THIRDS Thursday – 3/23/17

Prompt: Would love to see Cael and Ash baking on a lazy rainy Saturday. Cakes, cookies, all kinds of heavenly sugary goods. Maybe Ash finally sharing or showing the how-to of a recipe Cael just never could get right. Just them goofing off and having a good day. Would like it to be after they got officially together. And as always, a little touchy-feely never hurt anyone. ;)

****SPOILER ALERT**** This takes place after Thick & Thin.


Part Three last week. Read it here.

PART FOUR

Downstairs in the kitchen, Ash placed Cael on his feet, letting him get dressed while he pulled out ingredients and placing them on the counter. Cake flour, sugar, large eggs at room temperature, cream of tartar, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Unless he was on a double shift, he pretty much baked daily, so his pantry was well stocked. Baking helped relax him. He could get lost in the process, in the art of precision, the creation of something perfect. Few people knew he baked, and those who did know didn’t get it. They only saw what didn’t fit. The cakes, cookies, frosting. It didn’t fit with his nature.

Then there was the part where he rarely indulged in any pastries or sweet baked goods while he was out. People assumed he just didn’t like it, and although he didn’t necessarily have a sweet tooth, his not eating pastries or muffins or cakes had nothing to do with his sweet tooth or lack thereof, but because most often than not he was left disappointed. He could taste when too much sugar was added, or not enough. When someone substituted an ingredient, or altered a recipe. Unless a place had really great feedback, he didn’t bother.

As soon as all the ingredients were out, he readied the equipment and utensils. Once everything was ready, he turned to Cael with a smile. “Why don’t you show me how you do it, then we can see how it differs from how I make mine.”

“Okay.”

Cael got to work. He turned on the oven and set it to the right temperature before sifting the cake flour and sugar. He combined the extracts and set them aside before beating the eggs whites, cream of tartar, and salt until he’d formed peaks. When it came time to add some of the sugar, Ash pinpointed where Cael was going wrong, but he let Cael continue, watching him. He beat the mixture in the bowl, added the flour mixture, and extracts, mixed it, and poured it into the angel food cake pan then set it in to bake. He turned to Ash and frowned.

“It’s not going to come out fluffy. I don’t know what I do wrong.”

Ash pulled him into his arms and kissed the top of his head. “It’s okay, sweetheart. Now, do you want to watch me do mine?”

Cael nodded.

Ash started the same as Cael, but when it came time to add the sugar, he stopped and turned to Cael. This part was going to be tough for his swift little cheetah Therian. Cael was never still for very long. “There’s a couple of very important steps. Angel food cake is supposed to be very light and fluffy. To get that lightness, you need to be gentle, and take these steps slowly. You need to add the sugar slowly.” He demonstrated, and when it was time to add the cake flour, he paused again. “I like to fold in the flour mixture by hand, but you don’t need to do that. But you’ll still need to beat on low, and then add your flour and extracts in slowly, like this. Don’t forget to fold in the sides and the bottom.” Once that was done, he spooned the mixture into his angel food cake pan.

“Another important step is to try and remove air pockets.” He took a knife and moved it through the batter before placing the pan in the oven then setting the second timer.

“I was going too fast,” Cael said with a sigh.

“Yes.” They had some time before the cakes were done, so Ash put away the ingredients and started cleaning up with Cael’s help. “So what do you want to have with your cake? Strawberries and cream, or—”

“Aren’t you terrified?”

Ash wiped his hands on one of the kitchen towels before turning to Cael, the fear and heartache in his eyes had Ash crossing the distance between them, and drawing Cael into his arms. He kissed the top of Cael’s head.

“A lot more scares me than people realize, sweetheart. You’ll have to be more specific.”

“That something will happen to Sloane and you won’t be there.”

Ash closed his eyes, his cheek resting against the top of Cael’s head. When he spoke, his voice came out rough. “Of course I am.” He had every faith in Sloane and his abilities. There was no doubt in Ash’s mind that when Sloane was done with his training, and got his stupid color tie, that he’d be a force to be reckoned with, but that didn’t mean that Sloane didn’t need his family.

Taking Cael’s hand, Ash led him into the living room and the cozy loveseat Cael loved so much. It was usually where Ash found Cael when he got home from work, usually when they were on different shifts. Cael would be curled up in fluffy blankets and a hoard of pillows. Sometimes he’d be engrossed in one of his comic book movies, or binge watching a TV show. Sometimes he’d be fast asleep, his reader on his chest. Then there were times when he was feeling anxious and just needed space. The loveseat had become his safe place. Not that Cael didn’t feel safe in their apartment, but the chair was his. Ash never intruded, joining Cael only when he was asked.

“Sit with me?”

“Sure.” Thankfully the loveseat was extra wide as were the other two couches. He sat with his back against the armrest, his legs too long to stretch out, so he brought his knee up, his other leg on the floor until Cael had climbed up and snuggled against him, then he brought his leg up. Cael let out a heart-wrenching sigh.

“I know Dex is going to be given all this kickass training,” Cael said, his eyes closed. “He’s going to be some super-secret ninja agent, God help us all, but he’s still going to be Dex, which I’m really glad, but at the same time, it’s Dex. What of Sloane’s not around to keep him grounded? What if he ignores protocol? It won’t be like at the THIRDS where Sloane or my dad yell at him and put him on equipment duty for a month. He could be killed, or left trapped behind enemy lines, and TIN will go on as if he never existed.” Cael buried his face against Ash’s chest, and Ash held him close, rubbing circles around his back.

“Cael, look at me.”

Cael reluctantly did.

