Blog Archive - June 2018

THIRDS Thursday - 6/7/18

Prompt: We all know Dex is a trouble magnet with a super big heart. Maybe they work on a case and during a raid they find a little 5 year old bratty Therian Jaguar girl, whose needs looking after till her family can be found.


PART ONE

“On my signal.”

Sloane’s low growl carried through Dex’s earpiece, and he replied with a quiet, “copy that,” along with the rest of the team. They had an arrest warrant for a wolf Therian responsible for the deaths of two young Therians thanks to a dangerous synthetic drug he’d been dealing around the clubs. According to Intel, the guy was holed up in the multimillion dollar brownstone down the street.

They fell into formation behind Sloane, and quickly headed for the house in question. There were at least four other Therians in the house, possibly armed. The street was barricaded with the Sarge keeping surveillance inside their BearCat on one end, and West doing surveillance from Theta Destructive’s BearCat on the other.

They swiftly approached the front steps of the house, and followed Sloane up, standing to one side as Sloane gave the signal, and Ash hurried past with the breaching gun. As soon as he pulled the trigger, and the door was open, they flooded into the house shouting orders, and checking the rooms.

Sloane signaled for Dex, Cael, and Letty to check the rooms upstairs, so they left their team to check the rest of the house. Dex checked the first room. It was a bathroom.

“Bathroom’s clear,” Dex said before moving onto the next room. It was dark, but thankfully that wasn’t a problem for him anymore. He slowly crept around the room, checking behind the door, the closet, and under the bed before turning on the light. A small shadow appeared in front of him and he screamed. Holy shit! That had not been in the room a minute ago. That was the last time he watched a Japanese horror flick before bed.

A little girl stood staring at him. She was stinking adorable with her pitch-black hair tied up in a side ponytail and her pink Hello Kitty pajamas. She had on pink socks with little red hearts on them. Aw. The classification tattoo on her neck said she was a jaguar Therian—which would explain the silent ninja moves—and she couldn’t have been more than five or six years old. Her big amber eyes were fixated on him.

Sloane’s voice came through his earpiece. “House has been cleared. We’ve secured Hill and his crew. Sarge is pulling up the BearCat now. Dex? Where are you?”

“Upstairs,” Dex said quietly. “I, um, found something.” He crouched down slowly in front of the little girl. “Hi, there. I’m Dex. It’s going to be okay. You’re safe now. Is your mommy or daddy here?”

Her bottom lip wobbled, and her big amber eyes filled with tears.

Uh oh. Oh no, no, no. Please don’t cry. Please don’t cry. “Hey, it’s okay,” Dex soothed.

An ear-piercing shriek that nearly split Dex’s eardrum infiltrated his helmet, bouncing around, and making him hiss at the pain. It was followed by groans and curses from the rest of his team.

“What the fuck was that?” Ash growled.

Dex ignored him. “Uh, Sloane? I need you. Right now. I need you this second.” Dex tried to gently hush the girl, cooed at her, tried to soothe her. She glared at him and screamed louder. Oh sweet Jesus. How do I make it stop?

Dex felt Sloane’s presence before he even saw him. He glanced over his shoulder, relieved.   

“Jesus, what the hell is making that noise?”

Dex stood, and moved out of the way, watching as Sloane’s eyes went huge. He stared at the miniature banshee intent on summoning some otherworldly beast.

“What uh….” Sloane cleared his throat. “What exactly is it you want me to do?”

“Kneel.”

“What?”

Dex knelt down, and motioned for Sloane to do the same. They needed to show the little girl that they weren’t a threat. Dex smiled softly at her. “This is my partner Sloane. He’s a jaguar Therian too, just like you.” Dex took hold of Sloane’s chin, and turned his face so she could see his classification mark. “See.”

The wailing stopped, replaced by sniffles.

Oh thank God.

Her eyes remained glued on Sloane whose gaze darted to Dex and back. Dex nudged him.

“What?”

“Do something.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know. Smile.”

