Monthly Archives: February 2016

Book Spotlight: The Dawn of Dae by Trillian Anderson

About The Book
 

 

 
Title: The Dawn of Dae
Series: Dae Portals Book 1
Author: Trillian Anderson
Publisher: Bright Day Publishing
Publication Date: December 1, 2015
Format:  eBook  / ePub / PDF – 222 pages
ASIN: B0161ZVY6G
Genre: Urban Fantasy
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Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE
Book Description:
The chance to attend college is just what Alexa Daegberht needs to break out the mold of her caste. If she can become a Bach, she can escape the poverty she’s endured ever since her parents died when she was five. Only through education can she rise above her birth caste–and she knows it.
All of her plans fall to dust when she opens a portal within her refrigerator, turning her macaroni and cheese casserole into a sentient being. By dawn the next day, the mysterious dae have come to Earth to stay. Hundreds of thousands of people vanish into thin air, and as the days pass, the total of the missing number in the millions. Some say it’s the rapture of the Christian faith.
Alexa knows better: their dae ate them, leaving behind nothing more than dust as evidence of their hunger.
As one of the unawakened, she doesn’t have a dae, nor can she manifest any forms of magical powers. She’s lacking the innate knowledge of what the dae are and what they mean for the world. Now more than ever, she is an outsider. Her survival hinges on her ability to adapt to a world she no longer understands.
Unfortunately, one of the dae has taken notice of her, and he’ll stop at nothing to have her. Alexa’s problems pile up as she’s forced to pick her allegiances. Will she submit to the new ways of the world? Will she become some monster’s pawn? Or, against all odds, can she forge her own path and prove normal humans can thrive among those gifted with powers once the domain of fantasies and nightmares?
 
Book Excerpt:

Chapter One

My first real memory of my parents was also my last.
It was the refrigerator’s fault I remembered. I should’ve known
better than to expect new appliances in my new apartment; I was lucky to have
appliances at all. I sure as hell couldn’t afford to buy new ones.
The refrigerator, however, was a problem. Every time I looked at it,
I remembered—and my first memory of my parents was how I, Alexa Zoe Daegberht,
had killed them with a wish.
It was the same refrigerator, right down to its smoke-stained,
pebbled surface and its loose handle. The years hadn’t done the damned thing
any favors, and I wondered if the door would fall off its hinges when I opened
it. Then again, they had built things better when I had been a child.
It was too bad I hadn’t been built a bit better. A lot of things
would have been different. It wasn’t my father’s fault no one could touch me
without irritating my sensitive skin. It wasn’t his fault he couldn’t kiss my
cheek like other fathers could with their daughters.
It was his fault he had forgotten; if he hadn’t, my face wouldn’t
have been itching and burning. If he hadn’t forgotten, I wouldn’t have run to
the fridge, using it as a shield against his touch. If he hadn’t forgotten, I
wouldn’t have parroted what he too often said while fighting with my mother:
If you walk out that door, don’t you ever come
back.
Because I had believed it, had wanted it, and had prayed for it,
wishing on a shooting star that night, I had gotten exactly what I wanted. My
parents had walked out the door and left me behind, never to return.
The ocean didn’t like giving up its dead, and planes smacking into
the water didn’t leave a whole lot to salvage.
I dropped my bags on the kitchen floor, spat curses, and kicked the
refrigerator.
It won; beneath the plastic was metal, and it refused to bend. All I
did was crunch my toes, and howling, I hopped around on one foot. Through
tear-blurred eyes, I glared at the offensive appliance.
“I’ll end you,” I swore.
Maybe I could spray paint the damned thing pink; it’d be at least
four years before I earned my degree and rank as a Bach, and until then, I was
stuck with it. Once I became a Bach, I’d be elevated to a better caste—a caste
with a future, and a bright one at that. Once I was a Bach, I could afford to
buy my own appliances, and I’d never have to see that make or model of
refrigerator ever again. If I scored well enough on the exit exams, I had the
slim chance of being accepted for Master training.
I had my entire life ahead of me, and it would be a good one. There
was no way I’d let a stupid refrigerator take that from me.
I kept telling myself that, but I didn’t believe it.
I gave up and went for my last ditch resort; if macaroni and cheese
couldn’t make things better, nothing could.