“This is all new. Hell, they haven’t even been officially sworn in, and I know you’re worried. I’m worried too, but we have to believe in them. Look at everything your brother’s been through. I have never met anyone more stubborn, more resilient than your brother.” Ash put his hand to Cael’s cheek. “Sweetheart, your brother died and came back to life. If there is anyone, anyone who is going to fight to stay alive with every fiber of his being, it’s going to be your brother.”


Final part next week on 3/30/17!


Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

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#TeaserTuesday – 3/21/17

Hello, all! This week’s Teaser Tuesday is a snippet from Rayner and Toka’s book The Foxling Soldati which is the second book in the Soldati Hearts series. Enjoy!

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“Could you let Khalon know I’ll be back in half an hour? I’ll be in the garden. I just need to get away from… everything, for a bit. Too much noise.” He turned to Toka. “Would you mind coming with me? I always feel calmer when you’re around.”

Toka smiled. “Of course, Your Highness. It would be my pleasure.”

The relief was instant, and Rayner was glad to see Toka had such a calming effect on Riley. Rayner bowed and excused himself. He chanced a look around, and seeing the corridor clear, he took Toka’s hand in his and brought it to his lips for a kiss.

“Take care of yourself, and our prince.”

Toka blushed, his eyes going soft as he nodded.

“For crying out loud, just kiss him,” Riley whispered, looking around the hall. “There’s no one here.”

Rayner hesitated, but Toka didn’t. He threw his arms around Rayner and brought their lips together in a heated, passionate kiss.

“I miss you,” Rayner murmured against Toka’s lips. “You look striking.”

“As do you,” Toka replied, breathless. He smiled up at Rayner. “I miss you too.”

A door resounded somewhere and Rayner reluctantly pulled away, though not before brushing his fingers down Toka’s cheek. “Be safe.”

Toka nodded, then hurried off with Riley as they made their escape to the gardens. Riley was the most courageous human Rayner had ever known. Well, he was a Soldati, really, but his true nature had only been revealed after his human death. He still behaved as a human, despite his newfound immortality. At times their prince could be skittish, and too much noise, or activity could become overwhelming to his senses. The gardens provided the peace and solace their prince needed.

Rayner returned to the banquet hall. It was getting on in the evening, and Rayner looked forward to retiring for the night. Perhaps he might try and sneak down to the servants’ quarters and spend the night with Toka. He shouldn’t while Pavoni was here, but Rayner was desperate to hold his foxling in his arms and make love to him.

When he reached the platform, he was grateful to see Pavoni was dancing. Khalon looked like he wanted to shift and curl up in his tiger form under the table.

“Where’s Riley?” Khalon asked the moment Rayner sat.

“In the gardens.”

“Oh.” Khalon’s eyes were gentle, and he nodded his understanding, knowing the reasons why Riley sought out the gardens. He sighed. “I’m thankful he finds solace there.”

“He’s a complex creature,” Rayner admitted.

Khalon smiled, his love for his prince evident in his expression. “That he is. Such a gentle soul.”

“Except when he’s angry,” Rayner replied, chuckling at Khalon’s wide eyes.

“Goddess above, you don’t need to tell me.”


Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. Soldati Hearts series published by Dreamspinner Press.

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THIRDS Thursday – 3/16/17

Prompt: Would love to see Cael and Ash baking on a lazy rainy Saturday. Cakes, cookies, all kinds of heavenly sugary goods. Maybe Ash finally sharing or showing the how-to of a recipe Cael just never could get right. Just them goofing off and having a good day. Would like it to be after they got officially together. And as always, a little touchy-feely never hurt anyone. ;)

****SPOILER ALERT**** This takes place after Thick & Thin.


Part Two last week. Read it here.

PART THREE

Showers had vastly improved since Cael started joining him. The two of them seemed to be in sync more and more each day. When Cael chatted away at him, Ash happily listened. When Cael was quiet, and needed to be in his own head, Ash left him to it. When that happened, Ash found himself having to touch Cael in some way. As if he needed to feel him, to assure himself Cael was there, which was ridiculous. He could see Cael, so why should he need to touch him? To say this was all knew to him was an understatement. It struck him then that in four months, he and Cael would have been together a year. Yet it felt like they’d been together so much longer.

“That feels good.” Cael hummed, drawing his attention back to the present, and the deliciously naked Cael standing in front of him, his back to Ash.

Ash smiled as he continued to massage Cael’s scalp. Cael let his head fall back against Ash’s chest. He opened his big gray eyes and smiled.

“Hi.”

Ash hunched over and kissed Cael, upside down, making him laugh. “Hi. Rinse, before you get conditioner in your eyes.”

“You’re so adorable.”

Now there was a word no one had ever associated with Ash Keeler, and anyone who dared call him that to his face would get an earful. Except Cael. Cael was the exception to every rule.

Cael stepped under the shower and washed the conditioner out of his hair while Ash finished washing up. They got out and dried themselves. Ash hung up his towel and turned to find himself wrapped up in Cael’s arms and a huge fluffy towel.

“Thank you, Ash.”

“For what?” Ash brushed Cael’s wet hair away from his brow, his pulse picking up, and his heart beating fast. It always did when Cael looked at him like he was now. Like Ash was the most amazing thing in the world.

“For being you.”

Ash swallowed hard. It wasn’t easy being on the receiving end of such adoration. It wasn’t long ago that he didn’t think himself worthy of such a look. “You’re the only one I’ve ever known who didn’t want to change me.”

“Because no one has ever taken the time to really look at you. They don’t see what I see.” Cael cupped Ash’s face, his sparkling gray eyes filled with so much love. For him. “There’s so much… wrong with me, yet you’re always so patient. You know how to deal with me.”

