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

THIRDSbeyond-Vol2_300

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

H&HWDestructive Delta Divider

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.

ahoy-ccochet

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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Office Space – 9/9/16

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.

Washi-Tape-Wonderland--CCoc

Last week I showed you my planners. Here’s my Erin Condren. I’m not a huge fan of spiral planners, but I do really love the Erin Condren ones. They’re nice and spacey, and I love that you can customize it. This one is an 18 month one so it lets me plan well ahead. This is great for my brain-dumping info since I don’t have to worry about moving around information and keeping it neat. The three trays contain all my favorite washi tape. Yep, there’s a lot more than that kicking around, but these are the ones I use the most. Most of these washi tapes are from Michaels.

Do you have any hobbies? What do you do to relax?

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THIRDS Thursday – 9/8/16

THIRDS Thursdays

Prompt: I’d like to see Ash and Cael’s trip to Bed Bath and Beyond.


“Would you mind if we stop at Bed Bath & Beyond? It’s on the way, and I need a new showerhead.”

The words Ash had been dreading to hear. He supposed he couldn’t complain. He’d managed to evade the floral scented purgatory until now. He really, really didn’t want to go, but with Cael looking at him with those big silver eyes, and that dazzling smile, how could he say no?

“Sure. No problem.”

The moment he stepped foot in the store, he was in pain. Not physical pain, but it was close. He pressed his lips together as he followed Cael to the bath department. On the way there, Cael stopped to look at candles. Ash lingered, his hands shoved in his jacket pockets as he stood, not touching anything in case the douchebaggery was catching. Except Cael. His sweet, sinfully sexy boyfriend looked adorable as he tried to decide from the thousands of different candles on the shelf before him. Unlike the asshat in the next row gushing to his girlfriend about the emu egg omelet he’d had last week. The urge to smack the stupid out of him was strong, so Ash turned around. He frowned at the price label on the shelf beneath a box displaying a candleholder. A sales clerk was walking by, and Ash called out to him.

“Hey, there’s a misprint on this.”

“Oh?” The bouncy waif of boy with floppy blond hair all but skipped over. Jesus, what was he? Seventeen? Nineteen at most? He pulled out his price gadget and scanned the tag. “Hm, looks like that’s the current retail price.”

Ash’s brows sprang near his hairline. “Are you telling me this piece of glass is almost eight hundred dollars?”

The teen blinked at him. “It’s Waterford Crystal, sir.”

Was he supposed to know what that meant? “It’s a candleholder. It holds a candle.”

“Um, yes, sir. It does.” He looked at Ash like that was supposed to clear up everything.

“Is it going to do my taxes for me?” Ash growled. “Or does it somehow have the power to light my whole apartment and therefore negate the need for electricity?”

“Uh, no.”

“So what you’re saying is this piece of glass that you stick a candle in, is eight hundred dollars.”

The kid opened his mouth, when Cael took hold of Ash’s arm, smiling at the clerk as he tugged Ash along with him, calling out over his shoulder.

“Thank you for your help.”

Cael pulled him down the aisle, and Ash shook his head. “Can you fucking believe that shit?”

“If it’s shiny, you probably shouldn’t look at the price tag.”

“It makes no sense. Why would you pay that much for a candleholder that’s going to get melted wax all over it?”

Cael looked up at him, his eyes alight with amusement. “I doubt people actually light the candles inside it. They most likely just have it on display.”

“Why buy it if you’re not going to use it. That’s stupid.”

“It’s décor, Ash. What about the expensive rug you have in the living room, and the throw pillows on the couch?”

“I didn’t have to fucking remortgage my apartment for them, plus they’re functional. We lay on the pillows, and we sit on the rug.”

“And have sex on it too,” Cael pitched in with a wicked smile that went straight to Ash’s dick. He cleared his throat. What the hell were they talking about? Right, useless expensive shit.

“Why don’t we find the shower stuff and get to your place?”

