Fire Up My HeartAsta Idonea
25 May 2016
Amazon UK / Amazon AU / ARe
London bartender Fane thinks he’s hit the jackpot when he finds a rare and expensive service Bot discarded in a dumpster, and he takes it home to get it working again. The Jo-E brings some much-needed companionship to Fane’s lonely life, but there’s something different about this Bot, as indicated by its odd behavior. Fane’s developing feelings toward Jo-E trouble him, and things go from bad to worse when a robotics engineer arrives on Fane’s doorstep, demanding the return of his property. Fane is forced to choose between a hefty reward and following his heart. Giving in to his forbidden desires might get him killed—or change his life forever.
It was raining cats and dogs when Fane Maddox left the club and made his way through Soho’s neon-lit streets. His shift at Spunk, London’s rundown retro gay bar, had finished at 2:00 a.m., and his weary feet ached as he commenced the long walk back to his flat in Finsbury Park.
On foot, it was a journey of a good hour and a half, but it wasn’t as if he had any other options. The first tube service on a Sunday morning didn’t begin until gone seven, and since a lack of customers, combined with a recent petrol shortage, had led to the cancellation of all London’s night buses, it was a case of walking or taking a taxi. Thanks to the fuel hike, the cost of a black cab was extortionate these days, and the trip home in one would use up all his tips for the night. Therefore, he had no choice but to rely on his own two feet. At least the long walks kept him fit.
He would have passed the alley without a second glance. However, at that moment, the neon sign that wrapped around the corner of the building flickered, drawing his gaze. He started to turn away, then looked back, convinced he must be seeing things. Either he was losing his mind, or there were a pair of legs dangling over the side of the huge garbage bin at the entrance to the alleyway.
Fane dithered. He was tired and sopping wet. The last thing he wanted was to be responsible for finding a dead body. He’d have to call the cops, and who knew how long it would take them to show. If they turned up at all. In the meantime he’d be left standing in this downpour and, knowing his luck, would probably catch pneumonia. Then again, maybe the guy was merely drunk or injured and in need of assistance. Could Fane live with himself if he walked on by?
Heaving a sigh, Fane shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans and crossed the street. Once he reached the alley, he glanced left and right. Then, seeing no one around, he boosted himself up and into the dumpster.
The bags of rubbish crunched and shifted beneath him. He lost his balance and shot out a hand, grabbing hold of the rim of the bin to steady himself. One of the bags must have split under his weight, because a foul smell wafted through the air. Fane screwed up his nose. Determined to make a speedy exit, he scrambled two steps forward to reach the body.
Even in the dim, stuttering neon glow, it only took him a second to realize his mistake. This wasn’t a body. At least not a human one.