#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)

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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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THIRDS Thursday – 12/8/16

Prompt: I would love to see the team play paintball or a similar game and get very competitive.


“This is ridiculous,” Ash growled. “How is shooting each other up a team building exercise? None of us are on a team.”

Cael contemplated that. “Well, we work as a team every day. Sarge wants us to keep our individual skills sharp.” He finished strapping into his tactical vest. “At least he’s not making us carry our equipment.” Cael grabbed his helmet, turning to Ash before putting it on. “Whatever you do, stay away from Dex.”

Ash looked pained. “Come on, sweetheart. It’s everyone for themselves. I love you, but you don’t really expect me to pass up an opportunity to shoot the shit out of your brother, do you?”

Cael blinked at him. He shook his head when he realized Ash had misunderstood. “I didn’t mean stay away from him so you wouldn’t shoot him, I meant stay away from him so you wouldn’t get shot by him. He’s going to kick all our asses.”

Ash stared at him. “I’m sorry, are you… are you being serious?”

“You’ve never played paintball with my brother, Ash. He turns into like, Rambo. Seriously, he’s kinda competitive, and really good at it. Not even Cal’s going to make it out of this.”

“Cael, I think I can handle your dorky brother.”

Cael smiled sweetly. He patted Ash’s bicep. “If you say so.” He headed into the waiting room where everyone stood except for Dex. Ash looked around before addressing Sloane.

“Where’s your dweeb boyfriend?”

Sloane shrugged. “I don’t know. He said he had to get ready. I’m not really sure what that entails, or why he couldn’t do it in the same changing room.”

The instructor came out, and Cael told him to go ahead. Dex knew this obstacle course like the back of his hand. His dad had already explained to the team that if he attempted to find a course Dex hadn’t done, he’d have to send them out of state. The team laughed when Tony told them not to let Dex beat them too badly. If they didn’t want to believe the man who’d raised Dex, they had no one to blame but themselves. Dex was competitive at the best of times, but put a paintball gun in his hands, and there was no escape.

The instructor led them to their course, and Sloane frowned. “Where the hell is Dex?”

“Here.”

They turned and Ash burst into laughter. “Holy shit, are you wearing camouflage?”

Dex grinned broadly, wriggling his brows before lowering the visor of his helmet. “This is war, Keeler.”

“Oh, I am so looking forward to this.”

They were each handed their paintball rifles containing a different color then escorted out onto the field. The obstacle course was the size of a football field surrounded by shrubs and trees with everything from sandbag bunkers, to car frames, old broken down cars, tire stacks, industrial barrels, and stone structures.

The lion Therian instructor motioned to the field. “When the buzzer rings, game’s over. Whoever has the least amount of paint on them at the end wins. Take your positions.”

Cael ran off, ducking behind a sandbag bunker, and Ash ran behind the car across from him. Dex was nowhere to be seen. It had begun. Cael almost felt bad for his team.

The buzzer sounded, and the game officially started. Cael wasn’t concerned with winning, just keeping himself from getting too much paint on him. He edged close to the end of the bunker and peered out. The coast was clear. Cael ran for the stack of tires ahead of him, diving behind it when he saw movement to his right. Letty fired, hitting the tires where Cael had been seconds ago. She cursed in Spanish and Cael chuckled.

“Nice try,” Cael called out. Playing with his team was nothing like playing with his friends back in high school. Unlike his teenage friends at the time, his team was trained to stalk and remain out of sight, not to mention engage in warfare. For several minutes, they all crept and crawled, dashed, and ducked. And then Dex decided he was tired of waiting for his teammates to come out of hiding.

Dex soared through the air, aimed, and fired, hitting Ash in the back of the head. Cael cringed from his spot where he saw the spectacle clearly. Before Ash was even up, Dex landed on a stack of hay and promptly rolled off right behind a wooden wall.

Ash’s startled expression made Cael giggle.

Dex popped up from behind a stack of tires several feet away and shot Ash in the ass. Ash jumped to his feet.

“What the fuck is happening right now?”

“Ash, you need to move before—”

Dex dove out from behind a car frame and shot twice, and Cael sucked in a breath as both shots hit Ash in the ass. His boyfriend’s howl echoed through the field. By the time Ash turned around, Dex was nowhere to be seen. Everyone else took advantage of Ash’s stupefied state and shot him.

