Exclusive Cover Reveal and Excerpt – Chasing Sunrise by Lex Chase

Thank you so much for joining us today for the exclusive cover reveal of Chasing Sunrise by Lex Chase. Absolutely stunning!

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Genre: Horror / High Fantasy
Series: The Darkmore Saga
Length: Novel
Published: April 5, 2016
Publisher: DSP Publications
ISBN: 978-1-63476-355-4
Pre-Order: DSP Publications

Blurb:

The once glorious aisa kingdom of Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Sevon endures unrelenting abuse and is used as a scapegoat by Lord Dominic Ravensgrove, who rules Darkmore from the shadows. Coping by dressing in gowns and jewels, the effeminate king relishes the scraps of freedom he is given to be himself.

As a verkolai, Sevon possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift provides a chance for escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. When Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous shifter land of Priagust, he manipulates Sevon’s desperation for his people’s survival. Out of options, Sevon has no choice but to cooperate.

On their foray into Priagust, Dominic’s men abduct a shifter named Jack. Despite being tortured for information, Jack’s loyalty to his kind never wavers. But Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s history unsettles Sevon, and a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame the beautiful king’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom.

As war looms, Sevon fears Jack’s kindness is another trap. Conflicted, Sevon wonders if he should risk chasing the sunrise or remain Dominic’s compliant prisoner.


Chapter One

“Farmer Mallory,” King Sevon Maraté called the writhing aisa’s name. “For your betrayal to the Crown of Darkmore, you and your kin have been sentenced to burn beyond the Veil.”

The leather-skinned farmer flailed upon the ground in his iron bonds. His heavily pregnant daughter jerked against the grasp of two guardsmen, clad in neck-to-toe black leather. The taller, brawnier of the pair chuckled at the girl’s distress and twisted her shoulder painfully in the joint.

“Let him go!” Mallory’s daughter shrieked, and her fangs gnashed with the futile threat of retaliation. “We’ve done nothing wrong!”

Mallory begged his child, “Patricia, please. Don’t make this worse.”

But it was true, and Sevon knew it—they had done nothing wrong. He glanced hesitantly at the Veil itself, the ethereal membrane that shrouded Darkmore from the human world. The humans called the land that lay beyond it “Texas,” and Lord Dominic Ravensgrove had talked Sevon into sending Mallory and his daughter out there to die. Dominic had made a strong case for their supposed betrayal to the Crown. When Sevon had found the fallacy in his logic, Dominic had beaten him soundly in the dungeon. Dominic was his lover, or so he had reminded Sevon over the years. Sevon didn’t care at all for Dominic’s sense of love. Dominic had left him there on the filthy dungeon floor, broken and bleeding, deep in his own loneliness as his skin mended and bones healed.

Sevon had seen it was more agreeable to go along with whatever Dominic decided about how Sevon should rule his kingdom. Better than suffering through a night, a week, a month, or more of beatings, deprivation, or torture. In the higher circles of Darkmore’s court, it was no secret that Sevon wore the crown but Dominic was the true tyrant king.

And now, as Mallory and his daughter lay at Sevon’s feet and begged for release, Dominic was teaching Sevon a lesson. For Sevon’s disobedience, not only would Mallory die, but so would his daughter and her unborn child. Sevon concentrated on the iridescent sheen.

Less than five feet in front of him, the glaring daylight of the humans’ Texas desert beckoned him forward. The horrific sprawl of debris piled hundreds of feet high, with shantytowns perched precariously on top, consumed the landscape behind him. And Sevon was trapped inside with the disaster. He narrowed his eyes, reaching his black-gloved fingers toward the light. What would the sun feel like on his flesh? How did daylight dance across the Rio Grande? He longed to be there, in the light. Anything would be better than a life in darkness and ruin.

Dominic clapped a hand on Sevon’s shoulder, and Sevon startled. In his ear, Dominic purred a warning. “You mustn’t fall for the temptation of the light, my sweet. Concentrate. We will be back in the palace soon.”

Sevon’s bones shivered at the timbre of Dominic’s voice. It had been a warning, not a note of concern. He pushed from his mind thoughts of what being back in the palace would entail.

Sevon pressed his glossed lips in a grim line, gathered his long blond curls, and twisted them into a tight bun. He watched the squirming farmer. “Perhaps, Mallory, I didn’t make myself clear the first time. You have a way of saving yourself.”

His brows quirked as the beginnings of a headache swelled behind his eyes. It was the guilt making itself known. He glanced at Dominic and fell silent for several seconds. Dominic’s eyes were cold, and the chilling shove to continue with this farce slammed into Sevon’s stomach.

“You will give us the livestock from your stockyards, and your tax debt with Lord Ravensgrove goes away.”

