QSFer Juna Jay has a new MM sci-fi omegaverse book out, Companion Stars book 1: Close Quarters.
This spaceship isn’t big enough for two broken hearts.
Dapper and determined Ketis has never quite gotten over the abrupt end of his first love affair. Sick of running into his stupidly handsome ex-alpha in every damn corridor of Debera Palace, he agrees to travel halfway across the galaxy to the capital of the Drualian Empire. That should be far enough to forget Soran, right?
Two years ago, fiercely protective Deputy Captain Soran Anstone failed his precious, brilliant Ketis in the hour he needed him the most. Unable to face the omega he doesn’t deserve to love, he jumps at the chance to lead a new security team, even if losing Ketis again hurts more than leaving the only planet he’s ever known.
Their surprise reunion aboard HMS Descant is unexpectedly intimate, but with Soran consumed by guilt and Ketis convinced that the alpha doesn’t care, neither can see that the flame between them is blazing brighter than ever. Then the ship is plunged into darkness, and the pair must track down a would-be assassin—and find their way back to each other—before interstellar peace is shattered forever.
Close Quarters is a 26k second-chance romance featuring mutual pining and lethal danger on a spaceship. While mpreg exists in this world, there is no pregnancy or birth in this book.
CW: Past verbal abuse from a parent.
He hurried through the administrative buildings, wanting to make it to the prince’s suite at the heart of the palace before the after-work crowds filled up the gardens and arched corridors. The floors here were decorated with geometric white flowers set in a stark black, the marble polished by the tread of thousands of record-keepers and surveyors and political officials.
Ketis nearly faltered when he passed an alcove hidden behind an old bougainvillea. How many times had he sneaked away from his desk, needing desperately to see his lover, to kiss him raw in the handful of minutes between shifts? Even at the beginning Soran would never let himself be distracted while on guard duty…
Ketis shook his head. Moving on was better for both of them, and since Soran had dug in his heels by being appointed the deputy captain of the Debera Palace Guard, it was up to Ketis to make a change.
In a matter of hours, he would never again have to worry about accidentally meeting Soran’s sweet honey-gold eyes across the great dining hall, or scenting traces of him in the public courtyards, or watching him shoot through the ranks from the back of the auditorium instead of standing proud at his side.
He tried to convince himself that was a good thing.
As Ketis reached the inner palace, he took a quick turn to cut across the royal herb garden, breathing in a blend of mouth-watering smells. He could already hear the general hubbub of curious guards chattering and servants moving crates and the clear ringing sound of Prince Ivar’s laughter that made him the darling of the entire planet—
All of which explains why he didn’t notice the painfully familiar spicy ginger scent until he practically ran into a solid wall of muscle.
His heartbeat raced as the alpha grabbed his arm to steady him.
“Careful there,” said Soran with an easy laugh. His head jerked back suddenly, breath catching. And then, in a soft, disbelieving voice, “Ketis?”
His skin was tingling like it was trying to tell him something.
He wanted to hide. He wanted to scream at him. He wanted to melt into his body, sticking to him like a wet swimsuit until he admitted that they could be good together.
Ketis said, “So you do actually remember my name.”
Soran lifted a hand to his ear piece and muted his comms—a gesture so familiar he could have sobbed. “Oh I remember—” He broke off, but he didn’t drop his arm. He swept his gaze over him. “You’re looking well.”
So was he. Ketis took in the sight of him hungrily, wanting—no, needing—to run his hands over his warm, tan skin, to reassure himself that no new scars hid under his impeccable dark suit. He smelled so divine, he almost peered around him, wondering why there wasn’t a flock of omegas chasing his tail.
Ketis bit his lip before he could say any of that aloud, and nearly moaned as sharp eyes snapped unerringly to his mouth.
“Eighteen seconds,” said Soran with a hesitant smile. “This is already our most successful conversation in two years.”
“Um…” So eloquent. Gods, talking to Soran had been easy once. He winked. “I’m flattered you didn’t climb up a balcony to avoid me.” A beat. “This time.”
It had hurt then, seeing him run away without a backward glance, but Ketis had hoped they would laugh about it one day. If he was the luckiest omega on the planet. If—
Wrong answer. Soran’s smile slid off his face and cracked on the paved path at their feet. He said, “I’m so sorry.”
Ketis shrugged one shoulder as if his heart wasn’t pounding. “Don’t do it again?”
“I won’t. I can promise that at least.”
“Well, you can do it sometimes.”
“The balcony? You just vaulted off the training ground like a sleek panther rippling with—” He squeaked to a halt. So not going there.
“Oh.” Soran cleared his throat. “I heard about your promotion, by the way. I just wanted to say—”
Ketis willed him to ask him to stay. If he gave the slightest hint that he cared, that they could salvage this mess they’d made, Ketis would take it, Prince Ivar be damned.
“—Congratulations,” finished Soran.
His mind skidded to a halt. “What?”
“I said, congratulations,” he repeated.
Ketis took a deep breath but it didn’t seem to do anything for him. “You know I’ve been promoted to the prince’s private office?” You know that I’m leaving the planet tomorrow. “Is that all you have to say?”
Soran frowned a little like Ketis was the one not making sense. “It’s a great honour to work in the Royal Secretariat, Ketis,” he said. “To be trusted like that—Aren’t you happy?”
His words buzzed like hornets in his ears. Ketis stumbled back a step, shaking off his hand. Of course, Soran didn’t care. Of course, he’d moved on without him, that gorgeous hunky bastard. Ketis was the bigger fool, to imagine that the kind of love they’d lost could be fixed with hope and band-aids.
“I certainly am.” His voice was colder than the winds on Ubiev. He buried his hurt deeper in his aching chest, to be examined later when he wasn’t so close to tears. “Happy to see the last of you,” he spat.
Ketis saw him flinch out of the corner of his eye as he stormed past Soran towards the open corridor at the bottom of the garden.
“Wait,” he called out behind him. “Please, Ketis.”
For a moment he wanted to turn around. To see him one last time. To say goodbye.
But there was a painful tightness in his throat. He opened his mouth, but the words wouldn’t come.
It’s just as well, he thought, slipping into the chaos outside the royal suites. It’s not like he was going to miss me anyway.
Juna Jay is a bi procrastinator and serial plotter. She believes in coffee, being good to people (note: this does not apply to her characters), and happily ever afters. She writes the books she wants to read, which mostly means wilful hyper-competent omegas and soft but protective alphas, and finding love in the most unexpected places.
She also writes non-omegaverse mm romance as Juna Ratnam.