There’s a blog tour going on for my newest story, Possibilities, which is part of the Aim High anthology. All stories with at least one character who is in the Air Force. Here’s the link to yesterday’s post.It’s Stephanie Hecht talking about her story. http://shirleyfrancesbooksandmore.com/2015/09/tour-aim-high-anthology-from-pride-publishing-guest-post-review-and-excerpt/ There will be more from the other wonderful authors in the anthology. Also, I’ll be doing another blog tour when my book, Climbing the Savage Mountain, comes out, so I’ll post the dates on that when I get them. I’m trying to decide what to write next for my blog story. Edward’s story is in progress, so there will be something soon about him. I’m doing a story for Amber Allure set in the universe of The Whore of New Slum. Hmm…do any of you have suggestions? I will admit though, I’m heading to Portland next week and will be in San Diego for GRL the week after, so I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to start anything until I get back. I will try to post more often then and maybe even some pictures from GRL while I’m there. I hope you all have a great day.
Anubis copyright c. 2015 T.A. Chase Part Forty-Two (last installment, but I will be adding a little more to it before it gets published) “Umm…” He wasn’t sure what to say. There was something about the man that spoke of power and age. Jamil wondered how old Isis was. “Far older than these youngsters.” Isis winked and Jamil blinked. “Yes, I did just read your mind. I’m sorry, but it happens when I touch people. Usually I don’t acknowledge anything I hear. It’s not polite to eavesdrop on thoughts.” Jamil swallowed. “I guess it’s all right then.” Isis lifted one shoulder. “You should sit. I believe I managed to heal your injuries, but you’re going to be tired for a couple of days.” Taking a deep breath, Jamil realized his side didn’t hurt anymore and all the other areas where he was sure he’d sustained some kind of cut or bruise didn’t ache either. He weaved and Isis grabbed him around the waist to help him sit on a box Horus had dragged over. “Are you okay?” He glanced up to see Anubis race into the warehouse, and barely managed to get to his feet before Anubis embraced him. He grunted at the force Anubis hit him, glad that Isis had healed him or he’d pass out from the pain. Anubis buried his face in the crook of Jamil’s neck and Jamil could feel the man trembling. Jamil tightened his hold on his lover, letting Anubis take his time to get control over his emotions. He ran his hands up and down Anubis’ back, humming softly. When Anubis stepped back and met his gaze, Jamil smiled. “I’m fine. Your friend healed the few wounds I had.” He tilted his head in Isis’ direction. “You hang out with an interesting bunch of guys.” They all chuckled and Anubis smiled. “They are a very unique group, but I’ll admit I wouldn’t want anyone else at my back when things go wrong.” “The feeling is mutual,” Isis said. “We’re going to head out and drop off the guy for the police.” “What about the book and the guy who hired these men?” Jamil wasn’t sure he wanted to leave while the man in charge of the chaos was still alive. “The book will go back to our library and Sekhmet will take care of the other problem. Trust me. There will be nothing left to come after you or any of the other artifacts you found at Petra.” Isis sounded so sure there was no way Jamil could doubt him. “Besides Anubis will be staying with you for a while. He really is a consultant for UNESCO and he still has a job to finish.” Jamil shot Anubis a look. “So you’re going to tell me all about the artifacts I find? Are you going to help me dig some more up?” “Of course.” Anubis grinned. “I like getting dirty, but it’s the cleaning up part I love best.” Everyone laughed as Jamil felt his cheeks flush. God, it was like he was twelve and dealing with his first crush. Rolling his eyes, Jamil punched Anubis in the chest. “All right. Let’s go back to your hotel. I’m ready to clean up then rest.” He turned to the others. “Thank you all for coming to my rescue. I’m sorry I missed meeting Sekhmet. Maybe I’ll get that pleasure some day.” “I’m not sure it would a pleasure,” Horus muttered. With each cryptic comment each man made about Sekhmet, Jamil’s curiosity grew. “You’ll meet him in time,” Isis replied then began to herd the others out of the warehouse. “Anubis, you know how to get a hold of us if you need us for anything.” “Take care, brothers.” Jamil watched as they all hugged Anubis then patted him on the shoulder as they walked by. Once they left, he turned back to Anubis who grinned at him before encircling his waist. “Let’s go. I need to strip you naked and check to make sure you are okay.” Anubis brushed a kiss over Jamil’s cheek. As he pressed closer, Jamil rested his head on Anubis’ shoulder. “Do your magic. I want you to take me to bed.” Anubis chuckled. “I can do that. I’m going to keep you. You know that, right?” “I hope so, considering I don’t blame on letting you go. It’s crazy. We’ve only known each other for a short time, but I feel like we’ve been together forever.” He frowned as he thought about how sappy that sounded. “Why would I think it’s crazy when I feel the same way? It’s been centuries since I cared about someone like I do you. After living for as long as I have, I’ve learned love doesn’t care how many hours a couple have known each other. It all depends on how your souls connect.” Jamil smiled. “I like the sound of that.” “So do I.” He closed his eyes and felt power wash over him along with the disorientation of Anubis doing whatever he did to transport them from the warehouse to the hotel. Jamil realized he was going to have to grow used to it if he wanted to stay with Anubis.
