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WIP Spotlight: Where the Stars are Laid to Rest

I’ve been scrolling through my current Works in Progress, to see what I might be able to share with you.

Where the Stars are Laid to Rest is the first novel in a new series, The Tales of Talyn. Book 1 is a paranormal, sci-fi, mpreg romance.

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Vocation Day has finally arrived and eighteen year old Kagen is ready to face his destiny. As a male Z’ho’eb, a feline race, he is the perfect candidate for his ideal profession: life giver. Destined and prepared to spend his life bearing children to the mate assigned to him, an unexpected result on Vocation Day changes all of his plans.

No longer to be assigned a mate by the Vocation Council, as tradition dictates, Kagen is sent to the auction house, Otor Tarni. Kagen’s extremely rare health codex will guarantee the laws of good treatment are abided by, but he must first survive the auction, selling him to the highest bidder.

With love, a child and his future at stake, can Kagen navigate the realities of life as a life giver, without sacrificing his dreams along the way?

~

Chapter 1

June 2043

.

Baby, it’s time to wake up.

Daddy?

Yes, it’s me.

I thought you were at work?

I am, baby, but this is a big day for you, so I want to be there. Do you know what you’re going to say?

Yes. I want to be a life giver, like you.

That’s wonderful, baby. I know you’re going to be really good at it. Have you told your dad?

Not yet. You know dad; he wants me to be a warrior or a pilot.

No he doesn’t. Your dad wants you to be happy and choose a career to last you forever. As long as you choose a life that you can be happy with, that will happen.

I know.

Baby, you have to get out of bed.

Don’t want to.

You have to. Your future begins today. You’ll tell your director that you want to be a life giver and you’ll start learning how to make that happen. Don’t you want to learn?

Yes.

Don’t sound so eager. Up you get, lazy.

Kagen pressed the pause button on the integrated touchscreen on the counter. His father’s face froze, wearing a proud smile and gazing into the room as though he was still thirteen, lazing in bed instead of getting ready for school. His father’s dark hair was a mess from constantly running his fingers through it, his blue eyes bright and alive with humour. There were laughter lines around his eyes and mouth, only reminding him of how happy their family had once been.

With a sigh, he folded his arms on the counter and lay his head on top.

It was a big day. A bigger day than that conversation.

From all the millions of conversations that he’d saved to his computer memory, from a lifetime of conversations with his dad and his father, this one had seemed appropriate this morning. As he stared into his father’s bright blue eyes, shining and smiling at him through the screen that covered the entire opposite wall of the kitchen, his tail twitched in thought.

He missed his parents, especially today, when he needed them the most, but it had never been within his power to keep them with him.

The heat of the Dejah sun rising warmed the right half of his face. Kagen turned to take in the wonder, through the full length window that stretched from one side of the room to the other, floor to ceiling. The view only reminded him of his fortune; despite losing his parents, they had been smart enough to plan for the future, leaving him enough of a legacy, both in money and political contacts, that he had survived this long.

How many other children in the Talyn galaxy didn’t have that luxury?

Instead of ending up in an orphanage on the dark, lonely planet of Serra, he had been able to live alone in his parents home, his future secure, until he reached eighteen and entered his chosen profession.

That day was today.

Kagen propped his elbow on the counter and lay his head on his hand, to turn back to the screen. He had another thirty minutes before he had to leave for the Vocation Centre, but had been ready for nearly an hour.

With his free hand, he pressed the play button, to return to his moment of nostalgia.

Daddy?

Yes, baby?

Will you pick me up today?

I can, if that’s what you want?

I do. I want to talk to you about school and what they say.

What do you think they’ll say?

I don’t know. The kids look at you funny, if you say you want to be a life giver. They think that’s for girls.

I know, but they’re wrong. You know that more healthy babies are born to men than women, so it’s really important that brave boys like you keep choosing to become life givers.

And it won’t matter what they say?

Not if you’re sure this is what you want. If you have no regrets, then you should be fine. Words can hurt, baby, but you have to be strong and know that they’re wrong. If you know that, you’ll get through it.

Okay.

Are you going to get up?

Yes. But you’ll stay with me?

When?

Always?

Of course. On the day you graduate, when you go to the Vocation Centre and when you meet your mate. I’ll be there for every big moment of your life. Always.