Ash’s expression softened, and he brushed his fingers along Cael’s jaw. “First off, there is nothing wrong with you, sweetheart. None of us get through life without picking up scars along the way. Even your brother Mr. Perfect, isn’t so perfect. Second, you’re not someone I deal with. You’re someone I love. Someone who means the world to me, who makes me cherish every minute we’re together. When you’re having a panic attack, I want to make it better for you, and I do my best to show you you’re safe. When you’re feeling anxious, I try to show you how much you’re loved. When you’re scared, I do everything to assure you that I’m right beside you. I’ll do whatever it takes to make everything okay again. Because it’s you.”

Cael averted his gaze, but his lips were pulled up in a shy smile. “See. You always know just what to say.”

Ash gently turned Cael’s face so their eyes could meet. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” Cael stood on his toes and kissed him. It was sweet, slow, and filled Ash with the kind of hope he never thought he’d feel. Ash ran his hands down Cael’s arms, his skin soft in Ash’s rough hands.

Ash pulled back, feeling breathless. He couldn’t take his eyes off Cael. “I gotta say, sweetheart, you terrify me.”

Cael tilted his head. “Me?”

“Yeah. I don’t think you know the power you have over me. You got me thinking all kinds of crazy things.”

“Like what?”

Ash shook his head. “I don’t think I’m ready to say them out loud.” Just thinking about it scared the shit out of him.

“Well, when you’re ready,” Cael said, smiling as he kissed Ash, sweet and quick. “I’ll be right here.”

Ash nodded. He breathed in deep through his nose, and released the breath slow through his mouth. He motioned toward the door. “How about we get dressed and get to baking?”

“Sounds awesome.” Cael pulled away and left Ash holding the towel. He walked off naked, and Ash turned to watch him go, the sight of Cael’s tight ass making him groan.

“Really? You want me to think about baking with you strutting around here like that?” He followed Cael out into the bedroom, and folded his arms over his chest. The little tease. Cael slipped into his boxers nice and slow, his back turned. Ash had never seen anything so sinful.

“You teach me how to make the perfect, fluffy angel food cake,” Cael purred, “and after, as a show of gratitude, I will let you pick any toy from the drawer to use on me.”

Ash stifled a gasp. “I get to choose?”

Cael looked at him from over his shoulder. “Yep.”

“Anything?”

Cael nodded. “Anything.”

Holy shit.

Ash was pretty sure he broke a world record with how quick he got dressed. When he was done, he grabbed Cael’s clothes and thrust them at him. “Come on, we got some baking to do.”

Cael waggled his eyebrows. “With great power….”

“Oh, you’re in for it now.” Ash grabbed him and lifted him off his feet, laughing at Cael’s yelp and flailing arms as Ash hoisted him over his shoulder. He smacked Cael’s ass for good measure.

“Ash!” Cael laughed as Ash carried him down the stairs.

“Challenge has been accepted. There’s no turning back now.” The perfect angel food cake was the only thing standing between him and hot, toe-curling sex. He was not about to lose.



Part four next week on 3/23/17!


Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

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THIRDS Thursday – 3/9/17

Prompt: Would love to see Cael and Ash baking on a lazy rainy Saturday. Cakes, cookies, all kinds of heavenly sugary goods. Maybe Ash finally sharing or showing the how-to of a recipe Cael just never could get right. Just them goofing off and having a good day. Would like it to be after they got officially together. And as always, a little touchy-feely never hurt anyone. ;)

****SPOILER ALERT**** This takes place after Thick & Thin.


Part One last week. Read it here.

PART TWO

“I think maybe we should stay in today. I’ll call Sloane and tell him we’re gonna have a quiet evening in tonight.” Ash brushed his fingers down Cael’s cheek, smiling when Cael looked up at him.

“Really? Are you sure?”

“Am I sure? You’re right. Maybe I should think about this.” Ash pretended to be giving it serious thought. “Do I want to spend a lazy day with my boyfriend, touching him, kissing him, hanging out, doing incredibly dirty things to him, or do I want to spend the day listening to Dex and Sloane argue over the existence of X-Men? That’s a tough one. I know Dex makes a very solid case, and there’s always the possibility of my getting to smother him with one of Sloane’s ridiculous throw pillows, but Sloane’s kinda grown attached to the dork, so the chances of him letting me strangle his fiancé are quite slim. Hm.” He scratched his stubbly jaw, holding back a smile at Cael’s adorably unimpressed expression. “It’s tough. I won’t lie. But I think I’m going to go with spending the day with my boyfriend. Even if he’s looking at me like he wants to throat punch me.”

Cael arched an eyebrow at him. “You could have just said yes.”

Ash laughed. “I could have, but then I wouldn’t have gotten to see your adorable pout.”

“I’m not pouting,” Cael grumbled.

Right. “I’m going to go call him real quick, then I’ll be back downstairs to help you clean up.” He kissed the side of Cael’s head before heading upstairs to the nightstand where he’d left his phone. Sloane picked up on the second ring, laughing and calling out over his shoulder.

“You’re lucky you’re pretty, babe, because you are so wrong right now. Indy would totally kick Hans’s ass. Hey, Ash.”

“The level of nerd I’m being exposed to right now is seriously damaging to my health so I’m going to make this quick. We’re going to give tonight I miss. You guys go on without us.”

“Everything okay?”

“Keep this to yourself, but Cael’s freaking out a little about the new job.”

There was some shifting before the room went quiet, probably from Sloane moving away from wherever Dex was. “Dex has been worried about him. He knows something’s wrong, but Cael keeps insisting he’s fine.”

“Yeah, well, he’s not.” Ash sat on the edge of the bed with a sigh. “He still hasn’t opened up, but he did his Cael thing where he just blurts something out, and it was about you and Dex getting sent somewhere that puts Therians to death.”