“Or your daughter meets the sun first,” Dominic growled, and Sevon watched him with bewilderment.

“Dominic…?” Sevon said softly.

Dominic’s hand snapped in a halting gesture, and Sevon froze.

Farmer Mallory jolted to attention at Dominic’s threat. Patricia screeched and squirmed in the grasp of her captors. “Please, Your Majesty,” Mallory begged Sevon directly. “We can be reasonable. If we give you the entire herd, there won’t be a way for my family to survive the oncoming winter.”

Before Sevon could speak, Dominic interjected for him. “So, betraying the Crown by doling out the humans to the less fortunate aisa hives is perfectly acceptable. I see.”

“Dominic,” Sevon repeated, this time with a hint of urgency.

“It would serve His Majesty well if he remains silent,” Dominic said.

Sevon knew that was the only warning he’d get.

Dominic stepped forward and loomed over Mallory. He had effectively cast Sevon aside. “I believe His Majesty is a fair and just king. If you want to see another star in the sky, His Majesty is of the opinion that you shouldn’t keep me from taking what’s rightfully mine.” Dominic tucked his helmet in the crook of his elbow. His tone remained casual. “Your stockyard is in my district. You are making it immensely difficult for His MajestyDominic spit the term in a way that made Sevon’s blood boil—“to make a proper decision, because you’re giving away my property. Do you see my point?”

Or at least, that’s how Dominic’s case went. Sevon’s belly quivered with the fact that this atrocity was unfolding in front of him moment by moment. It was not that he hadn’t done this before; Dominic had told him that participating in executions would make him a stronger king. Not only make him a stronger king, but kill the problematic sense of humanity he still held within his heart. Sevon refused to lose his empathy, but Dominic didn’t care for his flashes of compassion. Sevon had doubted Dominic’s motives since he was old enough to realize he wasn’t really the one ruling the kingdom. Dominic wanted him to be the ideal, compliant lover, and the king Darkmore needed to survive the bleak times. Sevon was all too aware that his people just needed a face to blame for their oppression.

Sevon glanced at the Veil again and the light beyond. Once, just once, he wished to know a life where he made his own decisions.

The anxiety permeating Mallory’s stained coveralls invaded the air with rotting putrescence. Sevon sniffed and wrinkled his nose, wishing the stench and the guilt away. This would all be over soon.

Mallory sputtered for an answer. “Please, Your Majesty,” the farmer cried. It turned Sevon’s stomach for Mallory to address him when really it was Dominic’s decision. “It’s not that simple to let Lord Ravensgrove manage the humans. My stockyards never recovered from Hurricane Gert twenty-two years ago. Herds live in abysmal conditions. They’re sickly and small. My family wants to spare the city the disgrace of eating such refuse. That’s why I give them away to the… the….” Mallory craned his neck upward at the disapproving glare of Lord Dominic Ravensgrove.

Dominic tapped four iron spikes into his waiting palm, and Mallory burst into tears.

“Please,” Mallory whimpered. “Please don’t do this….”

Dominic snorted a laugh. “You’ve had twenty-two years to recover from a meager hurricane. You are aisa! Nature bows to you. Are you a man, or are you a cockroach?”

Sevon startled. “Dominic, that’s enough!”

Dominic spun on his heel and roared in Sevon’s face. “I said be silent, boy!”

Sevon’s lip quivered, but something inside him urged him not to back down. “You’re putting them to death for no reason! What Mallory is saying is the truth. You’re doing this to punish me.” Sevon slipped back two steps. “Let them go and be done with it. I know what you want to do to me when we return to the palace. So what’ll it be? Licking filthy boots? Whippings? Trying to fuck me with your pathetic di—”

The crack across Sevon’s cheekbone sent him spinning and tumbling into one of Dominic’s guards. He blinked through the haze as the guard hooked him under the arms and held him upright against his chest.

“Hold him. We’ll need him,” Dominic commanded.

Sevon pulled away from the guard, but the man was much taller and stronger. “Dominic!” he cried. “Dominic, stop!”

Dominic turned away, ignoring him, and Sevon wilted.

“Let’s not mince words, Mallory,” Dominic said. “You have food. The aisa need food. I don’t give a damn if the livestock is inbred or has dementia. Blood and meat are blood and meat.”

“Your Majesty, I beg you,” Mallory whimpered, tears streaking his filthy cheeks. “My family is very loyal to the Crown of Darkmore. King Louis was very good to us.”

If anything made Sevon feel inadequate as a king, it was the mention of how good of a king his father had been. Dominic had repeated the stories constantly of how Louis was truly a coward and had left his kingdom to rot after the terrible hurricane two decades ago. Sevon had heard the stories enough times, even he believed them. But his gut churned when he encountered a subject who worshipped the man.

