Authors often refer to their books as their babies—especially when asked to say which one is their favorite. “How could I pick? It would be liking choosing between two of my children!” And, in most cases, that's exactly how it feels to me, too. But there are always exceptions.
There are some books where it seems like the stars aligned just right. The words flow; the story pieces fit together without obvious holes, and without any needless MacGuffins; the characters talk to you like they’re supposed to.
In short, everything works. Even the cover art comes together like it should.
Finders Keepers (which re-released earlier this week) was one of those books. The story was one that I actually dreamed. When I woke up, and went over the story in my head, I was surprised to realize that, unlike most dream stories, this one actually held together. Well, it was science fiction, so even the odder dream elements (things like Sally’s hair, or Caleb’s too-youthful appearance) made sense given the premise.
Here’s a brief excerpt from Chapter One that sets up the story:
Detective Aldo Nash could almost hear his brain humming as it worked to categorize the myriad scents tingeing the cool night air: cedar and sea spray, dry asphalt, cooling car engine, and most potent of all, the warm, aroused flesh of the man Aldo had pinned beneath him.
Aldo slid practiced hands over the slim, partially clad form, and the man moaned softly in response, his whole body writhing instinctively closer as he arched into Aldo’s touch. Aldo pulled in another heady lungful and smiled in contentment. On nights like these, he purely loved his job.
He couldn’t say working undercover for the Oakland PD had exactly been a lifelong dream, but Aldo’s brief stint in the army had left him uniquely qualified for it all the same, and largely unqualified for anything else. When the USA was formally dissolved following the economic collapse of the 2020s and what was left of the military was fully privatized, the idea of patriotism lost its meaning. Losing Kyle on top of that had left Aldo with no clear idea of what he wanted to do with his life.
After giving college a try, Aldo had signed up for the police academy on a whim. Unexpectedly, he found his niche. Now he derived a lot of satisfaction from knowing he was helping to prevent future crimes from happening, rather than hoping to solve those that had already occurred. He got to be proactive, stay one step ahead of the bad guys rather than the other way around. But the bottom line was proficiency. He was damned good at what he did.
Not to take away from any natural ability to dissemble he might have inherited from his late actress mother, but most of his success was due, in no small part, to all the experimental drugs he’d been given by the military. His consciousness had been purposely and methodically expanded, and his brain reconfigured to the point where he could easily exert control over his brain waves and sympathetic nervous system.
In a world where just about every criminal, from the capo dei capi of large, multinational drug cartels to the lowliest of hood-grown thugs, had their own psi-ops tech on speed dial, that kind of advantage was a definite point in Aldo’s favor. No matter how skillful said techs might be at worming their way into other people’s minds and tunneling through their thoughts, with him they could only read what he wanted them to read.
Of course, there were also things about his job he didn’t like. The hours were murder since, apparently, crime rarely slept and when it did, its schedule was crap. The regular debriefings with their in-no-way-optional mind-scrubs were a major headache. Literally. Worst of all, the company he was forced to keep generally sucked, and not in that good kind of way.
That wasn’t the case at the moment, however. No, when it came to his present company, Aldo had absolutely no cause for complaint. Tonight’s operation had him working in tandem with a new partner, an agent on temporary loan from some alphabet agency; Aldo wasn’t sure which one. He hadn’t asked. He didn’t care. As far as he was concerned, it didn’t matter. They were all pretty much the same, and the agent would be gone soon either way. Unless Aldo had missed his guess—a possibility he considered most unlikely—his new partner had been chosen for this assignment based solely on his looks. And Aldo was certainly not unhappy with those either.
He had no idea how much of the other man’s appearance was due to surgical alteration or chemical enhancement, but that was something else he sure as hell didn’t care about. Hot was hot, and Special Agent Caleb Mitchell was just about the hottest thing Aldo had seen in a good long while.
Standing at a hair under six feet, Caleb was just a couple of inches shorter than Aldo. He had fair hair, full lips, broad shoulders atop a dancer’s slim build, and everything about him, from his features to his proportions, was a little too perfect to be real. If the man had a flaw anywhere, Aldo had yet to find it, and not for any lack of searching. Even though they were both pushing forty, only Aldo looked his age. Special Agent Mitchell had obviously been the recent recipient of some highly classified and no doubt heavily restricted cell de-aging therapy, giving him the appearance of a man a good two decades younger than his current chronological age, the lucky bastard.
On second thought, maybe it was Aldo who’d lucked out; he got to look at the bastard, after all.
SFR, Futuristic, Erotic, Menage
by PG Forte
SFR, Futuristic, Erotic, Menage
by PG Forte
Sometimes finding what you want is the easy part.
Caleb is a bionic soldier with little-to-no memory of his past. Aldo's an undercover cop who's searching for the man who got away. Then there's Sally, an ER physician who used to be married to Aldo's late partner, Davis. Sally's just looking for a reason to keep on getting up every day.
This holiday season, chance will bring them together and give them an opportunity to help one another find what they each want most. But every gift comes with a price. And keeping what they've found once they've found it? Yeah, that's gonna be the hard part.