Browsed by
Category: Blood & Bone

ATTN: Book Reviewers (ARCs for B&B4 A Sanguine Solution)

ATTN: Book Reviewers (ARCs for B&B4 A Sanguine Solution)

Hello my lovelies! I wanted to write up a quick life update because things have been a little crazy out here in my neck of the woods and whenever life gets busy it has a habit of affecting book releases.

If you don’t follow me on twitter, I’ll start by saying that I’ve started working as a barista again for the holidays at a very busy starbucks. It’s a great opportunity to work with a lot of really cool people but it did come at a time when I’ve been struggling to balance so many creative projects. I’ve also been participating in NaNoWriMo, vlogging the first half of November, and finishing up edits on B&B #4. As I’ve mentioned here a few times, I’m intending to release Blood & Bone #4: A Sanguine Solution in the very near future. Originally I had hoped it would be out at the end of October but now we’re looking at “before Christmas.”

Since there’s a little bit more of a lead on the release, I thought I would take the opportunity to offer ARCs of B&B4 to interested book reviewers in exchange for an honest review after release. Seeing as this is the fourth book in a series in an extended universe, I do have a short little questionnaire for you to fill out to request an ARC if you’re interested:

>> https://goo.gl/forms/efMZ9UDCl3VnzPUK2

Copies should be made available sometime in the next two weeks, so please fill out the form and let me know before then!

Sneak Peak: Blood & Bone #4 – A Sanguine Solution 5/?

Sneak Peak: Blood & Bone #4 – A Sanguine Solution 5/?

The countdown to Book 4 continues this week with another snippet from B&B 4: A Sanguine Solution.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4.

B&B 3.5 Remainders, an f/f novella set during The Symbiotic Law is also now available through amazon!

Chapter 2b

Patrick

Pat met Sabira Mallory in the parking lot. She had a newspaper raised over her head to fend off the rain.

“I spent most of last night making phone calls,” she said.

Their trip to the club near yesterday’s body had been frustratingly fruitless. Despite Mallory’s assertion that someone would have to be on the premises to get ready for the evening’s crowd, they had been met with a quiet, locked building. Pat’s wolf senses had confirmed that there hadn’t been anyone home.

“Hopefully Lynch has a name for us,” he murmured, holding the door open for her.

Read More Read More

Sneak Peak: Blood & Bone #4 – A Sanguine Solution 3/?

Sneak Peak: Blood & Bone #4 – A Sanguine Solution 3/?

The countdown to Book 4 continues this week with another snippet from B&B 4: A Sanguine Solution.

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

B&B 3.5 Remainders, an f/f novella set during The Symbiotic Law is also now available through amazon!

Chapter 1c

“Sorry,” the wolf muttered, though there wasn’t anything apologetic about his tone, only a hint of confusion and more bitterness than was probably healthy to hear in the voice of the man who claimed to be in love with you.

“Are you tired?” Pat asked. “Hungry? I could fix you something.”

“It’s too early for dinner.”

“I’ll start something,” he said, disappearing into the kitchen.

Read More Read More

Cover Reveal & Sneak Peak at Blood & Bone #4: A Sanguine Solution

Cover Reveal & Sneak Peak at Blood & Bone #4: A Sanguine Solution

Blood & Bone Book Four is almost here!

I’ve been teasing a follow-up novel to The Symbiotic Law for a while now. I began drafting a fourth book in the series all the way back in February 2015 but it’s been a crazy couple of years between life getting in the way and other projects cropping up to steal my attention. But I’ve really excited to say that FINALLY, finally book 4 is almost here! In fact, it looks like it might be out as early as the first week in November.

Last week I released a bonus novella that bridges some of the time between books 3 and 4 in the series, which you can pick up a copy of here: Blood & Bone 3.5 Remainders.