Sloane smiled tentatively, and Dex coughed into his hand so he wouldn’t laugh. Clearly, Sloane knew him too well, and elbowed him before clearing his throat and holding his hand out to the little girl.

“Hi, I’m Sloane. What’s your name?”

She squinted at him then looked him over. “Are you really a THIRDS agent?”

Kinda judgy for a five-year-old.

Sloane nodded. “Yep.” He pointed to the “THIRDS” name tape then turned so she could see the THIRDS patch embroidered on his sleeve.

She took her time thinking about something before sighing. It was the most put-upon sigh Dex had ever heard in his life. Like they were the most exasperating people on the planet and were eating into her very valuable time.

“I’m Solange.”

“That’s… a very unique name,” Dex said.

“It’s French. It means “solemn”,” she stated, her chin lifted high, and small hands on her hips.

Dex nodded. He held back a smile as he moved his gaze to Sloane. “It means solemn.”

Sloane peered at him suspiciously. “What?”

“If you take out the “g” in Solange, and move the “l”, you get another name.”

“What are you—Oh.” Sloane narrowed his eyes at Dex. “Funny.”

“Sloane? Dex? What’s going on in there?” Tony asked. “Everything okay?”

Sloane tapped his earpiece. “Yeah, um, we’ve got a Therian child up here.” He smiled at Solange. “Sweetheart, are your parents here?”

Solange shook her head. “They’re in an airplane. Nat was babysitting me at home, but her stupid boyfriend said he was bored and wanted to play video games at his place.” She folded her little arms over her chest, her scowl fierce. “He didn’t even let me bring Dolly.”

“Okay. Did you hear that Sarge?”

“Yeah, we don’t have Nat in custody. We’ll bring Solange to HQ with us, see if we can locate Nat or the parents.”

“Copy that.” Sloane smiled that big gorgeous smile of his, and Dex almost swooned. Solange certainly did. “Okay, Solange. How about we take you back to THIRDS headquarters with us, and we’ll see about getting a hold of your parents, okay?”

Solange nodded, her big amber eyes widening slightly. “Can we stop by my house and pick up Dolly?” Her bottom lip did that little quivery thing, and Dex had to give it to her. She was good. Sloane’s expression softened.

“Of course we can, sweetheart.”

She threw herself at him, and he caught her, chuckling before he lifted her into his arms. With a little sigh, she snuggled against him, her little arms wrapped around his neck. Sloane turned for the door, and she lifted her head to look at Dex then she stuck her tongue out at him.

What the…?

Dex narrowed his gaze, and gasped when she mouthed the word “mine.”

Oh, it’s on now.


PART TWO next week. Copyright © 2018 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

THIRDS Thursday - 6/14/18

PromptWe all know Dex is a trouble magnet with a super big heart. Maybe they work on a case and during a raid they find a little 5 year old bratty Therian Jaguar girl, whose needs looking after till her family can be found.


PART TWO

Dex had faced off against many a nefarious foe, but none had been as devious, sharp, and dangerous as the one sitting in the chair across from him. Narrowed amber eyes dared him to make the first move. He wasn’t falling for it.

“You’ve lost, Buttercup. That big hunk of man is mine.”

Solange narrowed her eyes to slits, and Dex waited. Suddenly she sat up, and sniffed the air before her lips curled into a wicked smile.

Wait. What’s happening here?

She inhaled deeply then let out an ear-piecing wail just as Sloane walked through the door with a sippy cup and small container of veggie sticks.

“Dex, what happened?” Sloane hurried over to her, and she raised her arms up so he could carry her. “It’s okay, sweetheart. There’s no need to be scared.” He lifted her into his arms to comfort her, and when he turned away, she stuck out her tongue at him. The little sneak!

“I didn’t do anything. She’s trying to steal you away from me.”

Sloane turned to arch an eyebrow at him. “Really, Dex? She’s a five-year-old, not your nemesis.”

Oh, she’s both, Sloane. Believe me, she’s both. Dex narrowed his eyes at her.

