Welcome to the New Year’s Eve Hop! It’s about time.
I often write about immortals. They are affected by time and age like we do (although a bit slower). However, they exist in a world where they are just as pressed for time as we are. In the scene I’m going to share, we discover how Alitus Vivaldi and Wulf Gabriel meet. It’s about time, and someone who is terribly late…
It’s About Time, the 2014-2015 Blog Hop
Book: Alitus, Tales of the Chosen
Alitus Vivaldi lives in a world full of political intrigue, and he is supremely alone. As a Better, an enhanced human, he can touch no one — his pheromones are addictive. He keeps his affair with Wulf secret, because Wulf belongs to another, a powerful man allied with the empress. When the man asks the empress to investigate whether Wulf is having an affair, Wulf’s relationship with Alitus could be exposed. Complicating matters, the empress reveals her immortality, and requires Alitus to prove his loyalty. Her test will throw him straight into Wulf’s arms, right in front of the empress and Wulf’s lover. Hiding what they are to each other has taken discipline and denial. Now, it will take a miracle.
Genre: science fiction romance, MM, gay romance
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R
Tarthian Empire, Tarth, Tarth City
Conqueror’s Palace, Alitus Vivaldi’s Quarters
Alitus slept fitfully, and woke long before dawn. He turned over and pushed himself up in bed, and reached for the book on his nightstand. Beside it sat a stone jar with inset stones. He picked it up and removed the lid. Inside lay individually wrapped white chocolate truffles. Alitus unwrapped one, bit it, and closed his eyes, transported to his last night with Wulf.
The memory thrust him back to the way they’d met. They’d been aware of one another for some time, and interfaced in official capacities. With Alitus being the empress’s personal assistant at the time, and Wulf on various charitable committees, it was bound to happen. They’d finally talked while working on a fundraiser for a society that protected animals. There were supposed to be four people present, but a traffic incident had delayed the other two, and Alitus and Wulf had spent an hour alone, in each other’s company. Wulf had flirted with him shamelessly.
It had been quiet for several minutes. They were seated in one of the larger conference rooms in the palace, and the floor-to-ceiling windows beamed in light. The drapes fluttered in a light breeze. On the third floor, windows were often open. Especially the ones over the rose garden. The scent of flowers wafted into the room.
Wulf stretched out his legs under the table, and folded his arms across his chest. He asked a question out of the blue. “So are you?”
“Beg pardon?” Alitus jerked up his head from the note reader where he’d been making notations. “Am I what?”
Still unsure what Wulf meant, he’d asked, “Better at what?”
“You’re a Better, right? How much better are you?”
“Oh, that.” He gestured with the stylus. “I’m better at everything. Anything anyone else can do, I can do longer, harder, faster. All that sort of thing.”
“Really?” Wulf gave him a long stare. “Sure of yourself, aren’t you?”
“Matter of genetics, not being sure of myself.” Alitus went back to his notes. “I was designed to be superior. I can’t avoid it.”
Alitus, Tales of the Chosen
“So you think in a footrace, you could beat me?”
“If I trained for it, without a doubt.” He hadn’t looked up at Wulf, but he could see the man’s grin. “It wouldn’t be fair.”
“So you say.” A scent of roses came to them. “That smells amazing. You must love living here.”
“It’s all right.” Alitus kept writing.
“Are you better at picking flowers?”
He put down his note reader. “Picking flowers?” Alitus gestured toward the window. “Why, do you want to go see?”
Wulf shrugged. “I’m game if you are. Beats sitting here on a perfect day, while the sun goes to waste outside and those wonderful-smelling roses are out there waiting to be picked.”
While Alitus pondered whether the challenge was serious, his mobile buzzed, and he checked it. “It’s about time they called. This says the others will be late.”
“As if we hadn’t figured that out twenty minutes ago.” Wulf arched a brow. “Let me guess. Traffic.”
Alitus set down the unit. “Seems a shame they’re stuck in traffic in this great weather. They won’t be here for another forty minutes or more. Since this is scheduled to be a three-hour meeting, I signalled them to come ahead.”
He and Wulf held each other’s gazes for a moment longer, and then Wulf stood, and kicked in his chair.
“So. Flower picking contest?”
Alitus rose, and pushed in his chair as well. “Why not?”
They’d picked not one bloom, but had talked while walking around the ambling, circular path of the rose garden. They’d made it around three times before the others had arrived. The rest, as they say, had been history. Being in Wulf’s presence had felt like going home. As if he’d found his other half. Their shared laughter and concern for the creatures they were trying to protect had bonded them.
Alitus popped the rest of the truffle into his mouth, and got up to begin his day.
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Edited 1/4/15: Although the hop is over, you may continue to download the items on the page above. You are always welcome to sign up for my newsletter or subscribe to the blog. Here’s to a wonderful year for all of us! — Kayelle Allen