“Variation,” my new novel from The Wild Rose Press isn’t, in spite of its subject matter, a M/M or ménage novel. Instead, it’s the story of what happens when a very strict, prudish man is partnered with someone whose life is diametrically opposed to his own.
Gabriel Marsh is an Angelus, native of a planet where everyone is so upright and moral they squeak when they walk. They’re called the “angels of the Galaxy” because they judge everyone by their own high—and totally hypocritical—standards. Marsh is also a Federation assassin, and needless to say, this is also in direct opposition to his upbringing and has earned him another nickname, the “Dark Angel.” At six feet eight and built like a California redwood, needless to say, he isn’t much of a hit with the ladies and usually pays for whatever affection he gets.
At the moment, Marsh is between partners but he’s about to be reassigned a new one, thanks to his employer, and what a partner he is!
Aleksandr Karanov is a Terran—and that’s a mark against him sight unseen, because Earthmen are notorious womanizers. He’s an orphan, having lost his parents in a Russian nuclear meltdown when he was four. This left him a Federation ward as well as activating the V-gene, enabling him to change sex at will. Now, Lexei’s a Fed assassin. A Pocket Apollo (he’s just a few inches over five feet), he’s as deadly as he is pretty and his size as well as his delicate good looks plus his morphing ability cause many men to assume he’s gay. So Lexei goes out of his way, using women and tossing them aside to prove otherwise.
Marsh wants nothing to do with Lexei, who represents everything he’s been taught to avoid, especially in his treatment of women, but they’re stuck with each other for at least six months, until their current assignment is finished. And then, Marsh meets Deirdre, Lexei’s Second Persona, and the Dark Angel falls…hard and fast…
It doesn’t matter that Lexei and Deirdre are separate people with their own thoughts, needs, and desires. All Marsh knows is that he’s in love with a woman who doesn’t really exist, a woman who, in the blink of an eye, can transform into a hard-drinking, drug-using, woman-chasing and extremely deadly man…
What do you do when the woman of your dreams is the man from your waking life? Marsh has keeps asking that question but he doesn’t like the answers.
The music led him up two flights of non-escalating stairs to a door in the center of the hallway, a door which, when he tapped the inter-com pad, slowly swung open. Inside, the music was blasting at near eardrum-puncturing pitch. How can anyone be inside with that noise and survive? He touched the pad again but there was no sound other than that cacophony. Suspecting a trick, he stepped to one side, carefully pulled the Winchester TR-27 out of its shoulder holster and pushed the door completely open.
Cautiously, Marsh looked in. What he saw was unexpected but totally enjoyable.
A pair of softly rounded buttocks and slender white legs. A young woman, back to the door, doing some type of calisthenics. Bemidjian aerobics, if her gyrations were any indication. She appeared to be wearing nothing more than a towel and Marsh wondered how long it would be before her movements caused the tucked velourcloth rectangle to dislodge and end up on the carpet. He felt a flick of latent lust, wondering if he had enough time to wait and see. There was a headset over her ears and the way she was pausing slightly between each movement told him she was listening to a physical fitness lecture, and that, combined with the loudness of the music, was the reason she hadn’t heard his knock.
Karanov’s girlfriend, he supposed. Okay, so I’m wrong about the kid. Maybe.
She finished the call and tossed the headset onto the counter of the little kitchenette and spun around. Damp curls bobbing, she was in the middle of a deep stretch making the breasts under the towel rise dangerously, when she saw Marsh standing there, gun in hand. Immediately, she squealed and fell against the counter. Scrambling behind it, she stood with arms crossed over her breasts, which were still pretty well covered as far as he could tell.
For just a minute, they stared at each other.
She recovered fast. Jerking the headset away from her ears, she tossed it on the counter, then touched a button on the control panel set into it. As the music died away, she said, without a quaver, “You must be Marsh, Lexei’s new partner. Come in, shut the door, and put away the hardware. We’re friendly here.”
For a moment, Marsh didn’t understand her. It wasn’t just the Terro-Russe accent; she was speaking Inglaterre, a form of Terran-English the Federation had declared the official language of the galaxy. It was something he himself seldom used. Marsh’s usual locales spoke a diversity of languages and Inglaterre wasn’t one of them. As he silently obeyed, being careful to duck so he wouldn’t strike his forehead on the doorframe, his opinion of Karanov dropped again. Not only was the little twig questionable, but he was obviously very loose-lipped to his girlfriend.
Variation will be available from The Wild Rose Press, BUY LINK: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=177_139&products_id=4711