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Announcement: Cardinal Sins, by Lissa Kasey

Cardinal SinsQSFer Lissa Kasey has a new paranormal/fantasy book out:

Paris Hansworth, star whore turned senator and the most powerful man in City M, has been hiding his terminal illness for years. Searching for a way to reverse the toxic environment that’s killing him, Paris stumbles upon a lost research facility, and a merman named Rain.

Years alone have made Rain long for companionship, and the beautiful man on the other side of the glass intrigues him. But Rain speaks the wrong language, and is decades out of touch. He isn’t quite sure what to think of the new environment he’s been thrust into.

As a virus spreads through the city targeting City M’s most private residents—A-Ms—Paris realizes he’s out of time. He’s willing to sacrifice everything, even his own life, to stop it. But Rain might just be the missing DNA link to explain the mutations created in the last plague, maybe even the cure.

Watching Paris race to save his friends, Rain knows he’s found someone special and will do anything to stay by his side. But the past Paris thought he’d escaped is seeking revenge, and he’s forced to adapt yet again, possibly even becoming a monster. He only hopes Rain will still want him.


Excerpt

Aki hated being in the hospital. He felt mostly okay; just an occasional nudge on one side of his brain would remind him that he still had a headache. Migraines were a part of his life now. The tumors came and went as they wanted to, but not without pain and odd memory lapses. During the summer Aki had made a run to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for dinner only to have a complete memory blackout and find himself panicked over not being able to remember his own name.

By the time Shane arrived, the memories had begun to trickle back in. It had still been as unnerving as hell. Shane insisted that Aki make videos for himself at least once a week in case something happened and he completely blanked for good. Aki prayed that would never happen.
He wore a bracelet that tracked his every move for Shane in case it did happen. They never spoke of it, but both feared it.

Shane and Candy had left, both going off to their jobs. Aki was fine anyway. Would be going home tomorrow, hopefully. Manny stuck around. He had brought a deck of cards and they played several rounds of gin rummy. Manny wasn’t much of a talker, but he was good company.

“Maybe you should go on a vacation,” Manny told him.

“My whole life is a vacation now. Do you have any idea how
little I do?”

Manny waved his hand dismissing the protest. “I mean away from all this. Have the detective take you to the coast. Bet you’ve never seen the ocean.”

Aki stared at him. “And you have?”

“Yep. Took the train all the way out to the West Coast—what’s left of it. It was pretty. Water sparkling blue, like those shoes you like so much.”

Aki flipped a card and thought about it. “I wonder if Shane has seen the ocean.”

“Figure that wouldn’t matter much. He’d still want to show it to
you. It’s the sort of thing you share.”

The idea made sense. Of course they’d have to wait until Shane’s caseload cleared. And he always had a half-dozen missing person cases open. Cheating spouses were a big thing too. Sometimes there was company fraud he looked into. Aki kept all the notes for Shane, so he knew the caseload at any time. It never really waned. Probably because Shane’s reputation was so solid. Aki never did much but answer the phone since Shane did most everything himself—too many years of having to be self-sufficient, Aki supposed. Shane had to record most of his notes in the files because they were so scattered that Aki couldn’t make sense of them. Even when they were both home Shane’s brain was always running a billion miles an hour in countless directions trying to figure out the next case. But maybe Aki could convince him to take a weekend away.

There was noise out in the hall. Loud voices and the sound of a struggle. Which was odd as the ISS hospital was usually empty. Manny got up and headed to the door, frowning the whole way. Aki rolled to the side of the bed that had his IV and carefully crawled out.

“Stay there,” Manny hissed at him as he opened the door and disappeared out of it a second later.

Just because Manny was used to being security didn’t mean he was up for doing it at the ISS hospital. This was a place for psis and A-Ms who had power beyond most humans. Aki rolled his stand to the door hoping to call Manny back so the gentle giant didn’t get hurt. The orderlies would have drug guns and know how to deal with something half-shifted or some weird psi power like kinetics. Manny was just good at brawling.

In the hall a bunch of nurses and orderlies were struggling with a man about Shane’s size. He fought them, trying to throw them off, and had a half-dozen drug darts sticking out of him. He looked mostly human, no changed limbs or claws, but his eyes, ears, and nose were bleeding. He was snarling and spitting blood. A moment later he bent over and Aki feared he’d change right there and slaughter them all. Instead, the man began to cough. It was a horrible wet sound. Blood spattered the ground. Chunks flew from his lungs, landing on some of the nurses, staff and Manny.

And just as suddenly as it had begun the man collapsed, fell to his knees, and then landed flat without trying to catch himself at all. His head was turned in Aki’s direction. Blood-filmed eyes stared his way with a vacant gaze. It wasn’t sleep from the darts. The man was dead.

Manny returned to the room and backed Aki into it just as another group of nurses appeared—this batch in full hazgear. But the A-M was dead. A-M and psi genetics weren’t contagious by air or bodily fluid. What the hell was going on?

One of the alien-looking nurses motioned to Aki and Manny, who still stood in the doorway of their room. “Get them to quarantine.”

Quarantine? Aki’s gut clenched.


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Author Bio

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.

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