Sloane cursed under his breath.

“The thing is,” Ash closed his eyes, and pushed down his own fears. “He ain’t wrong, Sloane. And just knowing you two could be sent to one of those places without us to back you up….”

Sloane went quiet for a moment before speaking up. “You could.”

“Could what?”

“Back us up. You’re an asset now, Ash. You and the team.”

Ash narrowed his eyes. “Yeah, we are, but you two have a habit of running off and doing shit on your own instead of asking for help.” The more Ash thought about it, the more pissed off he got. He jumped to his feet and started pacing. “You know what? No. You get sent to one of those places, you’re calling me for backup. You got that? I don’t want to hear any bitching, whining, or pathetic excuses. You go somewhere with heavy firepower or fucked up laws, and you better put in a call to whoever the fuck you gotta call, and put me on the first flight to wherever the fuck, because if you don’t—”

“I promise.”

“Don’t fuck with me on this, Sloane.”

“Ash, there is no one I would rather have watching my back, or Dex’s, than you. I will call you. I swear on my mother’s grave.”

Ash stilled. He inhaled deeply through his nose then released it through his mouth, the tension easing from his shoulders. “Okay.”

“Let us know if you need any help with Cael.”

“Will do. Can you keep this under wraps for a little while? I don’t want Dex barging in here in big-brother-mode. Cael needs time to process this shit, and Dex isn’t exactly patient when it comes to family.”

“I can buy you some time, but keep me posted, okay?”

“Thanks. Oh, and Rick Deckard could kick both Hans and Indy’s asses.” Ash laughed at Sloane’s curses then hung up. Dweebs. Bringing his cell phone with him, he headed downstairs, his heart squeezing at Cael standing in front of the sink just staring down into the sudsy water.

“Hey,” Ash said softly, coming up beside him so as not to spook him. Cheetah Therians were anxious by nature, and Ash made sure to always be aware of the fact. Cael blinked as if waking up from whatever trance he was in. He smiled brightly at Ash, and it was the most beautiful smile he’d ever seen.

“Hi.”

Ash chuckled before kissing him. “Hi, sweetheart.”

“Did they mind us not joining them?” Cael asked, going back to washing the dishes.

“Nah. You know them. They’re probably going to spend the day being all disgustingly lovey-dovey.” Ash wrapped his arms around Cael, and nuzzled his temple.

“As opposed to our lovey-dovey,” Cael teased.

“I’ll have you know, my cuddles are the epitome of manliness.”

Cael laughed, and Ash couldn’t help his smile. He loved making Cael laugh.

“What did you do with all the leftovers?” Ash asked, opening the fridge and getting his answer. It was filled with plastic containers.

“I’m going to try out some of Darla’s breakfast casseroles. Cal swears by them.”

Ash couldn’t argue with that. No one knew casseroles like Darla Summers. He helped Cael finish cleaning up around the kitchen, then leaned against the counter, facing Cael. “So what do you want to do first?” If they just took things easy, Cael would relax, and maybe even feel at ease enough to talk about what was going on in his frantic little cheetah Therian mind. Even when Cael was still, his thoughts were racing.

Cael went thoughtful. “Maybe after we shower and get dressed, you could show me how you make your angel food cake. I can’t seem to ever get mine as fluffy as yours.”

Ash couldn’t help his dopey grin. “That sounds great.” He brought Cael in for a kiss, wondering when it had all become so… normal. Falling asleep with Cael in his arms, waking up to his sweet smile, and finding joy in the little things he had once thought as nothing more than a mundane necessity. When had he started getting all sappy over cooking with his boyfriend, or just hanging around the apartment? Fuck. Sloane was on to something. Ash never thought he’d look forward to just spending the day at home with someone. He tolerated people in small doses, and a good portion of the time, not at all, but with Cael everything was different.


Part three next week on 3/16/17!


Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press. 

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#TeaserTuesday – 3/7/17

Hello, all! This week’s Teaser Tuesday is a snippet from Seb and Hudson’s book Darkest Hour Before Dawn which is book nine in the THIRDS series, and now available for pre-order! Enjoy!

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“We wanted to come see you when you were in the hospital, but Seb…. He thought it would be best if we didn’t.”

Hudson nodded. He shoved his hands into his pockets, regret filling him. “He was right. It would have been too difficult. It was hard enough having him there.” Hudson cleared his throat. “He wouldn’t leave my side.”

Thomas nodded his understanding. “I expected no less of him. Thank you for saving his life. I don’t know what we would have done without either of you.”

Unable to stand the heartache in Thomas’s face, Hudson pointed to the bag behind him. “I made you my Cornish pasties.”

Thomas’s eyes sparkled, and he grinned like a little boy. He put the armrest with the controller down and moved to the table to take the bag and place it on his lap. With a deadpan expression, he met his wife’s gaze.

“If the boys ask, these were never here.”

Hudson laughed, watching as Thomas headed for the kitchen, calling out over his shoulder, “Especially Ethan. That boy eats more than the other two combined. I swear he has a black hole where his stomach should be.”

“He’s a growing boy,” Julia cooed, following Thomas into the expansive country-style kitchen. She took the bag from him and placed it on the island counter.

Thomas let out a snort. “Growing boy my butt. Darling, he’s thirty-six and almost as big as Seb.” He wrapped an arm around her waist and tugged, lifting his face for a kiss, which his wife happily gave. Hudson all but melted, leaning against the counter and wondering how Julia and Thomas did it. They’d been through so much—losing everything, watching their boys have to work before they were of age, working through Ethan’s selective mutism and social anxiety, through Thomas’s condition. How had Julia and Thomas Hobbs survived all that and still looked at each other as if they were falling in love for the first time?

