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Eight entrancing erotic tales from the rich imagination of Monique Poirier, an author who first began sending stories to us at Circlet in 2009 and we have loved every one. Spanning eras and universes, these stories span the gamut of sexuality and genre. A woman with a broken time machine haunts a big box store looking for a mechanic who can get her out of therewhen. An angel trolls the depths of a dark netherworld where only a demon can ease his affliction. Steampunk pasts, space operatic futures, and mysterious magical nows co-exist in This World Between. And in every story, the passionate meetings that occur are expressed in gloriously carnal detail, leaving the characters forever changed.
Contains the following types of content: lesbian, gay, bi, steampunk, space opera, dystopia, romance, alternate history, time travel, fantasy, science fiction.
About the author: Monique Poirier is a time traveler from 1983, currently residing in Providence, Rhode Island. An enrolled member of the seaconke wampanoag tribe, she is a leading voice for Native Steampunk. Her stories have been featured in many Circlet Press anthologies, including the “best of” Fantastic Erotica. Her novel, Cygenic, is forthcoming from Circlet in the coming year.
Read on for as excerpt from THIS WORLD BETWEEN:
That’s the problem with time travel into the future. You go to the past and get your ass stranded, you can always leave messages for your future self. You stray too far into the future, on the other hand—well, thousands of people go missing every day. It’s a known fact. Sometimes people just vanish.
I met her at a Circuit City in western Massachusetts. I’d just walked away from being asked for the third time if I worked there, because a chick in a polo shirt and slacks just has to be an employee even if her shirt’s the wrong color. She was trying to buy a chronoton sink for a self-stabilizing resistance engine. Gotta give the sales girl credit, she hadn’t called security yet.
“It’s 2006,” I said, walking up behind her. I forget why I was there. I think I was looking for cooling fans or something. She had the kind of hair you only see in shampoo ads; bouncy and curly and halfway down her back, black that reflected blue under the fluorescent lights.
“Yeah, I’d gotten that far,” she said without turning around.
“Chronology stabilizers weren’t mass marketed until the 50’s,” I said.
“Son of a bitch,” she groaned, throwing her head back.
“We could hit up Home Depot for some tinplate and magnets. I’ve got a truck.”
She turned and looked at me, and I saw that there was an iridescent tattoo near the corner of her eye. A butterfly. She looked me up and down appraisingly. I gave her a passing glance. Tank top. Straight jeans. Ballet flats. Pretty good time-neutral outfit for anything from the late 1970’s to the 2050’s or so.
“Oh, so you’re just gonna build a chronoton sink by hand?”
“Yeah,” I replied, raising an eyebrow. “It’s not that hard.”
“What’re you, a mechanic?”
“Not formally, but I know my way around a class-three engine,” I replied, scratching the back of my neck. She was a model or something. Had to be. She snorted a little, a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth.
“Yeah, ok,” she said. “I’m Tina.”
“Eden,” I replied.
“Well ain’t you just,” she said with a slow smile.
I wanted to keep her.
* * *
Eden. Her name was Eden. She had no idea how hot she was, and that was part of what made her hot. I was so damned tired of overconfident party girls who thought they deserved a medal for just showing up. Of girls who were just like me. Girls who were me, because Aphrodite clones came a dime a dozen. Tired of glamor and glitter and genetically engineered pheromones oozing out of every pore. I wasn’t supposed to ever get tired of those things, but I was defective. Aphrodite clones were supposed to burn out after five years or so in a supernova of fast life and dissipation or something like that. Most of us OD’d by my age.
Eden was pure. An untouched human. She hadn’t told me as much, but it wasn’t the kind of thing that I had to be told. They didn’t make girls like her where I was from, not anymore. She had freckles, for fuck’s sake. Genuine ones. And pert little tits, and the most luscious ass ever. Wasn’t any reason I couldn’t keep her, if I played my cards right.
She didn’t even know that I was a clone.
“So confession time,” I said, running my tongue along my teeth, “I kinda sorta don’t have any real currency that works for herenow. I’ve been working from this wallet some guy left at my place…”
She gave me this look of perfect scandal, stopping dead in her tracks. I grinned at her.
“Wouldn’t be telling you if I didn’t feel a little bad about it, Sugartits. Was gonna ask if you mind springing for burgers is all. I haven’t eaten all day.”
“You plan on looking for the guy to give him his wallet back?” she asked suspiciously.
“Cross my heart I would, if I knew how. I’ve got this whole ‘fish outta water’ thing going on.” I let her catch up to me and slung an arm around her shoulder. “You’re the first person I’ve met who’s willing to be my Temporal Native Guide.”
She snorted a little, shaking her head.
“I’m not even a little bit native to herewhen. Hometime’s the 3010’s. I restore junk time machines—there’s a hardware bust going on herenow. Circuit City’s circling the drain, with a bunch of other storefront companies; you can pick up retro hardware really cheap. I’ve got about fifty bucks of local currency, if that means anything to you. Pawnshop swap. Guess I could spring for lunch.”
I grinned widely, pulling her in closer. She tensed up a little, but she didn’t try to squirm away or anything. Better and better.
