QSFer Rebecca Cohen has a new MM sci-fi book out, Devlin Taylor Earth’s Ambassador book 1: Ministry of Alien Relations.
Devlin Taylor is Head of Settlement and Relocation for the British Government’s Ministry of Alien Relations. He’s more used to helping recently arrived aliens find new homes and pay their utility bills than babysitting extraterrestrial socialites, but he’s been assigned to look after Zal Catenmir, son of the Chroalian ambassador, during their diplomatic visit to Earth.
Devlin is the perfect host and tour guide, and Zal loves the fuzziness of human males, while Devlin can’t seem to get enough of Zal’s scales and tail. But with only two weeks together before Zal leaves, they need to make the most of their time.
Zal was just out for a bit of fun, trying to relive his wilder youth after a break-up, but Devlin is wonderful and they both wish they could find a way to stay together. The Earth Ambassador Programme is under development, but it doesn’t look likely Devlin will get the job, and the lovers may need to say their goodbyes forever.
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In Devlin Taylor’s opinion, the humble gingernut biscuit was underrated in its ability to restore peace and order to the busy offices of the Ministry. Devlin picked up the last of the sweet miracle workers from the biscuit tin and dunked it into his tea, slopping liquid over the edge of his mug and across the words Keep Calm and Remember Your Th’lian. He clutched the mug tightly. As the sole survivor of the batch created to mark the Th’lian delegation’s successful visit to Earth three summers ago, Devlin had to guard it possessively against potential kidnapping attempts from the office administrator, Marjorie, and her nefarious army of devious interns.
He ate the biscuit whole and moaned happily, enjoying the small respite from the chaos waiting for him. He sighed and picked a manila wallet from the top of the pile on his desk and opened it. Devlin scoffed at the idea of a paperless office. In his experience, the Ministry still wanted most things in dead tree format, but now he had to make electronic copies in addition, in the vain hope the computer system wouldn’t lose them. It was typical of the bureaucracy that came with working for the British Government’s Civil Service and strangely comforting most days.
When he’d been recruited by the Ministry straight out of Oxford, his naivety made him think he’d relish seeing excitement and danger. He’d spent evenings in high-end bars, sipping cocktails with beautiful people, had been on wild chases across continents, and survived encounters with some truly frightening individuals. But truth be known, he was far happier now, sorting out housing and mundane day-to-day issues for those that ended up directed to his department, far from home and needing guidance.
“Oh, you’ve had the last gingernut.”
Devlin looked up to see Marjorie staring into the empty biscuit tin. Her bad perm and miserable pout made her look much older than her mid-forties, as did her unfortunate choice of baggy cardigan and tweed skirt.
The door of the office swung open and Clive slunk in, a coffee in hand and a mouth full of doughnut. By the dark circles under his eyes and his tired expression, Devlin suspected that Clive’s latest case had resulted in another late night, if he’d got to bed at all.
“Afternoon, Clive. Everything okay?” he asked.
Clive waved but didn’t say anything. He drained the paper cup of coffee and sank into his desk chair without taking off his coat.
Devlin chuckled. “That bad?”
Clive exhaled loudly. “I swear she’s nocturnal—and can metabolize alcohol straight to pure energy.”
“Hmm, the notes did say that her species can go several days without sleeping.”
Clive rubbed his eyes. “She’s supposed to get tired though, and last night she got wilder and wilder. I had to stop her from stripping off and dancing on the table at the last club. I’m getting too old for this.”
“You’re twenty-four. Hardly in your dotage.”
“Says Mr Nine-to-Five-at-Thirty Taylor,” groused Clive, resting his head on his crossed arms on the desk in front of them.
“None of us work nine to five, Clive. I still do late nights and early mornings when I’m needed. Let’s not forget, last week I had to balance a new arrival’s hyper-metabolism with an allergy to concrete. When I was promoted to Head of Department, I was told I could reduce my amount of fieldwork to concentrate on looking after you lot and untangling the red tape, so less of the cheek.”
Clive muttered something about promotion not coming soon enough, and Devlin turned to his computer, raising his eyebrows at Marjorie who smirked in response. “I’ll go and see if I can track down some more biscuits,” she said.
Rebecca Cohen spends her days dreaming of 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.