Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Seventeen Available

Chapter Seventeen of The Velveteen Tortoise is now available.

Luna the Baby Bunny

Pyx looks over his shoulder. “Gary can’t go to the Bale.”

“Yeah.” I gaze in the same direction as Pyx—outta Two-Four-Kay. “There’re still our boltholes in the forest.”

Pyx looks down at me. “Luna.”

Yeah, yeah. Seems Pyx has newly mastered Jo and Rez’s ‘you know better’ tone when he says my name.

“Fine.” I huff, like it’s no big deal. “There’s your cabin—”

“Your cabin.”

“Yours. You built it.”

“For you to use.”

“Right.” But I still don’t believe that.

It’s too freaking perfect a place for a disaster like me.

“Take Gary there,” Pyx says.

“Yeah. Sure.” Really, it’s our only option. “Come on, Gary. You’re with us.”

The whole time Gary has been standing by, being as silent as the War-naries used to be when in the mine. “Okay.”

Gary said that way too easily.

“Like, permanently with us.” I say, gauging his reaction. “So—” Crap! “I mean, you don’t wanna stay in the settlement anymore, do you? I didn’t even ask—”

“Yeah. Yep.” Gary rushes to say, nodding adamantly. “Wanna go.”

“Oh. Good.” Because if he’d said no, I probably would’ve had Pyx haul him out anyway. “I really shoulda asked first.”

“But ya are askin’.”

“Eh,” I roll my eyes, “kinda after the fact, but sure. Do you need to get anything?”

Gary shrugs. “Got nothing to get.”

Aw, my heart. I swear, I’ve only met one other person in my life who needed a hug as badly as Poor Gary, here. Which is Pyx. Who’s also here.

But I don’t hug Gary, because then that means I gotta hug Pyx. And I can’t hug Pyx right now, because my head still hurts. I’m tried. And my stomach is doing funky stuff.

And even though I’m so dang mad at Pyx right now, if I hug him, I’ll squeeze him for hours. And we gotta go.

I clap my hands. “Awesome.” Crap. “I mean, ‘awesome’ that we’re good to go.”

I have no clue how to recover from that, so I turn and start walking.

And we’re off. Outta the hostile human settlement and through the predator-filled forest, to Pyx’s cabin we go…

Read Chapter Seventeen…

Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Sixteen Available

Chapter Sixteen of The Velveteen Tortoise is now available.

Luna the Baby Bunny

“Luna.” Emys snags my attention with her ‘make-better-choices’ tone. “If you are unharmed, stand.”

Right. We can’t have Pyx zipping over here at his natural speed to see if I’m okay. You know, because secrets gotta stay secrets and all that.

I do a quick self-check. My face is flushed—hot with embarrassment and the first tingles of arousal—and my hands are heating up.

So, I toss out a crappy reply to buy me some time. “Just my backside and pride are kinda bruised.”

Emys—who’s still crouching—leans closer to me. “Do you need either to repair the drill?”

“Nah.” I wave off her concern. “Those only get in the way anyways.”

“Pride often does.”


“As for backsides…” Emys tilts her head, as if examining me from a different angle. “I have no advice for you in that regard.”

“How about ‘Next time, land on your feet, Luna’?”

“That goes without saying.”

“Says the woman who enters like a legendary badass.”

Emys pushes up to standing while still looking down at me. “I always enter like a warrior.”

Which of course means that I’d entered like, well, me. Luna the Tragically Uncoordinated…

Read Chapter Sixteen…

Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Fifteen Available

Chapter Fifteen of The Velveteen Tortoise is now available.

Luna the Baby Bunny

We’re all standing outside of the bolthole and Rez is running her hand over my shoulder, doing her best to soothe me. “Luna, stop moping and listen to me.”

I ignore her. Crossing my arms over my chest, I direct my glare at the still-smoking hole-in-the-ground.

I’m not moping. I’m fuming because I just set a fireproof canister on freaking fire, and Jo and Rez are still treating me like a temper tantrumming toddler.

“You’re wasting your breath, Rez.” Jo waves her hand at me. “Baby Bunny never listens. You gotta show her.”

Really? We’re regressing to Show-and-Tell tactics?

Jo arches her brow at me. “You’re the one actin’ like a toddler.”

“Unless you have something to say that actually fixes problems,” I point at her, giving my finger a good, hard jab, “then keep your all-knowing bullshit to yourself, Joia.”

“Bullshit,” Jo chuckles dryly. “You know, there’s an old Earth saying about monkeys.”

