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ANNOUNCEMENT: Autumn on Mars, by SMA

QSFer SMA has a new MM fantasy romance out, book one in the Four Seasons Cycle: “Autumn on Mars.”

Tripp doesn’t know who he is, how he got here, or why this gorgeous man with dark eyes is the only familiar thing in sight.

But he does know this:

It’s Autumntide on Mars and love is in the air!

—Embrace the wonders of Fall in this dreamy and evocative MM seasonal romance—
Louisa May Alcott meets the science fantasy of Ray Bradbury!

Tripp is a young employee of the Division, corporate authority in the Crater region. Reserved and sardonic, he’s inexplicably drawn to Dolan—a goofy, enthusiastic romantic with a body made to remember.

But it’s not just strong arms pulling Tripp toward this onyx-eyed man. Both colleagues are victims of amnesia caused by their recent interplanetary re-assignment. Though they don’t even recognize themselves, they’re driven by intense chemistry that feels too familiar to be coincidence …

With work suspended for the month-long Autumntide festival, can Tripp let his walls down and learn to love—even when he’s a stranger in his own head?

Experience the festivities as two lost souls find each other—again—under the ochre skies of Autumn on Mars.

Get It At Amazon


Excerpt

“Anyway, here’s Wonderwall.”

The man standing behind him snorts, but smirks despite the sound. Where has he heard that phrase before? He taps the quipster on the back. “Do I know you?”

Mr. Wonderwall turns and grins. “Do you?” He holds out a hand, eyes running up and down the other’s body. “Dolan. Very nice to meet you, … ?”

The other shakes his head, but can’t stop the smile. He gives in and takes the proffered hand. “Tripp. Nice to meet you, Dolan.”

“I agree completely.” Dolan runs his gaze along Tripp’s body one last time, then winks and turns back to face the front of the queue.

Tripp rolls his eyes, but can’t stop the warmth from flushing up to his neck as he quickly scans those broad shoulders and strong back.

He has no intention of being charmed by some buffoon.

But, it was such a big hand …

His face goes red and he chews his bottom lip, glad Dolan has turned the other way to resume conversation with some unknown woman.

What had the man been talking about? It sounded like something from Earth That’s Been—ancient history. He doesn’t recall ever having much interest in that topic himself, but knows that it’s something of a hobby for some people. A bit of rearward-facing fantasy to keep employees entertained and occupied out here in the system.

Tripp recognizes nobody else in the queue. To be expected, having just arrived on Mars after four months in hiber-sleep. But the confusion and a sense of being unmoored is lasting longer than usual this time, after the offloading and resuscitation.

Most passengers are back to their usual selves within a day or two, but it’s been nearly a week since he disembarked … at least, he thinks it’s been that long. Time is fuzzy lately.

Employees should report such circumstances to medical authorities promptly, but Tripp doesn’t want to. He’ll feel like himself soon, he’s sure.

Anyway, a part of him has always enjoyed this period. The post-hiber haze after interplanetary travel. Inhibitions loosened. Memories scattered. Vague euphoria in the air as neurochemicals rebalance and legs remember how to navigate gravity again. As bodies remember how to live again, after so many weeks spent in suspended animation.

He forcibly halts his lip chewing.

He wants to live again.

Over the loudspeaker, some bored functionary says, “Come on, gentlefolk. Everybody wants to get out of here for the holiday. Nobody clocks out without entering the lotto. New arrivals and transfers from the last transport, to the left. Old hats to the right. Tighten that line up, got too many of you in too little space right now.”

Tripp dutifully shuffles forward a bit, close enough to start feeling the heat coming from the strong body in front of him.

Dolan glances behind and winks again.

Tripp pretends to ignore it, unconvincingly.

} | | | |{

Later, a second, shorter line at the factory exit.

A bored shift warden calls out, “If you don’t already have your tag, go back and get one. Nobody’s released without a tag today.”

Autumntide decorations take the sting out of the admonition, garlands and glowing firebaubles lining the exit tunnel. Hard to feel grumpy with cinnamon and the smell of falling leaves in the air.

Tripp absently rubs his forearm, where the technician took the sample and set the tag. Testing for contamination, in part, but mostly snagging his genetic code for entrance into the lotto.

He doesn’t pay it much attention. Twenty million employees on the planet in any given season, and only two will come up in the drawing. It’s irrelevant, he tells himself.

Tripp inhales deeply, chest swelling with warmth and spices.

Yes, he’s ready to live again. Is glad the passenger leviathan arrived in orbit just in time for the festival. Barely any work to be done before they’re all sent off on holiday vacation. What with the hiber-fog, he can’t even remember most of the last couple days he spent on-shift. Almost like they never happened.

Life will be good for the next few weeks.

From behind him: “Hey there, green eyes.”

He turns and can’t stop the flutter in his throat at seeing that face. Tries to sound irritated as he says, “Hello, Dolan.” Doesn’t think it worked, because the other man grins again.

Dolan moves to stand alongside him—breaking the rules of the queue, though nobody’s likely to mind here at the exit. He says, “How’d the poking go?”

Tripp raises a brow. “I’m sorry?”

Dolan’s eyes twinkle and he points to Tripp’s forearm.

Ah. Of course. “The usual. Quick and painful.”

Dolan chuckles. “True. Just a little twinge to make us appreciate the off-time on our way out the door.”

Tripp murmurs agreement, tries to hide his sideways glances at the man.

They shuffle forward in silence, watching the shift warden scanning arms, muttering, “Happy Tide,” as he sends employees out into the world.

Dolan obediently drops behind Tripp as they approach the front of the queue. He can feel the heat of the man’s gaze on his backside.

He doesn’t hate it.

A brusque hand pulling his forearm up, the beep of the scanner, the muttered, “Happy Tide,” and he’s out the exit.

Eyes blink in the bright halcyon haze of the crater valley, lined with a shimmering carpet of reds, golds, and fading purples as the moak trees and shatter firs and lily-leaves display their seasonal splendor.

The trees cover most of this deep, broad, platter-floored bowl their corporate Division resides within. Their canopies run right up to the crater lip, its eroded orange cliffs barely visible in the far distance.

A hint of fragrant, herbaceous smoke traces through the atmosphere, drifting over from peat bogs in the plains outside the crater, gone dry from the summer and beginning to smolder.


Author Bio

SMA writes LGBT-themed sci-fi from his home base in the United States. His “Twisting Fates” series is out now, and his new “The 4 Seasons Cycle” will be rapidly released through Spring 2020.

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