I left my apartment to explore my new neighborhood and find work,
leaving behind the devil-spawned refrigerator with a week’s worth of macaroni
and cheese casserole cooling inside. If any of the other students found out I
was surviving on pasta flavored with neon-orange powder, I’d be the laughing
stock of the college.
I wanted to create the illusion of having come from somewhere other
than the poorest district in the city, and to do that, I needed money.
Merit-based students like me paid off tuition and housing in labor; I was
doomed to at least four years serving as some professor’s slave. At least I had
ranked high enough to have an apartment instead of a closet in the shared
dorms, but unlike on-campus students, I was on my own for the basics.
There was one place I knew I could find a job in a hurry: the Inner
Harbor. If I had come from any other district, if I had belonged to any other
caste, I wouldn’t have needed to turn to Kenneth Smith for work. But Kenneth
took in those others wouldn’t and made them do his dirty work.
Unfortunately for me, I was good at doing his dirty work. Sighing, I
ducked my head, adopted a brisk stride, and headed towards the water.
Baltimore was a big place, and it took me an hour to navigate my way
through the city’s heart, skirting around the fringe I had once called home. On
the surface, it was a clean, quiet place with carefully trimmed lawns, neatly
pruned trees, and flowers contained in concrete planters.
The scars of rebellion pockmarked the brick buildings, a reminder of
the violence Kenneth Smith and his cohorts had stamped out years ago, turning a
slum into the elite’s paradise.
Once upon a time, the Inner Harbor had been the entertainment
district of Baltimore, a place prone to rioting, a place everyone, no matter
what caste, could go and gamble away their money or find other pursuits, many
of them illegal. Sporting events were popular—if you could afford the entry
fee.
I couldn’t, and Kenneth Smith counted on that. He didn’t want me as a
client, anyway.
He wanted me as one of his hounds, a dog of his endless drug war,
hunting down his non-paying clients, sniffing out dirt on them, and either
luring them into one of his little traps or otherwise acquiring his money. The
method didn’t matter; the money did, and that was that.
I hated the Inner Harbor; if I had a pack of matches, I wouldn’t have
hesitated to light one up in the hope of burning the whole place to the ground.
My temper soured the closer I got to the little townhouse located where the
fringe began and the elite’s playground ended.
No one in their right mind would have believed, not even for a
moment, that Baltimore’s charming, ruthless, and despicable criminal mastermind
lived in such a dingy place, and that was exactly the way Kenneth Smith liked
it.
I knocked four times, paused, and because I was in a bad mood, I gave
the dark-painted door a solid kick, jamming my already aching toes. I didn’t
hop around as I had in my apartment.
One of Smith’s bitches didn’t do something so undignified, not in
public.
The pain I wanted; it served to focus my attention and remind me of
the misery my boss would inflict if I screwed up. Clenching my teeth to keep
quiet, I waited. I heard the thump of someone coming down the stairs, and
several moments later, the lock clicked. The door opened, and Smith’s favorite
dog answered, glaring at me through narrowed eyes.
“You again?”
I smiled at Lily because I knew it would piss her off. “What do you
know? It is! Astonishing. Can I come in, or are we going to put on a show for
everyone in the neighborhood? I didn’t dress the part. I left my lacy panties
at home.”
I didn’t own any lacy panties, but all things considered, I was going
to die a virgin anyway. A kiss on the cheek was enough to give me hives. What
would happen if someone tried to kiss me on the mouth—or do something
far more interesting with me?
I’d probably die.
Lily snarled something incomprehensible under her breath, stepping
back to let me in. “Prissy bitch.”
Blond-haired, blue-eyed, pasty-skinned Lily belonged in a doll shop,
but instead of telling her to go back to selling herself on the street like I
wanted, I asked, “Where’s the boss?”
“Down in the den. He’s with a guest. Wait in the parlor. He’ll come
for you himself, I’m sure.” Lily glared at me, slammed the door, and stomped
her way up the staircase to the second floor, leaving me to mind my own
business in the entry.
I waited by the door.
The parlor always reeked of drugs, but I had kicked my various habits
years ago. As always, the parlor made me want a hit so I could forget
everything, right down to who I was and what I had done to get by.
I had changed. I wasn’t going to let anyone forget it, myself
included.

