Shades Below, #2: Still On Track!

This is happening, people! I’m coming down the finish line on The Devil’s Disease (Shades Below, #2) – which means I should be writing THE END by tomorrow, Tuesday at the latest.

What this means: I don’t usually set hard-and-fast deadlines (because I’m so awful at meeting them), but in this case, my tentative deadline stands! The Devil’s Disease will definitely be coming out this month. Huzzah and hooray!

If you’ve been waiting for this book and you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet, allow me to humbly suggest you do that now. I don’t send them out often (just for new releases and the occasional sale), so you don’t have to worry about getting a lot of spam in your inbox. Social media being as mercurial as it is, I’d much rather inform you of new releases directly than rely on sources outside my control to get the word out.

Phew! Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re as excited for this book as I am.

I’ll leave you with one last thing before I head back to the writing cave…


“I’m looking at it right now.  The next open enrollment period isn’t until November.”

Jesper MacMillian notched his cell phone between his ear and his shoulder, and rubbed his face with both hands.  If anyone had told him being rom baro would include signing up aging palm-readers for health insurance, he would have told them to take the job and stuff it.  He’d been staring at the computer screen for so long his eyes felt gritty.  His back ached.  The skin around the rim of his prosthetic leg was beginning to chafe.

Oh, yeah.  It was good to be king.

He forced himself to pay attention to the raspy voice on the other end of the line.  “Yes, I know Sal needs his medication.”  A knock sounded on the office door.  MacMillian covered the phone speaker with his hand.  “It’s open!”  He removed his hand.  “Sorry.  Nothing.  Look, maybe you’ll be eligible for special enrollment.  Let me see what I can…”

The office door opened, and he promptly forgot what he was saying.

It had been nearly a month since he’d last seen Lena Alan.  He was starting to think he’d never see her again.  Now she was standing in his doorway in her usual red trench coat, her hair pulled back from her heart-shaped face, studying him with her impossibly blue eyes.  The faintest whiff of strawberry teased his nostrils.

MacMillian cleared his throat, then cleared it again.  “Ah, yes, I’ll look into it.  Mrs. Kirsha, I’m going to have to call you back.”  He hung up without waiting for a response.

Lena didn’t speak.  Neither did he.  Finally, she shifted.  “May I come in?”

“Of course.”  MacMillian raised a hand to the dark stubble coating his jaw, cursed himself for not bothering to shave that morning.  He pushed to his feet, grabbed his curved black cane and made his way around the corner of his desk.  His stump tingled as blood rushed back into it.  He couldn’t quite muffle the hitch in his breath.

Lena stepped into the room.  Her too-perceptive eyes roved over him.  “You look good.”

He thought about his overgrown dark hair, about the circles under his eyes and the rumpled state of his clothes.  “No, I don’t.”

It came out more clipped than he’d intended, and Lena cringed.  Guilt pricked MacMillian’s chest.  He ignored it.  He couldn’t stand when people patronized him.  Especially her.  She knew that, or should have.  Did she not remember him at all?

He stopped a few feet from her, and rested both hands on the head of his cane.  “You’re here.”

“I’m here.”  Her eyes flitted around the office.  They landed on the small chunk of resin on the corner of his desk.  Her gaze softened.  “The black amber.  You kept it.”

“It was a gift.”  MacMillian searched her face.  “I was starting to think I wouldn’t see you again.”

Her eyes leapt to his.  Her eyebrows lifted.  “So you do remember me.”


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Published by L.J.K. Oliva

L.J.K. Oliva writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, with a heavy dash of suspense. She likes her whiskey strong, her chocolate dark, and her steak bloody. Most of all, L.J.K. likes monsters... and knows the darkest ones don't live in closets.

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