Solange pulled away, bottom lip quivering as she pointed to Dex. “Scary man.”

Dex’s jaw all but hit the floor. “What? Are you kidding me?” They were in their office in Unit Alpha. The floor was filled with huge ass Therians of all classifications, and he was the scary one?

Sloane put Solange down in his chair. “Aw, it’s okay. He’s really not scary at all. In fact, he’s usually very silly.”

“Oh, now I’m silly?” Dex crossed his arms over his chest, and pouted. “I am not silly. I just happen to have an exceptional sense of humor and childlike wonderment.”

Sloane hummed. “Tell me, who was it that refused to go down the doll aisle in that toy store when we were called in to remove that drunk Therian frat boy?”

“Hey, I had a very grownup and legitimate reason for not going in there.”

“And that was?” Sloane asked, looking amused.

Damn him and his stupidly handsome face that Dex wanted to kiss all over.

“Dolls are creepy. I’ve seen Chucky.”

“That was just a movie,” Sloane said with a chuckle.

“It was,” Dex agreed, “but I also saw Chucky. Literally. There was a Chucky doll in there. So, H to the no. Who would buy their kid a Chucky doll? Then again….” He eyed Solange who blinked innocently at him. Yeah, I can see right through you. You’re not fooling anyone. Okay, maybe you’re fooling Sloane, but not me.

Sloane turned for the door, and Dex pointed to his eyes then to her, mouthing the words “I’m watching you.”

“Look after her for a few minutes while I check in with the Sarge. We’re trying to get a hold of her parents.”

“Wait!” Dex jumped out of his chair, and ran over to Sloane talking quietly. “You’re leaving me alone with her?”

Sloane laughed softly. “Dex, what’s gotten into you? She’s just a kid. You’re great with kids.”

“Yes, kids. Not spawns of Beelzebub.”

“Oh my God, you’re not really jealous, are you?”

Dex sniffed. “No.”

“You’re a terrible liar,” Sloane said, kissing him. It was short, but sweet. “Just use that Dexter J. Daley charm. You’ll be fine.”

Sloane was right. He was overreacting.

Dex turned, and walked over to their desks. Solange sat in Sloane’s chair, her little legs kicking back and forth as she sipped her drink and crunched on her veggie sticks.

“I think we got off on the wrong foot,” Dex said, taking a seat on the edge of the desk. “I don’t think you’re really trying to steal my fiancé.”

She looked up at him and smiled. “Sloane’s my boyfriend now.”

“Listen, kid. You’re five. I have T-shirts older than you.”

“Sloane’s going to have tea with us. The Queen’s coming, and I’ll be a princess. The Duchess Mrs. Bunny-Fluffs will be there, and Prince Puppy-Pants. Then Sloane will come to my birthday party, and he’ll tell all the kids at school that they have to come, and they will because he’s a THIRDS agent and they have to listen to him.”

Dex frowned. “Did the kids you invited to your party say they weren’t coming?”

Solange wrinkled her nose, her legs stopped moving. She stared down at her veggies, and just shrugged.

“What school do you go to, Solange?”

She told him, and Dex went to his desk interface. He placed his palm to the scanner to wake it up. Typing away, he did a search on the school, and sighed. It was an elite private school where most of the students were from wealthy families. Wealthy Human families. Damn. These were kids whose parents were politicians, government officials, and high-profile media personnel. Several names he recognized, and they were good people. So why wouldn’t they let their kids go to Solange’s birthday party? It couldn’t be just because she was a Therian.

“Solange, do you—” Dex jumped from his chair. No. No way.

She was gone.

Oh fuck. Sloane was going to kill him!

Dex ran out of the office, into the bullpen. There was no way he was going to find her on his own. The floor was huge with a never-ending number of places a tiny Therian could squeeze into. He was going to need backup. Dex tapped his earpiece then remembered Sloane would hear him. Shit. He ran to Calvin and Hobbs’s office.

“Guys, I need your help.”

Hobbs looked at Dex then around him. He put his hand out to the side about waist height.