When the boss came upstairs from the basement alone, I worried.
Waiting the hour for him to finish wasn’t unusual, but the fact he hadn’t
brought his client along meant one of two things: the client had either left
through the tunnels, a conceit of the elite, or I was about to be introduced to
them.
Nothing good happened when my boss introduced me to his clients.
Nothing good came out of meeting with Kenneth right after an audience with one
of the elite.
His fellow elite had a way of pissing him off, especially when they
thought themselves above paying back their debts.
I examined the shining hardwood, wondering if Kenneth made Lily get
on her hands and knees to polish it to perfection. I doubted it; if he had,
neither one of them would have gotten any real work done, and that would hurt
his bottom line.
“It’s not like you to come around here without a summons,” my boss
said, and his soft-spoken words warned me of trouble.
Kenneth was a lot of things, and passionate was one of them. If he
was moderating his voice, it was because he had graduated from annoyed to
murderous, and he didn’t feel like killing me today.
I should’ve been grateful for that.
“You always need another nose to the ground, sir,” I murmured,
keeping still despite my desire to fidget.
Lily really had done a stellar job with the floors. While I couldn’t
make out the details, the wood reflected my dark hair and bronzed skin. My
heritage remained a mystery, dying along with my parents.
Some folks said German because of my last name, but none of the
German-descents I knew had such bronzed skin. I rivaled an Italian, but no
self-respecting Italian I knew had a last name like mine.
I decided it was a good thing I wasn’t all that pretty. I didn’t want
to end up just like Lily, serving the boss to keep him from killing the rest of
us when he had a bad day. I had too many scars, and not all of them marked my
skin.
If he found out about my inability to handle human contact, he’d
probably enjoy knowing he could hurt me with his touch alone. When I left, I’d
have to thank Lily and offer to run errands for her. It was wise to pay back
debts, in advance whenever possible.
The silence stretched on. I gave into my restlessness, shifting my
weight from one foot to the other. My toes still throbbed from their
introduction to his door and the devil-spawned refrigerator in my apartment.
“Fine. Come on, then,” he snapped, pivoting on a heel to head back in
the direction of the basement stairwell.
I followed him, keeping my gaze fixed on his black oxfords, which had
been polished almost as shiny as his prized floors. He took the stairs two at a
time while I took the more cautious approach. With my luck, I’d snap my neck
tumbling down the steps.
“Sit,” he ordered as soon as I crossed over the threshold into his
den.
His den was larger than my apartment, although that wasn’t much of a
feat. Someone had been smoking something recently, and the fumes were strong
enough to make my nose sting. I took a cautious sniff.
Cigar smoke.
At least my standing at college wouldn’t be risked by inhaling
residue from one of Kenneth’s cocktails. If they ever found out I was one of
his associates, though, I was screwed. I relaxed and, without looking up from
his floor, made my way around the couch closest to the door and plopped down on
it. I heard him sit on his armchair, which squeaked as he leaned back.
“I’m not in the mood for your bullshit tonight, my little collie.” My
boss lit up, and the stench of his cigar choked off my breath. I knew better
than to cough, though. All I’d do was piss him off even more.
I chose to ignore the fact he was calling me by a dog breed instead
of my name and nodded my agreement. At least he hadn’t called me Lassie.
If I followed the rules, I’d be okay. I’d leave his house just
fine—and Lily wouldn’t have any extra reasons to hate me. Speaking only when
spoken to, nodding when appropriate, and always, always addressing him by sir
would get me through the meeting.
If the boss had a job for me and paid up, maybe I’d buy Lily a pair
of lace panties—in silk. I could get them now, as long as I had the cash for
them. All I had to do was survive the meeting with Kenneth and do one last job
for him.
“You’re a freshman now, aren’t you?”
Kenneth’s voice was still soft, quiet, and utterly devoid of emotion,
so I drew a deep breath, nodded my head obediently, and whispered, “Yes, sir.”
“Full-merit,” he commented, and his tone took on a rueful edge.
“Yes, sir.”
“Now how the hell did a little mutt like you get into Bach studies on
full-merit?” he demanded, thumping his fist on the arm of his chair. He smacked
it several more times before sighing gustily. “You’re something else, that’s
what you are. I obviously wasn’t keeping you busy enough. I am to blame.”
I flinched.
Whoever had been meeting with him before I had arrived had left
Kenneth in a bad mood, and his ire was directed at me. Any other day, I would
have told him to go cry a river and fill the Chesapeake. I wanted to tell him
to stuff it, but I needed the work, and he needed me.
I could go to the places he couldn’t, and he knew it.
“I studied, sir.”
“You studied. No shit, Collie. What I want to know is how you got
through the application process right under my nose without me knowing a thing
until Lily went out earlier to summon you. Your pad’s already been taken over,
if you weren’t aware.”
The vultures had likely swooped in the minute I had left, but I kept
my mouth shut. If I said a word, it would be something I’d regret. Granted, I
likely wouldn’t regret it for long, but that was a different matter entirely.
I nodded and resumed studying the floor. Lily had missed a spot, and
I’d been around Kenneth Smith long enough to recognize dried blood when I saw
it.
At least it wasn’t fresh.
“Cat’s got your tongue? Fine. Maybe for the better. You’d open your
mouth and make me want to shoot you. You’re right. I want your nose. Son of a
bitch elite backed out on his debt. He’s in Bach studies just like you. Sniff
the bastard out for me. He’s got a taste for crystals and a head for scents. He
also seems to believe he can back out on his debts to me. Get close to him,
learn his haunts, and report to me. I want to know who or what can be used
against him, where he lives, and any significant people in his life—preferably
women. Better yet, make yourself a significant woman to him. You need to
relax.”
I risked lifting my head and stared at Kenneth Smith.
It amazed me I didn’t break out in a rash just from looking at him.
In so many ways, he was an average man; not too tall, not too short, not too
anything, which conspired to make him right in all the wrong ways. My brown
eyes were too dark for any sort of warmth, while his were melted chocolate,
tempting and sensual.
Despite the annoyance of his tone, the corners of his mouth quirked
up in a smile.
I hated Kenneth Smith. Every time I saw him, I wondered what it would
be like to kiss someone. It was his damned mouth, which could flatten to a line
or curve into a ripe smile, shifting with his mood. I could always tell his
mood from the movements of his lips.
His voice said angry, but his mouth promised all of those interesting
things I couldn’t do and Lily could—and would, probably as soon as I left the
house.
“What’s his name?” I asked, reminding myself Kenneth was a dangerous,
foul man. A smart girl didn’t deal with the devil or take him to her
bedroom.
I’d already struck out once in the smart department. I’d probably
punch my own ticket if I tried anything with him. If I didn’t die from an
allergic reaction to him, he wouldn’t appreciate me throwing up on him.
Men had that effect on me.
Kenneth sighed, and I echoed him.
I wondered if he realized we were probably sighing for the same
reason. He had already slept with all of his other bitches, leaving me as the
one who always got away.
If he found out about my allergy, I’d never live it down.
“Sir?”
Silence wasn’t like Kenneth. He chomped on his cigar, grunting his
acknowledgment of my question. I waited, lowering my gaze to the floor to stare
at the brown splotch marring the hardwood.
“Terry Moore. His father runs the stadium. He got hooked six months
back, paid for three months worth of supplies, and decided he was above paying
the rest of the balance.”
I did some mental math, clucking my tongue as I ran through the
various costs of crystals and scents. Crystals appealed to those who enjoyed
tasting their drugs, slowly dissolving on the tongue, while scents came as
either incenses or other forms of inhaled narcotics. Big league players often
spend thousands a week for the good stuff.
The elite settled for nothing less.
If Terry was studying for his Bach like me, he had friends—elite
friends. Buying friendships through drugs wasn’t uncommon, especially among
those who were supposed to be too good for the trade.
“A hundred and fifty thou,” I said, straightening my back and lifting
my chin, defying my boss with my glare. “Small change for you. There’s gotta be
more to it than that. You don’t move against the elite for pennies.” I paused,
sucked in a breath as I remembered I wasn’t supposed to piss him off, and
added, “Sir.”
Kenneth’s smile widened to a grin. “Can’t let anything slip by you,
can I? You’re right. It is small change. Under normal circumstances, I’d let it
get up to at least half a mil. But, he made off with some of my new stuff, and
I want it back.”
Reaching down beside his chair, he lifted up a metal cage containing
a variety of test tubes. They were filled with a red liquid with the same
viscosity as blood. He lifted one out, sloshing it around. “Little Bachs don’t
want to get caught on the tests, so he wanted something for school-year use.
This baby doesn’t register on any of the current tests. You can dry it into a
powder. You can inject it, and you can even drink it if you want. It’s mellow
enough, long-lasting, gives one hell of a nice high, and doesn’t impair
function too much. Best of all, it doesn’t seem to cause much damage when it
wears off.”
If he was speaking the truth, he had likely found the Holy Grail of
the drug world.
“How many uses in one of those vials?”
“A few,” he evaded.
I narrowed my eyes, considered the few clues he had given me, and
shrugged. “How many vials did he make off with?”
“A dozen.”
“And you haven’t killed him yet?” I blurted.
Kenneth arched a brow at me. “He can’t pay me if he’s dead. After
he’s paid, I’ll think about it.”
I grimaced. One day I would learn to keep my mouth shut. “Get the
info and retrieve the drugs if possible. Anything else, sir?”
“I wouldn’t say no to you bringing me my money along with the info
and the drugs.”
Somehow, I kept from saying even one of the hundreds of snarky,
sarcastic comments flitting through my head. Any one of them would piss him off
even more, and there was only so far I could push him before he decided to go
for his gun. “I don’t think I can carry that much cash, sir, and I really doubt
he’ll give me his bank account details.”
“You could always sniff them out for me. You’re good at sneaking off
to places you shouldn’t go—like college.”
I scowled. “I said I would sniff, not bite, sir. Biting is Lily’s
job.”
“One of these days, Collie, you’re going to piss me off.”
I widened my eyes, raising my hand to cover my mouth. “You mean I
haven’t already?”
“Every day. Get out of here, bitch. I don’t want to see your face at
my house until you have his info and my drugs. And don’t you even think about
forgetting my money.”
I escaped while I could and risked taking the steps two at a time.

