I’m so excited to have you here. This is our secret place, so don’t give it away! The Tethered Wings series came to me in a flash of inspiration. The 1st two books were nearly done when something surprising happened. Turns out, one of my main characters isn’t who I though he was, but you’ll find out all about that in Vega Falling, book two which is out August 1st, 2017!
There’s also a big surprise in book one, but yeah, spoilers and all that. I am giving you an insight to the early days of Vega and the couple who started everything. This is the first half, the second you get after reading Tethered Wings and sending a link to the review (we live for reviews!). Before that, however, I wanted to share some of my process with you. The first group of photos are from one of my many notebooks. This is brain-storming and a whole lot of What Ifs (you’ll see that as WI).
The second group is another thing I do when creating my story arcs. I love sticky notes and whiteboards. They are stringed together. No idea why I took 3 photos in stead of one. Live and learn!
If you want to dive into the short story, just scroll down.
Cheers everyone! I hope you have a brilliant day!
Here’s my chicken scratch.
And finally, Origins!
Download the PDF file here or simply scroll on to read.
Tethered Wings Origins
Nico Roth stirred his cold coffee and kept his eyes on the waitress, Trina. That’s what her name tag said, anyway. They’d been flirting ever since he’d started working for New World Construction a little over a month ago. Prior to that, he’d never dealt with humans; now he supervised a mixed crew helping to build the Genetic Realms corporate headquarters here in Vega.
The café was busy this morning. It wasn’t fancy, just decent breakfast food and Trina. The human laughed often, and treated her customers as if they were the most important beings in the world. She couldn’t make much money here, so maybe they were.
As a lead foreman, he made a decent income. The fact that the freckled blonde didn’t seem to mind he was a black man intrigued him. He’d heard that humans of color were equals in Anarica, but hadn’t quite believed it. Back in Mandori he was property, nothing more. She could just be treating him like everyone else, of course, but he didn’t think so. There was an energy between them. A spark.
She was serving breakfast to a couple at the table by the window now. That corner table was his preferred spot. It faced the bustling shops of main street outside and allowed him to sit with his back against the wall, which meant he could see Trina at all times. Unfortunately, he’d injured his left wing during a ball game, and had to drive in to town and was running late. He didn’t like being grounded when the weather was so good.
She finished taking their order, then headed his way. “You’re running late today.”
“I injured my wing a while back. Have to drive for the next week or so.”
She poured him a fresh coffee and lightly touched his shoulder. “Sorry to hear that. It must suck having to drive everywhere. So human of you.” The sparkle in her eyes belied her concern.
He smiled back at her. “Don’t know how you humans manage.”
“Having the usual?” She set the thermos of coffee on the table.
He checked his watch. Damn. He shouldn’t have stopped, but he liked to start his day like this. Maybe it was time to do more than flirt. What would it be like to make love to a human? Without wings, how did their whole climax thing work? He knew a few of his crew were dating humans, but he didn’t know them well enough to ask.
Constantly in motion, she tapped her foot as she waited for a reply.
“Not today. Just a to-go cup and a couple of those pastry things in the display case. I just wanted to see your smiling face before I headed to work.”
He wasn’t sure, but maybe the compliment had her blushing.
She stood there, not moving, as if trying to decide something. “Look, if uh you ever want to, I don’t know, get a drink or something after work…I mean if you’re not already seeing someone. Another sensari. Or human. Oh fuck. Never mind.” Her face had definitely gone red as she spun around and rushed off to the counter.
“That would be great,” Nico called after her, getting to his feet.
She stopped and glanced over her shoulder, a flirty smile pulling at her lips. “Yeah?”
He brought the carafe with him. “Yeah. Hand me a cup. I’ll pour while you get the Danish and the bill.”
Her smile was contagious. “So, what time do you get off work?” She slipped an extra roll into the bag before folding it closed.
“I should be able to head out by six or so.” He usually worked until past seven, but he could make an exception.
