Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday's Safe Word Shelf: Slave for Two by Morticia Knight


Summary:
What is destined cannot be changed.

Chris has had a monumentally bad month. First, an aggressive band of aliens invaded the Earth, conquered the world, and now he’s fighting for survival in the mountains with his family and the neighborhood bigot. Just because he’s barely out of his teens and a bit on the scrawny side doesn’t mean he can’t watch out for his mom, sisters and younger cousin. Chris keeps searching for the brighter side of things, but his humor is wearing thin. Fear can do that to a guy.

Lasar and Nary are a soul matched pair of warriors from Alashar. Lasar is Nary’s Ahna, the one who dominates him, and Nary is the Nasha, or submissive, to Lasar. Every Alasharian, regardless of orientation, needs the balance of the power exchange to exist peacefully within their lifelong soul match bond. When Lasar is awarded a war prize, he sends Nary to look over the recent arrivals.

Chris and his cousin Morgan are captured and sent to the slave cages where they discover from the other imprisoned young men that they are destined to be sex toys for alien pairs. When one of those aliens saves Chris and his cousin from being abused by the slave master, Chris hopes that the seemingly kind alien won’t be too horrible an owner.

Lasar and Nary are finally alone together with their new sex slave, ready to enjoy their reward. However, in the middle of their playtime a shocking event occurs that not only disrupts Chris’ world even more than it already has been, but also challenges everything that Lasar and Nary have always held dear. As Lasar searches for answers, he begins to question the reasons behind the Earth invasion and where his loyalties should really lie. As their Ahna, he must be the one who decides whether they will all be safer together, or apart.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes involving sounding.


Chris gasped as he jerked awake from what had already been a fitful slumber. He quickly sat up, the dusty, torn sleeping bag that was barely enough to keep him warm tossed aside, his body on alert in case he had to bolt to safety. His jumbled mind was on overload from too many hours of lost sleep, too much in the way of constant fear draining his emotional and psychological reserves. Darkness enveloped him like a creeping void consuming his light within. The nightmare was almost the same as it’d been every night since the last time he’d slept in his own bed.

“Dad, why are you going to the shop? Who’s gonna bring their car in for an oil change at a time like this?”

“I’m helping our neighbors, friends. Everyone wants to make sure their vehicles are in perfect condition in case the worst happens and we all have to flee.”

“Then I’ll go in with you. If I help, it’ll get done faster.”

“No, Chris. I need you to stay here with your mother and sisters.”

Stay. Chris swiped the tears from his eyes. He struggled to adjust his vision, the sliver of a moon and blanket of stars barely enough for him to ascertain where his family slept around him on the rocky dirt.

He shivered, pulling to his chin the nylon bag he’d once used when he’d gone camping with his father. The early autumn breeze was not only chilly at the top of the San Jacinto mountain range, but very brisk. Below him lay the desert they’d escaped from, the place that had once been his home. He’d never lived anywhere other than Desert Hot Springs his whole life and it was all he knew. But not anymore. Nothing was the same. It wasn’t just Southern California or the seemingly untouchable wealthy residents of nearby Palm Springs who’d forever had their lives torn from them, but the whole world. At least, that’d been the rumor before all outside communication had finally been cut off.

Chris brushed his long, sandy blond hair back from his eyes, then pushed up from the ground. He winced from the pain of the sunburn that made his flesh feel as if it’d been stretched too tightly across his forehead. As they’d been running for their lives he hadn’t thought to grab any sunscreen for his damn pale skin. And the shit in my camping pack was all dried up. He didn’t even have a fucking hat. When he’d been helping his dad get the gear ready in case they had to leave suddenly, he’d seen the bottle left over from their last trip together, but hadn’t checked inside.

Idiot. He sighed. Feeling sorry for himself wouldn’t help anything or anybody. Be thankful you’re still here. So are Mom and the girls. Even Morgan made it out.

As he tiptoed past everyone sleeping, searching for someplace to take a piss, he swallowed past a lump in his throat. The luxury of mourning for his father and Morgan’s parents—his aunt and uncle—was pointless. Focusing on protecting what remained of his family was all that mattered.

He rounded what could’ve been a Jeffrey pine, sugar pine, or maybe even a ponderosa, although he doubted it. Whatever grouping of trees he’d designated as his outhouse seemed too small to be a ponderosa. He shook his head as he relieved himself. What would end up being significant in the future, if there even was one? If all of humanity was wiped out by the alien invaders, then who gave a fuck what the name of the pine tree was that he was pissing on?

