SPOTLIGHT – Mark Zubro’s gay YA Mystery novel; SAFE

Very special treat for you today with an excerpt from SAFE, the new Gay YA Mystery/Thriller novel from Mark Zubro.

SAFE, by Mark Zubro


In an unsafe world, death and danger stalk gay teens, Roger Cook and Steve Koemer.

Roger Cook is in the middle of his senior year when Kyle Davis, the most picked on kid in his high school commits suicide. Roger agrees to write an article on Kyle for the school newspaper. As he gathers information, Roger realizes the dead boy was gay and may have been murdered. Gay himself, Roger wants to find out the truth, but this leads him to danger and the possibility of love. Roger opens himself to even greater risk while trying to make those around him safe.SAFE


Chapter One

Monday 7:04 A.M.


When I was two feet from the newspaper office door, Darlene Banyon rushed up to me and said, “Roger, did you hear the news?”

I shrugged. “I’m lucky to be awake and moving at this hour.”

“Kyle Davis committed suicide.”

It was early on the Monday after Christmas vacation and only some janitors and a few of the nerdiest teachers were in school. Monday is deadline day, whether or not we just had two weeks of vacation. I planned to finish some final rewrites on my next column before the bell rang for first period.

Darlene Banyon is our editor. She’ll probably be valedictorian of our class. She’s a little overweight and wears a huge assortment of rhinestone-studded glasses. She’s pretty silent, like she rarely says, “Good story” or “Thanks for the help.” I know she takes her job seriously because she’s always after school for hours every day making sure everything is perfect. Nothing gets past her scrutiny.

I guess that’s good in an editor, but I think she could lighten up a little. I know the pressure gets to her. On the days the paper is supposed to come out she snaps at everybody, demanding rewrites and cuts and edits and changes at the last second. If the paper is even a minute late from the printer, she starts slamming things around. She only calms down after a couple of her friends come by and tell her how great the paper looks.

I like her a lot. I just avoid her when she’s in a mood. This year we’ve become friends, and even though she’s dating a guy who goes to the University of California Riverside, we go out for coffee or a soda once or twice a week. We discuss politics, the reason why things happen, the meaning behind events, why people do crazy things, everything. Of all the people I know, she’d be the first one I’d tell I was gay.

Darlene continued, “It was too late to make this morning’s Riverside Tribune. It got posted on a few kids’ pages just an hour or so ago, and now everybody’s sending messages about it.” She showed me her phone.

After I read a couple, I said, “It doesn’t say when it happened.”

“Supposedly, sometime after nine o’clock last night.”

“I was at the basketball tournament all weekend. The final game ran into double overtime. I didn’t get home until late. Nothing was on the Net when I went to bed.”

Darlene snorted. “I’m surprised anybody Tweeted anything. I’m surprised anybody cared. They probably don’t. They probably just love death and gossip.” She gave an angry snarl as we walked into the office together.

In the senior class at Riverside Memorial, we’ve got just under a thousand kids. So you don’t know everybody, but I think we all knew Kyle Davis. Every day he plodded over two miles to school. He could have taken transportation provided by the district, but when he was a freshman, a few other kids had forced him into the back seat of the bus, taken his pants and underwear, and tossed them out the window. Before the bus driver figured out the screams were those of distress, he’d driven half a mile.

They caught the guys who did it, and they got suspended, but Kyle never rode the bus again. Danger lurked as he’d walked down the halls: getting shoved into lockers, his path blocked deliberately, incessantly taunted and teased.

Kyle had been maybe twenty-five pounds overweight, and all of it had added to his baby fat. He was around five foot six, so fighting back, even if he’d wanted to, wasn’t a practical consideration.

At least, I’d never heard of him getting back at his tormentors. He’d never been in any of my classes, but I’d seen him nearly every day, on the way to school, one foot plunking in front of the other, never hurrying. He’d always carried a faded green backpack. Every day as he’d approached what was for him high school hell, he’d looked like an out of shape recruit in the army finishing his first twenty-five mile hike.

