Welcome to our 2nd week of celebrations for the amazing
In today's post, we'll look at the Tattooed Corpse books, plus five little-known facts about Ofelia. There's also a chance to win one of her books.
First up, It Doesn't Translate
Noir Kioko had only ever seen one human before his undercover work brought him to the diner at the Luna Terminal, and that was at a distance. Humans are rare, most of them disappear without a trace, and he hopes hanging around the restaurant will give him a lead on the smuggling ring he’s investigating. There was no way he could’ve known the human would turn out to be his mate, and no way he can let it show without putting his mate in danger and possibly jeopardising his mission.
Max Welch is the proud owner of the only restaurant within a light year’s distance. He left Earth four years ago to create a better life for himself, but he hadn’t considered the possibility of scary alien pirates making his restaurant their favourite hangout spot. As a measly human there isn’t much he can do about it, but as one of the pirates starts coming by almost every day he has to come up with something before he loses all his customers. That the giant cat man is rather nice to look at changes nothing.
When rumours of another human arriving at the space station start to circulate, Noir's species trafficking infiltrate and observe only mission may need a revamp. But will Noir be able to protect his mate and another one of his rare species?
Max walked up to the table, once again praying no one could hear his heart banging in his chest. He kept his face neutral—some species interpreted a smile as aggressive—placed the first cup in front of a purple-haired male with a large flat nose. Piercings adorned his face in more places than Max had believed possible, not that he looked directly at the guy, but he had a hard time not peeking when the gang came and went. He always treated Max like he was invisible and that was alright by him.
Moving on to the next person, he didn’t recognise the jacket, and he didn’t dare look at the man’s face. As he put the cup down the man reached for it, grazing the back of Max’s hand before he could snatch it away.
“Sorry.” The man’s voice was a low purr. Max put some distance between them, but he couldn’t look away as large hands closed around the cup, making it look ridiculously small. He hadn’t seen those hands before, they were dusted with black hair all the way out on the fingers, the pads were broader than the rest of the digit, and there were no visible nails. That didn’t mean there weren’t claws hidden in there somewhere. Max had seen sharp tips coming out after he’d convinced himself a customer was a harmless species. But, for some stupid reason, it pleased him that the creature had five digits on each hand.
The number of fingers didn’t matter though; he was one of Bair’s men—a recruit from the looks of it. He only hoped the guy wouldn’t do anything to prove his worth in here. Shaking his head ever so slightly, he placed the last cup on the tray in front of the quiet man in the corner, the only one who was as small as Max was. Not that Max had considered himself small until he’d arrived here, he was average in every way according to human standards—okay maybe a little shorter than average, but not short short.
The quiet guy always sat in the corner, he never took part in any conversation, he never ate anything other than vegetables, and never drank anything other than black coffee. Max had no idea what species he was, though unless they were Reptoid or human he wouldn’t. His skin had a soft yellow-brownish tone with some dark spots, and it looked almost human in its texture—always nice.
A quick escape took him back to the counter, and he was cursing his shaking hands as he placed Bair and the rest’s cups on the tray. He briefly met Quam’s gaze before heading towards the table again.
In slow-motion he took the few steps bringing him up to the gang. He passed Bair and served the man closest to the wall first. For each cup he put down, his pulse picked up, all too soon he only had Bair’s cup left. It wobbled slightly on the saucer and Max cursed. Bair chuckled too close to his ear, and he steeled himself for another burning onslaught.
Max startled at the purring voice, and out of the corner of his eye, he saw Bair do the same. It was all he needed to be able to take a couple of quick steps out of Bair’s reach—not that it would stop him if he wanted to do something but at least Max could breathe a little easier.
“Yes?” He hoped the men didn’t notice the relief in his tone.
“You don’t happen to have any cream-based desserts, do you?”
Before Max could stop himself he met the man’s gaze, realised what he’d done, and quickly looked down at his worn sneakers. He had yellow eyes with vertical pupils, but the way the eyes had narrowed made Max aware of having overstepped his boundaries—or he’d probably taken more liberties than was expected of him. A flat nose, and a wide mouth…with lips—it was always nice when a face was human-looking. He was probably taller than Quam and broader too, but hey, five fingers, what more could a man wish for?
Max took a calming breath and cursed himself for spacing out.
He forced his mind to focus on what pastry he had to offer. Few species tolerated dairy products. “I…erm…I have vanilla ice cream.” Max kept it for himself. He liked eating some on those nights when he felt heartbroken, unwanted, and alone. Ice cream might not help that, but he still kept it for those nights.
“You do? Could I have some, please?”
Max was as stunned by the polite manner as he was of the request. “Of course, sir.”
He heard Bair mutter something as he hurried towards the freezer in the back of the kitchen. This was one strange day.
He quickly scooped up some vanilla ice cream and placed it in a bowl. He didn’t dare put anything on it, who knew what kind of topping was offensive?
Max liked hearing a please now and then so he didn’t want to upset the new guy. Pirate scum or not, at least he’d been polite up to this point, and it would be a shame to fuck that up by putting caramel sauce on his ice cream.
Max straightened his shoulders and headed out of the kitchen. The sound of low hissing voices reached him before he’d made his way out from behind the counter. He tried not to react to it, nothing good would come of letting Bair know he made him…apprehensive, but Quam glanced his way as soon as he stepped out on the floor. Fuck, what had Bair been saying?
He kept his gaze on the floor as he neared the table. “Here you go, sir.”
“Noir.” This time the purring was missing from the deep voice and Max had no idea what it meant. He almost yelped when a black tail swished out behind the man. Where the fuck had that come from?
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Secondly, Worth His Salt
Eldred Henstare is a not so powerful witch who’s been left in charge of helping the city’s lingering spirits to move on. He usually handles it pretty well, but something’s wrong with the spirit leading him to the abandoned lighthouse.