“His father is gone,” Dominic snarled, curling his fingers into angry claws. “You are loyal to Louis, but he is your king.” Dominic snapped a hand toward Sevon. “How dare you betray him?”

Mallory withered, and Patricia jumped to his defense. “Please, Your Majesty,” she said, again addressing Sevon. The dread tightened around his skull. Dominic was speaking for him, and these two were none the wiser. “We have been very faithful to you and your father.”

Dominic scoffed. “How dare you bring up such a weakling king?”

Patricia wailed, thrashing in the guards’ grasp. She cursed Sevon with fangs gnashing and yellow eyes blazing. “You are a tyrant, Sevon Maraté. You will never be as great a ruler as your father. Never!”

“It’s not me!” Sevon cried and jerked, trying to get free from the guard. “It’s not me. Dominic, let them go! Please. Please, let them go. This isn’t right!”

Dominic eased the full helmet onto his head, and his guards followed his lead. Sevon watched them tighten their gloves and secure their coats against the sun’s scalding light. “Cap him,” Dominic said under his visor. The guard who held Sevon roughly shoved Sevon’s helmet over his head, pulling on the bun in his hair.

Patricia went limp, overcome with tears. She sobbed an incoherent mixture of desperate questions and begged for deliverance from an unknown god.

“Got him?” Dominic asked Sevon’s captor, and the man flashed an upward thumb. “Bring him here.”

The guard trundled forward with Sevon thrashing in his grip. Sevon’s ankle-length black leather skirt rustled as it caught between the guard’s legs. The guard crushed the thick fabric into the scattered refuse dotting the sandy ground as he dragged Sevon closer to the membrane of the glowing Veil.

Sevon crossed his arms tightly around his chest, tucking his gloved hands into his armpits. “I won’t do this,” he growled.

Dominic didn’t answer and yanked one of Sevon’s hands free with a sharp snap. Sevon let out a cry of pain and indignation as Dominic forced Sevon’s arm upward and flattened his palm mere centimeters from the Veil. The globs of iridescence swirled and whirled, drawn to Sevon’s proximity.

Behind him, Mallory wailed, and tears of molten gold ruined Sevon’s smoky eye shadow.

Sevon wanted to see the light. Be in it. Touch it. Taste it. Smell it. The temptation oozed through his mind like a disease. But he didn’t want it like this. Not like this. He despised that Dominic would take the things he desired most and corrupt them into something horrific.

Dominic waved Sevon’s hand, and the sheer bubble of the Veil popped, creating a wavering portal in the protective barrier. Light stabbed into the darkness of Darkmore, and Sevon was the only one who didn’t flinch.

“Quickly, quickly!” Dominic barked and led the charge into the desert.

Two of the guards hefted Mallory into the daylight, and the other two dragged Patricia by the upper arms. Her bare toes dug desperate rents in the hard-baked earth. The five men whisked past Sevon, leaving him in the bear hug of the final guard. Sevon stared longingly into the sun from behind the safety of his helmet’s visor. There was never any doubt Dominic would always destroy something Sevon cherished.

Dominic slammed the screaming Mallory to the hot ground. The farmer flailed while his skin smoldered and flaked. His wispy hair ignited and his fangs emerged in a desperate reaction.

Sevon stared blankly and let his eyes go out of focus. It was much easier to watch someone burn when he couldn’t make out the details. He never forgot the screams, though. His own screaming never did anything. Tears rolled down his cheeks, and Sevon’s stomach plummeted with the knowledge of his helplessness.

Dominic pressed himself to Mallory, pinning one arm with his knee and driving the iron spike through Mallory’s wrist into the earth. Mallory thrashed, freeing his impaled wrist. He caught Dominic off guard by digging his clawed fingers into the meat of Dominic’s thigh. Dominic recoiled as his thick leather pants tore and the sun bit into his exposed skin. He winced, and his tawny flesh reddened with blisters. Dominic wouldn’t be deterred, however, and stabbed the second spike into Mallory’s other wrist.

Sevon snapped back into the moment and gasped in horror. “Dominic!” Sevon screeched. “Dominic, come back! You’ll burn! Dominic,” he pleaded.

“I need to finish this,” Dominic snarled in reply. “I need to make the point that this is what we do to traitors.” He limped toward Mallory’s feet. The sun had compromised his protective clothing, and its poisonous heat seeped into his skin, boiling his flesh and blood.

“Dominic!” Sevon shrieked through the open portal in the Veil. “Stop this!”

Dominic limped around Mallory’s smoking body as his own flesh sizzled. “Why don’t you get a closer look?” Dominic called. “Throw him here.”