Book Four Cover Reveal

 A Sanguine Solution picks up very soon after the end of the main events in Book 3 and will hopefully answer some questions about how Ethan and Patrick finally found their happy ending together. It also includes several familiar faces from the previous books such as Detective Sabira Mallory, as well as Vector Clanahan and Lachlan Graham who were introduced to the universe in their own trilogy, The Profane SeriesA passing familiarity with The Profane Series will be make some things in A Sanguine Solution more clear, but ultimately this book is about Ethan and Patrick dealing with their evolving relationship.

Sneak Peak at A Sanguine Solution

And lastly, over the next two weeks I’ll be releasing snippets from Chapters 1 and 2 of A Sanguine Solution. Keep reading for the first of these snippets and make sure to follow me on twitter (@LiaCooperWrites), my mailing list, or here at the blog to find out as soon as Book 4 is released!

Read More Read More

A New Blood & Bone Novella is out!

A New Blood & Bone Novella is out!

First, a little Blood & Bone News…

Hello lovely readers. It’s been a while, but I’m here with some exciting news!

Ever since the release of The Symbiotic Law, I knew that I wanted to write one more novel about Ethan and Patrick, but it’s taken me a few years to be ready to continue their story. In the last couple of months I’ve finally turned my attention to writing that novel, which will be titled A Sanguine Solution. It’s not quite ready for the world, but I’m hoping to release it before the end of the year, maybe as early as November!

Now, a gift to you…

To tide you over until A Sanguine Solution, I’ve written a bonus novella, Remainders, set in the Blood & Bone universe.

For awhile now, I’ve wanted to write a story starring Detective Sabira Mallory, and in the course of drafting A Sanguine Solution, I finally realized precisely what story I wanted to tell with her. Remainders grew like wildfire from that epiphany.

Returning to this universe is in many ways like meeting an old friend for coffee, and I’m super excited to share it with you once again.

Available on Amazon

Blurb:

She’s the junior partner, the freshly promoted detective in Major Crimes, but Sabira Mallory has been working her ass off all summer, first with her irritable partner Patrick Clanahan, and later with FBI Special Agent Vector Clanahan. Every way she turns she’s tripping over werewolves, and now that her partner has fled town, Sabira’s in store to meet yet another member of the McClanahan pack: Patrick’s cute sister Grace.

Set in Seattle during The Symbiotic Law, Remainders is a Blood & Bone novella which explores the blossoming friendship between Detective Mallory and Grace Clanahan.

Check out the latest novella f/f from the Blood & Bone Series!

Blood & Bone 3.5 Cover Reveal & Giveaway!

Blood & Bone 3.5 Cover Reveal & Giveaway!

Hello lovely readers, it’s been an age it seems since my last blog post but I’m back with some exciting news: Not only will I be releasing a new novel in the Blood & Bone series staring Ethan and Pat, but I’ve just about finished up a new supplementary novella set in the same universe starring Sabira Mallory and Grace Clanahan! This novella, titled Remainders, takes place during The Symbiotic Law and gives a little peek into what was happening in Seattle during the boys’ little world adventure. (please be aware this novella features an f/f relationship)

As a thank you to everyone who has stuck around through my slow release schedule, and to hopefully peek your interest in Blood & Bone 4 (coming late 2017, more news on that to come!), I’ll be giving away a free copy of Remainders to everyone who signs up to my New Release Mailing List. This is the same mailing list I’ve always had so if you’re already signed up then you’re all set.

If you’d like to make sure you receive your own free copy, you MUST sign up to the list on or before October 10th midnight PST!

If you have any questions about the giveaway or the series please feel free to leave them in the comments below or come chat with me over on twitter.

As always, happy reading!

New Book – Blood & Bone Spinoff Series

New Book – Blood & Bone Spinoff Series

Lachlan Graham #1 The Suicide Case Now On Amazon for $0.99!

I’m so excited to announce the launch of my new series of short mysteries: LACHLAN GRAHAM OCCULT INVESTIGATIONS #1! This series is set in the same universe as the BLOOD & BONE Series and will feature several cameos and cross-overs from those novels.

Inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes shorts, the Lachlan novels are short self-contained mysteries. If you enjoyed the Blood & Bone series, I think you will enjoy these as well. Featuring magic, werewolves, everyday humans, misunderstandings, murder and a good dose of UST all set against iconic Seattle.

Buckle-up for my new series; I hope you enjoy it!

XOXO Lia

#1 The Suicide Case Available on Amazon!

A good cop, a good son, a loyal partner–none of this was enough to save Lachlan Graham’s nerves when his entire world fell apart three years ago.

A former Seattle Police Officer, Lachlan has spent the time since he left the police force quietly trying to piece his life together after being abandoned by his partner: Detective Vector Clanahan.

Now, his carefully constructed solitude is about be invaded on all fronts.

Maybe a little paranormal action is just what the doctor would have ordered.

NEW RELEASE: Blood & Bone Book 3 The Symbiotic Law

NEW RELEASE: Blood & Bone Book 3 The Symbiotic Law

Book 3 Mailing List Giveaway Winner!

I’m super psyched to announce SCOTT the winner of my first giveaway. Thanks everyone who signed up, both new and old followers, I can’t thank you guys enough for reading the B&B books and being so supportive this past year while I took my first baby steps into publishing.

Speaking of publishing…

Book 3: The Symbiotic Law

The Symbiotic Law
Buy on Amazon!

The long awaited finale of the Blood & Bone Trilogy is FINALLY HERE!!!!! I know many of you have been waiting for this since February and I’m so thrilled to finally share it with you. It has been a hell of a crazy ride writing Ethan and Pat’s journey from antagonistic co-workers to soulmates. This series has been at time exhilarating, frustrating, and amazing to write and it was sort of earth-shattering to see it come to a close. I’ve been writing about Ethan and Pat since 2012 and now, 2 years later their journey has come to a close (you know, for now at least ;)))).

The Symbiotic Law is available to buy on Amazon right now and will be available (along with Book 2 The Convergence Theory) cross-platform after January 13th in case you want to read it on a device other than Kindle.

I’ll be opening my blog up to reader questions and snippet prompts in the coming weeks so stay tuned for those.

In the meantime, happy reading,

xoxo Lia

Are You Ready For Blood & Bone Book 3?

Are You Ready For Blood & Bone Book 3?

Read Previous Part…

We’re so close to publication date on Book 3: The Symbiotic Law and I’m so excited to share it with you all. In a couple of day I’ll be announcing a giveaway for free copies of Book 3 to people who join/are members of my mailing list, but in the meantime I thought I’d wet your appetites with another excerpt from chapter one. Follow the link at the top of this post to get the FIRST SNIPPET and continue reading for the

second snippet

~Lia

Eoin scoffed and stood up with a soft groan. He stood in front of a small mirror hanging on the wall and tugged on his hair. Broad fingers combed through the dirty strands, braiding them into something resembling order that he tied off with a few nimble motions. Satisfied, he turned back to Ethan.

“What are you talking about? You’ve got a whole family. We’ll look after you.” He made a sharp, impatient gesture. “Well, don’t just sit there—pack a bag, and don’t forget the stone. The faster we put a little distance between you and this city, the easier I’ll be able to close my eyes again.”

Ethan stumbled into action. Jeans and T-shirts went into a duffle bag with his bathroom kit and a clean pair of socks and underwear.

With care, he emptied the bottom of his closet, worked loose the floorboard covering his hidey-hole and pulled out the jeweler’s box holding the bloodstone pendant. Touching it made his skin crawl so he shoved it to the bottom of his bag and piled his shit back up until it didn’t look like anything of any importance had been taken from the room.

He found Eoin washing his hands in the kitchen, a plastic bag containing the meager contents of his pantry hooked in the crook of his elbow.

“Do you have it?”

Ethan nodded mutely.

“Do you have a coat? Get it. Never go anywhere without a coat. Except maybe a desert, but even then.” Eoin sniffed and wiped his hands off on his torn sweater.

