Welcome A.M. Halford to my blog as she shares a bit of her new release, Wrench in the Engine.
[Siren Classic ManLove: Erotic Alternative Futuristic Sci-Fi Romance, M/M, HEA]
Steven, the head mechanic of the pirate ship Galaxia, is frustrated that he is unable to repair the ship's engines on his own. He’s further irritated when his captain hires outside help to assist him.
Chris is one of the two original creators of the engines used on the Galaxia, but he’s been retired—so to speak—for years now. When Steven arrives requesting his help, Chris is instantly intrigued by the young man and takes the job just to get a chance at him. Before they can even start, however, the Galaxia comes under attack by the military, and Chris is identified as a deserter.
With no choice, Chris joins the crew and sets out to find a way to fix the engines and avoid his own arrest. During the trip, Chris and Steven must come to terms with their mutual attraction—and whether or not to act on it.
You can find A.M. here:
Steven glowered as the ship entered planetary orbit with Maris. The ocean-covered planet was like a blue-green jewel nestled against a black velvet blanket. Its two moons, Lara and Ula, created the perfect accent and, of course, controlled the tides. If this were a leisure trip to the beautiful planet, Steven may have been in a better mood. Instead, all he felt was irritation and defeat.
Having to rely on outside help to fix the engines was the last thing he ever wanted. He’d put his entire being into keeping the Galaxia’s engines running smoothly at peak performance. Now, because of numbskulls, he was experiencing the first true crisis in his career as the pirate ship’s head mechanic.
“You ready?” Tony asked. The short navigator had promised to accompany Steven onto the planet to find this Chris guy the captain said could help them repair the Galaxia. Steven wasn’t so sure about that. Unless the guy could build an entire engine from scratch.
“Like I have a choice,” Steven grumbled as he moved down the corridor to the cargo hold. They were taking one of the main shuttles down. The Galaxia was far too big to enter and exit the planet’s atmosphere.
Tony patted him on the back encouragingly. “Hey, worst case he’s a deadbeat we can tell to get lost.”
“Enough,” Craig ordered. “Chris lives on the island Aerwyna. It’s small, but popular with tourists due to the reefs surrounding it. We’ll be landing directly on the island, near his place of residence and work.”
Steven stepped into the shuttle as Craig continued to give orders and ensure everyone understood their part to play. The party going down consisted of four men: Steven, Tony, Craig, and Darrel. All Steven had to do was talk to this guy and get him to agree to work on the Galaxia’s engines.
After taking his seat on the shuttle, Steven strapped himself in and slid his earpiece into place. He had a gun at his hip, but he doubted he’d need to use it. The planets in the Tri-Paradise system were ungodly peaceful. People came here for vacation. Still, it had become a habit to carry a weapon even before he signed on with Sidney and the Galaxia. Palming the cold metal of the pistol, he sighed as Tony took the shuttle out of the hold and sped toward the planet.
The small ship jolted and jerked, flames licking at the outer hull as the atmosphere lit with the friction of entry. Once they slowed enough due to drag, the flames flickered out and Tony steered them in the direction of their target.
Steven ignored the gasps and awed sounds from his crewmembers as they all looked out the windows. He never wanted to come here in the first place. Why did this Chris have to be on a fucking ocean planet? He couldn’t be on a developed planet? No, he just had to be in the one type of place Steven hated the most.
“If you keep glaring like that, you’ll never convince Chris to help,” Craig teased. Steven glowered at the first mate. He didn’t see what his expressions had to do with anything. The only reason he was even doing this was because Sidney had ordered him to seek this guy’s help himself.
“Two minutes until arrival,” Tony shouted behind him.
Sitting up, Steven braced himself for what was going to be a humiliating process. He could see the island of Aerwyna in the distance, quickly getting bigger as they approached. It didn’t even look that populated! A small resort stood on the western-facing beaches, and a small village sprawled out behind that.
Steven felt himself tensing at the memories the sight was dragging up. He hated island villages! He just knew as soon as that door opened and the salty sea air hit him, he was going to be sick.
Tony brought the ship to a smooth landing on an airstrip just outside the village, and once the engines were off, he opened the doors. Steven’s stomach heaved as the fresh air rushed in. Why did it have to be an ocean planet?
“You going to be okay?” Craig looked amused standing in front of the ramp as it lowered to the ground.
“Let’s just get this over with,” Steven managed to grumble out between shallow breaths and trying not to gag.
