Slow and Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Seven

There Be Mature Content Here

Please be advised that the following is intended for mature readers only.

Chapter Seven

(Finished)

Pyxis the Restrained

“Can it wait?” I ask Gary.

Fine. I didn’t ask him. I’d snapped at him.

Poor Gary confirms this as he cringes next to me and drops back a step. 

And by dropping back a step, I mean that he stops walking altogether. It’s the only way that he can deliberately not keep pace with me. Right now I am walking—fucking crawling—through Two-Four-Kay at Outbaler speed. All of my muscles and impulses are raging at me.

Faster! Go fucking faster!

Why the urgency? Because I’m going to the settlement’s mine.

Luna’s at the mine.

Last night she’d told me to come back tomorrow—which is today—to help her with the mining drill. Her delivery of her invitation—the cautious look in her eyes that matched the tentative smile which pinched the corners of her lips—hounded me all night long. Was she actually excited to spend time with me?

Truly? With me?

I’d stood inside my made-of-sticks hut, locked in my armor, the seconds had slogged by. In terms of near-unbearable duration, only the night I’d spent outside of Joia’s door could compare. And that night hadn’t been miserable—

Well, it’d been a different kind of miserable because Luna had been with me.

Outside of Joia’s quarters, Luna’d fallen asleep with her knees drawn up and the back of her head resting against the flimsy wall of the modular’s corridor. After two-hundred and one rhythmically slow and steady breaths, she’d sighed in her sleep, turned toward me, and rested her head on my leg.

By Aku. I’d never been more aware in my enter life.

The hours that had followed—stretched into fine, translucent filaments of stark details—were the best of my whole worthless life.

Each exhale from her relaxed, soft lips…

Each flutter of each eyelash…

Each twitch of her nose that wrinkled the dotted pigment—freckles, humans call them—that are scattered across her cheeks…

Each curl and unfurling of her hand on my leg…

Each wisp of her alluring scent that perfumed the air…

Each ounce of her slight body that had pinned me with the gravitational force of a solar mass…

Last night, all of those details from outside Joia’s quarters—that are now permanently etched into my memory—had replayed in my mind over and over.

So, am I vehemently eager to get to Luna? Yes. By Aku, yes.

Does Gary deserve to bear the brunt of my frustration and impatience? No. He’s doesn’t. I’m being an ass.

I look at Gary over my shoulder and tilt my head. It’s the human ‘come along now’ head-jerking gesture.

And yeah, I’m still walking as I encourage Gary to catch up with me. I mean, I’m shuffling along at Outbaler speed here. A piphare—a slow-moving creature with short limbs and a very round body—could go zipping past me right now.

Gary shuffles back a step.

Right. This is Gary.

I stop and turn—taking for-fucking-ever as I do, but Gary needs this. “Heya, Gary.”

He looks down as he toes at the dirt with his shoddy boot. “Heya, Pyx.”

Huh. Look at that. Gary just called me ‘Pyx.’

“Can we do it after?” I make damn-sure to ask him by keeping my tone light.

Gary scratches at his scraggly beard. “Sure. After’s good.”

“After.” I nod. “Fantastic.”

Honestly, I have no idea what Gary wants from me. I’d been too focused on getting to Luna when he’d started walking along side me and rambling… about something. So, doing ‘something’ later is the fantastic bit, not the actual doing of the thing…

Unless…

I gesture toward the mine. “I’ll see if Luna wants to join us.”

Gary jerks and gives me an uncertain look. “You sure?”

“Totally sure.” Doing things with Luna makes everything better. “So, we good here, Gary?”

“Honestly, I don’t think so.”

“Huh.”

But Gary just stares at me.

I stare back. Maybe Gary senses my glare—or maybe my faceplate isn’t as completely opaque as it’s supposed to be—but he nods his head a few times.

“Okay.” He starts walking backward as he keeps nodding like he’s gotta reassure himself. “Guess I’ll see you and Luna…after.”

“Sure thing!” I call out to him.

Well, I tried to call out while sounding all enthusiastic and shit, but my voice had been too low.

And too growly.