“Okay. Try not to scare anymore employees.”

“I wasn’t scaring him. I was expressing my disgust and disdain at the overpriced paperweight. No, actually, a paperweight serves a purpose.”

Cael laughed softly as he veered off to the right and the wall length display of showerheads. For fuck’s sake. Was there really a need for that many choices? With a huff, he looked around, spotting a bunch of fancy bathroom scales.

“Christ, really?”

“What?” Cael asked, sounding amused.

“Why the hell would you need a scale that has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth?”

“It connects to your activity tracker so you can sync your weight and body mass information, or whatever health data you’re monitoring.”

“Fuck I feel old.” It suddenly occurred to him that he was ten years older than Cael. A whole damn decade. It wasn’t like he hadn’t known, but he never really thought about it. Now, surrounded by sheets bragging thread count, two-hundred-dollar basket hampers, and hundred-dollar bath rugs, he felt like he was in a different world. Kitchenware connected to computers, a gadget told him how old his egg were, and how many—like he couldn’t just fucking count them—, and a crockpot that could be turned on via smartphone. Man, he felt so old. Cheaper options were available, but even if you were floating in cash, why the fuck would you need a designer hamper? He just didn’t understand it.

Everything he owned was functional. It served a purpose. He liked nice stuff, but there was a line. Some stuff was worth spending the money on. Hundred-dollar shower curtains did not fall into that category.

Laughter caught his attention and while Cael compared showerheads, Ash turned to the couple huddled together looking at soap dishes. They were both young. Probably about Cael’s age. They were obviously very much in love. They teased and flirted with each other, making each other laugh. Everything seemed to excite them. Or more likely, they excited each other.

“Ash? You okay?”

Ash snapped himself out of it and smiled at Cael. “Yeah. Did you find the one you wanted?”

“Yep.” Cael held up the box, and winked at him. “Therian, extra sturdy.”

“Great.” He cleared his throat, and forced the words out. “Is there, um, anything else you want to look at?”

Cael patted Ash’s bicep. “Don’t worry. I think you’ve suffered long enough.”

“It’s fine,” Ash said quickly. “I mean, if you want to look, shop, whatever, it’s fine. Really.” This is what couples did right?

Cael blinked at him. “Thanks, but I’m done. Promise.”

Ash nodded. He insisted on paying for the showerhead since he’d been the one to break it during their last sexcapade. These days, sex with Cael seemed to come in two settings, and only two settings. There was sweet and slow, or “holy fuck!”. The latter usually resulted in something breaking. In this instance, Cael’s showerhead which Ash had grabbed and snapped after Cael’s little experiment went a little too well.

On the ride to Cael’s place, Ash was lost in his thought. He hadn’t even realized it until Cael’s soft voice snapped him out of it for what seemed like the hundredth time. At the red light, he glanced over at Cael in the passenger seat, his heart skipping a beat at the concern in Cael’s big silver eyes. He was dressed casually in jeans that hugged his lean frame, a superhero T-shirt, and soft hoodie. On his feet were the orange Chucks he’d “borrowed” from Dex, and one of his many patterned socks. Today it was cupcakes. God, he was beautiful.

“Ash? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” He did his best to smile, and took Cael’s hand in his before bringing it to his lips for a kiss.

“Ash,” Cael prodded gently. “Talk to me.”

The light turned green, giving Ash a good excuse not to look at Cael while he confessed his stupid insecurities. “I don’t know. Do you ever wish you had someone who understands all this domestic shit?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know. Picking out curtains and stuff.”

Cael chuckled. “That’s a stereotype, Ash.”

“What is?”

“That all couples pick out color swatches together, or redecorate together. You really think it matters to me whether you help me pick out hand soap or not?”

Ash pulled up to the curb, parking in a spot a few feet from Cael’s apartment. He turned to face Cael. “You know I love being with you, and I’ll go wherever you want me to, but I suck at this.”