“They’ve opened up a new bar over by Tenth Street. Say it’s going to be a massive three-building complex when it’s finished.”
Nico was familiar with the place. He knew the foreman in charge of one of the buildings, since it was also a New World project. So far, there were only eight construction firms operating in Vega, which made it a relatively small community. The bar, called New Haven, was being designed for both humans and sensari. It would take years to complete, but they were opening each stage as soon as it was functioning. That presented a number of challenges from a construction standpoint, but humans and sensari needed places to mix and mingle.
Twenty years ago, co-development of a mixed-race country would have been unheard of, but Vega was growing faster than anyone anticipated. His Mandorian government was livid over the mass defection of sanhara, such as himself. But in Vega, he was free to do as he chose with plenty of opportunity for success for those willing to work hard. He could never return, of course, so it had been a risk, but he’d had little to lose.
Too far to fly, Mandori was a relatively short boat-ride away, and there wasn’t a shortage of those willing to ditch their citizenship for a chance at a new life.
Trina placed the bag and check on the counter. “How about we meet there at seven?”
“Sounds good. If you decide you can’t stand the way I dance or something, you can just leave. No hard feelings.” He hoped that didn’t happen. She was addictive.
She laughed and the sound rippled through him, enticing. “Works for me.”
He paid the bill with a healthy tip. “Since we haven’t been formally introduced, I’m Nico Roth. Head Foreman over at New World Construction.”
She extended her hand. “Trina Korathen. Head waitress at Garfunkles Diner. At your service.”
Her skin was soft and warm, but the grip was firm. Little sparks of electricity shot up his arm as they touched.
Her grin matched his own. He’d be willing to bet she’d felt those sparks too. He grabbed his coffee and breakfast, and left, grinning like a school boy. Like every sensari, he hoped to find his tether mate, but he was pushing forty. Maybe it was time to consider other options. He was looking forward to finding out what dating a human was like. If that handshake was any indication, he was definitely missing out.
Trina couldn’t help but admire Nico’s backside as he left the café. He was a little taller than her, with a muscular build that spoke of hard work. And an ass that looked like model material. At the moment his wings weren’t folded against his back as usual. How did that work, anyway? She’d love to run her hand over his extended wingspan. The thought brought a thrill that reached to her toes. She never tired of watching the sensari fly, and the thought of seeing this one naked with wings spread was enough to leave her breathless.
“Did that gorgeous hunk just ask you out? Please say yes.” Vee stood next to her with a stack of plates, eyebrows raised.
“I sort of asked him out. We’re meeting at New Haven tonight at seven.”
“Shh. Keep it down.”
“You have to tell me everything. I mean it, every single detail.” She put the plates down by the sink. “Are you going to sleep with him? You want to, right?”
“Vee, stop it. It’s just a date.” Then again, all Vega citizens were fully inoculated, and she’d been fantasizing about him since he started showing up. As long as he didn’t turn out to be a creep. Please don’t be a creep.
Vee nudged her in the ribs. “I mean it. Every detail.”
She helped Vee rinse the dishes and stack them in the washer.
The rest of the day dragged by in a haze of anticipation. She’d gone on a few dates since moving to Vega a little over five months ago, but nothing clicked. This would be her first with a sensari. The thought made her more than a little jittery. He’d dropped in nearly every morning for a month or more. Small talk was all they’d shared, but she had a good feeling about him. He was nice to everyone, not just her. Last week he’d offered to share his table with a local homeless man who was also a regular. The café offered a daily cup of coffee and a day-old sandwich to the homeless, something she was proud of.
When it finally came time to close, she could barely concentrate enough to balance the register. Her body tingled, and she was far more turned on than she ought to be. She knew, on some crazy level, that he was thinking about her too.
The drive to her apartment was filled with thoughts of what it would be like to dance with Nico’s arms around her. To kiss him.