Yeah. I’d sounded like a feral maniac. Which is what an Akupara, who’s on the knife’s edge because he really needs to be with his future mate, sounds like.

But, I really need to be with her. Luna and I are gonna fix stuff together.

No one’s fixed stuff with me in forever.

My heart hammers against my chest, and it’s fucking battering and bruising itself in its excitement to see Luna.

I pivot back around a bit faster than I should. I resume walking a tad swifter than’s prudent.

Crrreeeaaak.

You know what? I don’t even give a fuck about that stupid creak.

I’m gonna see Luna.


“So, I’m doing this with you, right?” I ask Luna.

She’s beaming up at me, her smile lighting up this gods forsaken underground chamber like the midday sun, and nodding her head ‘yes.’

But, she’s not really nodding.

I’m just bouncing like a damn idiot so it looks like she’s agreeing with me. But I can’t stop the bouncing. She’s here, just as she said she would be.

“Yes,” Luna laughs. “We’ll put the drill back together… together.” Then she laughs again. “You know what I mean.”

I sure the fuck don’t, but I don’t care, either.

She said together, twice.

My cock’s hard.

“All right,” she pats my arm—well, my armor and turns toward her workbench. “Let’s get started.”

“Let’s get started,” I say with a nod as my forearm throbs with the phantom brush of her fingertips.

Stupid armor.

Before us on the workbench are the drill pieces that I’d disassembled yesterday. They’re right where I left them, laid out in the order with which I’d removed them. I don’t yet know which are the broken bits. Not until I identify all interchangeable parts, reassemble the drill, test it, disassemble it, find new interchangeable parts…

You get the idea.

But I am not sure Luna does, because she picks up the reducer regulator and the thrust accelerator and tries to connect the two.

Fascinating.

Luna flicks her gaze from the jammed together components—which are now definitely broken—to me. “What?”

“Watching you work is fascinating.”

“It is not.”

As she dismisses my honesty, her cheeks flush, looking so enticingly warm that I wanna cup her face in my bare hands.

I turn toward her. “Watching you is the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Luna rolls her eyes. “You said that about the building the cabin.”

“That was then. This is now.”

“Then—” But she cuts herself off with an exasperated sigh and shakes her head.

I lean toward her. “Then what?”

“I keep forgetting.” Her lips curl into a small, knowing smile, and she tosses the ruined components onto the workbench, knocking the pressure valve outta its precise position. “You like everything.”

“I do like everything.”

“Do you?” She flicks her gaze up to me, and I wanna tuck my hand under her chin so that we can keep gazing at one another. “Do you really?”

“I hope—” But my voice fails.

I can’t do it. I can’t utter that deeply gutting wish—hoping that I’m real—as an asinine punchline. Not with Luna.

Astonished, I shake my head. “Lately, I haven’t been liking everything.”

Her shoulders drop as she gives me a kind smile and pats my shoulder cop. “It’s okay to admit it, Pyx. I don’t like everything, either. Especially new stuff.”

“You don’t?”

Her smile brightens even more as she shakes her head.

Unbelievable. She’s proud about this.

“You’ve known me for a while now,” she says.

Yes. And the knowledge that I’ve gathered about her is abundant. She is, by far, my most favorite person to think about, talk about, and follow about. I’m all about Luna.

She tilts her head, studying me. “How excited am I by new stuff?”

I… don’t like this question. It doesn’t have a ready-to-recite answer.

I find myself grasping. “Your candy and bread. They’re both new?”

“That’s baking, Pyx.” She sounds disappointed in my reply. “That’s not something truly daring.”

“You said that your oven was rigged to explode. That makes baking daring.”

“No, it makes me an idiot. I was baking with a landmine in my kitchen.” She frowns, then mumbles something—stupid oven?—before sliding her gaze back to me. “So, why do you try all the stuff that you do?”

“I try new stuff because…”

Shit. How do I finish that without sounding like a failure? I keep trying things because I don’t know what else to do with myself. I’m not like the other Akupara, who can contemplate a single concept for years, methodically developing theories and conducting tests, then produce conclusions and solutions for the good of the Bale.

