Two more months until TEMPEST is unleashed! And seeing as how I'm crazy eager to share this book with you guys, I'm posting another snippet. More Ethan and Aaron banter for your general amusement. Back from another long day in Manhattan, they're winding down in their temporary quarters and Ethan's snark is on full-force.
[Aaron] sat down in the lawn chair he’d claimed for himself and stretched his legs out in front of him. “You gave quite the performance at dinner.”
“That’s me, always eager to entertain.”
He quirked an eyebrow at my tone. “You were good with Muriel. And her mom was right. Those kids need to believe in a better future.”
“We can’t promise that to them.”
“You’re right. Does that mean we shouldn’t try?”
“Of course not. Don’t put words in my mouth.”
“I’m just trying to understand you, pal.”
I rolled my eyes. “I’m not that complicated.”
“Yeah, you are.” He didn’t add to the statement, though. “It’s funny.”
Aaron shook his head lightly. “It’s just that this is the first time I’ve ever really given kids much thought.”
“King or Aaron?”
“Both. Not that it matters, I guess, since my Recombinant side makes procreation impossible.”
I blinked, surprised by the matter-of-fact way he said that. “Does it bother you?”
“Right this moment? No. Can’t say it won’t bother me in the future, though. How about you?”
“No, your inability to have kids doesn’t bother me.”
Aaron snorted laughter, sounding genuinely amused by my smart-ass remark. “I mean, you’re . . . older. Haven’t you ever wanted to settle down and raise a family?”
Hard as it might be to believe, that was the first time anyone in my life had ever asked me that question. Probably because I’d avoided romantic relationships my entire adult life, and given my injury record so far this year, my odds of making it past thirty were pretty slim. No sane person wanted a boyfriend whose job had such a high mortality rate, much less a husband.
“Not really,” I said when I realized Aaron was waiting for an actual answer. “Even before my powers came back, I never had a stable enough life to consider it.”
“What about now?”
“You call this stable? I have literally almost died twice in the last eight months. And before that—” I snapped my mouth shut.
“Before that what?”
Aaron tilted his head to the side, an annoying habit he had, and grinned. “You have a lot of stories tucked away that I think I’d like to hear one day.”
“Fat chance. Even my friends haven’t heard those stories.”
“Ouch.” He pressed a hand to his heart, pretending to be wounded. “So what do I have to do to earn the dubious honor of being your friend?”
The genuine and curious smile he gave me cut all my retorts off at the knees. I floundered for an answer, annoyed at my temporary brain stutter. And why? Over a smile?
I needed to get laid. Badly.
“I’m going to take a shower,” I said in lieu of a response. I hauled my tired carcass off the air mattress and headed for the bathroom.
“So, what? No kids then?” Aaron said.
I paused in the doorway and turned halfway around. “Why? You looking to get pregnant?” Good, Sarcasm Brain, welcome back.
He laughed again, long and loud, Adam’s apple bobbing . . . Not again! I darted inside the bathroom and shut the door, cutting myself off from the sight of Aaron and his infectious laughter. When the hell had I stopped seeing him as a deadly Changeling that I barely tolerated and started seeing him as a man?