J.L. O’Faolin returns!Featuring his new release, a gracious and intriguing interview, and excerpts from The Thirteenth Pillar and an upcoming novel called Blue Ninja. As always on this blog, cover images are links directly to the publisher’s store. I hope you enjoy the feature. Let us know what you think! Thanks for reading.
Monthly Archives: January 2012
A Section Thirteen Story (Sequel to The Thirteenth Child)
Tuulois MacColewyn’s simple life performing dirty jobs for fey hiding in New York City has died a quick death. Consulting for the NYPD on a case involving child abductions, losing a friend, laying siege to a stronghold at the end of Broadway, and being chased through a hospital by animated scarecrows combined to make last month hell. This month is shaping up to be much worse.
Yet, it’s not all bad. Cole has a new place to live, a steady-paying job working for the NYPD, and the heart of Inspector Joss Vallimun, head of Section Thirteen and, incidentally, Cole’s new boss.
Section Thirteen is understaffed and overworked, trying to solve every supernatural crime in New York, including a series of grisly child murders and evidence that local fey are being enslaved. When Vallimun is gravely injured just as the investigation reaches a fever pitch while a snowstorm blankets the city, Cole will need all the help he can get to have any hope of salvaging this month at all.
J.L. O’Faolain was born the youngest, with four older sisters, in the backwoods of the Deep South. Those that have braved getting to know him have attributed this to being the root of his growing insanity. A teased bibliophile in his youth, O’Faolain spent his years prior to getting published as a cook, laundry man, delivery boy, grease monkey, and retail stocker. He has a plethora of skills and abilities, none of which would work well on a job application. In his spare time, O’Faolain enjoys weightlifting, philosophy, deconstruction, reading, writing, porn, and the Internet in general. Aside from becoming a successfully published author, he would very much like to pilot a giant robot while Two-Mix’s “Rhythm Emotion” is playing in the background. Either that, or travel the world in a dirigible. In short, the general consensus by all, including himself, is that he is a mighty strange fellow.
In his spare time, when he isn’t writing, J.L. O’Faolain reviews televisions shows that were abused by the networks, or should never have been green lit in the first place,here: blip.tv/thatlong-hairedcreepyguy
LS: Welcome back to the blog, J.L.! You are the first to make an encore appearance at sylvre.com. I’m looking forward to catching up, perhaps learning a bit more about you as an author, and getting some updates about the work you have out and what you’ve got planned.
JLO: It feels good to be back. I love joining you here!
Q: I realized that during our last interview I never asked about your origins, J.L., and I’d like to remedy that. I see you were brought up in the South. What part of the country do you live in now? You’re Section Thirteen series is set in New York City, quite a ways from your original home. How do you find your southern roots influences your writing, if at all, even when your characters are at play someplace quite different?
A: I’ve lived in the same region of the South all my life. I still hang my hat in Central Mississippi, though I’ve entertained thoughts of leaving since I was around five or so! Lol
When it comes to writing about different places, I try to picture what those places look and feel like. This usually involves research, though sometimes I research things as I go, then make corrections as needed. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and used to pretend I was a world traveler. Fantasizing myself in far-off places is no great stretch for me after all these years.
As for my southern roots, I’ve never been much of what most people would call a ‘true Southerner’. I don’t have quite the same drawl that people in this area carry. I tend to enunciate carefully, and it makes me stand out. It’s something I was teased about all my life. Most people assumed I grew up somewhere else before living in Mississippi, but I’ve never been outside the state for an extended period of time.
Q: A little bit about your writing technique, perhaps: one of the things that happens when authors write in “other worlds,” be they space, or ghostly or Sidhe, etc., is that the stories require more description, so the reader knows where they are and what it’s like. Reading your work, I always feel like I’m right there, so much so that the settings begin feel familiar to me. Can you tell us a bit about how you accomplish that without resorting to long descriptive passages.
A: I tend to babble on about a subject in a conversation, so I keep that in mind while I’m writing so I get the point across without boring anyone. It’s good to hear I’ve been successful with that so far. Again, this comes back to me picturing things happening as I go along. It always feels more like I’m the narrator following along with events as they unfold. The twists and turns surprise me often enough. I’ve never deluded myself into believing that I have total control of a story, and what happens inside of it. I’m more of a cataloger than anything else. It’s just nice that my characters are willing to allow me the chance to tag along.
Q: On the fantasy aspect of your writing, you delve into a sort of Fey underground, including everything from Pixie’s to Titania’s wolves. How much research do you do—or have you done—into the old lore, ancient stories of Faerie? Do you have a favorite source? When you create one of your otherworldly characters, or settings, how close do you try to stay to the spirit of the legendary beings and places?
A: These types of things have always fascinated me. I grew up on them, much to everyone’s chagrin. Believe it or not, I’ve been so heavily involved with this kind of stuff for so long that I often just recall things as I go. If I need to do research, usually it’s just for some specific details that escaped me.
My favorite source is actually just Wikipedia, or a search on Google. I’ve very grateful to have the Internet at my fingertips. I never enjoyed having to pour through tomb after tomb for school projects. The tedium would get to me. I try to stay true to the spirit of the lore, though. Sometimes, things deviate, but no one from any gender, species, or race has ever behaved in a straight line, so when things seem contrary, it’s only because any sentient creature is contrary by nature.