Anubis copyright c. 2015 T.A. Chase Excerpt Forty-One- One of his captors lay crumpled on the floor near the door. He had no doubt that Horus had killed him, which didn’t bother Jamil at all. After been kidnapped and beaten, he had no sympathy or mercy for the ones who did it. “Where are the others?” He kept his voice low, not sure who else might be close by. “They’re waiting until I let them know you’re free. We’re going to stay in this room while they get the rest of the bastards.” Horus fell silent for a minute and Jamil wondered if he was communicating in some way with his brothers. Horus grimaced but didn’t say anything. “Isis says they’re moving in position. Sekhmet ordered them not to kill the head guy. We’re taking him hostage and Sekhmet will use his wonderful charm to get the name of the big boss, so we can work on taking him out.” Jamil raised his eyebrows. “You seriously think Sekhmet will be able to get the man to talk? He’s that scary?” “If you ever get to meet him, you’ll understand why none of us have any doubt he’ll do what he says.” Horus shrugged. “I don’t know what he used to do before Sekhmet changed him, but he’s quite compelling and intense. None of us deal with him much anymore. Not that we’re the ones backing away or anything. As the centuries have passed, I think he’s getting tired.” Jamil looked at him and Horus chuckled. “What the fuck do I know anyway? He might just not like us.” “I’m not doubting you. Hell, I don’t know any of you well enough to form an opinion. I’m just wondering if you were going to stop talking so we could listen to make sure no one was heading our way.” Jamil grunted when Horus pinched his arm. “Why’d you do that?” Horus rolled his eyes. “Because I can’t punch you. Anubis is going to have a fit when he sees all your bruises.” “I think they broke a rib or something.” Jamil pressed his hand to his side. “Well that’s really going to piss Anubis off,” Horus muttered. Before they say anything else, there was a shout from somewhere in the warehouse. Jamil jumped to his feet, but Horus grabbed his arm. He glared at the man who simply shook his head. “We need to stay out of the way.” “But you, at least, should be out there. I’m sure you’re trained in fighting like the rest of them. Give me a gun. I can protect myself. I’ll stay in the corner.” He pointed to the spot furthest away from the door. “I know how to handle a weapon. You need to get out there and help them.” Horus didn’t look convinced. “I’m not sure. You’ve been manhandled pretty badly. To be honest, while I might be trained, I’m not really good at the whole fighting thing. Bastet is much better than me. I like sneaking around and spying on people. That’s what I did when I was normal. I was a spy.” Jamil huffed in annoyance then decided not to argue. There were six other men out there who’d had centuries to train with each other. He had to trust that they knew what they were doing and none of them would get hurt. Shots rang out and he dropped to his knees, even though they were nowhere near his room. Horus eased closer to the door, not sparing a glance for the man on the floor. He stepped over him then peered around the edge. “That didn’t sound close,” Jamil spoke up after a few minutes when there weren’t any more shots. “No. They’d be closer to the front of the building.” Horus closed his eyes then said, “Anubis is chasing one of the men down. He slipped out while they were trying to herd the others. Sekhmet got the head guy and took him. I have no idea and I’m pretty sure we’ll never see that guy again. The other men are dead.” Relief waved through Jamil and he slumped to the ground. As much as he had trusted Anubis and his brothers to save him, a small voice in the back of his mind had kept saying that they wouldn’t be able to get him