 

About The Author
Opener of Portals. Urban Fantasy Author. Mistress of Giggles. Warped Sense of Humor.
Trillian Anderson is, like so many of us, a figment of someone’s imagination. She was born somewhere in the United States, loves to travel, and has no scruples about moving to new and interesting places around the world. She loves fantasy fiction of all types, but holds a special fondness for urban fantasies, epic fantasies, and stories capable of capturing her imagine.
Most of all, she enjoys grabbing a flashlight, hiding under the blankets, and pretending she’s asleep when she’s, in actuality, reading a beloved book.
Connect with Trillian Anderson:
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Book Spotlight: Unawakened by Trillian Anderson

About The Book
 

 

 
Title: Unawakened
Series: Dae Portals Book 2
Author: Trillian Anderson
Publisher: Bright Day Publishing
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Format:  eBook  / ePub / PDF – 305 pages
ASIN: B017WHH9EI
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Buy The Book:
 
 
Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads
Book Description:

In order to restore peace after the Dawn of Dae, the United States has declared martial law. Enforcing the militant regime won’t be easy, and a new policing force of dae and their bonded humans has been mustered to keep the populace under tight control.

Alexa wants nothing to do with the government, its army, or the special forces meant to keep rebellion at bay, but she has a choice: do what Kenneth Smith wants or die a quick death. As one of the unawakened, she has no chance of infiltrating the police on her own. Forced to partner with Kenneth’s dae, who dislikes her almost as much as she dislikes it, her life hinges on how well she convinces others she’s a big, bad monster just like them instead of an ordinary human woman.

Working for the police is no easier than dealing with Kenneth’s work. During the day, she’s a part of the law, but at night, she’s a tool of crime and war. It’s only a matter of time before she’s caught–or fails her mission and is killed by her drug-dealing boss.

If she wants to live a free life, she’ll need to take care of Kenneth once and for all. Since he won’t listen to reason and let her go, she’s determined to buy her freedom with his death.

Unfortunately, Kenneth isn’t the only problem in her life, and unless she does something about Rob, she’ll lose the independence she fought so hard for. Worse, unless she’s careful, he’ll make her like it…

 
Book Excerpt:

