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A Heaven for Toasters | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book After relaunching A Heaven for Toasters, complete with new cover, I promised to publish it here in installments. After neglecting it for a while, here’s the next chapter.

Note: You can find a link to all published chapters at the end of this post or read more parts on Wattpad.

A Heaven for Toasters

What if your perfect man was a robot?

Detective Mika Pensive has a new partner. He’s hot. Smart. Funny. And an android.

Set in the near future, A Heaven for Toasters is more than a sci-fi crime adventure with plenty of romance and wit. It’s the book that will make you look at your toaster in a whole new way.

CHAPTER 8: Dinner

Monday, April 19, 2117, 3:34 a.m.

In my exhaustion, I had completely forgotten to turn on the room’s noise-cancellation system. A soft knock now woke me up, making me pay for my forgetfulness. I blinked with heavy eyelids, my mind momentarily confused by the unfamiliar surroundings.

From outside the room, feet shuffled. A wheel squeaked.

“Lights,” I said in a groggy voice. “And open shutters.”

Low ambient lights turned on around me, shaking cobwebs from my brain. A soft whirr came from the windows as shutters lifted, revealing darkness outside. I tapped my temple. “Time.”

The time blinked at the top-right corner of my view. It was a little past three-thirty in the morning. God, I must have slept through the whole afternoon and evening. The smell of warm food wafted through the closed door. It was enticing, even though I didn’t yet feel hungry.

I slowly lifted the sheet and pivoted my body on the bed until my legs dangled out and my feet touched the soft floor. I rubbed my eyes for a moment before getting up.

Dragging my feet, I opened the door. Leo was sitting on the chair where I had last seen him, next to a trolley with a couple of covered plates.

“Good morning, Detective.”

“Hardly.” My voice came out like gravel. I wasn’t a morning person at the best of times. Now, the jetlag and yesterday’s events conspired to make me even less so.

“I took the liberty of ordering you some food. I thought you might want to wake up for…” He paused. “For whatever you may wish to do tonight.”

I nodded my thanks and crashed on the chair next to him. I pulled off the covers over the plates and stared at bacon and eggs, a soup, and a grilled cheese sandwich. I inhaled the rich aromas, and my stomach—which had been pretending to be uninterested less than a minute ago—growled in eager anticipation.

I pulled the trolley closer and took a spoonful of the soup. It was salty and carried more than a whiff of the Mediterranean. Something gelatinous slipped down my throat.

Leo was observing me the way a scientist might look at a lab rat figuring out its new labyrinth. “I wasn’t sure if you’d like it. Seaweed and jellyfish can be a bit of an acquired taste. If you don’t like it, the sandwich should provide all of the necessary nutrients. The bread has plenty of insect protein.”

“It’s great,” I lied as I pushed the dish away and dug my teeth into the sandwich. Its bread was surprisingly fluffy and tasty. “Thanks.” I washed the bite down with some sweet tea carrying hints of bergamot. “Any news?”

“I’ve been monitoring police communications. The wreckage has now arrived at the island. I also know where it’s held.” He leaned forward, the half-smile I was now starting to recognize as his trademark playing on his lips. “Naturally, I only share this information in good faith.”

“Of course.” I dunked the sandwich into the egg yolk with one hand, tapping my temple with the other. “Can you pass me the info?”

Leo nodded. A moment later, a map flashed on my hololens. The compound where the wreckage could be found was less than ten minutes from our hotel. “Thanks. You ready to join me?”

He arched a questioning eyebrow. “Wouldn’t you rather I stayed here?”

“We’re together in this mission, aren’t we? Let’s test how much of a contortionist you really are.” I explained my plan. When I finished, I leaned back in my chair and studied him. “Think you can do it?”

“I believe so. Although I’ll have to bend some of my rules a lot. Let’s hope no failsafes are triggered.”

“I hope not. If they do, both our careers will be over.” I wiped up a stranded bacon bit with the last piece of my sandwich and stood up. It was time to get ready.


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