Elsewhere’s Twin Sample

We’re excited to announce that Divided Man book 3: Elsewhere’s Twin will be released Friday, September 22. That’s just a week away!

UPDATE: get the ebook now at Amazon.

Completists rejoice! Elsewhere’s Twin brings together the characters from the first two books, and closes out this plot arc. There might be more Divided Man books someday, but for now we’re giving the survivors a breather and turning our attention to the Science novels.

But how will you wait an entire week without a heaping helping of the promised sex, doppelgängers, and the Collective Id?

We’re reluctant to share the entire first chapter because it’s chockablock with spoilers for both prior books, so instead of a whole appetizer we’re proud to offer an amuse bouche.

SPOILER ALERT: This novel picks up immediately after the events of Miss Brandymoon’s Device and Tenpenny Zen.

ELSEWHERE’S TWIN: a novel of sex, doppelgängers, and the Collective Id

Of course it had to be both.

Snow or sleet on its own would be bad enough, but the universe had a sense of humor, alternating between the two with startling frequency. Rook Tanner shivered. Neither she nor her husband Fin were wearing coats.

A patrol of mercenaries ran past them toward the devastated cathedral, weapons drawn. Rook knew that should be alarming, but she’d already used up her adrenaline. The mercs worked for Fin’s half-brother Kyle and would presumably be interested in whoever left him in his broken state.

“We can’t be here when they come out.” Rook tried to ignore her throbbing headache and the tang of acrid smoke in the air.

“I’ll talk to the aliens,” Fin said. A quick and traceless exit was called for. The space-spiders routinely transported people to and from the asteroid belt, so sending Fin and Rook home to Webster should be a snap.

Fin closed his tired green eyes, his forehead scrunched in concentration. Rook could see the puncture marks where she pierced his left brow on the day they met, and it made her a little sad he wouldn’t be wearing a hoop there anymore. That hoop’s hidden technology had corrupted his dreams, but it was also the thing that brought them together.

Small ice pellets settled in Fin’s dark hair as he communed with his friends on the asteroid. Rook stamped her feet and regretted her bare legs.

Fin snorted and opened his eyes. “They can’t help. They say they’re too drained from the fight.” He sounded unconvinced.

Rook threw a look at the smoldering shell of the once-grand glass cathedral. She wanted to be far away before the mercs came back out. “Let’s get to the highway. We’ll hitch a ride.”

Fin nodded.

They jogged across the grounds of the Shaw Ministries compound and made their way to the main road.

A stoner couple in a blue Geo Metro were the first samaritans not to take offense at their burnt carpet stench, or the bloodstains on Fin’s shirt. Rook and Fin shared the tiny back seat with a heap of food wrappers and a friendly brown dog.

The drive from Donner to Webster usually took an hour, but the hellacious winter mix pelting down on the mountain road made the going slow.

Three hours trapped in the weed-and-wet-dog-scented car with an endless supply of Phish left Rook carsick. Fin fell into an exhausted slumber, but Rook’s throbbing head and queasy stomach kept her awake. She replayed the terrifying mental battle Fin and Kyle waged in the cathedral — and in her mind — obsessing over the traitors inside her head who almost tipped the outcome into disaster.

When their clown car finally made it to Webster, they stopped for gas about a mile from Fin and Rook’s bomb shelter hideaway.

The precipitation was a mere flurry and Rook was desperate for fresh air, so they thanked their chauffeurs and set out on foot. Immediately, the snow turned into a drenching five-minute downpour, changed briefly to sleet, then settled into pinprick needles of ice. The wind knifed through Rook’s sodden black sweater and rattled her frozen hair.

“We’re almost there,” Fin said through chattering teeth.

Rook looked up at him in the illumination from a nearby porch light and smiled weakly. His lips looked as blue as hers felt. His dark hair clung to his forehead like unruly seaweed. At the base of her skull, the signal that connected her mind to his thrummed steady and comforting, and blissfully unchallenged.

Trudging along the suburban street through the slush and darkness, Rook hugged her soggy sweater tighter against herself, like pulling on wet socks for warmth.

“Chez Tanner.” Fin gestured to his father’s large, bland house, the only one on the street not lit up. He led Rook off the sidewalk into a clump of pine trees. Her go-go boots sank into a slushy, muddy quagmire, but she couldn’t care. They would soon be inside. Beyond the pines they squelched across piles of wet, compacted leaves under naked trees that afforded little protection from the wind and ice and returning rain.

“I’m so cold,” Rook finally allowed herself to complain as Fin hauled open the hatch under the bushes. He hugged her with his free arm, and she tilted her face for a kiss. His lips were frozen, but his tongue was hot and probing.

“Don’t slip,” he warned as Rook started down the long ladder.

The only light in the bomb shelter was the warm gold and red glow of Vesuvius, their lava lamp. The feeling of entering a furnace was a welcome one. Rook pulled off her dripping sweater, leaving herself topless, her nipples hard as ice. It felt good to be back in their little pocket of tastefully decorated 1950s nuclear paranoia. The hatch clanked shut and Fin climbed down to join her.

“Why, Mrs Tanner,” he said, “you seem to have lost your shirt.”

“Lose yours too, and your pants. We need to generate some body heat.”

“I like the sound of that.”

Shadows shifted. They weren’t alone.

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