QSFer Lyssa Dering has a new MM fantasy/paranormal book out:
Dying at the hands of government goons was always going to happen. Waking up in a dark and twisted afterlife? Not the plan.
Seraphim has the superhuman ability to control his own brain. Or at least, he used to, before his government-mandated brain surgery. The surgery killed him, but life isn’t over yet. He’s just woken up, shivering and alone, in the rain-soaked alleyway of a city he doesn’t recognize.
Fiend is a childhood monster. Dreamed up by Seraphim’s friend Wish, he was imprisoned in Wish’s subconscious until the birth of Wish City, a place for people with superhuman abilities to take refuge after death. Now Fiend is free—and in charge—and he’s on the hunt for anyone with abilities once they cross over.
Eager to play with his new toy, Fiend quickly makes contact with Seraphim. Lost and injured, Seraphim lets Fiend slither into his heart. But under the aching pleasure the two find with each other is a hunger that can’t be denied, and lurking in the shadows of the neon city are truths neither man nor monster is ready to face.
How to Love a Monster is a gay erotic horror romance featuring twisted and kinky M/M sex, a diabolical love interest, and an HEA ending.
CONTENT WARNINGS: The following excerpt depicts characters using a fictional drug and having sex under the influence. It also includes brief descriptions of involuntary medical procedures.
I’m pretty sure they finally killed me, but if this is Heaven, I’m not on board. It’s dark here, and wet. I’m back-first in a frigid puddle, and I’m shivering it’s so damn cold.
I push myself up, the asphalt rough against my palms, and catch a whiff of rot from a nearby dumpster.
Nice. I’m in some gross back alley. It’s probably swimming in cigarette butts and the gunk from the bottoms of people’s shoes.
I launch to my feet and hug myself, grimacing. I’m not dressed for this type of weather. Skin-tight jeans, white sneakers, a leather vest, nothing else. Maybe I’m not really here. Last I remember, I was lying on an operating table, blinking languidly as the anesthesia pulled me under, so this could be a dream. Maybe right now, the surgeons are messing around with the part of my brain to do with fashion because I’d never fucking wear this. I know how to dress for the elements; I know how to prepare for the worst.
If this is a dream, though, I should be able to use my abilities, even if the whole point of the surgery is so I can’t. Right?
I glance around and don’t see anyone. Still, I shuffle into the dumpster’s shadow before I close my eyes. It’s habit. Even though my power presents invisibly most of the time, sometimes it’s the littlest things that tip off those government goons.
I take a deep breath and focus on my neurons. I speak directly to my brain: I’m warm. Stop sending signals to make me shudder. Stop the numbness in my fingers, the goosebumps, the chill at my back. I can taste it, the warmth. I can almost feel the kiss of heat over my skin, like a hug—
“Aaaah!” I double over as a terrible ache throbs through my whole head. My ears, nose, teeth, scalp—they all ache. It’s like countless angry fists slamming into me from all sides, and the pain hits six unbearable times before subsiding. In its wake, it leaves me gasping and dizzy enough to lean against the grimy side of the dumpster.
I’m still freezing, shaking uncontrollably, but the blood trickling out of my nose and tickling my upper lip is warm. I wipe it away. Staring at the dark smear on my white fingers, I realize this could still be a dream. Universe knows I’ve had enough nightmares, waking and sleeping, reliving the needles, monitors, tests, and drugs even as more await me. Reliving the moment the goons finally got me.
But even though I’m no precog, my regular intuition tells me I’m not on Earth anymore. I’m not on that operating table in the cold, white, government building where I spent…I don’t know how long. Years, probably.
I’m here. But where is here?
Am I free? Is this the place Wish said he’d make for us? A dimension for every special where we could be powerful and whole and savoring of life instead of always hiding and afraid?
Standing in this alley just as dark and dank as any I’ve ducked into while outrunning goons, I can’t see how this could be that place. Wish spoke of pink-blossomed trees, blue skies, green grass, clean air. We’d never have to worry about money or food, and whenever we wanted to go somewhere new, he’d simply make it for us.
I remember sitting with him on the roof of some building at night talking about cupcakes. He said he’d like to make us a cupcake shop. And I asked him to make me a single red velvet one, because I knew he had the power to do anything he wanted, and weren’t we alone? Just one little cupcake, cream-filled, please. But he wouldn’t do it. He said I’d just have to wait until we met in Wish City, which was what he called the dimension he promised us as a joke.
My fingers, smarting from the cold, pull me from the memory. I tuck my hands into my armpits and cautiously stumble out of the dumpster’s shadow.
My power is gone. I can feel it now, like a dark spot in my head, or maybe it’s locked up somewhere I can’t reach. Blocked by something they did to me in that operating room. So this can’t be the place Wish was supposed to have waiting for us when we lost the fight. Because in that place, I’d be whole. That’s all I know for sure.
My throat tightens. The government must have finally done what they were trying to do. They broke me. They ruined the best thing about me.
I make my way down the deserted alley. Up ahead, I glimpse the glowing pink outline of a rectangle as a dark door opens then closes, snuffing out the glow. Maybe I’m dead—maybe this is Hell. Still, my instincts tell me to get somewhere warm. That glow… It seemed hot. And none of the shadowy corners around me are jumping out as invitingly.
I reach the door. It’s made of weather-beaten, tarnished metal, with no knob or handle. Gritting my teeth to keep them from chattering, I knock.
No one answers.
Lyssa Dering is an author of erotic M/M fiction. Her work is often romantic, always emotional, and features shifters, vampires, and regular old humans in whatever subgenres inspire her. She seeks to share the kind of fiction she loves to read: intense and addictive with engaging characters and situations.
Lyssa is nonbinary and demisexual and often draws upon her time in the BDSM community when writing intimate scenes. She resides in the Midwestern United States with an aggressively affectionate tabby cat. When not writing, she enjoys livetweeting about the books she’s reading and dicking around in Photoshop.