“Right,” Craig said with a laugh. “Darrel, you stay with the shuttle. We’ll be back soon, hopefully.”
Oh, they’d be back as soon as Steven could get the information from the man. He didn’t need his help to actually fix the engines. He just needed his knowledge. For that exact reason, he’d brought a holographic schematic of the damage. All this Chris guy had to do was show him what needed to be done and how, and he’d be on his way. No reason to make this more complicated than it already was.
They got a small land vehicle, a primitive jeep-looking thing, from a rental desk stationed in the airport, and Steven sat in the backseat. He ignored the flirting couple in the front. Tony was talking about how he wanted to go swimming, while Craig obviously just wanted to see the navigator wet. Steven couldn’t understand the desire to be intimate with someone. Having someone so close to his personal space made Steven uncomfortable. Sure, he had the craving to let loose every now and then, but he’d never wanted one of those faceless fucks to hang around.
As they got closer to the village and resort, Steven spotted a large repair hangar and his hopes were piqued. Maybe this guy was worth his salt after all. Steven even recognized the company’s name on the side of the building. Laser Aeronautics was a chain of mechanic shops scattered across the cosmos. They had a reputation for only hiring the best.
It took Steven a moment to notice they were driving right past the large building and down to the docks. What the hell was going on? Why would a starship mechanic be found down here?
When they came to a stop outside a small shack, Chris’s Boat Repair painted in green on a wooden sign hanging above the door, Steven felt his temper flare. Was this some kind of sick joke? A boat mechanic? Had Sidney lost his ever-loving mind?
With a sigh, Steven climbed out of the vehicle only to duck down when a shot rang out above his head. He pulled his pistol from the holster at his hip, spun around, and took aim in the direction the shot came from in one fluid motion. His breath froze in his lungs and his heart went silent as he waited for another sign of hostility.
“Easy!” Craig shouted, raising his hands. Tony was standing beside him, his own weapon drawn. The navigator looked deadly as he scanned their surroundings. “Chris, we just came to talk!”
“I thought I told you and your brother to forget I exist.” The rough voice that preceded the man who walked out onto the small front porch had Steven frowning. The man sounded as if he’d spent his life shouting, his voice hoarse from years of overuse.
“Yeah, well, we have a problem with the Galaxia’s engines.” Craig sighed.
“Then it’s a problem for your mechanic,” Chris said, lowering the rifle. Now that the threat had been diminished, Steven stood from his crouched position behind the vehicle and took the man in. He was sturdily built, obviously a man used to hard, physical labor. His dark, full beard had two streaks of gray starting at the corners of his mouth. His black hair was thick, but again there was gray coming in at his temples. His steel eyes were narrowed, small wrinkles giving him even more signs of his age.
“That would be me,” Steven said, stepping forward and placing his pistol back in the holster. “I’m Steven Smith, and we need to talk.”
Chris held up his right hand, and Steven had to remind himself not to stare. Flipping him off was a cybernetic hand. The mechanics extended up to his arm and stopped at his shoulder. Instantly Steven looked down and noticed beneath his swim trunks, his right leg was also a cybernetic prosthetic.
“Oh come on,” Craig beseeched. “Just hear him out.”
“Fuck off,” Chris said with a snarl as he turned and headed back into his shop.
Steven growled and chased after the man. There was no way in fucking hell he was going to be turned down now that he’d come here. Screw this guy. He was going to help them even if Steven had to force him.
“Hey, you.” Steven grabbed the man’s shoulder, spun him around, and slammed him against the wall. He might not look it, but Steven was a mechanic and was quite strong. “I don’t care what issues you have with Sidney and Craig, but I’m here to find a way to fix the Galaxia’s engines. So you’ll swallow your fucking attitude and listen to me.”
The man laughed, throwing Steven for a loop. He loosened his grip on the man, and that proved to be a mistake. Chris flipped their positions, his mechanical hand digging into Steven’s throat. “I built those engines. Why the fuck should I have to fix them now?”
“What?” Steven gasped. This man built the Galaxia’s engines? But that couldn’t be right. Struggling, Steven met Chris’s hard steel eyes and froze. Something stirred inside him as he looked at that cold gaze and felt that prosthetic hand squeeze around his throat. Something primal that he shouldn’t be feeling.
“Hey, that’s enough,” Tony said with a growl, a gun appearing at Chris’s temple. “We don’t need you so bad that I’ll stand by and let you kill one of our crew.”