QSFer Arshad Ahsanuddin has a new queer sci fi audio book out, and it’s free!
Child of Twilight
Venice, Italy, 2039. When Michael Danvers witnesses a vampire attack, his latent ability to shapeshift awakens. Revealed as a Sentinel, the natural enemy of Nightwalkers, 13-year-old Michael must turn his back on his family and his safe, predictable life. But a supernatural battlefield is no place for a child, not even a genius like Michael. Betrayed by his own kind, he leaves Earth behind, hoping to find a new path with the Spacer Guild – and the stars.
Tempered by Moonlight
Relocating to the Citadel, Michael quickly makes a name for himself at the Spacer Guild Academy. But each advancement means less to him than the friendships he acquires, of fellow cadets William and Ariel, even as Michael is promoted above them.
Forged in Starlight
Everyone had plans for Michael’s future: his parents, the Sentinels, the Guild-even his best friend, Will. But Michael takes control of his destiny, and when called upon to make a fateful decision with countless lives hanging in the balance, the only sense of honor that matters is his own.
Arshad is giving away a copy of the audio book. For a chance to win, comment on this blog post.
August 2039; Burano, Italy
The falcon watched its prey, eyes sharp in the darkness, from the rooftop of a building painted in bright, primary colors. The bird had been tracking this particular vampire for the last ten days. The Nightwalker had a specific hunting range, roving among the islands of the Venetian Lagoon. The falcon followed the Nightwalker across the backdrop of pastel houses. Periodically, it paused to tear off another piece of meat from a pigeon that had been too slow to avoid its talons.
So far, the vampire appeared to be relatively fastidious, always going for a solitary kill in the early evening, then immediately leaving the area for one of the other islands to meet up with his friends. The falcon hadn’t bothered to follow any of the others to see whether they were human or vampire, not wanting to lose sight of its quarry.
And so they had fallen into a rhythm, both sleeping by day and hunting by night. The falcon continued to watch, patiently waiting as the cycle repeated itself. The nameless vampire trailed his prey for the night: a young woman in her twenties, walking alone and carrying a bag of groceries. When she left the wider streets around the canals, she entered a narrow alley. The Nightwalker made his move, blurring into motion as he ran up behind her. He bared his fangs and wrapped his arm around her throat to stifle her screams. The falcon watched with detachment, one predator studying another, while the pattern played out again.
And then everything changed.
The woman was suddenly outlined in a searing white glow, and the Nightwalker’s arm burst into flames. Howling, he jerked away from her and stumbled backward, eyes wide. The woman turned around and smiled pleasantly, still sheathed in white fire. The vampire clapped his hands together and was immediately surrounded by a shield of green light, but he staggered backward when the woman’s next spell engulfed him in cobalt fire.
The falcon tensed and dropped the bird carcass. It spread its wings to fly down and attack, but the Nightwalker’s emerald shield collapsed under the mystical assault, and the flames imploded as the vampire was instantly consumed. The falcon settled back to watch, tucking in its wings as it turned its senses on the woman. Finally.
Then it was knocked down against the rooftop when an eagle backwinged above it, the larger avian coming to rest less than six inches away. The new arrival cocked its head, then took a bite of the discarded pigeon. The smaller bird of prey glanced back down at the street, but the woman was gone. Damn it! I was so close!
The eagle swallowed its morsel of flesh. “You seem disappointed,” it said in Arcolin, the ancient common language buried in the race memories of the Sentinel Gift.
The falcon stared at it in disbelief.
The eagle shimmered, shifting form to become a man in his early thirties, about six feet tall, with tanned skin and black, curly hair. He regarded the falcon with amusement as he sat cross-legged on the rooftop. He waited silently for a moment, then shrugged. “Customarily, a Sentinel entering an established territory is supposed
Arshad Ahsanuddin is a practicing hematopathologist, a physician who diagnoses diseases of blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes using laboratory data and microscopic evaluation of tissue biopsies. Yes, he’s a blood doctor writing a series of vampire novels. The irony isn’t lost on him.
Arshad has authored four full-length novels and a novella as part of the Pact Arcanum Saga: Sunset (Pact Arcanum: Book One); Sunrise (Pact Arcanum: Book Two); Moonlight (Pact Arcanum: Book Three); Starlight (Pact Arcanum: Book Four); and Cathedral of the Sky.
If you enjoyed this story, or if you have questions about the Pact Arcanum saga, check out his website at pactarcanum.comand leave him some feedback.