Yesterday, the copyedits for Chaos Reigning landed in my inbox. That means we are inching ever closer to release, which I can hardly believe. This will be the final book in the Consortium Rebellion trilogy and the the final book (for now) set in the Consortium universe.
I have ideas for future books, but they’ll have to get in line behind all of my other commitments. Speaking of, I haven’t forgotten about TQT, but it’s been eclipsed by contracted work, including the proposal for my new series (yay!!!), as I warned was possible. I promise I’m still doing it, just much later than I had hoped. :/
But enough with the sadness—time to celebrate CR being almost a real book! Here’s a little snippet to tide you over until copyedits are done and I can post the first chapter. And if you haven’t yet, now is an excellent time to preorder because the book comes out in May! ;)
I stared at myself in the bathroom mirror and willed myself to calm down. Alexander—now Alex—had flustered me, and I felt like I needed a cold shower. I shivered as I remembered his knowing grin. Maybe two cold showers.
After I’d dawdled as long as I could without looking like I was hiding, I returned to the bedroom. Alex was sitting on his pallet on the floor, looking at his com. He glanced up, and I tilted my head toward the bathroom. “All yours.”
He nodded his thanks and gathered his bag. Once he was gone, I slid into my enormous, fluffy bed. I looked at his sad little pile of blankets and hardened my heart. No. This was his decision. I’d offered an alternative and he’d chosen this. He could live with his choices.
“Jarvis, lights twenty percent.” The overhead lights flared to life, slightly brighter than a night-light setting. Alex would be able to see, even after coming out of the fully lit bathroom.
I set the windows to gradually lighten in four hours. The sunlight would wake me without the need for a harsh alarm. I checked my com one final time, but I hadn’t gotten anything else from Bianca. I wondered if she was getting updates from Alex or Aoife, or if she assumed no news was good news.
With nothing left to do, I turned off my bedside lamp and closed my eyes. Restless energy pulsed under my skin, but I feigned sleep.
Alex returned with a whisper of sound. He settled on his pallet and turned the overhead lights off. He was perfectly still and quiet, without so much as a discontented sigh. It would have been so much easier to ignore him if he’d acted disgruntled, but his quiet acceptance sent sympathy and guilt swirling through my veins. He had to be uncomfortable, but you’d never know it.
I lasted for maybe ten minutes before I sighed and whispered, “Are you awake?”
“Yes.” His voice rumbled from the dark. “Do you need something?”
“Jarvis, lights five percent.” The room was still deeply shadowed, but I had excellent night vision and could see clearly even in deep darkness. However, this would be easier if I could pretend the shadows hid us from each other. “Bring your pallet. You can sleep on the other side of the bed. On top of the covers.”
There was a long, silent pause. Finally, he asked, “Are you sure? I don’t mind sleeping here.”
“But I do,” I grumbled. “This bed is giant and it’s petty to make you sleep on the floor because you agreed to help me. Hurry up before I change my mind.”
He stood and gathered his bedding. He wore a T-shirt and pajama pants. I acknowledged the flare of disappointment, then ignored it and glued my gaze to the ceiling. I wasn’t sure if this was the best idea ever or the worst, but I was never going to get to sleep if I kept worrying about whether or not he was comfortable.
He rounded the bed and laid out his bedding. I tracked him via sound and kept my eyes firmly pointing upward. The mattress shifted as he climbed into bed—the bed I currently occupied. I banished all improper thoughts before they could form. I needed sleep and nothing else.
Alex turned the lights off. I rolled away from him, away from temptation. I was being ridiculous.
“Thank you,” Alex murmured quietly.
“You’re welcome. Good night.”
Exhaustion pulled at me, but I couldn’t settle. I wasn’t used to having someone in my bed, and especially not a virtual stranger. My hookups were with people I knew and trusted, but even then, they were more of the that was fun, don’t let the door hit you on the way out variety. Now, every little noise kept me awake. Alex apparently didn’t have the same trouble. He fell asleep with enviable ease. It took a long time, but eventually his deep, even breaths lulled me into dreamland.
Cat is the kindest of the von Hasenberg siblings, but she’d disagree if you asked her. :)
I hope you all enjoyed this little glimpse of Cat and Alex! I can’t wait for you to read the whole book!