Survival is hard enough in the outer colonies—what chance does love have?
Life can be harsh and lonely in the outer colonies, but miner-turned-farmer Abraham Bauer is living his dream, cultivating crops that will one day turn the unforgiving world of Alkirak into paradise. He wants more, though. A companion—someone quiet like him. Someone to share his days, his bed, and his heart.
Gael Sonnen has never seen the sky, let alone the sun. He’s spent his whole life locked in the undercity beneath Zhemosen, running from one desperate situation to another. For a chance to get out, he’ll do just about anything—even travel to the far end of the galaxy as a mail-order husband. But no plan of Gael’s has ever gone smoothly, and his new start on Alkirak is no exception. Things go wrong from the moment he steps off the shuttle.
Although Gael arrives with unexpected complications, Abraham is prepared to make their relationship work—until Gael’s past catches up with them, threatening Abraham’s livelihood, the freedom Gael gave everything for, and the love neither man ever hoped to find.
Release Date: August 13, 2018
Subgenre: Science fiction, western
Reader warnings: past and present violence, and references to past abuse.
For a full list of tags, visit: https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/to-see-the-sun and click on “Additional Details”
“It all sounded so simple.” Bram pressed his arm into his eyes. “Flip through a few profiles, pick someone I might have a chance with, bring him out here, get to know him, and plan for the ever after.”
And when put like that, it didn’t sound that simple at all. It sounded ridiculous. Was he really that stupid?
Bram moved his arm and looked up at Gael—whose lips were twitching. Stiffening his expression, Bram fought the tickle at the corners of his own mouth. Gael’s mobile features followed along, wavering between amusement and consternation, until they both gave in to quiet laughter. Bram pushed back on his elbows until he could sit up.
“Not funny,” he said, trying to sound stern.
Another snort escaped, more a release than real humor. After Bram got his mouth back into a serious line, he glanced over at Gael. “It’s only been a few weeks, but I feel like I know who you are. Like I told you, your HV was the most real one I saw. You looked scared and vulnerable and like you needed someone, and I guess I wanted to be that someone. I dunno. Then last night. You were afraid, and I realized how much I didn’t know. About you, about how this was all going to work. And I’m left wondering if I’m . . . if I can be enough.”
His skin felt hot, but Bram let it blaze. He’d just admitted he didn’t think he could win a heart, or even a bedmate, without appealing to a specific need. Or maybe that he’d chosen Gael because he wanted to be some sort of protector or hero.
Worst part, all of it was true. He did want to be needed. He wanted to be necessary to the happiness of another person. He wanted to banish the demons that tortured Gael’s sleep. Wanted to make him smile every day.
And Gael was looking at him like he was some sort of crazy.
“I’m sorry,” Bram said.
Bram lifted a hand, let it drop. “I didn’t know it would be this hard. To want you, but wonder if you felt obligated to kiss me. To want me back.”
Understanding shone brightly in Gael’s eyes, like a revelation. “I do want to kiss you. Want you to want me.”
Bram closed his eyes against the earnestness in Gael’s gaze, which was so sweet and full of the want they were talking about. Trusting that face would be so easy. Falling for it. His own want was near overwhelming, edging toward need. But none of this would work if he kept believing he and Gael were at cross purposes. If he doubted Gael’s reasons for being here. Trust had to go both ways. Neither of them wanted to be played.
Opening his eyes, Bram prepared to ask the question that could ruin it all. He had to know. If he was going to take Gael home and make him a part of his life, he had to know. “What are you really running from, Gael?”
If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.
Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.
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