Sensari kissed, right? Panic whipped through her when she realized she knew next to nothing about their personal lives. They married, she knew that much. Ok, now she was just being stupid. Why didn’t she watch more TV? She pulled into her assigned spot and rushed upstairs to shower and pick out something to wear.
An hour and a half later, she gave her keys to the valet and walked inside the New Haven bar. The place was already massive, and the plans called for two more buildings, all with multiple levels, different music genres, and platforms for the sensari to come and go without using the elevators or zigzagging escalators that would eventually span the buildings. It was sure to be spectacular when they finished.
A techno dance rhythm pulsed through the venue. She’d selected a black leather skirt and silk top. Three inch shoes that were a mash-up of boot and sandal completed the look. She felt confident and sexy, and hoped to hell he liked it. All he’d ever seen her in was the diner uniform. What if he thought she was being too provocative? Was she? She laughed. It didn’t matter. She was who she was. He could take it or leave it.
The music was perfect for dancing, but the club was huge, and they hadn’t picked a place to meet. She didn’t have his number either. Hmm.
“You look stunning.”
His breath was hot against her ear, and her body shivered.
“Love the shoes.” His hand trailed from her wrist to her elbow as he turned her to face him.
Damn, but he had a crazy effect on her. A deep buzz filled her body, and it was good. Really good. She took him in from toe to top, starting with fine leather boots that probably cost a fortune, black jeans and a tailored shirt that was unbuttoned to the chest. The sleeves were rolled up, and his wings provided a crazy cool background. The overall appearance was even better than she’d imagined. And she’d imagined plenty.
“You’re not so bad yourself,” she said, going for a sexy-flirty grin.
“Can I interest you in a drink?”
He could interest her in a lot more than that. “Absolutely. Wine. White. Dry.” Gah, she sounded like an idiot.
“You got it. I hope you don’t mind, I ran into a friend of mine a few minutes ago. He’s with his fiancée, and they’d love to meet you.”
“Sure, no problem.”
He led her around the edge of the dance floor to the far corner and a high top table.
The couple were both tall, thin, and blond. And both had partially-extended wings jutting out behind their shoulders.
Now that she thought of it, a lot of the sensari were displaying their wings. She almost never saw them at the diner.
“Robert and Darla, this is Trina.”
They were super friendly, and made her feel totally welcome.
Nico returned with their drinks and they bantered for a while. A popular tune came on and Robert took Darla’s hand and led her out onto the dance floor.
They were mesmerizing. Wings did something to their center of gravity, and they moved with a grace she’d never have. She wondered if coming here was such a good idea after all. She danced just fine for a human, but this…
Nico touched the back of her hand lightly, bringing her attention back to him. “Pretty good, huh?”
“They’re incredible.” She gave him an apologetic glance. “I don’t dance nearly that well.”
Nico laughed, and she felt it in her gut. It was a high, and she wanted more. “I hope not. Those two have been competing for nearly a decade.”
“How about we get through our first drink, then see how we do on the floor?”
She almost laughed, picturing them literally on the floor, but hadn’t yet gauged his sense of humor. “Liquid courage. Excellent idea.” Trina drank nearly half the glass in one pull.
Nico watched her with an amused look.
Embarrassment washed over her. “Sorry, not very lady-like.”
“I don’t want a lady, Trina. I just want you, whoever you are. Cheers.” He clinked her glass and finished his in three gulps. He set the glass down and made an exaggerated sound of satisfaction as he wiped the back of his hand across his mouth.
They both laughed. She raised her glass and finished it, the warmth of the alcohol spread through her and her nerves eased a notch.
Nico raised an eyebrow. “Are we ready?”
The band was in the middle of one of her favorite songs. “Totally. I haven’t been able to think of anything else all day.” It wasn’t the entire truth. She’d bet her life he’d been imagining the two of them in bed every bit as much as she had. Which was insane. Tumbling into bed on the first date never happened with her, but with Nico, everything felt different.