free. He had a feeling he’d die in the back room of some unknown warehouse. Yet he shouldn’t have had any doubt that Anubis would find a way to get him out without dying. Horus touched his shoulder and Jamil looked up. “Come on. Anum said we could go out. Thoth and Bastet have taken care of the bodies. Actually, I was wrong. They kept one guy alive and they’re turning him over to the police for the murders of those guards.” “Good. The families will get closure then,” Jamil replied as he slowly pushed to his feet. “Let’s go. I think I’m going to need to get to the hospital.” “Don’t worry about that. One of us will be able to heal you more than likely.” Horus hesitated. “Do you need to lean on me?” He shook his head. “No. I’ll be fine. I would really like to get out of here now.” Horus gestured toward the door. “Come on. We’ll go to where the others are.” Following, Jamil realized Horus had pulled a flashlight out to illuminate the way through the halls to where the building opened in one enormous room. He noticed Thoth and Amun standing next to Bastet and another man he hadn’t seen before. “Nice job, guys. I did my part and kept Jamil safe, though someone’s going to have to look him over. The bastards beat him a little. He might have a broken rib.” Horus drew their attention. “Come over here, Jamil.” The man Jamil didn’t know motioned to him. “I’ll check you out. I’m the only one with the strongest healing ability.” Jamil snorted. “Is there anything you can’t do?” “We can’t bring the dead back to life,” Bastet told him. “Or stop time.” Amun grinned. “Or speed up time,” Thoth jumped in. Horus opened his mouth, but one look from the stranger stopped whatever he was going to say. When Jamil got close, the man held out his hand. “I’m Isis. It’s nice to finally meet you, Dr. Ahlid. I’ve read some of your papers about your different digs. Quite interesting.” Isis took his hand and Jamil jumped slightly at the heat flowing from Isis’ touch.
Anubis copyright c. 2015 T.A. Chase Part Forty- Jamil grunted when a fist landed in his stomach. “Fuckers,” he panted as he bent over. “I’m fucking blindfolded. I can’t see where the hell you’re dragging me and I don’t trust you. Of course, I’m moving slow. So quit fucking hitting me.” “Watch your mouth.” Someone said then slapped him in the back of the head. “Stay quiet or we’ll be returning you to Anubis in pieces.” “You do realize he’s going to be pissed when he sees how you’ve treated me. There isn’t a hole far enough away or deep enough for you to hide in. You have no idea the demon you’re about to unleash.” Jamil didn’t know how he knew how Anubis was going to react. He just did. An instinct told him Anubis would rip these men apart when he found them. There was a harsh chuckle. “Once we have the book, he won’t be able to do anything. He’ll be too busy trying to save the rest of the pathetic humans from destruction.” “Doesn’t that mean you’ll die as well? I’m pretty sure you’re mortal just like the rest of us.” Jamil stumbled over what he assumed was a threshold since cool air hit him. “After our boss gets the book, he’ll make us into gods and we’ll take control of this world.” There was a rumble that sounded like agreement from the others. Jamil didn’t know how many were still with them. Four had grabbed him from the hotel, but he was pretty sure once they subdued him, they didn’t need all of the men to watch him. He forced a laugh. “You really believe the man who hired you is going to give you that much power? You’re way dumber than I thought you were.” Another hard punch to his side and he bit back a yell. It felt like something gave—maybe a rib or his kidney. His knees threatened to buckle and one of the men yanked on his arm to keep him upright. “I fucking told you. Do any more damage to me and it won’t