“You sons of bitches!” Ash dove behind a stack of tractor tires. He shouted over the side. “I’m going to kick all your asses, starting with you, Daley!”

Dex’s reply was a swan dive over a haystack, and a shot to Ash’s helmet before he vanished behind a sandbag bunker.

“Fucker!” Ash turned to face Cael. “When did your brother become a fucking ninja?”

“I told you. He’s kinda competitive when it comes to paintball. The guys in his old department used to fight over him when it came to picking teams. Whichever team he was on always won. I tried to warn you.”

“Fuck this. I am not going to lose to that dork.” Ash let out a roar as he ran out, the rest of Destructive Delta rallying at his war cry. They’d decided to unite against the force that was Dex, and Cael could see why. Everyone was covered in dozens of blue splotches—Dex’s color.

Cael shook his head and watched the chaos. It was like a game of Whac-A-Mole the way Dex popped up, except the mole had a paintball gun and sprayed his teammates like he was Tony Montana taking out his enemies. In fact, Cael was pretty sure he heard his brother throw out a couple of Scar Face quotes.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Calvin screamed in frustration. “How is he doing that?”

Ash thrust a finger at Calvin. “Dude, you’re the fucking sniper, snipe him!”

“I’m trying, but he’s like some kind of squirrel on steroids.”

“Enjoying the show?”

Cael gave a start. “Jesus, Dex, you scared the shit out of me.”

Dex laughed. “Ash looks like he’s wearing a blue suit. I’ve run out of places to shoot him.”

Rosa’s curses were loud and vehement. Dex narrowed his eyes. “I may not be an expert of the Spanish language, but I’m pretty sure what she just said was both insulting and frightening.” Dex lifted Cael’s visor, and patted his cheek. “Oh, and I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Cael asked, cocking his head.

“For this.” He shot Cael in the vest before skipping off, calling out over his shoulder. “No favoritism, Chirpy! Love you!”

“You, turd!”

At hearing Dex, everyone charged in his direction, but Dex was already diving behind a rusty pickup. They ran around it, and Cael stood, propping himself against the bunker, chuckling at his unsuspecting teammates.

Dex stood on the roof of the car and shot each one of them on their visors the moment they turned around. They scrambled, bumped into each other, and all went down. Dex blew the end of his rifle as the buzzer sounded. He hopped down, walked over to Sloane, lifted his visor, and held his hand out.

Everyone removed their helmets and stood. Ash looked so confused, Cael found him completely endearing.

“You look like you should be in the Blue Man group,” Cael teased him.

Ash pouted. “I can’t believe I lost to your brother.”

“Aw.” As everyone headed back indoors with a grumble, Cael stood on his toes and kissed Ash. “How about we wash you off, and then when we get home, I’ll help stroke your ego.” He nipped at Ash’s chin. “Among other things.”

Ash’s lips broke off into a grin. He nodded, and followed Cael inside. As they were getting dressed in the locker room after showering, Dex was celebrating his victory.

“So how about it,” Dex said to Ash. “Drinks on me at Dekatria for beating your butt so completely.”

Ash smiled brightly, and Cael braced himself.

“Sorry, pal. I’m going home to do filthy things to your little brother.”

Dex’s jaw dropped.

“Yep, going to pound town.”

Cael groaned and covered his face with his hands. He could not believe Ash just said that.

“Oh God,” Dex gagged. “I think I’m gonna be sick.”

“Yep, gonna get him naked, and—”

“I’m not listening!” Dex covered his ears, singing some eighties song at the top if his lungs as he ran from the room. Ash threw his head back and laughed. Cael shook his head at him.

“You just couldn’t help yourself, could you?”

Ash wriggled his eyebrows. He leaned in to nibble at Cael’s ear. “Doesn’t make it any less true.” He grabbed Cael’s hand, said “see ya” to everyone, and winked at Dex as they walked by. Dex yelped, and Ash laughed as they headed for Ash’s truck. Well, Dex won his game, Ash won the last word, but as Ash turned him, and kissed him soundly, a preview of what the evening held, it was pretty clear who the real winner here was.

