Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Eight Available

Chapter Eight of The Velveteen Tortoise is now available.

“Luna?”

I yelp and spin around. Pyx’s outta the bolthole. He’s staring at me, not as if I’m insane for bolting outta the bolthole, but with more of his resolve-weakening tenderness and concern.

Oh, and he’s dressed in pants. Just pants. Nothing else.

Please. Someone. Help me.

I shake my head, trying to toss out thoughts of climbing him like a candycoated cliffside. “You shouldn’t be up here!”

Yeah, I sound kinda harsh, but I’m looking out for him. I mean, he’s got on the soft, buttery pants that the Akupara wear when inside the Bale. Only, he’s not inside the Bale.

Pyx shrugs. “But you’re up here.”

I gape at him. Blink. Gape some more.

That can’t possibly be his reason—‘because I’m up here’—for being outta his armor, while being outside of the Bale, instead of being safely concealed in my bolthole. If it is, then he needs another dang reason!

I wait, tilting my head and raising my brows expectantly. He’s gotta have more for me than that. He’s just got to. Because I’m not worth risking his people’s secrets.

He shifts his eyes away, then back to me. “So, I’m up here, too.”

Me. He’s up here—taking an unbelievable risk—for me.

Oh crap. I really do wanna climb him like a candycoated cliffside…

Read Chapter Eight…

Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Seven Available

Chapter Seven of The Velveteen Tortoise is now available.

Pyx runs his intense gaze over me. “You won’t hurt me, Luna.”

Right. Back to the present. There’s an Akupara warrior on his knees before me—stripped of his armor and begging me to touch him—because it’s something that I’d asked him to do.

I’m such a freaking idiot.

He’s right where I want him, but now I don’t know what to do with him…

Read Chapter Seven…

Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Six Available

Chapter Six of The Velveteen Tortoise is now available.

Once I’ve completed the Briarwood cabin, Luna and I can live here. And I am totally gonna building a place that has plenty of space for two people to live as roommates.

Just roommates.

But, to be totally-totally sure, I start calculating for adding even more square footage.

“Do me one favor, will ya?” Joia asks as she stands and wipes the dirt from her hands.

“Of course.”

“Keep it simple.”

“Totally keeping it simple.”

As Jo continues to wipe dirt from her hands, I can tell that she’s studying me. She’s got that look—the one where her mind’s processing with an intellect that makes me feel like an insect.

But I am keeping it simple.

I’m just building a decoy cabin as I work on a second cabin, when in all honesty, I don’t need either cabin.

She blinks and says softly, “Complicated ain’t your thing, Fanboy. You’re too real…”

Read Chapter Six…

Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Five Available

Chapter Five of The Velveteen Tortoise is now available.

Jo looks over her shoulder, snips something at Rogers, Jr., then turns back to me. “You can give up the modular all together, Baby Bunny. Stay here with me.”

A shiver moves through me.

There’s no way I’d move into The Tower. I’m not like Jo, who’s thriving in the center of it all. If I’d move here, I’d be bumping into people everywhere. All the time. Touching.

“Or,” Joia says, “you could room with Fanboy in his cabin.”

That’s…

“No.” I’m shaking my head—like, a lot—to drive home my point.

If I permanently move in with Pyx, then I’d be bumping into him everywhere. All the time. Touching...

Read Chapter Five…

Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Four Available

Chapter Four of The Velveteen Tortoise is now available.

I take a deep breath, expanding my aching chest as I try to understand what the fuck had just happened. Only, my plastron’s jumbling my thoughts. It’s tingling with sensation that’s gotta be fake. Because there’s no way that I could really feel her arms around me. Not with this damn, useless armor between us.

My mind replays the moment. Luna had tucked her chin as she’d pressed her cheek to my chest, and her hair had slid forward, covering her eyes. The way she’d pulled herself closer for a split second, tightening her arms before pushing off and dashing away…

I snap my head up from my Luna-less torso and look at the space between the trees where she’d dashed away. 

I could have caught her. 

She’d taken off faster than a human, but she was still slow for an Akupara. Just a handful of strides at my true speed would’ve been enough. I could’ve snatched her up in my arms. Could’ve held her close as I’d yanked off my helmet and…

By Aku, her lips would’ve tasted like her candy. So sweet to suck on…

Read Chapter Four…

Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Three Available

Chapter Three of The Velveteen Tortoise is now available.

“Pyxis.” My name, spoken from her lips, greets me like the heat from a hearth. Her warm tone blasts me at first, then cocoons me in welcoming comfort. “Time to go.”

“Go?”

“Yeah. To someplace where there’s an actual roof over your head and a real bed under your back.” She holds out her hand. “I’m going home, Pyx, and I’m taking you with me.”

I gape at her.

taking you with me…

By Aku, the way she renders me speechless is astonishing.

I slowly raise my hand and surrender it to her. 

She huffs—a tiny sound that’s not fuming with aggravation, but with steadying resolve—and curls her tiny, bare hand around my gauntlet.

Well, that’s not accurate. She’s only grasping one of my fingers—which restricts a mere one-sixtieth of the lethal capacity of that hand—but that’s all she can grip. Her hold’s not secure at all and—Oh! We’re walking.

Fascinating.

What’s even more fascinating? The delicate-looking skin on the underside of her wrist.

My heart kicks in my chest. During the course of my life, I’ve been ensnared, captured, and stranded. But…

“I’ve never been taken by a human before.” I stroke my unrestrained thumb over her wrist, but my armor blunts the sensation.

“Invited.” She squeezes my finger as she clears the breathiness from her voice. “You’re being invited.”

Taken. Invited. I’m not gonna split hairs with her.

Instead, I brush my thumb over her wrist again. “Outstanding.”

Read Chapter Three…

Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Two Available

Chapter Two of The Velveteen Tortoise is now available.

Jo hip checks me with her machete hipbones. “Listen, I gotta go, Baby Bunny.”

She so does not gotta go. Besides, I said that I had to go first!

I narrow my eyes at her.

She narrows her eyes right back at me. “Someone’s mother wants to talk about increasing patrols because an unknown person’s been harassing the kids.”

Howie.

And no, he isn’t protecting me by not naming me. He’s firing a warning shot, because he could’ve named me.

Stupid Howie.

I glance at Jo. She’s giving me a flat ‘I ain’t impressed’ stare and says nothing. I get it. Why bother saying anything? Because I know that Jo knows that Howie knows it was me. And now I know that Howie knows that—

Ugh. Never mind. That’s too much work.

Bottomline: Everybody freaking knows.

I must have rolled my eyes or something, because Jo arches a brow at me. It’s her hawk-eye ‘I see you, Luna’ brow arch.

Yeah, yeah. I gotta stop it with the candy.

I’ll try cake next…

Read Chapter Two…