QSFer Andrea Speed has a new queer mystery/urban fantasy/sci fi book out (ace, bi, gay), Infected book 9: “Infected: Legacy.”
The werecat virus has altered society, and for Roan McKichan, a born infected ex-cop turned private investigator, life is a capricious landscape.
With all the unknowns of his mutating virus, Roan has relocated to Canada, and he should be enjoying early retirement, but his restlessness makes it impossible to walk away from being a detective. Taking on the case of a missing teenager gives Roan the chance to use his heightened senses to see through the deceptions—and reunites him with a few old friends.
As Roan and Dylan adjust to their new reality, everything shifts again… when Roan discovers he might not be alone in his exceptional abilities.
He heard voices now, many people, none sounding settled. The wind shifted and brought him many scents. The one that really stood out was the one that smelled like leopard. Dylan had followed him. “What’s going on?”
“A leopard’s loose.”
Yeah, that was Roan’s assessment as well.
As they walked to the head of the side street, he saw a couple of people out on their lawns, including a man with a beer gut who had a gun. This wasn’t America, so chances were good he was the only one on any block who decided to bring one out. It wasn’t that they didn’t have guns, because Canadians actually had quite a few of them. It was that they hadn’t built a whole death cult around weapons or tied it in so deeply to their masculinity and their political system.
People looked at Roan and Dylan—not with hostility, but a lot of curiosity. All their neighbors knew about them was they were the gay couple who seemed to know hockey players, and one of them was some sort of “political exile” from the States for some reason. Reasons varied. They never quite hit upon the right one, but Roan might be about to change that.
“You guys should probably go in,” beer gut guy advised. “There’s a big cat loose.”
“Put that gun away,” Roan told him. “It’s probably a neighbor.”
The guy snorted. “It’s loose. I don’t care who it is. I ain’t letting it kill my dog.”
“It’s not killing anything. I can capture it.”
The guy seemed genuinely confused. “What?”
“He actually can,” Dylan averred. “He used to do this for the police.”
Roan didn’t want Dylan anywhere near here, but he also knew he would keep Dylan safe.
The guy—who looked like some distant relative of Ricky from the Trailer Park Boys—furrowed his brow in utter confusion. The colors bleeding off him suggested he was growing frustrated with the weirdo Americans. “Dude, you’re not even wearing shoes.”
Roan didn’t need to glance down to confirm that, but he did out of reflex. “It doesn’t matter. A leopard can’t hurt me in any fundamental way.” Roan suddenly had a flash of that Tumblr post meme about mushrooms: You cannot kill me in a way that matters. Oh wow—as much as Roan didn’t want to die, he really hoped that wasn’t true of him and his virus.
The guy glanced back, as if appealing for help, but no one was there. “What the fuck does that mean?”
Roan shook his head, as he had no time for this. “You might want to plug your ears,” he advised. He didn’t need to look to know Dylan had. He knew how loud this was.
Roan regarded the road and concentrated on forcing it out. It was honestly impossible for him to say what it was he was actually doing, or how to do it. Rosenberg had tried to test it, but was just as confused at the end as she was at the beginning. He knew he was successful when he felt a flush of blood in his face, and a pain in his neck that would only get worse. Then he opened his mouth and roared.
Okay, that wasn’t true. It started as a scream, as it always did, but then his vocal cords completed their shift, and it was a lion’s roar, so loud it rattled his own skull. You could probably hear it for blocks. Supposedly, in the wild, a lion’s roar could carry for a good clip. They weren’t subtle. It was one of the loudest cat declarations of mine as you could get.
Andrea Speed may or may not be the creation of an alien thought collective somewhere around Orion’s Belt. Writer of the Infected series, Josh of the Damned, and a few other random bits and bobs. Nonbinary, and quite possibly hiding in your crawlspace.
Author Website: http://andreaspeed.com
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/aspeed