Cael.


Copyright © 2016 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

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Disarming Donner (North Pole City Tales, Book 5) Cover Reveal and Pre-Order!!

Hello, all! I’m super excited to share with you the cover to the fifth North Pole City Tales book Disarming Donner which is out December 21st, and now available for pre-order from Dreamspinner Press!! Plus, it’s 35% off until midnight tonight 11/28/16!

I absolutely adore this cover. Paul Richmond did such an amazing job with it, from the gorgeous background to all the tiny details! These two look so freaking adorable, but then they are too cute together, though I’m sure Donner would have a thing or two to say on the matter.

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About-Baubles-

Genre: Fantasy Gay Romance, Holiday
Series: North Pole City Tales, Book 5
Length: Novella
Published: Dec 21st, 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781634778138

As a beloved Rein Dear and Christmas elf for Mayor Kringle, Donner prides himself on his flawless reputation, good sense, and wise decisions. Donner never does anything until he’s thought it through properly. He’s certainly not one to get flustered, infuriated, or fall prey to romantic nonsense. At least not until the most unlikely of elves begins chipping away at Donner’s defenses.

Calder is a Dockalfar—a dark elf. He’s wicked, untrustworthy, and armed with lethal magic. At least that’s what everyone thinks. It’s easy for them to believe the worst and mistrust him before they’ve even spoken to him, but Calder is out to prove that he’s more than his Dockalfar blood, especially to a certain Rein Dear who has caught his eye. But it will take more than sweet words for Donner to admit what’s in his heart.

Links-Baubles

Dreamspinner Press

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Check out the North Pole City Tales series board on Pinterest!

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THIRDS Thursday – Hot Seat 11/3/16

THIRDS Thursday Hot Seat

Hello all! It’s been a while since we’ve had the THIRDS guys in the Hot Seat, so today we have Angel, Sloane, Ash, Ethan, Calvin, and Seb here to answer some of your questions! Remember if you’d like to leave a question for the cast, you can do so here. Let’s turn up the heat!


From Cindy for Angel Herrera: Are you single? What is your dream boyfriend/girlfriend like? How do you feel about Taylor who is always flitting from one person to the other and was only serious about the mated Dex?

Angel: I’m single, yep. It’s kinda been a while. My dream person would be someone I can have fun with who makes me laugh. I’m not really into the whole serious thing. I mean, obviously there are times to be serious, but I don’t get people who take themselves so seriously. Life’s too short, you know? Someone’s who’s faithful, and not a dick. I know what you’re thinking, that kinda leaves Taylor out. There’s lots of guys like Taylor who aren’t interested in relationships and enjoy hookups. Well, that’s what Taylor used to do. I haven’t seen him hook up with a guy in a long time actually. I was kind of knocked for a loop when I realized Taylor had gone from wanting to screw Dex to something else. But then he’s not really the “let’s talk about our feelings” type of guy. He keeps that stuff close to his chest. I miss him, though. I hope he comes back soon.

From Freddy for Calvin and Ethan: Have you always hated Calvin & Hobbes references or did you maybe once read and like the tales of an adventurous boy and his striped best friend whose awesomeness only he could appreciate?

Calvin: Are you kidding? I never hated the reference. I grew up on all types of comics and I still love them. I’ve read all the Calvin and Hobbes strips, and love them. They’re amazing. And really, I don’t mind it. I ain’t got nothing on that kid. He’s way more sophisticated than I am. The reference just never seems to get old for my colleagues, but then I work with a bunch of dorks. It depends on the interpretation. Like when Dex first commented on it, I didn’t know him, so I didn’t know how to take his reaction.

Ethan: *whispers in Calvin’s ear*

Calvin: Ethan doesn’t mind it either because he’s always enjoyed the comics. It’s a cute reference, and really kind of flattering considering. Ethan was okay with it from the beginning, so that meant I was okay too. It’s when you get asshats who can’t see it for what it is and just see a blond kid and an imaginary tiger. That’s not what the stories were about, and sure as shit not what we are.

From Charlotte to Sloane, Ash, Ethan, and Seb: What do you feel when you see your lover wear your clothes?

