THIRDS Thursday – 8/18/16 Plus a giveaway!

DexBday

Happy Birthday, Dex!

Hello, all! Today is Dexter J. Daley’s birthday, and to celebrate I thought we should have a birthday themed flash fiction story! Plus there’s a giveaway below. Here’s to many more years of gummy bear chaos, cheesy doodle mayhem, and heartfelt shenanigans!


Prompt: Dex’s 4th or 5th Birthday? The last one with John and Gina and “Uncle Tony”? I can just imagine Dex, a Piñata, and John managing to somehow make the nonexplosive paper donkey go up in sugar fueled flames. Face planting into the cake? Something equally goof tastic and Tony trying not to pee himself watching.


Tony walked into the house, greeting some of the parents as they stood around chatting. Squealing kids ran around dressed in Ghostbuster suits, brandishing blasters shooting green Silly String. He could only imagine what John had to promise Gina in order to get her okay on that mess. Something told him John was going to be doing a whole lot of scrubbing and cleaning after the party. There was green everywhere, from the balloons and streamers, to the table filled with green cupcakes, Rice Krispies treats, a big two tier white cake that had been “slimed”, and lots of other gooey green treats.

Tony placed his birthday present on the table along with the dozens of others. He was going to look for John when Dex came barreling into him with a surprise tackle hug.

“Tony!”

“Hey, little man!” He lifted Dex up, pretending he weighed a ton. “Ooh, my back. How did you get so big? You’re just four years old aren’t you?”

Dex laughed. “I’m five, silly!”

“Five? Is that right?”

Dex nodded. “Today’s my birthday, remember?”

Tony let out a mock gasp. “Is that what all these balloons are for? It’s your birthday? Good thing I brought you a present then, huh?”

“Yay!” Dex threw his little arms around Tony’s neck and squeezed him tight. When he pulled back, his eyes were wide with excitement, and he twisted his torso so Tony could see his back. “Daddy made us proton packs just like the real Ghostbusters!”

“Wow, I thought they were real!”

Dex giggled. “No. That would be trouble.”

“You’re right. Speaking of trouble. Where’s your dad?” He put Dex on his feet, smiling when Dex pointed to the stairs. Just then Tony heard Gina’s laughter. It was joyous and infection, and Tony couldn’t help but laugh as she came down the stairs. She was laughing so hard she had tears in her eyes.

“Oh, Lord. What’s he done now?”

“I can’t….” She wheezed, doubling over and holding onto her stomach. “You…. Upstairs.”

“Mommy, mommy, can you put on some music?” Dex asked, bouncing excitedly.

Gina wiped at her eyes, and with a sniff, she managed to get a hold of herself long enough to nod, and answer Dex. “Of course, baby. Let’s go.”

Tony braced himself. Who the hell knew what his best friend had done now. He went upstairs, turned, and headed down the hall when he saw it.

“Sweet Baby Jesus.”

Only John’s head was exposed, the rest of his body swallowed by the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man costume. It was so padded, and puffy, that he’d gotten stuck in the doorway. Tony came to stand in front of him, shaking his head in disbelief. John pouted miserably.

“I’m stuck.”

Tony opened his mouth to reply, but nothing came out. He closed it, looked John over, his gaze landing on his best friend’s pathetic expression, and all at once Tony was bracing himself on the wall, unable to breathe from laughing so hard.

“Thanks, pal. You are no help at all.” John grunted and growled as he tried to free himself. The more he tried to free himself, the harder Tony laughed.

“Oh, God.” He was going to run out of oxygen. Man, he wished he’d brought his camera. What was he thinking? Gina had probably already taken several pictures. Tony lay on the hall carpet on his back, his hands on his cramped side as he did his best not to look up at John.

“You bastard. Help me!”

Tony pushed himself to his feet. He pressed his lips together, and came to a stop in front of John. Assessing the situation, he finally placed his hands to John’s chest and pushed.

“Wow. You’re really wedged in there.”

“Tell me something I don’t know.”