“What?” Sevon managed to say before the guard threw him out of the portal and onto the hard sunbaked earth. Sevon’s head bounced against the ground, and his helmet popped loose from his head. His hair tumbled in spiraling waves and whipped about in the Texas wind. The sunlight blasted against his face instantly. His eyes snapped open from the searing pain, and his vision filled with blinding brightness. “Dominic!” Sevon croaked.

He pushed to his hands and knees, flailing for his helmet, which must be somewhere nearby. At least he hoped so. The sun stung at the back of his head through his white-gold hair. His head-to-toe blackout leather gown grew warm against his skin in the arid desert. He tried to stay calm as he felt around. His skin was hot to the touch, and he knew he was seconds from igniting. Sevon would die here. Right now. In the hideous way of Dominic’s latest punishment.

He counted to five, keeping calm. If he were to die now, Dominic couldn’t hurt him anymore. The idea of the ultimate escape appealed to him as the thoughts raced through his mind of his imminent release. The sun stroked him in comfort, welcomed him, and urged him onward. Away from Dominic’s reach and his wrath. The sun made Sevon feel free. It made him feel, for the briefest of moments, alive. Alive!

Sevon lay back, forgetting about the helmet, and turned his face to the sun. He welcomed the release.

“What the fuck, Sevon,” Dominic spat at him, and Sevon’s skin prickled with the ice of fear. “Take him!” Dominic roared to his other men.

The guards obeyed and scooped up the flailing Sevon. He screamed and kicked, as they returned to the safety of Darkmore’s forever night.

Mallory sizzled, his lips burning away and fangs glowing like white-hot coals. He snarled his final defiance of the sun and of the Darkmore crown. Not far behind him, Patricia’s burning body curled forward, failing to protect her unborn child.

Sevon could no longer hide his tears at the thoughtless murders.

Once safely within the confines of the Veil, it sealed behind them with a slurping suck of ether and air. The guards dropped Sevon onto the ground, and he landed hard on his elbow. If he still had a stomach, he would have vomited.

The cold air stabbed into his skin in contrast to the scalding air of the world outside the Veil. He was baffled that he hadn’t immediately ignited like most aisa. He made a mental note to find references about more verkolai traits later. He carefully wobbled to his feet while studying the swirling colors of the Veil and turned his back on Dominic and his men.

Sevon’s thoughts evaporated when Dominic’s palm cracked hard against his cheekbone, and then Dominic wrapped him in a crushing hug. Sevon stumbled in Dominic’s iron grip, trying to clear his vision and comprehend the gesture of affection.

“Don’t ever do that again,” Dominic croaked, sounding genuinely concerned. “I’d be lost without you. You matter too much to me.”

Sevon blinked back his tears. He tried wiping one away around the awkward grip of Dominic’s broad arm. “I’m… s-sorry…,” Sevon muttered. He tried to decode the meaning in Dominic’s words. Was there a hidden meaning? Or, when faced with the true threat that Sevon would rather end himself, did Dominic have a change of heart? Sevon’s mind roiled with confusion.

Dominic crushed him in a tighter hug and petted Sevon’s hair. He gripped a fistful of Sevon’s hair and kissed at the curls at his temple. “You matter too much,” Dominic said again.

Sevon shivered and questioned himself. Maybe, in this instant, things would be different for them. Maybe Dominic had the capacity to change. Maybe it would finally work out. Sevon knew the damning truth deep in his soul. Maybe not today or tomorrow or months from now, but there would be severe retribution for his insubordination. He tried not to think about the possibilities. He only focused on this moment and fought the urge to run.

He softly wrapped his arms around Dominic’s thick waist and forced himself to relax into him. “I’m sorry,” Sevon said, trying to make it not sound like a lie. “I’m sorry.”

“Come,” Dominic said in a firm order and released Sevon with a cold gesture. He limped away through the scattered trash. The burn on his leg bloomed into newborn skin. “You have to make your decree at the stockyards.”

Sevon solemnly watched Dominic walk away. Failure burned in his throat. Dominic had sternly raised him, claimed he loved him, and eagerly encouraged his love of fine frippery. Dominic encompassed the entirety of his world…. And nothing would ever change.

It was easier to pretend it would all be okay.


About the Author:

madison_parker_MG_4269-WEBLex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” Now, she’s on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting.

Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. Her pride is in telling stories of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. If you’re going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.

Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, and unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind.

She is grateful for and humbled by all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and welcomes feedback.

You can find in the Intarwebz here:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LXChase
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Lex_Chase
Tumblr: http://lexiconofkittens.tumblr.com
Instagram: http://instagram.com/lexachase
Site: http://lexchase.com

Lex Chase – Chasing Sunrise Blog Tour & Giveaway

ChasingSunrise_BlogTour_S

Hello everyone! I’m Lex Chase and I want to give a big thank you to Charlie for hosting me today on the Chasing Sunrise Blog Tour!

