s that song from AMVHell 5: “If I were a girl, even just for a day, I’d roll out of bed in the morning and wonder what just happened to me.” The story is practically writing itself. I even came up with a little Barbie joke that I’m going to throw in.
I am really excited about NaNoWriMo. I hope you are too ^_^
I have largely been without Internet for most of this month. I’m back now, but it will be sporadic at best and I apologize. I hope that I will be able to make posts through my kindle and email, but it’s been giving me a hard time lately and some posts haven’t gone through.
Anyways, I have several things to share, so brace yourself:
Heroes & Villains was reviewed by Joyfully Jay and got 4-stars and a really nice write up. I was scared to look at first — I’m such a wuss — but it was a really nice review. I’m still grinning.
In case you didn’t know, Heroes & Villains is my mm superhero novel.
Heroes & Villains
by Harper Kingsley
publisher: Less Than Three Press
word count: 130k
Darkstar x Blue Ice.
Series so far:
Heroes & Villains
Allies & Enemies (upcoming)
All That Remains (upcoming)
In the same universe:
Pulse of the City
The Dark Hearts (upcoming)
Savior Unknown (upcoming)
* * *
I’ve added some to ParaShift, if you’re following that. Chapter Fourteen will be coming up shortly, and we’re already 39,000 words in.
For the official version, Park is becoming an ever more interesting character. Seriously, this dude should be named B.A. Park, because he’s just that bad ass. He’s also more thoughtful than I first envisioned him to be. He’s turning into a real romantic lead.
* * *
I would like to wish the lovely L.J. LaBarthe a happy birthday.
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.
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.