QSFer Lissa Kasey has a new fantasy book out:
Kelly Harding has become good friends with Seiran Rou, originally the only male witch to actually train in magic. Now after a couple trying months and several crazy plots to kill Seiran, Kelly suggests a ski vacation to help them all relax—even if Kelly does have to work to keep his taboo crush on Seiran’s brother, Jamie, under wraps. But their getaway becomes a fight for survival when a magic fueled blizzard strands them in the middle of nowhere…with a killer.
When visions of a tower and a dying man fueling a deadly spell begin to fill Kelly’s head, he realizes he has to try to save his new family. Jamie isn’t about to let him go alone—no matter how against a relationship with his little brother’s best friend he might be. But their goals are the same: Protect Seiran, stop the spell, and make it home in one piece. It will take a brush with death to make them understand how deep their feelings go, and none of them will make it out unchanged.
KELLY SLEPT fitfully, making small noises of distress that gutted me. I’d been tempted to wake him more than once, had even sat down on his bed and laid a hand on his shoulder. He seemed to still when I touched him. But he might think it a little odd if he woke up with me in his bed, so instead I paced the room.
When Sei had fallen asleep earlier, I realized that finding the two of them in bed together a lot of mornings had nothing to do with Sei’s past and everything to do with Kelly. Neither one of them spoke, though, no matter how hard I prodded. Gabe wasn’t sure either, but he thought it was some posttraumatic stress from the shooting. A crazy vampire had bitten Sei and forced him to shoot at Kelly and me. The day was pretty vivid in my memory too, though I recall getting foggy pretty fast after the gunshot.
I’d parked the car near the door to Gabe’s condo and got out. Kelly slammed his door shut on the other side. No sooner had I clicked the locks, than Kelly lifted a hand and pointed.
“Isn’t that Seiran? And who’s that he’s with? He’s not supposed to be going anywhere without one of us, right? Not with his hands all bandaged.”
I turned in time to see Sei pushed into the passenger side of the car. Neither the car nor the driver—who was wearing a very unfashionable ski mask—were familiar. “Fuck,” I muttered and began fast walking their way. If Sei was just going off with some friend without telling anyone, I was going to be pissed. “Stay by the car,” I told Kelly, glancing back his way. Then the gun fired.
The sound echoed an oddly hollow boom, and it missed me. The second shot, however, did not. Fire ripped through my side, doubling me up, and stars exploded, blanking out my vision. I lost a few seconds of consciousness I think, because suddenly I was on the ground facedown, smelling salted pavement.
For a minute I thought it was Sei calling my name. That somehow he’d gotten free of the car or maybe I’d been overreacting to seeing him with a stranger. But whoever it was touched me, rolled me over, then looped his arms under my armpits and hauled me backward into the cold shelter between a couple cars. The cold pouring off them chilled me to the core. A shiver started in my toes and rolled up my body in waves until my teeth chattered. The man beside me pressed something into my side that made me growl a sailor’s curse. My stomach threatened to rebel.
“Stay with me, Jamie,” the familiar-but-not-Seiran’s voice told me. He sounded sort of far away, though I could feel him touching me. He spoke on a phone for a minute, giving information, answering questions. I could only make out pieces of the conversation. Someone was hurt. I should have gotten up, tried to help. What if someone was shot? I was in training to be a nurse, dammit.
I must have been struggling, because he pressed harder on the wound in my side, and I fought to breathe through the pain. The sparklers across my sight faded slowly, bringing me back to the bright but frigid day with Kelly curled around me. His face dripped with tears and blood. Was Kelly hurt? My heart raced and I tried to reach for him.
“No, don’t move. Damn you!” Kelly scolded and held me in place with a strength that belied his size. Liquid began to fill one lung, and I gasped, choking on the blood filling my throat. Fuck, I was shot. Yeah, that explained the pain, numbness, and disconnect in my head.
“Are you hurt?” I asked Kelly. “You’re bleeding.”
“It’s your blood. Not mine. You were shot, remember?”
A horrible idea crossed my brain. “Seiran?” I gasped and hacked out a bloody cough. Oh fuck, that hurt. Please let Seiran not be lying dead in the parking lot just feet from us. I tried to see around Kelly, but something in my side ripped and the world went black. All I heard was Kelly’s sobbing cry of “I’m so sorry.”
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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.