“I lost her.”

Calvin shot to his feet. “You what? Are you insane?”

“Seriously, all I did was check something on my system, and when I looked up, she was gone. Please. We gotta find her before Sloane finds out.”

Calvin snorted. “You really think Sloane isn’t going to find out? For all we know, Solange is with him now. She’s really taking a liking to him.”

“Please.” Dex ran over and grabbed Calvin’s shoulder. “Whatever you want, it’s yours. I can’t let Sloane think I’d make a terrible parent.”

Calvin’s expression softened. “Dex, this doesn’t mean you’d make a terrible parent. Of course we’ll help you finder her.”

“Thank you.” Dex hugged Calvin tight. “You’re a good friend.”

“It’s going to cost you your Star Wars Rebel Resist backpack.”

Dex gasped as he jerked away. “Scratch that, you’re an extortionist.”

“Do you want our help, or not?”

“Fine,” Dex growled. “But you only get the backpack if we find her before Sloane does.”

“Deal.”

Dex spun on his heels, and jabbed a finger in Hobbs’s direction. “Your boyfriend’s a jerkface.”

Hobbs shrugged, his smile wide.

They headed out into the bullpen to find Solange. “Hobbs, can you check that she’s not already with Sloane? Calvin, you search the areas outside the bullpen, I’ll search the bullpen. Do not tell anyone I lost the kid. She’s gotta be around here somewhere.” He wasn’t worried that she wasn’t safe. Unit Alpha was the safest place she could be, and there was no way she could leave the floor. Only Unit Alpha authorized personnel could enter and exit the floor, and no one was going to let an unaccompanied five year old go anywhere.

It was going to be fine. He could do this. Ash told him all the time that he had the brain of a child. If anyone could find her, he could. He just hoped he found her before Sloane did.


PART THREE next week. Copyright © 2018 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

Love and Payne cover reveal in tomorrow's newsletter!

Hello, all! As some of you may know, my newsletter goes out at midnight (the 15th of every month, and occasional new release notice), and in tomorrow's newsletter I'm revealing the cover for Love and Payne.

If you did not update your subscription details when the GDPR email went out, your email address was removed from my mailing list to comply with the new law.  If you'd like to re-subscribe, you can do so here:

http://bit.ly/CharlieCochetNews

Be sure to tick the Email box in Marketing Permissions.


A Tender Curiosity is now available.

Hello, all! Today's the release of my historical anthology A Tender Curiosity, which features three short historical stories, one having a paranormal twist to it. I wrote these back when I was first published in 2012 with Torquere Press. The stories have been re-edited and re-released by Dreamspinner Press with some word count added. These stories haven't been available for a while now. They're short, sweet, and fun. Happy reading!

Available from: Dreamspinner Press :: Amazon :: iBooks :: Barnes & Noble :: Kobo

A TENDER CURIOSITY

A Collection of Three Short Stories

BOOK DETAILS

Genre: Historical Gay Romance, Historical Paranormal, 1920s, 1930s Length: Anthology, 90 Pages Published: June 15, 2018 Publisher: Dreamspinner Press ISBN eBook: 978-1-63533-615-3

SYNOPSIS

Take a journey into the past and meet the men who laughed, lived, and loved in a bygone era. This collection includes three short but sweet tales of infatuation, adventure, humor, and even a dash of the paranormal. 

When Love Walked In

Private investigator Bruce Shannon’s cases of missing persons and infidelity don’t inspire warm feelings around Valentine’s Day. Luckily Bruce is quite happy with only his cat for companionship—until handsome Jace Scarret wanders off the street and into Bruce’s life. 

In His Corner

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Jessie “the Demon” Dalton needs a cornerman, and Eli jumps at the chance, hoping for answers about why Jessie broke his heart years ago. It soon becomes clear that Jessie needs Eli in his corner—and in his life. Now all Eli has to do is convince Jessie. 

Believe Me, Beloved

Robert Bradley dreams of singing on the radio, and when he attends the masked ball of handsome station owner Gabriel Chase, Robert has no idea his dream is about to take an unexpected paranormal turn.