matter if you are gods or not, Anubis will rip off your heads and put them on pikes before chopping your bodies into little pieces to feed to the sharks.” Jamil really didn’t know how Anubis would kill them. He simply understood that none of them would live to tell the tale. “You seem so sure of Anubis’ feelings for you. Maybe he was only using you to get close to the dig, so he could find the book. Did you ever think of that?” Actually he never once considered Anubis using him to get to the artifacts. There had always been a slight reluctance to Anubis’ actions and once he explained who he had been, Jamil had been amazed he’d even agreed to come to Petra. “He didn’t need to sleep with me to find the book. I’m sure it would’ve been far easier not to do that. I am positive that he cares for me enough not to want me hurt and to punish those who injure me.” Jamil slammed into a metal shape. “Maybe you should be a little more careful. If you kill me before you convince Anubis to give you the book, then you’ll never see it again. It’ll disappear from the earth.” “Don’t worry, boy. Anubis has already agreed to our terms. We’re to meet up with him and he’ll give us the book for you. I must admit I’m shocked that his fellow warriors would be willing to make that deal. They hold no love for you.” He heard a car door open then he was shoved inside. Wiggling around, Jamil managed to sit on the seat while processing what the man had said. The brothers were going to give up the book to get Jamil back. That was crazy. He wasn’t special—or important enough—to hand over a book that could destroy the world. What are they thinking? I don’t want to be responsible for the end of life as we know it. Silence fell around him as the car was started then pulled away from wherever they’d been keeping him. Jamil wanted to talk to Anubis again, plead with him not to make the exchange. He was willing to forfeit his life if it meant keeping others safe. It seemed like forever before the car stopped and they dragged him out by his arm. He shuffled his feet, unsure of his surroundings and not wanting to break his ankle in a pothole. It was bad enough his entire body ached from the beatings the men administrated when they kidnapped him. Any more wounds would just be adding insult to injury. “The building is clear, sir.” “Good. Put him in the far back room and stay with him. I want the rest of you spread around the perimeter. Keep your eyes and ears open. They are like ghosts and sneak up on you. Make sure that doesn’t happen.” The man in charge ordered. “Yes, sir.” Jamil was marched across the floor of some kind of warehouse, though it was only a guess by how the noises echoed around. He found himself pushed into a chair. His arms were still tied behind his back and he wore the blindfold, which annoyed the shit out of him. No noise drifted back to whatever room they’d stuck him in. Occasionally, he could hear the man guarding him cough or shift his feet, but that was all. It was as though he were in a black hole, sucking up all the life around him. Suddenly there was a thud in front of him then very light footsteps heading his way. He tensed, wishing he wasn’t tied up so he could defend himself. The person eased around the chair and Jamil felt the touch of cold steel against his wrists. “These men are idiots. They know what we can do and yet they don’t search the corners or the rafters for animals.” The voice muttered near his ear while the knife sliced through the ropes holding him. “You’re not Anubis,” Jamil whispered as he slowly brought his arms to his sides and flexed his fingers. “No. I’m Horus and it’s my job to watch over you while the others take care of these men.” Horus tugged the blindfold off. Jamil blinked as his eyes adjusted to the low light in the room.
