Genre: Gay paranormal romance
Publisher: All Romance eBooks
Word Count: 20000
Cover Artist: Erin Dameron Hill
Blaze offers Zack a home, but is love enough to keep him?
Psychic Blaze scouts locations for the rodeo company, Darque and Knight. While checking out a possible venue he finds another psychic talent, Zack, who’s hot as the Fourth of July.
Zack is complicated, though, thanks to his sidekick, Mikey, a damaged kid. Blaze invites the pair back to the rodeo, but not everyone is as happy as Blaze to have them there.
“Hello?” Blaze rapped on the door. “Come on. I know you’re in there.” He rolled his eyes at the silence that answered him. “Look, we can do this all afternoon, or you can just open the fucking door. I know what you are. I’m not here to hurt you.” Still nothing. “Oh, for… I really don’t want to break the door down. I bruise like an overripe peach.”
After another few moments, he heard the floor creak, and the lock on the door slide free.
The door swung inward, revealing a man who looked only slightly younger than himself, and a boy. The child looked no older than ten years. He was a slight thing, skinny, but his wide, liquid brown eyes glittered with fear and a spark of curiosity.
The man stepped in front of the boy as if to protect the child from Blaze. His green eyes were hard with suspicion, but that didn’t stop Blaze from noting his high cheekbones, and lean, hard body clad in a tight, worn t-shirt and denim, or the inky black hair that fell in a sleek sheet past his shoulders.
Blaze cleared his throat. “Look, I know you’re a supernatural. So am I. We’re on the same side. My name is Blaze.”
“Supernatural? What’s that?” The man’s lips mashed into a thin, tense line.
“Come on. Neither of us is stupid. You can sense it in me. I know you can.”
The man chewed on his lip, staring hard at Blaze for a moment, then seemed to come to a decision. He gave a short nod. “I’m Zack. The boy is Mikey. At least, that’s what I call him. I don’t know his real name. He doesn’t talk.”
Blaze glanced at the boy. Small for his age, almost scrawny. He had brown hair, huge, dark eyes, and milk-pale skin. Blaze spotted the faint markings of faded bruises on the child’s face. “Mind telling me how a supernatural came to be squatting in a farmhouse with a mundane kid?”
Zack reached behind him, as if to prove to himself Mikey was still there, and all right. “It’s not much of a story. I was in Kansas City, working for a supe who owned a pizza place. I made deliveries, helped clean, that sort of thing.”
Blaze nodded. “Go on.”
“I had a delivery in a part of town that was pretty worn down. You know, tenements, some abandoned buildings, drug dealers, hookers on the corner, that sort of thing. I made the delivery in a building that was only one-step up from condemned. When I was walking down the hallway, I heard a kid screaming.”
“Let me guess… you played hero and busted down the door to save him.”
Zack cocked his head and narrowed his eyes. “There was a child screaming bloody murder. You wouldn’t?”
Blaze tried to stare Zack down, but couldn’t. He rolled his eyes and tried to hedge instead. “Only someone stupid or with a death wish would do it.”
Zack’s lips tilted in a smirk. “Which one are you?”
Blaze snorted. “Never mind. So, what happened?”
“The door was unlocked, so I opened it and went inside. There was a male mundane, big guy, six-foot easy, maybe two-twenty, two-thirty, and he’s wailing on this little kid. The kid is crying, and saying ‘no, please stop, please stop.’ What was I supposed to do? Walk away?”
“Most supes would say yes.”
“Yeah, well, not this one. I know what it’s like to be on the wrong end of a fist. I got the kid out.”
Blaze gave Zack the once-over. “You’re lean, and going up against a human weighing in at two-thirty? How did you manage that?”
“I never had to touch him.” For the first time, Zack smiled, and the effect was devastating. His curved lips transformed his face from merely good-looking to truly gorgeous. Twin dimples winked at Blaze, and his green eyes flashed with humor. “I’m telekinetic. I picked that big bastard up and floated him right out of the window. Let him hover in the air until he fucking wet his pants, then put him up on the roof of the building next door. Took the kid and split. That was the last time I heard Mikey speak. I think maybe his throat was injured in the beating.”
“Look, I understand you helping the kid and all, but isn’t that kidnapping?” The last thing Blaze needed was to get involved in a criminal activity which might bring the eyes of the police on the rodeo.
Zack shook his head. “No. When we got away, I gave him a pen and paper, asked him if that was his dad. He said no. Said the guy stole him from the orphanage.”
“He’s an orphan?”
“That’s what he says. Or writes. He doesn’t want to go back there. It’s not a nice place, I think. The other kids are bigger, and mean to him, and the nuns who ran it weren’t much better.”
Blaze sniffed. “Who is this kid? Oliver Twist?”
Zack glared at him. “Nobody is asking for your opinion or your permission.”
“You’re right, you’re right. My apologies. You’re a good man for taking care of him.”
Zack seemed mollified. “Who are you, anyway?”
“Like I said, my name is Blaze. Blaze Morgan. I’m the patch for the Darque and Knight Rodeo. Ever heard of us?” He looked back and forth between Zack and Mikey, noting the blank expressions on both faces. “We’re the only professional rodeo staffed by and performing for supernaturals. We travel the country every year performing in little towns just like this one. Gonna be setting up here in a few hours. Which brings me to my, er… little problem. You see, you’re squatting in what’s going to be the middle of our rodeo.”
“We got no place else to go. And we were here first.” Zack’s expression grew hard again, the muscles in his arms bunching as his hands curled into fists. It was obvious he was gearing up for a fight.
Blaze held his hands out. The last thing he needed was a busted nose from some hayseed Supe squatter. “Whoa. Now, we don’t want any trouble. I understand. Really, I do. But the kid can’t stay here. He’s human. You can, since you’re a supe, but not him.”
“If I stay, he stays, and no matter what you say, neither of us is going anywhere.”
“Come on, Zack. Be reasonable. There’s going to be a whole shitload of supes pulling in here in the next few hours. If they see the kid, they’ll go apeshit.”
“Then tell them to go somewhere else.”
Blaze shook his head. “I can’t. I’m not the one in charge.”
“Then we’ll talk to the person who is.”
About the Author:
Kiernan's stories of gay romance envelop diverse themes ranging from paranormal, to fantasy, and science fiction to contemporary romance. She is the author of over eighty titles available in both print and ebook.
Kiernan also writes young adult GLBT romance under the pen name, Dakota Chase.
For more information on other books by Kiernan, visit her website: www.KiernanKelly.com