In His Corner originally published by Torquere Press, Inc., September, 2012. When Love Walked In originally published by Torquere Press, Inc., February, 2012. Believe Me, Beloved originally published in Masks Off Anthology by Top Shelf, An imprint of Torquere Press Publishers, 2012.

Love in Spades audiobook now available from Audible!

Hello, all! I'm super excited to announce that the Love in Spades (Four Kings Security, Book 1) audiobook has been released at Audible! iTunes and Amazon links should be available soon, but the Audible link is live!! I'm so very excited. Greg did such a fantastic job in giving the King a voice. I hope you love the audio as much as I do!

AUDIOBOOK DETAILS

Title: Love In Spades Series: Four Kings Security, Book #1 Genre: Gay Romance, Romantic Suspense Length: Unabridged, 7 hrs and 53 mins Published: June 20th, 2018 Publisher: Charlie Cochet Narrator: Greg Boudreaux

AUDIOBOOK PURCHASE LINKS

Audible.com

THIRDS Thursday - 6/21/18

PromptWe all know Dex is a trouble magnet with a super big heart. Maybe they work on a case and during a raid they find a little 5 year old bratty Therian Jaguar girl, whose needs looking after till her family can be found.


PART THREE

How good could a five-year-old be at hiding?

The answer was very good. Dex had less trouble hunting down wanted criminals than he did finding this kid. He casually strolled through the bullpen, paperwork in his hands so as not to look suspicious. Nonchalantly, he began checking under desks. She had to be somewhere around here. He hadn’t heard back from Hobbs or Calvin, so they clearly hadn’t found her either.

“Um, what are you doing?”

Dex popped up and grinned widely at Taylor. “Hello, Ellis. How are you doing this fine evening?”

Taylor narrowed his eyes. “Don’t call me that. Why are you snooping around Angel’s desk?”

“Not snooping. I’m um, inspecting for dust bunnies.” Dex bent over and looked around. “Nope. No bunnies of any kind.” He straightened, removed a pen from his pocket, clicked it, and scribbled on his paper. “Excellent work. Those dust bunnies can wreak havoc if not properly contained.”

“I’m sure,” Taylor replied wryly.

“Well, I better get to inspecting the rest of the floor. Thanks, El.”

“That’s definitely a no. No nicknames, no abbreviations.”

Dex opened his mouth to ask why when Angel appeared, his smile cheerful.

“Hi, Dex.” Angel turned to Taylor, and his smile widened. “Hey, E, ready to go see Hudson about those lab results?”

Dex arched an eyebrow at Taylor, holding back a knowing smile when Taylor’s cheeks turned pink, and he narrowed his eyes at Dex.

“Shut up, Daley.”

Ooh, he’d been demoted to Daley. Ouch.

“Sure,” Taylor grumbled, following Angel.

Dex unleashed his smile once Taylor was gone. He couldn’t wait for Taylor to finally give into whatever he was clearly feeling for Angel, and just make a move. The suspense just might kill him. Speaking of killing. He was also going to be a dead man if he didn’t find Solange. He continued his inspection of the bullpen. Had it been anyone else, his fellow agents would have wondered what the hell he was on, but it was him, so t hey didn’t even spare him a glance. Hm, maybe he was getting to be a little predictable if his coworkers didn’t so much as bat an eye to his behavior.

“Lose something?”

Shit. Dex cursed under his breath. Of course. Because out of all the agents in Unit Alpha, of course it would be Ash who stumbled across his fuck up. Dex stared at Ash and the little girl in his arms. To add insult to injury, not only had Ash found Solange, but she was doing a little happy wiggle in his arm while she sipped on her juice, because clearly Dex was the big scary guy, and the huge ass growly lion Therian was what? Dex narrowed his eyes at her.

“Really? So I’m scary? What about him?” Dex motioned to Ash, ignoring Ash’s arched eyebrow.