Sloane: I feel conflicted. I can’t decide whether to enjoy seeing Dex in my clothes, or to strip him of them because he looks so damn good. I love it though. I love when I’m in the kitchen in the morning and he wanders downstairs, hair sticking up all over, half asleep, face flushed, and he doesn’t realize he’s pulled on my T-shirt instead of his. It reminds me of how lucky I am to have him in my life.

Ash: I feel a lot of inappropriate things. Usually when Cael wears one of my shirts, it’s huge on him, usually down his thighs or depending on the shirt sometimes to his knees, which means he doesn’t wear anything else under it. I can’t help but grab him when he does that because he looks so damned adorable, and hot.

Ethan: *whispers in Seb’s ear*

Seb: *to Ethan* Yeah, I really don’t need to picture your boyfriend in his underwear. Thanks. Ethan says Cal usually wears his T-shirts. Anything else is too big, and of course Ethan loves it. He thinks Cal looks adorable. Cal tends to sleep in one of Ethan’s T-shirts, and a pair of boxer-briefs. As for me, I don’t really know what Hudson wears at home, if he still does what he used to when we were together. I mean, I maybe have an idea. Dex told me Hudson still has some of my T-shirts. He’s had at least one altered which he’s worn under his clothes. It’s a little painful, but good painful if that makes sense. Knowing he kept some of my shirts, that he still wears them feel amazing. Usually when we lounged together back in the day, he’d wear one of my shirts. Hudson likes to feel comfortable, and my shirts made him feel warm and safe.

From Mary to all: When you are in your felid form which is the first thought that occurs to you when you see your partner?

Sloane: Mine.

Ash: Mine.

Cael: Mine.

Seb: Mine.

Ethan: *nods*

Sloane: *laughs* We’re not really all that complicated in our Felid forms. Usually our thought process revolves around our mate or partner, protecting them, and dealing with the threat if there is one. And in Ash’s case just showing off his mane.

Ash: *shrugs* Mane envy. *points to the rest of them* They’s got it.

 

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THIRDS Beyond the Books: Volume 2 Release Day!

Hello all! THIRDS Beyond the Books: Volume 2 is here! I’m so excited to be sharing with you the next fun collection of THIRDS flash fiction stories! This volume includes stories that follow the THIRDS series timeline up to Catch a Tiger by the Tail (THIRDS, Book 6). It also includes an unpublished flash fiction story.

ABOUT THE BOOK

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Genre: Paranormal Gay Romance, Shifters
Length: Novella
Published: Oct 12th, 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Ebook ISBN-13: 9781634773089

Return to the THIRDS universe with another collection of flash fiction stories inspired by prompts submitted by fans. Reunite with favorite THIRDS characters to explore even more of their hidden adventures and personal moments, and take the opportunity to learn more about them through this series of stories recounting the humor, heartbreak, friendship, hardship, and love these characters experience behind the scenes. Complete your THIRDS experience with these tales of stolen moments.

** All royalties earned from THIRDS Beyond the Books are being donated to Big Cat Rescue.

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BUY LINKS

Dreamspinner Press eBook | Amazon Kindle | All Romance eBooks | Barnes & Noble

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SeriesOrder

Hell & High Water (THIRDS, Book 1)
Blood & Thunder (THIRDS Book 2)
Rack & Ruin (THIRDS, Book 3)
Rise & Fall (THIRDS, Book 4)
Against the Grain (THIRDS, Book 5)
Catch a Tiger by the Tail (THIRDS, Book 6)
Smoke & Mirrors (THIRDS, Book 7)

Check out the THIRDS on Pinterest.

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Office Space – 10/7/16

Hello all! Welcome to this week’s Office Space! If you missed the intro post to the new blog post series, you can read all about it here.

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A fellow author friend (you know who you are) got me hooked on Zulily. If you’ve never shopped on there, proceed with caution. It can be very addicting. It can be hit or miss with a few things, but the majority of the time it’s spot on. They have fabulous stationary events, and as we all know, stationary is a weakness of mine. I’m pretty sure I have more journals and notebooks than I’ll use in my lifetime yet I can’t resist picking up a few more. They had a gorgeous set of Lady Jayne stationary that I couldn’t resist grabbing a few pieces of. I love the retro sailor design. The highlighters are some of my fave because they’re more pastel than the usual burn your eyes highlighter colors, and they’re double ended. I bought a pack from Amazon, and topped them up while I was in San Francisco in a little fabulous store in Japantown that sold individual colors.

