Durance by Lyn Gala
All of us have unkind feelings toward 2020, but for me it came on the heels of 2019—a year that went down as the worst of my life. Some days, I had trouble getting out of bed, and the endless support of the community of readers has sustained me. Shin would call me. John gave me so many compliments that even my insecurities had to retreat. Mandy encouraged me to write whatever helped me find my muse, even if a popular series had to wait. I think she saved my ability to write at all. Carolyn and Jeanette, Emma and Sarah, Beth and Maryam all sustained me over at Patreon. Heather and Eija and SJ left comments that kept the muse fed, even when I wanted to quit. The whole community at Patreon and Facebook actually did that. So did the supportive fans who snapped up Earth Fathers and kept buying my works, even when my life fell apart and I essentially vanished from my on-line and professional life. After thirty-two years of partnership and companionship, I had to learn to live in a house that was too quiet, and I don’t know that I could have without the community I am blessed to be part of. Not hyperbole—just truth. People always talk about how it takes a village to raise a child, but sometimes I think it takes a village to sustain an artist. You have sustained me, and I am so grateful that my poor ability with words cannot express the depth of my feelings.
Darren groaned as he walked through the apartment door. “Long, damn day.” He passed the kitchen island and collapsed onto the couch.
Behind him, Kavon closed the door. “All we did was paperwork.”
Bennu had taken off, so Darren hadn’t even been able to get a little shamanic energy boost. Most days Bennu was better than coffee, but not today. “Exactly, that's what made it such a long day. Why is it so much harder to file reports than it is to chase down criminals?”
“Because you like one more than the other?” Kavon followed Darren into the living room and tossed the mail onto the coffee table before he doubled back to the refrigerator.
Darren flipped through the stack. “You might have me there. That, and my supervising agent is a real bastard who just insists on having every ‘T’ crossed and every ‘I’ dotted.”
Kavon schooled his face into a stern expression. “Yes, he is.” The corner of his mouth twitched.
Darren laughed. Kavon held up two beers, but Darren shook his head. If he started drinking, he was going to turn into a couch potato for the night, and he had to get some laundry done. And apparently pay bills. Joy. He came to a classy cream envelope and tore it open. “Huh.”
“What?” Kavon settled on the couch with his beer.
“Art and Zach are getting married.” Darren held up the announcement.
“The El Paso cops?” Kavon leaned closer to read the invite. “I guess they’re angling for a gift.”
Darren backhanded him. “I suspect Zach is trying to mend some fences between Bennu and Pochi. I get the feeling that they have a contentious history.” The longer Darren partnered with Bennu, the more he got flashes of emotion that suggested Bennu had been the bad-boy of the ifrit crowd, breaking rules at every turn. That explained why Bennu had never partnered with Kavon.
Before they’d become lovers, Darren suspected Kavon had had an intense and potentially sexual relationship with his FBI rulebook. If mystical guides chose partners with similar personality traits, Kavon and Bennu were a horrible match. Bennu, like Darren, was a little more flexible about working around rules.
After a long silence, Kavon asked, “Do you want to go?” Confusion drifted across their bond.
Darren flashed Kavon a smile for even making the offer. “Nope, but we can buy them a nice card. I’m glad they’re finally tying the knot. They seem to really work as a couple, ya know?” Darren sighed. “Did you ever think about getting married?”
Kavon put his beer down and his emotions grew sharper.
“Like when you were a kid,” Darren clarified. He wasn’t fishing for a proposal. Besides, the bond they shared with their guides would last this lifetime and the next. It didn’t get more permanent than a soul bond.
Kavon’s emotions settled. “I guess I assumed I would get married one day. Almost all the adults I knew were, so I’m not sure I considered any other options. But having Talent changed things.”
“Lots of people