Q: During our last interview, I asked about romance, and you said that it would develop in the series over time, that if readers read more books they would see how important it would be. (Also, that sex got hotter farther into the book.) In The Thirteenth Pillar, main character Cole definitely seems to be involved in romance, or at least sex. I don’t suppose I can ask whether the discarded (or departed) lover Corhagen ever makes a come back? Or was he ever really a lover? Is the current love or sexual interest long term? Well if you can’t answer that without giving away too much, how about this: how did you ever get the idea to have Corhagen summon Joss and Cole with his summoning spell just at the least opportune moment. Interestingly, Corhagen does seem to really mind…
A: Corhagen sees his past with Cole as something he’d like to forget. Cole sees them as former lovers. I do see Joss and Cole as long-term, but as I stated above, I don’t have control over these things. That will no doubt sound exceptionally weird, but I do hope for the best when it comes to them. Corhagen…
I just don’t know. Something tells me he and Cole would never work out, no matter what the circumstances. Then again, I’ve been proven wrong before. As for the summoning spell, Corhagen just has terrible timing. That wouldn’t change no matter who he slept with!
Q: Your cover for The Thirteenth Pillar is just superb. Although I do enjoy Paul Richmond’s art in general, your covers seem to hit the nail on the head even better than most, and they’re quite graceful. Can you tell us anything about the cover for Pillar? Did you specify the elements? Have any input into color scheme, etc? What was your reaction, initially?
A: I love Richmond’s work. His art is superb, and it always feels as though we’re on the same wavelength whenever it comes time for me to describe how I would like the cover to be. When I saw what he’d done with the cover for ‘The Thirteenth Child’, I was breath-taken.
I had two different covers in mind for ‘The Thirteenth Pillar’. Both, I thought were good, but the one Dreamspinner Press went with is most definitely the steamier of the two. I try to describe something that is both eye-catching, and relates to the story at the same time. In short, both are beautiful, and I can’t wait to see what Richmond does in the future. If he just so happens to read this, I like to take the opportunity to tell him thanks for all his hard work. You rock out loud, dude!
Q: You’ve written something very different in Blue Ninja, and that will be coming out late this spring, I understand. I’m going to post an excerpt, below, and here’s a blurb:
Ichikawa Aoshi is a twenty-three year old nukenin, a ninja on the run. Hiding in plain sight under the nose of the clan who wants him dead, he has managed to carve a life for himself in Tokyo working with a small band of misfit rejects. Among them is his friend and mentor, Aoi, who helped Aoshi find solace after several years of running non-stop. Together, the team of elite specialty ninja tackle jobs no one else in the criminal underworld will touch, but only for a price. Because of his youthful appearance, Aoshi’s most recent mission has lead him to a typical Japanese high school to catch a sexual predator responsible for driving a student to suicide. While there, his search leads him to make a startling discovery about himself that will affect the lives of his friends and every ninja clan across Japan.
Deep inside Aoshi’s chest beats the hungry heart of a lustful deity. Imprisoned in his bloodline for centuries, the Kyuubi-Onna, or Nine-Tailed Woman, whom his clan once worshiped, has been freed seemingly by chance. With her power steadily growing, Aoshi finds himself the bearer of a force he can barely comprehend and wield with only a minimum of control. Enraged at her incarceration, the Kyuubi-Onna only wants revenge, but the Hyakuzyu Tenko clan that Aoshi once hailed from has other plans. Hoping to appease her vessel, the shadow masters of Aoshi’s former clan offer him asylum and a promotion within their ranks in exchange for his return. Events grow more complicated, though, when a former rival swears to kill Ichikawa even at the cost of becoming a rogue ninja himself.
With enemies on all sides and rumors of a war between clans, Aoshi plays a very dangerous game, pitting his enemies against each other while his allies quickly get dragged into the front lines. Against his better judgment, Aoshi begins to feel the rush of the Kyuubi-Onna’s power as her wants and desires pull his heart in two different directions.
Aoshi has lived the life as a killer but can he survive being the servant of a goddess whose lust for male flesh is matched only by her fury?
Q: Can you give us a bit of background on how this story came to be written? Were your characters developed first, or plot? How do you see this as similar to, and different from, your Section Thirteen books? Will there be a Ninja series?<<
A: Blue Ninja is a three-part story. It was originally posted on adultfanfiction.net. During the fall last year, I went through and made a few changes and corrections, then submitted it. It’s been taken down from the site since then.
Blue Ninja is a different story from the Section Thirteen series, though they share similar themes. I first wrote Blue Ninja as a method of coming to terms with my sexual orientation. It was essentially my way of saying ‘This is who I am’ to myself. The story takes place in modern day Tokyo, and involves different clans of ninja who have maintained a delicate peace with one another for four hundred ears. It’s a mesh of mystery, urban fantasy, action, adventure, science fiction, political thriller, and even satire. If you are a fan of anime or manga, part of the fun while reading it will be spotting the inside jokes and references, but I kept those farther back for the readers who aren’t familiar with the genre, so they can still enjoy a good book without missing out on some of the subtext.
Both the characters and the plot evolved over a period of time, but the characters were there before I fully understood where the whole of the story would go. More characters followed after, until I had a whole cast of them. Balancing them all out was no small task. I’m anxious about how people will respond to this. I hope it does well. This is one book that’s rather personal for me.
Q: Well, my infamous question has rolled around—you know the one about which of your characters is the sexiest. In this case, I have to change it a little. Heck, I think we know in the Section Thirteen books Cole is the sexiest at least over the long haul (correct me if I’m wrong). But how about this: Is James Corhagen sexier, or Joss Vallimun? You did, in your last interview described Joss as “primal manliness.” Sounds pretty sexy. Can anyone compete? Anyway, this is an essay question, J.L. Please elaborate.
A: Eh, I’m still partial to Vallimun. Corhagen is far too repressed. Staffelbach has grown on me fast, though, and I see big changes for his character, and how he fits into the Section, later on.
He’s just too adorkable!
I wouldn’t mind seeing Cole hook up with both of them at the same time, to be quite honest!
Q: Finally, how about a little look into the J.L. O’Faolain crystal ball? We know we can look for Blue Ninja this spring. What else is coming up for your readers? And if you have any “appearances,” or guest blogs and such coming up, we’d love to hear about them as well.
