QSFer Storm Caywood has a new MM sci fi romance out: “Alien Eyes.”
Adil is a human relief-effort doctor, Esihle an alien refugee with a shady past. They meet on a space-station orbiting Esihle’s home, the war-torn planet of Yalaphor, and their relationship of lust and intensity gradually blossoms into love.
Now they are on Yalaphor caring for Sehthe, a young girl orphaned by the war. But to keep her safe and become a family, Esihle and Adil must come face-to-face with the worst of the planet, each other, and themselves.
A story of choosing redemption and love.
He’d cleaned up and gotten dressed as he pondered all of this, and headed out to the kitchen for tea. Adil and Sehthe were already there, eating sugary dumplings. This had become a free-day tradition. “I hope you saved me some.” Sehthe jumped up and ran to give him a dumpling. He bent down to take it and kiss her cheek. Not far. He could swear she was taller than she’d been three cycles ago.
Adil had put the flowers in water.
“They’re pretty!” Sehthe observed.
“They are, aren’t they?” He looked at them through her eyes. They were. Pretty and resilient.
“Can we plant some?”
“I think that’s a wonderful idea. I know where they grow wild. We can go get some to dig up and transplant. Maybe we could add that on to our trip to Khorr today?” He looked to Adil, who nodded his approval.
They were pretty, and perhaps growing them in their yard could be a gesture of sorts. Or it would antagonize whoever it was more, if they saw it as a mockery. But it would make their daughter happy and that was what mattered most.
Adil had made this plan to take them to Khorr today. Said he wanted to see it through her eyes. So much rebuilding had happened, the sector was coming back to life, to vibrancy. Sehthe still went to the edge of the neighborhood each day to attend school at the Center, but they had not done anything fun together near there as a family. They didn’t know which places would hold significance for Sehte, and they worried about triggering trauma. But they would be watchful, and the last thing they wanted to do was to disconnect her from her roots. There were vacant lots on the outskirts of the neighborhood; that’s where they could dig up some celandine to bring home for their garden.
They took the streetcar, transferring at the stop by the Center to ride east into the heart of the sector. The streets were cleaner than they had been, and there were new shops. The sidewalks were crowded with people. The neighborhood had always been vibrant, but now it had a sparkle to it that hadn’t been there before. They paused in front of a mural honoring Resistance leaders and Esihle felt stricken. What right did he have to be here, in this neighborhood where he used to come to gather information. Adil squeezed his hand. He exhaled.
They went to a cafe, sat on the patio and ordered lunch, and were eating contentedly when a stranger approached the table from the street.
“I know you.” His voice was flat.
Adil said, “Excuse me?”
“Not you, Human. I know the worm here.”
Adil stood up. “I don’t know who you think you know, but I can tell you that interrupting our family’s lunch is not appropriate. Please leave us alone.”
The man considered it. “I will. Only because I don’t want to frighten the child. Bad enough she’s being raised by a worm.” He walked away.
Esihle turned to Sehthe, worried he would see fear in her face. Instead there was rage contorting her small features.
“It’s not true!” she yelled at the man’s back. “My dad’s not a worm!”
Storm Caywood is a lesbian author living in Western New York with her family and pets. Her writing career started with distributing her girl-detective stories to friends in the third grade. Alien Eyes is her second published work. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, puttering in the yard, or swooning over Star Trek.