Tears gathered as the video ended it’s recording and froze on his father’s face one last time. Maybe his father hadn’t been able to keep his promise, but Kagen had promised himself a long time ago that his father would be here today.

He hadn’t realised how hard it was going to be.

It had been four years since he’d lost them, but the pain never really faded. He’d graduated school alone, nearly nine months ago, and now he was about to sign in at the Vocation Centre and meet his mate all alone. Everything his father had wanted to be there for, every important aspect of his chosen life, was about to happen without the people he loved most in the world.

Hovering his finger over the off button, Kagen offered one last smile to his father. “I love you,” he whispered, before pressing the button and sending the room into darkness. It was only the rays of Dejah that basked the room in warmth and light.

When the light touched the top of the counter, he knew it was time to go.

Kagen grabbed the flat, square key card from the counter and slipped it into his top left shirt pocket. With no need for anything else, he slipped off the stool and made his way to the exit shaft.

The tunnel was short and startlingly white, with a shimmer of Dejah’s sunlight bouncing off the walls. He pressed his hand to the scanner on the hatch, waiting as it pricked each fingertip to scan his DNA. The extravagant security precautions were just another token his parents had left him, giving him the security of living alone since the age of fourteen, without anyone needing to fear for his safety.

It was the only reason that the politicians and government officials of their planet, Oana, had let him live alone. They might have sworn to his parents that he would be kept safe, but the house itself was protection enough. But that security had also left Kagen lonely. His life had been spent studying the ins and outs of Oana laws and what it meant for life givers. It was the only way to keep himself busy, until this fated day, where his life would change forever.

***

The shuttle was fully fuelled and ready for his departure, so Kagen only had to place his hand on the dashboard, press the air controller and autopilot buttons and input his destination into the programmer.

Then he sat back and watched the stars that were hitched up to the back of other shuttles, being dragged to their final destination. It was always a sad sight, but there was nothing to be done. Stars fell every other week, dying off in the polluted galaxy air that had eliminated most other planets.

With one flick of a silver switch, the shuttle filled with sound.

Good morning Oana!

It is almost eight forty-five in the morning and all of us here want to wish our young men and women the very best. Today is that wonderful Vocation day. The one day this year that our children, who have just come of age, will register their interest in their chosen vocation.

No matter who you choose to be or how long your training may be, we are all very proud of you. You are the future of our world.

Now, let’s com-chat with a few of those kids.

Kagen flicked the switch again, not wanting to hear any more. He didn’t want to bombard his mind with the dreams and wishes of his fellow eighteen year old’s. He had his own future to worry about, though he held on tight to his father’s words. He trusted in himself and his dreams, so it didn’t matter what anyone else said.

Oana was a planet full of misery and loss; where the stars were laid to rest and families settled down to comfortable, happy lives. It wasn’t a place where babies were born, where life moved on or where new things happened. To Kagen, Oana was stuck in a time loop; every day was the same, there was no adventure, no chance of anyone bettering themselves or escaping the predictability of Oana.

All of that could be over for him today. If his fate was kind, he could leave Oana soon, for a life of love, happiness and adventure. He wanted more than what the planet had planned for him and this was his chance.

A beep woke him from his thoughts, to view the flashing green light on the dashboard.

You are about to enter the Vocation Centre. Please switch off all life support mechanisms.

Kagen complied with the order and switched off the air controller, which kept the weight of open space from crushing his hearts. Taking one, long deep breath, he focused on gathering as much air into his lungs as he could, until landing.

Outside the front shielded window of the shuttle, the Vocation Centre lowered their landing dock to allow him access. Kagen switched off the auto pilot and gently pulled on the half moon controller, to steer the shuttle onto the landing.

A man waited by the docking station, with a screen in his hands. He was already typing when Kagen slowed the shuttle to a stop and popped open the wing door. “Good morning, Kagen.” The man didn’t lift his head to speak to him. “How long will you be docking?”

Three hours,” Kagen replied, as he unbuckled his straps and climbed down the six steps to the platform. He stopped right in front of the man, listening to the wing close and lock the shuttle behind him. “Would you log four, for me? I’d like to stop by the store before leaving,” he explained, knowing it was best to keep both times exact. His main business would take three hours, and that was the real answer this man wanted.

The man nodded and continued typing. “Very well. Thank you for joining us today. We hope your visit will be successful,” he said, finally looking up to smile at him.

Kagen smiled back. “As do I.”

~

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