Chapter One

Three months after Kenneth Smith had tried to kill me, I returned to
his home with a katana and a gun. I wore the sword as a message and a promise I
wouldn’t go quietly if Kenneth or one of his other hounds tried to kill me
again.
The gun would be how I kept my lethal promise, and its weight in my
shoulder holster reassured me. Despite the early winter chill, I left my
leather coat open so I could reach my Beretta if I needed it.
I likely would.
Violence I understood, and I found the presence of both my weapons
comforting. The day was ripe for bloodshed, and my sword and gun wouldn’t help
me against many of the magical dae, but I did my best to ignore that fact. It
hadn’t been so long ago the bonded had been regular humans without the strength
and power the magical dae gave them.
Humans remembered the purpose of a sword, and the dae bled when cut.
The problem was getting close enough to kill them before they killed me.
The sunrise painted the eastern sky in red and gold, and while I
wanted to find somewhere quiet to watch it, I didn’t dare. I had a limited
window of opportunity to act, and I couldn’t afford to waste it.
Before the Dawn of Dae, the early hour wouldn’t have been so
peaceful, safe, or quiet. The emergence of the magical had turned sunrise into
one of the serene parts of the day. Many of the dangerous dae were returning to
their homes to sleep while the more cautious and mundane remained indoors.
In an hour, the city would awaken. I wanted to be done with Kenneth
Smith so I could get on with my life, not that I was sure what sort of life
waited for me. While I hadn’t been expelled from college, classes hadn’t
resumed, and no one was really sure if they would.
For the moment, education came second to restructuring society. The
police and military ruled in a state of martial law implemented at the
government’s decree. Despite the chokehold on the population—or because of
it—things were slowly returning to normal. Most businesses had reopened, and
life went on. Most of the bonded and their dae had adapted to their new
partnerships and circumstances, although there were still those like Arthur
around, who wanted to use their newfound powers to control, destroy, or change
the world.
Dae like Arthur, ready and willing to use their powers to get what
they wanted, frightened me far more than I wanted to admit. With Rob’s help, I
had no scars from my time in captivity—not visible ones, at least. Some of the
wounds the fire breather had inflicted on me wouldn’t heal, not until I saw to
Arthur’s death myself.
I’d let Rob and Colby help. They deserved satisfaction, too. Before I
could hunt Arthur, however, I needed to deal with Kenneth Smith once and for
all.
I reached his street, and it didn’t surprise me to find Kenneth’s
favorite bitch, Lily, waiting on his doorstep. Unlike me, she held her gun out
in the open, and the instant her gaze settled on me, I understood her silent
message.
One of us would walk away alive. The other wouldn’t.
I smiled. Lily’s challenge changed nothing. Kenneth Smith would fall,
and if I had to take out his favorite bitch first, so be it. Business was
business.
We had never liked each other anyway.

