In the midst of everyday-life stuff continuing its relentless monopolization of my free time, I really need to ramp up my promotion of books like Chaser and Project Revenant. So here's a humorous excerpt from the former that serves as a bit of comic relief in the middle of a very tense situation.
I locked my phone around my wrist, selected a glowing turquoise diamond pattern for its bracelet mode, and lowered myself carefully onto the couch. "That was pretty much what I expected it to be."
"Heh," Shadow said softly, still cuddling her kitten. "I could hear your dad yelling from across the room when you first told him what was going on."
"Yeah, he's always had a bit of a temper. That's where I got mine from." I shrugged. "Like I said to 'em, I'd freak out just as much if I had a kid who went through the same thing."
"You're lucky to have parents like them." She smiled ever so slightly. "I wonder all the time what it might be like to have that."
"Both of my moms wondered the same thing until Dad's parents accepted them and their relationship." I grinned and nudged Shadow's shoulder. "All you have to do is marry one of the guys in your harem and you won't have to wonder about it anymore."
She managed a brief laugh. "I don't think settling down with one or two guys is in my nature."
A knock at the door made both of us nearly launch into orbit. My gun was in my hand before I even realized I was going to draw it. Shadow clutched Caboose to her chest and stood, staring at the door and backing away slowly.
I held my free hand up, motioning for her to remain calm, and crept up to the door.
Otto's head phased through it and grinned at me.
"Yeeeeeaaaaaahh!" I lurched backward and whacked the back of my head on the ceiling.
"Hi. It's only m—"
"You sawed-off little shit!" I snapped, rubbing my head and dislodging a handful of stucco from my hair. I glanced up and found a head-size dent in the ceiling.
Otto vanished, as if something had yanked him backward.
"Sorry about that," Shakira's voice came from the speaker beside the door. "He's in his forties, looks like a teenager, and often acts like a pre-pube."
Shadow let out a long moan and collapsed onto the couch.
Caboose continued purring away as if nothing had happened. He was one of the sweetest kitties I'd ever met, but he was also hopelessly stupid. He still had a tendency to fall asleep in his litter box, months after the point where he should've figured out that it wasn't a bed.
I unlocked the door and yanked it open. "Real fuckin' funny, Otto."
He grinned again. "Sometimes I just can't help myself. What can I say, I'm an adultolescent."
"I can think of a few less-flattering terms." I moved aside and waved my hand. "Come on in."
He walked past me, followed by Sledge, with Shakira bringing up the rear.
"Hey, I really am sorry about that," Otto said. "I didn't expect you to shove your head through the ceiling."
I grumbled and pointed at the couch. "Have a seat." I took the armchair on Shadow's left.
"How's it goin'?" Sledge said to Shadow.
"I almost died several times last night, but other than that, I guess I'm okay." She shivered and kept stroking Caboose. He purred loud enough to be heard at the far end of the hall.
"Yeah." She shrugged. "I'll get over it, I guess." She looked at him and let out a small chuckle. "Nice shirt."
I leaned over to take a look at the front of Sledge's black T-shirt, which had the phrase, "I'D RATHER BE MASTURBATING," on the front. I shook my head. "Classy."
"It was a gift from Otto," he said with a sheepish grin.
"Never would've guessed." I rolled my eyes and turned my attention to the other new arrivals. "So, can you guys stick around a while?"
"Actually, yeah, if you wouldn't mind." Shakira smiled and shrugged one shoulder.
"Your parents kinda asked us to hang around and help out if anyone busts in on you."
"Ah. They wanted you to babysit me, is that it?"
"They did want to make sure you stay put, yeah." Otto aimed one of his grins at Sledge. "It'll give me a chance to kick your ass at Halo: Reach again."
"Hey, that's not fair," Sledge said. "The games you're into are so damned old, how can you expect me to be any good at 'em right off the bat? It'll take me a while to descend to your skill level."
"Oh!" Shakira winced. "Let the pissing contest begin."Chaser is available now from Amazon. While you're at it, check out Project Revenant over on Inkshares. The whole book is there to read for free until its preorder campaign ends.