Chris yelped. The shock of a bright light in his eyes had also made him let go of his dick, which then dribbled out more pee on the front of his only pair of jeans.

“Goddamnit, Paul.” Chris made a low grumbling noise as he angled his body away from his neighbor’s oldest son, then tucked himself back in. Or more accurately, only surviving son. “Why’d you do that? Now my pants are all gross.” He’d tried to keep his voice low so as not to disturb the others, but he wasn’t sure it mattered all that much after he’d yelled out so loudly.

“Sorry, dude. I thought you were one of them. I was gonna get the drop on it before it attacked everyone.”

Chris wiped his filthy hands across his jeans. There didn’t seem to be much point in trying to protect their cleanliness anymore. It was all a lost cause. He shuddered. Drawing an analogy between the state of his clothing and their chances of making it through their current predicament was too scary, so he chose not to.

He turned to Paul. “Are you nuts? I’m not even close to being the size of one of those things. Not only that, but you can’t fight them. Those are the only people they kill.”

A small consolation.

With his flashlight directed at the ground, the ambient light cast weird shadows across Paul’s features. “I’d rather die. I’m not gonna be controlled by them, or tortured or whatever.”

Chris could swear he was trying not to cry. Paul might have been five years older than Chris’s nineteen, but he seemed like such a kid at times. Paul’s mom had always doted over all of them. All of them. Only Paul and his dad were left. No mom, none of Paul’s three brothers.

But Graham, the one near my age, he wasn’t killed. The aliens had taken him the way he’d seen them take others of similar stature. Chris, Morgan and Graham were smaller, slighter of build. Both men and women of that size would be captured, thrown into bag-like nets then thrown aboard the small hovercrafts the aliens used to zip around in. The rest of the humans who weren’t killed had been herded together in large buildings, malls and warehouses. At least that was what’d been shared in town by a few residents who’d been in L.A. when the aliens had attacked. They’d somehow managed to get away and had shared more useful information than any of the newscasters before all Internet, radio and television had gone out.

Chris tried not to think about what had happened to the ones like him who’d been taken in the nets. He’d never heard from anyone who knew anything regarding the kidnappings, only the other rumors, like everything else since the invasion. Were those stolen men and women the ones who were actually tortured, maybe experimented on for some reason? Why were only smaller people like him taken? Did the aliens eat them like some rare delicacy? His gut clenched. He definitely didn’t want to think about that.

“Hey. Paul. Are you okay?”

“Sorry. I just…” A tear carved a path down Paul’s dirt-encrusted cheek.

It’s too damn dusty up here. The wind is making me crazy. If only the wind was all they had to worry about.

“Just what?” Chris sighed, feeling sorry for the guy. Even if Paul was a spoiled wimp, he should try and comfort him somehow. “You have to pull yourself together. We all do. I know everything sucks. Like, really, really sucks. But we’ve got a pretty sweet situation here. At least there’re the pines and big rocks to help hide us, and there’re rabbits, a fuckton of gray squirrels…” He wasn’t sure where he was going with his rambles. Even he didn’t buy it.

“But it’s so fucking cold up here and it’s not even winter yet. Shouldn’t we go lower? My dad thinks that’s what we oughta do. He says that’s what the Cahuilla Indians used to do too. They’d be up here in the summer when the heat in the desert was killer, then they’d go down to the desert for the winter to stay warmer.”

“Yeah? Good for them. But the Cahuilla Indians didn’t have aliens trying to kill or capture them now, did they? If we go too low, we’ll be marching right back to where they were. Right into their arms.” The thought really did make him want to barf up his granola bar dinner from earlier. “Anyway, it’s still too hot down there and we’ve got some clear water streams up here.”

Paul glared at him, his expression disturbing as hell because of the way his face was lit up in the dark. “You don’t know everything. My dad runs a successful insurance company and he knows how to be in charge, to manage situations. You’re barely an adult who does oil changes on the cars at your dad’s auto shop. That hardly qualifies you to tell us what to do.”

“Ran an auto shop.” Chris didn’t need to work at keeping his voice low. He’d barely had enough breath to get out the words.

Paul frowned at him. “Yeah, that’s what I said. Are you all right?”

