QSFer Rebecca Cohen has an MM sci fi rerelease out: “Under Glass.”
Novice planet builder Kai Faewiva has chosen to dedicate his life to the planetarium, but despite the prestige, the honor cannot fill the hole where his Sun should be. For members of Kai’s species who are born with an organ called a caerellon, their true love, their Sun or Moon, is identified at birth. But Kai’s Sun is long dead, killed in an accident when he was a young boy. Or so everyone thought.
After recovering from another bout of the mystery illness he has battled on and off for years, Kai returns to work. But his life is thrown into chaos when scans of Goka Prime, one of the planets in the Sol-Alpha2 system, picks up a life-form that shouldn’t be there. Kai’s Sun, Olliehan Gyin, is somehow alive and well, but how he got to be on Goka Prime, no one knows. And now Kai must bring home his Sun.
Ollie had never truly felt he belonged in the city of Harrea, but he’d have never guessed the reason would be because he came from another planet. When a stranger called Kai arrives, he can’t tear his gaze away, inexplicably drawn to the young man. When the truth is revealed, Ollie has to wrestle with his loyalties and the alien concept that he was destined from birth to be with Kai.
To leave Goka Prime, Ollie must give up everything and everyone he knows. But twenty years apart means Kai and Ollie face a fight to secure what should have always been their future.
Previously Published by Dreamspinner Press.
The soft touch of a hand stroking his hair gently brought Kai back to the here and now. His head and caerellon still hurt, but the pain had reduced to a dull ache as his eyes flickered open, and he was thankful the room was dark, with no artificial light. His mouth was dry, his throat sore like he’d swallowed sandpaper.
Something cold touched his lips, and he accepted the ice chip. “It’s all right, Kai. I’m here.”
His mother’s voice. He immediately relaxed a little. She fed him a few more pieces of ice, and he was glad she was with him, like she’d been during the other times this had happened. “How long?” he rasped, the ice having loosened his voice enough to speak.
“The longest yet.”
He moved his hand to scratch his cheek, but something caught on his arm, and he realized he was attached to a drip. That was new—he’d never needed one before.
As if she’d read his mind, his mother said, “Doctor Shallal thought it best to sedate you.”
“A precaution, darling. Nothing to worry about, and you’ve improved over the last eight hours. She thought it safe to withdraw the sedative, but she made it clear that if needed, she would administer it again.”
Her voice trembled, and he hated that he had put the tremor there. Hated that he had these episodes, that the doctors had no idea what caused them, let alone how to cure them or predict when they might strike.
His body ached with a low-level pain. He wanted to sleep and have a natural dream without the grogginess that accompanied the chemical haze. Suddenly he had regressed into a young boy who wanted nothing more than to curl up with his mum and have her read to him. “Tell me a story,” he whispered, half expecting her to shush him.
“Of course, my darling. Which one?”
“Do you really need to ask?”
“No.” She chuckled. “When the world was young and stars were yet to be hung, the sky was cold and empty. The spirits of the underworld and the sprites of the overland were sad that they knew no way to tell night from day. They joined together, and their greatest minds thought as one and found a way to light their lives. From the bravest and cleverest, from the most loyal and serene, they selected men and women to dance and sing. The elders filled their cauldrons with matter from the soil and the sky and asked if any great god was listening to answer them, to release them from the darkness. And Fo’la, the hunter of the west, did hear their entreaties, and he flew over their brew and released a golden ball, too hot to touch, too bright to be near. Fo’la asked his lover, Lehr the Archer, to fire the golden light into the sky, and the Sun was born.”
Kai sighed happily as his mum’s voice soothed his head. The story was one every child knew, and he loved it, even though he knew the story was fruitless for him.
“But the Sun was lonely and, over time, began to fade. The sprites who were at first happy now grew sad and once again set about brewing a magic elixir, and the men and women danced once again, but still the Sun was unhappy, and a single tear fell from the Sun, a tear filled with its sorrow and loneliness. Fo’la listened to the cries and saw the tear, and once more jumped over the cauldron containing the potion, and a shimmering ball of silver rose into the sky. The Sun shone brightly and did decree, ‘With you I am whole,’ and the Sun and the Moon danced together to complete the sky.”
His mother’s voice was drifting away. “Don’t stop,” he begged. “Finish it, please.”
“And the people who stared up at the Sun and Moon did want the same devotion they saw in the sky. Fo’la, touched once again, said that those men and women who had helped make the Sun and the Moon would be blessed, and they and their descendants would never be alone. One of you might be the Sun who shines so bright, but you need the subtle Moon to keep you company and to make you whole. The favored turned to each other, and one of each pair said, ‘I am the Sun and you are my Moon—and we will live and love forever.’ So for every Sun there is a Moon, and together they light up the sky.”
Kai drifted back to sleep, his mind comforted in the dreams of the ancients, not dwelling on the knowledge his Sun had burned out years before.
REBECCA COHEN spends her days dreaming of a living in a Tudor manor house, or a Georgian mansion. Alas, the closest she comes to this is through her characters in her historical romance novels. She also dreams of intergalactic adventures and fantasy realms, but because she’s not yet got her space or dimensional travel plans finalised, she lives happily in leafy Hertfordshire, England, with her husband and young son. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and sloe gin with lemon tonic in the other.