Lily watched me approach, and her eyes caught my attention. Before
the Dawn of Dae, they had been blue, accenting her porcelain skin. The
emergence of the dae hadn’t been kind to her, graying her complexion and
turning her irises a burning orange.
Passion, love, hatred, and anger gave fire breathers their strength;
that much I had learned from Rob. Lily fidgeted, flexing her left hand. A thin
coating of yellow fur sprouted over her skin.
I sighed, well aware of the lethal combination of werewolf and fire
breather. In a way, I had hoped Lily hadn’t bonded with a dae, although the
development didn’t surprise me very much. People like me, the unawakened, were
few and far between, and most dae didn’t know what to make of us.
I didn’t know what to make of us, either, which didn’t help matters
any. I’d yet to meet someone like me, someone who lacked a dae to teach them
the new ways of the world.
“You shouldn’t have come back,” Lily said, and flames crackled in her
voice.
Why did she carry a gun? I considered her weapon; it was an antique,
far older than my Beretta. Rust marred its surface. It was the type of weapon
Kenneth liked, so old the government didn’t view it as too much of a threat. If
the authorities found it, the deteriorating state of the pistol would convince
most it wasn’t a real danger to anyone.
Kenneth, thanks to his rank, would probably get away with having it,
as long as no one found any ammunition to go with it.
I knew better, though. Maybe the gun appeared damaged beyond repair,
but if Lily cocked it and pulled the trigger, I’d die all the same. Kenneth
didn’t keep useless things around, people included.
Lily’s gaze lowered to my katana, and the woman smiled. “That won’t
save you.”
“Nice to see you, too. Is Kenneth around?”
“You won’t be seeing him.” Lily’s smile widened, and she fiddled with
the hammer of the pistol. “I’d be happy to leave a message for you, though.”
I glanced in the direction of Kenneth’s house and smiled for the
hidden cameras. “Yeah, I have a message you can give him.”
“Oh?” Lily adjusted the grip on her pistol, her thumb poised over the
hammer, although she didn’t cock it.
In addition to the cameras, the front of Kenneth’s house was wired
with microphones, so if my boss was watching, he’d get my message loud and
clear. I matched the woman’s fake smile and crossed my arms over my chest. I
slipped my right hand beneath the leather jacket Rob had given to me.
Lily’s posture remained relaxed, and her thumb slid away from her
pistol’s hammer. “Well? What’s your message? Tell me and leave. You don’t
belong here anymore.”
Escaping Kenneth Smith wasn’t so easy, and Rob had told me my boss
wanted to speak with me. Rob hadn’t been happy about relaying the message,
either.
The next day, he had disappeared.
If Kenneth Smith was behind Rob’s vanishing act, I’d do a hell of a
lot more to him than kill his favorite bitch. I’d ruin his wealth and
reputation before I murdered him and his dae.
In a way, the Dawn of Dae had been a blessing in disguise. I had Rob,
and I had Colby. Maybe my future was uncertain at best, but I no longer needed
Kenneth to survive. New paths had opened to me.
Lily glared at me when I remained silent. “I’m not letting you into
the house.”
“Are those Kenneth’s orders?” I tilted my head to the side. “I was
given a message he wanted to see me.”
“I’m not letting you into the house.”
Two could play the repetition game, and I had no intention of losing.
“Are those Kenneth’s orders?”
“Are you deaf? I’m not letting you into the house. I’m giving you one
chance to turn around and walk away. I’ll shoot you and throw your body in the
river. No one will miss you.”
If I turned and walked away, she’d shoot me anyway; I saw her desire
for my death in the way she smiled. We had been on neutral terms for a long
time. When I made her job with Kenneth harder, I bribed her, but because of my
stubbornness and my inability to sleep with our boss, she had many reasons to
hate me. Just hearing my name was probably enough to anger Kenneth since Rob
had stolen me from him.
I preferred to think I had stolen Rob with no intention of letting
the dae escape me, but that was another matter entirely. My sometimes roommate,
frequent lover, and partner-in-crime wouldn’t be happy when he found out I had
gone to see Kenneth alone.
The remorse of killing the woman would hit me later, but such was
life on the fringe while working for the elite. Kill or be killed, and I had no
intention of dying quite yet.
After several months of waiting for my broken ribs to heal, my
patience with Kenneth and his operations had grown thin. I pulled my gun out of
its holster, took aim, and before she could do more than gasp and flinch, I
fired.
Lily crumpled to the sidewalk, twitched, and fell still. I waited
until her blood stained the ground around her before stepping to her body, gun
ready in case she decided to get back up.
Even the weakest of the dae and their bonded had ceased decaying to
ash last month. Rob had sounded both pleased and annoyed by the development. I
touched my fingers to Lily’s neck in search of a pulse.
She was already cold, as though all of the heat had been sucked out
of her body right along with the fires that had burned in her eyes. Her blood
stained my hand. Some people loved to kill, but I wasn’t one of them. I
couldn’t even force myself to look at her. I swallowed several times so I
wouldn’t throw up, rose to my feet, and headed for Kenneth’s door.
It opened before I had a chance to knock. Kenneth scowled at Lily’s
body before turning his attention to me. “Was shooting her necessary?”
“She would have shot me if I had turned around, and she wasn’t
letting me in.”
“All I have to do to lock you away for a long time is make a single
call and inform the police you shot someone,” my boss hissed through clenched
teeth.
“And I’ll tell them she’s a fire breather who was armed with an
illegal gun. She threatened me.” I stowed my Beretta, pulled out my wallet, and
flipped it open so Kenneth could see my concealed carry license. “Unlike her,
I’m allowed to shoot people who threaten me, Mr. Smith. Rob told me you wanted
to speak with me?”
“Come in, Collie.” Backing out of the way to give me space to slip
in, he shut the door behind me and gestured to the basement stairwell. “I’m
surprised you came.”
“Rob approved of our meeting.” Rob hadn’t been happy about it, but if
he thought it was important enough to involve me in Kenneth Smith’s dealings
once again, I’d listen—and look for a way out of working with him permanently.
“He has you eating out of his hand,” Kenneth snarled, stalking me
down the stairs to his basement lounge. I flopped on the couch, propping my
booted feet up on the antique coffee table. If Kenneth noticed the fine
leather, I hoped he would wonder if I had purchased them for myself or if Rob
had acquired them for me.
While Rob had made the purchase, I had paid the dae back for the
boots by doing tedious paperwork for him—one of the few activities I could
manage while my concussion and ribs healed.
Working with Rob had a lot more perks and a lot better pay than
dealing with Kenneth. Whatever he wanted had to be important if Rob wanted me
to deal with him again.
“So what? Business, Mr. Smith. You need me for something, else you
wouldn’t have talked with Rob. I just killed your favorite, and you’re ignoring
it. What do you need me for, what’s my pay, and when do you need it done?”
“As astute as ever. Very well. I’ve gone over the documents you
provided, and I want you to sniff out Terry Moore’s associates, including the
dean of your college. I also have a second job for you, if you’re up for the
challenge.”
Dean Lewis had been paying Terry Moore to murder women while they
were under the influence of Kenneth’s drugs. Not only had Terry murdered them,
he had raped them, and the drugs had ensured they enjoyed it right up until he
had killed them.
The thought of killing again didn’t enthuse me, but I was prepared to
make an exception for the dean of my college. I still had the video evidence,
hidden away where no one would find it without my help. I still had a copy of
them on my personal laptop, too, waiting for me to delve into their horrors in
search of answers. I didn’t need them anymore, though. The videos’ content was
seared into my memories, and I woke too often from nightmares where I was one
of Terry’s victims.
Sometimes, Terry became Arthur in my nightmares, and those were the
nights I woke up drenched in a cold sweat. The dreams had gotten worse since
Rob had vanished, as though his presence in my bed somehow kept them away. A
few times when I had woken up from nightmares and Rob had been there, he chased
them away and replaced my fear with more pleasant things.
“You’re asking a lot,” I grumbled.
“You’re the only one I have in a position to get what I need from
him.”
I frowned, leaning back and stretching my arms along the back of the
couch, positioning myself so Kenneth got a good look at my Beretta. “Likely
true. What do you need me to find out?”
“First, I want you to find out what he was having Terry Moore do with
my drugs. The earliest invoices were dated a week after I supplied him. Seems
like too much of a coincidence to me.”
“I see. I guess I need to know what the drugs do. You gave me a brief
summary of the effects. They can’t be detected on the current tests. They’re
mild. But what do they actually do?”
Kenneth smiled, but there was nothing friendly about his expression.
I tensed, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw something dark
coming towards me. I whipped my hand to my gun, but Kenneth’s dae was faster.
He caught my wrist, yanked my arm back, and before I could even scream, he
jabbed a needle into my arm.
Kenneth had moved while I was distracted by his dae. He clamped his
hand over my mouth to keep me quiet. I thrashed, but the two didn’t release me
until Kenneth’s dae pulled the needle out and tossed the syringe on the coffee
table.
A few smears of red lingered in the barrel, and I trembled,
remembering what the drugs had done to Terry Moore’s victims.
“I don’t know exactly what they do. That’s not my problem, Miss
Daegberht. It is, however, now yours. I expect a full report when it wears off.
Don’t worry. Jacob will take you home so you don’t have any unfortunate mishaps
on the way. I’ve been told by reputable sources it takes about twenty minutes
to kick in, no matter how it’s taken.”
Kenneth pulled his hand away from my mouth, and I realized he was
wearing gloves. I shuddered.
Had Rob told them about my allergy? To cover my growing fear, I
snapped my teeth together and sat straighter. “You son of a bitch.” I rubbed
where I had been stabbed with the needle. Kenneth’s dae had also been wearing
gloves.
At least I wouldn’t have to deal with an allergic reaction in
addition to being drugged.
“You should be happy, Miss Daegberht. This is the good stuff, the
stuff you couldn’t afford even if you wanted it. You’ll finally have the
perfect high you’ve been searching for all this time. Don’t think I hadn’t
noticed you wanting another hit, no matter how good a job you did fighting it.”
“Give me a reason I shouldn’t kill you right now.”
“You’ll die, for starters. You’d probably be dead before you could
pull the trigger. Don’t kid yourself. You won’t do it. You only killed Lily
because she always had what you wanted. Take her home, Jacob. No side trips.
However appealing she might be to you, she’s off limits—for now.”
I spat curses at him and reached for my gun. Kenneth’s dae grabbed my
arm and hauled me to my feet. In spite of Kenneth’s estimate of twenty minutes,
the drugs were doing something to me—something that made it difficult to resist
the dae.
“Oh, and another thing, Miss Daegberht. It should wear off in about
twelve hours. If my understanding of the drug is correct, I recommend you stay
home. Do try not to forget to write notes on the drug’s effects. It may be
important for your research later. We can talk more about your job after you’ve
recovered. Perhaps I’ll come visit you a little later tonight, once you’ve
gotten accustomed to the drug.”
There was so much I wanted to tell him, but my tongue refused to obey
me. My arms and legs were no better. Kenneth’s dae dragged me towards the
stairwell, and I stumbled along with him. By the time Jacob got me into
Kenneth’s car, I could barely stay on my feet, let alone fight him. Had Rob set
me up? If so, why?
When the first tingling wave of the high hit, everything narrowed to
the sensation of my clothes caressing my skin, the leather rubbing against me,
and the pleasure of even the lightest touch.