“Well,” Luna fills the silence, “I keep at the baking, even though I’m terrible at it, because each time, I figure out what works and what doesn’t. I trial-and-error my way through it.”

“Trial and error?” I echo back at her.

“Not an Akupara concept, is it?” Luna chuckles.

No. Not at all.

“It means you try something just to see what happens. And if you fail,” she shrugs, “the point is to figure out why you failed and then try again.”

So, her failures don’t bar her from another attempt? They even contribute to her success That’s just…

The sharp sounds of crumpling metal fills the room.

Luna grabs at my hand. “Oh, Pyx!”

I look down.

Huh.

At some point, I must’ve snatched up a component or two, and I’ve crushed them in my hand. 

But none of that is important right now.

Luna’s touching my armored hand. I know she wants me to open it, but she’s not tugging at my curled fingers because—I suspect—she believes she can’t force them open.

But she can. She can command every last bit of me because my mating instincts are beginning to hone in on her. Stalking her. Studying her. Waiting for her to give me a command. To give me a purpose that suits her needs. And one day—by Aku please be one day soon—her desires.

“Let’s see if we can salvage it.” Her cheeks are again flushing that enticing, warm shade, and her gaze is locked on my hand.

In a dumbfounded daze, I open my hand, rotating my wrist so that the destroyed bits—twisted metal and rust—fall to the workbench without dislodging Luna’s small hands from my gauntlet.

“It’s all right, Luna,” I tell her hollowly. “It’s an interchangeable part. We have six more.”

But it’s truly not all right. It’s an unforgivable loss of composure and waste of resources. Honestly, though? I could give a fuck, because Luna believes in trial-and-error and the value of salvage and she’s still touching me.

Her fingers are running along the inside of my gauntlet. “What’s it like?”

If I wasn’t armored up, she’d be tracing the pads of my fingers and the fine scutes of my palm.

“Like?”

“Having to be so careful with your hands all the time?”

Whether I’m awake or asleep, it’s an endless nightmare. I’m constantly flooded with horrifying images that my uncontrollable impulses—coupled with my Akupara strength—will snatch her up and crush—

“What’s it like, Pyx?”

Oh. I haven’t answered her. “Lonely.”

By Aku, of all the things I could’ve told her.

I groan, both humiliated and frustrated by my lapse. Once again, I’ve told Luna something rather than simply answering her.

“Yeah,” she says softly. “It is lonely.”

She’s agreeing with me? Why, in all the Bales, would she be lonely?

As I stare at her hands, it hits me and I feel like a fucking fool.

Of course. Her hands. She thinks that they are as cursed as mine. Which is bullshit. She heals, while mine only crush and dismantle.

“Pyx?”

“Luna?”

She keeps tracing my gauntlet-encased hand with her fingers. “Wanna try something with me?”

With her? “Always.”

Al-fucking-ways.

My right hand—the one she’s not holding—curls into a fist. With the first mortifying creak of my compressed scutites, she drops my hand.

She walks away.

I blink as my confusion scatters my thoughts.

She’d let go.

She’d let me go.

I inhale, and fuck! My chest bursts into pain, like I’ve breathed in crystalized air.

“Pyx?”

I pivot toward her.

“Can you move this?” She’s by the door, toeing a crate full of her failed bread.

Her failed bread that has turned out to be fantastic bricks.

I zip over, and—using my foot because I don’t trust my hands—I slide the crate before the closed door. It weighs nothing for me, but I understand that it would’ve been impossible for Luna to move unless she emptied it brick-by-brick. The crate most certainly will barricade the door from any human who tries to enter.

Being locked in this room, alone with Luna, has my hands trembling.

It’s fabulous and awful all at the same time.

Luna walks past me, heading back to the workbench.

She turns, takes a deep breath, and extends her hand to me. “Can we… I mean, would you be willing—”

I move.

Like, really fucking move.

I’m standing before her, tearing at my armor—scattering thousands of the nanotech scutes onto the floor—as my helmet’s visor and comms are blaring with breach alarms and critical diagnostic alerts.

“Pyx!” Luna gasps. “Stop!”

I freeze.

She’s hovering her hands over my armor, her eyes wide, as she’s mumbling, “Stupid idea, Luna. So stupid.”

