Friday, February 16, 2018

Khalshir: Cover Reveal

Are you ready for a new series? This one is called Kingmakers, and it's another M/M fantasy romance series that will probably run to six or seven books before I'm done. Or possibly more--I know where I'm going, but not quite how I'm going to get there, or who might grab my attention along the way.

Book One of the Kingmakers series, Khalshir, is coming in March. It's the story of Rio and Dani, and as seems to be my habit, also introduces one of the main characters for Book 2, Renegade, which will be coming later this year, or possibly early next. Depends on how much Life(TM) happens between now and then.

If you haven't seen the awesome cover Chinchbug did for this one, here it is:



Book Description:

A street rat taken in by the infamous Khalshir Guild and ruthlessly trained as a spy and assassin, Rio thinks he’s ready for anything. When he balks at performing his first assassination, his mentor is furious, but gives him a chance to redeem himself: a simple bodyguard assignment, protecting the son of a high-ranking noble.

Second son of one of the most successful businessmen in the kingdom of Tallin, Dani Jherek never expected to become his father’s heir. After a suspicious accident leaves his twin dead, a grief-stricken Dani finds himself struggling not only to fill his brother’s shoes, but to protect a dangerous secret that, if revealed, could mean his execution.

Guarding Dani turns out to be far from simple. Instead of a spoiled, pampered brat, Rio finds himself watching over a beautiful, miserable young man struggling to survive in a dangerous world he doesn’t understand. As Rio spends more time with Dani, he finds himself caught up in a tangled web of conflicting loyalties. When Dani learns the true nature of his father’s business, everything changes, and Rio is forced to make an impossible choice: his loyalty to Guild and family, or his growing feelings for his charge.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Khalshir: WIP Excerpt

Getting the new series sorted took a bit longer than anticipated, but I finally have something to show you. Khalshir, the first book in the Kingmakers series, is in the final editing phase, and should be available in March. This story takes place a few years after Leythe Blade, in the same part of the world. Though Leythe Blade is a stand-alone novel and not part of this series, the main characters from that story will be making appearances in future books in this series (though not in book 1). I'll have cover art to show off in a week or so, but for now, here's a little taste...


They wouldn’t kill him.

Rio paced the windowless room and tried to calm his frayed nerves with logic. The Khalshir Guild had invested years in his training, and he’d served them well up until now. They wouldn’t just throw that away on one mistake, would they?

Bajhan wouldn’t let them.

Would he?

After a night alone to ponder his transgressions, he wasn’t nearly as certain as he had been when Bajhan had shoved him in here last night. He wasn’t certain of anything, not even where he was. It was a Guild facility, certainly, but which one was anybody’s guess. The Khalshir network covered almost the entirety of the Middle Kingdoms; he could be anywhere.

The only thing he could say for certain was that this wasn’t the Mirage in Akhat. Bajhan had dragged him through the mythe-gate underneath the Mirage last night, but he hadn’t said a word about where they were going. Hadn’t said anything as he’d escorted Rio down the hall, shoved him into the sparsely furnished room, locked him in.

Rio tried to take comfort in the fact that he was being fed. Twice now, someone had shoved a bowl of thin, greasy soup and a chunk of bread through a narrow slot next to the door, but no one had spoken to him.

A sharp rap behind him startled him. Heart pounding, he spun around to face the door. A key grated in the lock, and Rio steeled himself to face his mentor, but when the door swung open, it wasn’t Bajhan who walked in carrying Rio’s weapons and a pile of clothing. It was Coryn.

Rio’s limbs went slack with relief at the sight of his childhood friend. It had been nearly a year since he’d seen Coryn. Their assignments never seemed to place them at the same Guild house at the same time. Rio started forward to greet him, but stopped short as he got a look at Coryn’s face. His friend’s features were hard, his face so pale and cold it could have been carved from snowy white marble. Ice-blue eyes raked over Rio before darting away, as if Coryn couldn’t bear to look at him.

What had Bajhan told him?

Coryn dropped the clothing on the bed and set Rio’s weapon belt on top of it. “We’ve got a job,” he said flatly. “Both of us. You need to change.”

Rio blinked and glanced down at himself. He was still wearing the pale blue silk robes he’d been wearing that awful night in Akhat. “What kind of job?” His voice wavered as he struggled for composure. He ought to be relieved beyond measure; if he was being sent out on another job, it meant he wasn’t being retired.

