QSFer Carol Holland March has a new MM sci fi book out:
Leo has found the source of the deadly time rifts threatening Larreta. His new life with Jesse is unfolding when a rift pierces Larreta and seizes him. Leo finds himself on the dark planet Kālong.
No one has ever left Kālong, but Leo must return to Jesse. He sets out to find Kālong’s ruler and teams up with Ballan, a Horse That Once Flew, to escape the dying world.
On Larreta, Jesse grieves for Leo and, refusing to believe his lover is dead, begins the Call of Grief. Joined by other dreamwalkers, Jesse’s Call reaches across time and space for Leo, but the cost is high and his energy wanes.
On Kālong, Leo learns the truth that has kept him from Jesse for so long. When the mysterious being who causes the time rifts informs Leo that Jesse is calling him, Leo returns the Call, although the effort may end his life.
Searching for each other, the dreamwalkers of Larreta find themselves facing a door that hides the key to ancient mysteries. All they have to do is open it.
About the Series:
The Dreamwalkers of Larreta are the key to the evolution of life on Earth, but only if they remember their destinies and each other. Kalong is the gripping conclusion to the adventures of Leo and Jesse as they strive to re-unite two worlds in an adventure across worlds, a romance that spans centuries.
An opening appeared in the blackness, as if black satin curtains had parted. He expected heat or cold, but only the vibration of darkness greeted him. Hands outstretched, he took one step and then another. The darkness sucked him in. It pressed on every inch of his body, a palpable force, soft and yielding and yet so strong it would not have surprised him if his body had collapsed under its weight.
All sounds fell away except the beating of his heart. As his eyes acclimated, he perceived a green so dark it blended with the blackness, a flash of red that disappeared when he turned toward it. When the color of the energy field surrounding him shifted into the deepest shade of purple imaginable, he knew to stop.
The purple-black energy covered him. The skin on his face and hands tingled. He tasted the purple color on his tongue, dark and musty, and his throat contracted. A heavy vibration sounded, a drumming that quickened his breath. High above, he sensed something bending down to peer at him.
He looked up. “I am Leo of Larreta.”
The purple-black energy moved against him, like a push from a gloved hand. He staggered, but managed to right himself.
The voice that answered sounded hollow. Unmistakably female, as Meno had said. “I rule Kālong! By what right do you approach me?”
Leo licked his dry lips and squared his shoulders. “I came to your world because of an accident. I seek your help to rectify this error and return to my own world.”
“There are no errors.”
The words ricocheted in his brain and traveled down his spine. “I don’t belong here.”
“Yet here you are, and here you will stay. No one leaves Kālong.”
“I will leave.”
“Many say that, yet none accomplish it. You will lose your will and be glad to burrow in whatever hole you find.”
“No matter how long you imprison me, I won’t be like the others.”
“In time, all submit.”
“I’ll never stop trying to escape. Wouldn’t it benefit you to return me to my home world?”
“Do you threaten me?”
The darkness heaved. Leo’s chest contracted and didn’t rise again. Panic rumbled in his belly. An illusion. It had to be. He managed a tiny breath. “I’ll never give up.”
The darkness released him. “If leaving were so easy, who would stay in this forsaken place? The Mentors of the outer worlds cannot abide the energies of Kālong. Should our darkness invade the precious worlds of light, they would rend us again. This world is quarantined. It has been decreed, Traveler. Decreed so long ago that no one remembers how or when.”
“I will find a way to leave.”
A hollow sound rained down, burning Leo’s skin. Another illusion. He breathed through the pain. The sound turned into laughter.
“You may spend eternity calling for help, but who will hear? I might, but I don’t care. The snake might, but she is accustomed to cries of pain. The horses might. It will make them sad, but they can do nothing but run through the desert. You can die of despair, Traveler, and be forgotten the next day.”
Leo had had enough. “This is why they call you ruler!” he burst out. “You are not worthy to be a Mentor! There is nothing to hope for on a world ruled by one who enjoys suffering.”
“Do not speak past your knowledge.” The voice scraped his skin like a razor. “Mentors guide worlds. They do not create them. You will abide here until you disintegrate and die as will every being who has fallen to Kālong.”
Leo breathed in shallow gasps. He had only one card to play. “The snake has a question for you.”
Around his neck, the darkness tightened. Golden stars danced before his eyes. He had to stay on his feet. This one enjoyed suffering, so to kill him would end her pleasure. He hoped.
From high above his head, the ruler’s voice cascaded over him. “What question dare you ask me, Traveler?”
The noose loosened. Leo breathed in. The time had come. He took another breath and said, “What is the unforgivable sin?”
Carol Holland March lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with a dog who offers insight into the meaning of life in exchange for long bike rides and occasional treats. She writes stories about the mysteries that peek from behind the veil.
Her short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Kalong is the final book in the fantasy romantic trilogy, The Dreamwalkers of Larreta.