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Today's First Chapter Friday is from the second book in my Kaddim Brothers series. It is a story about a shy space racer, a baker afraid of getting his heart broken again, brothers and teammates working to bring them together, and an unexpected pregnancy that changes everything.
Enjoy the first chapter of GENJ (Kaddim Brothers #2)
Stars, I can’t wait to get home!
Deploying flaps and slats, I slowed my jet as I approached the runway. All indicators showed I was in the correct position. I closed the throttles and flared. My main landing gear touched down, followed by the nose gear. Using reverse thrust to slow down even faster, I then applied the brakes for a perfect landing. Today’s practice was complete.
Once I taxied around to my designated spot on the tarmac, I glanced around to make sure the rest of my team was in place before opening the canopy. It was a successful training day, and Ilam, our newest teammate, proved once again he could do anything. The kid had absolutely no fear when it came to attempting new maneuvers.
I unbuckled my harness, took my helmet off then made my way down the steps one of our team’s mechanics had positioned beside my jet.
“Nice flying today,” Hanziel, the head mechanic, said as I stepped onto the tarmac. “How did everything feel?”
“Great!” I patted him on the back. “You fixed the throttle, so it was a smooth ride.”
“Good to hear.” He made his way around to the rest of my teammates before we hopped into the hovercart to take us to our dormitory. As usual, Xac and Qé cuddled together in the rear, sharing intimate touches.
My oldest brother, Ret, also the leader of ORIXA, was reviewing the same maneuver we’d just flown with Ilam, as if he hadn’t already proved he could do it. I felt sorry for the kid. Although Ret spoke highly of Ilam when he wasn’t around, my brother never let our team’s newest member rest once we landed.
And I was up front, as usual. The way it had been since Ojokun got into an accident then left the team because he was in love with my younger brother, Vawn. I kind of missed the days when it was Ojokun up front brooding instead of me.
Suddenly, I felt someone shove my shoulder. I glanced over my shoulder to find Ret staring at me, a sly grin across his lips.
“What?” I had no idea what was going on in his head. Hopefully he wouldn’t tell me we’d be returning to the simulators for more practice. I was worn out. Plus, I wanted to talk to a friend of mine from my home planet, Orez. It wasn’t very often our schedules and the time difference between planets gave us a chance to chat. I’d been waiting all week for this.
I shielded my eyes with my hand as I tried to block the glare from the sun. “Who? What are you talking about?”
Rolling his eyes, my brother sighed. Ilam giggled beside him.
“Utahn. Your boyfriend. Invite him to the upcoming family and friends weekend.”
I huffed out a breath. “First of all, he’s not my boyfriend—”
“Yet,” Ret interrupted. “Probably would be if you’d just ask him.”
I pretended I hadn’t heard. No way was I going to take relationship advice from someone who had a new being in their bed as often as possible. “And second, he has his own business to run. On Orez. It’s not easy for him to get time off.” It didn’t matter how much I wished he lived closer.
“It would be if you’d claim him then get him to be our own personal baker here.” My brother shrugged as if life was that simple. “That way you would get your dick wet as often as I do, and I could enjoy all the sweet treats from home.”
With a gulp, Ilam turned away. I swear I heard him sniffle, too, but I didn’t have time to figure out what was up with him. I needed my brother off my case.
“Fine, I’ll invite Utahn. But don’t expect him to come.” Resting my feet on the dash, I crossed my arms and closed my eyes. Maybe it was better to be up front. By myself.
As soon as we arrived at our dorms, I hopped off the cart before it had fully stopped at the entrance to the third floor. In a hurry to get to our team’s quarters—five bedrooms and a shared common space—I banged my shoulder going around the corner of the corridor. I brushed off the pain, used to such accidents wherever I went. While I was anxious to call Utahn, it wasn’t to ask him to come to the family and friends weekend. I simply wanted to see his pretty face. I’d had a crush on the omega for as long as I could remember. I’d never pursued him, though, since he’s my younger brother’s best friend. When that brother decided to fall in love with one of my teammates, I realized all those rules about who one should and shouldn’t date weren’t as important as I once believed. Yet, I wasn’t ready to start any form of relationship with Utahn beyond friendship. We both had commitments that kept us busy and away from each other. Plus, I still wasn’t sure he liked me that way. Being friends with someone was not the same as being intimate.