“I was the one who ate your donut yesterday.”

John gasped, his eyes going wide. “How could you? Traitor!”

“You already had two. You know the rules.”

John let out a huff. “I can’t believe you and my wife conspired against me.”

“No, we agreed that you need to eat less junk.” Tony looked him over. How the hell had John gotten so stuck? Probably from all that struggling. “I got an idea.” He walked across the hall to the far wall, turned, and readied himself.

“What are you doing?” John started to struggle again. “No. Stop. Don’t do it.”

Tony grinned. He was so going to enjoy this.

“You, donut-stealing son-of—”

The rest of John’s words turned into an “oomph” as Tony barreled into him at full speed. John popped out of the doorway, bounced across the room, and landed facedown by the bed cursing up a storm. Tony was on the floor laughing again.

“I hate you so much right now.” John narrowed his eyes at him before he tried to get up. All that did was roll him from side to side. Tony plopped himself down in front of John.

“What was that? I thought you said you loved me.”

John muttered something unintelligible under his breath.

“What?” Tony put a hand to his ear and leaned in. “I thought maybe I heard you say, “yes, Tony, I love you. I’d be lost without you. Please help me.” Is that what you said?”

Several more curses followed. “Yes, fine. I love you, Tony, even if you are a donut thief. I’d be lost without you. Please help me, and never speak a word of this to anyone at the office.”

With a wide grin, Tony got to his feet and grabbed John’s Stay Puft arm, and hauled him to his feet. The suit was so padded and puffy, he could barely move.

“Do you need help downstairs?” As if Tony didn’t already know the answer.

“Yes,” John muttered. “This is what I get for trying to make my son’s birthday memorable.”

“Aw, and it will be. I know I won’t forget it,” Tony teased.

“You know what? Just help me downstairs, smartass. Grab my head.”

Tony arched an eyebrow at him. “What now?”

John motioned behind him to the bed and the Marshmallow Man’s head.

“Oh! Right.”

John’s lips quirked up on one side. “Perv.”

Tony flipped him off before grabbing the head, and shoving it down over John’s, receiving a muffled “ow” in response. He was pretty sure John would have flipped him off if he could move his fingers. Instead, John shuffled toward the door. Realizing what his genius friend had done, Tony cut him off.

“Please tell me you didn’t try to just walk through the door straight on.” John’s silence spoke volumes. “You know, sometimes I wonder about you.” He ignored John cursing him out some more, and turned his friend sideways before helping him through. There was still some pushing required, but at least he didn’t get stuck. “Good thing Dex inherited Gina’s brains.”

John’s voice was muffled when he spoke, but Tony heard him just fine.

“Shut up, Tony.”

It took forever to get John downstairs, and as expected when they reached the kitchen, all the parents burst into laughter. Clearly Gina had told them it was John in there, along with what happened upstairs.

John managed to raise his arm, and Tony tried not to laugh. He was obviously flipping them off. They all followed John, very slowly, as he shuffled out into the backyard where the kids were. They squealed and jumped around in excitement. They were enthralled, running around John, shooting their Silly String at him. He growled and made monster noises as he shuffled around, pretending to go after them. Dex was fearless, shooting his blaster at the marshmallow monster.

“We have to protect the city!” Dex shouted, wielding his little blaster like a pro.

Gina took pictures, and the parents joined in on the fun. It was amazing. At least until one kid shouted out.

“The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man ate your dad!”

Uh-oh. Tony put a fist to his mouth to keep himself from bursting into laughter. He’d bet his next paycheck that John was furiously shaking his head inside the suit. Of course it was so padded that that he could barely walk much less show movement.

Dex’s big blue eyes widened, and his bottom lip trembled. Gina was about to go comfort him, and assure him his dad was just fine when Dex puffed up his chest. A murderous glare the likes of which Tony had never seen crossed the five-year old’s face. It was the kind of scowl that could scare the pants of the most steadfast officer.