“No. It’s not a stupid idea. I’m the one fucking it up.”

“No. I wasn’t thinking. I never should’ve—” She looks at the floor and shuffles her feet back, away from the scattered scutites. “Pieces of your armor are everywhere. I know how important—”

I zip about, then return and offer my cupped hands to her. “One-thousand nine-hundred and seventy-five pieces. I’ve got them all.”

She inhales, her chest rising. “You got them all.”

I did.

I give a voice-command in my language and a compartment opens on my left cuisse—my thigh armor. Keeping my eyes locked on Luna—absolutely fascinated that she’s staring at my leg with rapt interest—I slide the ruined scutites into the compartment and order it sealed.

And now I don’t know what do.

Luna is still starting at my cuisse, her chest rising and falling with her steadily increasing breathing. Is…

Is she getting aroused?

Staring at her, a jagged desperation begins clawing its way up inside of me. “What would you have me do?”

Hell, that request—my admission that I’m unable to control myself—had rumbled up from my heating belly.

My spine tingles.

My muscles prime, prepping in anticipation.

I adjust my stance, rotely assuming combative readiness.

I wait for Luna’s command.

By Aku, I beg you, have her issue a command. Anything. I’ll do anything.

“Um.” She licks her lips. “Remove your gauntlets. Gently. Please.”

I temper the growl surging inside of me and roughly whisper the release command to my armor. What remains of my gauntlets obeys and retracts into my arm bracers.

If Luna wants more of my armor removed, I’ll need to start shedding entire chunks of it. Only our helmets and gauntlets neatly retract.

My hands bared, I offer them to her and wait. It feels like that day in Briarwood all over again: Luna sprawled on the forest floor, gazing up at my hand, but not touching—

She grabs my hands, striking like a coiled viper, as she releases a high pitched, shaky laugh.

My whole body jerks.

She pulls her hands back. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m just so freaking nervous—”

“Luna,” I say lowly. “Touch me again.”

Her hands are behind her back. “I don’t wanna hurt—”

“You didn’t.” I step toward her. “You won’t.”

She retreats. “You don’t know—”

“Touch me.”

But she’s still shaking her head as she backs into the solid rock wall of the chamber.

“Pyx.” She’s staring up at me with panic in her eyes as her chest continues to rise and fall with her shallow breaths.

I take that last step—slowly and carefully—closing the distance between us. I sink down and kneel before her. But Luna’s such a tiny female, I’m still gazing down at her.

I issue another command, the one that retracts my helmet. I want her to see me. Need her to see me. I haven’t looked upon her with my own eyes since she left the Bale.

Weeks ago.

It’s felt like godsdamn years.

And for an Akupara like me, years are an eternity.

As my face is revealed, her wide eyes shift from glazed over panic to intense focus.

Her tense posture softens as her chin trembles. “Pyxis.”

I suck in a breath.

My name. She just said my name with such gentleness and caring as well as astonishment and relief, that…

That…

That breath I’d sucked in a second ago? It’s shuttering out of me as a chest-shredding exhale. I’m stunned. Absolutely stunned.

Thank you, Aku. I thank you for this wondrous moment.

Overwhelmed, I settle onto my hunches and bring Luna and I eye-to-eye.

“Luna, please,” I grate out. “Please touch me.”


Luna the Baby Bunny

I’m gazing at the face of Pyxis the Restrained.

He’s so goddamn beautiful that my heart aches.

That, and my memory of him—from my time at the Bale—is so freaking flawed. Whenever I’ve closed my eyes to imagine him, I can now see that my recollection of him doesn’t compare to him in-the-flesh.

For starters, I’d gotten the wrong angle for his eager, inquisitive head tilt. And the curve of his smile? I’d messed that up, too. Sure, we humans liken the Akupara to turtles, but the only similarities are their shells—scutes—and tough yet smooth skin. So, Pyx’s mouth isn’t beaked, like a tortoise or turtle, but more human-like with lips that look kissably firm.

His nose—well, that isn’t human at all. It’s set higher on his nasal bridge, placing his nostrils almost level with his eyes.