“First of all, I love you too, and you don’t suck,” Cael assured him. He took off his seatbelt, and Ash thought he was about to get out of the car. Instead, he climbed over the center console, and straddled Ash’s lap. Ash’s breath hitched, and he shifted in his seat, swallowing hard when Cael moved Ash’s hands to his hips.

“Second of all,” Cael continued, leaning in, his voice low and husky. “You know I would never want you to do something you don’t want to. We’re a partnership, Ash. Which means we look out for each other. Compromise on what’s important. Stopping at the store tonight was a matter of convenience since it was on the way. It wasn’t a test to see how much you loved me.” Cael placed a kiss to Ash’s cheek, followed by another to his jaw, his chin, the tip of his nose, and his brow. “Tell me what else is wrong,” he murmured softly.

“I’m gonna be forty next year, and you’ll just be turning thirty.”

“And… this worries you?”

Ash shrugged. He slipped his hands under Cael’s T-shirt, loving the feel of his silky, smooth skin. How was it possible to love someone this much? “I’m grumpy, hotheaded, foulmouthed…. The list is pretty extensive.”

“So is my list. You want to know what’s on it?”

Ash nodded.

“There’s brave, handsome, loyal, smart, sexy, kind, protective….” He brushed his lips over Ash’s. “Should I go on?”

Ash let out a moan when Cael’s tongue poked out to lick Ash’s bottom lip.

“I love you, Ash, all of you. Just as you are.” He cupped Ash’s face, his incredible smile made Ash’s heart skip a beat. There was no doubt or hesitation in that smile, a smile that was just for Ash. Cael didn’t look at anyone the way he looked at Ash, and it took his breath away. Then Cael kissed him. It was sweet and languid, his tongue tangling with Ash’s, his lips so soft, and his mouth tasting of the sweet candy he’d had during the movie.

When he pulled back, and spoke, his voice was throaty and filled with heat. “How about we go inside, and we take the new showerhead for a test drive, see how sturdy it really is?”

Ash threw his head back, and laughed. “You’re fucking amazing, you know that?”

“So are you. If you forget, I’ll be here to remind you.” Cael gave him another quick, but scorching kiss before reaching over, grabbing the shopping bag, then opening Ash’s door to hop out. Ash didn’t waste any time. He set the car alarm and chased after Cael, catching up with him at the top of the stairs. Cael laughed in his arms, and Ash couldn’t help his dopey grin. How did he ever get so lucky? Whatever the reason, he was thankful, and if the new showerhead couldn’t keep up with them, then he’d happily accompany Cael for a new one, especially if it meant they got to test it out when they got home.


Copyright © 20116 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press

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#TeaserTuesday – 9/6/16 Disarming Donner

TeaserTuesday

Hello, all! This week’s #TeaserTuesday is from Disarming Donner, the 5th book in the North Pole City Tales series which is due out in Dec. Enjoy!

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“I know you disagree, Cupid, but this is a terrible idea. Having a Dockal—”

“Calder,” Cupid corrected politely. “His name is Calder.”

Donner summoned patience. How could Cupid not see? “Very well. Having Calder under the same roof as Jack Frost is a terrible idea.”

Cupid blinked up at him innocently. “Jack was the one who offered his home for my training.”

“Yes.” Donner lowered his voice. “So that he could keep a close eye on Calder.”

“Excuse me, but I can hear you,” Calder stated, his smooth voice a deep rumble. “Turning away from me doesn’t stop me from still being in the room.”

Donner spun on his heels and glowered at the ridiculously tall elf. Honestly. What elf needed to be so blasted tall? Or wide. Or… square jawed. “Then stop listening to a conversation that doesn’t concern you.”

Calder arched an eyebrow at him. “You’re speaking about me, so it concerns me. Greatly. This whole encounter concerns me greatly.”

Donner bristled. “Just what are you implying?”

“You’re a perplexing elf.”

