Hullo, everyone! I’m so excited that the tour is finally starting! It’s less than a week until the release of Lightporter, and I’m so excited to finally be able to share it with you! It’s also up for pre-order now, so go check it out! I’ll have a post up soon with details about the fan art and fan fiction contest, but first, the third (and final!) sneak peek chapter! Enjoy!
Check out the bottom for the tour schedule!
The hotel looms before us, not the tallest skyscraper in a place like Chicago, but tall enough. The sky is overcast, causing a foreboding air to rest on the city… or maybe that’s just my imagination. We’re in the shadows close to the hotel.
“Ready?” Blaze whispers. We all nod silently, and he motions for Push to lead. The streets aren’t as busy as they would be in New York or someplace like that, but we have to make sure to follow Push closely and watch out for other pedestrians.
Getting through the doors of the hotel is a little difficult—we don’t want it to look like the door is holding itself open—but Push pretends to drop something in the doorway, which gives us a chance to slip through. The lobby is large, but it doesn’t wow me. Not many things do, architecture-wise, ever since I saw IDIA headquarters for the first time. The floor is shiny, brown wood, or maybe fake wood, and the whole lobby is colored honey and brown. I do my best to walk quietly, without my shoes squeaking, but Push seems to be purposefully squeaking, just to cover up our sounds. I don’t know her very well, but I’m sure glad she’s on this mission with us.
Blaze, Maddie, and I separate from Push as she approaches the front desk with the pictures of Com and the FOE guy. Blaze leads us through an employee door, and we manage to slip in behind a worker. We follow Blaze down a narrow hallway until we find the right door. We wait a while for the hallway to empty in our area, and when the coast is clear, Blaze and I slip into the room, leaving Maddie on guard. It’s a lot smaller than I was expecting. Old file cabinets line one wall, and a desk with three computers on it is on the other wall. The wall opposite is empty, except for a small security camera in the corner. Blaze approaches it, studies the angle, and then walks back. “All clear,” he says softly and motions to the computer.
“Did you set up an illusion for the camera?”
“Yes,” he hisses under his breath. “Get started!”
I wince and slide into one of the chairs. Computers are not my friends, so I’m hoping this’ll be simple. It mostly is. I find the records, thanks to Jen’s tips on where they might be, and I begin to search. My mind’s only half on my task, though, because I’m also trying to think of a way to get Blaze to talk. The computer gives me an error message, and I growl at it. “I wish Jen was here. She could just read the computer and get all the information.”
“She wouldn’t,” Blaze replies. “She won’t touch computers. The information overloads her brain.”
I frown. “What?”
Blaze sighs impatiently and flops down in one of the other desk chairs. “Jen can absorb information from touching any object, right? Same goes for a computer. If she touches it, she gets all of the information on it… but, just like when she touched Brooklyn and found you, if she touches a computer for more than a few seconds, she would get all of the information on the internet, and she’d have access to every computer on the planet that’s connected to the internet. I saw her brush up against a computer once, not enough to fully read it, and she nearly passed out. That’s why she wears gloves whenever she uses a computer.”
“Wow,” I whisper in awe. “That’s nuts.”
Blaze nods. “I know. Now get back to work.”
My chance. I spin around to face him. “What is up with you today? You’ve been snappish, and you’re ‘not in the mood’ for joking around! Since when do you say that? You’ve been acting like a jerk!”
Blaze glares at me, more ferocious than I’ve ever seen him, and I sink back into my chair. But a second later, his expression changes to cool indifference. “I’m under a lot of stress at home, okay? Now’s not a good time for me. Can you handle that for a little while?” The sarcasm on the last sentence stings.
I don’t reply, just turning back to the computer. Behind me, Blaze sighs. “Look, Albany, I want to talk to you about this, but I just can’t. I’m really confused, and I don’t know what I should do, but I need you to trust me, okay?”
I turn around and see him running a hand through his hair, clearly frustrated. “Okay,” I say quietly, turning back to the computer again. I complete the search, and little dots circle in the center of the screen while the results load. I tap my foot impatiently on the ground. A moment later, the listing pops up, and I lean forward, reading out loud for Blaze’s benefit. “Our FOE guy was in room 311.” I stop, staring at the screen with wide eyes.
“When did he leave?” Blaze asks, his tone tired.
I turn and look at him. “He hasn’t yet.”
Blaze straightens and comes over to the computer, gazing at the screen. “That’s so weird,” he mutters. “He checked out two weeks ago but checked back in a few days later.”
“And he’s still here,” I say, still trying to wrap my brain around that part. “Why do you think he came back?”
Blaze shrugs. “A change of plans, I guess. Or maybe this means we need to investigate the room.”
“I’m not staying here,” I say immediately.
He gives me a sideways grin. “I didn’t think you would. Let’s get Maddie and go. Tell Brooklyn what’s up.”
I shoot off a telepathic message to Brooklyn as we slip back into the hallway. Absolute silence is required right now, but that doesn’t include Brooklyn’s questions in my brain. I try to keep my answers as clear and concise as possible, knowing Brooklyn is relaying everything to Jen and asking me Jen’s questions. Jen gives us the go-ahead for checking out the room. But Brooklyn affirms that we need to stay invisible and undetected, if possible.
Blaze teleports the three of us outside the hotel room our mystery man is in. He motions towards the door with a nod to me, and then he and Maddie disappear without any explanation at all.
I very much hope he has a plan, because that motion was not enough to explain to me what to do. Burst into the room like a cop? I can’t tell if I’m invisible or not, and either way, it’ll catch the person off guard. But before I can do anything, Blaze reappears, slips a plastic room key card into my hand and disappears again.
