Robert Greenberger’s “Fractured” is a Mars-set love triangle pitting husband against wife, lover and against lover, challenging all to consider what really matters most to them, and why, with deadly results.
Here’s an early look:
By Robert Greenberger
“It’s a wicked storm out there,” Lucas Connors said as he buttoned his shirt. He was still slightly sweaty and wanted to clean up, but he was running late. His wife, Bridget, was waiting for him and he suspected the mag lev “el” would run slowly as a precaution.
Having to go home undercut the sweet sensation he was trying to savor, the scent of Dev’s own sweat, mixed with his own, creating a unique, heady perfume.
Dev Bhatia sat up on his elbows, Lucas glowing as his lover studied him. Dev was lean and angular, with a rounded face and dark, brown eyes that melted Lucas’s heart. Bhatia was inventive in their lovemaking and Lucas couldn’t get enough of their time together. The problem, though, was it had to be limited. Each encounter had to be carefully orchestrated in advance, stealing time here and there, doing nothing to jeopardize his marriage or their working relationship. Both had met when they were asked to participate in planning the next stage of development in the Apollinaris Sulci. They found they had much in common at the initial planning sessions, which led to some one-on-one meetings, and before they realized it, the two men were each looking forward to the next meeting. A part of Bhatia realized the secrecy was a spice that added to the new relationship’s heat.
“You think Jinping will really pull out?” So typical of Dev to mix thoughts of sex with politics and their work.
“If they want any share of the minerals or habitat space, they’ll play along,” Lucas said. “I’m more worried about Gandhi. They want more than their share since their population is running out of control. You Indians can’t keep it in your pants.”
Dev’s long-fingered hand reached around him, playing with his chest hair as he tried to finish buttoning the shirt. He pressed against his back and Lucas leaned into him.
“There, it’s in my pants . . . for now. So, what are we going to do?”
“What do you mean?” But Lucas knew what Dev meant.
“About the budget; there’s not enough money coming from the other towns,” Dev said, trying to sound serious and businesslike but then let out a laugh. “Us, of course.”
Lucas had been mulling over that very question earlier in the day. And the night before. And the week before that. He loved Bridget, but there had been problems. He wasn’t sure if their marriage would last. And if those problems persisted, did he want something more committed with Dev? What did he want? plagued and stole sleep from him.
He decided to turn the question around. Taking the soft hand from inside his shirt, Lucas turned to meet Dev’s eyes. He saw in them the longing that he, too, often felt for him. “What do you want, Dev?”
“You,” he said and pressed his chin atop Lucas’ shoulder. “I want more of you, more time.”
“You want us to be public?”
“At least committed,” Dev said. Lucas turned and met his eyes.
“I want this to be something real, not two men furtively groping one another here and there. I see plenty of potential in you, Luke. And I don’t like to share.”
“I am never furtive,” Lucas said with mock seriousness, earning him an eye roll.
“But you are secretive. She doesn’t know about us, does she?”
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