Fate in Suspension
Archer Kay Leah
(Horn & Haven, #1)
Publication date: June 30th 2022
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Paranormal, Romance
Quiet. That’s how he likes life, no drama to clean up…
Tai Xen-Vorsy leads a straightforward life: work, time at the local clubs where shapeshifters like him can play without fear, and the comforts of home with a cat that’s more than half attitude. After breaking up with his last submissive, he’s even taking a break from Dom duties.
Meeting Gates changes everything, and when Tai’s childhood home is destroyed, his simple life goes up in flames.
The Callensdale haven was his refuge as an orphan, a hideaway that saved his life. Now it’s time to return the favour. Bringing in the Fluff Brigade Brotherhood would make all the difference… if he could just get them back together. Tai won’t give up—he’s not that kind of unicorn. But can he reunite the brotherhood and keep his new relationship with Gates kindled at the same time?
The darkness is dragging him into the shadows, one case at a time…
Helping others is all Gates Colfaethe wants to do, being mostly unicorn shifter with a splash of Faerie. But years as an agent on trafficking cases leave him fearing just how far he’ll lose himself in the job before he burns out completely.
A random hookup with Tai might be the very change he needs. A new Dom means new rules and the chance to create safe distance from work—until his worlds collide in a twist Gates should leave well enough alone. What he knows is bad enough, but running headlong into danger could kill him.
Horn & Haven is an MM+ romance series featuring a found family of unicorn shifters brought together by tragic circumstances. Friends out to save a magical world in trouble. Family fighting to protect those they love. Lovers falling for the kinkiest unicorns this side of their universe… Welcome to the Fluff Brigade Brotherhood.
Fate in Suspension Excerpt 4: Stripped
He’d always been pushed aside, always told to wait, always the one who’d stand among the lost because he’d been a good son, a good cousin, a good whatever he was. But that didn’t stop the past from messing with him, and it didn’t solve anything. He’d buried all the unnecessary mental-emotional garbage, and with good reason: it only forced him to hate everything all over again. Usually Molly Rey could do something about it, working him through the motions of dealing with the anger and the guilt, but without her…
He needed something. Something that wasn’t connected. A bright light to the dark—
Tai thumbed through his contacts list and put a call through before anything stopped him.
Gates’s “Hey?” after the fourth ring was the best thing Tai had heard all day.
“Hey back.” A smile took to Tai’s lips with ease, albeit small and likely to fall apart. He leaned back against the SUV. “You’re not getting into trouble, are you?”
Soft laughter carried over the line, cut off by a sharp curse. “Hold on.” Muffled noise followed, accompanied by incoherent mutters. “Sorry,” Gates said, “damned Faerie door needed fixing.”
“Umm…” Gates cleared his throat. “Nothing. It’s… a thing. Don’t worry about it. Ignore me.”
“Oh no.” Tai smirked. “See, you brought it up, so now you’ve got my attention. Faerie door?”
“It’s… what it is…?”
Tai snorted and stared at the phone. He hated vidchats, but the thought of seeing what had Gates all shy and awkward…
He sent the request to switch into View mode. Once Gates’s face showed up on his screen, relief settled like a weighted blanket. Gates’s wavy hair tumbled freely around his shoulders, save for a small section around his forehead that’d been pulled back. A slate-blue t-shirt hugged his chest in all the right ways, though his smile stole Tai’s attention the most.
“Well, then, that’s all right,” Gates said, eyes glimmering in the soft light of the lamp not far from his arm. “I like this.”
“Probably won’t be thanking me for long, because now you’re going to have to show me what you’re talking about. C’mon, let’s have a peek.”
Gates’s mouth fell open before he snapped it shut. “Oh, see, that’s not fair.”
A blush crept across Gates’s cheeks. “I told you: it’s nothing. Just a family custom.” When Tai did nothing but stare at him, Gates sighed out his frustration. “Fine.”
A chair squealed while Gates moved about, the screen blurred until he came to a standstill. As the view tilted downwards, a tiny, arched door came into sight, set inside the white baseboards of the cerulean-blue wall. The door itself was moss-green with berry-purple doorframe, though pieces of what looked like clippings from a thorny rose bush traced around the door. Loose red petals lay scattered across the floor in front of the door, joined by two wooden rocking chairs even smaller than the door itself. Both chairs were decorated with white petals, shiny jewels, and tightly gathered fans of rose leaves, their tips rising high above the backs of the chairs.
“See?” The view flicked back up to Gates’s face. “Nothing to talk about. Just some subtle décor.”
“Sure, but does it go anywhere?” Tai chuckled as Gates’s blush deepened. Of all the things he’d seen Gates do, it was the door that had Gates embarrassed—and that was more than a little intriguing.
“Okay, so it goes into the wall, all right? Just a bit of a burrow. Nothing fancy.” Gates rolled his eyes. “Family. Custom. I swear. Always has been.”
“Mhmm, I believe you. Not that I’m one to judge anyone’s decorating ideals,” Tai said, though he meant every word. Gates’s place was bright and airy from what little Tai could see, soft and light with plants and potted flowers. Nothing like the earthy, dark tones Tai preferred for his own place.
“True.” Gates moved about again, then settled on what appeared to be a white couch. “So what’s going on? I wasn’t expecting to talk to you until tomorrow.” He gave a sly grin. “Or is this a check-in to see if I’ve started on that list of toys? Because I have, and it’s—”
“No, nothing to do with that.” Tai frowned and turned the phone away slightly to keep Gates from seeing him completely. He didn’t need questions, just—”I need you to do something for me.”
“Strip for me and have a kneel down.”
Gates arched a brow. “Bored?”
“No, just—you, naked, now.”
The screen darkened as Gates laid down the phone. Moments later, the view jittered and blurred, briefly showing where Gates’s knees met wood floor. He tipped the screen upwards, catching every bit of nakedness until the camera reached his face. “Better?”
Tai bit back a groan. “Much.” And not nearly enough. “Since I can’t be there, you’re going to have to do all the work. Think you can handle that?”
“And just for that, it’s gonna be real short tonight.”
“Sorry. Rules.” Tai grinned. “I want you frustrated till the next time I see you.” The truth bit back that time, nudging at facts: he was running away from the bad things, burying his avoidance inside desire.
Yeah… he really needed those facts to fuck right over.
Archer Kay Leah is an LGTBQA+ romance author that you’ll often find getting lost in strange, fantastical worlds with characters who can’t help but find trouble and shake things up. Fantasy and sci-fi romances are Archer’s speciality, especially when they’re complex and emotionally charged. But at the heart of Archer’s stories are friendship, family, and there’s always a happy ending–it might just take a whole lot of complications to get there!
When not reading and writing for work or play, Archer is a nerd of much geekery, loves music to depths that will never be contained, and is fascinated by behaviour, psychology, and ecology. Born and raised in Canada, Archer lives in London, Ontario with a non-binary partner who loves all things out there in the vast space of the universe.
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