Title: Rhyme of Loss
Series: Jack and Gil 2
Author: Emily Carrington
Publisher: Changeling Press
Release Date: March 17
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Length: 121 pages
Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Action Adventure, Paranormal, Dark Fantasy, Gay, Multicultural & Interracial, Shapeshifters , Elves, Dragons & Magical Creatures
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Jack is falling apart, but no one seems to notice. He’s transforming into an animal with the ability to rend flesh and kill with little thought, and there’s no one but Gil who can save him. But as Jack withdraws into himself, the tide of war rises. Jack must find a way to regain his strength and determination or SearchLight will fall. And he is convinced he must do it alone.
Gil has resolved never to leave Jack, but that’s hard when his beloved smells of another man and he keeps pulling away. Convinced he’s been replaced, Gil tries to play mean games, but his love for Jack trumps pettiness. Will change destroy them?
Copyright ©2023 Emily Carrington
Gil sat in the business-class airplane seat and fidgeted. He’d put his bag up. His suitcase was under the aircraft. And now the Great Herd would enter the confined space and make him feel common and --
And do I really feel common? After being told I’m loved by such a man as Jack Sowerby?
No. What he felt was heartsore. Homesick for a place he’d never lived. Because where Jack was, there Gil’s soul and mind were also. He acknowledged he was putting on a front for himself, pretending to feel the arrogance that he’d worn as a shield for years. Which Jack had wiped away with three words.
I love you.
The first person Gil had ever bedded more than once, although three times wasn’t such a high number -- he wished for three hundred or three thousand. He wished, in short, that either he wasn’t leaving the United States for South Africa or that Jack was with him.
He glanced to his right as someone human took the seat beside him. Here in business class, there were two wider seats to each row instead of three, but it still meant he had to share his personal space. He didn’t want to do that with anyone but Jack. Gil had purposely taken the aisle seat, hoping to feel less restricted.
The man was large and had a flushed visage. Gil smiled gamely at him, but the man totally ignored him and turned his face to the window. There was something in the man’s profile that looked familiar to Gil. He couldn’t place him, except that he was human, he wore an expensive suit, and he looked oddly slovenly in his finery.
I’m just being uncharitable again.
Maybe that was true. It was also true that the man’s appearance still struck Gil as familiar. He opened his eyes, gazed at the man for a moment, then closed his lids again. The chin was weak, the cheeks fleshy, and the hair was an odd shade.
In surprise, Gil realized where he knew the man from. Human television. The gent was some sort of politician, wasn’t he?
Huh, Gil thought. Well, I’ll just ignore him as he seems bent on doing to me, and we’ll pass this ungodly long flight in uncompanionable silence.
Someone made a startled noise up near the front door of the plane. Gil didn’t pay much attention. He tended to live by the adage “not my circus, not my monkeys.” It had served him well over the last two centuries. Probably the humans were jostling each other or grumbling over the rows and letters they’d been assigned.
There was another noise, louder than the first, which had been more like a gasp. This was a grunt. Mildly curious, Gil focused his hearing in that direction without opening his eyes.
“Go on. Open it.”
The snarled order had Gil looking toward the cockpit. There were a couple of humans directly in his path, but there seemed to be some sort of disturbance up in front.
Not my circus, he thought, not my --
There was a soft pop.
And the humans were shoving each other, trying to get either farther into the plane or back out of it. There seemed to be two currents, one pushing in each direction.
Gil was out of his seat and forcing his way through the straining crowd. He didn’t know that sound, but he felt the press of panic all around him. He ducked under one man’s arm and slipped sideways by a woman with terror in her deep brown eyes.
Now he was standing beyond the crush of people. Despite their struggles, none had quite dared to come close to the cockpit door. A flight attendant, identifiable by the uniform she wore, lay crumpled on the floor. Gil couldn’t see any reason for her to be down until he saw the small hole up near her hairline. She’d been shot.
There was another flight attendant between the person with the weapon and the sealed cockpit door. She was talking very fast, trying to calm the gunman down, Gil supposed. The hostile man waved the gun in her face, but she didn’t stop talking.
Gil launched himself on the man from behind. Just before his hands would have closed over the man’s wrists, the flight attendant’s eyes widened. By such a little warning was the man able to turn with what seemed to be speed only possible by magical creatures. He collided with Gil and tried to bring up his weapon.
Gil broke the man’s wrist with a quick movement born more of fear and instinct than training. The gun thudded to the floor. Gil waited for it to go off, but it didn’t. A small blessing.
But he didn’t have a firm enough grip on the assailant’s wrist. Proving that he had a magical creature’s strength as well as swiftness, the man seized Gil’s arm and tried to break it. The pain in Gil’s elbow was excruciating. He screamed and, again acting on impulse, slammed his free palm into the man’s nose, rocking his head back and spurting blood everywhere within a three-foot radius.
He took advantage of the man’s surprise to wrench his arm free. Then he was shoving his opponent backward, slamming him into the cockpit door.
Panting, he risked a glance at the flight attendant. “Call security.”
She had taken charge of the gun. Competent. She put it into a locker of some sort and stood guard with her back against the closed compartment hatch. “I already have. Plus, the captain will have radioed from the cockpit.”
Gil wasn’t looking at her anymore. In his grip, the assailant gave a tremendous jerk. Gil grunted in amazement at the other’s strength and shoved him harder. He recognized this was a difficult position to maintain and, risking losing his grip entirely, spun the struggling man around and smashed him face-first into the door. Then he seized both of the man’s wrists and pinioned them behind his back.
The right wrist, which had been broken mere moments ago, felt solid in Gil’s grip. He inhaled, trying to distinguish what kind of magical creature this was. And all he could smell was human. He inhaled again, caught a brief whiff of clay, and then all that was in his nose was the press of too many panicked humans in a small space.
As he set his feet in a wider stance, hoping to hold the -- well, the whatever-he-was until security got here, Gil began to worry that two, three, or even ten guards wouldn’t be able to subdue this creature. Because Gil, a basilisk, strong and powerful, was having difficulty holding the man still. “Get the” -- he swallowed the word “herd” -- ”people to give me a little more space. I’m going to try and get him off the plane.”
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