FREE to 1 May
New York: Allie's War, Early Years
by JC Andrijeski
New York: Allie's War, Early Years is a prequel novel in JC Andrijeski's Allie's War series. An urban fantasy new adult romance set in a unique, gritty version of Earth, populated by a second race of psychic beings called Seers, the Allie's War series centers on the relationship of a strong female protagonist, Allie Taylor, and her antihero guide, Dehgoies Revik. The series takes place in a modern version of our world just prior to the apocalypse and a dystopian future, and spans centuries along with the lives of its main characters, the Seers, and the wars they fight with themselves and their human allies and enemies. (Appropriate for ages 16 and up - steamy sex scenes in parts!)
The books in order:
Allie calls it her New York jinx. Already on this trip, obnoxious band groupies hang all over her boyfriend, a stalker leaves her cryptic and creepy notes, and she nearly gets arrested watching a Seer get tasered by cops who act like not-cops. One of them, a tall, black-haired guy with strangely colorless eyes, keeps showing up everywhere Allie goes.
But when a religious cult targets Allie for an end of the world ritual, her visit goes from annoying to quite probably fatal.
She watched him, her eyes riveted on the way he moved, the confident, almost heavy gait that still managed to be strangely feline as he walked at the back end of the auditorium. A faint sheen of sweat covered his face and neck, as it did pretty much everyone else in the room, herself included, despite how hard the fans worked in grating, circular motions over their heads.
Kali had been looking for him for months...years.
It was strange to be finally faced with him, and somewhat disconcerting. She was one of the few people alive who knew what he truly was, underneath that expressionless mask.
He seemed young to her still, despite what his life had encompassed already.
He was young, from Kali’s perspective, although she knew he might not feel it, nor would he appreciate her pointing out that fact to his face. Like most male seers, he was likely sensitive about his age. They all were, it seemed, when it came to the opposite sex. Male seers never seemed to get their stride with their sexual confidence until they’d hit the two or three hundred mark, at least, and Kali doubted, somehow, that he would be any different, despite who he was.
Kali used her sight to memorize every line of him, every structure and taste of his light, in the event he managed to lose her again before she got up the nerve to approach him...and before she determined a way to do so without him merely attempting to kill her for her troubles.
At roughly eighty-years-old, he had reached most of his adult height. Tall, even for a seer, like his father...perhaps 6’5” or 6’6”, utilizing human measurements. Despite her perception of his light, he looked old for his age, she noticed...physically, that is. Perhaps it had been the content of those eighty-odd years, but his face had a harder cast than most seers who have lived so long, she thought.
To the humans, he would look perhaps thirty.
Not older than thirty-five.
Not younger than twenty-seven or twenty-eight.
His black hair hung down in a ragged line, partly in his eyes now. Those same eyes shone in the dingy overhead lights, an indiscriminate pale that was almost completely colorless as he continued to case the room. The long hair fit the style of the current human fashion, of course, although he was clean-shaven, unlike many male humans in his rough age-bracket. Since he was blending with and passing as human, however, it didn’t surprise her that he chose to let his hair grow out.
Even so, she couldn’t help noticing that, on him at least, the longer hair still managed to make him look more warlike than the scraggly, softer look of the human ‘hippie’ contingent. Part of that might have been the lack of facial hair, and the hard, almost sharp planes of his face without anything to soften those lines, but Kali suspected that wasn’t all of it.
In the same way, the longer hair somehow made him appear more seer than not. Perhaps it simply contrasted too strongly with those same angular lines of his narrow face.
He wasn’t a handsome man, really.
His features fit together too inharmoniously for that. His large eyes stared, lamp-like from that tanned skin above the high cheekbones and a not-small nose. His narrow mouth formed a firm line above an even more firm and distinctive jaw.
He was attractive though, in his way. The strange silver lights Kali could see obscuring and darkening his aleimi took away from that attractiveness for her, but she knew the intensity of those same lights would undoubtedly have the opposite effect on others.
Even now, she saw the eyes of human females noticing him.
A European reporter did a double-take on his face and then his lean, broad-shouldered body, measuring him with an openly appraising stare. Without seeming to know she’d done it, she wet her lips as she continued to look at him, her pupils dilating slightly as she once more flickered her gaze over him in his worn jeans and leather belt. The thin, black t-shirt he wore stuck to the lean muscles of his chest with sweat, making a dark mark from his neckline to about his sternum.
He wore a jacket, too, despite the suffocating heat, a thin leather sheath which told Kali he had at least one gun strapped to his side, if not more than one.
For his part, he barely seemed to notice the reporter, although Kali saw him return the appraisal in a furtive kind of rote, staring briefly at the human’s bare legs and noting the lack of a bra before he went back to taking the measurements of the room. As his mind returned to work, he slid back into the blank, work-face mask of a trained infiltrator, Kali noticed.
He disappeared inside that mask, and then back into the crowd, too, melting away from her view as he continued his ghost-like walk around the perimeter.
It unnerved her, even without her knowing why he was there, not precisely.
The year was 1974.
Nixon had just resigned as President of the United States in the wake of one of the worst political scandals of the Twentieth Century...at least that didn’t result in out-and-out war, apart from the wars that already raged in Asia. The war in Vietnam continued, seemingly without end, and now the Soviets were involved, too...although the United States had finally diminished their presence on the continent, preferring to throw money at the South Vietnamese army, instead.
Standing at a press conference in downtown Saigon itself, in a basement meeting hall down the street from the famous Caravelle Hotel, Kali felt old suddenly, in a way she hadn’t as long as she’d been alive. She’d finally found him.
The man who would be her unborn daughter’s mate.
Even with what she knew, Kali found the thought chilling.
Short story? Nope. Amazing prequel that's a story all by itself. This baby's a novella - over 100 pages - and if you've read any of JC Andrijeski's Allie's War series, you'll slide right into this little number, and you will love it.
If you haven't read any of the Allie's War series, this story is a perfect introduction. Don't hesitate - take a leap. This series (and this writer) will quickly become a favorite.
About the Author
JC Andrijeski has published novels, novellas, serials, graphic novels and short stories, including new adult fantasy series, Allie's War, the new adult science fiction series, The Slave Girl Chronicles, and the Gate-Shifters series, about a shape-shifting alien and a tough-girl PI from Seattle. She also writes nonfiction essays and articles, as well as some erotica. Her short works have been featured in anthologies, online literary, art and fiction magazines as well as print venues such as NY Press newspaper and holistic health magazines. JC travels extensively and has lived abroad in Europe, Australia and Asia, but currently lives and works full time as a writer in Portland, Oregon.