A: I have one other blog appearance in February that I have to double-check on. Right now, I’m working on the sequel to Blue Ninja, and the first in a new storyline about superheroes. I’ve been a writing madman as of late, forsaking our mother star to lurk in my quiet den of corrupted decadence!
(That was a little too ‘purple’, I’m sure!)
I’ve had a lot of fun writing the superhero story, though. It’s about a superhero who is something of a poster boy for the organization he works with for being the first openly-gay hero to join their ranks, and also for being the only hero who supposedly has a legitimate super-power. He and his best-friend/roommate/unrequited love interest are charged with bringing on board a super-powered former criminal, and showing him the ropes.
Action, explosions, hijinks, and lots of sex ensue.
LS: Thanks for coming back to visit and let me badger you with questions. I enjoyed it, and I’m pretty sure readers will. I hope you did, too, and please come back again!
JLO: Anytime you’ll have me! It has been a privilege.
Cole suspected every morgue in the world carried a chill to it.
As a sidhe, he wasn’t susceptible to temperatures the way humans were, but the subtle changes in climate were something he remained aware of regardless. It was currently February, and outside in the bleak darkness, New York City was currently facing a maelstrom of winter snow. The heavy clouds churning with white flakes had blanketed half the country, spreading out as far south as Texas and the Gulf Coast.
Cole had walked out in it alongside his partner and superior, Inspector Joss Vallimun, as the two had been called down to the morgue to inspect another body. It hadn’t bothered him to walk outside while the flakes continued to pelt the ground. Joss had been shivering the whole time, but Cole was perfectly comfortable. Then they had entere237d the hospital morgue, and for the first time that day, Cole had shuddered involuntarily.
His left hand was twitching now. It always responded when there were a number of dead bodies in the area. His Hand of Power, the Hand of Cold Death, could summon anything cold and dead up to obey his every command. It had been called a weak, shameful power in the land of Faerie, but here amongst mortals, where he now worked as a special detective, the Hand had its uses.
The morgue, of course, reeked with the stench of formaldehyde. The smell of it was making Cole’s nose itch as Joss spoke with the coroner. The man didn’t look as though he was particularly happy to see him, and Cole suspected he knew why. They had been to this morgue before and each time had needed a moment to themselves in order to “examine” the body. That was the official story, at least. In reality, Cole didn’t enjoy being gawked at while he questioned the deceased. It made him uncomfortable, a rare thing among his kind. Plus, the screaming and pointing from other humans in the room got old after a while.
Cole waited while Joss sorted things out with the head of the department, making sure all the paperwork had been filed and whatnot so they could carry on with their investigation. Meanwhile, the coroner’s assistant, a young woman with olive skin and dark hair, kept shooting glances his way every few seconds. She had pretended to be busy sorting files, but when several fell out of her hands, the facade was pretty much blown. Cole waited while she picked them up, then caught her attention for a second. As Joss came over to fetch him, Cole gave the woman a wink and smiled as she blushed.
“Having fun?” Joss’s voice carried a thread of jealousy far beneath the mirth on the surface. “We can go inside now. They’ve got the body already laid out for you.”
“Right.” Cole said nothing more, following after Joss as he led them across the room into another area, one filled with drawer after drawer of dead hosts. One was already pulled out and waiting for them. Cole felt his left hand twitch with nerves as they entered, begging for the power inside it to be released.
“Name?” he asked, as the coroner lingered.
“Aaron Hoover,” the coroner replied. “The body was found in an alley. Someone had called their landlord about a bad smell coming through their window.”
The body in question was of a young boy around the age of ten with dark hair and blue eyes, having a light-colored skin. Cole knew this because he’d read the report. Had he not, there would have been no way of figuring that out, going by sight alone. The body had been burned to a crisp. The whole surface was burned from head to toe, except in places where it looked like chunks of flesh had been torn away.
“What about the wounds?” Cole asked, looking the body over. “It looks like they were caused by teeth.”
“Official report says the same thing,” said the coroner. “It looks like the body was burned first and then torn up afterward. There’s also evidence that he was held prisoner in a very cramped space before dying.”
“Just like the other two,” Joss commented, keeping his voice even and neutral.
“I’ll leave you two alone,” the coroner said, walking away now. “Just knock when you’re finished doing… whatever.”
Cole waited until the door shut before speaking. “There may be more,” he reminded Joss. “The first one we spoke to said that he’d been held prisoner in a dark place and that he’d heard other children talking.”
“The report said that the body had been held in a cramped space before dying,” Joss mused quietly to himself. “That corroborates with what the first one said, and the second one talked briefly about being in a cage.”
“The first one said that he’d been held in a cage,” Cole reminded. “The second one mentioned a tiny space before it got really hot.”
“It fits with the killer’s MO.” Joss nodded, keeping his face relaxed. “Good thing you told me to ask the coroner to check and see if the bodies showed signs of being imprisoned before they died.”
“It was just a hunch. Shall we get on with it, then?” Cole stretched his left arm out over the corpse and let the power burst out of his hand. “It was Aaron Hoover, wasn’t it?”
Cole released enough power to summon three or four bodies at once. It was needed, however, to shift the dead body back to something resembling a human form. There was no way the deceased could speak with a body charred so badly. The Hand of Cold Death could temporarily fix a damaged body with no life in it, but this required a little extra effort. Cole took several deep breaths as the form recovered some of its former youthful beauty and blinked up at them.
“Aaron Hoover,” Cole said slowly. “I want you to listen very carefully to me.”
The corpse blinked again. “Where’s my mom?” it croaked. “I want to see my mom.”
“Aaron,” Cole said sharply. “You are already dead.”
Joss gave Cole a look, but Cole ignored him. “You’ve been dead for a few days now,” Cole explained. “I have awakened your body so that we can ask you some questions about how you died. Once we are done here, you will be laid to rest again, and your spirit can finally move on.”