At the first crisis that hit them, Hudson and Seb had crumbled under the weight. Hudson cleared his throat, fidgeting from one foot to the other.

“How do you do that?” he asked softly. Propriety scolded him for being so intrusive and brash, but he was desperate to know.

They turned to him, Julia’s hand on Thomas’s shoulder and her expression tender.

“How do you forge ahead, never losing yourselves or the love you have for each other, after… everything?”

No question what Seb would look like when he got older—Seb and Ethan were both the spitting image of Thomas Hobbs. At sixty-five years old, Thomas was a handsome man, with a square jaw and green eyes that sparkled with life and mischief. His once-black hair was now salt-and-pepper, and although some of his leg muscles had deteriorated over the years due to his condition, he was still a tiger Therian, strong-bodied and strong-willed. Much like Ethan refused to allow his condition to define him, Thomas refused to be defined by his Therian Acheron Syndrome. Life had never been easy for the Hobbs family, but they endured, always together.

“Son, love is a precious gift, but love alone isn’t enough to weather the storms in life. You know as well as I do that life can be hard, messy, infuriating, terrifying, and unfair, and love will certainly help ease the pain,” Thomas said, taking Julia’s hand in his. “But unless you use that love as a foundation to build on, you’ll get swept away in the maelstrom.”


Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press. 

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THIRDS Thursday – 3/2/17

Prompt: Would love to see Cael and Ash baking on a lazy rainy Saturday. Cakes, cookies, all kinds of heavenly sugary goods. Maybe Ash finally sharing or showing the how-to of a recipe Cael just never could get right. Just them goofing off and having a good day. Would like it to be after they got officially together. And as always, a little touchy-feely never hurt anyone. ;)

****SPOILER ALERT**** This takes place after Thick & Thin.


Ash rolled onto his back and stretched, the cool sheets comfortable against his skin. Cool? He opened his eyes and frowned. Usually he woke up with a warm, softly snoring Cael plastered to his back. Ash couldn’t help but grin at the image. It said a lot about how he felt about Cael. Ash never liked anyone touching him while he slept, not that he’d given anyone much opportunity to. Very rarely had he stayed to sleep with someone after having sex, and he never invited anyone to his apartment. On the rare occasions that he had stayed, he didn’t like anyone clinging to him. With Cael, not only did he love waking up to him holding onto Ash in some way, but Ash often woke up wrapped around Cael.

Ash placed his hand to Cael’s side of the bed. His boyfriend had clearly gotten up some time ago. He sat up and rubbed his eyes. Cael was an early riser. Like, ridiculously early, but when Cael stayed over—which was pretty much all the time now—he stayed in bed with Ash, usually reading a book or browsing the web on his tablet.

Getting out of bed, Ash rounded his shoulders then stretched his back. He grabbed his boxers off the trunk at the end of the bed, pulling them on before he headed into the bathroom. His heart did a little flip at the sight of Cael’s toothbrush next to his. Man, he was such a freaking sap, grinning like an idiot over a toothbrush. Then again, who the fuck cared? He liked seeing Cael’s toothbrush there. Liked seeing Cael’s toiletries in the bathroom alongside his own, Cael’s clothes in Ash’s bedroom. He liked having Cael with him, occupying the same space. It was a first for Ash.

Finishing up in the bathroom, he headed downstairs in search of his cheeky cheetah. Not surprising, Ash heard Cael moving around in the kitchen. Whatever he was making smelled amazing. When he reached the part of the stairs where he could see into the kitchen, he paused. Were Dex and Sloane coming over for breakfast? He groaned. It was way too fucking early to deal with Dexter J. Daley. Had Ash forgotten? They were supposed to be meeting up later for dinner and a movie. It was quite possible Dex had said something and Ash had just tuned him out. Wouldn’t be the first time.

“Morning, sweetheart.” Ash walked over to Cael, drew him into his arms, and kissed him. He had to hunch over a little, and Cael had to stand on his toes, but it always made him smile. He hummed at the sweet taste of Cael’s mouth. He’d been eating fruit.

“Morning. I made us breakfast,” Cael said, motioning to the counter.

Ash blinked at him. “You made all that for just the two of us?”

Cael nodded. “It’s all gloomy outside, so I thought we needed some tasty awesomeness. I made three kinds of pancakes. Blueberry, chocolate chip, and cranberry. Then I thought you might not want pancakes, so I made French toast and cinnamon rolls. But then I remembered that sometimes you don’t want to eat sweet in the morning, so I made scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, and buttered toast. It’s all piping hot. And there’s coffee, and hot chocolate.” Cael gasped, his eyes going wide. “I didn’t make any muffins. I’m sorry.”

“Baby, you know I love everything you make.” Ash studied Cael. “Talk to me.”

“I am.”

“Not about breakfast. Tell me why you made more food than even your brother could eat.”

Cael craned his neck around Ash to look out the huge glass window in the living room. “Wow. It’s really coming down out there, isn’t it?”

“Sweetheart,” Ash nudged gently, nuzzling his temple. “What’s on your mind?”

“We should eat before everything gets cold.”

Cael wasn’t ready to talk. Ash could wait. When Cael was ready, he would tell Ash what was wrong. Whatever it was, it was big if he didn’t even want to address it. “Sure.”

“Great!” Cael smiled, but whatever was weighing heavily on his mind was there behind his beautiful big gray eyes. Ash kissed his cheek then turned to grab a plate. He didn’t usually eat sweet stuff for breakfast, but Cael had spent who knew how long making all this, so Ash filled his plate with a bit of everything. Sometimes Cael forgot that the rest of them didn’t burn through calories the way he did. Next to Dex, and from what he gathered, Hudson, no one ate as much as Cael. Dex’s appetite had been scary when he was Human. Now he could eat almost as much as Sloane and Ash combined. Hudson was a wolf Therian, and wolf Therians loved food. They were also always running around, rarely still until they wore themselves out, or had someone to keep them grounded. Cael burned through calories by just breathing.