“Dex, wait!” John held his puffed marshmallow man hands out in front of him. “I’m fine. It’s just a—”

Dex let out a war cry before launching himself at John, hitting his blaster against the puffy suit. The parents gasped, stunned as Dex sought revenge. Knowing the thing was padded to the gills, and John was safe from the blows meant Tony could sit back and laugh his ass off. The rest of the kids joined in, knocking John over. He bounced and rolled across the garden, Dex and the kids screaming and running after him.

“You ate my daddy!” Dex screamed, smacking John’s puffy head with his blaster.

“Dex, it’s me! I’m inside!”

In true John fashion, he was making it worse.

“Let him out!” Dex demanded. “Let him out, let him out, let him out!” He bounced on John, and Tony’s everything hurt from laughing.

Gina sidled up next to Tony. “We should probably do something to help.”

“Just give it a minute,” Tony said, doubling over when Dex jumped off John, and started rolling him across the lawn. When he got tired, he pulled on the marshmallow man’s head, and it popped off. John’s face was red and covered in sweat.

“Daddy!” Dex hugged him, and gave him kisses. “You’re not eaten.”

“No, buddy. I’m not eaten.”

“I love you,” Dex said, petting his hair.

“I love you too, champ. Now why don’t you go play, while Mommy and Tony help Daddy salvage what remains of his dignity?”

“Okay.” Dex jumped to his feet, and shouted loud enough for the whole block to hear. “Mommy! Tony! Daddy says he needs help. He lost his dignity!” Seeming not to know what that meant, Dex shrugged then ran off to play.

Tony let out a contented sigh. He smiled down at John when he reached him. “You throw the best parties.” His friend glared up at him.

“You’re lucky there are children present.”

Tony let out a hearty laugh as he and Gina helped John up. Together they escorted him back into the house. Apparently it was going to take both of them to get John out of this getup. As they headed upstairs, Gina gave Tony a wink.

“Don’t worry. There’s plenty of film left in the camera.”

Man, he loved these two.


Giveaway

We’re giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to 3 lucky winners. To enter, just leave a comment on this post on Charlie’s blog (for those viewing this post on Goodreads or through other feeds).

Giveaway ends 8/25/16 at 12:oo am Eastern US time. Winners will be announced on the blog and emailed for delivery of their prize.

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Champs de ruines, THIRDS, tome 3 now available!

perf5.830x8.270.inddChamps de ruines,
THIRDS, tome 3

Les rues de New York sont plus dangereuses que jamais maintenant que l’Ordre d’Adrasteia se retrouve sans leader, et la Coalition Ikelos, un groupe Therian nouvellement apparu, en guerre. Des civils innocents sont pris entre deux feux et bien que le THIRDS rassemble de plus en plus de membres de l’Ordre dans l’espoir d’empêcher le groupe volatil de se réorganiser, les membres de la Coalition continuent de s’échapper et de causer des ravages au nom d’une justice de défense auto proclamée.

Pire encore, quelqu’un à l’intérieur du THIRDS fournit des informations à la Coalition. C’est à Destructive Delta que revient la tâche de débusquer la taupe et de mettre fin à la guerre avant que quelqu’un d’autre soit blessé. Mais pour remplir cette mission, l’équipe devra accepter les séquelles causées par l’explosion du Centre de Jeunesse Therian. Un accrochage avec des membres de la Coalition conduit l’Agent Dexter J. Daley à une découverte choquante et soudain, il devient clair que la violence aléatoire n’est pas si aléatoire qu’elle en a l’air. Ce qui se trame est plus important que Dex et Sloane le croyaient à l’origine, et leur fougueux partenariat est mis à l’épreuve. Alors que l’affaire prend une tournure explosive, Dex et Sloane courent le danger de perdre plus que leur relation.