“Bodyguards.” Coryn closed the door and leaned against it.

After only a moment’s hesitation, Rio ran his hand over his sheathed sword, then let it linger on the bone-handled knife, twin to the one Coryn wore. When Bajhan had taken his weapons from him, he’d wondered if he’d ever see the knife again.

“Thank you,” he murmured, moving the weapons aside to examine the clothing. Brown breeches and a rough-woven, pale brown shirt — common laborer’s clothing, similar to what Coryn was currently wearing. “Bodyguards for whom?” he asked before hauling the robes over his head.

“Nobleman’s son.”

Rich nobleman, if he could afford to hire two Khalshir to protect his son. Khalshir didn’t come cheap, but they were the best money could buy. “Coryn, I…”

Coryn bent his head as if looking down, but Rio caught the glint of those pale eyes through untidy black bangs. “You fucked up, Rio.”

Rio’s chest tightened, and he pulled on the clothing in silence. By the time he was dressed, he trusted his voice enough to speak. “I know that. Where are we?”

“A day’s ride south of Jakhar in Tallin. We’ll ride up there today and spend the night at the Copper Kettle. In the morning, we’ll report to the Jherek estate.”

“A day’s ride?” Rio frowned. “Doesn’t the Guild have a base in Jakhar? It’s the biggest city in Tallin.”

“The Wild Rose is our base.” Coryn still wouldn’t look at him. “There’s a Guild representative stationed there, but there's no mythe-gate. Not since Tallin’s king outlawed weaving the mythe.” A long silence stretched between them before Coryn stirred again. “What happened?” Coryn’s voice was low, with that hard, cold edge that meant he was furious. “I’ve never seen Bajhan so angry.”

Rio opened his mouth to spin a yarn about how none of it was his fault, but snapped it shut before a word could escape. Lies wouldn’t do here. Coryn was his sworn brother, and as the one who’d led him into this life, Rio owed him the truth. It was the only thing he had left to give him.

“I choked,” Rio said simply. “We were in Akhat, me and Bajhan. Spy job, I thought. Bajhan was playing a diplomat, and I was his scribe. But he… he set up a meeting with a merchant to talk trades and tariffs, and… and while the merchant was out of his suite, I was supposed to sneak in and strangle his wife.” Nausea still roiled in his gut when Rio thought about it. He stared down at the floor. “I couldn’t do it. She was… she hadn’t done anything. It was…” His voice dropped to a whisper. “It was wrong.”

From the direction of the door came only icy silence, but when Rio glanced up to ascertain that Coryn hadn’t slipped out during his confession, ice-blue eyes met his, wide and stunned. “Wrong? You knew what you were getting into when you joined the Khalshir.”

Rio swallowed. “Never been given the order to kill before.” Coryn had, he knew. Coryn had been doing solo assassinations for five years now, and if he had any qualms about it, he’d kept them to himself. But then, Coryn had made his first kill at thirteen, and Rio…

Rio was twenty-seven, and had yet to do so.

“But… those bandit scum that tried to rob us on the road three years back—”

“That was different,” Rio protested. “They would have killed us. Got no problem taking life in a fight for my own, but killing in cold blood is… I thought I could do it. But when it came down to it, I… I couldn’t. She was innocent, Coryn. She was gentle and sweet. We had dinner with her and her husband the night before, and she sang for us. I’ve never heard such a beautiful voice. She had eyes like one of those little deer we used to chase in the jungle. She wouldn’t have hurt anyone.” He squeezed his eyes shut. “Bajhan did it. I begged him not to. He locked me in a store room. I—” He snapped his mouth shut as Coryn closed his eyes briefly and shook his head. Rio swallowed again before voicing the thought that had been chasing itself around his head for the past three days. “I don’t belong with the Guild. Maybe… maybe I should leave. Go someplace far away, where they’ll never find me.”

“You think?” Coryn’s eyes went dead, because Coryn mad wasn’t a thing of fire and fury. Coryn mad was ice fucking cold, and Rio had never been on the receiving end of it before. “Thought we were in this together, Rio. You said Bajhan would take us in, train us up, give us a chance to prove ourselves. And you were right. He did give us a chance. And even if you want to blow yours, I can’t. I’m not going back to that, Rio. Not ever again. I got the Khalshir Guild at my back now, and that’s more than I’ve ever had.”