“Not especially. Look, I get that your dad holds male seniority here, but this is not only my life, but the remaining members of my family’s lives. My dad’s been taking me hiking and camping up here since I can remember. I know my way around. And anyway, in my opinion, and I could be totally wrong, working together as a team is better than splitting up. I also think that holing up in an uninhabited area that provides natural spots for hiding makes more sense than going back to the wide open landscape where we just ran from a giant roaming band of aliens. Just sayin’.”

“You know what? No one likes your sarcasm, Chris. You think you’re funny, but you really aren’t.”

“Duly noted. In the meantime, I think a few of us should try to sneak into Idyllwild or Pine Cove tomorrow and get supplies. We’ll have to be selective on what we take to avoid detection, though. We’ll need to be able to travel fast and light on the trek back.”

Paul crossed his arms in a huff, which then sent the beam from the flashlight across the expanse of rocks, highlighting the entire area. A thread of nervousness surged through him.

“Hey, we should shut that off.”

Paul glared at him again. “Why, Mr. High and Mighty?”

“It should be for emergencies only. Not only the batteries…” Chris’ gaze flitted across the expanse of the sky, searching. “But there are no other lights on the mountain. It could draw them to us.”

Chris was plunged into complete darkness.

“Shit.” Paul’s voice held a tremor of fear. “Why didn’t you say anything sooner?”

Many, many sarcastic retorts came to mind, but Chris bit them back. He could still think Paul was a complete idiot while also acknowledging that his own snarky tone could be dialed back a few notches.

Chris’ eyes had gradually adjusted again to the loss of the brighter light, and he thought he could safely make his way over the uneven ground back to his makeshift bed. A broken ankle, even a sprained one, would likely spell his doom. There was no way he’d expect anyone to stay behind with him if it was time to run again.

“Let’s get some rest and we can figure it out tomorrow, all right?”

Paul wouldn’t meet his eyes. “Yeah. Sure.”

By the time he’d made it back to where his family was clustered against one of the larger rocks as protection against the wind, he wasn’t too surprised to see his mom awake. Jenna and Aurora were sound asleep, no doubt exhausted from the long trek into Saddle Junction just below Mount San Jacinto, but he thought Morgan might be faking it. Morgan was shy, withdrawn. He’d always been more likely to watch and listen off to the side before speaking up or offering his opinion on anything. Except with me. Being so close growing up together had stripped Morgan’s reserves to the point where Chris sometimes wished Morgan would hold back with him.

“Is everything all right, sweetheart?”

It was too dark to make out his mom’s expression, but he had no doubt it was one of concern. She’d been remarkably brave about his dad, but he’d heard her crying softly once the girls had fallen asleep the first night after they’d escaped. He hated that she had to hold it all in for the sake of his sisters. Probably for me too.

“Yeah. Paul just caught me off guard when he turned the flashlight on in my eyes. I had to, you know, pee.”

“Should he be doing that? I mean…We could be seen.”

“Don’t worry. I warned him.”

“Okay, good.”

The rustle of the plastic shopping bags she had wrapped around her feet could be heard as she adjusted her position. When the alien horde had advanced on their town from the I-10, the hovercrafts had moved in swarms as they’d swept the area. If it hadn’t been for the Gonzalez brothers—two of his dad’s employees—racing over to their house from the shop to warn them, it was likely they wouldn’t have made it. Unfortunately, they’d also been the ones to give them the news that his dad had been killed by the invaders.

“We warned him not to get out his shotgun, but he did anyway. I’m sorry, Señora Lansing.”

There hadn’t been time for emotion or detailed explanations. At that point, the aliens had only been a few miles away, the sun glinting off the pale yellow metal of their small ships spurring everyone into action. Their street had been filled with chaos, people screaming, cars and trucks screeching out of driveways as the neighbors attempted to escape. Up until that moment, the invasions had appeared to be confined to major cities.

“Sweetheart, why don’t you lie down, try to get some sleep?”

His mom had whispered it, but her words had seemed bizarrely loud in the silent darkness. He crawled under the nylon cover of his bag, but propped himself up on one elbow, facing her. He made sure to keep his voice to a whisper as well.

“I just realized. My birthday was exactly a month ago. The day before they first attacked.”

“Don’t. Don’t think about it.”

“I can’t help it, Mom. On my birthday, everything was totally normal. You made that chicken teriyaki I love so much, and the cake with the layer of strawberry crème in it.” He blinked back the tears forming. “I wish I’d known. Wish I’d paid attention to every single moment of that day.”

She sighed, the sound clutching his heart. “No. It’s good that you didn’t. You never would’ve enjoyed it the way you did. Instead, you can hold onto the memory untainted by everything that’s happened since then.”