ISBN-13: 9781634778800
Pages: 244
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Translator: Ingrid Lecouvez
Release Date: Aug 16th, 2016

PURCHASE LINKS

Dreamspinner Press eBook
Dreamspinner Press Paperback
Amazon.com
Amazon.fr
Barnes & Noble

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#TeaserTuesday – 8/16/18 The Soldati Prince (Soldati Hearts, Book 1)

TeaserTuesday

Hello, all! This week’s #TeaserTuesday brings us an excerpt from the extended version of The Soldati Prince, the first book in the Soldati Hearts series. It’s currently in edits and is due for release in November. Enjoy!

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“Are you listening?” Khalon growled.

Riley rolled his head toward Khalon to deliver what his manager Clara once informed him was the most spectacular “fuck off and die” look she’d ever come across. Riley couldn’t help it. He’d been dragged out of bed at an unholy hour—ass-crack-of-dawn early—and after being awake long enough to remember where the hell he was, the servants brushed his teeth for him, got him dressed, tried to comb his hair—which was followed by him making grunting noises at them because it was too damn early for that—and the next thing he knew, he was in a dining hall, flopping down into a chair next to this asshole, and oh my God, was the guy still talking? Dude, stop. Just stop.

Khalon narrowed his eyes. “Did you hear any of what I just said?”

“Nope.” Riley grinned as Khalon’s nostrils flared. There was a good chance the guy was about to punch him in the face, but it would be worth it to see Khalon lose his shit. Let’s try this again. “Coffee.”

“Riley—”

“Coffee.” At some point Khalon would learn. Then again….

“You insolent—”

“Nope.” Riley sighed. “Coffee.”

Khalon slammed a fist on the table, making the tableware rattle. “Stop saying that!”

“Sure. When I get my…. Wait for it….”

Khalon gave him an impressive “don’t you dare” look.

Oh, I dare.

“Coffee.”

Riley could practically see the steam coming out of Khalon’s ears. Seriously. All he wanted was some coffee. Was that too much to ask?

The ginormous elegantly decorated banquet hall came equipped with a table long enough to seat an army, and yet there was only the five of them having breakfast. The spread was incredible. They had eggs prepared every way imaginable. Scrambled, poached, over easy, over hard, fried, turned into omelets, quiches, frittatas, along with potatoes cooked up in all different ways, various types of bread, baskets of fruit, platters of meats, various fruit juices, but not one freaking cup of coffee. What kind of heathens was he dealing with?

Across the table from him, Rayner let out a snicker before quickly putting a fist to his mouth and coughing. Most likely as a response to Khalon’s indignant glare. Khalon sat at the head of the table in a throne-like chair that would have made any fantasy geek wet his pants. Riley kept wanting to touch the ornate tiger-claw armrest, but he had no desire to lose a limb. Khalon turned his attention back to Riley and leaned toward him with a menacing snarl. Riley leaned away slowly.

“Now you listen here. While you’re in my kingdom, you will do as I command.”

Riley opened his mouth when Adira jumped out of her chair and slammed her hands down on the table. “For the love of our ancestors, Khalon, get him some bloody coffee before I stab you all with my butter knife!”

Wow. Okay. Riley stared at Adira along with the rest of them. She resumed her seat, snatched a croissant off a platter, and began to tear into it like she was disemboweling an enemy. Note to self, do not piss off Xena.

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THIRDS Thursday – 8/11/16

THIRDS Thursdays

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM SMOKE & MIRRORS (THIRDS, BOOK  7)!!

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Prompt: This is kinda a spoiler, but I wouldn’t mind reading about Sloane asking Tony permission to marry his son.


He could do this.

Sloane lifted his fist to knock on the door and froze, panic bubbling up inside him.

Oh, God, I can’t do this.

What if Tony said no? What would he do then? Would Tony say no? Why would he say no? Let’s see, how about we start with you breaking Dex’s heart more times than you can count? Or how about your inability to protect Dex when he was kidnapped and tortured? Or when you went feral and tried to kill him? How about the fact you infected him, and succeeded in killing him?

