Friday, November 05, 2010

Orbital Love by Jo Styles

Orbital Love

by Jo Styles

Cover art: Zuri

ISBN: 978-1-60521-524-2

Genre(s): Futuristic, Sci-Fi

Length: Novella

Chief astro-botanist Tom Ryder prefers his dream world to reality. It helps him pass the months while he orbits Earth, works on the Biodome project, and fantasizes about Gillian Anders. Unfortunately, Gillian only considers Tom a great listener and even better friend. Sometimes he really hates that word.

But the arrival of Gillian's ex means Tom has to put everything on the line –- if he dares. As the trees go up in the Biodome, the recycled air turns steamy when two friends discover the pure gravity of their attraction.

This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

"Where the hell are they?" Anders said.

Tom Ryder sat on the couch and did the usual -- petted Gillian Anders' cat, Amontillado. As he stroked the tabby's ears, he watched Anders throw clothes from her drawers to the floor, all the while cursing like a sailor from her bedroom to the kitchen.

"Where in God's name are they?" She stopped and glared at Ryder.

"What?" Ryder said. He knew exactly what she meant by her stare, but he was enjoying the show.

"Don't give me that shit, Ryder." Anders stormed back into the kitchen, then turned on her heels and came back into the living room, pointing an accusatory finger at her long-time friend. She spoke slowly. "I am PMS-ing. Now tell me where they are, and I promise I'll kill you gradually."

"If you put it that way," Ryder said. He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small package.

Anders' eyes opened wide. "Hard candy shell?"

Ryder nodded.

"Double chocolate coating?"

Ryder nodded once more. He pushed her over the edge. "And peanut butter inside." His smug look was all she needed as Anders' face cracked into the perfect smile.

"You bastard, Ryder. Hand them over." Anders couldn't help but laugh now.

Ryder didn't tease any longer as he tossed the package over to her.

As Anders tore into the package and crammed a palm full of the small candies into her mouth, soft coos and moans filled the living room. She closed her eyes and rolled her head back in obvious relief.

"Need a cigare --" Ryder started.

"Shut up. You knew I needed this after the day I had," Anders said.

"Yes, planting thirty acres of evergreens and low lying brush along a receding hill line can be taxing," Ryder replied.

Amontillado purred in Tom's hands in perfect contentment. Anders jammed more candy into her mouth and padded her way to her bedroom.

Speaking with her mouth full, she said, "You forgot the planter machine being stuck in two feet of mud, the four hung-over students, and the frigging bees nest I had the pleasure of uncovering in ninety degree heat."

Ryder watched her stride back to her bedroom. She'd been in the middle of changing from her work overalls into her company uniform when she had the candy attack. He was lost in deciding when she looked more beautiful -- at work, out in the woods or at home. Ryder decided she looked tremendous at all times of the day.

Anders came back into the room, yanking an ivory comb through her cherry colored hair. She stopped in front of Ryder and bent at the waist, her hair flowing past her knees. In one swift movement she threw her head back, and her hair settled in a messy style with strands flowing over her cheeks and eyes.

Ryder exploded off the couch, tossing Amontillado off to the side. He was officially possessed. Anders' mouth lay open in shock as he cupped her face in his hands, running his fingers over her earlobes. He ran his thumbs over her brow, stroking her temples in deliberate calming circles. With her eyes closed, Ryder nibbled at her lips, pushing her mouth wider.

"How do I look?" she asked.

Ryder choked on his own saliva. He realized he was heavy-petting the feline on his lap. Amontillado purred ecstatically and playfully pawed at Ryder's sweaty hands.

"Hello, Ryder? How do I look?" Anders kept tugging her uniform tight so that every curve jutted out like a seamless sculpture.

Ryder stopped petting Amontillado. Anders' expectant eyes were an almond butter explosion. The outer edges bled brown with a sliver of green dancing around her pupils. They had the warm, fiery brilliance of a campfire. He heard his granddad's old song player playing "Spanish Eyes" by someone named Elvis.

"I love you," Ryder said. Amontillado suddenly jumped from the couch and streaked into the kitchen. Ryder's back suddenly went cold. The words were just a reflex.

"I love you, too, Ryder. That candy saved my life," Anders said as she went back into the bedroom.

"I meant," Ryder stammered, "I love it. The hair. I mean, those clothes. Those clothes. Yes, those. I love them."

Anders came back into the room. She was adorned in her company uniform and an over-the-top smile. "I'm starving. The candy isn't doing it," she said through her fake smile. "Good thing they're having food at this shindig."

Ryder watched her through his peripheral vision. She checked her reflection in the glass of a dark wall photograph depicting the trunks of three massive sequoias. "Okay. I'm ready. Let's go and get kicked off," Anders said.

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