I can’t believe Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa are next week! I hope you all have family or friends to share whatever holiday you observe!
Tada! It’s with great joy that I announce it’s release day for the next story in my series, Gemini Asunder! And relief, as my fellow writers can attest. With Susan’s blessing, I’ll be telling you about this fifth book. Of course, I still have twenty more books to write to finish out the series, so gird your loins! I know I have.
First, the back cover blurb:
Thirteen Zodiac Assassins
Forged in the Darkness of the InBetween,
Ruled by the Shadow Side of their Stars,
The Only Hope for the Light of Humanity.
What Would You Sacrifice To Have Your Own Life?
A Zodiac twin created, not born
The product of the demon ritual that split Gemini in two, Gemma is hungry to prove her worth to the powerful males surrounding her. When offered access to the knowledge that might free the Zodiacs of their demon soul, will Gemma cling to the succor of her passive role or risk it all to make her mark?
A brother torn asunder each time she rises
Gem wanted to be a super-paranorm like the other Zodiac males, but instead the demon ritual that ripped him apart makes him feel lesser every time his twin rises out of the Gemini cuff. He’s desperate to feel whole again, but what is he willing to sacrifice to that end?
A human who stumbled into a strange new world
Special Agent Treadwell was investigating a missing persons case, but instead found a hidden world of fantastical creatures on the precipice of a war that threatens everything he holds dear. What will he choose: protect his family from a demon king or follow the woman who stole his heart on a mission to save the worlds?
Wow, a lot to unpack there! Full disclaimer: I highly recommend you start with book one, not with this book. Too much world building has gone on by this point for you to get the fullest enjoyment.
A twin created, not born and her twin who feels lesser whenever she rises out of the Gemini cuff. I’m not a twin, but I can imagine there are many amazing perks to being one, and maybe a few not so great ones, too. For Gem, it’s pretty much all a downer, and Gemma feels that in him. So, despite the desire to live, she needs to find a way to make Gem whole again.
But when the chance for her to do just that comes, it comes at great risk and great cost:
“Gemma, come with me. I have something that might change your mind,” the Pestilence Fairy elder said before hobbling away. “The medicines and bandages you need to tend your friends will be here any moment.”
Gemma stared after the fairy, but didn’t move to follow her. Lyon gripped her forearm.
“Go with her and see what she wants to show you,” he said. “Please,” he said more quietly.
Gemma’s lips thinned. She nodded once then started after the fairy. Whatever the elder had to show her, it had better be world-shatteringly important; it would take that at a minimum to make her chase that brat of a fairy through the Overworld, the Zodiacs’ needs be damned.
The Pestilence Fairy elder is clever, however:
She leaned close to the pages, studying the small script that formed foreign words beyond her comprehension. “I can’t read this. It looks similar to Enochian, but…”
“That’s because it’s not Enochian or any other known alphabet.” The elder rose and lit the row of candles on the table. “Give me a moment.”She held both hands over the two pages and mouthed some words.
Gemma placed her hands on the table, getting as close to the Pestilence Fairy as she dared, while watching the words shift and rearrange. “What is it?”
The elder sighed and stepped back before staggering to her chair and slumping into it. “Try now.”
Gemma scanned the words which had transformed into English. “It looks like a list of ingredients for…what? A spell? A recipe?”
“This is a book about souls, specifically angelic souls. And how to heal a damaged one.”
Gemma’s heart skipped a beat before beginning a thunderous pounding that she was sure the elder could hear, if the old fairy’s smirk was a clue. “Are all these books about angelic souls?”
The fairy shrugged. “And demonic souls and human souls. For every creature that has a soul,” she raised her hands, “there is a book.”
Gemma sat next to the elder and cleared her throat.
The woman looked at her, holding her gaze for several seconds. “I assume you have something to say?”
“I do, but I need a minute.”
The fairy laughed and crossed her arms. “I know this is what you’ve been looking for and it can be yours…to borrow…when you bring Meri back to me.”
“So this isn’t really about me being a woman or a pseudo-friend to Meri.”
“No, though those are valid reasons. Your thirst for knowledge is great; the lengths you’ll go to in your desperate need to prove your worth are even greater. These books have what you seek; give me what I seek and they are yours to study.”
Damn the fairy for understanding her more than Gem ever did.
While Gemma struggles with her decision, demon king Asmodeus is facing his own challenges. A good demon army is so hard to find.
Picking up The Washington Post newspaper from the ornate, marble floor next to him, he studied the huge headline again, his temper increasing at the same rate as the occupancy of the mansion ballroom. He waited until the last demon smoked in before sitting up.
“So nice of you to join me. Which one of you decided to massacre the humans?” he asked, holding out the newspaper for the demons to see.
The demons looked at each other, none of them wanting to admit their part in the frenzy, until one particularly large, seriously ugly specimen stomped forward.
“I did it.”
Asmodeus almost smiled at the stupidity of the arrogant beast before him. “I appreciate your honesty, but you couldn’t have obliterated the dozens of humans in attendance by yourself. Not without some escaping and, according to reports, no live witnesses have come forward.”
