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ANNOUNCEMENT: Strays, by Elizabeth Noble

QSFer Elizabeth Noble has a new LGBT sci fi novella out – “Strays.”

Kyle Anderson grew up with the lie that he was among the last babies born before a pandemic decimated the human race. Then Kyle’s quiet, lonely life as a research assistant and student is shattered when he discovers the government has been lying to the world for more than twenty years. Now on the run from authorities who would kill for his silence, Kyle is taken in by Daniel Shanks, a member of a militia group dedicated to discovering the truth.

Daniel has seen death and violence in this new, radically changed society, and the closer he gets to Kyle, the harder his fears ride him. Both men need to stop listening to the lies told by the government and start facing the lies they’ve been telling themselves, because the only place strays like them may be safe in this uncertain world is in each other’s hearts.

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Kyle had a life, once.

Now he had a hiding place in some city he’d never been in and really didn’t want to stay in. It was cold, wet and windy here. The sounds of a partially iced over lake, one of the Great Lakes he thought, surrounded him. The past few days were a blur at the best. He’d always thought the fact he was one of the youngest people alive on the entire planet made him, if not special, then at least worthy of keeping alive. Why the pandemic that wiped out half the human race left every female survivor sterile, he had no clue. He’d been born weeks before it’d struck.

Two days ago he’d been a student, almost ready to graduate and working hard at his first job in his chosen profession. All that changed when he saw satellite photographs of something he should have never seen. Instead of doing the smart thing and keeping his mouth shut, he’d asked his supervisor about the photographs.

That led to him being arrested.

When the van transferring him to where he’d likely spend the rest of his life, or suffer his execution, slid on the ice covered road and into a ditch, Kyle had escaped. They hadn’t chained him, simply locked him in a wire cage in the back of the van. The sides split open when the van overturned, forcing heavy branches and steel rails from the roadside straight through the vehicle’s side. He’d run, putting his long legs to good use and almost gotten away unscathed. One of the government agents fired at him, the bullet grazed the round part of his shoulder and ripped his jacket, the only bit of warmth he owned right now.

Stumbling, eyes stinging from the pain, lungs burning from exertion, Kyle kept on running. He’d never been hurt like that. It was the beginning of a line of firsts for him. Now, days later he was hungry and the only thing he’d had to drink was semi-frozen puddle water. His black tee and denim jacket were no protection against the cold.

Finding a spot near the outskirts of the city, Kyle wedged himself in a narrow alley between two buildings. Crouching low to the ground, he peered out from behind the wall. He’d been separated from his parents for so long he hardly remembered what they looked like. Even their whereabouts were unknown to him. None of his friends, if he could even call them that, would help, for fear of being implicated. Those people were more like coworkers anyway, not real friends. He was sure they didn’t really care what had happened to him. He didn’t know anyone his own age, though he knew some existed somewhere in the world.

Kyle wasn’t even sure what his crime was.

No food, no money and no way of getting help or supplies, Kyle was cut off from everything he’d ever known. He had no one, not even marginally, and was so afraid he was numb.

He tried to shove farther back along the wall of his hideout, but there was barely enough room for a six-foot-four guy as it was. When he heard footsteps, Kyle brushed his bangs away from his face, held his breath and tried to be still and blend into the shadows.

The guy walking down the street took Kyle’s breath away. In another time he’d have hoped this man was into other guys. Now he simply wanted to stay out of his line of sight. He wore drab green and gray clothing that was meant to blend in. Even his jeans were dark gray. He had short cropped, dark blond hair, a bit of a five o’clock shadow and intense green eyes.

Kyle took in every detail from the broad, muscled shoulders to legs almost as long as Kyle’s. He was probably a few inches shorter than Kyle. Only part of the pounding of his heart was from fear of discovery.

He couldn’t get caught, he couldn’t.

The man looked around. He squinted up into the twilight sky and twisted on his heels first left then right. Even though the man’s movements were casual Kyle couldn’t shake the feeling it was him this man was looking for, even though he didn’t wear the uniform of government agents. He carried himself like one. Kyle had seen enough of those people at the university and in the research facility where he’d worked.

A cramp shot through his leg and he hissed in a breath, shifting then wincing. The man turned and looked right at Kyle’s hiding place. Taking a few steps closer, the man leaned down, cocked his head to one side and stood straight again. The backpack he carried was dropped from his shoulder and gripped loosely in one hand.

Putting hands on hips, backpack dangling from his crooked fingers, he said, “Out, now.”

Not knowing what to do, Kyle stood on shaky legs, but didn’t move away from his hiding spot.

The man moved closer, reaching out and brushed his fingers against the blood stain on Kyle’s jacket. “You’re hurt.” He reached for Kyle’s good arm. “Come with me.”

Skirting carefully around him, Kyle saw a pistol sticking out of the man’s waistband. Using his good arm he darted in and made a grab for it. When the guy twisted away, Kyle kicked at his legs, grabbed the backpack and took off.

“Crap. Kid, don’t run!” The man yelled. “Why do they always run?” The man had shouted loud enough Kyle heard him despite running away.

Author Bio

Mystery, action, chills, and thrills spiced with romance and desire. ELIZABETH NOBLE lives by the adage “I can’t not write.” She doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t make up stories and eventually she learned how to put words on a page. Those words turned into books and fan fiction that turned into a genuine love of M/M fiction. A part of every day is spent living in worlds she created that are filled with intrigue and espionage. She has a real love for a good mystery complete with murder and twisty plots as well as all things sci-fi, futuristic, and supernatural.

When she’s not chronicling the adventures of her many characters, Elizabeth is a veterinary nurse living in her native Cleveland, Ohio. She has three grown children and now happily shares her little, brick house with an adorable mixed breed canine princess, a spunky Cardigan Welsh Corgi and their sidekick, tabby cat. Elizabeth is a fan of baseball, basketball (go Cavs and Indians) and gardening. She can often be found working in her ‘outside office’ listening to classic rock and plotter her next novel waiting for it to be dark enough to gaze at the stars.

Elizabeth has received a number of amateur writing awards. Since being published, several of her novels have received Honorable Mentions in the Rainbow Awards. Jewel Cave was a runner-up in the Gay Mystery/Thriller category in the 2015 Rainbow Awards. Ringed Love was a winner in the Gay Fantasy Romance category of the 2016 Rainbow Awards.


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