The boy didn’t stop looking terrified by this news, but with each word Cole spoke, the tension in his body seemed to lessen.
“Good,” Cole said, smiling now. “Now, do you remember where it was you were being held prisoner?”
The body of Aaron Hoover tried to swallow and found that it couldn’t. “It was dark,” it whispered hoarsely. “I couldn’t see anything.”
Joss looked across the slab at him. “Just like the others,” he said softly.
“Do you remember who kidnapped you?” Cole asked.
The body shook its head slowly. “I don’t remember being kidnapped. I was walking home from the bus stop. The next thing I knew, someone had put me in a cage, and I could smell something baking in an oven.”
“Baking,” Cole repeated, looking back at Joss. “Didn’t the others mention they smelt something?”
“Maybe,” he said with a nod.
“What did it smell like?” Cole went on. “Was it a bad smell?”
“It smelled good,” the boy who had once been Aaron Hoover replied. “It reminded me of when we used to visit Grandma’s house. It almost smelled like cookies, but better. I could smell it the whole time.”
Cole took a deep breath. “Here we go,” he warned Joss. “Aaron, do you remember how you died?”
The corpse didn’t answer at first. Cole wondered perhaps if it hadn’t heard him when the body suddenly shook. It almost rocked itself off the slab and onto the floor, but Cole forced it still by pushing his will into it through his Hand.
“They came for me,” the body cried out now, panicking. “I could feel them grabbing me with their sticky hands. They were taking me somewhere, and it was small and tight. I couldn’t breathe!”
Aaron Hoover’s corpse gasped, his breath rattling like a clanging bell in his lungs. “It was too small. I couldn’t get out, and it was getting so hot!”
Cole tried to will the body to stay calm, but it was reacting like the others before had. The more Cole tried to force the panic back down, the more it fought.
“It’s not supposed to react like this,” he growled, steadying his power and feeding more of it into the body. “Aaron Hoover, I command you to be at peace!”
The body went still at once, but the corpse began screaming. “I want my momma!” it shouted, the voice echoing off the metal drawers surrounding them. “I want my momma! Momma, help me!”
“Cole, turn it off before the whole department hears him,” Joss ordered.
Cole made a fist, shutting his power down at once. The corpse rattled for a bit as the air was expelled from the lungs, making a loud whistle. Stepping farther back, Cole waited as the deceased form went back to being a lifeless burned shell.
“Just like the others,” he commented. “They all died horribly, and under such traumatic circumstances that raising them for questioning is nearly impossible.”
“Held in a cage,” Joss said, thinking the words over carefully. “Then put inside a cramped space where it got hotter.”
“A furnace,” Cole said, feeling certain of his answer. “Or an old-fashioned stove.”
Joss nodded. “A kiln could have the same effect. I’ve seen some of the bigger ones up close. You could stuff a dead body his size in there no problem. As hot as they get, it’s a wonder there wasn’t just bone left.”
“The sweet smell, though,” Cole pointed out. “They all smelled something, and this one said that it smelled like his grandmother’s house. That’s why I think it was an oven.”
Cole was silent for a moment. “Should I try again and ask if it remembers seeing her?”
Joss shook his head. “We tried that last time and the poor kid kept right on screaming. I don’t think this is her handiwork.”
“Me neither,” Cole admitted, turning away. “But it was worth a shot.”
None of the people in the main area would look at them as they left. Everyone, including the coroner, was entranced by the floor or their own shoes. Cole ignored this and marched out the front door, timing his steps to where they fell in alongside Joss’s.
“I think the sound of dead bodies screaming is beginning to affect them,” he remarked once they were safely outside the hospital.
“You think?” Joss asked, cocking an eyebrow at him.
“It’s just a theory at this point.”
Both men climbed into Joss’s car and got comfortable. The snow had let up for a few minutes, but Cole could sense it was just a temporary reprieve. Soon, something much bigger would be slamming against the city with full force. It was lucky he had the very best that money couldn’t buy in central heating. Otherwise, he might have wound up freezing his ass off like so many who lived here.
“Come over to my place tonight,” Cole asked as Joss pulled out of the hospital parking lot into traffic. “It’s warm, and you can take a hot shower for as long as you like.”
“Sounds good,” Joss replied. “I could use one after today. They’ve had us running all over this fucking town looking for leads on this killer.”
“While we’re supposed to be out looking for clues to where Naryssa is hiding,” Cole pointed out. “How did this case get dumped into our laps again? Shouldn’t it have been something for homicide to deal with instead?”
“I guess the department thought it was weird enough,” Joss said, shrugging. “I really don’t know, but my guess is they’re swamped too. Budget cuts were not kind to those people.”
“They haven’t exactly been the Spring Faerie Falls for us, either. Speaking of which, has there been any word about getting some more people transferred to our division?”
Cole and Joss both worked in the same department, a clandestine undercover group called Section Thirteen. It had originally been started back in the fifties by a group of mortal cops who specialized in occult crimes and the supernatural. The city had disbanded them sometime during the seventies after too many of their reports read like acid-rock poetry. One month ago, roughly, the city agreed to bring the Section back into business after a mad half-sidhe hag by the name of Naryssa had gone on a murdering spree and kidnapped a number of half-fey children. Cole had gotten dragged into the mix and was now working with the police as an officer of the law to bring her in.
Cole often found himself repeating that statement to himself. Even now, it sounded too weird.
The Section had started off with the two of them and one other homicide cop, a man who had been Cole’s contact when he worked as a police consultant. These days, he and James Corhagen didn’t speak with each other much. It was just as well, especially considering Cole had moved on in his life, away from James and his problems.
Working in the Section had given him a whole new set of problems, and those were more than enough. When Cole had first signed on, Joss had brought in several members of the city’s vice squad to help out. Two weeks later, following an incident in the sewers, where they had been chasing after a large gelatin cube, every member of vice had pleaded with the brass to be taken back to their old assignments.
