REPOST – Introducing The Shades Below Shorts

(Originally posted 3.28.15)

Occasionally when I’m writing, certain characters just grab me by the throat.

This happened in a big way while I was writing A World Apart. Well, sort of.  Technically, it was two characters. And once they grabbed me, they wouldn’t let go.

Their names are Emil and Puzzle. They exist mainly in the background, doing their own thing and minding their own business. Here’s the rub:

Rev. Emil Stone is a curator of knowledge. He’s part of a secret organization called The Ministers, whose mandate is to collect, catalog, and study objects of magical origin. 

Misha “Puzzle” Kaslov is a Peer, part of an underground order of knights assigned to protect the Ministers while they jet around the globe hunting down esoteric artifacts.

From the jump, I knew there was more to Emil and Puzzle than what I could show in the Shades Below novels. They wouldn’t leave me alone (especially Misha), so…

I gave them their own series.


The Shades Below Shorts are a series of companion novellas all about Emil and Puzzle…and their “more-than-business” relationship.

Check out this snippet from the first short, Ptolemy’s Tablet:


Misha’s face was so close he could taste him.  Emil struggled in his grasp.  Sweat beaded on his forehead as Misha twisted his arm still further.  The other man’s face was cool, contemplative, but his eyes blazed hot.  “Do you know how easy it would be to break you right now?”

Emil didn’t answer.  Misha tweaked his arm again, and he grimaced.  “So do it, then.”

Misha’s eyes burned into his.  “What?” His voice was quiet.

Emil didn’t look away.  “Do it.  See if you feel better.”

It shocked him how much he suddenly wanted Misha to hurt him.  When had he gotten so fucked up?  He didn’t know.  Didn’t care.  He’d made a mistake.  They both had.  The least Misha could do was punish him for it.

Emil leaned forward without breaking eye contact.  Tendons wrenched in his elbow.  “Do.  It.”

He barely registered when Misha released his other wrist.  Then a warm, rough hand clasped the back of his neck.  Emil caught his breath, suspended between agony and bliss.  Misha’s eyes dropped to his lips.  “Rasputnitsa,” he whispered, “what are we doing to each other?”


Just one other thing. THEY’RE FREE.

Each Shades Below Short will be available via Smashwords for $0.99, but if you subscribe to my newsletter, I’ll send you a coupon that will drop the price to exactly 0 pennies.

If you’re a fan of m/m romance (that’s boy + boy, for the uninitiated), check it out!


UPDATE (3.30.15):

You know how some things take on a life of their own?

Emil and Puzzle did that.

I initially threw Ptolemy’s Tablet up on Smashwords with little pomp and no circumstance, and what happened? The boys ended up being popular! Who knew?

Thus, while my original offer of a freebie coupon when you sign up for my newsletter remains valid, I am expanding distribution. You can now buy Ptolemy’s Tablet on Amazon in both ebook and print form, as well as on the usual Smashwords outlets (Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, iTunes, etc.).

Thank you for this overwhelmingly positive response!

Ptolemy’s Tablet Links


Barnes & Noble


Published by L.J.K. Oliva

L.J.K. Oliva writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, with a heavy dash of suspense. She likes her whiskey strong, her chocolate dark, and her steak bloody. Most of all, L.J.K. likes monsters... and knows the darkest ones don't live in closets.

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