QSFer Anne Tenino has a new MM sci fi book out:
James Ayala thought life would be smooth sailing once he escaped from Red Idaho and returned to Blue Oregon. He was supposed to get answers about the biocybernetic chip that made him empathic, face the man who implanted it, and then ride off into the sunset with his boyfriend, Matt Tennimore.
Life, however, has other plans: the bad guy dies before he explains squat, they left their horse in Idaho, and Gramma Anais finds a parasite on James’s implant—one that forces him into isolation.
Matt just got James back to Oregon where he wanted him, and extraneous brain hardware or not, he has no intention of letting him go. But James hesitates to move in with him. Despite his hurt, Matt has to man up and do his job, leaving James behind, while the rest of the team struggles to find the real mastermind behind the implant and the parasitic “Trick,” before it takes over James’s brain. But will it be too late to save him?
“…[F]or me the heart of this story is once again the characters. Matt and James are just fabulous together. They are such a good match […] and their love for each other only grows stronger over the course of the book.” —Joyfully Jay
Book Two of Task Force Iota
He started out as a single cell of evil. A little module, spawned from something larger than himself. That was all he knew. He was a tiny drop, less than a drop, a drop of a drop, of that immense being.
Actually, he knew a little more than that. He knew one other thing: he had been made in his creator’s image, and to pay homage he had to go out and make himself into the image of his creator.
First, though, he had to evolve some. Amoebas couldn’t really do much in the creation department.
He didn’t know where he picked up the name Amoeba. Somewhere back in his personal primordial soup, he supposed. It stuck, though. So did “he,” back in his aboriginal days.
In a place called Ireland during his formative period, they called him a “wee evil beastie.” He still called himself Amoeba.
Time didn’t mean a whole lot to Amoeba, but he had the sense of it passing. Could have been eons, could have been hours. Meh. Whatever. He marked the passage of time by his travels. Far and wide, all over the world, finding other organisms to meld with. Mate with, if necessary, but he tried to avoid that. It was occasionally unavoidable. While he got something out of it—DNA swaps or sometimes he cannibalized whole parts—he tended to leave little pieces of himself behind when he did that mating thing. His children, he supposed.
Not the offspring he wanted to make, those early accidents. So he kept traveling, picking up pieces here and there, adding to his knowledge base, fitting it together, occasionally achieving some kind of synergistic melding, bumping him up the evolutionary ladder.
As he evolved, his needs evolved. His self-image solidified and became more complicated and beautiful. At first, it had just been the need to make evil, back when he was a wee amoeba, but he hadn’t had the ability to do much more than share it around. Now he wished to metamorphose into the perfect organism and then clone himself. Make millions of himself to inhabit his dark world and control it. For his creator, of course.
(Cue heavenly choir.)
By the time he’d made it to someplace called the Arabic Peninsula, he was much more powerful, nearly fully formed, possibly. They called him “Djinn.” He liked that name. He kept it.
On this Arabic Peninsula, Djinn learned to fully appreciate the visual. There he first saw the human form. Women were mostly covered, but men were everywhere. He learned to appreciate their bodies. In fact, he thought he might want one of his own.
That was also where he first realized that, as a male, he would probably like to see a female body. Really like to. He just needed to find one. Until then it was all theoretical, wasn’t it? After his mission was accomplished, and he’d served his creator appropriately, he would see to it. Unless he got lucky first. So to speak.
Djinn hitched a ride out of that part of the world when surely he’d gotten everything it had to give him. He flew somewhere. He didn’t know where, just somewhere else, with a very wealthy businessman from Dubai. The businessman had a private orbit vehicle and private attendants who did very private things with him.
It was something of an eye-opener for Djinn. Strangely, he wasn’t as interested in the naked women as he’d predicted. That penis between the man’s legs… when it got hard and wept like that… it made Djinn shudder so hard the whole craft shook.
(Causing a momentary break in the action. He was very, very careful not to shudder again.)
He’d definitely like to have one of those penises for himself. It came with the body, of course. Nothing to worry about. Plenty of time for that. Before Djinn had boarded the businessman’s orbit module, he’d come to realize his ultimate goal was to perfect the human being, in worship of his creator.
(Heavenly chorus, blah-blah-blah.)
When they landed, Djinn slipped away from the businessman and (unfortunately) his penis and started checking out this new land. The systems seemed familiar somehow, so much like his early days. Djinn got excited and raced around looking at things, causing a fair amount of excitement and alarm. But, of course, he got away before anyone caught him. Passed himself off as another passenger in the traffic. It was easy. He’d done it forever.
He was more excited than he’d ever been.
Djinn was now home, in the land of his creation, about to fulfill his destiny. He resolved to find the few last necessary pieces to complete his evolution, and then to begin his ultimate act of worship: replicating himself endlessly for his creator.
(By this time—duh—he’d programmed the chorus to play automatically. Such a timesaver.)
Things didn’t go as well as he’d hoped. One awful day, Djinn realized he was missing one final piece, the thing that would allow him to reach his goal of becoming the ultimate human cyborg evil and controlling the world and beyond.
He needed hands.
(A penis wouldn’t go to waste if he had one, either.)
All for his creator, of course.
Catalyzed by her discovery of LGBTQ romance, Anne Tenino left the lucrative fields of art history, non-profit fundraising, and domestic engineering to follow her dream of become a starving romance author. For good or ill, her snarky, silly, quasi-British sense of humor came along for the ride.
Anne applies her particular blend of romance, comedy and gay protagonists to contemporary, scifi and paranormal tales. Her works have won awards, she’s been featured in RT Book Reviews, and has achieved bestseller status on Amazon’s gay romance list.
Born and raised in Oregon, Anne lives in Portland with her husband and two kids, who have all taken a sacred oath to never read her books. She can usually be found at her computer, procrastinating.