Chasing Sunrise paranormal urban fantasy featuring people eating vampires that definitely don’t sparkle, Ancient Roman shifters, torture, war, genocide, and a love story that causes irrevocable consequences. It’s definitely not your standard fluffy paranormal. It’s dark, and leads readers to places that they never thought capable.

At the start of the tour, we started off with some pretty serious topics about the nature of the book. One of them being the core theme of domestic violence, and Sevon’s struggle to overcome. As the series progresses, Sevon will always be struggling. He will have his good days, and he’ll have his utterly shattered days. But as they say, get knocked down three times, get up the fourth.

And I’m warning you right now, it’s a high possibility this post is going to fuck you up emotionally.

I have said many times in many different venues, Chasing Sunrise and the Darkmore Saga as a whole is one gigantic metaphor for what I endured at the hands of my abusive girlfriend for ten years. In the end, I want to help people understand what it’s like, and for those that are trapped in domestic violence know there is hope.

In my own process of healing, which to be fair, has been going on for over a decade, it comes in fits and starts. Chasing Sunrise was my first big step in finally ripping it wide open and taking it head on. Still. Like Sevon, I have good days, and days where I’m utterly shattered. And I have been going through this process for a decade.

A decade.

Recovery is not as easy as you think. And it will never be as easy as you think.

One of the things I discovered via mindlessly wandering Buzzfeed one morning was Lovers Shirts by the photography/writing duo Her Clay Heart. Divided into sections of Lovers and Ex-Lovers, I went through the Ex-Lovers section, thinking nothing of it, more or less a curiosity…

Lover's Shirts - Credit Carla Richmond

Lover’s Shirts – Credit: Carla Richmond

And then the memories hit.

And then less in the space of four photos, I lost it. Completely and utterly lost it. It was 7am. I had only been awake for 15 minutes. My brother was still asleep, and there I was, in my PJs on the couch, and scrolling though on my smartphone.

I couldn’t stop looking. And I couldn’t stop crying either.

And even after I had finished the slides, I sat there and cried for 20 minutes after. And then for the next few hours after I had gotten myself more or less together, I’d randomly burst into tears.

These are important moments in my life. As they say, these are teaching moments.

Lover's Shirts - Credit: Carla Richmond

Lover’s Shirts – Credit: Carla Richmond

In Chasing Sunrise and the Darkmore Saga, while utter works of fiction with fantasy creatures and worlds, I find it immensely important to show Sevon’s teaching moments. To see his breakdowns, his various moments of catharsis, and Jack pulling him aside and very realistically talking him off a ledge as he’s crumbling.

In Chasing Sunrise specifically, while a few liberties have been taken in keeping with the fantasy creature context, Dominic’s abuse he inflicts on Sevon are all too real. As they’re my experiences. And while I never found my own Jack, he is the character that is my mental center as it were. He is the guiding light that Sevon needs, he is the stillness in all of the chaos.

Jack is the character that helps Sevon undress, stripping him down of all his anger and sadness, and redressing him in the warmth of love. Sevon may tear at his metaphorical clothes, he may stain them, or rip them, or ruin them, but Jack will sit for hours and stitch up the fabric of Sevon’s soul.If you want to see more of the Lover’s Shirts project, I urge you to check out Her Clay Heart. Perhaps you too will find your own catharsis and new clothes to wear.


 

Chasing Sunrise400x600
Genre: Vampires, Werewolves/Shapeshifters, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Fantasy
Series: The Darkmore Saga: Book One
Length: Novel
Published: July 25, 2014
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-62798-776-9
Buy: Paperback or eBook

Blurb:
Chasing Sunrise
The Darkmore Saga: Book One
On the Coastal Bend of Texas, a hidden kingdom called Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Using Sevon as a mouthpiece and a scapegoat, Lord Dominic rules from the shadows. Sevon copes with the unrelenting abuse by dressing in women’s finery and casting an image of graceful nobility. Born of royal verkolai blood and as beautiful as he is lethal, he possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift is his chance to escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous land of Priagust. Only a select few know the mythic kingdom of shifters exists. Sevon is out of options for his people’s survival, and cooperating with Dominic is his only chance.

On their foray into Priagust, Dominic’s men kidnap and interrogate a shifter named Jack. Even under torture, Jack’s loyalty to his kind never wavers. But as Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s king and its history unsettles Sevon, a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame Sevon’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom. As invasion looms, Sevon wonders if trusting Jack will lead him into another trap or if he should forget about chasing the sunrise and remain Dominic’s compliant prisoner.


Chasing Sunrise Excerpt

Sevon found a clothing box waiting on his bed. He paced around it, curious if he should touch it. The navy blue bow around the white box beckoned him forward. He picked up the card between two fingers and flipped it over. Sevon’s heart thumped against his ribs at the familiar flourished handwriting.

