This tale takes place after the Paranormal Operations Unit is formed and Clayton Chiles has been named to head it. Although he knows he has some unusual powers, he keeps this fact hidden and also does not make being gay too obvious . He never knew his father and has always hated the person he feels deserted him and his mother when he was an infant so that he was raised by strict, fundamentalist grandparents. They convinced him both unique abilities and being gay were sinful and shameful. He has never quite gotten over that feeling. When an unusual stranger appears in his San Antonio home, he soon realizes his whole life will change! For the better? That remains to be seen!
This novella was originally published as two separate shorter works, Runes of Revelation and Runes of Redemption also at Amber Quill. I decided they needed to be connected to tell the whole story at once and did considerable revising before Changeling released the new version.
I have to plead guilty to developing a very eclectic and close to frog-in-a-blender mixture of elements from other fantasy and paranormal creations in this series. This drives some readers crazy and I’ve been panned for it, but hey, this is my world and I can bring into it whatever I choose, even if I am mixing traditional metaphors to some degree! So if elves and modern weapons, telepathy, shape shifters, reincarnation and a variety of other extra-normal things don’t work for you, you are free to pass these up–even if they do have great hot m/m scenes and a lot of adventure and occasional bits of humor!
Here is the link, https://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=2486 followed by the cover and a blurb and excerpt.
As head of the Border Patrol’s Paranormal Operations Unit, Clay Chiles has found a place where he can function and a surrogate family to replace the one he never truly had. He keeps hidden a lot of secrets, and both fears and longs for the day he may share them with one special man. Before he can do that, he has to face some surprising facts about himself and deal with some horrific enemies. Though not weak man, alone he’ll never have the strength to confront all those demons. But who can help him?
Arondel Wanderer is a son of the ancient Elven royal clan. He obeys his Queen’s orders to visit Earth and find what is going wrong. Aron, long a loner and solitary emissary from Elvenheim, never expected to find his soul mate on this mission but surprises, both good and bad, have always been part of his long and adventurous life. He’ll take anything good he’s given and once he sights the partner he always wanted, the most extreme danger isn’t enough to deter him.
Still, when two lifelong loners try to merge their lives, hearts and minds, an occasional conflict is bound to arise.
Excerpt: (Clay has just come downstairs in his condo on a Saturday morning to find a stranger in his kitchen.)
“How you can stand that abominable shit coffee is beyond me.”
Clay skidded to an abrupt halt in the doorway at the unexpected greeting. “What the fuck? Who are you and what are you doing in my kitchen at oh-dark-thirty in the morning?”
The stranger rose from a chair, carefully set his cup on the tile-topped table and held out a hand. “I’m Aron. You’re going to have to put up with me for a bit, Clay. We have some business to discuss.”
“You seem to know who I am, but damned if I know you. And I wouldn’t forget—you aren’t exactly the kind of man to vanish in a crowd.”
“I’m Aron Wanderer. We haven’t met, but I know some relatives of yours, like the father you never knew. You’re Clayton Chiles, head of the Paranormal Operations Unit of the U.S. Border Patrol. I’ve come to offer you some support. Things have been getting worse lately, haven’t they?”
Clay sensed something uncannily familiar about the tall, slender man, but still felt sure they had never met. “Aron? Where are you from and who sent you?”
“You’re suspicious. I can understand that, but I assure you, I come as a friend, an ally, even a distant kinsman. Maevelle, the reigning queen of Elvenheim sent me. She’s a distant cousin to us both, a just ruler, but also hard as cold iron when need be. She’s been following the situation here and has become concerned. Even though we’ve been gone for eons, the Elven still feel a bond with Earth. We don’t want to see the current invasion succeed, but without more help, it will. You know that.”
Clayton sighed. “Yes, it’s looking more and more likely. These new critters, whatever they are, seem to be the worst yet. I’m gathering all the powered folk I can locate to be agents for our side, but there aren’t enough and they aren’t all as strong and confident as they need to be. I have some outstanding people on my team, but it’s looking more like our best won’t be enough.”
Aron nodded. “No, it won’t be. Sit and have your coffee. There isn’t yet an emergency, but we need to make some quick plans. I hope you didn’t have anything critical scheduled this morning because you’ll have to cancel or postpone it.”
Irritation flashed through Clayton, but he contained it. Changed plans were more the rule than the exception lately. He’d deal with it.
He poured his coffee and sat down opposite his surprising guest. “Aron, I’m no Elf,” he said. “What kind of cockamamie bullshit is that?”
Aron smiled. “Are you sure? Did you know anything about your father at all?”
Clay shook his head. “Not really. I only know the sorry son of a bitch knocked up my mother and disappeared. People were not very tolerant of unwed mothers forty years ago. She ended up committing suicide when I was barely old enough to remember her. That left me to be raised by her sister and my grandparents. It was really fun to be a weird bastard kid in a little east Texas town.”
Aron shook his head, what looked like a trace of sympathy on his narrow face. “You’re saying my name like the Biblical name, not mine. Actually, it’s short for Arondel. Think of a capital R there with the A almost silent. Anyway, your father didn’t leave on purpose. He had no choice. He intended to come back to live with your mother and help raise you, but that chance was not given to him. Still, he has watched you all your life.”
“I wouldn’t go across the street to see the em-effer. I don’t want to know anything about him.” A slight chill ran down Clay’s spine. He knew magic and otherworldly influences when he met them. They clung all around this tall stranger, but he took no comfort in that. “I’m no elf,” he repeated. “That’s crazy.”
“What do you think I am?” Aron tossed his head so his shoulder-length hair separated to reveal the fine points atop his large ears. “Do I look like an ordinary human?”
Clay took another gulp of coffee and slammed his cup down. “I don’t fucking know. I don’t even want to know. Yeah, I’ve always been odd, but I’m not sure I even believe in elves!”
Aron smiled. “You will. There’s no hurry. You do believe in the invasion of real other-world aliens, don’t you?”
Clay drew a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Yes, I don’t have much choice. I’ve seen and dealt with them.”
“And some of your people are not fully one hundred percent human either, you know. Take Alex, your raven shifter. There’s old Sidhe blood in his veins and in those of Rhys Davis, too. The Sidhe are our kin, a branch of Elvenkind.”