Cuddling My Chuchunya
Book 1 of Snuggling in Siberia
by Marilyn Barr
Date Published: 01-13-2023
Dr. Vera Thompson
I am one reindeer sleigh ride away from academic notoriety and the corpse excavation which will catapult my career from junior anthropology fellow to tenured professor. Crossing the Siberian tundra is not for the faint of heart but with modern technology like a GPS, cell phone signal, and all-climate winter gear, I’ll reach the suspected Australopithecus body unearthed by the melting permafrost. One more day of dodging methane gas pockets under the ice and my life will change forever…
The hairless ones swarmed around my brother’s body like flies from the southern land. Tradition dictates his next of kin perform his last rites, so I follow the erratic driving of the hairless ones from a foreign land. If these invaders discover my chuchunya clan, I fear we are too few to defend our territory under the ice. I don’t understand why the sled driver throws his passenger into a ground popper, but the cruel deed activates my coupling (dushevnayasvyaz) instincts to heat my body to an inferno…the first sign of a soul bond…
Stuck between loyalty to his clan’s secrecy and his biology, will Artyom trade injured Vera for Denis’s body? Will Vera choose modern conveniences in Ohio or stay in Siberia with the chuchunya who promises to cherish her? In such an unforgiving landscape, will Artyom prove his dushevnayasvyaz by pushing her toward an easier life, even if her leaving breaks both their hearts?
This book is for adults with cursing characters, mild violence, and steamy romantic scenes between a consenting human and a monster. To survive while isolated in Siberia, they must eat whatever food is available—whether it is a reindeer companion or not.
I land cradled in his arms about a foot off the ground. My feet scrape along the stone floor as he draws me inside a small chamber. A high-powered flashlight tied to the ceiling illuminates his face…
Without the mask over his mouth, I get a view of a living Australopithecus…
A flat nose, thin lips, and intelligent blue eyes are inches from my own. His muzzle juts out to accommodate his enlarged tongue that I don’t need to see to know it’s there. I’ve studied his form in books for half my life. In a surprisingly human gesture, he swings his chin to shake ice crystals from his hair. Those monstrous fingers comb back the strands from his brow, along the back of his head, and over his furry left shoulder.
“I must have a concussion,” I murmur. My fingers have a mind of their own and investigate the contours of his face before shrinking back in mortification.
“Or you just find me that repulsive,” he says as his chin lowers to his chest. With a grunt, he lifts me to his chest and carries me to a stack of furs. I can’t breathe. My research. My studies. My obsession for the last eight years of post-secondary education has emerged from my anthropology articles to rescue me.
My Pleistocene Epoch Chapters…written about the Earth two million years ago…
Maybe I hit my head and I’m passed out at the bottom of the methane pit…but there was water, so I would have drowned by now. Did I imagine swimming, Balky, Artyom, and perhaps the entire accident? I rip off my gloves to pinch the back of my hand. My heart pounds as the sting registers.
I’m not dreaming. My imagination couldn’t have conjured him.
“Please don’t run,” he says when I attempt to scramble to my feet. “If we don’t secure your hip, you may injure yourself permanently.”
I wish I could say I’m focused on my hip, but it’s numb so I push my injuries to the bottom of my problems list. He would be more confident if he incapacitated me with his herbs, right? So why aren’t I screaming in fear? Being isolated with a monster should scare the hell out of me, but he kneels before me like a queen as I rest on a pile of furs. I’m dumbstruck with attraction. Bright blue eyes blaze with compassion from a nest of ivory hair. The thick coarse locks cover his face and hang in a neat beard. Finer, whiter hair is swept backward on his head. It drapes over his shoulders over coarse fur. He isn’t wearing furs but is covered in thick white hairs with strands of auburn peeking through. When my eyes trail to the darker patch over his lap, I snap them up to his face.
Where he’s blushing…without his half-face mask.
Could he be more fascinating?
“But you are from the Pleistocene Epoch and using a modern flashlight! You are like Schrodinger’s cat—both extinct and alive at the same time!”
“I do not know this Schrodinger, his cat, or half the words you said. Polina is a hairless one like you, who is the mate to our leader, Timor. She trades our skins and fish for batteries and lights in the leto season,” he says with a severe frown. I miss half his explanation because I’m too busy watching his thin lips form the sounds. I could study his speech patterns for decades and not have all my questions answered.
What would it feel like to kiss a mouth with a pronounced maxillary bone and an enlarged tongue?
The thought is so wrong. It makes me want to kiss him…and explore our differences. My fingers itch to touch him. I have a million questions to ask him about his life. First and foremost, is there a female he keeps in this cave…if not, where do I sign up? I could study his handsome face for years and not lose interest—amazing since my dating life has been as exciting as reading the dictionary. Should I be shocked my mind is contemplating blowing off my dig to study this specimen?
And I can’t blame my body’s response to him on a head injury…
About the Author
Marilyn Barr currently resides in the wilds of Kentucky with her husband, son, and rescue cats. She has a diverse background containing experiences as a child prodigy turned medical school reject, published microbiologist, special education/inclusion science teacher, homeschool mother of a savant, certified spiritual & energy healer, and advocate for the autistic community. This puts her in the position to bring tales containing heroes who are regular people with different ability levels and body types, in a light where they are powerful, lovable, and appreciated.
When engaging with the real world, she is collecting characters, empty coffee cups, and unused homeschool curricula. She is a sucker (haha) for cheesy horror movies, Italian food, punk music, black cats, bad puns, and all things witchy.