Thicker Than Blood
by Avery Vanderlyle
Published by Storm Moon Press
When the Nanotech Plague began killing off the large population of America using the tiny, implanted robots, the so-called "normals" took it upon themselves to wipe out the rest to prevent the spread. Now, fourteen years later, performer Ayana is in a dangerous position. Her nanotechnology implants are impossible to hide, having been tattooed onto her skin. Worse, the nanobots in her brother James are malfunctioning and slowly killing him. The pair of them, along with Ayana's lover Yan, are slowly making their way across the fractured country, hoping to find a sanctuary and a cure.
David was only five when his parents died in the Plague. It wasn't until he was grown that he realized that he'd been born with his own 'bots, passed down from mother to child. Now, his second generation nanobots may be James' salvation, if only Ayana and Yan can convince him that the nanobots aren't a curse or a disease, but the key to rebuilding their ruined society.
Incredibly detailed world-building for such a short story. The political and business power structures have been wiped out in the US (and possibly elsewhere in the world, although aid packages from China are mentioned), since almost all those in leadership positions had nanotech cognitive upgrades and so died when the plague hit. Fourteen years later a small group of survivors and scientists are rumoured to be working in the combined Harvard and MIT to build a new society. Researcher Yan wants to get there to share her knowledge, acquired before and after the plague, Ayana and James want a cure for James' disease, and David just wants to fit in. This is the story of how David comes to join the group and their continuing journey across the country, trading whatever they can for food and fuel.
A very different piece of bisexual (and poly, and racially diverse) SF-romance, that's well worth reading.
by Kelly Rand
Published by Storm Moon Press
Edith sleepwalks through a life so normal as to be boring. She lives with her mother, works a mundane job to support them, and makes no waves among the ladies of her sleepy 1920's Canadian town. Secretly, though, she watches the flappers and so-called "loose women" with envy, dreaming of what glamorous lives they must have. And that's before Clark walks into her life.
Clark embodies the world that Edith wishes she could be a part of. He's slick and dangerous and sexy in a way Edith has never experienced. So when Clark offers her a window into his world, she dives through without thinking. On the other side, though, her black and white world explodes into shades of gray, challenging Edith in ways she never imagined.
I don't think I've read anything set in prohibition-era Canada before, but I'd now love to know more about the background. Edith watches the world go by, and dreams. So when she sees a newcomer to her town, outside the house of neighbours whose young daughter, Pearl, died at the age of 12 a decade or so before, Edith is fascinated. Clark is an outsider in more ways than one -- a bootlegger as well as a rebel, and hiding his origins from the world -- and when his past starts to catch up with him, Edith will have to decide whether to take a chance on everything she's dreamed about.
Honor Among Thieves
by Amy Gaertner
Published by Storm Moon Press
Master thief Danielle has been planning her latest heist for months. She's infiltrated the staff of Mark Henshaw, interested in his collection of priceless foreign artifacts. She's scoped out the museum where the collection will be displayed, teamed up with a genius hacker capable of fooling the security systems, and planned the job down to the second. Every variable has been identified and accounted for. The only thing she hasn't expected is falling for Liz Kaplan.
The young reporter is also interested in Mark Henshaw and his artifacts, specifically, their origin. If Liz can find evidence of illegal activities surrounding Henshaw's collection, the story would make her career. She's certain that Henshaw's security consultant, the beautiful Sabrina, knows more than she's saying, and Liz is determined to find out.
What Liz doesn't know, of course, is that Sabrina is actually Danielle, or that finding out the truth could be far more dangerous than she bargained for.
A bisexual crime caper, that did exactly what all that implies. It could have done with being a little longer in places but a tremendously fun read all the same.
Angel in the Window
by Charlie Cochrane
Published by MLR Press
Alexander Porterfield may be one of the rising stars of Nelson's navy, but his relationship with his first lieutenant, Tom Anderson, makes him vulnerable. To blackmail, to the exposure of their relationship---and to losing Tom, either in battle or to another ship. When sudden danger strikes---from the English rather than the French---where should a man turn?
A delightful Age of Sail romance-and-mystery story. Beginning on land at Christmas, where we meet the protagonists, the family of one of them, and a potential enemy for them both. Then they're back at sea and the mystery begins. Lieutenant Clovis makes an excellent villain -- utterly hateful -- and I loved the machinations of new crewmember Fowler as he worked behind the scenes to help our heroes solve the mystery and defeat Clovis. I want to see more adventures for the lot of them.
by Shona Husk
Published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
One moment, Tate Cooper is giving his ex-girlfriend a lift home on his motorcycle. The next, his soul is suspended between life and death, wandering in confusion between the accident scene and the house he grew up in.
Except it’s not his home anymore. In his old bedroom sleeps a beautiful young woman, the only person who can see him. And the only person who can keep him from succumbing to the temptation to escape the horrific pain awaiting him in his mortal body.
Eloise Jones should be studying for her college exams, but it’s tough to stay focused when a lost soul keeps appearing in her room. She figures it must have something to do with sirens she heard screaming in the night, but she’s helpless to assist—and helpless to resist.
As Eloise tries to help Tate unravel the tangled facts surrounding the accident, longing and desire grow into an almost tangible bond between them. But then a second spirit appears, one with a darker intent that could separate them before love draws its first breath...
A sweet and gentle romance, between a girl and an almost-ghost, with a ghost who's neither sweet nor gentle as their main antagonist. Tate wants to continue his education rather than going straight from school to employment, and Eloise is following a similar path, although she missed a year of school following an accident and then went travelling between school and higher education. So they're well matched. All they need to do is persuade the ghost of Tate's ex to agree with them and then get him back into his body so he'll wake up. Ruby's not a stereotypical evil ex, though. She seems more confused than anything. Being a fan of mostly-gentle ghost-stories, I'd like to read more along similar lines from this author.