Dealing with the supernatural underside of New York was not something for the weak of stomach.
So it ended up that the Section was stuck with the three core members and no one else. No one else wanted to come close to them, and no matter how much Cole claimed he didn’t care, they were only three men. The Section had jurisdiction across the whole city, meaning they got called out several times a day to examine a crime scene just to clarify that it had been caused by something mundane and not a rampaging orc.
“I want to take my car home first,” Joss said, breaking up his thoughts. “Since there’s no place to park outside your place.”
“Let me have your cell phone, then,” Cole said, holding his hand out. “I’ll go ahead and call a cab for us so it can be waiting when we arrive.”
Joss fished his phone out of the back pocket of his pants and tossed it to him. “We really need to get you one of those. It’s difficult enough getting hold of you when you’re not on duty.”
“That’s the whole point,” Cole replied, punching in the number. “Hey, Crystal,” he said into the phone. “Yeah, it’s me again. Can you have a cab waiting for us at the usual place? Right, we’re a good fifteen or so minutes away, maybe more now that traffic has picked up again. Just tell your man to park outside the apartment, if you wouldn’t mind. Thanks!”
Joss shook his head. “I think she’s starting to wonder.”
Cole handed the phone back to him and stretched comfortably, gazing out the passenger window. “I love it when it snows here,” he said softly. “It reminds me of home.”
“I hate it,” Joss grumbled. “Give me spring any day. Before long, summer will be here and it’ll be too hot to breathe.”
Cole kept his thoughts to himself and allowed Joss the silence he needed to make it home quickly and efficiently. Soon, they were pulling up into the driveway of the inspector’s apartment, a shabby but neat building that Cole had been a guest at several times since he had joined the police force. The cab he had called for was waiting for them with the motor, and probably the meter, running. Joss parked his car; then they both rushed out to jump in the back of the waiting vehicle. The driver didn’t so much as comment, pulling out into the street without a backward glance at them.
They reached Bowling Green Park a little bit later. Cole already had his money out and passed it up to the driver before hopping out.
“Keep the change,” he said, slamming the door shut behind him.
“I’m surprised you can afford to keep doing this,” Joss remarked as they wandered through the entrance together.
“I just have to pay for food,” Cole reminded him. “The sithen provides me with everything else.”
Cole laughed as they came up to the fountain. The jets had been turned off due to the weather, yet the water inside the basin had yet to freeze. People surely found this strange but were too busy with their own lives to investigate the cause. Cole snapped his fingers, then waited as the entrance to the world below rose up in front of them. As the doorway formed from the water’s surface, Cole brought his arms around the inspector’s waist and squeezed.
“Whenever you are ready,” he whispered into the mortal’s ear.
The first time they had gone through this door together, there had been an uneven flight of stairs leading down into a dark corridor. The sithen had been under Naryssa’s control back then, but after Cole had defeated her with Joss’s help, he’d taken up living in it. Naryssa had escaped, and now her home was his to do with as he pleased. Cole had gotten rid of those blasted steps first.
There was only a step or two down now. Joss went through first and removed his shoes at the landing. Cole came in next and waited as the door slid shut, sealing them off from the mortal world.
“Everything okay?” he asked.
“Fine,” Joss replied nonchalantly. “No strange visions or unusual colors. I had worse side effects from walking into my roommate’s dorm in college.”
“I simply wanted to be sure.” Cole had brought Joss here several times already, and each time, they’d stopped before going too far in to check and make sure the sithen wasn’t playing tricks with Joss’s mind. Legends spoke of the Faerie mounds giving mortals the odd turn now and again.
The ceiling was high, held in place ostensibly by a long row of columns that had tree roots wrapped around them. Halfway down the stone path was a stone fountain, the water of which splashed merrily, welcoming them home. Cole could hear laughter coming from it and waved at the pixies playing there as he walked past. They had once lived in a storm drain in Central Park, but after he had moved into the sithen, Cole had invited them along.
Above the fountain were two ghostly figures. The bean sidhe who guarded the entrance had taken to avoiding their posts whenever Cole brought Joss home. Cole suspected they were jealous and knew what he would do to them if they tried anything on Joss.
“Welcome home, Master Colewyn,” a voice said.
Cole looked to the source as a short man with a balding head materialized. “That way,” Mal, the ghost and operator of the sithen, said, gesturing. “Right through the door. I’ve already gotten your bed ready, and the bathroom water is nice and hot.”
“Thanks, Mal,” Joss said as they entered the double doors he’d been pointing to. “He’s really taken to this whole ‘butler’ role, hasn’t he?”
“I think he finds the role amusing,” Cole replied. The sithen had already changed itself around, as per Mal’s instructions, to take them directly to Cole’s private chamber. It was just down the smaller hallway now and to the left.
“That makes me worry,” said Joss in a grave voice as they entered the expansive room. “If what you told me is true, why would the ghost of a former sorcerer condemned for practicing black magic find being a butler amusing?”
“He was trapped in a book for centuries,” Cole pointed out, directing them both to the bathroom. “Mal is probably relieved to be out and doing anything now.”
The sithen, with Mal’s help, had constructed a spacious room for Cole that was decorated in brown paneling with cobblestone floors covered by thick rugs. The bed was by far the largest piece of furniture in the room, but the cabinets, shelves, and desk were all massive and varnished a deep brown color to match the walls. It was the sort of room he’d always dreamed of having.
Off to the side was the bathroom. Cole entered first and began shucking his clothes as Joss came up behind him and did the same. As usual, Cole had worn all black while on patrol. His leather pants and long vest were far from regulation, but since Joss had insisted that Section Thirteen be a plainclothes operation, there was very little the higher-ups could do. Plus, as Cole himself had pointed out, a uniform would do very little to help him blend in.