Ethan figured it was less hassle to just do what he said rather than protest. He tripped over a stack of books on the floor. There were three volumes, two from Jansson that he hadn’t had time to read before the older man’s murder. On a whim, Ethan grabbed those and stuck them in his bad along with his clothes. He had no idea where Eoin planned on taking him or how long his uncle would deem it too dangerous for him to come home.

He bored easily. What if there was no television wherever they were headed? Ethan shrugged off that gloomy thought and grabbed his coat off the hook. It had a layer of dust along the shoulders that made him sneeze.

Satisfied now, Eoin led the way downstairs.

“We’ll have your car.”

“Where are we going?”

His uncle ignored the question. He pressed Ethan back from the front entry and slipped out the door first. After a thorough check of the hallway, he stuck his head back in and grabbed Ethan by the elbow, hustling him down the street to the parking garage where his Audi sat under several tons of concrete, Hondas, and a small fleet of Toyota Priuses.

“You have to tell me where I’m driving us to.”

Eoin pulled out a battered smartphone from his pocket, the Otter case showing significant wear and tear along its rubberized edges. He flicked through a couple pages while Ethan sat, one hand flicking his keys while his eyes catalogued the pedestrians walking by—hoods up and shoulders hunched against the rain but nary an umbrella in sight.

“Head south.”

“Care to be more specific?”

“King’s Street Station.”

Ethan frowned but stuck the keys in the ignition and whipped them out of his long-term parking stall.

###

Patrick Clanahan, Seattle Police Detective, werewolf, recently well-satisfied male, bounded up the stairs to his—what should he call him? Lover? Partner? Mate? His own version of “it’s complicated,” let’s put it that way—a bag of takeout dangling from one hand and an impulse six-pack of beer swinging from the other.

To be honest, he all but whistled coming through the unlocked door. He’d left his—his Ethan well-fucked in his bedroom and now he returned triumphantly with dinner and beer and they were going to give this thing between them a go. It wouldn’t be easy—Pat wasn’t an optimist on a good day, but better trying together than crashing and burning on their own. Right?

Of course, whatever good mood he’d been nursing since picking up their food around the corner evaporated when he shut Ethan’s door and took stock of the silent apartment. The very empty, silent apartment.

The beer clanked against the kitchen counter.

Pat held his breath and strained his werewolf hearing, desperate to be proved wrong, but his initial stock of the scene remained true. Ethan wasn’t in the apartment.

Anger rushed through Pat’s nerves, and he dropped the bag of dim sum, uncaring of how it landed on its side, spilling dumplings and packets of dipping sauce everywhere.

Ethan had promised—! But no, he hadn’t promised anything outright, had he? Pat racked his memory. The other man had said they would try—but his exact words hadn’t been anything strictly binding, just the word of a magician. What stock could you put in that?

Pat snarled and slammed his fist down on the counter, making the wood groan and the beer bottles rattle.

Promise or no, Ethan had said he wouldn’t run away again; Pat hadn’t inflated that fact in his head.

On the heels of the anger, shame and guilt tried to rear their heads, sending his heart beating triple time in his chest, thundering in his ears and pounding hard against his chest until his body began to ache with it.

Had it been a ruse? Or just cold feet? Did he so misjudge their coupling—god, had it only been an hour ago that he’d had Ethan on his back, buried so far inside the other man, Pat cleaving to him in slippery desperation—that Ethan felt the need to sneak away behind his back?

The self-flagellation might have continued ad nauseam if at that moment the front door hadn’t swung open, distracting Pat from his black thoughts. His senses snapped to attention and zeroed in on the figure standing on the threshold: dark jeans, work boots, black shirt, and leather gloves, sunglasses, and a nondescript baseball cap pulled low over his eyes. He smelled like bitter herbs, salt, and gunpowder.

Something about the combination made the hair on the back of Pat’s neck stand on end and he tensed, mouth open in a snarl of shiny white teeth—too sharp to belong to any human man.

The man turned to Pat, one hand coming up quick and sharp, and the next moment several hundred volts of electricity shot through Pat’s chest. He convulsed and staggered against the counter, only just keeping his feet under him.

