Because "Chained to the Wheel" is coming out this Friday, have some samples of life in the Cyber'verse.
If you like the tastes, buy the books.
If you want to be part of the process, help out at Indiegogo.
Swimming Through the Net
Buy Link: http://www.amberquill.com/store/p/1409-Swimming-Through-The-Net.aspx
Synopsis: Swift-Current is one of The Wheelman's Immortals, a mutilated hacker forced to run the Net in atonement for his crimes against the corporation. He doesn't mind his life, until he falls in love with another Immortal...
A series of alarm bubbles, large and unpleasant, rattled him from his drowsing. He drifted over to the mirror and ran one webbed hand through his long green hair. He liked it long for the private moments. When he swam in search of data, he shaved his head for better motion. He picked up a comb of bone, inlaid with pearls, and used it. A touch of kelp made his lips greener. A bit of squid ink darkened his eyes.
He checked his gills and tipped them with some kelp, too. His tail was fine, he decided as he flicked an errant snail off his fluke.
He was ready to go when Mark came in. The other runner walked to the edges of his program, then dived in, coming up as a merman himself. His tommy-gun became a trident similar to Swift-Current’s own, and his three-piece suit melded into a long silver body with rainbow-edged scales. The identity code read Deep-
Dives. Swift-Current smiled. In Mark’s program, he was listed as Senior Professor Shelby Randolf West.
“You look beautiful, like pearl and porphyry,” Deep-Dives sang at him. The newly-made merman, his short black hair in wild disarray, his gills flaring with exertion, swam to him. Their tails twined together and Deep-Dives embraced him. It had been weeks of objective time, much longer in the subjective world of the net. Mark, his own Deep-Dives, belonged to him here, and no one else.
“I missed you, my love,” Swift-Current sang back, feeling the compliment in every scale that had received Deep-Dives’ song.
Pairing: M/f, some F/m
Synopsis: Sean's wife, Caitlin, was stolen from his bed and brainswashed. But the man who had her altered finds she is not what he wants, so he hires Sean to do a complete reboot of Caitlin's personality. But Caitlin has her own ideas about who and what she should be.
He got them onto the cracked concrete sidewalk and led her to the apartment, relief growing as he drew closer to relative safety. A block away, a skinny kid, maybe twenty, with a shaved head and Aryan tattoos left off rummaging in a trash bin and deliberately stepped into their way. He flicked open a rusty switchblade and eyed the bags. Sean stopped, barely ending short of the knife. The punk grinned, waving the blade in a lazy, hypnotic figure-eight.
“Guten tag. You will be giving me your credchip, ja, und das fraulein’s necklace. Und ein bag mit die food.”
Sean shook his head, both at the request and the kid’s language rather than his threat. These kids never learned. This one wasn’t long for the streets. White-power types were ridiculously outnumbered.
“Schnell! Schnell, schwein.”
“You’re not actually inspiring me to go any faster, kiddo,” Sean said. He checked for backup, since this type usually ran in packs, but the punk was alone. Sean didn’t care if he was lost from the group, a loner, or just high and hungry. He decided to end the stand-off before it started.
Sean flicked out his own razors, and relished the way the kid startled. He ran a tongue-tip along the flat of one. “I’ll see your blade and raise you four. And I bet I’ve been using these a lot longer than you.” The kid stared. Sean made a slicing gesture and he backed away. “Go try your blade-master bandito routine on someone else, kiddo. I’ve had a really bad day and you are between me and a cup of coffee. I really don’t want to mess up my nice sidewalk with your yellow guts.” Sean flicked again, very quickly, this time
snagging the front of the punk’s shirt and shredding two long gashes in it, barely scratching the kid’s skin. “But it wouldn’t take me more than a couple seconds. So you really, really, really want to get out of my way. Schnell, ja?” he taunted.
Turning the Tables: Double Dealing
Synosis: Zara's husband David, one of the twin heads of a premier biotech company, may not quite be what he seems. His violent history, long suppressed with a neural implant, is re-emerging in strange ways, and he—or his twin brother—may be Double Dealing with their identities. It will take cleverness, courage, and the services of a world class hacker to untangle the web of deception around the brothers Gemini.
Zara appreciated the food and the wine, even as the conversation remained at a minimum. She tried not to talk, out of respect for Niall. David was too far down to talk.
Subspace was not exactly hypnotism, but a focused form of awareness. Zara had made her own journeys through the various levels, from silent and utterly focused on her master's pleasure, to lightly down and functioning in public with no impairment. Right now, nothing existed in David's world except pleasing Ariel. Even she, his own wife, was a secondary concern.
She did lay one hand over David's and smiled. "It's excellent, love." He smiled in return and bowed his head a little, graciously accepting praise from his Mistress.
"Ariel, how far down is he?"
Ariel smiled, a grim one that Zara had never liked seeing. "As far as I need him to be for our safety. I had his head checked. He has found a way to remove it." His smile vanished. "And if it weren't for a lot of very early training and programming, we would both be in great trouble."
Zara nodded. "Indeed." She addressed herself to her food and listened as Ariel and Niall talked of all the small things that lovers found dear. She wished she could be alone with David, bring him up to a level where he could speak and do the same. But until he was re-chipped, he had to remain at the silent and servile level of subspace. David was easily as intelligent as she was and would turn any higher levels to his own ends.
She shivered and had another drink of wine. As Ariel had said, those ends would be her death and Ariel's and all of LedaCorp turned into a bloodbath to sate the demons in her husband's skull.
That could not happen.
Coming April 11:
Tall, Dark and Wriggly: Chained to the Wheel
Buy Link: http://www.stormmoonpress.com/books/Tall-Dark-and-Wriggly.aspx
Synopsis: Niall made one too many forays into The Wheelman's databanks. Now, he is paying for his daring, as the Wheelman's private housepet. And the demands are growing ever more difficult. (This predates the previous two, taking place at the same time as Swimming)
The pleasure was in anticipation. Three days later, Erik Ezekiel reminded himself of this over and over. He had sent SwiftCurrent to his rendezvous. If his legs still worked, he would be pacing as he waited. The extraction team had been dispatched to the squalid apartment where Niall lived with his brother, Sean. Surveillance drones showed Sean had left the apartment about ten minutes before, and taken his motorcycle.
Netrunners had no sense of flair, Erik thought. They all lived in such fetid holes with no good furniture or plumbing. They might have millions squirreled away, but most of them ate nutribars or protein shakes, never bothering with real food. Bad habits. He would give Niall expensive tastes before his wolf was immobilized.
Yes, to accustom the boy to a life of luxury, and then when he rebelled against his captivity as they all did, take from him every physical pleasure—that was an exquisite cruelty, one worthy of Gemini's subtlety, but purely the Wheelman's in viciousness.
But there had to be a choice. There was always a choice. The Wheelman was not a rapist, no matter how often the Nettabloids called him such. Every man who came to his bed came fully consenting. Of course, it didn't mean he had to offer particularly attractive alternatives to his apartments.
Most hackers, faced with quadruple amputation, a gastroinsert feeding tube, and waste removal tubes hooked into lifesupport chairs were more than willing to enjoy good coffee, tea with real cream, real meat from real food animals, and hydroponically grown vegetables. They acquired a taste for the soft bed, the luxurious bathroom with hot water at every possible hour, the endless entertainment options. And if they were called on to occasionally pleasure an older gentleman in the Net, where he had full control of his body, most considered that an acceptable price for the good life.
The Timberwolf would be no different. Despite his surname, the Wheelman doubted there was enough of his legendary ancestral fight left in the line to cause a problem. No, his little Niall would roll right over like a puppy waiting to have its belly scratched.