Page Peeks is a new feature here at The Happy Booker where readers can get a peek inside new and upcoming releases. Today’s spotlight is on The Lost Prince by Edward Lazellari.
Author Edward Lazellari
Series – Guardians of Aandor #2
Published April 2nd 2013 by Tor
In Lazellari’s debut fantasy, Awakenings, New York City cop Cal MacDonnell and photographer Seth Raincrest found themselves stalked by otherworldly beings intent on killing them. The two had to accept the aid of a mysterious woman to unlock their hidden pasts, and what they discovered changed their lives.
Everything they knew about their lives was an illusion. They had in fact travelled to our dimension from the medieval reality of Aandor to hide their infant prince from assassins, but upon arriving, a freak mishap wiped their memories. Cal, Seth, and the rest of their party were incapacitated, and the infant prince was lost.
Thirteen years later, that prince, Daniel Hauer, is unaware of his origins--or that he has become the prize in a race between two powerful opposing factions. Cal and Seth’s group want to keep Daniel safe. The other wants Daniel dead—by any means necessary.
From the streets of New York City to the back roads of rural North Carolina, the search for the prince sets powerful forces against each other in a do-or-die battle for the rule of the kingdom of Aandor.
Against a backdrop of murder, magic, and mayhem on the streets of New York City, victory goes to the swiftest and the truest of hearts.
“Combines crossover fantasy in the style of Charles de Lint and Mercedes Lackey with urban fantasy reminiscent of Jim Butcher in a hard knocks action tale.”—Library Journal on Awakenings
One Fateful Night
Malcolm sped his Porsche through the downpour in the dead of night, obsessed like a zealot in the midst of sacrilege. The sky was black. Drops of hard cold rain battered the windshield and the wipers couldn't keep up with the deluge. Every few seconds, the car hydroplaned, sliding along a kinetic sheen of water before it found asphalt again. The herky-jerky gusts buffeted the tiny roadster, threatening to slap them from the road. That Malcolm's window was cracked slightly open, letting the storm in, only added to Scott’s anxiety.
Mal pushed the car to 120 miles per hour at times, far from its maximum, but wholly unjustified for these conditions. The Long Island Expressway was not made for this kind of driving even on the best of days. Scott had never seen him like this; was he hurrying toward something... or running away? A hard gust and a slide would jerk them back to 80 mph, a virtual slow crawl, and then Mal would push it up all over again. Scott was certain he’d be sick all over the leather before they made it to their destination –- assuming they didn’t crack up in a fiery jumble first.
“Want to slow it down?” Scott asked. Malcolm ignored him just as he had since they left the mansion.
The craziness began earlier that night. They were reading reports in their East Hampton home, dogs napping by a lit hearth against the backdrop of a dark ocean breaking on the shore. It was the type of moment they both cherished, private, peaceful, the type of serenity purchased by power and wealth. Scott was going over the coming week's schedule--meetings with congressmen, senators, generals, parts suppliers, and anyone else who could expand Malcolm's vast industrial empire. Then the seizure hit.
Mal fell to his knees, clutching at his skull. His eyes rolled back and he collapsed. Scott grabbed a riding crop and jammed it in Malcolm's mouth to keep him from swallowing his tongue. Their live-in maid, Rosita, rushed into the room to check--Scott told her to call an ambulance, then asked her to go back to her room... he didn’t want anyone to see Mal this way. The spasm subsided as quickly as it came on. Scott stroked his partner's face. He removed the bit once he deemed it safe. White froth dotted Mal’s copper-hued beard like drops of cream; he feverishly mumbled the same phrase over and over.
“And or what?” Scott asked him.
Malcolm recovered quickly, brushed himself off, and took stock of the damage. He had a slight nosebleed and he rubbed the elbow that took the brunt of his fall.
“Good thing you’re so close to the ground already," Scott said, to lighten the mood. "Might have injured yourself, otherwise.”
Malcolm stared at him as though seeing Scott for the first time. He walked away from his partner and locked himself in the study. Scott regretted his joke. The humor was more for his frazzled nerves than his partner, but that was no excuse for callousness. Here the man nearly died, and he cracked smart about his diminutive stature. But Mal had never been sensitive about his height; seldom had Scott met a person as comfortable in his or her own skin. Scott himself had only two inches on Mal, and their height had always been a good source of humor between them. Through the door, he heard his partner canceling the paramedics. Scott tried repeatedly to gain entrance to the study, but the door was solid mahogany, with solid brass knobs. That didn't stop him from shouting that Mal should see a doctor and that he wouldn’t be able to help from this side of the door if Mal had another attack. The muffled tapping on the computer keyboard implied that Mal was on one of his obsessive streaks, tackling some new idea that had come to his brilliant mind... like the ideas had made Malcolm Robbe America's greatest weapons builder.
“And or” had become Mal's new mantra as he drove. It was something from his partner's past, and they were hurdling toward it at breakneck speed.
Two-thirds of Malcolm’s life was a complete mystery to him. He’d seen neurologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and every other quack between Washington D.C. and Boston. He even resorted to the arcane, much to Scott’s disapproval. One charlatan explained that he was a former Christian missionary whose sins among native peoples were so heinous, he had blocked them from his memory. A gypsy woman claimed that he was not of this world, and that the memories he sought were from another plane of existence. The wealthier Malcolm had become, the more those con artists charged, but neither doctors or hacks had cracked his amnesia. The wall around his mind was as thick as the armor Malcolm built for America's tanks.
Scott had been sleeping on the leather couch outside the study when Mal finally emerged hours later.
“I’m going into the city,” Malcolm said.
“In this weather? Can’t it wait until morning?”
“I’ll be at our suite at the Waldorf.”
“What about tomorrow’s appointments?”
“Cancel everything for the next few days. Tell them I’m not feeling well.”
“You’re not well,” Scott stressed. “You just had a grand mal seizure. Pun intended.”
A smile cracked the industrialist's dour veneer, and dissipated just as quickly. He put a hand on Scott's shoulder indicating his thanks for Scott's solidarity.
Mal grabbed the car keys and his coat.
“You’re not going alone,” Scott said, grabbing his jacket as well.
The billionaire considered it a moment, and just when Scott thought he would argue the point, Mal said, “Suit yourself. But you've no idea what you’re getting into.”
“Malcolm, what’s going on?”
Leading toward the Porsche in the driveway, he said, “The gypsy was right.” It was the last thing Mal had said to Scott that night.
Ahead loomed the Midtown Tunnel. Beyond it, the diffused lights of Manhattan eked through the dark, rainy mist.
Edward Lazellari was born and raised in Bronx, NY. He is a product of the New York City Public Schools. In the 1990s, Edward was a writer and illustrator for Marvel Comics. His short story, "The Date" was published in Playboy magazine in October 1999.
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