It’s a new year. I know the last two years have been difficult. I’m a big believer that hard times will always come and they’ll always pass. This period is particularly difficult. But each new day brings us closer to the end of it. The pandemic is becoming endemic. That’s good and bad because the cold is endemic, flu is endemic and much less deadly than when it first emerged. Things will be difficult for a while, but they’ll get easier by slow degrees.
I’ve had two shots and a booster now, but we’re still self-isolating in the Peace household. I’m prone to serious chest infections, Bronchitis and Pneumonia so I’m not risking it for the time being.
I’m sweeping up the dust left behind by the launch of The Runaway’s Escape. Getting the last bits of admin done and judging how this launch went compared to all the others. Thank you, to all of you that bought my book, or read them via KU for such a successful launch. And thanks to everyone who reviewed my book, whether you loved it or not, every review helps other readers decide if they want to read my books. It all helps. I know Runaway’s was darker than my usual stories, but after everything Aran and Tyne went through, Vedian's experience the years of being a prisoner and Ariana’s time being forced to prostitute, I didn’t want to minimise what they’d been through by brushing it all under the carpet. Trauma is healed through reflection and the empathy of others. Ignoring it only gives it space to fester and rot inside. Thankfully, the four mates had the empathy to be there for one another.
As you all know, my father passed away last year. I’ve made decisions about my career, which I let you all know about in this blog post here. I’m slowing down publishing, I’m slowing down my newsletter releases. I’m going to start transitioning some of the things I do in the newsletter to my website, blog and Members Only areas. If you want to keep up with what I’m up to and get exclusive content, sign up to the website now.
But we’re not here to talk about that. One effect my father’s passing had was to my launch schedule last year. I had to delay my books. Because of that, The Crime Lord’s Fall is being published in place of Tacori, which was the book I had planned to publish next. Tacori is coming June 1st instead. The Crime Lord’s Fall is also coming a little earlier due to Amazon’s rules. So, you’ll be meeting Adalth and Sakura on February 8th!
I can’t wait for you to meet them. I love them both so much. Adalth is and alien naga who is equal parts ego and protective, while Sakura is level headed but damaged from her time as a slave. Here is a little excerpt for you, from Adalth’s point of view.
Something was different.
There was a part of Adalth that recognised the difference over the slow course of time. Something had changed.
Memory slowly invaded his mind. Goridin. Tara. He’d been sold, again, and was being transported to his new owner.
Adalth felt almost a feral joy at the thought of some owner trying to make him do something he didn’t want to do. Whether they intended to work him, breed him or make him fight, they’d never seen a fully trained Hieladan warrior in action.
They would soon, though.
There was deep breathing coming from the cell next door. Adalth remembered the human. Black hair, creamy human skin that seemed pale and sallow. She limped. He hadn’t noticed that before, or he’d noticed it but his mind had failed to acknowledge it. Now he reviewed the hazy memory and realised her gait was off for a human. She’d also cradled her arm.
Still, there were enough drugs in his system that while Adalth could see all of this now, he didn’t quite understand what he was seeing.
Adalth sent a bolt of awareness down his long tail, assessing the various types of pain he felt and wondering if anything was seriously injured. He felt two patches of pain that seemed more intense than the others, one where what would be hip bones were on humanoids. Instead, in his people was a secondary kind of rib cage that shared characteristics with hip bones. The upper bones were thick to support the posterior and back muscles Hieladan needed to keep their upper bodies upright. The second rib structure then carried on all the way down the tail, becoming smaller and finer until they turned into tail bones in the last three or four fenth. It meant those bones were more prone to breaking, but even though he’d received a beating while mostly unconscious, they seemed to all be intact. The pain he was feeling was in those larger bones. Adalth tried to move, but his body was still barely responsive.
His mind was clearing, though. Not as quickly as he would like, and every time he tried to take control of his consciousness, it would slip away from him. But he was getting there.
Goridin would pay for this. The male was arrogant and seemed to think he was untouchable. Adalth would teach him otherwise.
For a moment, the thought made him cringe. He’d made that promise before to the head of the guard who’d betrayed his family when he was barely thirteen solars old. Adalth’s father lay dead on the floor before him. His mother, who’d fought back, was unconscious, and Tanath was giving the order to sell them. He’d promised him death and retribution, and Tanath had laughed. He’d stopped laughing just three solars later when Zarret had Tanath bought aboard his ship and Adalth and enacted his vengeance.
But his actions had consequences.
The lights came on without warning and a Devori male entered. ‘Awake?’ The Devori grinned, malice etched into the lines of his face.
Adalth sent another pulse of awareness through his body. This one came back clearer. He was still weak, but the paralytic was quickly wearing off now, his body working to neutralise it.
The Devori walked over to his cell and peered at him through the bars. ‘Won’t be long before you…’ He made a hissing noise with his mouth, his hand going to his neck, then closed his eyes, imitating sleep.
The words sent anxiety through Adalth’s system. All he needed was a few more metri for his body to neutralise the paralytic, and he’d be able to tear the collar off. But if it went off in the meantime, he wouldn’t get the c