The initial surge of the drug’s influence subsided by the time Jacob
dropped me off in front of my apartment, although my skin’s hypersensitivity to
touch remained. The dae leered at me, leaving me with zero doubt of what he had
in mind for me.
I liked when Rob looked me over head to toe, but Jacob doing it sent
chills through me. I scrambled out of the car, backed out of the dae’s reach,
and slipped my hand into my coat for my Beretta.
“You don’t want to do that, Miss Daegberht.”
“Oh, I do,” I replied, although I didn’t pull out the weapon. “If he
even thinks of backstabbing me again, I’ll start sending his hounds back to him
in pieces, and I’ll take out his most useful ones first. Lily was just the
start. No more tricks. If he really wants my help, he better get his head out
of his ass, because right now, I’m not feeling very benevolent. I may decide
Dean Lewis might be interested in knowing Kenneth Smith is gunning for him.”
“You wouldn’t dare.”
“I wouldn’t? Are you so sure about that? I would, Jacob. I would, and
I wouldn’t even hesitate. He broke his trust with me. If he’s stupid enough to
think I’m going to just accept his attempt to kill me was a part of the work,
he’s mistaken. He can also expect a hefty bill for this… stunt.”
Maybe the drug made all of my nerves sing, but once the initial surge
of pleasure had faded, it hadn’t affected my ability to think. It didn’t
smother my anger, either. I closed my fingers around my Beretta’s grip,
wondering if I could get away with leaving another body lying around for
someone to find.
With the emergence of the dae, bodies were plentiful and few seemed
to miss the dead. Given time, once friendships and lives were rebuilt, people
would miss those who were gone, but the world was currently inhabited by the
strange who were also strangers. For all the dae often took on monstrous forms,
they were still a lot like humans.
They only cared for those with close ties to them, ties most hadn’t
had time to form.
“I’ll make certain he is aware of your opinion.”
“My opinion is non-negotiable, Mr. Jacob. Perhaps this will wake him
up to reality: I’m tired of being stepped on. If he even thinks of trying to
ruin my schooling, remind him if I can go behind his back and get admittance
into Bach studies, there’s a lot more I can do, too.” While some of my speech was
bluffing, one important fact remained: I had leverage on Dean Lewis and
Kenneth Smith, if I could figure out the best way to use it. “Ask him if he
wants me on his side, or should I have a talk with Dean Lewis?”
“Are you threatening him, Miss Daegberht?” the dae growled.
“I don’t make threats, dae. I make promises. Remember, he backstabbed
me first. If he hadn’t sabotaged my gear, he wouldn’t be in this position right
now. Get the fuck out of my sight. You and your pathetic master sicken me.”
I turned and stormed to my apartment building. If Jacob said
anything, I didn’t hear him over the bang of me slamming the front door.

