A Valentine Treat from G. J. Koch

We’re ridiculously excited to announce that in June we’ll be releasing Alexander Outland: Space Pirate by the awesome G. J. Koch!

Captain Alexander Outland of the Sixty-Nine (short for Space Vessel 3369, of course) is the best pilot in the galaxy. He’s also a pirate, a smuggler, and loved and loathed by women in umpteen solar systems. His crew of strays and misfits includes an engineer of dubious sanity, a deposed planetary governor, an annoyingly unflappable Sexbot copilot, and a slinky weapons chief who stubbornly refuses to give the captain a tumble.

Outland just wants to make a decent living skirting the law, but when an invisible space armada starts cutting into his business, he soon finds himself in hot water with the military, the mob, mad bombers, and an extended family of would-be conquerors. And that’s not counting an occasionally telepathic spy . . . .

Like any sensible scoundrel, he hates heroics. They’re risky and they don’t pay well. But to keep his ship and crew in one piece, and make time with a certain hard-to-get weapons chief, he might just have to make an exception–and save the galaxy in spite of himself!

Alexander Outland: Space Pirate is available for pre-order from many of your favorite retailers. To celebrate this announcement we’ve got a wonderful Valentines themed short story from Gini.

Same Old, Same Old

by G. J. Koch

Another Valentine’s Day. Great. Love the heightened expectations. Not to mention the additional workload.

That one? Nah, too handsome. He can land a girl without trying.

Claus works one day a year and he’s treated like a king. Same thing with the stupid rabbit. Me, I work my butt off every day, 24/7, and yet do I get a night off? No. I have to work harder. Plus, I get blamed for the dullards who managed to be romantic once and got lucky, who now don’t remember how to say the word “romance” let alone make a token effort towards it.

Her? Nope, pretty. Sexy, too. C’mere, mamma, let Cupid put a smile on your face. She’ll be fine, no help needed.

Oh, what the hell. They’re both great looking but alone. So, there. Handsome man and sexy girl just knocked into each other. That’s one for the quota. Cheap, but satisfying.

If I could just shotgun them, that’d be great. Claus shotguns. Oh sure, he claims to cut out the naughty kids, but I’ve never seen it happen. And if he doesn’t drop exactly what the tot ordered? Well, he gets forgiven. Me, if I make the wrong coupling, only the divorce lawyers are happy.

What about this guy? Whoops! Got a baby carrier and a wedding ring. My bad. Her? Oh, duh. With the guy with the carrier. Man, I’m losing it.

Probably because I get no me time. Only one with a similar gig is the Tooth Fairy. She’s as busy as I am, and, I have to admit, she’s got to drag the money around. I’d hate that. Heavy and depressing. I mean, you give out anywhere from a nickel to five bucks, depending on your kid and their ridiculous expectations, and you get a tooth back in exchange. Whoop-dee-do.

Hmmm, there’s a prospect. Widower, lonely, no family. Left alone, life expectancy of about another year. Hook him up right, maybe ten, maybe twenty more, who can say, he looks healthy.

Hey, there’s Fairy. What’s she doing out this time of day? Aside from looking good, as always. Oh, gotcha. Grandma’s got the kids. And someone forgot to put her tooth under her pillow last night and is making with the major waterworks. Fairy’s good like that. Grandma’s got the tooth under a blanket, has the girl lie down, and presto! There’s a crisp Washington.

Huh. Grandma’s a widow. And, what’s this? Grandkids are about to move out of state. But Grandma’s not going? Deadly. She’s watched them their entire lives. Life expectancy better than the old man’s, but not great.

Now, this one I can sink my teeth into. There. Little brother just ran off and widower caught him and is bringing him back. Nice one. Oh, he even offered an extra quarter for the tooth delay. This one is a job well done.

Hey, Fairy’s still here. She looks kind of down. Yeah, this day bums me out, too. Always the shooter, never the target.

Then again…I only have to make three pure pairings a day, even on Valentine’s Day. Maybe it won’t be the same old thing after all.

So, Fairy…want to knock off for an hour or so and have lunch with me?