This weekend I’ll be writing, in the hopes of making my deadline. I’ve also got edits for Thick & Thin. What are your plans for this weekend?

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THIRDS Thursday – 10/6/16

THIRDS Thursdays

*** Contains spoilers for Smoke & Mirrors (Book 7) ***

Prompt: After Sloane breaks up with Dex in the 7th book, Cael goes to comfort Dex, so I wanted the scene taking place between them…Does Dex get sick because he thinks his mate’s left him? Something along those lines. Preferably from Cael’s POV (but either will do).


Cael was fuming.

When the cab pulled up outside Dex’s house, Cael did his best not to slam the car door behind him. He paid the driver and thanked him before marching up Dex’s front steps. Ooh, he just wanted to plant a fist in Sloane’s stupid nose. How could the guy just walk out on Dex like that? And everyone said Ash was an asshole. Ash would never walk out on Cael. Maybe at one point he might have, but not anymore.

Ash wasn’t the kind of guy to back away from a fight, whether he was in the wrong or not. That was the difference between Ash and Sloane. When Sloane was hurt, he wanted to be alone to lick his wounds, so he went off to find somewhere he could do that. With Ash, he stayed put, and if you knew what was good for you, you would be the one to give him space, but if you didn’t, he would go on brooding whether or not you were there. These days, Ash talked more. If Cael was upset about something, Ash talked it through with him, helping Cael calmly explain what was wrong, and what Ash could to help, or how they could do things differently the next time around.

Cael was going to fish in his pocket for the spare keys he had to Dex’s place when the door was thrown open.

“Sloane?”

Cael looked up at Dex and all of Cael’s anger melted away. He’d never seen his big brother look so… fragile, so lost. Unable to find the right words to say in that moment, Cael threw his arms around Dex and hugged him tight. They stood like that for what seemed like hours, Dex’s face buried in Cael’s hair. It was only when Dex shuddered that Cael realized his big brother had been silently crying. Cael rubbed circles over Dex’s back, imagining the pain his brother must be in. Dex’s boyfriend hadn’t just walked out on him. His mate had walked out on him.  The pull between bonded mates was so much deeper. Emotions ran higher, hotter, and the pain far more intense.

When Dex was ready, he pulled away, giving Cael a wobbly smile that broke Cael’s heart. His big brother was always the one Cael leaned on. The one who made everything better. Dex was unbreakable. Cael had never seen Dex not bounce back, a big boyish smile on his face. It might take some time, but Dex always bounced back. This time, Cael wasn’t so sure, and he hated it. Hated that Sloane had left his big brother all alone and in pain.

“Hi, Chirpy.” Dex stepped to one side so Cael could come in.

Inside the living room, Cael’s heart squeezed at the nest of blankets and pillows Dex had on the couch. The coffee table was littered with snacks, from his favorite gummy bears and Cheesy Doodles, to cupcakes and chocolate. The Princess Bride was paused on the huge flat screen TV.

Dex finished locking up and joined Cael in the living room. It was the middle of summer, but Dex had the AC cranked up. He had fuzzy socks on his feet, Star Wars pajama bottoms, and a plain black T-shirt that was too big for him and obviously Sloane’s. As if reading his thoughts, Dex put a hand to his chest and rubbed the T-shirt, a sad smile on his face.

“I know, I’m a dork, but….” He sighed heavily. “It make it hurt a little less.”

Cael nodded his understanding. He waited for Dex to climb on the couch, wrapping himself up then holding one side open for Cael. Cael toed off his sneakers then climbed up, snuggling up close to Dex when his brother wrapped the blanket around them.

“This reminds me of when we were kids,” Cael said with a smile. “When there was a bad storm and you’d make a fort out of the couch cushions, blankets, and pillows, then you’d read stories. Dad would make us s’mores and hot chocolate, then take over for you, and we’d both fall asleep to him reading.”

Dex sighed. “Yeah. I miss those days.”

“Me too.” They were both quiet, and Cael could feel his brother wanted to say something, so he waited patiently.