Joss, unlike him, had dressed for freezing weather. His knee-length coat was the first thing to go, followed by the cream-colored button-down shirt. Cole was already naked now and stood there enjoying the view. Joss took a moment to slowly draw the undershirt over his head, knowing how much Cole liked to watch. His abs and chest came into view, covered in a natural rug of curly hair. Cole sighed, feeling a low moan rising up from his throat. He loved running his fingers through that carpet and did so at every chance. When Joss dropped his pants, the underwear came with them, and his shaft stood upright and rigid.
It was as big as a baby’s arm.
The head was leaking precum now, causing Cole’s mouth to water. Once Joss had stepped out of his clothes, Cole wasted no time in dragging both of them into the shower. The water kicked on immediately, and true to Mal’s word, it was at just the right temperature. Joss groaned as the three showerheads above them sent jets of steaming liquid onto his back, pounding the stress of the day out of him. Each head was shaped like a theater mask: one frowning, one grinning, and one trapped in between.
Cole seized Joss by his thick mane of wet blond hair and pulled him in close for a kiss that ended with their tongues dancing around one another. His own cock was stretched as far as it would go, almost to the point of pain, as their arms encircled each other. Cole could feel Joss’s hands all over him, and he moaned his pleasure down the mortal man’s throat.
Cole began kneading the knots out of Joss’s back as he nuzzled the man’s ear. “That feels so good,” Joss breathed, kissing Cole lightly on his shoulder. “Don’t stop, please.”
“Never,” Cole cooed. “Let go. I’ve got both of us now.”
Joss went silent for a moment as Cole continued to massage his back in time with the water. “That boy,” said Joss softly as Cole worked lower. “He couldn’t have been, what? Ten years old? Somebody baked him alive.”
“We’ll find them,” Cole assured him, not letting up. “And when we find them, we put a stop to it.”
“You make it sound simple,” Joss groaned, running his own hands up the slicked surface of Cole’s back. “It’s never that simple. Being a cop is anything but simple.”
“I’m not really a cop,” Cole reminded him. Seizing the man by the hair, he gently pulled until Joss’s eyes were facing his. “I am a sidhe warrior. You brought me into the NYPD, but at heart, I will always be who I was raised to be. No amount of paperwork or procedure will change that.”
“I shouldn’t let you say things like that,” Joss mumbled. Their foreheads pressed together under the jet stream. “We’re supposed to catch the bad guys, not execute them. But after what I heard those kids say….”
“One thing at a time,” Cole said, shushing him. “For now….”
Joss looked at Cole when he didn’t finish.
“I’m going to fuck you silly,” Cole whispered into his ear before spinning Joss around.
Joss brought his arms up to brace himself against the slippery wall of the shower as Cole reached his hand out. The sithen was always quick to respond, and this time was no exception. Before Cole’s hand could touch the wall to the right of Joss, it opened up a hidden compartment to reveal a small bottle of golden liquid.
“Last time, it was under the frowning shower head,” Cole noted, pouring some of the fey lubricant onto his fingers.
Joss merely grunted and steeled himself as two of Cole’s fingers were inserted into his ass. Cole quickly flexed and wiggled the tips as he felt them brush across Joss’s love nut. Joss’s cock jumped at the stimulation and began drooling. The rough and rugged male grunted as another finger joined the others. His asshole was opened slightly, but it was still tight and snug as Cole began to gently fuck his digits back and forth.
At the same time, he managed to dribble a little bit of the oil onto his other hand by tilting it slightly. It wasn’t easy, and he wound up with more than was needed, but the glass bottle didn’t slip out of his fingers once. Cole placed it back into the slot in the wall, snapped the cap back into place, and watched as it disappeared once more. Satisfied, he used the oil smeared all over his left hand to slick his cock up as Joss began moaning with pleasure.
“Here it comes,” he warned, pushing the head of his dick up against Joss’s entrance.
“Umph!” Joss grunted as the head popped past his sphincter. “Ohhh, yeah!”
“Get ready.” Cole braced himself, getting a nice grip on Joss’s hips as he drew back slightly, then drove himself forward hard. The head of his cock plowed into Joss’s innards, tearing a path that made the rough-and-tumble man moan.
“Fuck, yeah,” Joss breathed as the steam built up around them. “Fuck me, lover.”
“You want that?” Cole began to pick up speed as he slapped his hand across Joss’s ass cheek. “Your ass is as tight as I’ve had in a long time. It’s hotter inside of you than in this shower. I’m going to enjoy fucking the shit out of you.”
“Just shut up and fuck me!” Joss replied.
Cole was a sidhe warrior, and despite his svelte frame, he had the strength of ten muscled men on crack. It was very important for him not to forget how delicate Joss was by comparison. The mortal would not have liked hearing that, but of the two of them, Cole was actually the more durable. Yet the two had been on the move for days, tracking a killer who seemed even more elusive than the one they’d come up against a month ago. In that time, they’d barely had the chance to share a private conversation that didn’t involve the more unpleasant aspects of their work. As such, Cole found himself throwing aside some of his restrictions now. As Joss’s moans filled the steamy air surrounding them, Cole’s hips picked up speed, and he began to really pound into his man.
Joss tossed his head back and howled as his canal was savaged. Water from the showerhead splashed down into his face and mouth. Even then, he didn’t stop yelling for Cole to fuck him harder.
Cole was happy to oblige. As he kicked it into high gear, Cole felt his balls begin to draw up. Cum churned inside them, ready to unload down the dark tunnel of Joss’s ass any second. Joss’s own balls were already swollen and ready to burst. Cole grunted right along in time with his lover and steeled himself. Both of his arms snaked around Joss just below his hairy chest. As Cole was getting ready to bust, a voice rang out in his ears.
Cole gasped and leaped backward, drawing his dick out of Joss’s asshole as the air around them swam unexpectedly. Joss glanced back in confusion, still pulling at his dick as Cole leaped out of the shower in a panic.