Rio blinked, surprised at the hurt in Coryn’s voice. “You have me,” he offered.

The anguish twisting Coryn’s face was there and gone almost before Rio registered it. “I thought I did.”

“I’m sorry,” Rio whispered. “I didn’t mean—”

“Save it. I don’t want to hear it.” Coryn turned and opened the door. “I’ll send someone down with breakfast. Make sure you eat. We won’t be stopping until we get to the city.”

Before Rio could think of a thing to say, the door was shut firmly and the sound of the key scraping in the lock confirmed that he was locked in again.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Guardians of the Pattern, Bundle 2 Now Available

Volume Two of the Guardians of the Pattern Bundle is now available. This 313,000 word digital-only release contains the complete texts of Books 4-6 in my M/M Sci-Fi/Romance series: Wildfire Psi, Eye of the Storm, and the series finale, Closing the Circle. The bundle is available now at Amazon and Smashwords, and will be coming to other retailers soon.



Wildfire Psi (Book 4): When Luka Valdari and Damon Korsov find themselves at the center of an attempt to activate a dangerous artifact, they’ll have to confront more than just their captors. Can they overcome a dark, shared history and work together? Or will all the human worlds burn in the flames of wildfire psi?

Eye of the Storm (Book 5): When Ajhani exile Vaya Rhivana saves the life of wealthy Federation playboy Nick Romani, he thinks he has all the bargaining power he needs to negotiate the return of his kidnapped clansmen. Falling in love with his hostage was never part of the plan, and in the end, Vaya’s choices could change the fate of his entire world.

Closing the Circle (Book 6): With anti-psion sentiment spreading through the Federation like wildfire, Director Cameron Asada has some tough decisions to make. The last thing he needs is for Draven, a Guild assassin on the run, to show up hoping to redeem Cam’s promise of sanctuary. Can Cam reconcile his conflicting loyalties? Or is everything he’s worked for destined to go up in flames?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Update: November, 2017

Some Update Things:

1. Dragonwatch is now available in paperback from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

2. The second Guardians of the Pattern Bundle (books 4-6) should be available by the end of the year.

3. Kingmakers. Now that the Guardians of the Pattern series is complete, I'll be starting a new series called Kingmakers. This one is fantasy, and takes place just a few years after Leythe Blade. Sasha, Jace, and Eredwyn from Leythe Blade will all have important roles to play, starting in Book 2 of the series. Book 1 is tentatively titled Khalshir, and should be available in early 2018. I'll have a better estimate of the release date by the end of this year.

4. Wytch Kings, book 5, tentatively titled Falkrag, will also be coming in 2018. This one features Prince Shaine of Rhiva and Vorri, the last surviving son of a dying bloodline.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Dragonwatch is Live!

The balance of power in Skanda is about to shift. As the kingdoms of the north negotiate a secret alliance, the Wytch Council attempts to discredit and replace the rebellious Wytch Kings. Can Tristin of Ysdrach and Prince Mikhyal of Rhiva get to the bottom of the plot? Or will the Northern Alliance be torn apart before the ink on the treaty is dry?




Dragonwatch, Book 4 in my MM Fantasy Romance series Wytch Kings, is now available at Amazon and Smashwords and will be coming to other retailers soon.


Book Description:

Beautiful, broken Tristin of Ysdrach would rather hide in his dragon form than live with a Wytch power that forces him to feel the pain of the past in every object he touches. Struggling to come to terms with a future he never believed he’d have, Tristin needs a reason not to surrender to the beast within.

Without Wytch power, Prince Mikhyal of Rhiva is not qualified to be his father’s heir, but newly discovered knowledge possessed by Rhiva’s allies could change that. On their journey to a secret negotiation that could shift the balance of power in Skanda, Mikhyal and his father are attacked, and Mikhyal is left bonded to an ancient sword with a mission, an attitude, and a penchant for blackberry tarts.

Even with the distractions of a royal betrothal ceremony, an enemy striking from the shadows, and the complex negotiations of alliance and rebellion, the painfully shy Tristin still manages to catch Mikhyal’s eye. The two men barely have time to acknowledge their mutual attraction before an attempt is made to end the line of Rhiva.

Can Tristin and Mikhyal get to the bottom of the plot? Or will the Northern Alliance be torn apart before the ink on the treaty is dry?