“Yeah.” I scoff. “I know.”

“Nah, ya don’t know.” Jo taps a finger on her brow, directly over her right eye. “It’s monkey see some obvious shit before its own damn eyes; monkey do something about it.”

“That…” I comb through my memory. “Yeah. That doesn’t sound right.”

“Well, it ain’t monkey listen to some heart-to-heart bullshit; monkey make the world all better.”

“That also doesn’t sound right.”

I mean, where’s the bit about infinite monkeys using infinite time to solve any problem…

Read Chapter Fifteen…

Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Fourteen Available

Chapter Fourteen of The Velveteen Tortoise is now available.

Luna the Baby Bunny

I’ve slowed my pace. I even stop and look over my shoulder.

There’s nothing behind me. There’s just the War-bugs and War-birds who’re hiding in the undergrowth and making clicking and shrilling noises.

Nothing to worry about.

Yet something made me turn around—a shiver that I’m being followed. Only, the disappointment squeezing my chest confirms how big of an idiot that I am.

I know there are no animals in the area. Pyx personally removed them all. And only runners, like Rez, or patrollers, like Gary and Benny, come this far into Briarwood.

So, I’d thought…

…well, I’d hoped…

…that the shivering of my spine would turn into something heated and thrilling because Pyxis had followed me.

Because I’d truly fixed that hurt and confused look on his face when I’d told him that I what I’d said—fix him—isn’t what I’d meant to say.

But no unbelievably hot and amazing alien warrior is prowling through the forest with his focus targeted solely on me.

And that’s fine. Because everything’s so freaking fine…

Read Chapter Fourteen…

Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Thirteen Available

Chapter Thirteen of The Velveteen Tortoise is now available.

Pyxis The Restrained

“What I meant,” the human medic snarls at me, “is that it would be better if you went outside because you don’t belong here.”

Gary gasps. “Hey now, Doc!”

I just shrug. “Of course I don’t.”

“Then leave.” The medic points her finger. “Just go.”

“Do you mean leave the medical modular—”

“Medical clinic,” she snaps at me.

I keep going. “Or…”


That’s the sound of my helmet scraping across the low ceiling as I visually track where she’s pointing. Which is up and not toward the modular’s main doors.

Does she mean go off-world?

Because if that’s what she’s saying, she’s totally implying it. Which completely contradicts what she said earlier about implications.

I flick my attention from the low ceiling to the huffing medic. Screech.

However, she’s cringing and slapping her hands over her ears, and those human reactions aren’t really giving me any indication about exactly where she wants me to go.

I tilt my head back toward the ceiling. Screech. “You mean off-world?”

Because my answer to that is an abso-fucking-lutely hard no. I’m not leaving Warren’s. Warren’s is where my mate is.

I snap my attention back to the medic. Screee—

The ceiling falls on my head.

Well. Not the whole ceiling. Just a sliced through sheet of it.


And now that sheet has dropped onto the floor.

“Shit!” Gary cries out.

I turn—twisting just my torso—to look at Gary. He’s sitting up, looking all gaping and startled and befuddled. You know what? He kinda looks like regular old, not-sick-at-all, Gary.

Which is a relief.

He runs his stunned gaze over me. “Ya okay, P?”

“I’m okay.”

Whatever ‘okay’ means. It’s a human word. But I’m totally confident that it completely applies to me…

Read Chapter Thirteen…

Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Twelve Available

Chapter Twelve of The Velveteen Tortoise is now available.

I don’t like this.

Jo’s just ended my honeymoon with Pyx.

“I don’t like it, either.” Pyx shrugs as he releases me and goes to the door. He starts ripping away the crushed metal edges of the door and jab that have served as a decent, low-tech lock for us. “If I could, I’d stay here rather than patrol.” He glances over at me and his eyes brighten with excitement. “Later, we could work on the drill together!”

We could, but I’ve lived with Jo for the past decade. I know her.

She’s up to something.

Grumbling, I shoo Pyx away from the now-irreparable door. “Step back, Pyx. You don’t want Gary to see you like this.”

Check that.

I don’t want Gary, or anyone else, to see my mate like this.

Pyx is dressed in his ‘When Hidden Within The Bale’ flow-y pants that ride so deliciously low on his hips…

Seriously. The waistband clings to that perfect spot. You know, it’s that place where his lower abs meet his hipbones and form one hell of an Akuparian Adonis belt.  His appearance is so casually comfortable yet unintentionally revealing that it’s achingly intimate.