“Did you see him?” Dex asked, his voice quiet.

Cael nodded, feeling himself getting angry again. “He’s staying on Ash’s couch.”

“Sorry.”

Cael pulled back and frowned up at his brother. “Why are you apologizing for him? He’s the one who left.” Dex flinched, and Cael kicked himself. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean….”

“It’s okay.” Dex’s eyes were red and glassy, his hair a mess, and his skin flushed. He’d clearly had a good cry long before Cael showed up. “And you’re right. I just can’t help worrying about him despite everything. Was he okay?”

Cael’s expression softened. Trust his brother to be worried about Sloane after the guy had ripped his heart out. “He looked rough,” Cael admitted. He folded his arms over his chest. “I know he’s your mate, and that you still love him no matter how pissed off you are at him, but, Dex, I really want to punch him. I can’t believe he did this to you, after everything.” Cael could feel the heat rising in his cheeks. He was so mad. “It was his idea to move in together, he agreed to mark you, he promised he would be here for you, and he’s doing what he always does. I thought he’d changed.”

“He has,” Dex assured him. “For the most part. This was just, I don’t know. It’s different. Bigger. I’m not saying I’m not pissed off, because I am, but to be honest, it’s being drowned out by all the hurt. My mind is indignant, but my body….” Dex put a hand to his heart, rubbing the spot as if it were sore. “It fucking hurts so bad, Chirpy. It just refuses to listen to my head. I tell myself we’ll work it out, that he’s not gone for good, but my body is buzzing with need, and I don’t mean sex.” He moved his hand to his marked arm. “It burns, and I’m hit with these waves of nausea. They don’t last long, but at first, I kept getting sick, and dizzy.” He let his head fall back with a sigh. “I don’t know what to do, and that’s a new thing for me. This is all new.” Dex swallowed hard, blinking past the tears in his eyes.

“He’s it for me, Cael. I can’t imagine my life without him. I didn’t even know you could love someone this much. It’s scary. It could be the mark, or it could just be my stupid heart.” He straightened and looked down at Cael. “I fucking adore him, with all his faults, just the way he is. Yeah, I wish he hadn’t walked out, and as much as I want to kick his ass….” Tears welled in his eyes again, and Cael put a hand to Dex’s shoulder. “I just want him home, Chirpy.”

Cael didn’t hesitate. He wrapped Dex in his arms, offering what comfort he could. Closing his eyes, he prayed that Sloane would come to his senses, work through his shit, and come home to Dex. Didn’t Sloane realize what he had? How madly head over heels Dex was for him? How many times could the guy break Dex’s heart? For now, all Cael could do was be here for his big brother, just like Dex had always been there for him.


Copyright © 2016 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

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Office Space – 9/16/16

Hello all! Welcome to this week’s Office Space! If you missed the intro post to the new blog post series, you can read all about it here.

Love---CCochet

I have a big L-shaped desk in the corner of my office. This is currently what’s at the top of it. I recently purchased that cute little canvas print of the typewriter so I had to rearrange the top of my desk. My lovely friend Poppy helped me. I have a lot of mint, teal, gold, and pink in my office, so sometimes it’s tough finding the right combination. The candelabra is from Ross, the lanterns from Pier 1 Imports, and everything else TJ Maxx.

What type of decor do you prefer?  

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THIRDS Thursday – 8/15/16

THIRDS Thursdays

Prompt: Don’t know if this has been suggested before, but I’d love to see something more about Dex’s adoption from the beginning …how Tony handled breaking the news /asking?/ a 5 year old Dex to be his adopted son / his parent’s death.


“I can’t do it.”

His voice didn’t sound like his own. But then this life wasn’t his. It was someone else’s. This happened to other people. It was the kind of earthshattering news he’d had the misfortune of delivering to others. He wasn’t supposed to be on this end of things. It was a selfish thought, but right now he just didn’t give a shit. In fact, if it were up to him, he’d disappear for God knew how long, but he couldn’t, because as bad as it was right now, it was about to get so much worse.