He held his hand out, his touch electric, just like before. He guided them to the floor, not deep in the middle, but on the fringe, with more room.
The song ended and a sultry beat washed through the room, one that lent itself to two styles of dance. Which would he choose?
Nico grinned and pulled her in to press against his chest. He held her hand in his and wrapped the other around her waist. Her breath caught, and her heart pounded.
Their bodies fit together perfectly as they moved to the underlying rhythm.
His face dropped to her ear, breath hot, and she shivered. He held her a fraction tighter. “So, how long have you lived in Vega?”
For the next hour they went back and forth in a frenzy of learning everything they could about each other. It was odd, but oh so right. She had the insane feeling this was home.
When Robert and Darla interrupted to say goodbye, Nico led them off the dance floor and back to the table. A waitress swooped in and set down two glasses of ice water, which they made short work of.
“Can I get you another glass of wine?” Nico asked.
Their eyes locked, and her heart beat double time. “No.” You know what I want.
He stepped closer and ran his fingers down her arm, sending a thrill though her body. “Look, I don’t want to be presumptuous, but—”
“Are you sure?”
Doubt hit hard. Was she sure? What would he think of her? What if he thought she did this all the time? Which, of course, he would.
He stood there, head slightly tilted and a sexy grin that had her melting.
She placed her hand on his chest. His heartbeat pounded, just like hers. “You need to know two things, then we’ll see.”
His head tilted farther.
“I’ve never…gone home with a man on the first night like this.”
“Yeah, I figured as much. For the record, neither have I.”
“You haven’t gone home with a man on the first date before?” she teased.
He burst out laughing. “With a woman. Not that I have any issue with gays; I just prefer other body parts.”
Trina couldn’t hold back the laugh. “Me too.”
“And the second thing?” He covered her hand with his sending little fireworks up her arm.
Her stomach tightened. This might be the one that made him walk, but she had to say it. “I don’t want a one night stand. Don’t worry,” she rushed on, “I’m not looking to get married tomorrow. I just don’t want, you know, that. If that’s all this is and you’re not interested in dating or anything, then we can just go home. Alone. Not together.” She needed to stop talking.
He gave her one of his increasingly familiar grins before leaning in and placing a feather-light kiss on her lips. A moan escaped her as he stepped back.
“I think we’re good to go.” He held out his hand and she took it.
Nico couldn’t quite believe the way this evening had played out. Everything about the human resonated with him. She had a wicked sense of humor, was truly stunning, and yet somewhat humble. His entire body responded to her. He wondered if she even knew what his enlarged wings signified. Humans had a very different attitude to attraction than sensari, he’d heard that much from his co-workers.
They made their way outside into the warm summer’s eve. As they approached the valet, he reached out and stopped her.
“Change your mind already?” Her smile told him she knew that wasn’t the case.
“This sounds so cliché, but your place or mine?” She was certainly the one more at risk here. He could be a psycho, but he wasn’t. And damned if he wasn’t absolutely sure that she sensed that.
“Good question. I guess your place?”
“That’s fine. How about you follow me.”
“In case I don’t like the way you dance?”
He laughed. Oh hell yes, he had it bad for this human. He kissed her before replying. The move caught them both by surprise, but it deepened quickly. Yeah, they needed to get to his place. He got her number and texted her the address in case she lost him.
The valet pulled up his car first. No way in hell was he fitting in there with his wings like this, so he lowered the convertible top before getting in. Pulling forward, he waited for her. She drove an older blue compact of some kind. His sporty coupe probably cost ten times as much. He hoped she liked it. He could see her sitting next to him on weekend road trips.
It was a short twenty-minute drive to his condo. Instead of going to the underground garage, he parked out front so she could park next to him.
His wings were hard as rocks, as was his cock. He reached down and positioned himself to be a little less obvious, but there really wasn’t much he could do.
