Read The Safety of Nowhere Online

Authors: Iris Astres

Tags: #Science Fiction/Space Opera

The Safety of Nowhere

BOOK: The Safety of Nowhere
3.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Table of Contents

Title Page



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Loose Id Titles by Iris Astres

Iris Astres



Iris Astres

The Safety of Nowhere

Copyright © August 2013 by Iris Astres

All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the original purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.


eISBN 9781623004798

Editor: Rory Olsen

Cover Artist: Dar Albert

Published in the United States of America


Loose Id LLC

PO Box 809

San Francisco CA 94104-0809


This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.


This e-book contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language and may be considered offensive to some readers. Loose Id LLC’s e-books are for sale to adults ONLY, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

* * * *

DISCLAIMER: Please do not try any new sexual practice, especially those that might be found in our BDSM/fetish titles without the guidance of an experienced practitioner. Neither Loose Id LLC nor its authors will be responsible for any loss, harm, injury or death resulting from use of the information contained in any of its titles.


To my mother, who loved gardening and blue-eyed men—in that order.


I’d like to thank the village of women at Loose Id who helped me raise this novel: Christy Lockhart, Treva Harte, Allie McKnight, and Rory Olsen. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your patience and support.

Chapter One

Malcolm had resurfaced somewhere new and infinitely better. The harsh lights and unpleasant smells were gone, as were the endless stream of strangers asking questions he still couldn’t answer.

Are you all right? Are you in pain?

A hundred times they asked. A dozen different voices. The brisk sound of their footsteps drawing near and then receding.

Wherever he now found himself was quiet as a temple, the silence only broken by the pleasant sounds of domesticity: the rush of water in a sink, the scrape of furniture over the floor. Gentle sounds made by a gentle woman whose presence led him forward like a distant rustling in the fog.

At times she placed her hand over his heart and dipped her head to press her cheek to his. The smell of earth and sun clung to her hair, and everything about her felt alive and thrumming like a hive of bees. She didn’t have the practiced hands of doctors. Her touch caressed and soothed, her voice a murmur of concern. And he was charmed by her. Intrigued. More than anything, he wished that he could lift a hand and stroke her. Had he any strength at all, he’d pull her warm, lithe body closer to his and return her sweet caresses with his own.

But Malcolm couldn’t move. He was encased in some inviolable torpor. Whether it was brought on by an illness or the lingering effect of drugs, he couldn’t say. Whatever the cause, it left him trapped. He couldn’t lift a hand or speak. There wasn’t any feeling in him but the place that wanted her.

Beyond that, there were only memories. Dark and painful memories of a bomb’s blast that had torn into the Body House and left it broken and exposed. The life he’d shared there was gone. If not gone, gravely altered.

He and all his brethren had spent two years traveling to Earth, and never in all that time had any one of them imagined they would be the source of so much hate when they arrived. They’d barely had a chance to enjoy their success before Earth First’s harsh voice was heard.
Kick them off the planet.
Send them back to where they came from.
Whatever force was put behind these less-than-kind suggestions, Malcolm and his friends weren’t going back. They liked their new home far too much. Enemies aside.

In the beginning the grassroots movement against aliens was just a band of crackpots. That’s what everyone had said. No one said it anymore. The group was stronger now, their numbers growing larger, and they’d progressed beyond their first libelous claims through kidnappings and public executions to what now seemed like full-scale war.

And why? Because Bods were devoted to the pleasuring of women? Because, as was now obvious, Earth women had a marked interest in the kind of expert fucking they could give? Hard to fathom what in all of that might result in so much animosity. There was no way to understand. Better not to think of it at all.

A door opened, and on a breeze she came to him and sat beside him on the bed. “Malcolm.” She knew his name. If only he knew hers. “What’s wrong?” Her voice was low and tight, her palm pressed to his chest. “You’ve been asleep nearly a day, and that’s too long. You have to try to wake up now. This isn’t a hospital. Unless you’re conscious, I can’t feed you. I can’t even move you on my own or give you anything to drink. I’ll have to call those people to come back for you, which isn’t good. It’s dangerous to roam around out there. But if you can’t wake up, there isn’t any other choice.”

She picked his hand up, placed it in her lap, and stroked his palm. “Can’t you just open your eyes?” The pleading got to him. He wasn’t in the habit of denying women. This woman could ask anything of him and he’d comply. Except every inch of skin he had felt weighted down, pinned by an unbending force. His impulses were absorbed by the prevailing heaviness. He gave his body orders, and they dissipated instantly into a thick, cottony void.

“Oh God.” She let go of his hand, a gesture of defeat. He focused everything he had on holding on to her. A little movement in his fingers offered some encouragement, but she appeared not to have seen it.

Her warmth descended, and he felt her silky hair fall over him, the press of her full lips against his forehead. “I’m going back outside, and when I come back in, I’ll have to decide what to do. Help me if you can. Try to wake up just a little. Let me know you’ll be okay.”

