QSFer Ally Blue has a new speculative fiction anthology out:
A demon with a magic butt and a price on his head.
An interplanetary cowboy with the most valuable plot of land in the galaxy.
A designated Villain who only wants to make people happy, if he can get away with it.
Meet these characters—and the special men who learn to love them—in Loose Stories, a collection of three crazy, funny, surprisingly sweet tales of suspense, adventure, and romance.
These stories have been previously published in three separate multi-author short story anthologies. They are collected here together for the first time.
Ally is giving away one eBook copy of her book Down. For a chance to win, just comment on this blog post.
Excerpt from Twerk It:
Laden plate in hand, he sidled up to the bar for a tall glass of BeelzeBrew, then took his dinner to a table in the rear of the club. Putting his back to the wall where he could see practically the whole place and no one could sneak up on him, he studied the crowd of demons, the damned, astral projections, and slumming angels while he ate. He’d never been to this place before, but his usual contacts had told him that his target hung out here at Hell’s Belles. So here he sat, scarfing tacos and beer and trying to figure out who in the motley multitude looked most likely to point out this L’lousche dude to him.
He’d swallowed the last delicious bite and was sipping the special satanic brew—orders of magnitude better than anything you could get up top, which was just all kinds of wrong—when a vision of twinky sexiness swayed over to his table on thigh-high black leather platform boots with red flames up the sides and leaned on the closest chair, one slender hip popped sideways.
“Well, hi there, beautiful stranger. Mind if I sit?”
Hugo stared the demon up and down, from the long black and red striped bangs hanging over his ruby red eyes, down the slim dancer’s body clad in a glittering red cropped top with a demonic cartoon cat’s head on it, to the red and black short-shorts barely covering his groin. In fact, now that he looked closer, Hugo saw the shorts were made entirely of mesh, except for a strip of leather cradling the demon-twink’s privates.
The shirt said Hell Kitty.
Hugo smiled wide. “Pretty thing, you can sit wherever you want.”
Those gorgeous lips curved into a smile Hugo wanted to lick. “Oh. Thank you very much indeed.” Pushing away from the chair, Hell Kitty skirted the table and settled his pert rear right on Hugo’s lap.
Hugo figured he shouldn’t have been surprised. Demons loved to pull shit like that.
Excerpt from The Five Hells War:
When the latest Cavendish minion arrived to try and buy out his ranch, Rocky was standing on top of a step stool with both hands inside a boomer cow.
“Tell him to fuck off,” Rocky instructed his foreman through clenched teeth. “I’m busy.” He turned the calf in his grip as gently as he could. The cow honked at him, shuffling her wide feet nervously. He leaned a shoulder against her broad, yellow and white speckled hindquarters. “Easy there, Jezabell. We’re almost there, sweetheart.”
In the barn door, the foreman, Jackson, cleared his throat. “I already told him that. He said he won’t leave till you talk to him.”
Great jumping jackalopes.
Rocky dipped his head and used his rolled-up sleeve to mop the sweat from his face. “What’s this asshole’s name?”
“Balthazar Shellenbarger.” Jackson’s boots shuffled on the barn floor. “He’s a lawyer, Rocky.”
Jez’s womb contracted. Rocky tugged with slow, steady pressure, and one of the calf’s long legs popped free. Only one more to go. Then came the tricky part—the head. He couldn’t afford to lose focus now. He didn’t have enough boomers to lose a calf to one of Jez’s breech births.
“You go tell Mister B.S. Lawyerman that I’m up to my elbows in a goddamn cow, so he can either fuck the hell off, or make himself useful and come help me deliver this calf.” He spared a quick glance at Jackson, who still hovered in the doorway looking uncertain. “Go on, now. Tell him.”
Jackson sighed. “Okay. But he’s not gonna like it.” He turned on his heel and marched off toward the big house Rocky owned but hardly ever used except for receiving visitors.
“He’s not supposed to fucking like it,” Rocky muttered to the boomer baby slowly emerging wrong end first from its mama.