~94,000 words

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dragonwatch: Cover Reveal and Excerpt

Dragonwatch, the fourth Wytch Kings book, will be available in September. This story is about Tristin of Ysdrach, the bastard cousin of Wytch King Garrik. In the last book, Shadowspire, Tristin was instrumental in foiling the Wytch Council's plot to install him on the throne of Altan as a puppet king. Now recovering from years of imprisonment and addiction at the hands of his uncle and the Council, Tristin is struggling to make peace with his past and move forward into a future he's not quite sure what to do with.




Book Description

The balance of power in Skanda is about to shift…

Beautiful, broken Tristin of Ysdrach would rather hide in his dragon form than live with a Wytch power that forces him to feel the pain of the past in every object he touches. Struggling to come to terms with a future he never believed he’d have, Tristin needs a reason not to surrender to the beast within.

Without Wytch power, Prince Mikhyal of Rhiva is not qualified to be his father’s heir, but newly discovered knowledge possessed by Rhiva’s allies could change that. On their journey to a secret negotiation that could shift the balance of power in Skanda, Mikhyal and his father are attacked, and Mikhyal is left bonded to an ancient sword with a mission, an attitude, and a penchant for blackberry tarts.

Even with the distractions of a royal betrothal ceremony, an enemy striking from the shadows, and the complex negotiations of alliance and rebellion, the painfully shy Tristin still manages to catch Mikhyal’s eye. The two men barely have time to acknowledge their mutual attraction before an attempt is made to end the line of Rhiva.

Can Tristin and Mikhyal get to the bottom of the plot? Or will the Northern Alliance be torn apart before the ink on the treaty is dry?


Excerpt

Tristin hadn’t even paused to dress before fleeing down the tower stairs with his clothing clutched against his middle. Fortunately, it was late enough that no one was about in the hall leading to the royal apartments, and Tristin reached his suite without frightening the servants or causing any unfortunate incidents. He closed the door firmly behind him and let his clothing fall to the floor.

What had he been thinking?

Well, he hadn’t been thinking, had he? He’d been half asleep, enjoying the feel of Mikhyal’s hand rubbing his head and neck. It had felt so nice to be touched, even in dragon form, that he’d let himself forget everything else.

Mikhyal must have been absolutely horrified when he’d shifted back. Tristin knew very well he was no prize. He’d avoided mirrors for the most part, but he’d caught enough glimpses to know that his body was still gaunt and wasted, and the scars…

In the brilliant wash of moonlight, there was no way Mikhyal could have missed seeing his scars. The prince wouldn’t even want to dance with him now, and he’d been so looking forward to that.

Maybe he should have stayed at Dragonwatch, after all.

Tristin trudged into his bedroom where he curled up on the bed and squeezed his eyes shut. The things that had pleased him so much when he’d first stepped into the room now seemed only that: things. They wouldn’t keep him company when he was lonely. Nor would they gently rub his head and neck, or tell him how beautiful he looked in the moonlight.

A hot tear trickled down his face.

“Oh, this is rich. Honestly, you two.”

Tristin started and sat up. Dirit was perched on the foot of the bed glaring at him. The little dragon was bathed in silvery moonlight, making him look like some sort of glowing spirit.

“W-what… what d-do you w-want?” Tristin stammered.

Dirit tapped a long claw on the bedpost, and a glowing ball of yellow light appeared over his head, illuminating the room. “I want you to go and speak to His Royal Restlessness. He’s been in a snit ever since he returned from the tower.” Dirit narrowed his eyes. When Tristin didn’t respond, the dragon continued, “It’s impossible to sleep with all the muttering and pacing.”

“Ah. Well. I… imagine that’s because I disgust him,” Tristin murmured.

Humans.” The dragon rolled his eyes and twitched his whiskers in apparent disgust. “So dramatic. You think you disgust him, and he’s certain he’s frightened you off. Matchmaking really isn’t part of my mandate, you know, but it appears that neither one of you is bright enough to realize that you’ve had a misunderstanding.”

Tristin stared at him, open-mouthed, as he tried to work out whom Dirit was insulting. Both of them, it sounded like.

The little dragon peered at him, eyebrow tufts drawing together in a frown. “You do know what a misunderstanding is, don’t you?”

“Of c-course I do. I’m j-just not sure what I can do about it.”

“You could start by putting some clothing on,” Dirit prodded.