Darlene read from her iPhone. “They found him hanging from a pepper tree in the orange groves, somewhere way out past Victoria Avenue near Jackson Street.”

“Does it say anything about him leaving a note?” I asked.

“Nothing here.” She punched a lot more buttons. “Nothing like a police report. Nothing on the Riverside Tribune Web site so far.”

Steve Koemer rushed in, nodded to us, and hurried to set up his laptop. In about ten seconds he was typing away. Steve was our newest staff member, the gofer to do the dirty work nobody else wanted, a junior severely afflicted with teenage uncoordination, terminal shyness, and skinny to the point of emaciation. He dropped stuff all the time. He often made silly mistakes while working on the newspaper program on the computer, but he never made mistakes editing our copy. He wore black-framed glasses. Darlene helped him out a lot, and I’d helped him cover up a couple mistakes he’d made with the computer program. When I worked with him, he was quick to learn and asked intelligent questions. His dad was a preacher for the Witness for Jesus Church.

Bert Blaire, our so-called ace reporter, breezed into the room. He slapped me on the back and said, “Hey, Rog, how’s it hangin’?” He chucked Darlene under the chin and said, “Good to see you, lady boss.”

Darlene swatted his hand away and growled at him. “Next time you touch me,” she said, “you get belted across the room, then I kick your nuts so hard, you won’t ever have to worry about birth control again.”

Bert gaped at her. I’d never seen her display this kind of anger.

Bert said, “Hey, easy. I’m just being friendly.”

She glared at him.

I don’t like Bert Blaire. He doesn’t know when to stop or let things go. I wondered if Darlene might have been working up to her explosion for a while, and her upset over Kyle’s death might have triggered the response. I’d seen and heard her endure a lot from Bert. If I thought she needed my help, or asked for it, I’d be happy to lend a fist or foot to cause Bert any amount of discomfort.

Bert was hosting the annual newspaper staff bash this coming Saturday night. It was a tradition for the seniors on the paper to throw a party for the whole staff sometime during the year. Bert had offered to do all the planning. At his place it wouldn’t be just the newspaper people and their friends. He’d have a mob of athletes, rich kids, “in kids”, plus us regular schlubs from the paper.

Bert walked over to Steve, slapped him on the shoulder, and said, “How’s the stud junior gopher today?”

Steve winced, ducked his head, and stopped typing.

“Leave him alone,” I said.

“You too?” Bert asked. “Jeez, I’m just being friendly. Everybody needs to back off.”

Bert is almost as bright as Darlene. In fact our whole staff is in the top five percent of the class academically. Bert will probably get a four-year academic scholarship to some college even though he doesn’t need the money because his dad owns half of Riverside County.

Usually everybody on the newspaper gives Bert a wide birth because he’s a jerk. Compounding the dislike is the fact that he is one of Mr. Trumble’s pets.

A computer pinged with an incoming message. We all glanced at the clock. Seven twenty-two precisely. The Riverside Drone comic strip appeared in all the inboxes and in text messages. It was anonymously drawn, with lush colors and careful shading. Even better it was bitterly sarcastic about teachers, athletes, popular students, and school administrators.

Today’s strip was about a chemistry class experiment gone wrong with a supervising teacher who resembled Frankenstein’s monster. Mr. Trumble rarely let us print them, but we all looked forward to them. They were cool and funny. Bert hated them. I loved them.

Mr. Trumble is the faculty advisor for the paper. He pretty much wears the same brown pants every day. They’re all shiny so I guess he never washes them. A few times a year, when it’s really hot out, he’ll wear Bermuda shorts with black socks and sandals. He’s an old guy with white hair growing out of his ears and nostrils. In winter when it’s cool, he puts on long sleeve white shirts and sweaters. When it’s warmer, which is most of the year, he has these short sleeve beige shirts with his initials stitched on the pockets. He rarely talks above a whisper, and it’s really tedious to listen to him because he rambles so much, but he pretty much leaves us alone. All he cares about is that we don’t get him in trouble printing controversial stuff that teenagers are supposed to have never heard about, like abortion or AIDS or teen pregnancy.