 

 

About The Author
Opener of Portals. Urban Fantasy Author. Mistress of Giggles. Warped Sense of Humor.
Trillian Anderson is, like so many of us, a figment of someone’s imagination. She was born somewhere in the United States, loves to travel, and has no scruples about moving to new and interesting places around the world. She loves fantasy fiction of all types, but holds a special fondness for urban fantasies, epic fantasies, and stories capable of capturing her imagine.
Most of all, she enjoys grabbing a flashlight, hiding under the blankets, and pretending she’s asleep when she’s, in actuality, reading a beloved book.
Connect with Trillian Anderson:
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Q&A with John Calicchia, author of ‘Mirror World’

John CalicchiaI’m John Calicchia and I write stories of fantasy, action and adventure. In the fall of 2015 my book Mirror World was released! It’s a story of two powerful young sisters and their epic battle against evil. But, this book has something in it most do not: hidden secrets. It’s a teen and young adult fiction book with a self-help book hidden inside. You see… after publishing in psychology books and journals for decades I felt my writing was not helping the young people I love to work with. So, I took famous psychology studies and put it in the characters and plot in Mirror World. As you become part of the story you can learn about psychology or you can just enjoy the story! You can also get a free copy of the users guide to help you understand the psychology behind the book by joining my website www.johncalicchia.com

John Calicchia Ph.D. is a professor of psychology who also works with children and young adults as a licensed psychologist. He lives near Boston with his lovely wife and two amazing daughters. You can usually find him in the pool swimming with his two big dogs.

For More Information

About the Book:

What would you do if you saw the future apocalypse of the world in a mirror? Would you try to save the world and those you love, or die trying?

Mirror WorldWelcome to my life, this is the vision of the future I’ve been cursed to see.    – Cailyssa Larkin

When Cailyssa Larkin looks in a mirror she has an ominous feeling that someone is watching her. Stranger still, she has visions that foretell the future. While visiting her Uncle Spencer, Cailyssa gazes into a mirror and sees a dark future that only she can change. With the future of her own world hanging in the balance, Cailyssa bravely enters the portal to the Mirror World. Here, the Dark Lord controls all the mirrors and bends reflections so all creatures see evil within themselves. With her sister Terry, her mysterious best friend Daemon, and a host of weird and wonderful creatures, Cailyssa embarks on an epic quest to overcome the evil forces trying to destroy her world. She can only defeat the Dark Lord by finding her true self and discovering the family secret that has led her to Mirror World.

This book, written by a psychology professor, integrates famous psychological studies in the story. Readers will enjoy learning important life lessons through the psychological concepts illustrated in the book.

For More Information

  • Mirror World is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

What made you decide to become a published author?

The inspiration for this book came from the things that I love in life. I have always loved reading and writing young adult fiction and fantasy, I am also passionate about my work as a psychologist with young people, and since I have two daughters that I love dearly, I have always been disappointed with the lack of strong female heroines in literature and movies. Although this has changed a bit recently, not long ago it was difficult to find a female lead character especially in strong action roles.  So I wrote a YA book with strong female characters, and elements of psychology are embedded within!

Would you consider your book to be a one of a kind?  How so?

I will let you be the judge but I think so. Mirror World is almost like a self-help book hidden within a fiction book! This book, written by a psychology professor, integrates famous psychological studies in the story. Readers will enjoy learning important life lessons through the psychological concepts illustrated in the book.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

Publishing is secondary to having a great manuscript. Publishing will come if the work is good! I think the most important thing is you have to write what you know and love!  I know and love psychology and young adult fiction –  so writing comes easy to me. Using voice dictation is a wonderful way to spin your first draft.  It’s also very helpful if you have been an avid reader and are very familiar with the literature within your genre.  For example, if you are interested in teen and young adult books you should read the earliest works of Tolkien and also the newest stuff like Divergent or the Hunger Games and the hundreds of great books in-between. You’ll be so familiar with the themes, writing styles, metaphors, and plots –  writing a similar work should go well for you.  I also believe everyone has a book inside them that is just dying to come out, so follow your dreams and write what you love and you will love what you write!  Others will love it too. Definitely don’t forget the beta readers and excellent editorial help.

What inspires you?

I didn’t feel that my published academic books and journal articles were helping the young people I love to work with. So, I decided to write a teen and young adult fiction book that had famous concepts in psychology embedded in the characters and the plot.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

As an author and a psychologists I must say I agree with the idea that all first novels are autobiographical. Read the book and let me know if you think I have two daughters and two dogs?

What’s next for you?

The Users Guide for Mirror World is almost finished.  It has the secrets to where the psychology  studies are hidden in the book,  you can get more information at my website www.johncalicchia.com. There will be two more books in the Mirror world series. The next book Angelus starts literally in Hell with a dark angel being tortured for failing to destroy Cailyssa Larkin. Cailyssa has returned from Mirror World and is trying to finish her senior year in high school, when she discovers the war of the Angels she became involved in has followed her home. The Angels in this book are not what you think of in pictures or the Bible.  Angels have been living among us and walking the earth for thousands of years – you probably even know a couple – hopefully they’re not the evil ones. Here’s a biblical quote that starts off the book:

“His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And Lucifer stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.” After the mirror World Series I have plans for a psychological thriller PSYOPS which is a dystopian world in which the government and the military control dreams through neuroscience and psychology.

I better get writing!!!!!

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