Heat rushed to his face, and Tristin scrambled off of the bed and went to fetch his clothing from the main room of the suite.

“Not those.” Dirit appeared in front of him, grabbing a mouthful of Tristin’s breeches and yanking them out of his hand. He spit them out on the floor as if they tasted bad, then wrinkled his snout. “They’re all rumpled and dusty. You simply cannot go courting in dirty things.”

“Who says I’m going—”

“Have you no sense of decorum?”

“Decorum isn’t exactly a priority when you’ve been locked in a tower for most of your life,” Tristin explained. He snatched the rumpled breeches from the floor and clutched them against himself in the vain hope of preserving both modesty and dignity. “Anyway, I haven’t got anything else.”

Dirit swarmed across the floor and disappeared into the bedroom, taking the ball of light with him and leaving Tristin in darkness. A moment later, the dragon — and the light — returned. “You’ve an entire dressing room full of clothing fit for a prince. Come along, we haven’t got all night. Honestly, do I have to do everything for you?”

With Dirit’s assistance, Tristin selected a pair of dark blue breeches and a grey linen shirt. When he was dressed, he brushed his hair and tied it back with a little strip of black leather.

“Yes…” Dirit circled him, hopping up on the furniture to observe him from all angles. “Of course, a proper bath would have been better, but if I’m to get any sleep at all, we simply haven’t time. I don’t expect you’ll progress to the point where that’s really necessary, not tonight. His Royal Virtuousness is far too much of a gentleman to be invading your dignity with his most impressive royal masculinity on the first encounter.”

“Invading my dignity?” Tristin sputtered. “With his—”

“You’ll do quite nicely. That really is a charming shade of pink. Lovely contrast with the shirt. Come along, then.”

Tristin could only stare at the dragon, speechless. It wasn’t until they were entering the guest wing that he found his voice. “What if… what if he’s gone to sleep? It must be well after midnight by now.”

“A bit past two, actually,” Dirit informed him. “But he’s awake.”

“How do you know?”

Dirit’s ears flattened. “I can feel him. I’m attached to him, remember? Bonded. Cursed with constant awareness.”

Unable to think of anything else to do, Tristin followed the little dragon through the castle’s dimly lit hallways. The guardsmen posted at regular intervals said nothing, but Tristin hunched his shoulders, certain they were watching and judging. They probably thought he was off to some clandestine meeting of the most sordid kind, and he couldn’t help feeling conspicuous and rather overdressed. Face flaming, he trudged miserably down the hall after Dirit.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Dragonwatch: WIP Excerpt

So who's ready for more dragons?

Dragonwatch, book 4 of the Wytch Kings series, is on track for a September release. This one features Tristin, who was a secondary character in Shadowspire (book 3), and Prince Mikhyal of Rhiva. Tristin's cousin, Wytch King Garrik of Altan, is moving forward with his plans to unite the kingdoms of the north against the Wytch Council, but Tristin has his own problems to deal with...

* * *

Tristin blinked hard to bring down his inner eyelids. He quickly located a downdraft, a swath of cool turquoise, and rode it in a lazy, spiraling descent toward the roof of the watchtower. His landing was perfect, but it gave him no satisfaction, and he didn’t make the shift back to human form.

Wytch Master Ilya stood before him, a cloak draped over his arm. “Would you shift for me, Tristin? I would have words with you, and we cannot speak properly when you are in dragon form and I am not.”

Tristin snorted, but didn’t shift. If Ilya wanted to speak to him so badly, he could shift into dragon form. Tristin knew exactly what Ilya wished to talk about, and the thought of it made his dragon-belly writhe and twist in dread.

His gaze drifted away from the Wytch Master to the slope of the mountain beyond the watchtower. He could have been safe in his cave by now, if he hadn’t been curious and come to investigate.

“Tristin… if you insist on spending all your time in dragon form, you risk losing yourself to the beast within. You will forget your humanity entirely.”

Tristin stared down at his wicked, ruby-red claws. Forgetting his human life would not necessarily be a bad thing.

“If you lose yourself to the beast,” Ilya continued, “you will be a danger to the folk of Altan. Garrik would have no choice but to order your death, though it would grieve him to do so.”

Ilya was right, of course, and Tristin knew it. He’d already experienced signs of the beast-mind overshadowing his human mind: losing track of the days, reveling in the hunt, the smell of blood transporting him into ecstasies the likes of which he’d never known as a human man.