After powering on my comm unit, I scrolled through my brief list of contacts to find Utahn’s code. With a nervous flutter in my stomach, I called him. It was always hit and miss with him, but I thought I might have better luck today.
My screen scrambled before the static cleared to reveal a face shaped by the gods. Round cheeks, full lips, and eyes that seemed to disappear when he smiled. All framed by dark-brown locks. Perfection. My heart swelled every time I saw him. “Hi, Utahn! How are things?”
A faint blush spread across his cheeks, something that happened at the beginning of every conversation we had. “Hi, um, I’m good. It was a busy day at the bakery, but I’m glad to see you.”
“I’m glad to see you, too.” I sat on the edge of my bed, trying to think of a way to ask him about the family and friends weekend. Might as well. It wouldn’t hurt to, I guessed. But I slipped off the bed. My ass hit the floor with a thud, and I scrambled to catch the comm unit before it met the same fate.
“Are you okay? What happened?”
I heard the concern in Utahn’s voice before I was able to steady myself, along with the screen. “I’m good. Just slipped.” Instead of trying to get up again, I remained on the floor. I didn’t want to crack the screen on another comm unit.
Utahn giggled, his nose wrinkling in the most adorable way. “How can you be as clumsy as you are and yet race for the team with the best ranking for the last two seasons?”
I shrugged, slightly embarrassed, but this wasn’t something Utahn didn’t already know about me. “I don’t have to move much in my jet. I only have to be able to read the controls and fly.”
With a wide grin, he shook his head. “You always manage to make me smile. And I need that after a long day.”
That was exactly what I wanted to do, even if it meant making a fool of myself. “Were you busy today, then?”
“I wouldn’t say busy.” He twirled his finger through the hair above his ear. “Steady though. When one customer left, another came in. Thank goodness I had Gugait there to help me. Otherwise, I would still be downstairs getting dough prepared for tomorrow.”
“Ah, he’s the one who’s pregnant, right?”
Utahn nodded. “Yeah, he has a couple months left before he’s leaving for Olaria to be with his mate and raise their family there. I’ll be lost without him.”
I gulped, wondering if this was the opening I needed to invite him, or if he’d consider it ill-timed. I guess I wouldn’t know unless I asked. “Um, while Gugait is still on Orez, do you think you’d have the chance to visit me? There’s a family and friends weekend coming up.”
Utahn raised his eyebrows, his expression otherwise blank. Stars, had I misread our friendship? Had everyone lied when they told me he liked me, too?
“I guess that’s a no. Forget I said anything.” I wished I’d be able to forget, too, but I’d likely replay the moment of rejection over and over in my mind for days.
“No.” He waved a hand in front of himself. “I mean, yes. I’d love to come. You just…”—he scratched the side of his head—“caught me off guard. I didn’t expect to have an opportunity to see you again for a while.”
“That’s a yes?” My heart pounded, waiting for his confirmation. I’d dreamed of him coming to visit me for so long. In the past, I’d only seen him when he’d traveled with my brother to watch the whole team race.
He nodded. “I have to make sure Toufan can help Gugait, but if that’s okay, then definitely. I’ll book a hotel room as soon as I know for sure.”
“Hotel?” Stars, I hadn’t thought about that. He wasn’t my brother. I couldn’t expect him to crash at our dorm for the weekend. “Oh, I’ll arrange that for you. Let me know if you can come and then I’ll book it.”
“Genj, I’m fully capable of making my own reservation.”
“I know. But you’ll be my guest, so it’s my responsibility to make sure everything is taken care of for you.” I hoped he didn’t find me too forward, but I didn’t want him to have to pay for anything. “I’ll make your flight arrangements, too. Leave it all to me.”
“Oh, you are the absolute sweetest.” A soft blush crept across his cheeks. “I cannot wait to see you in person again.”
I couldn’t wait, either. I would be buzzing with excitement until then, thankful we didn’t have a major race between now and then. The event was always held during long intervals when we didn’t have to travel. A chance to give racers a break and spend time with friends and family we didn’t see for months at a time, whether on Eurebly or back home. Ret would still have us training hard up until then. He didn’t believe in time off, always going full force with everything he did. It sucked when we were growing up. Though, as much as I complained about him as our leader, I couldn’t imagine being on any other team.