Sitting at the counter, Ash made sure Cael’s chair was close to his before Cael took a seat beside him with his small feast. Most his selection was sweet except for the tiny mountain of bacon piled next to his tower of pancakes. They ate, and made small talk. The food was damned good. It always was when Cael made it. Cael had seconds and ate every bite except for a rogue blueberry he was rolling around his empty plate with his fork. Ash took a sip of his coffee, and waited.

“It’s kinda gloomy out, isn’t it,” Cael murmured, still looking down at his blueberry. That was the second time he’d said that. “Did you know in some countries they sentence Therians to death just for being Therian?”

Ash almost choked on his coffee. He quickly swallowed, and grabbed a napkin to cough into. When he was no longer in danger of choking to death, he turned to stare at Cael. “Um, yeah.”

Cael looked up at him then, eyes glassy. “What if Dex and Sloane get sent to one of those places by TIN? What if they get caught?”

It took Ash a second to catch up. Shit. TIN. This was about Dex joining TIN. He should have known. Cael had managed to fool him this long. He’d acted like he was fine with it. Clearly, he wasn’t. Ash had to do something before Cael lost anymore sleep, or worked himself into a panic, because Ash could see it in his eyes. How the hell was he supposed to make Cael feel better about something he knew nothing about?


Part two next week on 3/9/17!


Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press. 

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#TeaserTuesday – 2/21/17 Darkest Hour Before Dawn (THIRDS, Book 9)

Hello, all! This week’s Teaser Tuesday is a snippet from Seb and Hudson’s book Darkest Hour Before Dawn which is book nine in the THIRDS series, and now available for pre-order! Enjoy!

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“How are you doing today?” Hudson tried to summon a smile. The least he could do was be civil, for Seb’s sake. The brothers were closer than ever, and Hudson wasn’t about to come between them. Rafe squinted at him, and Hudson let out a soft sigh. “I’m not being snide. I’m genuinely interested.”

Rafe still had a way to go to redeem himself in Hudson’s eyes, but Hudson felt for him. Having known the Hobbs family for years, being present for some of Thomas’s worst days, Hudson wouldn’t wish the condition on anyone. The knowledge that Rafe would one day end up in a wheelchair like his father, at the mercy of agonizing pain, hurt Hudson. Rafe was Seb and Ethan’s big brother. A huge tiger Therian, built of what seemed like solid muscle. At seven foot two and over three hundred pounds, he eclipsed Hudson’s smaller wolf Therian frame. As big as Seb was, Rafe was just that tiny bit bigger, certainly broader. It saddened Hudson. Rafe hadn’t always hated him. Once upon a time, Rafe had been kind to him, even smiled.

“I’m okay,” Rafe replied. He cleared his throat, looking larger than life as he sat across from Hudson. “Thank you for asking.”

Hudson nodded. “What can I do for you?”

“I wanted to talk to you about Nina. I know things are still strained between the two of you, and it’s my fault. She did it to protect me. Please, don’t be mad at her. She loves you, Hudson. If you could only see how much pain she’s in, how much she misses you.”

The last six months had been rather awkward. Although Hudson was on speaking terms with Nina, their relationship had suffered greatly. How could they get back to the way things were after she’d purposefully kept him in the dark? For months, day after day, she’d looked him in the eye, going on as if nothing had happened, and all the while sharing Rafe’s bed.

“I would have thought you’d be happy to be rid of me once and for all. She’s the only connection left between me and your family.” There was no bitterness in Hudson’s voice, only sadness.

Rafe straightened, looking affronted. “How can you say that? You’re connected to my brother in the most significant way possible, which, by the way, I don’t get you. You took three bullets for him, are obviously still as much in love with him now as you were then, and he worships you, yet you keep pushing him away. Why won’t you come home?”

Hudson inhaled sharply. Rafe’s words hit him harder than expected. “Why… why would you say such a thing?”

“That you two should be together?”

“No. That I should come home.”

Rafe raked a hand through his hair and let out a heavy sigh. He appeared to give a lot of thought to the question, as if trying to find the right words.

“Fuck it.” Rafe met Hudson’s gaze, his eyes intense. “Because you’re a part of our family, always were. You’re his home, Hudson. He’s been lost since you left, and I don’t want to see him in pain anymore. He deserves to be happy, and that’ll never happen without you. He needs you. My family needs you. My mom misses the hell out of you. She’s always asking about you. Ethan misses you, my dad—”

“Don’t,” Hudson pleaded, blinking back the tears in his eyes. “Please don’t use Thomas.”

“It’s the truth. You may not want to hear it, but that’s the way it is. We are your pack, Hudson. You walked away from us, and yes, I hated you for a long time for what I believed you were doing to my brother, but I think I also resented you.”

Hudson was stunned. “For what?”

“For leaving. No one blamed you. Okay, I blamed you, but I was an asshole. My mom, dad, Ethan, Seb, none of them blamed you. They just wanted you home.”


Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

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THIRDS Thursday – 1/19/17

Prompt: Seb and Hudson’s first date.


Part 3

They carried on with their meal, chatting and laughing. Hudson told Seb why he’d arrived at the restaurant in the state he was in. How he’d been leaving the locker room down in Sparta when he’d been called to the training bay. A Human rookie from one of Unit Beta’s teams thought it would be funny to sneak up on his bear Therian teammate during a training session while the agent was in Therian form.

Seb groaned. “You’re kidding me.”