Okay, he couldn’t think about that last part. He’d fucked up several times, and maybe he hadn’t always been the perfect boyfriend, but he loved Dex, and a number of those events had been out of his control. Maybe not the breaking Dex’s heart part, but he hadn’t meant to. He’d never meant to hurt Dex. Sloane loved him. Needed him. For fuck’s sake, he’d almost lost Dex. He had lost Dex. As long as he lived, he would never forget how Dex looked, fighting for his life. Or the feel of his lifeless body in Sloane’s arms. The memory alone brought tears to his eyes, and a lump to his throat.

Sloane pulled his smartphone out of his pocket, and tapped his pin into the locked screen. His pulse immediately steadied, and he smiled down into the face of the man he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Dex loved taking selfies with Sloane, and the rest of their team. It drove Ash crazy. Sloane chuckled at the thought. The fact Ash hated it just made Dex more determined, and sneaky. There was no escaping when Dexter J. Daley had you in his sights. Escaping was the last thing Sloane wanted to do. He’d been caught, or rather his heart had been caught, and he’d never been happier. He wouldn’t waste any more time.

“Why are you lingering on my doorstep?”

“Holy shit!” Sloane gave such a start, his phone leaped out of his hands. Lucky for him, his sergeant had amazing reflexes. Tony caught the phone, noticed the photo of Dex and Sloane squished together laughing, but didn’t say a word as he handed it back. In fact, Tony’s expression remained stoic as usual.

“Thanks.” Sloane returned his phone to his pocket, and took a deep breath, exhaling it slowly. “Um, hi.”

Tony narrowed his eyes. “That bad, huh?”

Crap. Sloane threw his hands up in front of him. “Oh, no, it’s not like that. I swear.”

“Seeing as how Dex isn’t with you, I’m going to hazard a guess and say he doesn’t know you’re here.”

Sergeant Anthony Maddock was intimidating and scary at the best of times. When he was in Father Mode, he was deadly. The man was so still and calm, ready to strike at any moment. Sloane tried to smile. Tony’s frown deepened.

“Can I come in?”

Tony stepped to one side, and motioned for Sloane to enter. Maybe Sloane should have just called? Or, maybe he should suck it up and stop being such a coward. In the living room, Sloane shoved his hands in his pockets as Tony took a seat on the couch.

“Whenever you’re ready.”

“Thanks.” Maybe he should take his hands out of his pockets. But then where should he put them? He crossed them over his chest. No, that was a defensive pose. He uncrossed them. Oh, God, he was such a dork. “Sarge—”

“You here on official business?”

“What? Oh, um, no. Sorry. Tony.” He was still getting used to that. “I’m here because, well, you know I love Dex. I hope you know. You do know?”

“I would hope so, seeing as you’re living with him.”

“Yeah, I mean, yes. I love him. A lot. He’s… everything. I can’t—and don’t—want to imagine my life without him. When I’m with him, I don’t just feel happy, but at peace. He’s the most amazing man I’ve ever known.” Was he rambling? Shit, he was rambling. Why was he telling Tony how great Dex was? It wasn’t like Tony didn’t know his own son.

“That’s really nice. I’m glad to hear it. You didn’t come all this way to tell me how amazing my son is.”

“No. I um, wow, this is hard,” Sloane said, letting out a shaky laugh. Was he this nervous because of what he was doing? Or because it was Tony? His boyfriend’s dad also being his sergeant didn’t exactly make things easier. He just didn’t want to fuck this up for him or Dex, and he certainly didn’t want to disappoint Tony again.

“Sloane?”

Sloane looked up, surprised by the man’s warm smile. “Yeah?”

“You don’t need my approval.”

“I don’t?” Sloane blinked at him. He released the deep breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding.

“No. But I really appreciate you asking anyway. If that’s what you were going to ask.”

Sloane rushed over to Tony and dropped down beside him on the couch. “Yes!”

Tony’s brows shot up. “Easy there, son.”

“Sorry. I’m just really excited. Tony, I want to marry your son.”

“I already said yes.”

“You did? Right! I—Wow, okay. Um, thank you.”