Tony sat in his car, in the same spot he had for the last two hours. His vision was blurry, his eyes burned, and his hands wouldn’t stop shaking. He was a fucking mess. Broken. For the last two days he’d gone through a host of emotions. His initial reaction being anger. He’d been so goddamned pissed off at John for leaving him. Every swear word he’d ever known had crossed his lips, directed at his best friend. Tony was angry at Gina too. Angry she’d left her little boy behind. She’d been his best friend. But John had been his life. Tony let out a harsh laugh. God, he was so fucking pathetic. He’d let that part of him—along with John—go a long time ago.

The moment John met Gina, Tony knew that was it, and he was happy for John, truly was. Having John and Gina in his life was a blessing, one he never took for granted. The three of them had become a family. Tony had never, ever resented Gina. There was no one more perfect for John. When Dex came along, Tony couldn’t have been happier for them. Fatherhood suited John.

Fresh tears filled Tony’s eyes and he slammed his hands on the steering wheel.

“You son of a bitch! How could you do this to me? To your son?” He let his head fall against the steering wheel and cried for what seemed like the hundredth time since he’d identified the bodies. He’d refused to believe it at first. Convinced himself it couldn’t be them. When the police had shown up that night, Tony believed they’d made a mistake. Regardless, he called his sister to come take care of Dex while he got to the bottom of whatever the hell was going on. He’d never get the image out of his head. John on that slab of steel with a blanket over him, a bullet hole in his chest, right through his heart.

Breathe. Come on, damn it.

A tap on his window scared the hell out of him, and without thinking, he swiped his gun from his holster and aimed at the window. His sister jumped, and threw her hands up, fear in her big brown eyes. Cursing under his breath, he returned the gun to his holster, then wiped at his eyes. He opened the car door, stepped outside, and closed it.

“I’m sorry,” he said with a sniff, trying his hardest not to fall apart again. “Thank you, for uh,” he cleared his throat, “watching him.”

His sister nodded, and he had to look away so he wouldn’t see the pain in her eyes.

“I can’t do this, Danelle.” His bottom lip trembled, and blinked back more tears. “I can’t go in there, and—” He shook his head. “I’m not strong enough.”

“You gotta be, honey. That little boy needs you.” She put her hand to his cheek, and he closed his eyes.

“He needs his father,” Tony replied through his teeth, his hands balled into fists at his sides.

“Anthony, you’re that boy’s daddy now.”

Tony shook his head. “No. I’m not. John’s—”

“Dead.”

Tony flinched. He wanted to yell at her for saying that, but she was right. No matter how much he wished it wasn’t true, John was gone. Dex needed him. A tear rolled down his cheek, and he choked on his words.

“He’s just a little boy. How—Oh God.” He covered his face with his hand, his whole body shaking. Criminals he could face. Lethal Therians. Whatever the streets threw at him, he could face. But tell a five-year-old the parents who loved him more than air itself were gone? How could anyone ask that of him?

Danelle wrapped him up in her arms, and he held on tight, grateful he wasn’t alone. She murmured words of comfort, and he lost track of how long he’d held on. He couldn’t put it off anymore. Dex was inside with his neighbor’s daughter. It was time.

Thinking of Dex, of how small and vulnerable he was, of how hurt and confused he would be, how much he would need Tony was what kept him on his feet. He took a deep steady breath, wiped his eyes, and reached deep down for strength he feared he might not have.  Even if he didn’t, he better damn well find it.

Tony walked into his house, and headed upstairs for the spare bedroom where he knew he’d find Dex. From the landing he could hear Dex’s giggles and childish shrieks as he played. Tony stopped in the doorway, and it took everything he had not to turn around and run. Teresa was tickling Dex, and he squirmed on the floor, hugging his Braveheart Lion to his little chest as he laughed. Tony closed his eyes for a moment, praying for strength.

Dex spotted him, and let out a squeal of delight. “Uncle Tony!” He scrambled to his feet, and Tony walked into the room, nodding at Teresa his thanks before she left the room, closing the door gently behind her. Tony sat down on the carpet, his back to the bed as Dex threw himself into Tony’s outstretched arms. He hugged Dex tight, willing himself not to lose it now. Not when Dex needed him most. Dex pulled back, his little face falling as he pet Tony’s head.

“Why are you crying?”

