Friday, November 18, 2011

Jazz Bang Boom by Willa Okati

 Jazz Bang Boom

by Willa Okati

Cover art: Karen Fox
ISBN: 978-1-60521-537-2
Genre(s): Sci-Fi, Cyber-Punk
Theme(s): Gay and Lesbian
Length: Novella
Page Count: 33


T-minus sixty seconds. Really, it was bad manners to blow up a tea party, but some society dames were just asking for it. Jazz landed in the ornamental rose bushes outside his hostess's parlor window, gathered his heavy silk skirts around his knees, and ran like hell.
Jazz loves pretty things and things that go BOOM. Riot, aka "Tyger", is a man on a mission, searching for the bits and pieces that'll repair his damaged, bioconstructed DNA. It only makes sense for the happily mismatched lovers to turn pirate and sneak, snatch or con what they need.
One problem: occasionally Jazz gets a little too fond of explosives, and Tyger gets a tad too focused on his quest. And when that happens... well. That's when the adventuresome airshipmen need to vent a little steam.
Jazz Bang Boom
Willa Okati
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2011 Willa Okati

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T-minus sixty seconds. Really, it was bad manners to blow up a tea party, but some society dames were just asking for it. Jazz landed in the ornamental rose bushes outside his hostess's parlor window, gathered his heavy silk skirts around his knees, and ran like hell.
Not that he was worried. Jazz knew his explosives like he knew his way around the three-dimensional differential equations of a projected illusory field.
And wine. And perfume. What? Jazz prided himself on having layers.
He ticked off the seconds in his head, listening to an internal countdown. Right about now the aforementioned queens of "polite" society (and those who knew Jazz knew far better than to push a particular argument on behavior becoming to a lady and the mind-boggling double-standards that -- oh, anyway).
Jazz did enjoy traveling to different worlds and sampling the finest wines, velvets, songs and yes, incendiary devices from the thousands of cultures that flourished around the galaxies, but the next time his honey, Riot, wanted to spend time where good manners were forbidden in favor of good times? No thanks.
Where had he been? Oh, right. Crap! Cue the fine ladies screeching, coughing and sneezing, the last of a harmless fog floating out the window he'd helpfully, er, opened by jumping through, and they might have regained enough composure after the flash and bang that went with the smoke to have started complaining and oh, right.
Five, four, three, two --
Jazz managed to free himself of the pannier hoops just in time to dive under the cover of a cluster of almost-certainly-sacred ancient oak trees, before -- BOOM.
If a thing was worth doing, it was worth doing properly. "Proper." See what I did there?
This time, however, the dainty device of detonation had not been hidden in Jazz's decolletage (quite convincing cleavage, if he did say so himself). He'd set the charges long before smiling politely and pretending to enjoy a coin-sized cress sandwich in the ladies' salon.
There, that was the ticket! One for distraction, two to cause confusion to his enemies, e.g. the people in possession of A Thing Jazz Wanted, and a third to blow the ever-living fuck out of irritatingly secure locks that otherwise prevented his honey from wholesale liberation of a few deliciously prized goods.
Oops. He'd forgotten the fourth bomb in the salon. Well, that one had been a bit spur of the moment. And a leetle more powerful. Enough to, say, jar loose some ripe pickings of his own, if he were lucky. All he needed to do was circle back around, and --
The discreet two-way comms device concealed in the cunning shape of a rosebud earring spoke to him. "Overkill, Jazz. Overkill."
"Spoilsport," Jazz said, and sneezed. "Let he who has never enjoyed the smell of C4 in the morning cast the first stone in a glass house."
"Excuse me?" The voice on the comms sounded amused. "You're high on adrenaline again, aren't you?"
"Pish, tosh, nonsense, and absolutely, yes. Perhaps that was overkill. Others could say I was in the wrong, but I can't blame me."
"You are a ridiculous man," the speaker said fondly.
"I know." Jazz preened. He sneezed again. "Tch. Plastique is one thing. Debris coated in dust is quite another. What about you, tick-tock man? Did you get what you came here for?"
"Stop calling me that," Riot said, quite clear -- even over the comms -- that he didn't mind in the least, and even had a soft spot in his heart for the nickname. "Yeah, I got what I needed. And then some. Wasn't easy to find and I had to pay a price, but it was worth it."
Jazz enjoyed a ripple's worth of goosebumps. He anticipated all sorts of good things once back on board the Sarah-Jessica-No-Parking. A triumphant Riot made for a feisty Riot with his blood running hot and his body all-systems-go. He employed the same affectionate tone when he replied, "Tell that to the watercress and unspiced kimchi I had to eat to make nice with my hostess."
"The one you just blew up?"
"Unspiced kimchi," Jazz repeated.
"The trials and tragedies you face, darlin'."
"Darn right. This piece of the puzzle you went after -- tell me about it," he coaxed.
"Later. For the moment --"
"Yes, yes. Run and keep running until you swoop in to save the day, and clear out of here before the smoke does?"
"You read my mind," Riot said, very dryly indeed but pleased. Almost purring.
Consider Jazz's curiosity piqued.
"I'm on my way." Such a tragedy, but the skirts had to go. Almost a full bolt of silk! Still, a man had to do what a man had to do, even when he'd tricked himself out in the finest of ladies' clothing.
Probably more so at such times. Hmm. He'd have to think about that more later. In the meantime, business. Beautiful, sparkly, gloriously shiny business! Jazz retrieved the pouches of more easily liftable and valuable trinketry from the panniers and pushed them into his reticule.
"Jazz? When I said run, that wasn't a suggestion."
Oh! Right. "And what'll you be doing while I skedaddle? How will I know if I'm being rescued by the right man?"
"I'll be the one dangling out of an airship with a rope and a half-cocked plan."
"Easily recognizable," Jazz said happily. Wait. "How long a rope? How high do the airships go?" Wouldn't exactly Be Done to whip off the 3-D fooler facade, and on this steampunk aficionado's wet dream of a world the airships he'd seen before had to go quite high indeed --"Riot? How high?"
"High enough I'll make it worth your while to man up and climb. And," Riot purred, "when I say 'worth your while' I mean, 'I plan to punish you, then fuck you three-quarters of the way through the nearest flat surface.'"
"I am so on my way now."
"Darling, you have no idea." Jazz kicked off his heels. Not the shoes, mind, those gorgeous soft-supple open-calf boots of fawn-soft suede. Just the heels and pattens. "After all, who do you think you're talking to?"
Oh dear. Jazz heard a set of mastiffs on their way. Here I go again. Skirts, knees, running feet, check. Go time.

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