He snarled and tore the TAZER leads out of his shoulder and jerked the gun out of his assailant’s hand. Pat didn’t waste time on a strategy or thought. He barreled into the other man, sending them crashing to the floor.

Pat’s fingers tingled with the change, bones rearranging themselves into heavy, clawed fists as his jaw lengthened the extra inch necessary to accommodate his predator canines.

He took a fist in the gut and scrambled for the upper hand. He boxed a little to blow off steam but Pat was a werewolf first and he’d never feel as comfortable fighting in his human skin as he did in his wolf one. Still, he had heavier bones, inhuman strength, and a good dose of displaced rage on his side.

The other man’s head made a satisfying crack against the floor and his body slumped, going loose with unconsciousness. Pat forced his hands to uncurl from around the man’s throat. He sat back on his haunches, chest heaving, breaths puffing out short and hard from the adrenaline. His nose ached and blood dripped down the lower half of his face, but he could already feel the cartilage healing itself.

A quick check of his attacker’s pockets revealed a glaring lack of identification or wallet—just a business card, the logo faded almost beyond visibility and crumpled with dirty folds. Ethan’s address was written in neat capitals on the back.

Pat fumbled out his cellphone and took a picture of the card, which he sent to his partner at the Seattle Police Department. Sabira Mallory called him back almost immediately.

“Is this about our case?”

“That was fast,” Pat said.

“I was working on my report, so I can give it to Captain Augustas on Monday. You didn’t answer my question.”

“It’s not. I have a situation here.”

NEW RELEASE NEWS! Cold Press (A Palouse County Romance #1)

NEW RELEASE NEWS! Cold Press (A Palouse County Romance #1)

cold press150x250I’m super excited to announce that my first holiday novel is for sale on Amazon right now for $0.99! Looking for a sweet wintery romance while its cold and rainy (or snowy) outside? Do you love coffee shop AUs? Do you enjoy small town stories? Then check out COLD PRESS.

Blurb

Despite what anyone says, Jordan Kane is not lonely. He’s not. Being alone is not the same as being lonely. At least, that’s what he tells himself. But it’s hard to hold onto his more hermit-like habits when Avery O’Sullivan blows back into town. The sweet–if hapless–writer is hardly prepared for Belleville’s harsh winters, and Jordan can’t help inviting the other man into his home for the holidays.

Two strangers find happiness between a dozen cups of coffee and writer’s block in this sweet M/M short romance. A Palouse County Romance #1 featuring stories big and small from Eastern Washington.

This is a novelette approximately 50 pages long. It contains minor language, some adult themes and a romantic relationship between two men.

Buy now on Amazon!

Blood & Bone Book 3: The Symbiotic Law

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten B&B Book 3. Even as I type up with quick blog announcement, I’m sitting in Starbucks with scrivener open to get some writing done. My goal is to have The Symbiotic Law finished before Christmas and published close to the new year so say posted.

I’ve kept this book pretty under my hat for awhile now but I’m really excited about it. It’s quite different from the first two books. But I can tell you it picks up RIGHT where book 2 left off–with the boys back in trouble again. It features a whole new cast of supporting characters as well as a couple old faces from books 1 & 2!

When I sat down to conceptualize the Blood & Bone Trilogy, I thought of book 1 as a “mystery” and book 2 as a “horror” novel. Book 3 is definitely the “adventure” novel of the trio and I think you guys will enjoy it.

As a special sneak peak, here’s the first couple pages of THE SYMBIOTIC LAW

symbiotic_law

PREVIOUSLY…

Ethan stared out his balcony window until he heard the front door close. He felt sore, but more than that, his stomach wouldn’t stop jumping around, excess adrenaline still flooding through his veins.

He shivered and dug out a soft, long-sleeved shirt and put it on.

It was the middle of the afternoon. So far he’d watched a man get put in the ground and had his suspicions confirmed: fucking werewolves.

