Global pandemic is raging. Olivya Wright-Ono’s once loving home has been converted to a hospice for the dying. Her ability to see auras forces her to witness, with agonizing detail, the vibrant colors of life consumed by malignancy.
The beautiful and troubled, Mikah, is an elite Empath in the ancient Kindred clan, led by the brooding, ever-morphing, monster named Prime. Mikah has learned a terrible truth . . . the plague is linked to Kindred origins. When Olivya sees evidence of disease creeping into her mother’s aura, she has no one to turn to but Mikah. Can he unearth the Kindred secrets and find a cure? Can she trust this boy whose power allows him to manipulate her very emotions?
With her mother’s life, and that of the world, in the balance, Olivya and Mikah embark on a quest to stop the Pandemic, only to discover it is far, far more than a mere disease . . .
Suki Michelle is a life-long Chicagoan, happily divorced and still good friends with her Ex. She lives and writes with her soul-mate, Carlyle Clark. She has one beautiful daughter, Bree, who is the first reader and critic of The Apocalypse Gene, and without her input, it wouldn’t be nearly as cool! Suki’s other children are of the four-legged type, Dahlia, the German shepherd; Kilala the lazy calico chub-cat; and Koney, the tortoise-shell demon cat from the Seventh Ring.
Carlyle is a burly dude from San Diego. He can look menacing at a glance, but as soon as he opens his mouth, pure intellectual. They are eternally grateful for the day they met at an on-line writer’s workshop. They’ve been together for four years. On the outside. Suki and Carlyle are totally disparate. On the inside, they are the REAL Neo-Twins. You’ll have to read The Apocalypse Gene to find out who the Neo-Twins are, but here’s a hint: They are twisted devils with mirror-melded auras.
As writers, Suki and Carlyle have complementary skill sets. Lyle is plot master and edgy dialoguer. He is a huge fan of Japanese anime, and he draws upon this to choreograph fight scenes. Suki enjoys painting a character’s emotional landscape and writing vivid descriptions. They both have wild imagination.
Suki and Carlyle treasure every opportunity to share their work.
And now, enjoy this excerpt from Mikah and the neo- twins! Let me know what you think in the comments below.
The Complex came into view, flanked by two equally bland Lakefront condominiums, each twenty-stories tall. The most interesting thing about the Complex was that it was completely uninteresting. Regularly spaced rectangular windows with two vertical rows of bay windows ran down the center, each with a balcony. The Kindred never used the brass double doors at the front, preferring to glide into the private garage in anonymous cars with tinted windows. The mundane grounds and nondescript architecture gave no hint of the powerful beings that lived inside. Mikah crossed the broken concrete that had once been Lake Shore Drive. As he approached the Complex, he pinged the Aether, searching for any Kindred that might be nearby and felt two familiar jagged twinges with identical energies. One ahead, one behind. Their vibrations stung his skin like a swarm of fire ants. Kaiman and Ash. The Neo-Twins. Their psionic talents, Kaiman’s Compulsion and Ash’s Persuasion, were impossible for Indigs to resist. Mikah fortified his psionic shield and steeled himself to confront them, hoping they wouldn’t choose now to indulge their freakish whims. They’d been the only ones ambitious enough to test Ruben’s machine, designed to enhance psionic power. Ruben had conducted several sessions with Kaiman and Ash years ago. The machine worked, synchronizing their cerebral hemispheres, or “Hemi-Forming” them. It also, unexpectedly, mirror-melded their auras giving them identical psychic signatures, though physically, they looked nothing alike. Despite their amplified power, madness clung to them like flies on carrion. Mikah kept his newly burgeoning telempathy on full alert, hopefully to counteract anything the Neo-Twins tried to do to him with their psionics. The Neo-Twins had no official authority, but their eeriness seemed to carry a weight of its own, not to mention their tremendous, though erratic, power. They appeared no older than Mikah but, in fact, were his elders by more than a hundred years. Lounging just outside the Complex perimeter, he saw Kaiman. He wore a knee-length black duster and black engineer boots, caked with grime. The breeze carried Kaiman’s odor. He reeked with the stench of the Downbelow. And why not? The Neo-Twins knew no fear of the Human dregs that lurked in the tunnels below the city. Mikah sensed Ash’s identical vibration somewhere close, but didn’t see him. Kaiman was leaning against the high brick wall, hands cupped and thrust skyward. To the east, the sun peeked over the lake’s horizon, rendering Kaiman’s pale white skin iridescent. His lustrous blue-black hair shimmied in the breeze like midnight’s banner. His head swiveled to face Mikah, dark eyes glittering, as always, with vicious humor. “Toddler,” Kaiman said, “out without permission? Tsk tsk.” His voice dripped with honey-drenched irony. Mikah gritted his teeth. All of the Kindred condescended to him. Refused him knowledge, then lorded that secret knowledge over him. Fine. Let them humiliate him. It would be worth it if it kept their psionic fingers off Olivya. Kaiman straightened and dropped his arms to belly level, displaying in one hand a small, brilliantly colored songbird sprawled awkwardly across his palm. “What is that?” Mikah asked. Kaiman smiled down at it while stroking the bird with his other hand. “My little golem.” “Golem?” “Ah, Mikah, have you been neglecting your studies, reading only the texts in our library that directly mentions us? Lazy, lazy, toddler. By the way, his name is Phoenix.” Mikah drew a breath. “You dared name it after one of the Storied?” “What is daring but to think a thing, then do it, when others would not.” Kaiman cocked his head and grinned, revealing teeth as white and even as piano keys. “Like, for instance, trying to sneak out of the Complex unnoticed, as did a certain toddler we all know and love. Besides, if a name is apt, it should be bestowed regardless of who has held it. Perhaps, because of who has held it.” Mikah watched the bird as Kaiman spoke, noted its strange position, felt its weakened energy. He saw a way to move the topic away from himself. “What’s wrong with it?” “There is nothing wrong with him, just something wonderfully right. He is what Indigs would call ‘brain damaged.’ Practically brain dead, in fact. Isn’t it wonderful?” Kaiman brought the listless Phoenix to his lips and kissed it. Mikah’s gorge rose. “Looks like the Hemi-Former has . . .” “Has what? Finally driven me mad?” Kaiman bobbled his head and danced about. His duster whirled around his legs. As suddenly as he started, he stopped, his feet in the exact spot they were before he began. He gestured with his chin. “And Ash barkingly mad too, then?” Mikah looked over his shoulder and flinched. Ash, the second Neo-Twin, the one who never spoke, stood just behind him staring rapturously at Phoenix. Creepy how had Ash come so close without Mikah’s sensing him. Ash must have used a Persuasion, nudged Mikah to focus solidly on Kaiman as he crept up behind him. Mikah fortified his psionic shield, yet again. Dusky Ash, half a head shorter than Kaiman and hulking with muscle, glared at Mikah. Ash looked nothing like the lean, fair-skinned Kaiman with his pianist’s hands and aristocratic features. Ash had small squinty eyes, hatchet sharp cheekbones, a prominent brow, and a jutting cleft jaw. “Why so quiet, Toddler,” Kaiman asked, “with us, your very blood? You were downright loquacious with the Wilder girl. But then she is far prettier than either of us. Deliciously so, I must say. Your taste is as exquisite as your attempts at subterfuge are pathetic. I wonder. Did you tell her how killed your very own mother?”
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