And, apparently, my primal she-alpha-bits have pounced ahead a stage or two of our relationship—er, mateship with Pyx. We’re now at the stage where we’re so comfortable and familiar with one another that he can lounge around, half dressed with his ripped and drool-worthy torso exposed…

…While my feral, foaming-at-the-mouth she-alpha-bits prowl around him, snarling MINE. MINE. MINE.

So yeah. You better look elsewhere, Gary! This magnificent view is for my eyes only—

“Oh,” I yank the door open and there’s Gary. Blindfold on and everything…

Read Chapter Twelve…

Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Happy World Turtle Day & the Beginning of Chapter Twelve

Happy World Turtle Day! Chapter Twelve of The Velveteen Tortoise is now in-progress.

She narrows her eyes at me. “You’ll cram it in.”

“I’ll ease it in. Promise.”

“You said that last time.”

True. However… “Totally learned my lesson.”

“You also said that last time.”

Also true. However… “Each time I get better at it.”

Luna shakes her head at me. “Goal’s to not burn down the modular, Pyx.”


But I still press closer…

Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Eleven Available

Chapter Eleven of The Velveteen Tortoise is now available.

“Do you?” Pyx’s voice is all sexy rumbly yet kinda cautiously shaky. “Do you wanna do all of that?”

My eyes—the spineless wimps—are still locked on the workbench. Which means that I catch the trembling in Pyx’s hand as he sets down whatever gear-shaft-looking thingy that he’d been holding.

“Because, you know, Luna,” he says, and it just cuts me when Pyx’s voice sounds like this—uncertain and vulnerable, “I’ll do anything or try anything you wanna do.”

Sex. I wanna do sex with you.

“I…” he exhales heavily again, “really wanna do that, too.”

If you think I’m gonna stumble all over the place, trying to shoving my foot in my mouth because, once again, I’m talking out loud…

Well, you’d be wrong.

When I let my lips off the leash, they freaking race straight to the finish line. So excuse me while I give my subconsciously yammering jabber a hearty high-five for stepping up to the starting line and getting my butt into this race…

…a race to, um, get into Pyx’s pants…

So, yeah. I’m gonna do sex with Pyx because all this…

…the distractions…

…the excuses…

…the stalling…

needs to be freaking fixed!

I whip my dress over my head. “We’re doing this!”

Turning, I stride over to the stack of pallets in the corner… of the cave…

Why, yes. My freaking cave does have a freaking corner!

Oh!’ My shebits purr in approval. ‘She’s serious this time. Just look at our butt. She’s shimmying our butt!’

You bet I’m shaking and baking my backside. This is freaking it! I’m having sex with Pyx. I’m gonna get fully and officially mated so that—

“Don’t move, Luna.”

I freeze.

Caught mid-crawl across the pallets, I’m on my hands and knees…

Read Chapter Eleven…

Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Ten Available

Chapter Ten of The Velveteen Tortoise is now available.

“Luna.” Pyx squeezes his eyes shut and groans, sounding kinda in agony and definitely aroused. “Do all of that.”

“All of…?”

“All of it. Everything you just said.”

Everything I just…

I’m yapping out loud.


And that’s great. Wanna know why? Because I’m totally gonna do everything I just said. This is it. Totally. Freaking. It.

I’m already pulling up my dress, but my legs are getting tangled up in the skirt. I’m kinda kicking wildly at Pyx, which I really don’t mean to be doing…

Still, I’m determined that this time, it’s so gonna happen.

“Move.” I huff as I try to lift my butt off the mattress. “Up. Off.”

Yeah. I suck at giving directions.

But Pyx, god bless him, rears up and scoots back.

As I’m wrangling with my stupid skirt, I rake my eyes over his chest.

His big, broad, sculpted-by-armor chest.

Yeah. That armor’s gotta go…

Read Chapter Ten…

Slow & Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Nine Available

Chapter Nine of The Velveteen Tortoise is now available.

I look at my hands, forcing them to not curl and compress the scutites of my armor again.

When Luna’d kissed me, I’d fought to remain hyperaware—to make the moment last—but everything about her had been too distracting.

Too consuming.

I’d been determined to lap up every scent and taste molecule of her arousal, sucking greedily on her lips and nipping at the warm column of her neck. The more I’d devoured her, the more I wanted her. My appetite’d spun into a frenzy, driving me to seek the tantalizing source of her arousal and feast from her core. Then the sound of ripping cloth had slammed into me harder than a pulse blast.

Read Chapter Nine…