He waited for her at the rear of her car. She got out, locked her door and walked straight up to him. Without a word, she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her delicious body against his erection. She kissed with a passion and hunger that matched his own. His desire to get her up to his bedroom battled with his reluctance to stop what they were doing. He was approaching the edge when he finally broke off. “Come on, sexy.”
She giggled as he spun her, then led her with one hand at the small of her back. “Took you long enough.”
The curve of her ass was a tempting target, and he smacked it playfully with his right wing.
Her squeal of laughter echoed in the lobby as he pressed the Up button. He could have just flown her to the twelfth floor if his damn wing wasn’t acting up. That would have impressed her, no doubt. Although, she seemed plenty impressed as it was. Another time.
The elevator ride was a tangle of tongues and teasing caresses. He was glad old Mrs. Vanguild wasn’t around. She’d have been scowling at him for months. Would have been worth it, though.
He maneuvered to his front door and used his palm to access the flat. The entryway lights came on as they made their way down the hall, through the dining area, across the living room and over to the master suite.
She was ravenous, and he couldn’t get enough. She had his shirt and his belt off nearly instantly. He pulled off his boots while she peeled her shirt over her head, then unzipped that sexy skirt and let it fall to the floor.
He whipped her around and backed her against the wall. “Hold perfectly still.”
He finished undressing, then stood facing her, legs apart and arms crossed. His wings and erection throbbed at the sight of her.
Her palms were pressed against the wall and she wore nothing but a bra, a minuscule scrap of material masquerading as a thong, and those heels.
“You are so fucking beautiful, you know that?”
They were both drunk on this insane chemistry. If she’d been sensari…but she wasn’t. Humans didn’t tether, but if this was what it was going to be like with her, he didn’t give a fuck.
He reached behind her and unfastened her bra, moaning at the sight of her rounded tits. Taking one in his mouth, he slipped his fingers under the thin strip of her thong.
She was slick with desire as he slid his fingers inside. He moved to the other nipple. Rocking her pelvis, she closed her eyes and made little whimpering noises as he stroked her. She was soaked and so damn hot.
He withdrew and her eyes snapped open. “Where do you think you’re going?”
Nico wasn’t used to a woman with this kind of abandon, and he’d never enjoyed one more. “Foreplay?”
She shoved him backwards, kicked of her shoes, dropped her thong and continued propelling him to the bed. “That’s not necessary.”
He didn’t think he could get any harder, but damned if he didn’t. He sat and she motioned for him to slide toward the center of the bed. Doing as she said, he propped himself up on his arms as she straddled him. She played at the tip of his cock and his wings damn near exploded.
“You’re wet and ready for me, sexy.”
She leaned forward, placing a nipple where he could suck it into his mouth. “You have no idea.” She was ticking off some of his favorite fantasies, and he made sure to treat her breasts with equal attention. Shifting her weight, she devoured him with a kiss as she lowered herself onto him. His head spun. “Oh, hell yes. That’s it, kitten.” He grabbed a pillow under his head and leaned back. Her tits slapped as she pounded onto him. Reaching down, he stroked her clit.
She cried out his name and they came together. Her sweet cunt milked his cock, and his wings echoed the orgasm. Leaning forward, she stretched her arms over his head and gripped the spines of his wings. The action caused a cascade that blasted another orgasm from him. That voice he heard roaring in his ears was his own.
Her body stilled and her hair fell forward over his shoulders as she gazed into his eyes. “Did you just come again?”
He slipped his hands through her locks and pulled them away from her face, his cock still pulsing inside her. “Yes, ma’am.”
That surprised her. “Really?”
He nodded. “That was a first for me. To come again so quickly.”
“But I stopped moving.”
“You grabbed my spines, sexy. My wings. They’re erogenous zones.”
She let go reflexively. “I didn’t know. Did my weight hurt you?”
He laughed. “What do you think?”
“I didn’t know. Oh…of course. I wondered why there were so many wings on display at New Haven. Wow, so you get turned on and your wings get a hard-on.”
