Evolved Release Day Spotlight


Title: Evolved
Author: N.R. Walker
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: April 23, 2018
Genre(s): M/M Science Fiction, Romance
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Belen and Susan

Blurb:

In 2068, androids are an integrated part of human life. Big Brother no longer just watches from the shadows. It’s in every household.

Lloyd Salter has OCD issues with noise and mess, and he’s uncomfortable with human interaction. When his ex claimed the only thing perfect enough to live up to his standards was an android, Lloyd dismissed it. But two years later, after much self-assessment, he thinks he may have been right.

SATinc is the largest manufacturer of androids in Australia, including the Fully Compatible Units known as an A-Class 10. Their latest design is the Synthetic Human Android UNit, otherwise known as SHAUN.

Shaun is compatible to Lloyd’s every need; the perfect fit on an intellectual and physical basis. But Lloyd soon realises Shaun’s not like other A-Class androids. He learns. He adapts. Sure that SATinc is aware Shaun functions outside of his programmed parameters, Lloyd must find a way to keep Shaun safe.

No one can know how special Shaun is. No one can know he’s evolved.

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Excerpt

I studied Shaun for a second. He was completely still, powered down, and he looked peaceful. I reached out and almost touched his cheek, but it felt wrong to do so without his consent.

I took a step back, took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. “Shaun, Power Up.”

He opened his eyes and lifted his head. When his gaze met mine, he smiled. “Hello, Lloyd.”

“Hello, Shaun.” I wasn’t sure what to say next. I looked around the room.

“Are you nervous?” Shaun asked. “Your heart rate is elevated and your pupils are dilated.”

“You can see that?”

“Of course. I am designed to be attuned to you.”

Oh boy. Breathe Lloyd. “Uh, yes. I’m a little nervous. I’ve been waiting for you for a while, and I’m very happy you’re here.”

Shaun smiled. “I am happy to be here.”

He was happy? Was he really happy, as in emotionally uplifted, or was it just a phrase?

I realised then I was still holding the control panel. I walked over to the cabinet and slid it on top. When I turned around, Shaun had turned and was watching me. “Would you like me to show you your new home?”

“Yes, please.”

“This is the main living area,” I said. Waving my hand at the sofas and the dining table. “Kitchen is through there.” The truth was, the kitchen was sleek and state of the art with views overlooking the Yarra River and Southbank, Melbourne, but would he appreciate that? I didn’t think so. “This way is the private quarters.” I slid back a recessed door to reveal a hall. I didn’t often close the door, but given I was expecting the delivery people, I didn’t want them seeing my personal space. Not that I had anything to hide. I just liked my privacy. I needed it. It was my sanctuary, my peace of mind from the chaos, mess, and noise of the outside world. I opened the first door. “This is your room.”

He moved fluidly, humanly. God, he looked so real. “Will I not be staying in your room with you?”

I blinked. “Oh, um. Well, uh… I just thought you might like your own space.”

“If you do not wish me to join you in your room, you only have to say.”

I studied him for a second. God, did he look sad or was that just my imagination?

I opened the door to the walk-in robe. “I bought you some clothes,” I said. “I thought you might like to choose what you wear each day.”

He looked at the clothes hanging, neat rows of sweaters, shirts, and pants. “You bought these for me?”

I hadn’t anticipated he would stand so close to me so he could see inside the closet. It made my heart rate take off. “Yes.”

He shot me a look. “Your heart rate is elevated.” Then he straightened, but he didn’t move back an inch. His voice was deep but quiet, soothing even. “You like me being close to you.”

Oh boy. I stepped away and ignored his statement. If he was going to voice my every reaction… “There’s an en suite bathroom also,” I said, opening the other door. “You can use anything in this house at any time. You don’t need to ask.”

Then I walked back to the hall and showed him the main bathroom. “This is the bathroom guests use,” I explained.

“Do we have guests often?”

We. He said we.

My heart galloped again, but he thankfully didn’t comment. I could only assume he picked up on my earlier discomfort. God, it was bad enough I was awkward with humans, but now I was awkward with androids as well.

“Uh, no. I haven’t had many guests in the past, and not for some time. I like my privacy, and I like things… a certain way.” That was probably putting my OCD mildly. “I prefer things in order and I enjoy quiet.”

I’d said that line a hundred times in my life. To work associates, friends, therapists, and my ex-boyfriend, and they all judged or responded as if I was broken and they could offer advice to fix me. But Shaun smiled at me. “I like those things too.”

My heart raced again, but this time it was from relief, gratitude, fondness even. His quiet, peaceful demeanour was so utterly perfect for me. I blinked a few times to clear my thoughts and showed him to my bedroom. I opened the door and almost reluctantly stepped inside. “This is my room.”

He walked in, taking in his surroundings. My room was quite large, with polished concrete floors, white walls, and white bedding, and charcoal grey artworks above the bed. Shaun did a slow 360, then stopped when he was facing me.

“Do you like it?” I asked, perplexed by his reaction. Did the white and grey bother one of his sensors? Or did he think it was cold and detached.

“It’s very peaceful,” he said.

It felt like the air was sucked out of the room, and I struggled to catch my breath, in a head-rush, remarkable kind of way. No one had understood that. Certainly not Ian. My ex had hated this room. I’d always said it made me calm, but he said he felt like he was in a museum, and that was not a compliment. But Shaun got it. Programmed to like what I liked or not, the relief I felt was unprecedented.

“Thank you,” I whispered.

Shaun studied me for a moment, tilting his head just so. Then, in two very humanlike steps, he stood in front of me. “Do you wish to have sex with me?” he asked.

I blinked in shock and dry swallowed. It took me a few attempts at speaking, but I finally managed to get my answer out.

“No.”

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N.R. Walker’s Bio

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…

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