To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: August 13, 2018
Length: Print – 243 pages. Ebook – 295 pages.
Subgenre: Science fiction, western
Reader warnings: past and present violence, and references to past abuse.
For a full list of tags, visit: https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/to-see-the-sun and click on “Additional Details”
Survival is hard enough in the outer colonies—what chance does love have?
Life can be harsh and lonely in the outer colonies, but miner-turned-farmer Abraham Bauer is living his dream, cultivating crops that will one day turn the unforgiving world of Alkirak into paradise. He wants more, though. A companion—someone quiet like him. Someone to share his days, his bed, and his heart.
Gael Sonnen has never seen the sky, let alone the sun. He’s spent his whole life locked in the undercity beneath Zhemosen, running from one desperate situation to another. For a chance to get out, he’ll do just about anything—even travel to the far end of the galaxy as a mail-order husband. But no plan of Gael’s has ever gone smoothly, and his new start on Alkirak is no exception. Things go wrong from the moment he steps off the shuttle.
Although Gael arrives with unexpected complications, Abraham is prepared to make their relationship work—until Gael’s past catches up with them, threatening Abraham’s livelihood, the freedom Gael gave everything for, and the love neither man ever hoped to find.
Bram pushed up from the table. “I’m going to make tea. Want some?”
“I can make it.”
“Sit. I didn’t ship you all the way out here to wait on me.”
“What did you ship me out here for?”
Bram didn’t answer, and the question burned the back of his neck as he performed the mundane task of making the tea. He selected an herbal blend, his favorite, and spooned desiccated leaves, fruit peel, and flower heads into the diffusing chamber at the center of a battered metal pot. He could program the beverage machine, but he preferred to make tea the old-fashioned way. Leaves and hot water. Sometimes the process of a thing was as important as the result.
He reached toward the shelf of mugs and stopped as a hand touched his shoulder. Warm breath ghosted across the cooling skin at the back of his neck, reigniting his blush. Bram let his fingers catch on the edge of the shelf and rest there, and tipped his head forward. Gael moved closer, the heat of his body evident now as he leaned in.
Lips met the back of his neck in a soft kiss. A small quake shifted the muscles beneath Bram’s skin, his body making ready to turn. He held still a moment longer before following another long-held urge, turning slowly—so slowly—until they were face to face. Well, until his mouth was level with Gael’s forehead. Bram pressed a kiss there, one as gentle as the touch of lips to the back of his neck.
“I didn’t bring you out here for this, either,” he murmured.
“Yes, you did.”
Bram took hold of Gael’s slim shoulders. “Not just this.” And not like this.
In answer, Gael lifted his face, offering up his mouth. Bram’s resolve lasted about a second longer than he thought it might before he bent to taste those lips. They’d been interrupted twice now. No longer.
Gael’s lips were so soft, melting beneath his, opening—though Bram didn’t take the invitation right away. He kissed both lips, together and separately. He tasted them, the scent of Gael mingling with the bitter tang of the outside air. Gael made a small sound: a whimper or a moan. Bram deepened the kiss, still resisting the temptation of Gael’s tongue. He didn’t want to fall all in, lose himself.
Then he was there, falling, his lips and hands operating independently of thought. He craved the warmth of Gael’s skin and wanted to compare it to the feel of his tongue. See if he moved the same way—gently, teasingly. Gael seemed as wrapped up in the kiss as Bram. He shifted, constantly, swaying into Bram, hooking his hands into the back pockets of Bram’s work pants.
Blood shot south to pulse in his cock, leaving Bram in that almost-forgotten state of arousal—somewhere between thought and thoughtlessness. He teetered there, reveling in the anticipation, and let his imagination roam. Oh, to touch Gael’s skin, to taste him. To hear the sounds he’d make when aroused, when brought to climax, when drifting in the aftermath. Would he be loud? Would he be shy and sweet?
A soft click sounded behind him. The tea. Blinking as though roused from a dream, Bram pulled back. Gael leaned in immediately, following him. He kissed Bram’s neck and ground his hips forward. Bram tugged Gael’s hands from his pockets, regret making his movements clumsy.
Gael tipped his head back. “What are you doing?”
“The tea is ready.”
One long, slow blink. “What?”
“The tea.” Bram was still holding Gael’s hands, and stupidly, he didn’t want to let go. But he did so he could turn and collect the mugs. Pick up the pot.
“Did I do something wrong?”
“Then why did we stop?”
Bram had to consider his answer because he didn’t really know, not in a way he could express in words. It would have been so easy to keep going. To have had something fast and dirty in the kitchen, or to have picked Gael up and carried him to the bedroom.
Gael followed him into the HV room and sat beside him on the couch. Waited quietly while Bram poured the tea and handed over one of the mugs. Picking up the other mug, Bram thought a little more. Wrapped his fingers around the warm composite of ceramic and plastic and searched for just the right words.
“We’ve got time.” Bram raised the mug to his lips, but decided the tea was still too hot to take a sip. “Doesn’t all have to happen in one night.”
Riptide Publishing: https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/to-see-the-sun
If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.
Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.
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