The group of demons shuffled their feet, the stink of fear rolling off them in garlic-tinged, sulfurous waves.
Asmodeus rose from the lone chair. “That leaves me to conclude that all of you have blood and bone and bowels on your hands.”
The demon closest to him raised his chin. “You promised us the feast of an age, yet here we are weeks later and nothing. No gorging ourselves on the flesh and souls of humans!”
“I did promise you that, didn’t I?”
“Yes,” the demons yelled in unison.
“So when you saw all those powdered and perfumed and plump humans there for the picking, you said, why not?”
And for the witch goddess Circe, life hasn’t been kind and is growing crueler by the day:
Circe paced the small, dingy motel room, the voices in her head whispering so low it made her brain itch. One Creeper was standing guard as if she, a witch goddess, needed one. To add further insult, the mute creature’s breathing was so loud it felt like claws running down her skin.
“I appreciate your concern for my welfare, but if you don’t get out of here now, I’m going to put you on the menu.” She turned to the plastic drapes, covered with faded zigzags of red and yellow on a white background, and threw them open. She stared at the parking lot, trying to forget about her lowered circumstances. “Damn Libra for taking his brother from me. How am I supposed to regain my strength without sustenance?”
A squeal behind her pulled her focus back to the room. A young, human male in bloody, blue pants and a shirt that said ‘Eat My Pie’, was tied to a chair, tourniquets around his thighs keeping him from bleeding out. Circe closed the curtains tight then sauntered over to the male and squatted.
She placed his hands on his thighs and looked down. “Your pizza pie was delicious. Your lower legs even more so.” She snapped her fingers and the Creeper handed her two strips of cotton, torn from the thin, ratty bedsheet. “But I need more.”
The human’s eyes widened, and he screamed behind the gag. Thrashing against his bonds, his panic ratcheted up when she tied the pair of rags around his upper arms.
Circe pulled out a long, obsidian dagger and held it up to the light; the blade absorbed it like a black hole. It was old and very sharp, if a bit brittle.
“This is the sharpest blade I have,” she said, staring at the dagger. “I can take your arm off at the elbow and you’ll barely feel it.” She looked up at the sweating pizza boy. “Unless you fight. If the blade breaks off inside you, the agony will probably kill you.”
She touched the dagger tip to the inside of his left elbow. “The question is, are you left-handed?” She switched the blade tip to his right elbow. “Or right?”
The human screamed again, then fainted.
“That’s disappointing,” Circe said. She rose and sheathed the dagger. “The paranorm children were braver than this boy.”
She flopped back on the bed and turned on the television. It was one of the best inventions she’d discovered so far, though the stories about the paranormal and mythology were so far outside of the truth as to be funny.
Flipping through the stations, she stopped at one where a male stood on a stage before a huge gathering of humans who seemed to be hanging on his every word. He read from a book then paced back and forth, his voice rising and falling in a cadence that she’d used herself to lather and lull whoever was listening.
“That is the kind of idolatry I need.”
For Special Agent Treadwell, life has had had twin tracks: find justice for those torn apart by evil, and give his family a chance to find out who they are after evil tried to break them. Until now…
“What’s up with you and Gemma?”
He stopped. “She…I don’t know. You’d think I’d be running for the hills considering she’s not completely human, but there’s something about her.”
“You love her.”
“Jeez, not you too. I just got this speech from the grannies.”
“Come on, brother, I know you. You adore the ladies, but you’ve never brought one home.”
“I brought her here because I had no choice.”
“You brought her here because it’s the safest place you know. You wouldn’t have brought her to us if you didn’t care deeply. And you damn sure wouldn’t have brought a woman you didn’t love to us when there’s danger involved.”
“It was convenient.”
Sojo stopped what she was doing and turned around. “A motel is convenient, and it’s a hell of a lot more anonymous for you and safer for us. She’s here because she’s part of you now and you knew that we would fight to protect her. Because you love her and that makes her family.”
Tread’s mouth dropped open.
Sojo swung back around. “Just don’t screw it up.”
“What do you mean?”
“We all know what you did to help us financially, gambling to make the money that sent us to school, that paid off the mortgage early so we’d always have a place to live.”
Tread remained silent.
“We also know that you’ve never allowed yourself to get serious about a woman.”
“I didn’t have time.”
“Perhaps, but the real reason was you were too afraid that you’re like him.”
Tread clenched his fists. “I yelled at the grannies like him only minutes ago.”
“That means nothing. Face it, you’re nothing like him and you never will be. It’s past time for you to focus on your life and grab your happiness with both hands, preferably filled with Gemma’s ass.”
As with all the books, the stories of the Zodiacs, already told or yet to be, are interwoven as subplots. The couples you love will continue to appear, to grow in their found love as they face the fear and danger from, not just the human world above them, but Hades and Hell below. New couples will find each other. The fledgling brotherhood formed, by choice, not by blood, will be tested as the Zodiacs try to bind together the many groups of segregated paranorms to save them from extinction…and humanity from extermination.
I hope you’ll take a look at this series, and dive into the world of the InBetween!
Drop your questions below so we can dish!!!