Kelly Gay was kind enough to let us borrow Charlie Madigan from her newly released The Better Part of Darkness to fill us in on what it’s like working with a male Siren…and Kelly also sent along an exclusive excerpt as well! Thanks Kelly!
The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay
Divorced mother of one, Charlie Madigan, lives in a world where the beings of heaven and hell exist among us, and they aren’t the things of Sunday school lessons and Hallmark figurines. In the years since the Revelation, they’ve become our co-workers, neighbors, and fellow citizens. Charlie works for ITF (Integration Task Force). It’s her job to see that the continued integration of our new “friends” goes smoothly and everyone obeys the law, but when a new off-world drug is released in Underground Atlanta, her daughter is targeted, and her ex-husband makes a fateful bargain to win her back, there’s nothing in heaven or earth (or hell for that matter) that Charlie won’t do to set things right.
Charlie Madigan here to talk about sirens. As I like to say, you know you’ve just past a siren when you find yourself face first into a utility pole. And if you haven’t been around them for a while, that saying is pretty damn accurate. Sirens grab your attention. It’s not your fault you just left your kid, dropped your grocery bag, and started following one down the sidewalk. If your baby in the stroller could walk, he’d get out and follow too. Hey, it happens to the best of us.
My partner is a siren, and let me tell you, Hank’s got all the goods. Blond, wavy hair the color of sunshine on gold. Six-four. Two hundred pounds of lean muscle, and the same kind of grace, presence, and majesty of a lion. His eyes change color with his mood—dark sapphire when he’s pissed, topaz blue when he’s cracking some asinine joke—and they have that same mesmerizing quality as the rest of him. Sometimes when he looks at you, all quiet and still…you feel like you’re under the gaze of a predatory animal. One that can take you down any time, any place, and he knows it. And when he grins…forget about it—you’re toast.
In Elysia, the heaven-like world from which they hail, sirens fall just below the Adonai (also known as Divinities) in hierarchy. In their world, their voices hold power, but here—holy shit—it’s magnified a thousand fold. We learned pretty early on that something had to be done, so the voice-mod was created. It looks like a Celtic torc, with two balls at the throat made of thick typanum-infused steel. The frequency inside, adjusts the siren’s voice into something we mere mortals can handle without embarrassing ourselves, and the sirens don’t mind wearing it either since they can’t stand being followed around by a bunch of drooling puppy dogs. Win-win situation for everyone.
And the damn thing looks good on them, too. Makes my partner look like some Viking throw back. Totally not good when I’m trying to concentrate and do my job. *sigh* Most sirens, though, act unapproachable. They don’t reach out, don’t try to make friends. Hank was like that at first, when we were first assigned to work together three years ago. But I like to think it was because I shot him in the belly. Long story. But since then, he has proven himself to be a great partner, one who puts up with me, and can still smile at the end of the day. He’s got secrets, he doesn’t talk much about his past or why he came to Atlanta, but then I have secrets, too. He gets under my skin, and we have some issues to sort out, but I still care a great deal for him and he’s one of my best friends in the world. And I know, no matter what he says, he feels the same.
Now if I could just find the right girl for him….
Want to see what it’s like to hang with Hank and Charlie? Here’s the duo at The Bath House where Charlie must wear the in-house gown and nothing else…you know, to fit in with the patrons. One of the lighter moments in their story:
Hank waited outside the locker room in an above-the-knee white sarong, his arms folded across his bare chest and his toe tapping on the mosaic tile.
Holy Mary Mother of God. An appreciative breath whistled through my lips.
All two-hundred pounds of him glowed with tanned skin pulled taut over fantastic shoulders, cut abs, and gorgeous legs and feet. Yeah, I’d been right for once. Seeing Hank half-naked had been worth the trip.
I was grinning like an idiot and couldn’t hide it. One of Hank’s perfectly arched eyebrows lifted slowly and knowingly at my blatant perusal. Then, his lips twitched. His eyes sparkled as he flipped the tables and ogled my outfit. That made me find my voice. “Is that a loincloth?”
The burgeoning grin on his lips froze. “It’s not a loincloth.”
“It looks exactly like a loincloth.”
His expression turned sour as I cocked my head and gave him a smart look. Satisfied I’d gotten the last word, I strode off toward the main bath.
“You left your underwear on?” His exasperated voice came from behind me.
I stopped, stuck my hip out and looked over my shoulder, trying to see my rear. “What? You can see them?”
“God, get me through this,” he muttered on a long exhale, grabbing my arm and steering me forward.
I turned to Hank. “Put your arms around me.”
He blinked. “What?”
“Our plan. We embrace, fall into the door. It bursts open. We get a good look at them and then act like we were just looking for a place to . . .”
“Get it on.” His face split into a blinding, deep-dimpled grin. “I like the way you think, Madigan.”
The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay
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