Anubis copyright c. 2015 T.A. Chase Part Thirty-Nine- “What do we do now?” “We give them what they want.” They all jumped and whirled to see Sekhmet standing near the entrance to the hotel. Isis was with him, holding a book. The other four looked at each other before Anubis took a breath and asked, “Are you going to accompany us?” “Yes.” Sekhmet shot a glance at Amun. “You and I will be talking once we take care of this problem.” Amun nodded, seemingly resigned to being yelled at for the mistake he made. As much as Anubis wanted to blame his fellow Warrior, he knew that it could’ve happened to any of them. They might be immortal, but they weren’t infallible. “Come. We’ll go up to your suite and wait for them to contact us. Once we get the address where we’re to drop off the book, we’ll work on trying to find Jamil.” Isis gestured toward the door. In an instant, they were all standing in the living area of Anubis’ suite. He wandered over to the window and stared out. He knew they should be discussing what was going to happen once he got the text, but he couldn’t stop thinking about Jamil being in the hands of those psychos. “He’ll be fine,” Bastet said quietly from where he’d moved next to Anubis. “Even if they have injured him. Once we rescue him, he’ll heal. Kellan did.” “In my mind, I know that, but my heart is a different story,” Anubis admitted. Bastet gripped his shoulder. “I understand. It’s how I felt when Kellan was taken. I knew he would heal eventually as long as we got to him in time. I trusted that you all would help get him back. My heart wanted to tear the men who hurt him apart and I didn’t want to wait.” “It was different. We knew who had Kellan. We have no idea who’s taken Jamil.” He shoved his hand through his hair. “I can’t help worrying that we won’t find him in time.” “Stop.” They turned to see Sekhmet standing in the middle of the room. There wasn’t any expression on his hard face and his blue eyes were cold as he stared at Anubis. His long golden blond hair was pulled back in a low ponytail down his back. It was a little odd that he was light while the rest of them were dark, but Anubis never really had the courage to ask why. “Worrying about something you can’t change won’t help the situation. We’ll work with what we have and deal with the fallout when it comes. No one can hide from us for long. Time truly is on our side along with the favor of the gods.” Sekhmet barely blinked as he spoke. Anubis started to say something but Bastet poked him in the side to keep him silent. At times, it didn’t pay to talk back to Sekhmet. The only one who did was Isis and he didn’t do it that often. Before anyone could say anything else, Anubis’ phone buzzed, indicating he had a text. He tugged it out of his pocket and checked the directions. Bastet took it from him then carried it over to where Horus sat at the table with his laptop out. “All right. How long did they give us?” Isis asked after he set the book down and strolled over to where Sekhmet was. He rested his hand on Sekhmet’s shoulder, being the only one who would risk touching him. “We have an hour,” Thoth spoke from next to Horus. “That will give us more than enough time to scope the place out. We can figure out the best spots to stay out of sight and get in place before they show up.” Anubis inhaled then released his tension. He needed to pay attention while the others went over what the plan was. He couldn’t get caught up in worrying about Jamil. There was nothing he could about his lover at the moment. All he could do was pray that they were able to get him away from his captors without any further injury and without giving up the book.
Anubis copyright c. 2015 T.A. Chase Part Thirty-Eight- The scent was faint, but he could follow it easily enough. Thoth stayed right with him as they moved through the back streets, avoiding the small groups of people wandering home from work—or restaurants. He kept going, trusting Thoth would keep an eye on their back trail. Time eased by without Anubis knowing until he got to a place where a new scent joined the others. His upper lip curled back and he whined. Stopping, he glanced around. They’d wandered back to where his hotel was. Anubis shifted before whirling to snatch his clothes from Thoth. “We have to get up to my suite. They’re here.” “They were here,” Amun spoke from the back entrance of the hotel. “Unfortunately, they got the drop on me somehow.” He was rubbing the back of his head. Clenching his hands, Anubis did his best not to grab a hold of his brother and shake him. “What do you mean they got the drop on you? How the hell did that happen?” Amun shrugged. “I don’t know. I was about to contact you when I realized you were here. I already talked to Horus and the ladies are fine. We should’ve known they wouldn’t go after them. They were probably watching Jamil and you, so they can see how close you are.” “They think Jamil knows more than he does. We have to find him before they start torturing him.” Anubis tried not to think about what Kellan looked like after Sterling’s men got a hold of