And so he’d been commanded.

Malcolm gathered everything he had and focused on reclaiming the full power of the man he’d been. If there were pain, it would be easier. Physical torment was something he had mastered long ago. No prick or burn or sting was new to him. In fact, a little agony could be a fine thing when a sharpened focus was required. But nothing hurt. Nothing ached. He had so little sensation he might doubt his own existence were it not for wanting her.
I want therefore I am.
Hadn’t someone somewhere said that once?

In her name, Malcolm fought the mysterious venom coursing through him. Fought the sorcery. He pierced the layers of oblivion one by one and managed just the slightest shift, a shallow rocking of his lower body. Exhaustion from the effort dragged him down again. Before he could succumb, he dug his wrists into the bed and got his torso half an inch up from the mattress. A moment later through sheer force of will he opened both his eyes.

The world was a faint blur of shapes for several minutes. With time he saw the contours of a tidy cabin. A wall painted a cheery blue. A stove, a table, a stream of sunlight from the shaded window. Her home. Her essence everywhere. But not her flesh. To bring her back to him he’d have to go on fighting until he could stand and walk and cross the distance to wherever she might be.

Chapter Two

The man would not wake up. She’d watched him sleep for almost a full day now, and in all that time he hadn’t moved a muscle. Dinah knew this for certain because she’d checked on him about a hundred times. Despite being persistently unconscious, he looked okay—in fact he looked amazing. Handsome. Perfect. Like a nobleman drawn by a classical anatomist. And he looked peaceful too, which must be nice for him, but he would not wake up.

They’d told her he would have to sleep the drugs out of his system. They’d told her when the residual effects of surgery wore off, he’d wake up good as new, minus a few scars and pins and maybe a few nasty memories. But evidently they’d been wrong. Did Earth doctors really know how a Backusian would respond to drugs or surgery or being at the center of a big, ugly explosion? She’d read the infoscans they’d left for him. She knew what he’d been through.

He had to wake up. If he didn’t, she would have to find a way to get those people back to pick him up. Assuming that she could and that it wouldn’t be too late. These were not good thoughts for Dinah. They churned inside her head until she got that too much feeling she really didn’t like. Too much was the enemy. It made her flibbity and flushed and short of breath, none of which worked for her. Dinah liked life on an even keel, and gardening was her favorite way to mellow out.

She unwound the garden hose beside the house and placed the metal tip into the rose bed that separated her yard from the street. Peering down the hill, she saw just what she liked to see: nothing. Not a soul for miles.

It still made her antsy to be close to the street. Some townie guy could easily come up the hill, pretending to run into her, making her walk the tricky line between insultingly cold and invitingly friendly. Dinah had gotten pretty good at that line over the years, but she didn’t want any more practice. Definitely not today.

Clippers out, she moved toward the wild poppies and gathered a good-sized bouquet for Cy’s memorial. The morning sun teased her chilled skin with its flickering heat as she brushed her hand over her husband’s picture, apologizing into his smiling face for putting him on show.
Thanks for looking out for me.
No doubt his spirit had her back, because her grieving widowhood seemed to be working for her. So far so, good in any case.

Dinah paused. Head up and hackles rising, she listened to a faint metallic sound moving toward her. When she recognized the scrape of tires scuffling along the dirt, she let go of her breath and stepped into the street.

Gordon Evers was tearing toward her on his bike, his boxy, chubby frame plugging away despite the wobbly fit.

“Hey, big guy!” Dinah called to him. “You’re out mighty early.”

Gordon wasn’t often on his own at any time of day. Cindy was protective of her grandson, who was “special”—on something called a spectrum. Maybe the old woman still felt guilty that her daughter had run out on him so soon after her son was born. Or maybe it was just because his father was a total dick. Hard to say. All three could work as reasons for her keeping such a close eye on him.

Dinah had no call to point a finger. As far as distant neighbors went, Cindy and Pat were pretty much ideal. And Gordon was her bud—the only company she truly welcomed now that Cy was gone.

“I can’t do work today.” He made loops and zigzags on the road, calling to her from the street in his full-throttle monotone. “I’m going to my dad’s for the whole weekend. He has a new girlfriend!”

“Ew,” Dinah said. Gordon laughed. For some reason he found a good nine-tenths of what she said hysterical. A bonus since she’d come to love that helpless
hee hee hee
of his, especially when he grabbed his belly like a cartoon version of himself.

BOOK: The Safety of Nowhere
3.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Traitor (Rebel Stars Book 2) by Edward W. Robertson
The Last Airship by Christopher Cartwright
Whatever It Takes by Staton, Mike
Mustang Sassy by Daire St. Denis
The Black Rose by James Bartholomeusz
The Huntsmen by Honor James
Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
A Beau for Katie by Emma Miller