The newspaper office is about twelve feet by twenty feet, so everything is pretty cramped. We’ve got a bunch of old reject computers, but some of us have laptops and wireless Internet connections. Still, Mr. Trumble watches us pretty carefully on our Internet use. We can get in a lot of trouble if we’re caught on inappropriate-for-school Web sites.

On the left as you walk in, there’s a corkboard wall that has a mock-up of the paper laid out page by page. On the other walls are huge posters from old musical plays: Hello Dolly, Man of LaMancha, Finian’s Rainbow, West Side Story, and some I’ve never heard of. We have those because Mr. Trumble is hot for old musicals. He claims he starred in a couple in college.

After we took a moment to read the strip, Darlene told Bert about Kyle Davis committing suicide.

“Who cares?” Bert threw himself into a chair. “The guy was a fag and nobody liked him.”

“Don’t say fag,” Darlene and I said at the same time.

“Will everybody leave me alone?” Bert asked. He always wore the most fashionable clothes in that casual I-don’t-really-care-how-I-look way that’s popular among people that care about that stuff. I wear mostly jeans and T-shirts myself, with my letterman’s jacket or a sweatshirt if it’s cool out. “You can’t sue me for being a hypocrite. I’m not going to get all weepy over a kid I barely knew, that nobody liked, and that nobody is going to miss.”

Darlene advanced on him and towered over him as he lounged in his chair. Through clenched teeth, she said, “We need to write a story about Kyle.”

“Don’t look at me,” Bert said.

“I wasn’t going to ask you,” Darlene said. “I’d do it myself, but I agreed to help out for two weeks on the yearbook staff, plus my usual duties here.”

Darlene always liked to help people, constantly took on more and more, and was always swamped.

She turned to me. “Roger, would you do the story?”

I wanted to protest and say no, I only did sports, but after Bert’s reaction, I could hardly refuse.

I had strong mixed feelings. I, too, thought, Kyle was gay. I was pretty confident about being gay myself, but not about being open about it. It’s not that if people associated me with Kyle that they’d think I was gay, but I wanted to be careful.

I mumbled a yes.

Ian McCord strutted in. He raised an eyebrow at me and swept a bow toward Darlene. I disliked Bert, but I hated Ian. He worked on the theater, arts, and movie news and reviews. If anybody in the school fit the stereotype of an effeminate gay male, he did. His wrists limped, he swung his hips and sashayed around campus, and he could adopt a lisp at the drop of an insult. Ian’s being effeminate wasn’t the issue. The problem was that he was a total jerk. He was overweight and proud of it, and he liked to tell us in nauseating detail about every new fad diet he tried. He thought he was funny. I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve laughed at some of the things he’s said. I just thought a lot of it was a pile of pretentious nonsense.

Ian often talked about the latest opening he’d been to in L.A. or how this or that play was so ghastly. His reviews of school plays were generally really nasty, even after Mr. Trumble toned them down.

In the realm of emotions, Ian dealt only in superlatives. He was always the tensest, saddest, gloomiest, or happiest, and he let you know which it was in great detail.

He didn’t like me, either. He thought I was a dumb jock. He kept up a string of snide innuendos, which he thought I didn’t catch. I had him figured out. On the days when I wore my oldest, most faded, and tightest jeans, he wouldn’t stop fawning over me, patting me, finding things to come over and talk to me about.

This morning Ian burbled almost incessantly about Kyle’s death, but he had few facts. That never stopped Ian. His up moods annoyed me more than his downs. Ian said, “Did you hear? They’re going to have ‘grief counselors’ in the school.”

