Tuesday, June 15, 2021

A quiet joy took root and grew -- #MFRWHooks #PrideMonth #Giveaway #99cents

The H-Gene teaser

Welcome to the MFRW Book Hooks blog hop! Today, in my continuing celebration of Pride Month, I have another, exclusive excerpt from my MM scifi erotic romance The H-Gene. This novel is on sale all through June for only 99 cents. But just for fun, I’m giving away a copy today, to one person who leaves a comment with his or her email address.

Here’s a quick blurb:

After a gay plague killed millions and sparked brutal riots, the Guardians locked up all H-positive men in remote quarantine camps – including Dylan Moore. H-negative guard Rafe Cowell blames the lust he feels watching prisoner 3218 on loneliness and isolation. When he finally meets the young queer, he discovers that Dylan is brilliant, brave, sexy as hell — and claims to be in love with Rafe.

And here’s the hook!


Twenty minutes later Rafe was in the garage, checking out a trike. The guards used the three-wheeled, battery-powered cycles for recon outside the camp. It wasn’t likely anyone would try to break in—most people had forgotten all about the quarantine—but every two months, protocol required that someone check the twenty miles of bleak terrain surrounding Malheur Camp for anything suspicious.

Rafe hoisted himself into the seat, pulled on his helmet and goggles, then flipped the starter. He headed for the gate in the inner fence, the cycle purring underneath him.

He halted outside the second gate, across from the raised bridge. He was more than twenty feet from the moat, but the rotten egg stench still assaulted his senses. There was no way Dylan could have made it across that hellish river. The guy must be here somewhere, between the outer fence and that stinking pit of poison.

And when I find him? Rafe couldn’t help asking himself. Then what? If I don’t bring him back, I’m pretty much signing my own death warrant.

He pushed the thought away. Turning left, he began a slow circle around the camp. As in the inmate precinct, there were no trees, just the occasional boulder making long shadows in the setting sun. Rafe examined each unlikely hiding place, searching without success for Dylan or any sign that he’d been there. Concrete towers at each corner of the fence supported spotlights and housed the transformers that fed current to the steel mesh. No one crouched in the angles between these buildings and the barrier. The maintenance entrances were all inside the fence, so Dylan couldn’t be hiding inside the cement boxes.

Where the fuck are you, Dylan? Give me some clue.

It took Rafe more than an hour to make his way around the eight-mile perimeter and back to the bridge. By then the sky overhead had turned azure, while red and orange clouds striped the western horizon. He stared again at the steel webbing arching over the stinking, bubbling moat of toxic waste. Could Dylan have somehow figured out how to lower the pivoting segment to cross over, then raise it again?

Considering all the amazing technical feats the inmate had managed inside, nothing was impossible.

He inserted a pair of nose plugs fished from his jacket pocket, then approached the bridge control box. When he touched his left and right index fingers to the sensor panels, the compartment swung open. There was no sign of tampering. He pressed the “Down” button. The hinged section squealed slightly as it swung down and locked into place.

Rafe sucked in a deep breath and squeezed the trike accelerator. The vehicle sped up the ramp, across the temporary span, and down the other side. Remembering his training, still holding his breath, he activated the “Up” button from the matching control box on the far end of the bridge. The moving segment flipped back to the open position.

He brought the cycle to a stop some thirty feet beyond the moat and let his lungs empty. He stared back at the ugly bulk of Malheur Camp. The floodlights came on, bathing the ground around the fence in a sickly yellow glare. The barren soil where he stood, outside the range of the lights, was still a featureless gray. Evening deepened as Rafe perched there on the trike, trying to figure out what to do next.

If Dylan had made it past the moat, he’d be on foot. Rafe could easily catch him on the cycle, but only if he knew which direction the boy had taken. Dylan was probably too smart to keep to the road. On the other hand, he’d said he was headed for the city. Rafe guessed he meant Sanfran. Ellay was too far away and, since the eruption of 2024, nobody really considered Portland a city anymore.