Hudson shook his head. “Everyone knows bear Therians do not like to be poked, or startled. The rookie had been warned, and decided to disregard the warning. Poor bloke was tossed across the room. He’s lucky all he broke was an arm.” Hudson’s smile grew wicked. “I can tell you he won’t be pulling a stunt like that again. Not after I finished with him.”

“Oh?” Seb chuckled.

“I was certain to explain in exceptional detail all the internal damage his organs could have suffered then explained how lucky he was he’d not been faced with a Felid Therian from Unit Alpha or he might have ended up with a crushed skull, or found his intestines dangling outside his stomach.”

Seb waggled his brows. “You have a bit of a wicked streak in you, Doc. I like it.”

They finished their meal, and Seb called them a cab, accompanying Hudson to his apartment building. Hudson insisted it wasn’t necessary, but Seb wasn’t quite ready to leave him. They stood outside the apartment building entrance, the cool evening breeze ruffling Hudson’s hair. Seb brushed it away from Hudson’s eyes.

“Thanks for tonight,” Seb said. “I really had a great time.”

Hudson leaned against the doorframe facing Seb. “As did I. Would you join me for dinner again sometime this week?”

“How about Thursday night? I get off at six. We could meet at eight?”

“It’s a date,” Hudson said beaming up at him.

Suddenly, Seb wasn’t quite sure what to do. He knew what he wanted to do, but what if Hudson got the wrong idea? What if he thought Seb was just interested in getting him into bed? Not that sex with Hudson would be a bad thing. Seb was pretty sure it would be spectacular, but he wanted to do this right. It was too soon to feel this crazy about someone, yet he realized he didn’t care. He was drawn to Hudson. Drawn to his beautiful smile, his handsome face, snarky sense of humor, and gentle eyes.

“Well, I guess I should go.” He ran a hand through his hair, feeling like a giant dork. Should he kiss Hudson? Was it too late to do it now? Should he kiss him on the cheek? On the lips? Would Hudson think he was being pushy?

“Sebastian?”

The soft-spoken word snapped Seb’s attention, and he looked down, wondering when Hudson had gotten so close.

“Yeah?”

“Goodness, you’re tall.”

Seb chuckled. “Yeah, well, that kind of goes hand in hand with being a tiger Therian.”

“You’ll just have to put in more of an effort then.”

Seb studied him. “What do you mean?”

Hudson dropped his gaze to Seb’s lips before moving his eyes back to Seb’s. “You’ll have to meet me halfway, darling. I won’t reach your mouth otherwise.”

It took Seb a moment. “Oh! Sorry, I—”

Hudson stood on his toes, cupped Seb’s face, and pulled him down, bringing their lips together. Joy and sizzling heat flared through Seb, and after his brain finally got the message, he closed his eyes, wrapped his arms around Hudson, and held him tight against him, mindful not to squeeze too hard.

Hudson’s lips were soft, plump, and his mouth tasted sweet from the dessert they’d shared. His scent filled Seb’s nostrils, and Seb moaned when Hudson pressed closer to him. Their kiss was slow as they explored each other’s mouth, their tongues tasting, teeth nipping. Hudson placed his hands to Seb’s chest, his finger sliding up and slipping under Seb’s collar to stroke his skin.

Their kiss went on for what seemed like a blissful eternity. Until a bang somewhere inside startled them, and they broke their kiss.

Hudson let out a breathless laugh. “Noisy neighbor.” He hadn’t moved out of Seb’s embrace. His cheeks were flushed that beautiful pink Seb was coming to love. “Would you…. Would you care to come in for a cup of tea, or coffee?”

Seb placed a kiss to Hudson’s cheek then murmured in his ear. “I would love to.” His voice had come out huskier than he intended, but before he could worry about it, Hudson removed his keys from his pocket, opened the door, and grabbed Seb’s wrist, pulling him inside toward one of the apartments. Their lips were locked in a heated kiss the moment they were inside Hudson’s place, the door closed. Seb walked him over to the couch, not seeing the coffee table in the center, or the blanket half draped on the couch onto the floor. He bumped into the table, turned, got his feet tangled in the blanket, and lost his balance. Hudson very sweetly tried to steady him, but Seb’s weight was too much for him, and they tumbled onto the couch, Seb on his back, and Hudson sprawled on top of him. They lay very still, neither speaking or so much as breathing until Seb broke the silence.

“Would you believe me if I said that’s how we do it here in America?”

Hudson laughed softly. He looked embarrassed. “I’m so sorry. I always have a mess of blankets and pillows out here when I watch telly.” Hudson’s cheeks flushed. “I suppose I should get up.”

“Or,” Seb prompted, wrapping an arm around Hudson, then turning them so Hudson was on his back on the couch with Seb laying over him. He grinned down at Hudson. “We could make the most of it and go back to kissing.”

Hudson slipped his arms around Seb’s neck drawing him close. He nuzzled Seb’s neck, planting kisses up Seb’s jaw.

“Plus, getting up would most likely require another tussle with your blanket, so really, you’d be saving me from possible misfortune.”

Hudson smiled as he continued to trail kisses over Seb’s skin. “Well, when you put it like that, how can I allow you to take such a risk? It’s best you not go too far.”

“I mean, I barely escaped with my life.”

“Poor dear, such a harrowing experience. I think your bravery should be rewarded,” Hudson murmured, kissing Seb, his body warm beneath him. They fit perfectly together, as if Hudson were made to be in his arms. Seb smiled against Hudson’s lips. Something told him this was the start of something special. Seb could hardly wait.


Missed Part 2? Read it here. Read Part 1 here.


Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press 2014.

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#TeaserTuesday – 1/17/17 – Dreamspun Desires

Hello, all! This week’s Teaser Tuesday is a snippet from my current work in progress which is a new Dreamspun Desires book! Enjoy!

