by Suzanne van Rooyen
Publication Date: February 8, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Gay, LGBT, Science Fiction, Romance
SYNOPSIS: Dead Rock, Texas, 2037
Raleigh Williams made a promise to his brother before he died, that he’d scatter his ashes on Mars. Desperate to leave a life of bad memories behind and start over in the Martian colony, Raleigh fully intends to keep that promise. But his plans are thwarted when a meteor near-misses him in the desert, and Raleigh finds in its crater not debris or even a spacecraft, but a man covered in swirling scars and with no memory of who he is. At least he looks like a man—a man Raleigh can’t seem to keep his eyes off of—but whenever they touch it ignites a memory swap between them.
Raleigh agrees to help Meteor Man piece together his life through their cosmic connection. But the memory share goes both ways, and Raleigh becomes inexplicably entangled with a guy who is everything he needs—everything good that Raleigh is not—but might not even be human. As their minds and worlds collide, reality unravels and Raleigh must face a painful truth, one that could shatter his dreams of finding love, reaching Mars, and fulfilling his brother’s last wish.
EXCERPTS: Scardust by Suzanne van Rooyen
I shake off the remnants of the dream as I tug on a clean t-shirt that Rosie must’ve forgotten in the dryer. It’s shrunk and molds to my body. I hated playing football, but I don’t mind what it do to my body, giving me arms and abs, and a decent amount of strength I’ve managed to maintain with a regimen of push-ups and sit-ups. I consider changing into something my size, but I liked the way Crow looked at me. Maybe he’ll look at me like that again.
I head out back to the roadkill cemetery sprawled beneath a pair of mesquites. For once, Bear hasn’t dug up the fresh body, leaving my armadillo to rot in peace. It’ll take at least a month for the worms to strip the flesh off the bones. The coyote remains I got back in spring are almost ready to be boiled and bleached. They’ll make a fine set of chimes.
Bear lopes up, tail wagging and tongue lolling. Crow follows. He’s sprayed on a new black t-shirt, and it shows off his biceps as well as pale tattoos. They’re like creeper winding from shoulders to wrists, with what I think might be roses dotted between wrist and elbow.
It’s not a tattoo. They’re scars.
“You’re up early.” Giving Bear a pat, I reach for the hose and start soaking the graves.
“Couldn’t sleep.” Crow squints up at the trees that don’t provide much shade. “Why do you water the corpses?” He crouches down and steals sideways glances at me. I’m glad I stuck with this shirt.
“Maybe they’ll sprout roots, and grow into bone trees. Maybe I’ll turn this whole stretch into a skeleton orchard.”
“A roadkill garden.” He grins, and, as I continue to wet the ground, I’m painfully aware of our arms less than an inch away from touching. He smells good too. Beneath the layer of cheap motel soap and chemical cotton, he smells of something not from Dead Rock, of something the desert hasn’t sandblasted and the sun hasn’t fried to a crisp.
“Would be kinda neat, right?”
“Or macabre.” Crow drags a finger through the mud and hair falls into his face. Damn, he’s fine, and probably straighter than a pole up a nun’s butt in church.
“Doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be beautiful.”
ABOUT SUZANNE VAN ROOYEN
Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Sweden and is busy making friends with the ghosts of her Viking ancestors. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When she grows up, she wants to be an elf – until then, she spends her time (when not writing) wall climbing, buying far too many books, and entertaining her shiba inu, Lego.