“Thanks,” I grumble under my breath. I slip the key into the door, and the click sounds loud to me. I slowly push the door open, then burst into the room like the idiot I am. I open my mouth to yell something threatening, but before I can say anything, I’m looking down the barrel of a gun. So… I freeze instead of yelling freeze.
“What are you…” The ferocious growl dies. “Jazz?” The gun quivers and moves away from my face, but still points in my direction. “What are you doing here?”
My dazed eyes focus on the straight red hair pulled into a firm ponytail. “Keller? You’re…”
“What are you doing here?” Keller asks through gritted teeth.
“Um…” I stumble over my words. “I-I’m… what are… huh?” Keller, Maddie’s much older sister, is in the room that our FOE guy is supposed to be in. And she’s also pointing a gun at me.
She growls, clearly frustrated with me. “You’re here on IDIA business, correct?”
I should probably deny it, but she’s a full telepath. She could easily just peek inside my brain and see the truth. Plus, I’m wearing my mask, so that kind of gives it away. Keller may not be an IDIA agent, but she’s been to IDIA, and she knows at least a bit about the mask stuff. So I just nod. “But… what are you doing here?”
“I’m on personal business,” she replies with narrowed eyes. “And it’s definitely not any of your business. Were you coming after me?”
“I don’t think so….” I say slowly. Most likely she’s not the FOE guy. Unless she manipulated Com’s memories so that Jen would think the person was a guy. But that wouldn’t make any sense at all. Com would have recognized her when she was at IDIA headquarters. And I don’t even know if she can do that.
All of a sudden, Keller’s gun flies out of her hand and across the room. “Dang it, Maddie,” Blaze growls, turning himself and Maddie visible in the corner. Keller whirls around to face them as Blaze picks up the gun and flips something. I don’t know much about guns, but I’m guessing it’s the safety.
Keller calms slightly, now that she sees her sister. “Why are you here?”
Blaze steps forward. “The better question is why are you here?”
She crosses her arms. “I asked first.”
“Don’t mess with him,” I interrupt coolly. “He’s being grumpy today.”
Blaze sends me a glare, then turns back to Keller. “Look, can you just cooperate? This is sort of related to Maddie’s amnesia.”
Keller’s eyebrow arches. “Jen said we wouldn’t be able to get the memories back.”
“We can’t,” Blaze agrees. “Not that I know of. But don’t you want to get at the people who hired Com to steal the memories?”
Keller’s expression darkens, and she looks at Blaze. “I know you’re using that to manipulate me, but I’ll play along.”
“Good.” Blaze crosses his arms, mimicking Keller’s stiff posture. “Why are you here?”
“I noticed something strange going on in this area,” she replies. I can tell she’s not happy about complying, but at least she hasn’t hurt any of us or anything. “There’s a weird, very big mindprint. I thought I’d come check it out.”
“Did you think it had anything to do with FOE?” Blaze asks.
Keller shrugs. “I didn’t have any clue. I just wanted to investigate. It just seemed dangerously large. I know you think I’m heartless, but I don’t want innocent people getting hurt.”
I personally don’t think of her as heartless—I’ve seen how much she cares about Maddie. Dangerous, yes. Heartless, no. “And why did you use the exact same information as the guy in this room before you?” I jump in.
Keller frowns. “I pulled information out of the brain of the guy who was checking me in. I didn’t know who it was. Is that why he said he’d put me in the same room?”
Blaze frowns and glances in my direction. “Maybe this hotel has more to do with this FOE stuff than we thought.”
I shrug. “Who knows? We just have to tell Data.”
“What do we do about Keller?” Maddie pipes up from her sheltered spot in the corner of the hotel room. “Data wouldn’t want us to just leave her here.”
“Good point,” Blaze says. “Keller, would you mind coming with us?”
Keller opens her mouth to reply, but a shudder shakes her. She puts a hand to her forehead and stumbles to the window, gazing out, and her jaw drops in surprise. “Oh my—”
I hesitate, glancing over at Blaze, but confusion covers his face, too. I feel the familiar itch of my curiosity. I’ve gotten a lot better at restraining myself lately, but my curiosity will never fully go away. I wouldn’t want it to. I wait until Blaze makes his way towards the window and follow him, mentally patting myself on the back. So much self control.
I peer out the window over Maddie’s head. At first, I don’t see anything, but then Keller points to our right. My jaw drops as I take in a huge monster crashing through buildings a few blocks away. Its face looks like a giant mosquito head, the long nose thing prying through buildings. The creature’s body looks kind of like a troll’s, with the scaly skin of a dragon, and it’s taller than most of the buildings around us.
“What is that?” Blaze asks.
Keller shakes her head grimly. “I have no clue. But it’s definitely not good.”
And that’s the end of the sneak peek! You’ll have to wait until the 16th, or you can preorder Lightporter now and you’ll be sure to get it on release day. For now, though, check out the schedule below, and hang around for some fun release tour announcements!
Release Tour Schedule
There will also be posts on The World of the Writer.
Monday, June 11th
Writefury – Character Interview and Lightporter Review
Dreams and Dragons – Twinepathy and Lightporter Reviews
Light and Shadows – Book Spotlight and Author Interview
Tuesday, June 12th
Reading Anyone – Lightporter Review
Jemma – Author Interview
Wednesday, June 13th
Home With Hummingbirds – Character Interview and Book Spotlight
Thursday, June 14th
Ashley Bogner – Author Interview
Faith Blum – Book Spotlight
The Page Dreamer (Deborah O’Carroll) – Lightporter Review
Friday, June 15th
Lights And Shadows – Friday 5s: IDIA Edition
Purely By Faith Reviews – Lightporter Review and Book Spotlight
Saturday, June 16th (Release day!)
Marlene Simonette – Lightporter Review and Book Spotlight
Dreams and Dragons – Character Interview
Elven Padawan – Lightporter Review