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“I need you to help me with something.” Matthew felt his face burning up, and he cleared his throat as he opened his top desk drawer to pull out a small lined notepad.

“Of course.”

“It’s… kind of personal.”

“Whatever it is, Matthew, you know I’ll help.”

If he couldn’t trust Adam, who could he trust? They weren’t just colleagues, they were friends. They’d known each other for years. Adam had cried on Matthew’s shoulder when his last boyfriend cheated on him and broke his heart into tiny pieces. The bastard. Matthew had been there to help Adam pick up the pieces, and when Matthew’s father had a heart attack, Adam was there to help Matthew from falling apart. Adam kept Hart & Home running without a glitch during Matthew’s absence while his father recovered.

“I know you’ll help,” Matthew replied, meeting Adam’s gaze. “It’s just a little…” Desperate? Embarrassing? “Private.”

“And you don’t think I can be discreet?” Adam arched a perfectly shaped eyebrow at him.

Matthew frowned. “Don’t be silly. There’s no one I trust more.”

“Okay then. Out with it.”

“I need you to….” Matthew shifted uncomfortably in his chair. His words almost a mumble when he spoke. “Get me a man.”

Adam nodded. He pursed his lips in thought. “Okay. How long do you want him for?”

The question caught Matthew off guard. “Well, I was kind of hoping… forever, or something along those lines?” Adam was more laid back about this than Matthew anticipated.

“Oh, you mean, like a mail order groom? I thought you just wanted an escort.”

“What?” Matthew gaped at his friend. “A what? Mail order—an escort? I don’t want either!” He threw a hand over his mouth when he realized how loud that had come out. He lowered his voice. “I meant a husband. I need you to help me find a husband. You know, introduce me to some guys that are looking to settle down, and maybe one of them might, I don’t know, want to settle down with me.”

Adam’s eyebrows shot up near his hairline. “You want to get married?”

“Why do you look so shocked?” Matthew wasn’t sure whether to feel insulted, or touched that Adam knew him so well. “When you thought I wanted a prostitute or a mail order groom you didn’t blink, but I tell you I want to get married and suddenly your eyebrows fly off your face.”

Adam’s expression turned deadpan. “Matthew, milk has a longer shelf life than the majority of your relationships.”

“Wow. Thanks.”

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#TeaserTuesday – 12/20/16 Thick & Thin (THIRDS, book 8)

TeaserTuesday

Hello, all! This week’s Teaser Tuesday is a snippet from Thick & Thin, THIRDS Book 8 which is out February 1st, 2017! I’ll be revealing the cover for Thick & Thin on Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews on January 2nd, 2017, plus there will be a giveaway!

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“Run!” [Dex] took off, Calvin and Letty not questioning him. They sped down the debris and dirt-covered road as half a dozen Felid and wolf Therians gave chase. Up ahead, Sloane roared. Hobbs and Cael turned, heading back in their direction. They dashed past Dex, Calvin, and Letty, straight for the Therians chasing them. Dex glanced back long enough to see Cael speed around the Therians, confusing them, trying to trip them up, while Hobbs swatted at them, his razor-sharp claws extended. The two wolf Therians yelped, and dashed off. They weren’t going to face off against a tiger Therian.

Dex ran after his teammates into the building they suspected Juarez and Turner were hiding in. Ash and Sloane dove into a small group of charging Therians while Dex, Letty, and Calvin headed for the stairs. He hoped it could take their weight.

Calvin swiped up a big rock as he ran and hurled it at the stairs with all his strength. It bounced off and landed on the bare concrete floor. Letty went first, the stairs creaking under her weight. It held up fine. Calvin followed. Dex paused.

“Move your ass, Daley.” Calvin stopped at the top of the stairs, and Dex cursed under his breath. He sensed movement behind him and had no choice but to run up the stairs. Halfway up, his boots went through the hollow concrete of one step. Shit! He had nothing to hold on to, so he flailed. Calvin grabbed one arm and Letty the other. They pulled, groaning and grunting. Dex managed to pull his foot out, and they stopped to catch their breaths at the top. Well, Letty and Calvin did. Calvin eyed him but didn’t say a word. Letty on the other hand….

“What the fuck, Dex? What the hell are you carrying?”

“The usual,” Dex said, moving past them. “Come on.” He wasn’t about to get into it now. True, he was carrying just the usual, but his body mass had changed. Despite him looking more or less the same, he was heavier than a Human should be. Thankfully, his teammates let it go for now, and they continued upward until Dex smelled it—kind of like Sloane but different.

“Juarez.” Dex turned, his rifle aimed and ready as he slowly made his way down the ruins of what had once been an office building or something similar. The corridor had too many doorways for his liking.

“How do you know?” Letty asked.

“I just do.” Dex peeked into one of the rooms. “Clear.”

“Dex, it’s pitch-black in there. How the hell do you know it’s clear?” Calvin hissed.

“Because I do.” It might not be the answer his friends wanted to hear, but it was all he was giving them at the moment. “I’ll explain later, okay? Right now, we need to—” A high-pitched chirp caught his ear, and he straightened. “Cael.” Another distressed chirp and a hiss. Dex turned, and Calvin caught his arm.

“Dex?”

“Cael’s in trouble.”

“What? How the hell do you know?”

Couldn’t they hear him? Dex opened his mouth as a lion’s roar echoed through the building. Ash. It was Ash frustrated at not being able to get to Cael.

Calvin released Dex, his eyes wide. “When this is over, you’re going to tell us what the hell is going on.”


Copyright © 2016 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press. Thick & Thin pre-order 1/2/17, release day 2/1/17.

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