Ethan rubbed at the ache in his chest and startled when someone knocked on the front door. Well, hammered might have been a better description. It was too soon to be Patrick returning with their food.

He checked the peephole and jerked back. The door wasn’t even locked; it swung open.

“Uncle Eoin?” he asked, his voice pitched up in shock. His mother’s brother stood on the other side, disheveled, dirty, and with purple bruises under his eyes. Eoin had a fat lip and a cut across the bridge of his nose, crusty and only half healed. He smelled like the sea.

“Ethan. Thank the goddess.”

AND NOW…

Ethan’s uncle stumbled inside the apartment, one hand falling heavy across Ethan’s shoulder and squeezing hard. His eyes were wide and bloodshot, his dark hair lank and slipping free of its tie.

“What the hell happened? Are you okay?”

“I’ll be fine.” Eoin waved his concern away. “I sent you a telegram. Several in fact. When I didn’t hear back from you I feared the worst.”

“I haven’t had any messages,” Ethan said, leading him over to the kitchen table and pulling out a seat.

Eoin dropped dropped into it with a squelch and watched Ethan as he grabbed the stack of junk mail he’d left to pile up.

“What’s going on? You look—” Ethan’s words dried up at his Uncle wan face. A shiver raced down his back.

Eoin gave a low, wry laugh and pushed his hair off his face. He had green eyes like Ethan but his coloring was darker, tanned and wind burned, hair like a raven in a ponytail, with callused hands.

“I don’t suppose I could get a drink of water?”

The mail slipped between numb fingers. Ethan grabbed water and a granola bar for Eoin and sat down in the chair across from him.

“Thank you.”

“What’s going on?” he asked again.

“I had a visitor, down in Auckland. Not a very friendly fellow, let me tell ya. He was looking for something of your mother’s.”

Dread curdled Ethan’s stomach. Without his leave, his eyes darted past Eoin’s shoulder to the empty kitchen drawer.

Eoin’s eyes narrowed. “You know what he was looking for.”

“Maybe? Who’s ‘he’?”

“Didn’t get a name.” His uncle crammed the end of the granola bar in his mouth and crumpled up the wrapper. “Some sort of retrieval specialist.”

He leaned over the table, eyes intent on Ethan’s face.

“Was he here?”

Christophe’s face flashed across Ethan’s mind but he took in Eoin’s scrapes and couldn’t imagine his ex being responsible for that kind of violence. Christophe never lifted a finger if his mouth would do the trick.

“I don’t know.”

Eoin hummed to himself and sat back. “Oh, I think you’d know if t’were the same fellow. He was looking for a stone. Your mother kept it on a pendant chain.”

Ethan swallowed down bile and nodded.

“A bloodstone,” he said flatly.

His uncle’s eyes worked over his face for a long, tense moment before he said, “That’s one word for it. So, he did come here first?”

Ethan pushed back his chair. “It might not have been the same—” He gestured at Eoin’s face. His uncle grimaced and touched a finger to the cut on his nose. “I had a friend, a former friend, from Toronto show up a couple months ago. He said he was looking for something called a bloodstone.”

“Did you give it to him?”

“No. I didn’t have it.”

“What?” Eoin demanded. The dining chair screeched across the wood floor.

“At the time. It was at the jeweler’s.”

This news seemed to settle Eoin who sat back down and finished his water.

“But you have it.”

“Yeah.”

“This friend, what’s his name?”

“Christophe Granger.”

“I don’t suppose he told you what he wanted with it?”

Ethan shook his head. He hesitated before he blurted, “He said my f—father sent him for it.”

Ethan watched his uncle’s expression collapse on itself, grim and dark under heavy brows. He fanned out his junk mail across the table while he waited for him to say something. It was all bills and ValuePaks and advertisements for Domino’s Pizza.

“I was afraid….” Eoin stared at a scratch in the wood grain under his hands. He sighed and grabbed Ethan’s wrist, holding it tight. “You might have fooled your friend Granger but you won’t be able to fool this fellow. He didn’t seem to be the sort that’s easily dissuaded from a task.”

