QSFer Lissa Kassey has a new urban fantasy/paranormal book out:
Cameron “Candy” Michelson Jr. doesn’t have time for distractions. He’s too busy restructuring the red-light district into an adult playland for City M and running the Hidden Gem. But when his companion, Avery “Ivy” Laurent, grows closer to Jack, an investigator for the Institute of Scientific Study, Candy can’t hide his jealousy. Nor his own interest in Jack.
Ivy is crazy about Jack, but he’s also in love with Candy. Ideally, Ivy longs for all three of them to be together, but between Jack’s nonexistent libido and Candy’s supercharged needs, Ivy isn’t sure how to make it work.
When Jack gets called in to help the City M police department investigate a series of violently murdered companions, both Candy and Ivy brace for trouble. But nothing prepares them for Candy becoming the prime suspect.
In a future landscape of corrupt government officials, brutal BDSM crimes, and a host of dark creatures, Candy, Ivy, and Jack must work together to find the killer, save themselves—and learn how to trust each other.
Hidden Gem: Book Three
Comment on this post with your email address and FB page link (if you have one) for a chance to win one of Lissa’s backlist titles!
SNOW CASCADED outside Jack’s window in giant clumps. He’d never much cared for snow as a kid when he lived in the South, and their idea of snow was a dusting. In the North it snowed seven months of the year—huge drifts that often towered above him when shoveled to clear roads and walks. He should have been used to it by now, but the dark sky and quickly forming piles covering his windows made him lonely and tired. Most City M dwellers wouldn’t have been deterred by the heavy downfall, but Jack had no desire to venture into the cold. At least not tonight.
He’d decided when he got up that morning that he was going to finish his work early and find a book to get lost in since it was his birthday. Most people went out to party with friends, drink themselves into a stupor, or find a little company. Jack’s only friend was a hard-boiled detective with a new lover he couldn’t pry himself away from for more than a few hours. He was sure Shane didn’t even know it was Jack’s birthday, as such trivial things never came up in their rare conversations that weren’t about serial killers, missing persons, or hybrid humans genetically modified by former political regimes. They didn’t really talk about much else. Not even the fact that they were both detectives or A-Ms—humans mutated by a plague who turned into animals once a month. Did that mean they were actually friends? Jack equated trust to friends, mostly. He trusted Shane and a handful of others. Did that mean all the rest were his friends too? And yet he was still all alone tonight.
Life was supposed to be easier now that he was older, except he was coming back to the same issues. Having a birthday shouldn’t hurt. It was just another day, really—only with it always came the memory of his family.
He had hidden away every extra penny, worked long hours, and done four times the work of his siblings, just so he could buy himself something for his thirteenth birthday. Jack knew what to expect out of the day: lots of work, a meal of leftover gruel, and if his parents actually remembered his birthday he’d likely be forced to take some girl to his bed to make him a man. He snorted at the idea that sex made anyone a man. His older brothers were all saddled with small children, meager earnings from backbreaking jobs, and useless wives who did nothing but pop out more mouths to feed. That was the way of things in the ghettos of southern Georgia. Or at least what used to be Georgia. It was the Southern Republic now, though the leaders couldn’t decide whether to make that official or not.
Jack didn’t want a wife, babies, or anyone to burden his already overtaxed income. His parents and siblings took most of his money. Unless he hid it. Even then sometimes they found his stash. He dreamed of running away someday, finding a job in one of the better cities. He could program computers and work technology unlike anyone else he’d ever met. It all just made sense to him, lines of gibberish code, hard drives, and networks. The world was only starting to rebuild all the global interconnectivity it’d lost in the last war, so most of his jobs were computer, Wi-Fi, or software related. Sometimes he was stuck doing odd jobs that didn’t pay as well, like taking out the trash, killing rats, or delivering messages by hand. He’d rather debug code or create a new app than all those sorts of normal chores.
He finished his last job of the day: correcting the register system at a bakery. Whoever had installed it didn’t know code, because every time the register rang up something for more than twenty dollars, it froze up, crashing the whole system. The minor fix that had baffled the store owners took Jack less than ten minutes to install. He also cleaned up the system, removing extra lines of code that slowed it down, and boosted the Wi-Fi signal.
The owner tested the register, ringing up fake orders until he was convinced that it wasn’t going to crash again. “Perfect,” the man said after a moment. “It’s never been this fast.” He opened the register drawer and took out some cash. “You’re so smart, Jackson. If I had more computer work for you to do I’d hire you permanently.”
Jack shrugged. He couldn’t imagine just working one place anyway. His family would freak if his money waned at all. It didn’t matter that he was only thirteen. He earned the bulk of the income that fed them all. Most days he wasn’t bitter—only on days like today when he stood in a bakery surrounded by the smell of sugar and cases of pastries that he’d never tasted. He watched people come in and buy donuts, cupcakes, and even full-size cakes with multiple tiers. It was normal to have a cake for your birthday. Jack had read about it a million times in his stack of worn-out novels—the few he had left that weren’t missing pages from being used for toilet paper.
Dreamspinner: Click Here
Amazon: Click Here
Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing, and collects Asian Ball Joint Dolls who look like her characters. She has three cats who enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. She can often be found at Anime Conventions masquerading as random characters when she’s not writing about boy romance.