Merged Series: Book 1:
Joshua Lighthouse never wanted to save the world, but now he has no choice.
Three hundred years ago, the human world and the world of Myth underwent a cataclysmic Merge. Those who survived – both human and Others – formed factions.
Joshua led one faction, the Human Protection Agency which is charged with maintaining the safety of the humans in his city. He secretly protects an artifact more powerful than even he knows…
The Book of Secrets.
As the anniversary of the Merge approaches, Joshua’s world is turned upside down, the order he’s maintained for so long is stripped away from him. He is kidnapped and betrayed, and a bounty is placed on his head.
And the Book?
On the run from the organization he once served and legions of Others who seek to kill him, Joshua is in a race against time to find the Book of Secrets and prevent the inter-species war that will end the world he knows forever.
Can one man find his way to salvation when everything he believed in turns out to be something else?
The Book of Secrets is an unrelenting page-turner that will keep readers on the edge of their saddles, an epic urban fantasy for fans of Rick Riordan and Sarah J. Maas.
Book of Secrets is a standalone first book in the Merged Series.
Excerpt: Unproofed / Unedited
1AM, August 11, 2016 – Earth before the Merge
Joshua Lighthouse’s plan was simple. Sneak out the window, climb to the roof, and watch the meteor shower. Nothing was going to stop him.
Not even the strange heavy feeling which still hung in the air. The feeling of a storm coming. The forecast had been for clear skies, but he’d been unable to shake the feeling that something was coming. That something was wrong.
Every year the Perseid meteor shower came close to his birthday. This year the peak fell on his twelfth birthday and the peak of the meteor shower would happen at his birth hour and there was going to be an outburst. Double the normal number of meteors.
He tightened his hand around the backpack’s handle hidden under his Star Wars bedspread. The details of his room were lost in the darkness. His new star projection clock didn’t project enough light to chase away the dark shadows. Instead, it filled his bedroom with a steady clicking like the mandibles of a giant ant.
The digits on the clock took about a century to flip to two AM.
It was time.
He pulled out the remote control from the side pocket of his bag. A button turned on the camera on his spybot hidden on the top of his parent’s wardrobe. The lever made the spybot crawl out from behind the discarded baseball caps, cups, and change. The camera focused on his parents in their king-sized bed.
His father’s mouth opened wide, his arms flung out with one touching the nightstand and the other over part of his mom’s pillow. His mom was hidden under the quilt with just the tips of her dark hair sticking out. Her arm hung over the side and twitched in time with father’s snoring.
His parents were asleep. The remote snapped back in place in his bag. He kicked off the covers. His toes sunk into the plush carpet as he crept across the room to open the window. The screen already sat hidden behind his dresser.
He scanned his neighborhood. The streetlight stood silent guard between dark houses.
He pulled out the second remote and sent Betty, his other little robot, from her hiding spot on the roof. She rolled to the edge and lowered the rope already around the chimney. It slithered down next to his window.
The climb took a moment. From his vantage point on the roof, the neighborhood spread out beneath him. The neighbor’s black lab, Petey, lifted his head from his paws, snorted and curled back up in his kennel.
Joshua pulled up the rope, tucking it and the robot back in their hiding place. Fifteen steps brought him to the faint chalk X which marked the spot where the best view would be. In that spot, the chimney would block the light from downtown Rochester, and a gap in the trees would give him a wide view of the sky.
He sat on the spot and unpacked. Snacks – check. Binoculars around his neck – check, a blanket for his legs to ward off the chill – check.
Then he settled back on the roof. The trees in the backyard swayed gently in the slight breeze. The roof was rough and warm on his back. The faint smell of backyard fire hung in the air.
His eyes adjusted. The stars twinkled in swaths in the sky looking like spilled salt on his mom’s black granite countertop. Lines traced the first passing meteors. Only the faint hum of mosquitoes and the flutter of a bat broke the quiet.
The Perseid meteor shower would go on for an hour. His parents were sound asleep so they’d never miss him. He’d be able to watch the whole thing.
The deep distant note of a gong tolled. He flinched and covered his ears, but it made no difference to the loudness of the noise.
The gong had a deeper tone than the bells of Assisi Heights up the hill. When the bells at Franciscan Sisters rang, his chest lightened. No, this was something different. That seed of worry that had been nagging him sprouted.
He tucked his blanket in his backpack and stood, walking towards the chimney, and braced his shoulder against it. His binoculars out, he scanned the horizon.
Nothing seemed amiss. The neighborhood lay quiet and dark. Too quiet. Silence, so loud it echoed in his ears. The winds hid, the animals waited. But for what?
To the south, the pink and blue lights of downtown Rochester glowed. The feeling of a storm approaching deepened and his bones responded with an ache. He did a full circle scan, but saw nothing but cloudless, star speckled sky. Was he imagining it?
His eyes were drawn back to downtown, the stars behind the buildings disappeared. Not blocked by clouds, but gone, as if they had been drawn on an etch-a-sketch that a kid had shaken. The pit of his stomach gave another harder twist.
Dark splotches swarmed the Mayo building, army ants overrunning its prey. The darkness faded and left a gaping hole in the skyline. The building was gone.
The hairs on his body stood up as one. His heart drummed and he grabbed the chimney. The stone cut into his fingers.
