QSFer L. V. Lloyd has a new MM sci-fi book out: Dangerous Love.
Wilderness tour guide, Patrick Morgan, wakes to discover Harlan Quinn—the man he’d invited home for the night—has left, with no traces of his presence. Disconcerting as that might be, Patrick is shocked when the police turn up a week later, demanding to know Harlan’s whereabouts. He’s an ex-patrol officer, accused of manslaughter.
Harlan Quinn is desperate. Not only has he been dismissed from the Space Patrol, on a charge he strongly denies, but now he is on the run. He can’t find a legitimate job. With no money and no prospects, what’s left?
When Patrick’s tour group is caught up in a kidnapping plot, the last person he expects to run into is Harlan. With everything he knows, can Patrick dare to trust him?
The shuttle slowed as it approached the Space Terminal outside Avalain.
“Here we are, ladies and gents,” announced the pilot in cheery tones as he docked the shuttle in its bay. The slight jolt as they came to a halt startled the last few dozing passengers into wakefulness.
“Welcome home to those of you who are returning, and welcome to Avalain for those who are making their first visit. It’s 22:00 hours local time and a lovely 35 degrees Celsius outside. Please remember to take all your personal belongings with you and thank you for choosing Hermes Flights.”
The pilot stood and waited with a polite smile for the passengers to file out directly into the terminal. It had been an intra-planetary flight from Gambier in Belus’ northern hemisphere, so there was no need for anyone to pass through the Residential Status and Bio-Screening channels.
Patrick Morgan hauled his bakpak out of the storage unit and followed the man in front down the passageway. He rolled his shoulders, shaking out the kinks caused by dozing against the side of the shuttle. Much as he loved travelling, it was good to be home. A hot shower, with real water instead of a chemical spray from a fresher unit, then bed.
He emerged, blinking, into the bright lights of the terminal. Unusually for this time of night, every seat in the main hall appeared to be taken. A few shapes were stretched out on the floor, against the wall, evidently asleep—or passed out. He remembered then, that the terminal was kept open for transient people to shelter when the weather was extreme; those who couldn’t—or wouldn’t—pay the credits for a hotel room.
A young man, lying on his back on one of the metal benches, with his head on a khaki duffel bag looked up briefly as Patrick passed. Patrick stopped mid-step. Surely, he knew that face, despite the day-old stubble on his cheeks.
“Ted? Ted Quinn?” he asked, hesitating only for an instant. Those dark brows over blue eyes were so distinctive. The man looked up, his expression one of cool enquiry.
“I’m Patrick. Patrick Morgan. We were in school together, here in Avalain, about ten years ago.” But the man was shaking his head.
“Sorry, mate. You’ve got the wrong person.”
But Patrick didn’t think he had. A man never forgot his first crush, even if it had never been reciprocated. “If you say so, but you look just like him,” he persisted.
The man swung his feet to the floor and sat up in one effortless motion, suspicion now clouding his features. His spacer-suit was rolled up to the elbows, revealing well-muscled forearms, heavily tattooed. Both ears were free of adornment, unlike Patrick’s, which featured a rainbow stud in each lobe.
“What do you want?” the stranger asked in challenging tones.
Patrick backed away, flushing as he realised the man thought he was trying to pick him up.
“Nothing, I’m sorry. I just thought, if you were Ted, I’d offer you a place to stay tonight.”
Those eyes continued to bore into him, and Patrick floundered on. “Just to sleep, I mean, not… uh, I have a spare room…” What are you doing? Just stop, he told himself, before you make an even bigger fool of yourself.
“S-sorry, I’m sorry to bother you,” he stuttered. “My mistake.” He turned to go, feeling like he’d just made a total idiot of himself.
He had only taken three steps before the stranger called out, in commanding tones. “Wait! I have a cousin, Theodore. Maybe you’re thinking of him, though he calls himself Theo, not Ted.”
Patrick spun around. It was true, Theodore had been Ted’s full name.
The stranger smiled, changing his whole expression from threatening to engaging and Patrick’s breath caught in his throat.
“My name’s Harlan, Harlan Quinn, and if that offer’s still open, I’ll take you up on it. For the spare room.” He smiled again.
Don’t be an idiot, Patrick told himself. He might be Ted’s cousin—or not—but you don’t know this man.
“Sure,” he heard the words coming out of his own mouth. “I live on the other side of Avalain. We can take a hovercab.”
Patrick gave the driver his address, then fell silent as they wove expertly through the streets. He was hyper-aware of Harlan’s edgy presence beside him on the backseat, an aroma of day-old sweat tickling his nostrils. Neither man spoke, not wishing to start a conversation in earshot of the driver, though Patrick’s thoughts were racing at a hundred miles an hour, mostly summed up by “What the hell am I doing?” Was it too late to change his mind?
Eventually, they drew up outside Patrick’s small house and he hesitated for a moment before paying off the driver. Was it too late to give Harlan enough money for a hotel and then send him on his way? Much as that might be sensible, he just couldn’t bring himself to be so rude. Too polite for your own good, Patrick, my boy, he told himself, leading the way into the house.
After thirty years of working with the unemployed, coping with threats, tears and broken lives (and these were only from fellow staff), L.V. Lloyd decided it was time to make her escape. And what better place to go than the world of m/m romance? She started writing Dangerous Tension, her first ebook in the Aurigan Space Saga, years ago, but put it aside due to work and family commitments.
In 2012, she dusted off the foolscap pages stored under her bed, finished the story and turned it into a book. Since then, she has written six more ebooks in the Aurigan Space Saga series, and numerous short stories. Her recent work, Gothic Romance is a venture into a new genre, Historical Romance.
L.V. Lloyd lives in Adelaide, Australia, with her family and two cats. In her spare time, she enjoys fishing and visiting the many local wineries.
You can visit her at www.lvlloyd.com.