To Priagust. To the future.—D

 

Sevon’s knees quaked as he opened the box and ripped into the tissue paper. His heart fluttered at the gift. A luxurious navy brocade gown from one of the finest tailors in the kingdom. He pulled the garment from the box and pressed it against his nude frame. He turned to his full-length mirror to be sure of the size. Of course Dominic would know his size. He was observant, and Sevon was likewise aware that navy blue was Dominic’s favorite color.

Sevon hurried to ring for his maids to help him into the gown. He smiled and crushed the fabric in his fingers. “Things will be different now,” he said. Once dressed, Sevon hurried to the palace drive, where the carriage awaited. Dominic had planned for Sevon to make his decree at the stockyards. Sevon was uncertain about the turn of events in the wake of Mallory’s death. He knew Dominic was right: the stockyards had to be controlled by some party or there would be anarchy. Dominic had declared himself to be that man, and that was one of the things Sevon disagreed with him about. Sevon winced at the acute memory of the pain when Dominic had whipped him over it. He tried to push the memory down. Dominic gave him the dress. Clearly things were improving.

The rustling of Sevon’s gown announced his arrival to the palace drive.

“My liege,” the coachman greeted him.

“Good evening,” Sevon said with a kind smile as the coachman opened the carriage door for him.

Sevon stepped inside the white lacquered carriage and Dominic followed. It tilted under the weight of Dominic’s broad frame. Together, they settled onto cushioned seats opposite each other, and Sevon smoothed his skirts.

Dominic smiled at Sevon’s dainty actions. “I see you found my gift.”

Sevon’s eyes lit up at Dominic’s kindness.

“Do you like it? The tailor did such a wonderful job with the embroidery. I’m so happy that he doesn’t make a fuss over making a gown for a man.”

Dominic scratched at the corner of his eye. “I might have advised him about it.”

Sevon blushed and cast his gaze to his lap. “That really wasn’t necessary,” he muttered.

He knew very well what Dominic meant about advisement. Dominic’s sense of helpful advisement commonly involved intimidation and blatant threats that if others expressed disapproval of Sevon’s preference for men and his desire to dress in women’s finery, it would be met with outlandishly cruel punishment. It was always better that he pretended to ignore what was going on in Dominic’s mind. Sevon pasted a smile onto his face, trying to convince Dominic nothing was amiss. “It’s your favorite color,” he said sweetly.

“It is,” Dominic said, watching out the window and not paying Sevon any mind.

Sevon tried not to frown too much.

 


Buy Now From:

Dreamspinner Press in Paperback or eBook!


Gold Sunset

Click to enter Lex’s Bundle O’ Books Rafflecopter Here!

You can win one personally signed copy of the Chasing Sunrise Paperback!

Or an eBook copy of Chasing Sunrise!

Ooooor hey, hey, I did write a series about superheroes before! Yes! You too can win the entire Checkmate Trilogy!


LXC_FlamesAbout the Author:

Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting.

Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure, epic love—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if you’re going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.

Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending.

Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed “The Next Alan Moore” by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine residing in the ’burbs of Northwest Florida where it could be 80F and she’d be a popsicle.

She is grateful and humbled for all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and welcomes feedback.

You can find her on those social media things at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LXChase
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lex_Chase
Tumblr: http://lexiconofkittens.tumblr.com

Find her blog at http://lexchase.com or drop her an e-mail at lex.a.chase@gmail.com.


Chasing Sunrise Tour Stops:

7/13 – Chris T. Kat – The Power of Androgyny

7/17 – Michael Rupured – Whispering for Help: Chasing Sunrise Goes Viral

7/19 – Lily Velden – Don’t Lose Your Way

7/20 – Jaime Samms – Screw Sparklepires! Meet the Aisa

7/22 – Aidee Ladnier – Were…what? Meet the Shifters!

7/24 – Grace Duncan – Walking the Runway with Sevon

7/25 – Chasing Sunrise Release Day!

7/26 – Shira Anthony – When Disaster Strikes: Natural Disasters in Fiction

7/29 – Dreamspinner Twitter Takeover with Charlie Cochet

7/30 – It’s About The Book – “I loved you before Nazareth.” Meet Bianca and Chaney

8/2 – Chat at the Dreamspinner Press Facebook Page

8/8 – Charlie Cochet – The Catharsis of Lovers Shirts

8/13 – Gay List Book Reviews – The Necessity of Brutality

8/16 – Tali Spencer – The Shape of Things to Come: Glass Moon

Lex Chase – Chasing Sunrise (The Darkmore Saga: Book One) Release Day Blitz and Giveaway!