Always such a sharp little guy. Tony gave a sniff, and let out a shaky breath. “I’m crying,” he said, his voice shaky, “because something happened, and I wish it hadn’t, but there’s nothing I can do to change that. I want you to know that I love you, and I will always love you.”

Dex nodded. “What happened?”

Jesus. “Dex, you know how me and your daddy help people?”

Another nod. Dex’s gaze was fixed on him. Tony tried not to think about how those big blue eyes would never look at the world the same way again.

“And you know how he told you about the people we tried to help but couldn’t?”

“Daddy says sometimes bad things happen to good people.”

“That’s right. It’s not fair, and it hurts, and we wish so very much it wasn’t like that, but we do our best to help the people who loved them. The ones who’ll miss them the most.” Tony braced himself. “Dex, something bad happened at the movies. Your mommy and daddy were hurt very bad. They….”

Dex’s eyes went wide, and he stilled.

“They’re not coming back, baby. It’s just me and you now. I’m sorry.”

Dex shook his head vigorously. “That’s not true.”

“I wish it wasn’t.” Tony couldn’t keep the tears back any longer. He tried so damn hard, but he couldn’t. Not when he could see Dex’s little heart shatter.

Dex’s face crumbled, tears filled his eyes, and his face went red as he let out a high-pitched shriek. “No!”

“Dex,” Tony said gently, trying to bring him close. Apparently there were still remains of a heart left to break, because it happened all over again as Dex screamed “No” repeatedly. When Tony tried to reach for him, Dex hit him with his stuffed toy.

“You’re lying! I want my mommy!” Dex screamed, his voice getting hoarse as he continued to scream through his tears. He didn’t want to be touched, and Tony didn’t try to force him. When screaming for his mother didn’t conjure her up, Dex turned to Tony. “Fix it!”

“I wish I could,” Tony said, clawing to keep hold of the lone thread holding him from tumbling into the abyss.

Dex dropped to his knees in front of Tony, and he held Braveheart out to him as he gasped and gulped for air through his sobs.

“You can… have Braveheart. Please. Fix it. Tony… please.”

“Baby, I wish I could. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” He’d never felt more like a failure in his life, and it was illogical, but the fact that Dex believed he could bring his parents back all but undid him. Dex’s eyes clouded over, anger filling the big pools of blue, and it scared Tony. Something inside him snapped, and Tony sat up. He took hold of Dex and pulled him into his embrace. Dex struggled at first, but Tony held him.

“I love you, and I promise whatever you need, I will be here. I know it hurts so very bad. I know you’re scared, and angry, but you’re not alone. I’m here, and we’re going to get through this together. Me, and you.”

Dex threw his arms around Tony, squeezing as he sobbed into Tony’s neck. “Don’t… go… away.”

“I swear I’ll do everything in my power to always be with you.” As he made his promise to Dex, he made a promise to Gina and John. He’d raise Dex as his own, love him as he deserved to be love, and help guide him, help him grow up to be the kind of man his parents would be proud of.

Dex trembled in his arms, and Tony grabbed the blanket from the bed. He wrapped the blanket around them as best he could with one hand then lay on his side and curled himself around Dex.

“We’ll be okay, baby. I won’t let anything happen to you,” he promised. Dex was asleep in his arms, and Tony started to fade. He swore to himself that no matter what happened, he would give this little boy the life he deserved, full of love and happiness. If anyone tried to hurt Dex, they’d deal with him. Tony kissed the top of Dex’s head, and thought of John. His best friend had entrusted him with the most precious gift he’d been blessed with. Tony would never forget that.

The road ahead was terrifying, filled with all kinds of obstacles he’d never faced before. Parenthood was something he hadn’t given much thought to, and now here he was, father to a grieving little boy. Tony would show Dex how to survive in a world that took his mommy and daddy away. The world was trying to tear itself apart with hate, prejudice, and violence. It was up to Tony to give Dex hope. To help him heal, and prove to him that the love he has inside him will help change the world. John was a beacon of light in the darkness, his optimism, courage, and sense of justice unrivaled by anyone Tony ever met. Dex had the same light inside of him. Tony would do everything in his power to make sure that light was never extinguished.

“I won’t let you down,” he murmured. I’ll be strong for the both of us. “I promise.”


Copyright © 2016 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

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