“There’s this little burger joint on the corner a block from here. I think it’s cheap. Lemme show you.”
The burgers were awesome. She agreed that the prices were good. I trusted her judgment on that, since she seemed to have a pretty good grasp of local economy what with buying and selling parts or whatever.
“So what are you doing herenow?” Eden asked, picking at the salad she’d ordered to go with her burger, not really looking at me. Delightfully shy. “I mean, forgive me for assuming, but you don’t seem to have come prepared or done the research.”
“Got stranded. I was shooting for 1960’s USA with intent to hit the nomadic music festival scene for a while. I’ve got wardrobe and everything. It’s about as far back as I’ve ever been on Earth. I’m not really into archive-crawling or anything. You?”
“I pop back sometimes, for touristy stuff, but there’s so much red tape if you want to go back past the industrial boom that it’s just not worth the expense. At least not for me.”
She sucked her soda down to the bottom, and it made a guttural sound.
“You like to party?” I asked laconically, looking at my nails.
“I’m not any good at it,” she answered with a shrug. “I’m a big dork. All the better for tinkering with machines freelance. All my best friends are engine parts.”
I couldn’t help myself. I reached across the table and ran my hand playfully through her short, fluffy hair. It was blond right to the roots, and if she was only from the 10’s it was probably that way without being genetically tinkered with.
“That’s just a little bit tragic. You doin’ anything for the rest of the afternoon? Or, hell, the rest of this week herenow?”
“Not really…” she answered noncommittally, narrowing her eyes at me.
* * *
Turned out it was a good thing I didn’t have anyplace to be that afternoon, because after lunch and Home Depot we went to her ship and after we were inside her ship we lost track of time. In both a figurative and a literal sense. Her place, just now, was parked in an empty lot between an abandoned convenience store and an apartment building with a giant Units Available sign.
Her ship was huge. Not on the outside; it just looked like a latemodel truck camper on the outside, but there had to be a thousand square feet of interior, with a kitchen and a bathroom and everything. Total rat’s nest of stuff, too. She told me to help myself to what was in the fridge. It was mostly Japanese soft drinks from the 1990’s in either ‘blue’ or ‘pink’ flavor. I wanted to go through her software before I took a look at the engine. She was cool with that.
“You are NOT telling me that you’ve got a busted Omega drive,” I said, leaning over the console and trying to work out how she’d organized her schematic files. If she had. It wouldn’t have surprised me to learn they were all just stuck in random folders with random file names.
“You got a hearing problem, Sugartits?” Tina said, emerging from the underdeck panel, a smudge of grease on her forehead. She’d removed her shirt at some point while she was down there, and climbed up out of the floor in jeans slung low enough on her hips that she couldn’t have been wearing anything beneath them. Her bra was red, and strapless, and a size too small. Analytical details were the kind of thing I noticed. She stretched her arms above her head, hips tilted, her neck and back making satisfying cracking sounds.
We’d been in her ship for three hours now, according to my watch. If she had a well and truly busted Omega drive, my watch might well just be jewelry at this point.
“If I didn’t have a busted Omega drive, I wouldn’t be looking for a chronoton sink now would I?” she said, staring at me, running her tongue along her teeth. That appraising look again, maybe with a hint of challenge.
“There’s a lot of reasons…”
“You got a girlfriend?” she asked, cutting me off.
She stalked up to me and grabbed the back of my head and pulled me into a brutal kiss, the bare skin of her belly and shoulder hot through the thin fabric of my shirt. The smell of fresh sweat and engine grease rose from her; my hand, seeking purchase, found the small of her back—bare skin on bare skin, hers slightly slick. She snaked a hand behind me and grabbed my ass and snapped her hips forward, all one fluid and obviously practiced motion.
I had no idea what the hell had prompted such a response on her part.
At that point I really didn’t care either.
Stupid logic had to kick in about then and point out that this was not the kind of thing that happened to me. I was the mousy, nerdy, pear-shaped chick who refurbished classic time machines. I had either fucked up somewhere and made a dimensional transporter and landed my ass in the porno-verse after my jump this morning, or this was the part where she told me I was on live broadcast. I braced my hands against her shoulders and pushed her away. It was a whole lot harder than it really should have been. She took a step back and licked her lips and giggled.
“What the hell?” I demanded, feeling a little bit dizzy. My lips felt hot and tingly and almost bruised.
“Well, there’s a couple of maybe reasons a chick like you doesn’t have a girlfriend,” she said with a wicked grin. “Just figured I’d rule a few of them out. Like you not being into girls.”
“You could have asked.”
“Where’d the fun be in that?”
“All the best people are. I’m gonna hop in the shower—I got engine grease in my hair.”
She disappeared through the archway, unhooking her bra. I watched her go, eyebrows hedged together, glancing up at the corners of the room for hidden cameras. She reappeared a moment later, topless. She had utterly perfect breasts.
“That was an invitation, Sugartits.”
Live broadcast or not, I wasn’t waiting for her to ask a third time.
To read the rest, and seven more entrancing erotic fantasies, download the ebook today!