“But you—”

“Ran away by the skin of my teeth. I put sail to wind and came straight here. I had hoped that you’d get my message and be long gone already.”

Ethan frowned. “I don’t understand. If they don’t think I have it, which they must if they went looking for it from you, then why—” He stopped at Eoin’s guilty expression.

“Your Uncle Liam’s boy—Aiden—he might have let slip something about you inheriting everything. Whatever you convinced your friend Granger to believe, I wouldn’t count on this retrieval man to take it at face value. He’s was a professional. And if there’s one thing you can say about professionals, they don’t leave loose ends to amateurs. That’s what makes them professionals.”

“But we don’t know that,” Ethan protested. His bare feet were cold and his shorts slid down uncomfortably low on his ass. He still smelled a little like sex despite cleaning up and Pat—no, Clanahan—Clanahan would be back with their take away any minute.

“You willing to take that chance?”

“I have a job, I can’t just leave. Shit, I’m a cop. If this guy attacks me I’ll throw him in a holding cell.” Ethan stood and started pacing across his kitchen, agitation making his stomach jump and fresh sweat break out under his arms. His heart beat too fast to be comfortable.

“You can’t stay here,” Eoin protested, his voice grim. It grated against Ethan’s skin. “Men like this don’t work inside your legal system.”

“You’re saying I should be afraid of a shadow that attacked you? That might not even come here? Not going to happen.”

“I didn’t think you’d grow up to be such a foolish boy.”

“Foolish? Me?” Ethan laughed, if you could call the ugly sound coming out of his throat a laugh, and slapped the table between them.

He watched Eoin retreat into himself. Catalogued his weathered clothes, dirtier and more torn than they usually appeared. He hardly knew the man—hadn’t seen him in years, not since late fall ’07 or ’08, he couldn’t even remember exactly.

Eoin, like the rest of the family on his mother’s side, preferred to come and go with little warning or fanfare. They drifted across the world on their boats and barges at the wind’s decree, never settling in one place longer than a season. Nomads, gypsies, wanderers, whatever you wanted to call them, people that Ethan didn’t bear much resemblance to. Despite living in a city surrounded on both sides by water, he hadn’t been out on a boat since—well, since whenever Eoin’s last visit had been.

He looked at his uncle now, the shadows under his eyes, the way his shoulders tensed up around his ears and his fingers gripped the edge of the table until his knuckles turned white. He didn’t know this man, not well at least, but he knew what fear looked like.

Eoin was worried. Worried about Ethan’s safety. The concern both grated and soothed a tattered edge in Ethan’s brain.

He blew out a frustrated breath and sat back down, reached his hands across the wood, fingers held loose.

“I can’t just pack up and disappear. I have responsibilities,” he said.

“Are they more important than your life?”

“Whatever you think is going on, my life’s not on the line.”

“You sound very certain.”

“I am.”

“So certain that your father won’t…” Eoin grimaced.

“He hasn’t so far.”

“Ah, but you used to be a child, that always affords some protection. Now you’re a man with something he wants badly enough to send someone halfway around the globe to get it. You think he’ll stop at asking you? At threatening? Perhaps. You would know better than I.”

Eoin’s words squirmed in the back of Ethan’s brain where a healthy fear of his biological father—none other than Alexandre Pellatier, the patriarch of the oldest magical family in Quebec—slumbered. The decade since Ethan had run away from Alexandre had done little to squash the instinctive recoil he felt at just the insinuation of his name.

He’d be a liar if he tried to argue that there was no truth in Eoin’s argument. Alexandre Pellatier had not risen to his position of power through niceties and being soft. He was hard, the unbending steel rod running through the spine of their family, holding most of the wizards along the Eastern Seaboard in his grasp. All of it smoothed over by impeccable manners, money, and the irrefutable veneer of politeness.

The clock in the hall ticked off the seconds, loud enough it sounded like the crash of brass symbols reverberating in Ethan’s head. He dug his fingers into the table.

“There’s nowhere for me to go.”