“Won’t you try?” Ilya coaxed. “Your cousins are both very concerned about you, as am I.”

His cousins, yes. He owed them much. His life, his freedom… and his current condition. Which, truth be told, they were trying hard to help him with.

“I know the watchtower is particularly difficult for you,” Master Ilya said. “If you’d be more comfortable, you may glide down to the courtyard, and I will meet you there.”

With a heavy sigh, Tristin dipped his head in acquiescence and nodded toward the courtyard. Ilya smiled. “Very good, then. I shall see you in a minute. Would you like to take the cloak with you?” He held it out to Tristin, laying it across outstretched arms so it would be easy for the dragon to take it. Tristin carefully wrapped his claws around it and hopped to the edge of the watchtower roof on three legs. He spread his wings and glided down to the courtyard.

Shifting back into human form was easy, but the mental onslaught that came with it was shocking. Visions of armed men running to do battle flooded his mind. Shouted commands and screams of pain filled his ears, and he felt the bite of steel on flesh and the heat of fire. The smell of smoke and the taste of blood were almost enough to choke him. It didn’t matter how many times he reminded himself it wasn’t real, the sensations were too intense for him to remember that when he was caught up in them.

The empathic resonances bled from every surface he touched, and those first moments after shifting back into human form were always overwhelming, especially after the peace he experienced in dragon form.

Dragonwatch stood on the site of an old fort which had been home to the men who guarded the kingdom of Altan from the winter raids of the mountain barbarians. The barbarian tribes were gone now, thinned out or driven off nearly a century ago, during the Ten Winters of the Dark Ice, but the empathic resonances of the men who had fought here remained. The violence, fear, and pain experienced by those ancient warriors had suffused the stones of the watchtower and the surrounding landscape as their blood had soaked the dirt.

Most people were blissfully unaware of the savage history written in the land beneath their feet.

Tristin wasn’t most people.

The fears and hopes of those long dead souls who had once defended the kingdom sliced through his head like millions of tiny daggers. Each alone was barely noticeable, a drop of rain in a raging storm. But the combined onslaught was so overwhelming that for a moment, Tristin froze, feet glued to the sun-warmed stone, hands clenching the cloak.

“Tristin?” Master Ilya’s voice broke him out of a haze of pain so intense, he forgot to hide his arms. Ilya gently uncurled his fingers from the fabric of the cloak. “You will be well again, I promise you,” Ilya said gently. “But I cannot teach you the shielding patterns if you insist on spending all your time in dragon form.”

The Wytch Master’s pale blue eyes fixed on Tristin, his expression remaining calm and composed. He didn’t look the least bit disgusted at the sight of Tristin’s gaunt frame, or the terrible scars on his arms.

Though he wanted to tear the cloak from Ilya’s hands and whip it around himself to cover his body, Tristin forced himself to wait while the Wytch Master gently draped it over his shoulders. When the cloak was in place, Tristin pulled it tight, holding it closed with shaking hands in an attempt to cover as much of himself as possible.

“Come on. You’ll feel better once you’re inside.” The Wytch Master’s voice was cool, a soothing contrast to the hot mess of empathic resonance swirling in Tristin’s head.

By the time they reached the school’s entry hall — the new hall, built from freshly hewn planks, thank the Dragon Mother — Tristin’s skin was slick with cold sweat. The moment his bare feet touched the smooth, polished floorboards, the sensations absorbed by the stones in the courtyard faded to a dim noise in the background, leaving him weak-kneed and trembling.

Master Ilya escorted him to his suite and waited in the sitting room while Tristin staggered into his bedroom to find something more suitable to wear than a cloak.

Now that the worst of the resonances were blocked by the relatively new wood, Tristin’s mind was a quiet as it ever got. He dressed quickly, in breeches and a shirt with sleeves long enough to hide his scars.

Outside, the sky was a clear, lavender blue, and Tristin took a moment to stare longingly at it. He could be out the window and gliding, pain-free, through the sky in a moment, if he dared.

The Wytch Master’s words threaded through his mind: Garrik would have no choice but to order your death…

For one brief moment, he thought perhaps that was the answer. But no — Tristin wasn’t quite ready to give up yet. Not quite. Though he feared if things didn’t improve soon, he might quickly reach that point.

With one last, longing look at the sky, he left his bedroom.