He’d tried being polite when the Cavendish Family Farms governing board first started sending underlings out to Five Hells Ranch with their offers to buy him out. No thank you, he’d told them, matching fake smile for fake smile and glibness for glibness. Five Hells isn’t for sale. No thanks, no thanks, no thanks.
He’d started telling them to fuck off when the offers began to arrive accompanied with veiled threats and the minions’ smiles became hard and cold, and he realized they weren’t going to take no for an answer. Eventually, they were going to escalate.
This was the first time they’d sent a lawyer. Rocky figured that meant escalation had arrived.
“Bring it, bitches,” he declared to Jez, her partially born calf, and the couple of other pregnant cows in the barn. He might be surrounded by Cavendish boomer ranches, but he’d die before he sold the ranch his great-grandparents had built up from the dust of this fucking planet.
Excerpt from The Flaming Skull B&B:
Riley Jackson had worked at Cajun Alley for almost seven years. He’d met a lot of oddballs here. But until tonight, he’d never seen an alien.
He watched the tall, angular stranger from under his eyelashes while he pulled drafts. It wasn’t the tight, glittery black jumpsuit that said not human. This wouldn’t be the first guy who’d walked in here with a hard-on for the seventies. No, it was something about the man himself. Something in the cut-glass cheekbones and blue-black skin, in those cold, dark eyes, in his graceful movements and regal bearing.
A drunk tourist stumbled into Alien Guy, spilling beer on the retro jumpsuit. “Whoops.” The drunk man made a clumsy, ineffectual attempt to wipe off the beer. “Sorry, dude.”
The alien snarled, baring gunmetal-gray fangs.
Okay, that was definitely off-the-scale alien. Riley stared, a full pint in one hand and his other already sneaking under the bar to the pistol he hid there just in case.
“RJ, what the hell?”
He came back to himself in a rush. Heart thumping, he handed the beer to the woman who’d ordered it and aimed a half-assed smile at Ginny, his manager. “Hey. What?”
She narrowed her brown eyes at him. “Look, I know he’s hot, but I need you to focus on the customers, not the ass you might get later.” She cut a quick glance at Alien Guy. “And by the way, I don’t think he’s interested. Sorry.”
Riley peered sidelong at the alien and wondered what exactly she saw. “Um. Yeah. Probably not.”
She patted his shoulder. “Three Dark & Stormies for table eight.”
She bustled off. He mixed the drinks on autopilot, his mind preoccupied with the alien and what in the seven hells a being from another planet would be doing in a podunk bar in coastal South Carolina.
He caught Ginny’s eye from across the room when he’d finished and set the drinks on the bar. When he turned around, he found himself face-to-face with Mr. Fangs.
He stopped, pulse hammering in his throat. “Uh. Hi. What’ll you have?”
The alien regarded him with cool appraisal. This close, those dark eyes were huge, black as deepest space, speckled with bright blue dots like distant stars.
Riley found the sight hypnotically beautiful. He smiled.
Starman peered down at him like an aristocrat eyeing something mildly interesting that had crawled across his shoes. “This residence is noisy. It displeases me.” His voice was deep and resonant. Commanding. Haughty, even.
Amused, Riley planted his palms on the bar and titled his head. His flirty twink pose, Ginny would’ve said. “It’s a bar. It’s supposed to be noisy.”
The alien’s wide, full-lipped mouth pursed, hiding the fangs. “Why is a bar?”
Oddly enough, Riley thought he caught the gist of the question. He grinned, watching with curiosity when the blue in Starman’s eyes shaded to pink. “People come here to drink. Well, to meet each other, too. But mostly to drink.”
Those strange eyes fluttered shut for a moment. The alien sighed, a startlingly human sound in its put-out-ed-ness. “Alcohol.”
Ally Blue penned her first tale at age eight, relating the breathless terror of her little sister’s not-quite-fatal encounter with a bee in the backyard. That was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with storytelling. She now writes gay romance of all flavors, and has recently branched into writing her first love: horror. She continues her neverending quest to scare herself. She is not a hippie or a brain surgeon, no matter what her kids’ friends say.