“And you’re… you’re very… tall. And irritating.” Donner wanted to smack the amusement right off the infuriating elf’s face. His eyes were also very unsettling. As if staring into them for too long might cost Donner his immortal soul.

Calder nodded slowly. “I see.”

“No, I don’t think you do.” Donner marched up to Calder, then jabbed a finger against his chest. Plum pudding, that hurt! He discreetly pulled his hand behind his back to shake it off. Was the elf made of granite? “Mayor Kringle might have thought it a jolly good idea for you to train Cupid, but you shouldn’t be here. And I don’t mean here in Jack’s palace—though you clearly shouldn’t be here either—but in North Pole City. No good can come of it.”

Instead of getting angry, Calder leaned forward, his smile wicked. “It would seem, my little dear, that you could use some bad in your pristine and perfect life.”

Donner’s jaw dropped. He sputtered madly. “How dare—what did you call me?” He turned to Cupid. “Did you hear what he called me?”

Cupid bit down on his bottom lip and nodded. Was that amusement in his eyes? The traitor! Donner spun back to Calder, unaware the elf had moved closer. They were practically nose to nose. Donner retreated swiftly, tripping over his own feet and letting out a squeak as he fell. A strong arm caught him midfall, and Donner stared up at Calder.

“Everything all right in here?” Rudy asked as he walked into the room, Jack at his side.

Donner gasped. Trust the Prince of Frost to catch him in a compromising position with a Dockalfar. Not that he would ever do anything remotely compromising with this beast. Of course Jack and Rudy didn’t know that. Oh, the gossip would be terrible!

“Take your hands off me, you cad!” Donner swung his book, letting out a yelp when the arm around him disappeared, and he hit the carpet with a thud.

“Donner!” Cupid ran over to help him up. “Are you all right?”

“No thanks to him,” Donner seethed.

Calder shrugged. “You asked me to release you.”

“Have you no manners at all?” Donner scrambled to his feet and quickly straightened his clothes before running a hand through his hair. He glared at the smug Dockalfar. “Perhaps treating others in such a manner is acceptable in whatever dark cave you crawled out of, but out here, where elves are civilized, we do not go about manhandling others and dropping them on their backsides.”

“Oh?” A wicked smile spread across Calder’s face. “I’m intrigued. What do you do with their backsides?”

Donner’s jaw went slack. “You… you….” He waved his book at Calder. “You, sir, are reprehensible!”

“Better reprehensible than a prude,” Calder replied pleasantly.

“All right, that’s enough,” Jack reproached them. “What’s going on in here?”

Cupid stepped in front of Calder, as if his tiny elf frame was any match for Jack Frost. His trust in his brother was admirable, if not sadly misplaced. The elf was deplorable.

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Office Space – 9/2/16

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.

Plannin-Pretty---CCochet

This week we have my many planners, and there’s two more on pre-order. I don’t actually use these all at once. Though I am currently on a three planner system. I know that sounds a little crazy to some folks, but it’s working great for me so far. One’s my personal life planner, one’s my author planner, and one’s my brain-dump planner. The only way I have a chance of remembering things is to write it down, and I have so much going on at once that I need somewhere to dump it all in order to make sense of it and organize it.

I have an Erin Condren planner for dumping everything, since it’s nice and roomy. From there it gets filtered out into my Simple Stories ‘Carpe Diem’ personal life planner and author planner. My Erin Condren planner is jam packed with notes, to-do lists, goals, reminders, appointments, everything and anything that pops up throughout the days, weeks, and months. It’s a little scary looking. My other two planners are neater and prettier. It seems like a lot to keep up with, but it’s really not. Once you’re used to it, it’s easy. Getting to decorate my planner pages is also a nice little distraction when I need it.  My personal planner also serves as a mini scrapbook as I put pictures in there as well.

What do you use to keep track of your life? Do you go old school with a planner or agenda, or do you use tech? 

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