“Wait here.” Tony stood and walked off, leaving Sloane sitting there both relieved and a little foolish for having worked himself up. Of course Tony would be okay. He loved Dex and wanted his son to be happy, and although Sloane was still learning, he did make Dex happy.

“Here.” Tony handed Sloane a small black box.

“What’s this?” Sloane opened the box, his eyes going wide at the silver ring tucked into the black foam padding. “Oh my God. Is this…?”

Tony nodded. “It was John’s.”

“I don’t know what to say.” Sloane swallowed hard. He looked up at Tony, his heart squeezing at the sight of unshed tears in Tony’s eyes. The man quickly wiped them away. From what Sloane had come to learn of the man, there were three people in Tony’s life who could get through that armor of his, Dex, Cael, and John Daley.

“Are you sure?” Tony had been guarding this for so long. Did he really want to give up a piece of his best friend?

Tony nodded. “John would have wanted Dex to have it, and I know Dex will take good care of it. Just like I know you’ll take good care of Dex. Make him happy. He deserves it.”

“I will. Thank you.” Sloane stood and threw his arms around Tony, closing his eyes and smiling when Tony hugged him back. They remained that way for a few seconds before Tony pulled back. He gave a sniff and straightened, his armor back in place.

“I don’t do wedding planning, just so you know. I especially don’t do wedding planning when Dex is involved. I would warn Lou ahead of time so he’s prepared. I will, however, offer somewhere for you to hide and have a beer during that time.”

Sloane chuckled. “Thanks, I appreciate that.” For now, he was going to concentrate on asking Dex.

When he reached his car, he sat behind the wheel, looking down at the ring, knowing what it would mean to Dex. Sloane couldn’t help his dopey grin. A part of him couldn’t believe he was going to do this, while his heart wondered what the hell had taken so long.

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#TeaserTuesday – 8/9/16 THIRDS Book 8

TeaserTuesday

Hello, all! So I got my dates mixed up. This was supposed to go up next Tuesday since #TeaserTuesday is the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month, but in last week’s THIRDS Thursday I said it was going up this week, so here it is. Today’s snippet is from Chapter 2 of my current work in progress, Seb and Hudson’s book, THIRDS Book 8. Enjoy!

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“Take these. For the pain, and the inflammation.”

“Thank you.” Seb smiled at him as he took the pills, then tossed them in his mouth, followed by a swig of water. Hudson wasn’t impressed.

“Don’t thank me yet. I haven’t decided whether to strangle you or not. The moment I felt it, I told myself, “he’s sensible. He’ll look after himself.” and then Dom called, and look at you. Sensible my arse.” He removed supplies from the bag, and Seb couldn’t help his dopy grin. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

Their bond meant they felt the other’s pain, if it was significant enough, yet it was the love they’d once shared that made it so Hudson didn’t have to look at Seb to know Seb was smiling at him. Hudson could sense Seb’s gaze on him, just like Seb could sense Hudson’s. Always. Despite the days, the distance, they were every bit as connected now as they had been back then, which is what made it so painful when they were apart. It was torture not calling Hudson every time Seb felt him hurting.

“You still have it,” Seb replied softly.

Hudson blinked down at the black bag as if noticing it for the first time. Anyone else might have been able to hide their reaction, but Hudson’s fair skin betrayed him, his cheeks blushing furiously.

“I, um, yes.”

“Why?” Seb cocked his head as he studied Hudson. Not that he hadn’t mapped out the man’s features years ago. How was it possible to need someone more than air itself?

“Because I can’t very well trust you to look after yourself, now can I?” Hudson’s lips quirked on one side as he motioned to Seb’s knee.

Seb leaned forward. “That’s only half the truth, doctor.”

Hudson arched a thick black brow at him. “Believe what you will.”

With a grin, Seb sat back. All the medication in that bag was prescription. It meant Hudson would have to order them specifically. He kept them stocked in case Seb needed them. When they expired, it meant he restocked. When they’d been together Hudson had kept a kit at home, and in his office. Years after they’d broken up, he maintained the kit.

