(Best Left in the Shadows book 2)
by Mark Gelineau, Joe King
Release Date: April 15, 2016
Cover (use links below to download)
One city. Two worlds.
The King of Aedaron reigns in splendor, while far below, in the streets and alleys of the underworld, a different kind of king emerges.
Alys and Dax have always been caught in the middle. Once they fought for love, and their worlds tore them apart. But now as they are forced back together, they must choose whether to fight once again.
But for what? And against whom?
In the world of Lowside, nothing is as it seems.
Even each other.
Buy link: amzn.com/B01CVTYDGY
Mailing List: www.gelineauandking.com/mailinglist
Amazon Author Pages:
Mark Gelineau: http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Gelineau/e/B00I6TQUCE
Joe King: http://www.amazon.com/Joe-King/e/B01460OK50
Author Bios (Short)
Mark and Joe have been writing and telling stories together for the last 25 years. They share a love for the classic fantasy tales of their childhood. Their Echoes of the Ascended series brings those old epic characters and worlds to new life.
Keyburn was in front of a building. His arms were crossed over his chest, but as he saw Alys approach, they fell to his sides. The movement was slight and natural, but it immediately set her on edge. Key kept his hands free and his arms loose, like he was expecting trouble.
Or like he intended it.
Alys grimaced. Shit. She and Keyburn went back a ways. She was going to be pissed if he made her kill him tonight.
“Ta, Alys,” Keyburn said, raising his chin in greeting.
Alys ignored the pleasantry. “You been spreading my name from the Prionside Docks to the Night Circus, Key. You wanted me here, I’m here. Now, you want to tell me why?”
Alys had already noticed the two large bruisers by the entrance of the burned‑out building. They made no attempt at subterfuge. In fact, they seemed to be doing their best to be noticeably menacing. It was kind of adorable, Alys thought.
Even as she dismissed their threatening posturing, her mind tried to piece together what the hell this was about. At first, she thought Keyburn might actually be stupid enough to make a play. It wasn’t like him, but everything had that sort of feel to it.
“Something here needs your attention, Alys,” Keyburn said, his voice tight.
The two were quiet as they walked to the front gates. The silence was heavy and tense. Dax could not help feeling like he had been lured into a trap.
Marek sighed. “I can see it on your face, Dax, but you have to understand where I am coming from. Stop and think for just a moment about that.”
It took a lot, but Dax nodded. “I get it, but I don’t need protection, Marek. And most assuredly not from them.”
“They’re good people, Dax. Brave. Loyal.” Marek’s face grew more serious and his voice lowered. “But if you are not going to take them, then at least listen to these words. Lowside is not just a slum, Dax. You know that. It feeds on itself. It’s organized now and far more dangerous than even you can imagine. Pious Black is the hand that feeds it and he is growing it for some dark purpose.” He dipped his chin, catching Dax’s eyes and holding his focus. “And Alys is caught in that world. I’m not saying she is to blame, but her world is darker than you know.”
Dax put a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “I love you, Marek. You’ve always looked out for me and I will never forget that, but if what you say is true, about Lowside and the danger it poses, then isn’t that all the more reason it needs someone to bring justice and light to that darkness?”
Marek looked at him for a long moment. “And you’re sure it is Lowside you are so intent on saving?”
Smiling, Dax shrugged. “Believe me, big brother. Alys doesn’t need saving. She doesn’t need my help.”
The man opened one eye before shrugging. “What the hell. Been a long time since I was out amongst the shade folk. Could use a bit of excitement.” He dismounted from his stool and stretched his long arms out, pulling his shirt’s fabric tight across his ample belly before walking to Dax and extending a hand. “Name’s Donner,” he said.
“Dax,” Dax replied, taking the hand.
“You prefer the short version, then? I think it suits you better than ‘Your Lordship.’”
Dax smirked. “I always thought so.”
Alys turned and walked out of the store. As she did, she heard them talking.
“Just like old times?” Dax asked.
“Ha!” Donner said. “For your sake, let’s hope not!”
Alys tensed slightly.
“What do you mean?” Dax asked.
As they exited the shop, Donner flipped a little, wooden sign hanging from a nail by the door to proclaim the shop closed. “Last time Alys had a crew together is when we almost killed your father,” Donner said with a grin.
“That’s treason,” Dax said as they waited in an alleyway.
He saw Alys blow a black strand of hair out of her eyes in exasperation. Donner had left them about a half hour before, off on his mission to recruit what Alys called muscle. The entire time the man had been gone, Dax kept recalling his words. That night’s memories circled in his mind until finally he had to give them voice.
Alys responded in typical fashion. “Keep your voice down,” she whispered.
“Treason,” he repeated.
She turned toward him. “Technically, killing your uncle, the king, would be treason. In Lowside, talk of killing your father is practically dinnertime conversation.”
His frown deepened. “This is a serious matter, Alys.”
“You’re damned right it’s serious. That night got a lot of good people killed and it burned more bridges for me than you know.”
“With who?” Dax snapped. “With Pious Black? The one who turned you against me?”
Alys gave a bitter laugh. “You don’t know a damned thing about Pious.”
“I know he is the only one that could ever shape your choices.”
She gave him a long, hard look. “No,” she said simply. “He wasn’t the only one.” Dax felt her dark gaze pierce his soul. “But he was the only one that I trusted that hasn’t ever let me down.”