What I got from his explanation was that a sort of swat team of psychologists, counselors, social workers, and others were descending on the school so that any kids or teachers affected by Kyle’s death could come talk to them.

“I may go so that I can get out of class,” Ian said.

“You look like you’re ready to weep with sorrow,” Darlene said.

Ian put a hand to his breast. “You wound me deeply.”

“I wish,” Darlene said.

I wanted all of them to shut up. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Kyle’s death, except gay or straight, it was sad.

Ian launched into a long-winded description of the party he went to Saturday night. Others began working. I entered my column on a computer, finished my rewrites, printed it out along with an article of mine, and added them to the cork board, and left.


Purchase link:




What is it like growing up in a Religious Commune? Author Lloyd A. Meeker tells us and more

Lloyd, thank you so much for taking time to answer some questions for members of the Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction facebook group. 

Let’s start off with where are you from and live now; I recently read a guest blog post where you mentioned you were born in a religious commune; what was it like growing up?

Yes, a farm in Colorado. Communal life is very much like a small village, with most of the familiar boundaries removed – centrally coordinated work, eating together, one theology, very little private space. Organic farming was a big thing for us, and growing as much of our own food as we could. Pretty radical for the late 1940’s. I went through school being “one of those people” from that weird group northwest of town.

That environment shaped me in many ways, pluses and minuses both. Few empathic children can begin training in subtle energy healing at age ten as if it were a perfectly ordinary thing to do, but I was given that incredible opportunity.


Although I went off to college and traveled extensively, I lived my life out of the community’s worldview for the first half of my life. I’d never had any other. When I came out and left, I was in my mid-forties. I slammed into a learning curve that nearly killed me. I had very little idea how the rest of the world actually functioned. Let’s just say some dark years ensued.

While I love wild nature, I now prefer to live in a city where I can walk to most of my daily needs. It seems I’ve dropped anchor in Wilton Manors, Florida. It’s a strange feeling, to be putting down roots in a place I’ve never been particularly drawn to, but it also feels very right. And I love being warm!

As you probably know, writers rarely like to toot their own horns…lol, but what would you say is your greatest accomplishment so far? 

Most of the things I feel best about in my life aren’t things I accomplished on my own. I conducted a community orchestra for eight years. I’ve been sober twice as long as I drank to escape. I’ve been cancer-free for eleven years. I’m working on my fifth novel. I can’t honestly claim I accomplished any of that on my own. Spiritually and physically, I’ve relied heavily on many allies.

I think my greatest accomplishment is that I’m happy, living a life that honors my core truths. The ancient Greeks said you could never call a man happy until he was dead, because you had to know how his life ended before you could say he’d been happy. I’ve got plenty of living to do yet and I’m far from finished as the human being I want to become, but if I died tomorrow, you could still say I was one of the happiest men on earth. I have health, love, family, challenging and meaningful creative work, friends, and plenty of books waiting to be written. All that, plus ocean breezes, sunshine and palm trees—there are hibiscus, lemons and a dozen different kinds of orchid growing on our balcony.

Without getting too personal, would you share a little about your home life?

Sure. I’ve been with my husband Bob since 2002, married since 2007. We both came out late, Bob has three adult children from his first marriage, and I have one. All Bob’s grandchildren live in Paris, so we make an annual trip to see them.

We are very different in background and temperament. He’s an extrovert, I’m an introvert. He loves movies, and I have trouble sitting through them. I prefer watching sports, which he has little interest in. We both enjoy cooking, so we take turns. He likes using recipes, I’d rather wing it. We have a very unconventional relationship, but we fit together so well.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Only guilt-free pleasures for me! I love buskers of all kinds, especially Dixieland and Ceílí musicians; thunderstorms; clover honey on fresh cornbread slathered with butter; the way a kelp bed smells at low tide; poetry, passionately delivered aloud; an occasional dungeon scene—it sweeps away energetic cobwebs not reached by softer brooms; Lord Dunsany’s stories; Stephen Foster ballads; farmers’ markets and street fairs; Cirque du Soleil; a half-hour nap after lunch.

