UPDATE: The winner is…Jennifer Beyer!
SNAFU—Situation Normal, All F***ed Up by Ava Cuvay
A sidelined Army cyborg’s only joy is the dimpled smile of a curvy Pentagon admin until she offers him a proposition he should refuse.
My Inspiration: Firstly, thank you to Delilah for organizing these anthologies! This is the third one I’ve been involved in, and I’m honored to be among such a wide variety of amazing authors.
For this anthology, the idea of a story involving older, well-seasoned (“salt-n-pepper”) soldiers hit at a perfect time. When I submitted my story, I was in the middle of writing book two of my Silver Cyborgs series—a series of middle-aged, early-generation cyborgs in a slightly-futuristic earthbound setting—and contemplating book three, my series finale. In keeping with the “Tin [something]” theme of my titles, I already knew book three would be Tin Soldier, about a soldier who lost his leg and gained a weaponized cybernetic one in its place. So submit to an anthology about hawt older soldiers?? Yes, please!
All I had to do was think through the minor details like names, setting, love interest, etc… work I would have had to do anyway. And the end result of the anthology short story sets the stage for the actual book and gives the reader a sexy preview into my two old-enough-to-know-better-but-lonely-enough-not-to-care characters.
Snippet from SNAFU—Situation Normal, All F***ed…
Staff Sergeant Gage Austin marched proudly away from the daily humiliation of his pat-down and full body scan as Audra Muir watched, just like she did every day, from a safe distance. Safe from the heart-pounding, knee-quivering effect he had on her as a woman. And safe from the eruption of her self-righteous anger on his behalf, caused by his treatment. All these years working here and no one allowed him the common courtesy of bypassing any of the security checkpoints They knew full well he would trigger the alarms, the morning mass of incoming employees would panic, and several minutes of chaos would ensue. Still, they made him go through it.
Every. Damn. Day.
Her own boss had a heart monitor, yet the alarms never blared and the mech-guns never flinched for him, because PFPA always waved him around for a less conspicuous wand scan. Same for the General with the metal plate in his head. The intern with the pins in his arm from a recent car accident. Even the food service veteran who’d had a knee replacement. They all breezed past security without even a blink of concern from anybody.
But not Gage.
Because he was a cyborg.
She shouldn’t know that fact. No one else at the Pentagon did, not even Gage’s supervisor. If anyone knew she knew, she’d lose her job. If anyone knew how she’d learned that tidbit, she’d be dead.
However, even knowing what she shouldn’t know, she didn’t worry about the consequences and didn’t fear or hate cyborgs like the rest of society. She didn’t worry he might lose control of his cybernetic parts and go rogue. Not Gage. He’d suffered through too much to be what he was, and watching what he silently endured each day and guessing how lonely his life must be as a result… yeah, she couldn’t muster any fear or mistrust of him. Instead, she admired him. His strength and fortitude. His quiet confidence. His dutiful respect for the system that had made him the man—and man-machine—he was. Admired and desired.
Because, honestly, he was hot as fuck.
About the Author
Ava Cuvay is an award-winning bestselling author of out-of-this-world sci-fi and paranormal romance, featuring sassy heroines, gutsy heroes, passion, and adventure…often set in a galaxy far, far away. She believes life is too short to bother with negative people, everything is better with Champagne, and Han Solo shot first.
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