“What happened?” he moaned. “Why did you stop?”
“Never mind that! Turn the water off and get your clothes!”
The sithen was already two steps ahead of him. The shower heads shut off immediately, and Cole suddenly found their clothes much closer than where they’d left them. Amidst the pile were their weapons, which to him was much more important. Cole could already feel the spell beginning to take hold of him.
“Hold on,” he ordered, snatching their things up off the floor and jumping back in with Joss. Joss, however, had gotten the wrong idea and seized his cock, jerking it back and forth.
“I didn’t mean that!”
Cole turned sideways next to Joss and felt his cock jerk hard as his balls were drained of their essence. Joss’s own cock was already exploding in the same direction. Something was pulling both men upward through what felt like a wet rubber tube as they shot their loads into clear space. A sense of displacement followed, and Detective Corhagen was abruptly standing in front of them with two separate loads dripping down his face.
Joss still had a few good shots left in him, it turned out. A whole rope of cum landed on Corhagen’s long coat, and another from Cole splattered across his tie. Corhagen’s eyes went wide from shock to disbelief as he took in the sight of both Cole and Inspector Vallimun standing together naked inside the summoning circle he’d drawn.
“Well,” said Cole, dripping wet. “This is a new twist.”
Aoshi sighed at Otaro’s persistent question, it being the fifth time he’dasked, and turned looked back towards him. The stretch in his patience must have shown on his face, for Otaro looked away petulantly. Regaining control of his emotions, Aoshi forced calm into himself and took a deep breath before speaking.
“I honestly don’t know,” he stated truthfully. “For all anyone of us knows, Shinobachi’s information was completely false. It may have even been a flaw in his chain of communication, but the fact is, I have no other resources aside from going back to the Hyakuzyu Tenko and explaining the situation to them personally.”
Aoshi did narrow his eyes, then. “And you know what that would be like.”
“Gomen,” Otaro muttered, still sounding like a child. “It’s not like I don’t get that, but why do we have to go fight the Okami clan again?”
“We’re not going to fight them,” he corrected. “We’re going to try and negotiate. If Onizuka really is somewhere in the Hokkaido area looking to steal from the Okami clan, then chances are they’ll want to know about it. Hopefully, that will provide me with some leeway once we locate some of them. I don’t relish doing this anymore than you do but bear in mind that nobody forced you to go.”
“Is that why Kibako-san isn’t here?”
“Hai,” Aoshi told him, pausing for a second. “Kibako didn’t wish to go and I had no reason for forcing her. You, however, agreed to. And for the record, if you’re having second thoughts about it now, feel free to get off at the next available stop.”
“This is the express line,” Otaro reminded him.
“Then get on the first train back to Tokyo the minute we arrive,”Aoshi hissed, losing his patience now. “And go with my blessing.”
Otaro said not a word for the rest of the trip.
They had boarded the express together. Sabane had been willing to loan Aoshi the money for all of them, thankfully. Otherwise it would have been a solo mission, and despite the emphasis he’d placed on not wanting to ask for anyone’s help, Aoshi had to admit now how much he really needed it. Aoi-san had signed on as well, which made him feel a lot better. Kuroji had agreed to come also. Aoshi had the feeling this was why Otaro had come along. The four of them made up the team going to Hokkaido. So far, the biggest trouble they’d run into was listening to Otaro moan quietly to himself in-between bouts of questions about whether or not Aoshi was really sure about what they were doing.
Truthfully, Aoshi himself was not so sure. Granted, whatever Onizuka had planned would undoubted mean trouble for the Tokujogumi sooner or later but this really wasn’t anyone’s responsibility. Even though the sword had been handed to him by the Hyakuzyu Tenko elders, Aoshi still wasn’t sure he wanted it back. He’d left his clan and the responsibilities that came with it years ago. Getting involved in something that was sure to draw him back in was definitely unwise, yet he found himself pressing onward.
Other than Otaro, everyone else was quiet during the trip. Aoshi sat near Aoi-san, though they’d hardly spoken a word to one another. It made him a little nervous to be honest. He hadn’t thought to bring something to read with him, not that there had been much time to pack. Aoshi was grateful all the same for having Aoi-san come along. Having him there was comforting. He owed the man far too much to even begin paying it back. Aoshi just prayed nothing went wrong.
Something had been bothering him the whole time, however. He couldn’t put his finger on it and it was really becoming a distraction. Aoshi had been trained to be a warrior his whole life and a distracted warrior was a dead one. Taking several slow breaths, he practiced the meditation exercises he’d learned all those years ago during his initial training. As his mind cleared, he could sense the train car more clearly now. It was more than just the mission that was distracting him. Aoshi felt restless, even a little weak. Nothing like what had been happening to him but still bad enough that it affected his concentration.
Looking up, Aoshi spotted Kuroji staring right at him. The moment their eyes met, it felt like a sharp arrow pierced right through his chest. His heart skipped a beat, making Aoshi gasped involuntarily. Aoi-san turned to look at him curiously but Aoshi quickly shook his head, feeling embarrassed. When he looked again, Kuroji was turning away, though Aoshi knew the more experienced shinobi was keeping a close eye on him.
After several minutes, Aoshi stood up to use the bathroom. “Be right back,” he told Aoi-san. “I’ll be in the bathroom. Come get me if you think something’s wrong.”
As he walked down the aisle, Aoshi could still feel Kuroji watching him. Step by step, he made his way towards the back of the train where the restrooms were. Someone was in the men’s room when he arrived,leaving him with no other option but to wait. Luckily, after a moment, a handsome older man stepped out a second later. As their eyes met, Aoshi felt the bottom of his stomach drop out from under him. The man’s smile was almost predator-like but he continued on past Aoshi without so much as looking back.
