Lene Taylor is a writer, scientist, podcaster, atheist, optimist, and feminist, who lives in Northern California. She likes comics, Star Trek, and smut, but not in that order.
Her website, Troubled Science, has a selection of writing and other fun stuff.
Everyone said it was Paradise, but Ian Hewison knew he’d gone to Hell. First there was the heat, which was unremitting: the temperature was over 26C every day. What was that in American? Eighty degrees? Having to convert everything in his head was a minor annoyance, though, compared to the bright sun…and the humidity.
So he was hot all the time, and hungry, because he was scared to eat anything but Pot Noodle. There was fresh fruit every day, but how could he eat things he’d never heard of? Guava? What the hell was that? At least he knew what pineapple was, though the ones he’d tasted at home were always kind of bland or bitter.
Then there was the ocean.
And the fact that he hadn’t gotten laid in months, not at home in England since he’d broken up with Andrew the Dick-Man, as he’d come to think of his ex, and not here in Hawaii, where the only people he knew were the other visiting scholars, who were mostly crazy.
“Hewison, come to the fucking beach with us today,” Mórag said, grabbing a pink soda out of the communal fridge in the break room. He loved her deep, soft New Zealand accent, but he wished she wouldn’t sprinkle so many varieties of “fuck” on her sentences, like salt.
“Can’t. Busy. I’m waiting for the last round of comparisons to print out.”
“That’s fucking crap. You can look at them tomorrow.” She fixed him with a glare. “I’m tired of organizing these trips and having you miss out.”
“OK. I don’t like the sea. And I don’t like getting sand in my clothes. And I don’t want to get sunburned–” He stopped short when she started laughing.
“Ian, my love, you are a world-class coward,” she crowed, throwing her arms around him. “Maybe it’s the price you pay for your looks and that gorgeous hair. Well, you must come next time. Tom was asking if you were ever going to join us.” She picked up her soda and a bag of chips and left.
Tom was asking about him?
Since he was alone, Ian allowed himself a minute to think about Tom Boyd: short, blond, frighteningly smart, with an easy smile and the ability to surf, which seemed otherwordly to Ian, who couldn’t even ride a bike. He was here at Mauna Kea from Caltech; they had time on the instrument Keck observatory, along with the University of California. Tom was as protective of his research as he was open about his gayness.
Ian was lucky to get the time he did, thanks to his grant, but it would be enough to finish his astrophysics degree at the University of Sussex. He could collect his data on zodiacal light and get back to England, where the temperature was normal and you could get a decent cup of tea. And he could go back to pining after boys he couldn’t have, just as he was doing with Tom…
End of Excerpt
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