His eyes? Oh, my weakening knees…Pyx’s eyes are just melting me.

Over his shiny, black gaze—that’s been darting over me with so many exposed thoughts: curiosity, concern, confusion, caring—are brow ridges that emphasize all his expressions. Their lift and tilt make his curiosity engaging, his enthusiasm contagious, and his uncertainty heartbreaking…

Unbelievable. This perfectly fabulous male is my mate.

Mine.

I’m so fucking screwed.

Pyx’s continuing to run 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.

Touch. Him. My shebits hiss at me.

Okay. There’s no reason to keep lying to myself. It’s not my tits and clit urging me on. My mating instincts—the base need to be with Pyx—are spurring me on. Hounding me ruthlessly.

Claim. Claim. Claim.

There’s a restless energy coursing through me all the damned time now. I’m always fidgety, driven by that on-edge-feeling that never lets me settle. Never gives me a second of peace.

And I have this plan.

Okay. I have a theory.

Fine. I’m grasping at straws while hanging off a cliff.

If I just… do it. You know, mate him, then I’ll settle. I’ll be me again, and once I’m me, I can figure out how to break my mating bond to him. And I hope to god that I find a way to break it before there is more than one bond to sever.

Liar. My instincts scoff at me.

No. I’m not lying. Because my fear of touching Pyx and hurting him is one thing. My other fear is that once I touch him, I’ll never let him go. And I have this deeply devastating what-if scenario playing out in my head. That I’m a weeping mess—crying into the dirt—while clutching his leg and begging him to stay…

“Luna?”

Pyx pulls my attention from that possible future, but I can still feel the icy fingers of my worst nightmare gripping my skin.

“I’ll touch you,” I say and the words scratch from my throat.

But Pyx doesn’t relax with relief or brace in preparation.

Why? Because I’ve yet to do what I’ve said I would do. Actions and words and all that crap. He’s not dropping his guard until I follow through.

I reach out and—of freaking course—my hand is trembling.

Stupid hand.

Stupid heart.

I hear Pyx suck in a breath. Looking at him, I see that my fingertips are about to brush his cheek.

Crap! No cheek cupping. Rez had told me that hands-on-cheeks appears to be a really intimate gesture to the Akupara.

With a shudder, I change course, rising higher to the top of his head. I brush my hand over his smooth, hairless pate.

Pyx groans as his eyes flutter closed. “Gods, Luna.”

Yep. Right there with you, big guy. Um, male?

Whatever.

I totally get his meaning. Touching him, even on his bald head, has just become the best damn moment of my life.

I suck in a breath. I had no idea…

None.

My other hand joins in on the blissful fun. Pyx has no visible ears, but as my fingertips glide over a scaled spot between his eyes and mouth, my hands do their thing and give me awareness. Here, where I’ve settled my hands, are his ears.

But, I’m dangerously close to his cheeks, so I move on.

Looking down, I see that he’s gripping his knees. The knuckle joints are drained of color. It’s the equivalent of a human gripping something so tight that their knuckles go white.

“Hands, please,” I whisper.

Pyx’s rough breathing fills the silence as he releases his knees and offers his hands to me, palms-up.

I run the pads of my fingers over the scales that cover patches of smooth skin and hard callouses. Then I inspect his fingers—two ‘fingers’ plus a thumb on each hand—that are long and thick with blunt nailbeds.

Fascinating. The Akupara lack claws, yet the strength of their hands still enable them to crumple metal, punch climbing-handholds into Briarwood’s monolithic trees, and shred a Kletka bounty hunter to ribbons.

“So warm,” Pyx moans as he stares down at my exploring hands. “Luna, that feels—”

I freeze, breaking contact with his skin. But, at least I don’t snatch my hands away and hide them behind my back.

My heart’s pounding. “Does it hurt?”

He shakes his head—sharp whips back and forth. “No. No. Feels good. Feels so fucking good.”

“Let’s just give it a moment.”

I gaze down at the top of his head and I just wanna cuddle him. Pull him into my bosom and pepper his adorably sexy head with kisses.

Which would be awesome. That oughtta segue right into mating-matrimony, right?