Chasing Sunrise by Lex Chase - Release Day Blitz Banner

Chasing Sunrise
(The Darkmore Saga, Bk 1)
by Lex Chase
 
Blurb:
On the Coastal Bend of Texas, a hidden kingdom called Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Using Sevon as a mouthpiece and a scapegoat, Lord Dominic rules from the shadows. Sevon copes with the unrelenting abuse by dressing in women’s finery and casting an image of graceful nobility. Born of royal verkolai blood and as beautiful as he is lethal, he possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift is his chance to escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous land of Priagust. Only a select few know the mythic kingdom of shifters exists. Sevon is out of options for his people’s survival, and cooperating with Dominic is his only chance.
On their foray into Priagust, Dominic’s men kidnap and interrogate a shifter named Jack. Even under torture, Jack’s loyalty to his kind never wavers. But as Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s king and its history unsettles Sevon, a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame Sevon’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom. As invasion looms, Sevon wonders if trusting Jack will lead him into another trap or if he should forget about chasing the sunrise and remain Dominic’s compliant prisoner.

 

 

Available for purchase at

 

   

 

Excerpt

 

Jack shuddered against the cold bite of his shackles. The iron cuffs held him upright, and his arms were stretched tight over his head. Gravity pulled him sloping forward painfully against his bonds. His umber hair swayed in sweat-slicked strands and clung to his face. The humidity hung like milky fog visible against the gray stones. He could smell the herbal traces of algae glazing the walls. No moans, no cries for release, not even a rattled chain sounded throughout the dungeon. He deduced he was the only prisoner—or the only one currently living.
It had happened so fast. He was at the shoreline of the lake when two figures shot from the water. Shrouded in black, the demonic men yanked him into the lake. Jack had expected his end. But he didn’t expect a dungeon, and not just any, but Darkmore’s dungeon. He knew it as well as any ghost story. He had teased Sevon mercilessly for crossing his fingers and turning in a circle three times as he walked by the entrance.
Jack’s heart softened. Sevon, sweet Sevon. It had been exciting for Jack when he was a cub to have a special friend outside of Priagust. One who was not a shifter at all, but something different. He was Jack’s treasure, and he would guard their memory.
But the men had taken him and tossed him in this dank cell. It had to be a mistake. Darkmore was Priagust’s sworn protector. King Louis would never wrongfully imprison a shifter. Jack spit a speck of grit. Was Louis alive? Did he survive the storm? What of Anna Maria? Surely she’d know.
But Jack wasn’t sure. He had been just a child when he saw Louis die, and all childhood memories were fallible. He could only hope it was a misunderstanding. He squinted with the painful pull in his shoulders, and the realization sank in. This was far more than a mere misunderstanding.
Jack’s pupils flexed into pinpricks when the sound of distant footsteps announced someone’s approach. He jerked his chin toward the sound to get the first look at his host.
An ethereal, earthbound spirit drifted into the dungeon. Pale as Winter Mother’s snow and with a brilliant bloom of golden curls to rival Father Sun’s rays, the woman captivated him. Dressed in layers of the midnight sky and coal, her skirts swirled in a trail of goldfish fins behind her. The unusual ladybird settled at the cell door, tossing a lock of spun gold over her shoulder. She waited.
“What do they call you?” she coldly demanded.
A peculiar tenor tone in her voice made Jack choke on his breath. A man. The strange, colorful bird was a man.
By the way he glared at Jack as if he were of no consequence, Jack decided that whatever the case, he had to be on guard. Jack sniffed and mentally discerned a more masculine scent under the perfumed oils. But there were two masculine scents, this beautiful man’s and someone else’s. He licked the salt on his lip and smirked. He had nothing left to lose.
Jack lifted his head, and he panted against the searing pain in his back. He focused on the curious little meadowlark shrouded in flimsy frippery. He had never seen such an unusual hue of hair before, but he knew one thing for certain.
“You’re not the king,” Jack said.
Something came over the strange man as he quirked his thin brow in irritation. “Yes, I am the king,” he growled in warning. “Your name, creature.”
Jack evaded the question and changed the subject. “The king of Darkmore would never show a shifter such hostility,” he spat. “Go, little meadowlark. Fetch him, now. You are of no concern.”
The supposed king recoiled on his booted heel as if he had been burned.
“Excuse me, you maggot?” he growled and his temper flared.
Jack squinted at him. He looked so much like Anna Maria, as Jack remembered her. Perhaps her son? Perhaps Sevon? Jack swallowed. He had to keep it to himself. He had to find out what he was dealing with first, if he survived that long. He thought of his brother, Kaltag, back in Priagust, probably wondering where he was and if Jack was still staring over the lake, waiting for the day Sevon would appear.
Jack’s heart thumped.
“Louis is gone. I am the king now, and you will answer to me. My sources tell me you’re a spy from the shifter land of Priagust,” he said. The accusation did not bode well for Jack.
