by Andrea Speed
Sequel to Infected: Lesser Evils
Infected: Book Seven
Cover by Anne Cain
M/M, Shifter, Mystery/Suspense, Paranormal
June 14, 2013
In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds.
Now Roan is locked in a coma as the struggle between his human and werecat sides reaches a new extreme. All Dylan can do is sit, wait, and think.
Meanwhile, Roan’s assistant, Holden, wants to shed his old street life and his relationship with Scott, but he can’t seem to do either. Holden doesn’t want a relationship with Scott but finds himself drawn to him all the same, even if he can never fully reveal his past.
With Roan out of commission, Holden looks into the murder of an old friend. At the same time, Fiona takes on a case about underground death matches between infecteds —one with connections to the Church of the Divine Transformation.
Finally Roan wakes only to discover that his shifts have new consequences. His lion’s strength is growing, and he can’t hide from it any longer….
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
THINGS could be weirder, but Holden was kind of glad they weren’t because he thought his head might explode.
When he arrived at the hospital with Scott, they found Dylan looking like he hadn’t slept for days (possible) and so weary he didn’t even comment on the fact that they had arrived together. When he told them the lion had woken up but Roan hadn’t yet, Holden understood why he looked so tired and frazzled. What did that mean, exactly? Dylan was afraid it meant something went wrong during the surgery, but Holden had another idea, one that made him angry enough to want to go into the room and punch Roan.
Roan was hiding. The fucker had just given up. He decided he didn’t like what he was anymore and shut down, letting the lion run amok. Holden pulled Scott aside and whispered to him to keep Dylan company while he went and visited Roan. Scott obviously had questions, but Holden asked him to trust him, and he agreed.
Scott poured on the charm and got Dylan to agree to go have a decent cup of tea with him (there was a Starbucks down the street—of course there was as it was a law in Washington State you could be no more than five minutes away from one at any time). As soon as they were gone, Holden snuck into Roan’s room. (He wasn’t 100 percent sure anyone was supposed to be in there, so he wanted to avoid being intercepted by an overzealous nurse.)
There were signs Dylan had been sleeping here, from the cot in the corner covered with blankets to the sketchbook sitting on the floor beside it, the front smeared with charcoal. Roan was laying in his hospital bed, out cold, surrounded by all his bleeping machines, not perfectly bald but almost, his head covered with a rusty-red fuzz like dried blood. He looked more human with his hair trimmed back so violently, but that was a funny thing to think because he hardly looked inhuman with it.
Whatever. It didn’t really matter now anyway. He took a deep breath, gave himself a moment to feel awkward about talking to an unconscious man, and got down to business. “You think I don’t know what you’re doing, Roan? Really? What kind of an asshole do you take me for? I don’t really care if you give up and hide behind the lion all day long—that’s your choice—but I hope you rot on the guilt of what you’re doing to Dylan and every other one of us stupid motherfuckers who care about you. And don’t think I’m picking up your slack, ’cause fuck you, I have my own life to lead, and I’m not a detective. You are, so wake the fuck up and get on with it. You wanna feel sorry for yourself? Fine, but do it at home like the rest of us.”
He started walking away, but he was angry now and realized he had more to say, so he turned back. “You think I haven’t just wanted to give up and die? I have, millions of times, but then I remember my parents, the violent johns, the evangelicals who would like to kill all the gays, and I realize I have to live if only to piss them off. That’s what you have to do too. You have to live to piss off all the infected haters out there, fight back for those who can’t. And do it fast ’cause I’m on the verge of beating the shit out of you. Especially since you’re in no position to fight back. It’s the safest time to beat you senseless.” Of course he couldn’t actually hit him because it would be just his luck to hit him and bring the lion lunging out at him. He’d be the first man mauled to death by a lion in human form. He’d get a posthumous place in theGuinness Book of World Records.
This time he did walk away, but he decided to put a final boot in Roan’s ribs before he went. “Oh, and I think Scott and I are dating now, or something like that. I dunno; I don’t really do relationships. You want any more details, you’re gonna hafta wake up and ask. Chew on that for a while.” On the back of everything else, it was weak, but it was the only ammo he had left.
Dylan and Scott weren’t yet back from the Starbucks, so he went to join them. Scott had convinced Dylan to share a brownie with him, and when Holden joined them at the table, Scott broke off a piece of his brownie and gave it to him. “Watchin’ my carbs,” he said, in such a manner that Holden knew this was his way of getting Dylan to eat something. Holden played along because Dylan looked so exhausted, not just physically but emotionally and probably mentally. As much fun as Roan probably was in bed, the agony of being his husband surely wasn’t worth it. He was lightning, and in his shadow, all you got was burned.
Scott tried to get Dylan to go with them to the Del Toro film festival, but while Dylan was a fan, he felt he had to return to the hospital. It was like watching the poor son of a bitch slink off to his own execution, and Holden felt bad for him. He knew Dylan didn’t trust him, but he couldn’t really blame him. He couldn’t define his relationship with Roan in any way; it wasn’t an affair, but he knew a side of Roan that Dylan really didn’t, so in a way it was. Dylan married Bruce Wayne, but he didn’t know a single thing about Batman.
Oh fuck—bad metaphor. That made him Robin. So, Hulk and… no. Iron Man? No. Wolverine? No. Goddamn it, didn’t any other superhero have a sidekick?
Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. While succeeding in finding Trouble, she has also been found by its twin brother, Clean Up, and is now on the run, wanted for the murder of a mop and a really cute, innocent bucket that was only one day away from retirement. (I was framed, I tell you – framed!)
In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men. Viva la revolution!