Chris pondered her words as he worried a stray thread at the seam of his sleeping bag. “I tried to go with him to the shop that day. I should’ve been there.”

“Stop…” His mom’s voice cracked.

“Maybe I could’ve done something. Maybe he wouldn’t have tried to fight them if I’d been there. Maybe he would’ve just run.”

She shot out her hand and grabbed onto his, her small frame barely contained under the throw they’d once had laid out on the couch back. He’d snatched it from the sofa as he’d rushed by, then stuffed it into one of the backpacks he’d grabbed from the garage as they’d fled. The plastic bags currently around his mom’s and sister’s feet had already been in there, probably leftover from some camping trip or another. They’d proven to be useful at containing heat.

“I’m grateful that you weren’t there. So very grateful.”

They held hands, no more words exchanged. At last he laid his head down on his arm. Anything soft enough to put his head on was either being worn or wrapped around them as a blanket. His youngest sister, Aurora, was only six years old, and she’d rested her head on her eight-year-old sister’s tummy.

His thoughts drifted to his cousin, Morgan. They’d barely gotten to him in time. Right as they’d pulled up to the home where he lived with his parents, Chris’ Uncle Rick and Aunt Sara, they’d pushed Morgan from their car. Everyone in his family had watched in horror as Morgan’s parents had gunned their vehicle straight toward an alien hovercraft. It’d been just enough of a diversion for them all to get away.

He couldn’t stop replaying everything over in his mind. They’d made it to the bottom of the San Jacintos on the Banning side, abandoning his dad’s pickup right where Highway 243 snaked its way up the mountain. By that time, the hovercrafts had been everywhere and they knew they’d be too easy to spot in the bright blue vehicle. They’d remained hidden until the aliens had quit flying overhead. It didn’t mean they’d necessarily left the area, probably only that they were done hunting for the day.

And five days later, here we are. Saddle Junction.

Camping with his dad had always been fun. Never could he have imagined that he’d need to use the skills he’d subtly learned over the years to help himself and his family survive. The muffled sounds of Paul and his father whispering to each other drifted to his ears. Would his neighbors split off from them? They’d run into each other once he and his family had reached Pine Cove.

By some sort of twist of fate, his neighbors had been up in the mountains that day, and had ended up taking cover in the small market where the tiny mountain town’s one gas pump was also located. For whatever reason, most of the residents of the hamlet had decided to stick it out in their own homes. Chris could understand to some degree. They had shelter and the snows would arrive soon. Why tough it outside when they already had somewhere on the mountain where they could stay indoors?

Not that anyone was offering us any shelter.

Chris didn’t mind, though. It would’ve been too tempting to accept such an offer, and deep down inside, Chris knew they’d only be staving off the inevitable capture or death by making that decision. Even if he didn’t know the motives of the beings who’d stormed onto their planet uninvited, their thorough sweeping of his remote desert hometown of less than twenty thousand inhabitants didn’t bode well for the aliens leaving any residences, especially ones so close by, untouched.

His mother’s hand had relaxed and Chris was relieved that she seemed to have fallen back to sleep. At dawn, Chris planned to make a foray into town. Better food would be a comfort, maybe some candy for the girls, but his main concern was warmer clothing. Gloves, socks, winter caps, and if he was lucky, he might even find some emergency blankets or hand and foot warmer packs. When the snows came, they could survive on jerky and the odd rabbit or squirrel. But the cold? That was something they couldn’t take any chances with.

Campfires had to be few and far between and for short periods of time only. Whenever they lit one, they’d have to move their location right afterward to avoid detection. Smoke during the day and the glow at night would be a red flag guiding the aliens right to them. He’d had plenty of hours to consider all the angles of their survival. Melancholy at the futility of it all ate at him, but he fought it off the same way he had ever since the initial reports of the invaders’ arrival.

He had to keep it together for his family, even if he’d already given up on hope for himself.

Author Bio:
M/M Erotic Romance author Morticia Knight enjoys hot stories of men loving men forever after. They can be men in uniform, Doms and subs, rock stars or bikers - but they're all searching for the one (or two!) who was meant only for them.

When not indulging in her passion for books, she loves the outdoors, film and music. Once upon a time she was the singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She is currently working on more installments of Sin City Uniforms and The Hampton Road Club, as well as the follow-up to Bryan and Aubrey's story from Rockin' the Alternative.


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