Jack took his stand against his captor. He strained against his shackles and grinned through the searing pain in his shoulder blades. “Your sources are clearly mistaken. I was only fishing when your men emerged from the lake and tried to drown me. Which—” He glanced around, and his shackles rattled. “This is some level of hell, correct?” Jack watched him, still puzzling his way through recollections. It wasn’t possible he was Sevon. Why would Sevon become this? He hissed a laugh and kept up a brave face. Jack turned his gaze up. He smirked when the king leaned away from the hammered iron bars of Jack’s cell in disgusted horror. “You are a very fussy bird. You’re no more than a chick, peeping for nourishment.”
“You will answer my questions, shifter…. Or you will be forced to answer them.”
“What kind of king do you think you are?” Jack asked. “Do you understand the scope of what you are doing by holding me like a criminal?”
“Pardon me for not rolling out the red carpet and most lovely courtesans,” he said sarcastically.
“A little bird that pecks. I like that.” Jack chuckled.
Crossing his willowy arms in irritation, the king nodded to the stocky dungeon guard.
The guard loped forward on his gnarled legs and slipped the heavy key in the iron padlock. With a protesting shrill, the bolt popped from its moorings with a loud echoing clank. The cell door swung open with an antiquated creak, and colorful bird of a man slipped into the cell.
Jack’s heart thumped, and his face heated. It was Sevon. His Sevon. He had never been so sure. In the twenty-two years between then and now, the boy Jack had so longed for no longer existed. Confusion swirled through him, but Jack had to keep it within. More parts of the puzzle would fall into place if he just gave it time.
His heart wouldn’t stop racing; all the while he maintained his arrogant grin.
“I’d curtsey, but as you can see, I’m a little tied up,” Jack apologized.
This new Sevon cocked his hip in irritation and snorted. “For a vicious animal, you don’t look like much.”
The term hit Jack hard, but he wouldn’t cower.
“Funny.” Jack chuckled. “For a king, you present yourself quite a bit like a whore.”
Before he could blink, Sevon was upon him. He yanked Jack by the scruff of his hair, tilting his neck painfully backward on its stalk to meet him eye to eye. Jack’s eyes rolled wildly to focus on the glacier blue of Sevon’s. His scent stabbed into Jack’s nose, jabbing cruelly into his brain. The delicate floral became an unrelenting assault on his mind and body. The damning confirmation sank into Jack’s stomach. It was a matter of survival not to show fascination or fear.
“Listen to me, you worthless shit-eating maggot!” Sevon snarled in his face. “You don’t get to call me a whore! Do you understand? I will leave you here to rot in this dank cell until even the rats find you too foul and putrescent. You will be thankful we don’t outright kill you. You will be appreciative of your accommodations.”
Sevon relaxed his grip and his harsh tone eased. “You will be eager to answer our questions. You will make yourself very helpful. Or I will have you skinned alive and your flesh made into jerky.” Sevon snorted a breath through his nose, and Jack’s hair fluttered. The beautiful blond man smiled like a content feline. “Now, do we have an understanding?”
Channeling the bravest parts of himself, and locking away the heartbreak, Jack laughed with a crooked, toothy grin. If this was the game, then he would play it until he was the last one standing. Finally, he had sorted the second male scent, and his thoughts sparked with devious delight. “Did I ruffle your feathers, meadowlark? Does the man whose scent you’re slathered in get to ruffle more than your feathers?”
Sevon shoved him away with a wail of disgust. Jack’s head bounced against his chest, and his manacles creaked at the added pressure. Sevon’s offended squeal was the only warning as a hard, echoing slap cracked across Jack’s cheek so forcefully that his vision blew out into whiteness for a moment.
With several flustered breaths, Sevon sharply pivoted and then stormed out of the cell. He nodded to the stocky guard. “Have him questioned about the nature of his people and land. I don’t care how you do it, or to what ends. Use any means necessary to milk him dry.”
The guard bobbed his head and bowed.
Turning back, Sevon regarded Jack one final time.
Jack noted the confusion mingled with a semblance of fascination. He forced a smile through his blood-tinged teeth. “See you soon, Your Majesty,”
he purred.
Jack clung to a scrap of hope, and listened to the whispers of Sevon’s skirts as he left Jack in the darkness.
The rats chittered.



About the Author
 


Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting too.
Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure and epic love—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if you’re going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love. 
 



Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending.
Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed “The Next Alan Moore” by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine now residing in the burbs of Northwest Florida, where it could be 80F and she’d still be a popsicle. 
 



She is grateful for and humbled by all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and welcomes feedback.
You can find Lex at

               


Giveaway

Signed Paperback of Chasing Sunrise



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