Release Date: May 25, 2016
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Canada, 2165 AD. The Water Wars and a decimated economy have taken their toll. Anyone who doesn't live in a military-patrolled metropolis lives in a clan. But being in a clan doesn't mean safety.
And for a Ven like Roan Lee, it doesn't matter where he lives. Safety is a luxury. So is freedom.
Roan is desperate to escape the governtary's exploitation and torture. He is nothing to them but 54σK1, an artifact born from a genetic mishap. When the chance to escape arises, he makes a run for it—and encounters the lover from his past, twisting his future into a second chance he never expected.
As leaders of Clan Teach, Jace Ama and his wife, Cayra Diega, have enough difficulty keeping their people safe. When Roan is thrown to their feet as a prisoner, their marriage becomes an additional challenge. Jace still loves Roan, but where does that place Cayra?
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The light jumped and twirled, spinning until wisps formed the body of a large bird. Graceful ribbons of orange and yellow light laced together, taking the shape of wings and a trailing crown of feathers almost as vivid as the long red and gold tail.
Black eyes and a beak faced them before the bird took flight. It soared across the breeze and flew around the trees. Ethereal and shining, the bird plummeted through the leaves, shaking branches all the way down. Small birds squawked and fled their nests, disappearing into the dark.
The bird swooped low towards Jace's knees, knocking him back. It circled Jace, the delicate feathers of light sweeping across his cheeks, casting him in a soft red glow. Jace's gaze glimmered with awe as the bird shot towards the sky and winked out of existence. Small particles of light sprinkled the forest like pixie dust.
In the raining red and yellow light, Jace pulled Roan close by the collar and kissed him. There was nothing gentle in it, only raging passion.
Roan pulled Jace back by the waist and leaned against a tree, their ragged breaths deafening him. Maybe one day they'd have more. Maybe one day…
Leaves crunched. Whispers caught on the breeze. The air wafted, carrying the odour of sweat and chemical fumes.
Roan pushed Jace back. The hair on Roan's neck stood on end.
A dark figure launched towards them from the darkness. An unmarked metal canister hit the ground at Roan's feet.
Smoke burst forth, engulfing Roan's body.
"Hands behind your head," voices yelled, followed by clicks. "Hands up behind your head! Get on your knees!"
"Roan?" Jace called, grappling Roan's arms in the thick smoke. "What's going on?"
Roan hacked and gagged, swatting the smoke away. He couldn't see Jace—he couldn't even see his own feet through his irritated eyes.
"Roan!" Jace's fingernails dug into Roan's wrist as his grip slipped down Roan's forearms. "Don't let them take me!"
Jace's hands ripped away from Roan's arm.
"Get on your knees," voices commanded again. A sharp object rammed Roan's knee, bashing his kneecap.
Yelping, Roan fell. Through the dissipating smoke, soldiers in black uniforms and masks rushed at him, their assault rifles aimed at his head and heart. Military. The governtary. No!
He struggled to stand. Lunging forward, he struck at the blurred faces.
A rifle slammed down on his wrists before the butt of the gun smashed his jaw.
"Down on the ground, Ven," a soldier demanded, threatening to hit Roan again.
"Roan!" Jace screamed from behind them.
On instinct, Roan stared past the soldiers to the faint light from a headlamp. Even with burning retinas, he could see Jace in the hold of Kai and Vera, two sentries from Clan Teach. Moham's guards and friends. Kai's tall, broad body seized Jace by the waist while Vera's lithe form fought Jace's arms. They hauled Jace back, navigating towards the camp settlement.
"Jace." Roan stepped towards him. Gun muzzles jabbed him back.
Jace fought back, kicking Kai's shins and hitting Vera's face. "Let me go! I'm not the one they're attacking, you idiots. Go save him!" He raked Kai's arms and punched Vera's chest.
Kai smacked Jace in the neck, stunning Jace.
"Last time, lab elf. Hands. Head. Now!" The soldier in front of Roan jammed the gun to Roan's groin.
Groaning, Roan collapsed in surrender. Soldiers jerked his arms as they clamped cold metal cuffs over his injured wrists. They yanked him up and pushed him in the opposite direction of the settlement, his hands hanging limp in front of him.
"Don't let them take you," Jace hollered. "Don't leave me."
Roan spun on his heel. In the distance, barely visible in the light from Kai's helmet, Kai and Vera dragged Jace, hitting him as he continued to struggle. Jace wrenched one arm free, reaching for Roan with an open palm.
A strangled cry escaped Roan's throat. He reached towards Jace, clawing air.
Then darkness separated them completely.
About the Author:
Archer Kay Leah was raised in Canada, growing up in a port town at a time when it was starting to become more diverse, both visibly and vocally. Combined with the variety of interests found in Archer’s family and the never-ending need to be creative, this diversity inspired a love for toying with characters and their relationships, exploring new experiences and difficult situations.
Archer most enjoys writing speculative fiction and is engaged in a very particular love affair with fantasy, especially when it is dark and emotionally charged. When not reading and writing for work or play, Archer is a geek with too many hobbies and keeps busy with other creative endeavors, a music addiction, and whatever else comes along. Archer lives in London, Ontario with a same-sex partner and their cat.