Southwest, then. If he wanted to find the boy, that’s the way he should head. But maybe he should give up, go back to the camp and admit that they’d all been outsmarted. The Guardians would probably discipline both him and Turk, but what could the higher-ups do, really? Fire them for incompetence?

Rafe gave a bitter laugh. As the sound died away, he thought he heard something else—something like a moan, barely audible but definitely human.

He listened carefully to the quiet night. There it was again—a soft sound of someone in agony, coming from near the bridge.

Dylan! Rafe scrambled off the trike and headed towards the sound, holding his breath once again. He scanned the bank. There! By the edge of the moat, in the shadow of the criss-crossed girders, there was something that looked like a pile of rags. He inched closer, trying to ignore the sting as the toxic vapors attacked his skin. The bundle of cloth stirred and coughed. Rafe rushed over, crouched down and turned the body onto its back. Then he gasped and choked himself as noxious fumes rushed into his throat.

Dylan’s cheeks and brow were peppered with oozing sores. His eyes were swollen shut. His thick tongue protruded between cracked lips. His fingers twitched feebly.

Rafe half dragged, half carried the younger man away from the river of poison. He stretched the limp body out on the ground, shielded by the trike. “Dylan!” he cried, as the fresher air filled his chest. “It’s me, baby. Oh, God, Dylan!”

Dylan coughed and sputtered. Greenish spittle trickled from his mouth.

Breathe, kid. Breathe!”

Dylan seemed to hear. His raw lips moved, as though he wanted to say something.

Rafe needed water, to wash the man’s wounds and clean away the chemical residue. He needed antibacterial salve and collagen strips and enzyme patches to stimulate healing. Not to mention an oxygen tank to force the poison out of Dylan’s lungs.

That meant civilization, or what passed for it here in the wastelands of Oregon. The closest settlements, though, were at least two hundred miles away.

Rafe lifted Dylan’s body once more and settled it on the seat of the trike. Dylan slumped against the windscreen. Rafe mounted the bike behind the inmate, slipping one arm around his waist for support while steering with the other.

Rafe?” Dylan’s voice was weak but intelligible. He raised his head then let it flop back on to Rafe’s chest.

Yeah, it’s me. Just relax, boy. Hang on. I’m going to get you some help.” Rafe started the cycle and turned it towards the ribbon of crumbling asphalt that stretched westward.

The other man leaned against Rafe’s body. “Mmm,” he murmured. “Good.”

Strangely enough, it was good. Despite his worry about Dylan, Rafe felt a kind of contentment as they raced off into the night. The wind was fresh and cool in his face. The motor hummed between his thighs. Dylan’s weight was a welcome reminder that, for once, Rafe was not alone.

The cycle ate up the miles. Dylan slept, curled against him. Inside Rafe’s chest, a quiet joy took root and grew stronger. For the first time in years, Rafe felt free.

 


Only 99 cents at Smashwords, BN and Kobo through June 30th.

Smashwordshttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1032512

Barnes and Noblehttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-h-gene-lisabet-sarai/1137338272?ean=2940164186050

Kobohttps://www.kobo.com/th/en/ebook/the-h-gene

But do leave a comment – you might win a free copy!

Be sure to visit the other authors participating in today’s Book Hooks hop (links below).



11 comments:

Lil_mousey said...

This looks like a great book

Janet Lane Walters said...

What an intriguing excerpt

Debby said...

This should be amazing
debby236 at hotmail dot com

Colleen C. said...

Happy Blog Hop!

Ed Hoornaert said...

What a lovely world this is. I assume Dylan's ailment comes from breathing the moat's fumes?

Daryl Devoré said...

Intense. And a great read.
Tweeted.

J.Q. Rose said...

Heart-pounding excerpt. Enjoyed it.
JQ Rose

Jackie said...

Wow you have definitely caught my interest. I need to read to see what happens to them

Lisabet Sarai said...

Congratulations to Lil-Mousey, who has won the free book.

I hope you will get in touch with me, since you didn't leave an email address!

bn100 said...

already over
bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Tena Stetler said...

Intense and intriguing excerpt. Now what. Thanks for sharing!

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