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The Applicant

Busted Labs, Book One

by Aidee Ladnier

The Applicant - Aidee Ladnier
Editions:Kindle - Second Edition: $ 3.99
ISBN: 978-1-63533-200-1
Pages: 53
ePub - 2nd Edition: $ 3.99
ISBN: 978-1-63533-200-1
Pages: 53
PDF - 2nd Edition: $ 3.99
ISBN: 978-1-63533-200-1
Pages: 53

How can something so cuddly and adorable be so destructive? The teddy bear robot decimating his lab is only the first disaster of the day for roboticist Forbes Pohle. If he can figure out how to end its rampage, he still has to interview applicants for the position of research assistant and convince the time traveler on his doorstop that they should be making their future right now.

Oliver Lennox didn’t travel back in time to have a quickie in the blast chamber—but it certainly is fun. This younger Forbes is a sweeter, more innocent version of his lover. And it will be hard to leave him behind in the past.

If you like sexy nerds, humor, plenty of action, and a love story not even time can disrupt, this romantic adventure has the perfect credentials for the job.

This book is on:
  • 1 To Be Read list
  • 2 Read lists
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artists:
Setting: Forbes Pohle's House and Laboratory
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Setting: Forbes Pohle's House and Laboratory
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters

FORBES POHLE worked the needle-nose pliers carefully behind the eye sensors of his teddy bear. He needed to make one little adjustment—

The buzzer on the door sounded, nerve-jangling and insistent, from the speaker overhead.

Startled, Forbes jerked the wire he was fiddling with free from its connection, rendering the small robot blind. The head-plate spring snapped, and the access panel clipped his hand as it closed. Forbes swore and shook his stinging fingers as the front door buzzer blared again.

Frustrated, he threw down the pliers and ran both hands through his mop of brown hair. Reacting to the clatter, the tiny robot turned its head left and then right before running off the table.

Luckily the teddy bear caught itself with its face when it hit the floor.

Undaunted, the bear scrambled to its furry feet and darted toward the other side of the lab. Forbes sighed at the sound of another imperative buzz.


“You won’t get the job if you don’t stop with the doorbell.” He stood and shoved the ends of his wrinkled white dress shirt back into his khaki pants. He typed in the power-down sequence for the bear before shutting the lab door and walking toward the front of the house. His visitor had graduated to using the door buzzer as percussion, the drone now going off and on in a jaunty rhythm.

Forbes still wasn’t sold on hiring a research assistant, but he wanted a lab assistant and he needed an administrative assistant.

Most of all, he longed for a friend.

Hiring someone wasn’t the best way to go about finding one, but working with somebody was a good start, right?

Forbes checked his reflection in the foyer mirror. The dark brown of his eyes was almost invisible against the bloodshot whites. His stomach rumbled, and he promised himself he’d take a break and eat as soon as the interview concluded.

At the next buzz, he spun and yanked open the large front door. Holy crap.

He wished he’d gotten a little sleep last night instead of staying up to tinker with the bear.

A wiry man stood on Forbes’s doorstep. He was dressed in a T-shirt, tight black jeans, black nail polish, and red Chuck Taylors. His strawberry blond hair was spiked up in front. The corners of his eyes and his freckled nose wrinkled.

Forbes blinked back his surprise and opened his mouth, expecting words to come out. He cleared his throat and tried again. “Come in.” Forbes waved him inside the house. “I’m Forbes Pohle. I’m the one who posted the job listing.”

The man grinned and held out a hand. “Very pleased to meet you, Dr. Pohle. I’m Oliver Lennox. Please call me Oliver.”

Forbes blushed at the title as he clasped Oliver’s warm hand. Forbes was a PhD three times over, but he hadn’t put that in the advertisement.

“If you’ll come this way, we can talk in the lab.” He turned and walked back down the hallway to the adjacent laboratory, assuming the applicant would follow.

“Oh, I didn’t come about…,” Forbes heard him say before he ran into Forbes’s back. To be fair it wasn’t his fault. Forbes had stopped short in the lab doorway.