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THIRDS Thursday – 8/4/16 Dex and Sloane Interview.

THIRDS Thursdays

Hello, all! Recently Dex and Sloane were interviewed for the release of Smoke & Mirrors. They were asked questions submitted by the THIRDS Nerds. In true THIRDS Nerd awesomeness, I ended up with more questions than I could fit in one interview, so for this week’s THIRDS Thursday our dynamic duo is back to answer some more reader questions. Here we go!

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Dex and Sloane

Charlie: Hey, guys! Thanks for joining us. Ready for round two?

Sloane: I wasn’t ready for round one, so probably not.

Dex: I’m always ready. Bring it on.

Sloane: Please don’t say that.

Dex: *pets Sloane’s arm* It’s okay, babe, we got this. Unless there’s more questions about kids. *turns to Charlie* No questions about kids, right? He had empanada hangover the morning after that last interview. It was not pretty.

Sloane: *pouts and shakes his head* It was not pretty. I still love them though.

Dex: I know you do.

Charlie: No questions about kids. Promise. This one is for Sloane. We know you hear a lot of 80s tuneage by way of your partner, but what is/are your music genre(s) of choice?

Sloane: *perks up* Ooh, I can do this!

Dex: *chuckles and pats Sloane’s leg* You’re adorable.

Sloane: My music genre of choice is classic rock, and yeah, I listen to a lot of the music Dex listens to, like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Van Halen, and Queen, but I love a lot of the seventies rock. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cheap Trick, Eagles, Doors, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, Styx, Santana, so many more. For me it’s not so much about nostalgia, though there’s that too, but really it’s about amazing music. I have trouble getting into some of today’s music. A lot of it sounds kinda same-y to me. Ash would agree. He listens to the same bands and musicians I do.

Dex: *eyes go wide* Whatever you do, don’t ask Ash about music.

Sloane: *cringes* Yeah, you don’t want to do that. Not so much because of what he listens to, but he seems to have taken today’s pop music as a personal insult to his very existence.

Dex: Rant doesn’t begin to cover it. I have never heard so many F-bombs in my life. And not only do I work with the guy, he’s dating my brother. Cursing is like breathing to him, and nothing sets him off like today’s pop music. If you’re lucky he’ll tell you to fuck off. Catch him in a bad mood, and you have no one to blame but yourself.

Charlie: Right. Well, we all know how well that warning is likely to be heeded. Speaking of Ash. Sloane, did you ever have the “boyfriend” talk with Ash and what was that like?

Dex: *blinks at Sloane innocently* Yes, Sloane. Do tell us what that was like? What kind of advice did you give Ash Keeler on dating my precious, innocent, angelic little brother?

Sloane: *clears throat* Um, it was all very PG.

Dex: *nods and steeples his fingers in front of his lips* Mhmm, I see. So, your best friend, who you grew up with, who’s practically a brother to you, didn’t ask you any questions about what it might be like doing it with a dude.

Sloane: We don’t talk about sex.

Dex: *looks at Charlie and raises hand* I would like to state for the record—and I mean this in the most adoring way possible—that Sloane Brodie, light of my life, is full of it.

Sloane: *gapes at Dex* What?

Dex: *crosses his arms over his chest* Are you seriously going to sit there and tell me that you and Ash don’t talk about sex. Ever.

Sloane: *opens his mouth to reply*

Dex: *narrows his eyes*

Sloane: *closes his mouth*

Dex: Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Sloane: Okay, look, Ash had a lot of questions, and I did my best to answer, always respectfully, considering Cael. Which by the way, is way more experienced in the sex-with-a-dude-department, and oh my God, the things he knows! *eyes go wide* We should try some of these things.

Dex: *squeals* My ears!

Sloane: *rolls his eyes* Your brother’s an adult.

Dex: My brother is a precious cookie that needs to be protected at all costs. He doesn’t have sex or think sexy thoughts.

Sloane: You’re ridiculous.

Dex: I have declared this topic adjourned!