But the sharp, jagged edge of restlessness continues to prickle me. Yes, hugging Pyx would be a good jumpstart, but I already know, it wouldn’t be enough.

What if none of it is ever enough?

Across the room, the door into my workroom rattles against the brick-bread crate.

Another rattle, then—

Ohmyfreakingwhatthehell…

I’m across the room, right next to the closed door. Only, positioned between me and the door is Pyx. My back is pressed against his front, and his arms are wrapped around me.

He’d freaking moved us from the far side of the room to the door, and my brain still hasn’t processed the actual trip from Over There to Over Here.

But my mouth is obviously up-to-speed and lets loose a startled yelp.

Stupid mouth.

“Luna? You in there?” It’s Gary.

I tilt my head up to tell Pyx it’s all good. I mean, it’s just Gary for goodness sakes.

Pyx’s helmet is back into place, and his face is turned, looking over his shoulder at the door. His skintight armor is accentuating the thick muscles popping along the column of his neck, as if he’s clenching his jaw.

Oh my racing heart.

He’s protecting me.

I hear mumbling—that I suspect is meant for Gary only—but Benny’s voice comes through the thin door loud and clear. “Course she’s in there. F.B.’s in there, too.”

Most humans have started calling the Akupara ‘Akkies’ for short. But not freaking degenerates like Benny. He’s twisted Jo’s name for Pyx.

Fanboy. F.B. Fuck Boy.

“Watch it!” Gary hisses back.

Benny scoffs and continues, “Door’s closed. She’s squealing. You know Fucky’s poking that plump little piggy.”

My face is burning as my heart races. My stomach drops and I wanna follow it. Just slip outta my prickle-covered skin, sink into the rock floor, and disappear into the center of the planet.

This is horrifyingly humiliating because it’s just such a typical me moment, being called short and fat…

But I slide my gaze up to Pyx.

His blank faceplate is angled sharply down at me.

“Luna?” He says my name so soft and sweet. “You’re shaking.”

It’s a statement, something so rarely uttered from Pyx. He’s always about the questions—asking, poking about, eagerly awaiting his turn.

Yet, right now, his voice sounds insistent for a reply—like he cares.

“They—” My voice cracks. Dammit. I swallow, doing my best to stomp down the teary lump in my throat. “They just startled me. That’s all.”

“That’s all?”

But, it’s not a brightly curious ‘That’s all?’ delivered with Pyx’s usual enthusiastic astonishment and hunger to know more.

No. The Pyx who currently has his arms wrapped around me—holding me in a sorta hug-like embrace—has dropped his tone so low that my belly’s quaking.

His rumbled ‘That’s all?’ is him challenging my lame explanation. He’s coming at me like a hardass interrogator.

And that… well, it does things to me.

We’ll tell him any-freaking-thing he wants, my shebits—now back in play— heave breathily, but he’s gotta pinch us first.

Yeah, and hard, too.

Sooo hard. My shebits whole-heartedly agree and begin to tingle.

Yes.

Wait. No. Absolutely not.

Well, at least, not while freaking Benny is on the other side of the door.

“Luna.” I can feel Pyx nudging the dome of his faceplate against the crown of my head.

God, how he must be curling over me right now to do that. He’s so dang tall, and I’m…short.

Yep. I’m being very much me again. Here I am, being sheltered by an Akupara warrior who’s got his arms around me and his face lowered to my hair. But Benny—dumbbutt Benny—can still hurt my stupid feelings.

Stupid Benny.

Stupid feelings.

I start to push against Pyx’s hold. He releases me, which fills me with tension-snapping relief.

Followed by a sharp pinch of disappointment.

But, whatever.

I gesture toward the door. “We should just see what they want.”

Pyx doesn’t move. Doesn’t say anything.

He continues to level his expressionless faceplate at me, and now I fucking hate his stupid faceplate.

Heaving a sigh, I go to the door. I hear the crate scraping against the rock floor, which means Pyx must be moving it.

I pull the door wide open. I’ve dealt with Benny before. He’ll sneer at me through a wide-open door or one that’s cracked open a few inches. It doesn’t matter. He isn’t picky about the time and/or place to sneer at someone.