Mo Vin likes his quiet life in the cottage next to the lighthouse, at least it’s quiet until one night when Eldred Henstare—young, beautiful and crazy—arrives. After that night things aren’t the same. A man is found dead on the beach outside Mo’s cottage, and he’s almost sure he’s the one who killed him, except it doesn’t make sense. Why would he kill anyone?
Eldred needs to get rid of the ghost haunting Mo. If he doesn’t Mo’s life is in danger, but to do it he needs both Mo and his brother Lachtin to help out.
“Do you know this man?” An investigator with thinning brown hair and thick glasses pushed a picture towards Eldred where he sat on an uncomfortable plastic chair in an interrogation room at the police station.
The photo was of a dark-haired man who gave the camera a sharp stare.
“No, I’ve never seen him before.”
The investigator shuffled some papers around. “Are you sure? Look carefully.”
“I’m sure.” Eldred crossed his arms over his chest. He was fucking hungry. They hadn’t given him anything to eat since they got here hours ago and he was starting to get extremely annoyed. No one had told him what he was doing here. Everyone gave him sideways glances and then looked through their papers.
“Perhaps the name Ryan Johnson helps you remember?”
“I don’t know any Ryans, sorry.” A chill had the hairs on his arms stand on end. The spirit kept on calling him. The waves were becoming harder and harder to ignore, and he needed some food to be able to resist it. His shields were growing weaker, and with it the floaty feeling in his head became more insistent.
“Perhaps if you look at this you’ll remember.” The investigator gave him a photo of a tattoo, one black snake and one white tangled together. “Ringing any bells? Did you design it?”
Eldred raised an eyebrow as he watched the investigator. “You’re not very good at your job, are you?”
“Excuse me?” The man dropped his papers and glared at Eldred.
“I’m not the tattoo artist, Lachtin is. Though I doubt he tattooed this one; doesn’t seem like his style.”
“You’re not a tattoo artist? What do you do for a living Mr Henstare?” The sneer on the man’s face made Eldred want to zap him. The energy started to build in his hands but right when he was about to send some of it the investigator’s way a new wave of icy chills washed over him.
He gritted his teeth as he fought the urge to follow in the direction the energy was tugging him.
“Do you have a job, Mr Henstare?”
Not a normal one, no. “Yes. I do my brother’s paperwork, and sometimes I pick up the phone in the studio and make reservations if he’s busy tattooing.”
“So you could’ve seen him there and then…followed him?”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake! I have never seen the guy. I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t know what you think I’ve done—”
“You’re a suspect in a murder investigation, Mr Henstare.”
Despite knowing his mouth was hanging open, Eldred couldn’t close it. “I’m a what?”
“You’re a suspect—”
“How can I be a suspect? I haven’t done anything. I haven’t seen him.”
“He was stabbed last night outside the old lighthouse, the same lighthouse you said you walked by.”
“Oh my god! Is Mo all right?”
“Mo Vin, the man living in the lighthouse.”
The investigator made a note. “You know this Mo?”
“No, I don’t know him, but he gave me a lift home yesterday.”
He scribbled some more. “Was there anyone else by the lighthouse?”
“No, I was out walking, the weather was terrible, and Mo gave me a ride home. There was no one else there. I won’t say anything more until I’ve had some legal advice.” He’d had enough of this nonsense. He had more important things to take care of than hanging around here—spirits to banish, handsome men to check up on.
“We have a witness putting you at the scene.”
“Of course not! This is a serious matter, Mr Henstare.”
“I’m well aware. I want to call my lawyer.” Nausea swelled in his gut. If he wasn’t let out of here the spirit could advance on the city as it pleased. With normal spirits not much would happen if they were left lingering for a while, but Eldred had a feeling that wouldn’t be the case here. As much as he hated it, he’d have to call Mother if they weren’t letting him go.
The investigator looked at him over the rim of his glasses. “You are free to do so.”
“I’m also leaving this place.” He had no idea if he was allowed to go, but as he got to his feet and the man didn’t do anything to stop him, he guessed he was. “I’m not under arrest, am I?”
“You wouldn’t be leaving this room if you were.”
What the fuck was going on?
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Five little-known facts:
- I’m dyslexic. It might not be a little known fact, but people often assume that if you’re a writer, you can’t have dyslexia. But the love for words and what you can express through them don’t disappear just because you can’t figure out in what order to place the letters or happen to drop one or two. I can often tell that something is off in a word, but I can’t figure out what, most often I’ve switched some letters around. I do okay on a computer, writing longhand is another matter. And I always listen to the text I’ve written before I send it to someone. Twice it’s happened that I’ve uploaded a book to a site with a misspelt title—always a joyful moment when some kind soul contacts me to tell me they’ve spotted a typo.
- I suffer from ranidaphobia, fear of frogs (for real, not an ‘ew, I don’t like frogs’, a ‘there’s a frog and really really need to get as far away from it as I possibly can, or I’ll die’). I work at a mushroom farm, frogs love that warm, humid environment. It’s a nightmare, literally.
- I once held a Swedish record in air rifle shooting.
- I’m a wannabe hippie who thinks we all should grow our own food and stop buying shit we don’t need. I could rant about this for ages but I usually just end up offending people so I’ll leave it at that, LOL.
- I spent my wedding night at a hospital where our son had surgery.
About the author:
Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes contemporary, paranormal, romance, horror, Sci-Fi and whatever else catches her fancy.
Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.
When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods…if she’s lucky she finds her way back home again.
Thanks for celebrating this fabulous author with us. Come back next week for more of Ofelia's books, a personal story she's chosen to share, and another chance to win.
Until then, happy reading!