Can you share what inspires and challenges you most in your writing? 

The most inspiring thing for me is when I discover more meaning in a scene than I consciously put there. Something deeply true comes out in a way that is congruent with the character, possibly even essential to him, that makes new sense of some element of the story, gives it dimension that previously had been obscured. That’s pure magic to me, and beautiful.

The challenge is that I can’t make that happen. I just have to keep writing the best I know how, keeping my eyes and heart open for it, should it come. That poetic depth rings so artificial if it’s just contrived cleverness, yet it’s utterly luminous when it’s real.

You released a unique and very enjoyable mystery/thriller titled “Enigma” out from Wilde City Press, which features a rare, but refreshing non-traditional protagonist; a silver-fox private investigator. Russ Morgan also happens to be a psychic empath? What influenced you to create and feature a more mature character in a field traditionally reserved for the youthful?   


Thank you for saying those kind things about Enigma.

Remember in the American version of Queer as Folk when Brian turned thirty? It was an identity crisis—thirty! Doomed to see a wrinkle soon. Ewww. Old. It’s laughable!

I came out in my mid-forties, long after the culture I was just entering had dismissed my market value. To be sure, I take unabashed pleasure in the company of gorgeous young men as much as the next gay man, but I rejected my assigned market niche, which informed me daily I’d already passed my “best consumed by” date.

I’m fascinated by the many and powerful gifts that come only with age—fully engaged with examining and challenging the myths about age that a cynical, petty, frightened and narrow gay pop culture seems addicted to. It’s an especially silly, nasty and cruel form of narcissism, the way I see it. It’s a huge waste—self-defeating, in terms of developing meaningful gay culture.

I confess I have a lot of Russ Morgan in me. I’m letting him make my argument that life really does get better—and much more interesting—after fifty and beyond.

Do you have plans for a sequel to “Enigma” and will gay P.I. Russ Morgan appear again?

Absolutely—I’m working on the next story now. I think Russ has a series in him, and Colorado is a rich setting for his stories—just look at what’s in the news there now—cannabis, gun control, cultural schisms between urban and rural, conservative and liberal. My mouth waters just thinking of the possibilities!

Incidentally, in the book I’m working on now, Russ’ own set attitudes toward age are challenged, because Colin (who is twenty-five and definitely not a self-absorbed twink) won’t leave him alone, and insists on being taken seriously as a relationship prospect. That’s very scary territory for Russ.


You have also published a very mystical mystery/thriller novel, Traveling Light, released by MLR Press, Inc. The plot of the story combines both the earthy visible world with the spirit realm as protagonist, Ian, uses his shamanic abilities to track down his brother’s killer. I sense an overarching lesson to be learned; can you share more of the premise with us?   

Gladly! My favorite soapbox theme.

The overarching vision I write from is that the visible and invisible worlds are distinct but not separate. They interact all the time, and depend on each other to reveal their deepest beauty. They need each other like we need air to breathe, like music must be heard to be shared.

I’m convinced gay men are perfectly suited to accommodate this interplay consciously, to be stewards of that mystical inter-dependence, the passages of giving and taking between the realms. All my stories are grown out of this premise, because it’s the way I experience life.

Have had you ever had to deal with homophobia after your gay novels are released, and if so, what form has it taken?

Not really, but some conversations have ended abruptly when I say I write mystical gay fiction. I don’t care. Given some of the things I’ve survived, I’ve accepted that I’m on bonus time. Whatever time I have left is way too precious to spend caring about what people like that think of me and my work.

Which living actor would you cast to play your protagonist, Russ Morgan, in your P.I novella, “Enigma”?

Ed Harris, but not his overly gaunt version. Yes, give me Ed Harris. Please give him to me!