The Plummer building floated up into the air, water and sparks trailed after it. What was he seeing? It made no sense. He pinched himself and the sharp pain made even less sense. He wasn’t dreaming. But how could it be real?
The roof shook. His foot slipped from under him and only his hold on the chimney kept him upright. His heart skipped and he turned toward the sound.
A stone tower crushed the Miller’s house next door, leaving Petey howling in his backyard kennel. Black spots swarmed the kennel fence and it disappeared. Petey tucked his tail and ran to the front of the house, yipping and whimpering.
From across the street, Mrs. Lake banged open her door. Petey huddled at her bare feet hiding his head under her checkered robe. She gaped at the new stone building, mouth wide, hand to her chest. She seemed about ready to faint.
At the bottom of her porch stairs, a single blue light grew until it looked like a swarm of fireflies. When they fizzled out, a skinny woman with a green-feathered body and long black feathers cresting from her head appeared. Her feathers fluffed up, making her seem bigger. Her long wailing cry broke the silence.
Mrs. Lake fell back against the door, clutching her blanket. She took one deep breath, her mouth hung open, eyes bulged.
Joshua leaned closer to the chimney. If Mrs. Lake looked ready to freak, then this was all real. He pushed down his fear and scanned again. Black swarms took things away, and blue light brought them. What made things move? The stone tower and the Plummer building had moved.
Another blue shimmer in the middle of the street and a large hedge appeared, blocking his view of Mrs. Lake and the green bird-lady. A deep fog rolled in ushering in the stench of rotten cabbage.
The fog made it easier to see faint orange lines which crisscrossed the street looking like a basket that was unraveling. Every third or fourth one brightened into a bolt of flickering orange lightning.
A faint hum brought his attention to an orange bolt inches away from the corner of his house. Stones and plants from the garden drifted up in the orange lightning. The orange lines must be what moved things. It thickened as he watched, embedding the orange bolt inside the edge of his house. If the lines caused movement that meant–.
The house beneath him shook and lifted, leaving the rest of the neighborhood, the hedge, and the fog all shrinking away. The orange light pulled his house higher and higher until everything on the ground was dollhouse sized. He was flying. A strange exhilaration gripped him.
Around him more and more orange bolts brightened, dragging along objects. The bolts were not straight, some turned and twisted around other bolts.
A grove of trees flew above him raining black dirt caught in another orange bolt. When they sped past, a worm landed on his shoulder. He jerked. The worm squirmed on his shoulder just before it fell. That woke him up. He was in danger, just like the worm.
The trees smacked like machine gun fire into a floating grey castle. The castle must’ve appeared like the bird lady and the fog. The trees splintered into chips and left cracks in the stone. A man in armor held onto the buttress which shook each time another tree hit. The castle sunk following its orange line down.
The air thickened with debris. The pops and bangs of a hundred such battles assaulted Joshua’s ears. He felt a sting on his arm. He slapped it, and his hand came away bloody. He must’ve been hit by some broken glass.
Something pinged the roof sending a shingle flying. The house shook each time an object battered it. His house had stayed together, which wasn’t what should’ve happened. Houses weren’t meant to float and stay together, no matter what kid’s movies might show.
He had no idea why, but so far buildings acted like ships on the sea and only when they crashed into something else, did they break. So far, his house hadn’t been hit by anything big enough to break it apart.
The sharp tang of ozone and then a blue shimmer mid-air birthed a long wooden tower that pierced the air like a spear that punctured his house. A mortal wound, the house shuddered and pieces of Joshua’s life fell away. His dresser, his train set, his clock plummeted. Where were his parents? He pulled out the monitor.
The video cameras he’d placed with such care showed nothing but splinters and blood. The tower filled the whole floor. “Mom? Dad?” he whispered. His gut twisted like he had eaten that worm and all its brothers.
He wrapped his body around the chimney, cheek pressed against the brick. The feeling of displaced air made him look up. A pyramid, blotted out the sky and rushed toward him.
Adrenalin came online and pulsed through his system. His heart picked up speed.
Maybe if things came out of the blue light, he could use the light as a door to get out of here. He had no idea what was on the other side. It could be even worse. But he’d die for sure if he stayed here.
He focused on the blue light still at the far end of the towers that had pierced his family’s home. He let go of the chimney and grabbed the rope attached to it, sliding down the way they did in the movies. Gravity no longer pulled just down. It pulled down at first and then shifted to the right causing him to slip and hit his shoulder on the house. The pain of hitting his shoulder blurred the edges of his vision.
If he didn’t move, he’d be crushed.
He pulled hand over hand until he stood on the tower just outside his room. The tower had pierced his bed, obliterated his room.
The last of the tower pulled out of the blue light and the light shrank. The rope in his hand loosened. A brick from the chimney grazed his cheek.
He had one shot to run across the tower and leap into the blue light. If he missed before the light disappeared, he would fall to his death or be crushed.
The grinding of the rest of his house battling and losing against a stone pyramid faded as he focused on the ten paces between him and the end of the tower.
He stepped. His heart thumped a hundred times for each step.
His breath panted out.
On the tenth step, he leapt at the blue light now the size of a paper plate, diving like he would off the high board.