Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page
The Faery of Beacon Lake: Part 18 by Nephy Hart
The smell of bacon greeted them as they descended the stairs. The usual sounds of Aggie making breakfast soothed Owen. They were comfortingly family and just what Owen needed. It wasn’t that he regretted what he’d done, at least not at that moment, but it was a heck of an adjustment and he hadn’t quite made it yet. He needed grounding and Aggie was just the person for the job. She glanced up as they entered the kitchen.
“You need to go shopping,” she said shortly, then turned to poke at the bacon and sausages that hissed and spat in her big, cast iron pan.
“Sure. We’ll take a walk down to town after breakfast. What do you need?” Owen poured himself a coffee from the already boiled kettle.
“Not me. Your husband. He needs clothes.”
Adrift: Chapter 1 by J. Alan Veerkamp
Traffic beacons swept the corporate work zone as a shuddering transport dumped off another load of hopeful men and women. The stench of mustard-tinged exhaust choked the air in its wake.
Arad Ansari shivered in the claustrophobic queue leading to the Grey District A-5 techyard. He’d camped overnight after visiting the bathhouse using the token he’d lifted off a wayward tourist to be sure he was clean and ready to work. Manufacturing was automated, leaving tech jobs scarce among the self-made engineers in the factory slums. There was no way he could risk this chance getting away from him.
In Pieces #16 (5.4) by Julie Lynn Hayes
By the time Ryan reached his room, he decided sitting down was not only a good idea, it was required. He grabbed his laptop from his luggage and tossed it on one of the beds, then took a shaky seat beside it while he collected his thoughts. Everything seemed to be catching up with him at once. His dad’s death and funeral. Getting a new job and having to postpone his first day. The flight to New Orleans. And the biggest shock of all—running into the person he’d wanted to see more than anything in the world.
Cassie would flip when she heard the news. She’d be very happy for him too, he knew. He’d confided in her as much as he dare reveal about his feelings for Ben. He’d still been sorting everything out at the time Ben had disappeared. Cassie was very perceptive about things like that, as well as being very kind-hearted. No wonder his dad had been drawn to her. She never sat in judgment on him, simply listened, and provided a strong shoulder to cry on, when needed. If Ryan was into women—and if she hadn’t been his stepmother—he could see himself with Cassie. But his heart belonged to Ben, and had for a long time.
I wiggled my tongue against the capsule cautiously. I couldn’t break it, but I wanted to. My heart was racing, and tears were leaking from my eyes. Captain was cursing and pissed, Deke wasn’t any better, and their struggle and failure to suppress their rage helped our disguise.
Only the promise I’d forced them to make kept us going after I’d become paralyzed and the first salty drop streamed down my cheek to drip off my chin. I’d feared it would happen, because losing control was a trigger Lakshou had taught me all about.
All the things that could go
Under a Clear, Dark Sky by Sarah Hayes
Your name is [redacted] and your position within the [redacted] is that of a [redacted], which means you are very important and do a lot of traveling throughout the country. You look for objects of great importance, then recover them—and often you do not recover them. Your record so far is zero items recovered. Still, you travel a lot. You enjoy the work. You cut a solitary path through Faerûn and beyond, which suits you just fine. You have known your whole life that there’s no one place you belong.
Your current job has you undercover as a merchant, part of a traveling caravan heading toward a distant market. You’ve received intelligence