During the few minutes he’d stepped out to answer the door, the laboratory had been destroyed.


THE TEDDY bear robot hadn’t powered down when Forbes sent the command code.

The tiny whirlwind of metal and fur ran full-on at the wall. It then extracted itself from the indention and the shower of plaster to run the other way, taking out chairs, filing cabinets, and tables in its path. A sharp smell of mechanical smoke and burned wiring permeated the air. Forbes swallowed, trying to cleanse his mouth of the metallic taste. Or maybe that was the bitterness of thousands of dollars of equipment being trashed.

They watched the bear plow into a workstation cabinet and leave a large hole at the bottom. The sounds of splintering wood and breaking glass marked its passage as the bear ran down the inside of the cabinet to burst out the other end. Forbes winced as he spied the mainframe monitor black and dead, toppled onto the floor. It lay in the track of the bear, which trod through the sparking electronics. A retry of the shutdown code would not be possible.

“Hey, your little doll is running into your stuff.” Oliver stepped around Forbes to stand in the robot’s path and reached to pick it up.

No!” Forbes yanked him out of the way as the robot ran past. It still clipped his visitor’s leg with one of its fast-pumping furry arms.

“Ow!” Oliver hopped back, hands going to his shin to protect it. Forbes grabbed his shoulder to keep him from falling onto the splinters of a chair.

“Crap. How badly are you hurt?” Forbes’s stomach sank as he noticed the smear of blood on Oliver’s hand when he lowered his leg.

“These were your favorite jeans. I wore them just to see you.” Oliver fingered the rip in the black denim.

Forbes frowned. The man had obviously been rattled. Forbes started tallying up insurance deductibles. He had medical liability on the lab, right?

The little bear pulled out of a skid on broken computer parts and headed back their way.

“In here.”

Forbes jerked the limping man into the blast chamber where he’d tested the bear’s indestructibility the previous evening. He closed the door as the little robot clanged against it, a teddy bear-sized indention popping through on their side.

Reviews:Serena Yates on Rainbow Book Reviews wrote:

There are many reasons for time travel, or so fiction tells us, but the one in this novella is pretty unique and very romantic. Not that I can say any more about it without spoiling the story, but what is at the heat of the characters’ motivation in ‘The Applicant’ is very sweet. There is plenty of action and fun to be had as well, what with a robot teddy bear on a rampage, various people coming for job interviews, and more than one surprise for Forbes, who needs a research assistant, and Oliver, the time traveler who gets very involved in the selection.

Crabby Patty on Gay Book Reviews wrote:

Churchill’s famous quip about Russia – “It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” – could be used to describe The Applicant … if the riddle is Forbes Pohle, a young idealistic roboticist, the mystery is Oliver Lennox, Forbes’ lover from the future …. and well I guess that leave the crazed robotic teddy bear as the enigma.

Rafa on Just Love wrote:

First of all, slipping rampaging teddy bears into the blurb is a dirty, dirty trick. How am I supposed to not one-click this book? Okay fine, it was actually just the one bear running amok but it totally lived up to its hype. The little monster exceeded my lofty expectations in the cuteness and destructiveness categories.

Jay on Joyfully Jay wrote:

Oh, this was such a fun, romantic story! I really had no idea what to expect and I found it just delightful.

Ariel on Gay Book Reviews wrote:

This is about love crossing time, capturing that which was lost, and igniting a fire of love that will last forever.

Joetta Spurling on Romance Authors That Rock wrote:

You can feel how much Oliver loves Forbes. I recommend this book to anyone that wants to feel just a little of that love rub off on them. It made my day a little brighter.

About the Author

Aidee Ladnier, an award-winning author of speculative fiction, believes that adventure is around every corner. In pursuit of new experiences, she’s worked as a magician’s assistant, been a beauty pageant contestant, ridden in hot air balloons, produced independent movies, hiked up a volcano, and is a proud citizen scientist. A lover of genre fiction, Aidee’s perfect romance has a little science fiction, fantasy, mystery, or the paranormal thrown in to add a zing.

And if you like flash fiction, you can find more stories set in my book universes as well as standalone stories on my website.