Last question; I read recently that you’ll be teaching an online class through Florida Romance Writers on some of the differences in the Hero’s Journey for a gay protagonist. Do you have more details you can share at this time?

Not really, because it happens in October and I haven’t finalized my materials yet. I’ve been obsessed with the Hero’s Journey for decades. When I first realized there was a heteronormative overlay to the myth’s structure, I was offended. Then I realized, hey—straight people have their version, and we need ours. It’s incredibly exciting to explore the similarities as well as the differences.

On behalf of the Facebook Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Group, thank you for giving us a little of your time today, answering questions fans of the genre want to know.


Find Lloyd A. Meeker on the web:

Author Jason Edding emerges onto the gay erotic science fiction scene with Space Escapes

Introducing erotic author, Jason Edding!  Please check out the links below…


Hi everyone! My name is Jason Edding, and I’m happy to be here. First, I’d like to thank Jon for the invitation to host me on this, my second blogging.  Yes, I’m still a newb at it, but hopefully this won’t be the last.  

I’ve thought a lot about what I would talk about today, and the thing that came to my mind, with the help of a dear friend, is to tell of my journey through being published for the first time. I still remember that day vividly. Two weeks prior to the fantastic news, I had sent a small manuscript of about 10k words, to a publisher. I didn’t hear anything back, and since I had been writing continuously and had lengthened the story by 11k more words, I decided to email the publisher again. Well, I heard back from them that very day, and I was told to go ahead and send the whole manuscript. Well, I immediately got a rush from that. I put the two parts together and sent it off.

I waited… but not long. If I remember correctly, it was the very next day when I got an email. Actually two emails. One an introduction and the second, my first contract to publish Dark Robe Heart. Wow, stunned isn’t the word for it. I was on cloud 9, or maybe 10, and I told everyone I knew. I couldn’t stop talking about it for days, and the rush is still with me.  I will say I’ve learned a ton. Not only about writing, but the editing, proofing, line editing and publishing aspects of writing. I like it all. There isn’t one part of the process that I don’t enjoy doing. In fact, I told my editor that the editing and revising process is actually my favorite part because I get a fresh look at the story, find my own mistakes and new ways of writing a particular part of the story come to me.
What I’m learning about now is promotion.  It’s taken a lot to figure out some of the “how-to’s,” “where-to’s,” and “whats” of promoting myself and my writing.  I’m getting there but there’s quite a learning curve.
Blurb  For Space Escapes
A disillusioned Jack Harrow escapes the crowded Earth of 2575 and its increasingly militaristic government, hoping to make a new life on the distant small moon of Jupiter. During this long voyage, military recruit Edge Fland catches first his eye, then his lust, but there’s more to this quiet man than Jack knows. The Dark Robe Society’s assassins are on Jack’s trail and will stop at nothing to achieve their goal of returning the item he carries to their society.
Here’s a PG excerpt from my upcoming novella, Dark Robe Heart: Dark Robe Society 1,  in the Space Escapes anthology along with Angela Fiddler, published by MLRpress