Once inside the restroom, Aoshi splashed cold water on his face before shuffling over to the toilet. As his eyes left the mirror above the sink, he thought he saw something flash behind his reflection for a second out the corner of his eye. It had probably been nothing more than a trick of the light but it was enough to make him fumble with his fly for longer than necessary. When he finally freed his cock and balls, Aoshi let out a moan of relief along with the flow ofpiss.
Done, Aoshi stood there for a moment longer, casually running his hand up and down over the skin of his dick. Sighing, he threw his head back and close his eyes, just savoring the feel. His whole body was tense with the need for release. In spite of that, his hand didn’t quicken.
“Seems like a waste to me,” said a deep voice from behind, tickling his ear.
Aoshi tried to turn, but a pair of black arms encircled him, holding him fast. “A real waste,” whispered Kuroji-san. “When there’s someone here that’s more than willing to offer something alot better.”
“When did you…” Aoshi started to ask, but Kuroji-san silenced him by placing a hand gently over his throat.
“Just after you started,” he answered. “I wanted to watch you for a moment. Now, how about you let me?”
Aoshi felt his body grow slack as Kuroji-san gripped him in his strong arms. The fingers of the older ninja dug almost painfully into his chest for a second. Aoshi’s first instinct was to pull away and fight off the heat rising up from within him. However, before he could move, Kuroji-san seemed to sense what he was about to do and bit down hard on the fleshy area of his neck. The moment his teeth made contact with Aoshi’s pale skin, it was as though a switch had been thrown somewhere in his head. One moment, he was prepared to do anything to get away. The next, all the will in him evaporated into nothingness.
A low chuckle rumbled through his body from the man standing behind him. Kuroji-san wasted no time in removing their clothes, taking to Aoshi’s surprise great care to not just tear them off. When they were both naked, Kuroji-san bent Aoshi down over the sink and began pressing his cock between his ass cheeks. Aoshi felt a sharp pain,one that caught him off-guard for a moment. It had never hurt this much going in before. As if in answer, a door in his mind swung openand flooded power through him. Something held Aoshi’s body in it’s grip as Kuroji-san began shoving the first few inches of himself in. Aoshi gasped, partly from pain, but also from a whole different sort of orgasm the pain was giving him.
As Kuroji-san began pushing the length of himself slowly in, Aoshi finally understood. He had only consciously accepted the knowledge that had been given to him. This was different, however. He could feel the Kyuubi-Onna’s power flowing out from within him in droves now. It swirled around them both, holding Kuroji and himself in a grip of sexual rapture. As the power pierced through every pore in the shinobi’s body, Kuroji-san began thrusting in and out in afast-paced rhythm, driving the air out of Aoshi’s lungs in the process.
Each time Kuroji-san’s manhood shoved it’s way through to his innards, Aoshi felt the Kyuubi-Onna respond in kind. With every thrust, she unleashed more power into the air. With such a small space, it wasn’t long before the molecules in the air practically sizzled. Aoshi began to cry out, responding to Kuroji-san’s own moans as he pounded into him. They both felt the power build, felt it swimming around their sweat-soaked bodies.
When Kuroji-san came, he let out a howl that was surely heard all the way back up to the front of the car. Aoshi screamed right along with him, feeling Kuroji’s strength seep into his form down to the dark place where the Kyuubi-Onna resided inside of him. His seed sloshed around in Aoshi’s bowels for several minutes after, slowly leaking down onto the floor. Aoshi turned around to lean forward into Kuroji-san’s massive chest as he leaned helplessly against the wall. Rather than tired, Aoshi felt revitalized now.
“Once I recover my strength,” Kuroji gasped, laying a hand on Aoshi’s shoulder gently. “My power will be stronger than ever. I will be able to protect your host much more efficiently.”
Aoshi understood then that he was speaking not to him but the entity that dwelt within him. “Thank you,” he said softly, echoing her sentiments. “You have done me well, Kuroji-san.”
“Iie,” the dark-skinned shinobi replied breathlessly. “Just Kuroji now. You are far beyond me.”
Kuroji smiled then and lifted Aoshi’s chin up. Capturing his mouth, he drew Aoshi back into his sweat-covered form. Together, they kissed for a moment in blissful silence, savoring the taste of one another. Aoshi raised up enough to where he could wrap his arms around Kuroji’sneck. Kuroji, in turn, leaned down a little to give him better access. As he did so, the train suddenly gave a violent lurch.
Somehow, Aoshi felt as though he were falling forward and to the side nearly at once. The whole restroom seemed to turn on it’s end and spin like a washing machine for a second. While this was going on, a horrible sound like metal screeching on metal rang loudly in his ears.
Aoshi forced his brain to think even as the world spun around him. Kuroji had his smaller form in a death grip, using his much larger frame to take the brunt of the damage. There was only one possible thing that could be causing this.
Thetrain had derailed, somehow. They were going to crash!
I visited Goodreads this evening and discovered a warm-the-author’s-heart review of Delsyn’s Blues by a reader/reviewer named Lisa. The 4.25 stars are sweet, but the words she wrote left me feeling good all over. Here’s the link to Lisa’s review. (Many thanks Lisa.)
Incidentally the photo on this post is here for no reason except that I like it, and it was taken in the general area where Delsyn went into the woods, in Delsyn’s Blues, and it’s… that type of forest, likely to be spooky at night. Taken by Michael McKee, website here.
The day has arrived and Delsyn’s Blues is available now from Dreamspinner Press. You can get it there (click the cover image for a direct link), or if you have an account at All Romance Ebooks, it’s “live” there as well. Other venues will be Amazon, B&N, Rainbow Ebooks, and tons more.
You might be able to tell, I’m excited about this. This book is the 2nd in the Vasquez & James series, sequel to Loving Luki Vasquez. The guys run into a lot of trouble, and to get out of it they’d better really, really love each other. Scroll down for the blurbs and links (cover images) for both books.