“Benny. Gary.” I say tonelessly.

Well, I try to say it without giving away that my pride’s stinging. Jo and Rez have got that ‘fuck you’ tonelessness perfected. I sound snippy, like a yippy dog, and I hate it.

But, it’s what I got to work with here. Which leaves me suspiciously baffled when Benny drops the sneer from his face.

Then I feel a shield of badassery envelop me.

I see. Benny’s backing off because an Akupara warrior just stepped up behind me.

Don’t know how I feel about that. I mean, it’s gratifying as hell to see Benny blanch, but it’s also belittling.

Seriously, the excruciating pain that I could cause Benny with just the swipe of my left pinky finger…

Benny swallows. “Heya, F.B. Jo said ya’d be here.”

“Jo’s always right,” Pyx says.

And, are my ears working? Because Pyx doesn’t sound like himself. He sounds pissed.

I pivot to look at him, to gauge his expression. But, yeah. Faceplate and all that.

Stupid, stupid faceplate.

“Jo,” Gary says, his voice shaking, “she’s wantin’ to see ya both.”

That’s not good. “Both of us?”

Gary scratches nervously at his beard. “Uh, yeah.”

“Over by the shitters,” Benny tosses in with a nasty smile.

Over by the shitters. Where Pyx and I are—slowly—building his cabin.

Yeah. This—whatever this is—is gonna suck.

This chapter is complete! I’ve enabled commenting and have added my own thoughts as well.

As always, thank you so much for reading!

xo Bex

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From Slow & Steady: The Velveteen Tortoise
Copyright © 2020, 2021 by Bex McLynn
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8 thoughts on “Slow and Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Seven

  1. Eek! I just checked out posting dates, and Chapter Six was posted almost 20 days ago! 😬 Looking back I can see why—I had stuff going on—but still. It’s kinda hard to absorb.

    Well, thank you so much for waiting for Chapter Seven! Really, thank you so, so much.💜

    I am happy with how the chapter ended. Both Pyx’s and Luna’s POVs in her workroom were so much fun to write. The beginning of the chapter (Pyx and Gary), I’ve got no idea what’s going on there.🙄 I was trying to get back into Pyx’s headspace. So, that short segue scene will either be deleted from the final draft or be beefed-up so that it carries some significance to the story. I posted it to let folks know I was working on the story, but now I wish I’d kept it as an un-posted writing exercise. Well, this is good to know for the future.

    TVT is now 34,500 words. My target word count for this chapter is way under what I had anticipated. Not sure why, but I hope it becomes clear to me as I continue on.

    This scene marks the move from “Inkling” (something needs to make them stop and think) to “Deepening Desire” (they can no longer deny their physical attraction to one another). I am really gonna have fun with the next several scenes!

    What can you expect over the holidays?

    I’m gonna write when I can. I’m not yet certain if I’ll publish scenes as I complete them or if I’ll wait to finish entire chapters. If I do post scene-by-scene, I’ll notify y’all on Facebook and Twitter. My newsletter will continue to be sent only once a week-ish.😘

    Again, thank you for waiting for this chapter. I had fun with it, plus I’m glad that I get to move on to steamy scenes with Luna and Pyx!

    Thanks for reading!
    💜Bex

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    1. My pleasure, Sherry! And thank you so much for reading. We’re going to have a very quiet holiday, so I am hoping to get some extra words in over the next two weeks. Wishing you all the best this season.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Jolene. Busy or not, writing is something that is important to me and I try to make the time while keeping everything else balanced. Some weeks are better than others, is all. And yes, I do have plans for Benny ;). Wishing you all the best this season!

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  2. Hi there again, I’m sorry to bother u but is chapter 8 finished? I’m not trying to rush u, I just wanted t to make sure that if it is I can find it but if not I’ll just keep on the look out for it. As always, thank u for doin what I do

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    1. No worries! You’re not bothering me. Chapter Eight is taking a bit longer because of the holidays plus our transition back to school. And… we got a puppy. ❤ (He’s so freaking cute! But also a handful.) Good news is that the chapter is coming along. Hopefully I can post another installment tomorrow (1/10/21).

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