him. “Can you follow his scent?” Thoth asked, seeming not interested in wasting any more time. He didn’t need to be in his animal shape to track Jamil’s scent, but when it disappeared at the next corner, he growled. “They put him in a vehicle and the windows weren’t rolled down,” he told the others. “Who are these men? Why not come after us? Why take Jamil?” “Because he’s your weakness. They believe you’ll do anything to keep him safe.” Amun held up his hand to stop Anubis from saying anything. “We all know you would, but he’s not safe anymore. We have to work on the assumption that they’re going to work him over and all he can tell them is that we have the book.” “Jamil could tell them where it is, but that won’t do any good since no one can get to our place without one of us taking them. Plus we’re not going to hand over that book.” Amun grimaced. Anubis bit his lip then said, “How are they going to get a hold of us to tell us their demands?” Bastet materialized next to Amun and punched him in the shoulder. “Do we need to give you a refresher course on safe guarding people? Also on how to keep your eyes open for potential bad guys?” “No.” Amun snarled at him. “I don’t know how they managed to sneak up on me. It’s never happened before.” There was a hint of guilt in Amun’s voice, and as much as Anubis wanted to jump on it, he knew it wasn’t important at the moment. What was done was done. They could yell at Amun all they wanted, but it wouldn’t change the situation. “We’ll discuss that later,” he said. “Right now, we have to start searching every group we know to figure out who might have done this.” Bastet nodded. “Horus will meet us in your suite. There’s no point in watching the women any more. They won’t go after them.” Suddenly Anubis’ phone rang and they all froze. He took a deep breath as he dug it out of his pocket then stared at the unknown number. “Are you going to answer that?” Horus asked, having appeared a few seconds earlier. “Yes.” He swiped his finger over the screen then hit speaker. “Al Hazzan.” “Let’s dispense with the lies, Anubis. We all know you are more than a consultant for UNESCO. I’m calling to tell you we need to make a trade. I have something that I believe is very important to you.” The voice had a thick accent and Anubis wasn’t entirely sure where the man was from. “How do I know you haven’t killed him already?” Anubis shot a look at Bastet who nodded. The man laughed. “You don’t trust us?” “Seriously? After you kidnapped him, I’m supposed to trust that you’ll keep your word and return him to me.” Anubis snorted. There were some sounds then Jamil said, “Anubis, don’t give them what they want and definitely don’t trust them. Ow!” “Jamil,” Anubis shouted. “No more. I’ll text you an address. You’re to drop the book there. Once I’m assured you haven’t tricked us, I’ll text you an address where you can pick him up.” Anubis growled. “I don’t think so. Once you have the book, you have no reason to keep him alive. You’ll make sure he’s there and after I drop the package off, you’ll send him out to me. He better not have any injuries either—or I’ll hunt you down. I have all the time in the world while your life is finite.” “Fine. We’ll do it your way.” The man hung up. After stuffing his phone away, Anubis stared at his brothers. “Who here believes he’ll do what he said?” No one answered and he nodded.
Anubis copyright c. 2015 T.A. Chase (very short installment, but I wanted to get you something today) Part Thirty-Seven- “Son of a bitch,” Thoth muttered. “Where the fuck did those guys go?” Anubis shook his head. “I don’t know. I thought we were following close enough that they couldn’t lose us. Let me shift and I’ll see if I can sniff them out.” Thoth nodded, though he didn’t look happy about it. Anubis understood. Shifting in the middle of the city wasn’t the best option, but they needed to find the men they’d been following. Worry gnawed at him as the thought that they might have slipped away to go grab Jamil. “Amun and Horus won’t let anything happen to Jamil and the ladies,” Thoth told him, taking Anubis’ clothes as he stripped. “If—somehow they get by them—they’ll let us know and we can rescue them.” “I remember what Kellan looked like after we saved him from Sterling’s men. I don’t want Jamil—or the ladies—to suffer that torture.” He took a deep breath then let his jackal over take him. When the pain and light disappeared, he glanced over at Thoth who stood at the opening of the alley where they’d last seen the two men. He’d shifted when they first started following the other two, just so he’d know their scent if needed. Trotting over, he inhaled deeply then sneezed. Thoth chuckled. “I guess it does stink in there, and it must be like a hundred times worse for you.” Anubis shook his head then moved through the alley out the other side. The shadows hid him a little, so if anyone were to see him, they might think he were simply a rather large dog. He was far bigger then his mortal counterpart. Unlike Bastet, who turned into a regular sized house cat, Anubis’ jackal was bigger than a wolf.