Had he ever enjoyed a woman’s company this much? “Something like that.”
“Isn’t that embarrassing?”
“Not at all. It’s part of our culture. We can’t hide it, so we don’t try. If I’m turned on by someone else’s mate, it’s a compliment.”
She trailed her fingers through his chest hair, and his wings pulsed with pleasure. “I can’t imagine human males walking around with hard-ons like that. It’s a funny thought, though.”
“They can’t always control it, can they?” That would be strange.
“No, not always but it’s easier to hide in most circumstances.” She tilted her head and brushed a finger across his lips.
He caught it with his teeth and sucked.
She made that little mewing sound and he let her go. “I’m looking forward to learning about you. About sensari.”
“And I you, little one.” In one swift move he had her flipped and on her back.
She smiled up at him. “Are we starting with an exploration of comparative endurance?”
He kissed her long and slow. Yeah, this human did it for him all right. He began rocking, and she wrapped her legs around his waist. She was a perfect fit and he was ready for more.
Nico woke to the sun streaming in through his condo’s windows. Should have closed the blinds last night. Last night. Trina lay facing him, sound asleep. The heat of her body radiated a surprising amount. Tangled locks covered her face, and he resisted the urge to brush them aside. He wanted to just watch her for a little longer.
They’d gone at it for hours, her desire matching his every step of the way. He’d had no idea humans could be so voracious. Every time he’d expected her to plead for a rest, she’d surprised him by coming at him with renewed hunger. The entire night had been like a dream. A dream he didn’t want to wake from.
No. This little human had captured his heart. The thought pinged around his head. Could it be he was in love with her?
Yes. The answer was soul deep. Pure joy had him laughing out loud.
Trina moaned, but didn’t wake.
Last night was way more than sex. He was sure of it, but would telling her how he felt push her away? He didn’t think so. The crazy thing was, he wanted to tell her. Him, Nico Roth, wanting to tell a woman he loved her? Well, there was a first time for everything. He reached out and brushed the hair from her face.
Something was wrong. He bolted upright. She was pale, and beads of perspiration dripped down her neck. “Trina, baby, wake up.”
Her hand came to her face and a whimper escaped her lips. Those beautiful lips he’d spent the night kissing were chapped and swollen. She blinked and cried out, covering her eyes. “Too bright. It hurts. It hurts so bad.” Her breathing was erratic, her skin a sickly pale hue.
“What hurts? Your head?” They’d only had one drink the entire night, so it couldn’t be a hangover.
“No. My body. Everything. Nico, something’s wrong.” Her voice shook.
He jumped up and grabbed his clothes. She needed a doctor, now. “There’s a human clinic not a block away. I’m going to get you there. Can you dress?” He could carry her there faster than their medics could make it here.
“No. I can’t. It hurts. Help me.”
He pulled his shoes on, terrified. What had happened? They’d both fallen asleep sated and exhausted. Had he been too hard on her? He prayed that wasn’t the case. He’d asked her repeatedly if she’d wanted to stop, but she’d refused.
She moaned again on the bed. He’d have to wrap her in the sheet. Pulling on his shirt he came around to her side of the bed and gently pulled the sheet off her to get it positioned, and froze.
His brain couldn’t process the nightmarish sight. It wasn’t possible. His ass slammed against his dresser as he stared. Help. She needed help. He dove for his phone and dialed the emergency number.
“Vega EMC. What is your emergency?”
What the hell was it? “I don’t know. I don’t understand. I need medics now. Something’s happened. To a human. Something bad. Please hurry.”
The end part 1.
I hope you enjoyed the beginning of the first story of Vega’s startling secret. The secret itself will be revealed in Twice Tethered. If you want to discover what happens next to Rico and Trina, please send a link of your review of Twice Tethered to TwiceTetheredReviewBonus@gmail.com and you’ll receive the final chapters.