Solange beamed brightly, and petted Ash’s head. “He’s like Dolly.”

Dex was torn. On the one hand, he was insulted by the fact she believed he was scarier than Ash, who reminded her of her dolly, which Sloane had sent Cael and Rosa to pick up from her house. On the other hand, she was comparing Ash Keeler to her dolly. In the end, tormenting Ash won out, and he burst into peals of laughter until he had tears in his eyes.

“I am underwhelmed,” Ash said with a grunt. “The only reason you’re still conscious right now is because there is a child present. One that’s not you. Also, I get to be there when Sloane finds out you lost the kid.”

Dex’s laughter died. “You can’t tell him.”

“Oh, yes I can, and I will.” Ash’s grin was pure evil. He turned and headed for Dex and Sloane’s office.

Dex couldn’t believe he was about to say this, but what choice did he have? “Please, I’ll do anything.”

“Believe me, there is nothing you can promise me that will be worth more than watching you crash and burn in front of Sloane.”

“But… but that’s just mean.”

“I’m sorry, have we met? Do I look like I care?”

“Yes. You do care. You pretend otherwise, but I know you love me.”

“That right there just landed you an expedited trip to your demise.” Ash pulled out his phone, and Dex groaned.

“Man, who peed in your Cheerios this morning,” Dex grumbled.

“Keep it up, Justice.”

Stupid Ash. While Ash called Sloane, Dex removed his phone from his pocket, and sneakily snapped a photo of him while Solange was turned away, so he wouldn’t capture her face. Despite being pissed at Ash, Dex couldn’t deny the adorable picture the two made. Solange was tiny next to Ash. He carried her tucked against him, his arm around her, like he’d done it a hundred times, her weight probably not even registering. Solange had her little arm around his neck and she bopped along to some imaginary song.

Dealing with kids wasn’t knew for them. Sadly, in their line of work, they often found themselves rescuing Therian kids from danger, but once the danger was over, usually Dex, Cael, and Rosa took over because most of the time, the kids didn’t respond well to the larger Therian agents, especially the Apex predators. Other times, they only responded to Therians of their classification, like the way Solange responded to Sloane. Nine times out of ten, the kids were scared shitless of the lion Therian agents. Ash never took it personally which Dex thought was kind of shitty because he knew it was down to the years of prejudice Ash had faced, not just for being a Therian, but for being a lion Therian. Yes, Ash was a surly bastard, but he was a good man.

Right now, he was also a jerkface.

“I can’t believe you’re going to tell Sloane.” Dex dropped down into his chair with a huff while Ash carefully sat Solange down in Sloane’s chair. She smiled up at him, dimples showing. Damn, she was good.

“Can I have some water?”

“Sure. I’ll be right back. Don’t move, okay?”

Solange nodded, and Ash headed for the door, pausing long enough to give Dex a pointed look. “Don’t lose her again.”

Dex glared at him, but didn’t respond.

Solange kicked her feet happily as she smiled at Dex. “You’re going to get in trouble.”

“He sighed. No, not really. Sloane might get mad, but it’ll be okay. Mostly he’s probably just going to be disappointed.” Dex couldn’t help his sigh. “I don’t mind if he gets mad. I deserve it. I’m just worried he’s going to think I won’t make a good dad.”

Solange cocked her head to one side. “Why?”

“Because I lost you.” Dex jumped to his feet and started pacing. “I mean, we’re getting married. It took him a long time not to freak out at just the thought of having a kid, and then he tells me he wants a family one day. What if he decides he made a mistake? That I’m not ready to be a parent. Not that we’re planning on being parents anytime soon, but what if this was like a test, and oh God, I failed miserably.” Dex fell back into his chair. “I suck.”

“Hey, guys.” Sloane walked into the office, his big smile making him look even more handsome. God, he was so madly in love with Sloane, and that meant he would face whatever consequences came his way. Chances were Ash would walk through that door any minute now to gloat about Dex’s epic failure.

Well, time to face the music.


FINAL PART next week. Copyright © 2018 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

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