“Are you traveling to Jupiter?” Edge took the empty seat beside Jack and settled in. “Do you think it will be a long trip? I’ve never been.” The voice was close, soft, yet deep and somewhat soothing. Jack woke with a start, his hand gripping the ironite dagger hilt in his robe, ready to plunge it into the heart – – –
            “You have no idea how close you just came to biting the dust.” Jack sat up, and let his fingers slip from the cold metal hilt. He had a better look at the young blonde man in the blue jumpsuit now. He could tell he was a recent military recruit. Fresh meat, fodder for some dumb ass military campaign on the other side of the system. But in this recruit’s case, officer material; a cadet in training.
            The cadet raised his brow, and he gave Jack a slack jawed stare. “Sorrrrry, you looked like you were having a really bad nightmare.” The young guy settled down in the seat next to Jack. “I was getting lonely over there.” He jacked his thumb back at the seat he’d been in earlier. “You didn’t uh, accept my invitation so here I am.” He grinned, the gold caps showing in his teeth.
“I noticed it cadet, would have loved to take you up on the offer, but—-” You’re a diplomat Jack, remember that, he thought.
“You’re married, right?” The cadet sighed. “Always my luck, you know, here I am leaving Earth for the first time, haven’t had a “man for three months, itching to get off and give some head–”
 “Cadet… not in public, eh, there are ladies and children—” Jack didn’t tolerate too much nonsense, his diplomatic training aside. This cadet may be a hottie, but he yapped far too much. Jack would never be able to stand him for long.
            “Yeah? I think they’re all sleepin’ man. But sure, you know what I mean.” The cadet sat back, stuffing his hands into his deep pockets.
            “No, I’m not married; yes I liked your offer, but as I was saying— now isn’t the best time for any man on man action, not of that kind.” He patted the cadet’s knee. Too bad, though, cute cadet, he thought.
The cadet sighed again, making a good show of his plight. “Yeah, well, maybe I don’t want you, huh, you look like a clone anyway, I can tell a clone.” He snorted and started to get up.
            Jack’s hand shot out and grabbed the cadet’s arm. “Cadet… don’t ever call me a clone.” Jack said nothing else;  the cadet didn’t move a muscle. Jack released him and sat back. “Good, now you just sit there and be quiet and maybe I’ll give you a little something on the trip to Jupiter.” He wanted the cadet to stay beside him, at least he would be able to get some sleep, knowing the Darkies would think thrice about taking him out with someone sitting next to him.
            The cadet snorted again, sighed and pulled open the storage compartment above his head, released an army surplus blanket from plastic tie rings and covered himself with it. “Bad mood dude, but ok, I’ll just sit here and be quiet, I won’t say a word.”
            Jack let the younger man talk as he drifted. He had plans to make, and dreams would make his plans. His sleep was as restless as his clone brain, but knowing the cadet was beside him, made him feel a little better when he woke. The cadet’s hand had moved to his inner thigh, and his fingers were wrapped around his waking erection. 

Blurb for Dark Robe Edges: Dark Robe Society 2: in The Edge of Desperation

        Commander Tees appeared to be intently examining a blinking console, his back to the younger man.
                “Sir, I’m only telling you this because- -.”
                Tees about-faced., studying the younger man. He held up his hand, for a moment it looked to Edge, as if he would slap him across the face. “You’re speaking treason, be very careful, Lieutenant.” Now Edge remembered, it was Toren, Toren Mir.
                Toren shook his head. “Sir, my allegiance is first to the rebellion, and I wouldn’t be telling you this unless I thought it important,” he emphatically declared.
                Tees turned away and went back to studying a reactor control panel. “Speak quickly, then,” he advised.
                “The admiral blames Jack for his father’s death and- -.”
                “We all blamed him, didn’t we? But we all came to realize it was no direct fault of his or the other,” Tees asserted.
                Toren vehemently shook his head. “He does not realize, or he just doesn’t care. I think he plans to kill him.”
                Tees stiffened. So it was true, then, his belief that the admiral was losing control. He could not allow this to happen. But was it time for him to assume to mantle of command, he didn’t know.
                Edge’s entire body tensed. Kill Jack? Who? The old man has a son here… who could it be? He wondered.
                Tees turned, and placed his hands on Toren’s shoulders. “You know I trust you, but what you’re saying is madness!”
                Toren sighed and to Edge’s surprise, he leaned into Tees and wrapped his arms around him in a warm embrace. “I know. But Brekart sees only revenge. He is so filled with hate that I- – -”

Buylink for Space Escapes
Dark Robe Heart: Dark Robe Society 1 in SPACE ESCAPES By Jason Edding and Angela Fiddler, Available now from MLR Press.
Dark Robe Edges: Dark Robe Society 2 in THE EDGE OF DESPERATION By Jason Edding and James Buchanan. Coming soon from MLR Press.
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