QSFer Belinda McBride has a new sci fi book out:
Once upon a time, a young prince met a handsome stranger, and they fell in love…
But that’s another story completely.
Once upon a time, the world as we knew it changed. First came the droughts and the climate went insane. Deserts flooded and lush rain forests withered and died. Sickness ravaged the population, followed by war. Men became twisted monsters and women died by the score. Those who survived, fled.
And then things got very bad.
After a decade, Stephan the Hunter is back in town, his brutal gaze searching for prey. When he runs into Detective Colin Redington in a bar, Stephan is mesmerized. Years ago, Red had been a skinny boy, struggling to protect himself from the big bad creatures of the city. Now Red’s all grown up and he’s been waiting a very long time…for Stephan.
One’s a hunter and one’s a beast. Only one can come out on top.
Author’s Note: This is a revised, expanded version of a short story that was originally released elsewhere.
He lifted the barbell and set it back in the rack above Red’s face. His sharp gaze flicked to the side. “But that one over there…the dark one…don’t look at him straight on… now he’s a stone-cold killer. A hunter. He don’t need no one else to be a danger.” He jerked his chin toward the window where Red caught the reflection of a man. Even in the glass, he was scary as hell. All dark and lean and hungry, he looked out at the world from under the dark hood over his head.
Look away! Look away!
Predator. Red’s primal brain screamed, but he calmly looked up at the trainer.
“How do you survive someone like that?” His voice cracked only a little and he didn’t try to hide the fear he felt.
“Gimme five more reps, and I’ll tell you.”
His breath caught in his chest and Red nearly laughed with the wild need to run. He reached up for the bar and the old guy spotted him through his next press. And then another. It seemed easier this time, probably because of the shot of terror zinging through his system. He reached five and nearly lost his grip.
“One more and I’ll tell you how to survive him, and the others like that one. Because he’s not the only hunter out there, boy. And once he fixates, you won’t shake him.”
Automatically, Red glanced at the plate glass. To his horror, the man was watching. He was seated on a weight bench, doing curls with a massive dumbbell. His teeth were sharp and white as he strained, but he never looked away. His lean arms bulged with muscle and veins stood out in stark relief on his forearms. Hair the color of garnet spilled out from under the hood of his shirt. He face was angular, his cheeks were gaunt, the skin slightly rough from long ago scars. His dark eyes gleamed with a feral light. He was beautiful in the way a wolf was beautiful just as it lunged on a terrified rabbit.
Without looking away from the reflection, Red awkwardly battled through one final press, and then parked the barbell, remaining there on his back. The trainer leaned down, whispering in his ear so he wasn’t overheard.
“Hunt him. Keep getting stronger, and stay smart like you are. You start thinking like a hunter and someday you’ll make him your prey. Not yet, kid. You aren’t ready and I doubt he’s really noticed you. But don’t forget his face.”
The trainer sat up and extended a calloused hand, drawing Red to his feet. He nodded to the floor. “Sit ups. Give me a hundred. Now.”
Red dropped to the floor and noticed that the old guy had positioned him so he had a perfect view of the dark man. He counted off and focused on a spot just over the stranger’s shoulder, and Red learned every line of the predator’s face. In that hundred count, he learned other things about the man too, and about himself as well. He’d think about that later. Much later. Looking at the hunter started a burn in his gut that had nothing to do with sit ups and weight benches and everything to do with a hunger he never knew existed.
The hunter wanted him, and he wanted that wild man right back.
“You finish there and we’ll start on the punching bag. Then you walk me home. Old guys like me need protection.”
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Belinda is an award-winning, top selling author of erotic romance, speculative fiction and LGBTQ romance. She lives in far Northern California with her family and a pack of Siberian Huskies.
A graduate of CSU Chico, she managed to attend the notorious party school without once getting drunk, arrested or appearing in a “Girls Gone Wild” video. Her main focus of study was classical and archival history, cultural anthropology and
Belinda has won the EPIC Award in Paranormal Romance with Blacque/Bleu, and in Science Fiction Romance with The Bacchi. She won RWA’s Passionate Plume in Science Fiction Romance with An Uncommon Whore. In addition, she’s had numerous wins and placements in these and other juried competitions. She is the co-creator and author of the wildly popular Doms of Dark Haven series, with Cherise Sinclair and Sierra Cartwright.
Belinda’s books are available at all the typical distributors as well as on the publisher’s homepages.