Sloane: I don’t even know what’s happening right now. Is there another question? The talk went well. He asked, I gave advice, and apparently Cael is a cookie. Let’s move on.

Charlie: Okay, how about one for Dex. What 80’s song is your absolute ultimate favorite? The one that would be on the top of your desert island playlist?

Dex: *looks horrified* One? Why don’t you just ask me which lung is my favorite?

Sloane: *pats Dex’s head soothingly* Easy, sweetheart, breathe. It’s just a question.

Dex: That’s like asking which finger I’m least likely to miss! One song? *crosses arms over chest* I refuse to answer that question on principle.

Sloane: You’ll have to excuse him. He’s only had half a dozen cups of coffee today.

Dex: Mm, cappuccino. I could really use a cappuccino.

Sloane: We’ll get you one afterwards.

Dex: *smiles sweetly* With chocolate powder?

Sloane: With chocolate powder.

Dex: From Belgium?

Sloane: *sighs* Yes, from Belgium.

Dex: Woot! Okay. And obviously the answer would be Journey.

Charlie: Uh, the question was about which song, not which band—

Dex: Journey. The answer is Journey.

Sloane: That’s as good as it’s gonna get, so we should move on.

Charlie: Right. Dex, as perhaps the only other person Hudson knows who is marked, what kind of advice would you like to give to Hudson and Seb as they slowly ease back into their love affair (or we hope)?

Dex: *looking very stern* Get your shit together and boink each other before I lose my shit and take you all down with me. Seriously, like why? Why aren’t they together? They love each other!

Sloane: You know it’s not that simple, babe.

Dex: *throws his arms up* But it should be! He wears Seb’s T-shirts under his clothes, Sloane! The guy is going to kill me.  I haven’t felt this much angst since I was fifteen and Chad Jordan wouldn’t give me the time of day.

Sloane: Wait, are you telling me there’s a guy who didn’t get sucked into the gravitational pull of your awesome?

Dex: I know, right?! It was the worst six months of my teenage life. There was a lot of milkshakes involved.

Sloane: A whole six months. Wow.

Dex: I was fifteen and had the attention span of a gnat. Six months was record breaking. Ask my dad.

Sloane: I think I will. Fifteen-year-old emo Dex. I have to hear about this.

Dex: You know what? No. No you don’t. Let’s move onto the next question.

Charlie: This is for both of you. Any second thoughts to getting a kitten?

Sloane: *looks unimpressed*

Dex: *bursts into laughter*

Sloane: That’s not funny.

Charlie: It’s a genuine question.

Sloane: No.

Charlie: No, it’s not a genuine question, or no on the kitten?

Sloane: No on the kitten. I’m the only Felid that lives in our house.

Dex: *wipes a tear from his eye* Sloane is very territorial. A kitten would screw up the very delicate balance of his Felidness.

Sloane: That’s not a word.

Dex: It is because I just used it.

Sloane: *huffs* Whatever.

Dex: Aw, look at his face. *kisses Sloane’s cheek* You know you’re the only Felid for me.

Sloane: I know that.

Dex: *smiles sweetly* And yet…

Sloane: I don’t like anyone rubbing up against him. It would drive me crazy.

Charlie: What about a dog?

Sloane: *brightens* I like dogs. I’m definitely a dog person.

Dex: Which I think is hilarious. But actually, I’m a dog person too. I love animals in general, but really, if I had a furry best friend—not including Sloane—it would be a dog. Unfortunately, we’re not at a place where we can add a furry friend to our home. Our work hours are too erratic.

Sloane: And are likely to get more unpredictable.

Dex: That too. It wouldn’t be fair on any of us. *snuggles up to Sloane* This big grump will have to do for now.

Sloane: *wraps his arms around Dex and smiles wide* And I’m okay with that.

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Thank you all for joining us for this week’s THIRDS Thursdays. Don’t miss next week’s #TeaserTuesday where I’ll be posting a snippet from Seb and Hudson’s book.

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