“Has anything exciting happened on Orez since I last talked to you? Are our families doing well?”
He shrugged with a faint smile. “I think everyone is well. I haven’t really done anything but work. And I haven’t heard about anything new from Vawn when he stops in to visit. The girls are growing fast though.”
That was the part I did miss. I wasn’t getting to see my nieces grow up. Yet, I had seen my family more often since Vawn hooked up with Ojokun. They actually traveled to watch the occasional race now, something they’d never done before.
Utahn and I chatted for a while longer before ending the call. And instantly, worry crept into my gut. What if Utahn only said yes to be nice? Or what if he visited and realized he didn’t really like me? We’d never been together much without my younger brother around. Talking over the comm unit wasn’t the same as in person. Stars, I couldn’t screw this up.
Hello everyone! Thank you to everyone who visited me last weekend! I'm back to share another snippet from RET, my most recent release.
A quick note that the second book in my Kaddim Brothers series, GENJ, is FREE December 14 to 18 at Amazon!
And since this is the last time I'll be posting a Weekend Writing Warriors snippet until the new year, I want to wish you all a fabulous holiday season, and good health and happiness in the new year! Thank you for all of your kind comments and your support over the past year!
Snippet setup: Last weekend's snippet showed Ilam at practice, his first time seeing Ret since their hot night. He was trying not to draw any attention to himself, as he didn't want anyone to notice the mate mark on his shoulder. I'm continuing that scene. Enjoy!
We all studied the diagrams for a bit, learning where each of us had to be from beginning to end, and ensuring our transitions were possible. When I expected Ret to dismiss us to our simulators, he stood and instead moved to stand behind me.
My heart raced with him so close, teasing away the idea to hide that we were mated. A part of me wanted to lean back and have him kiss me in front of everyone. Yet, even as his mate, I was the youngest and least experienced of the team. I didn’t get any special privileges.
“Any questions?” Ret placed his hands on my shoulders, and, as if by instinct, rubbed his thumb along my mark.
Though his light touch felt sensual, I gulped. Was he about to tell the rest of our team that I was his? Stars, we hadn’t talked about what had happened by ourselves. Yet, I hadn’t helped the situation by hiding all day yesterday. Maybe this was simply his way of showing his claim over me without saying a word.
**And a little more...
I didn’t hear anything the rest of my team discussed, my mind unable to focus on anything but Ret’s touch, the zing of electricity he caused to race through my body.
I think he leaned closer, his presence seeming bigger. Wait, was he sniffing me?
Suddenly, he pulled away the material on my shoulder, exposing the entirety of my mark. Instead of confessing to our team what had happened between us, he jumped away from me like I had burned him. “You’re mated?”
A question. A universe-be-damned question. Like it was a surprise to him. What was he playing at?
“Yes. The other night,” I whispered through my teeth. Didn’t he remember? Because I couldn’t forget.
Kaddim Brothers book three
Ret Kaddim has the perfect life. He’s a space racer, the leader of the most popular team across the universe. Always planning, practicing, and racing, he has no time for a relationship, but finds plenty of willing partners who agree to his one-night-only rule. Because there is no way he wants to end up in a relationship and stuck with a family like his younger brothers. He’s having too much fun for that.
Ilam Nairan always dreamed of becoming a space racer. And thanks to a chance encounter with a retired racer, he is now living that dream. Far away from the mated and pregnant omega life his parents wanted him to have, he loves everything about his life. It’s perfect.
But one night can change everything. Especially when too much alcohol is involved. Can these two teammates survive the resulting media storm? What will it mean for their careers? The future of the team? And for them?
Ret is a sweet with knotty heat mm non-shifter mpreg sci-fi romance featuring an alpha space racer and an omega space racer who both believe they’ll always be single, snarky but loveable teammates, lots of space racing, endearing family members, an adorable baby, and a guaranteed happily ever after. If you enjoy teammates realizing they have feelings for each other, and all the obstacles those bring, be sure to download Ret today!
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Jessica E. Subject is a USA Today bestselling author of Sci-Fi and Paranormal Romance.
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