Monday, March 4, 2013

When King of the Texas Empire kidnaps Warren's brother, Warren embarks into a still Wild West to save him. On his journey, he makes a discovery that changes his life forever—he and his brother are long-lost members of the Texas royal family and the King wants them both dead.

He gets help from an activist Texan named Lena, who's itching to take on the King and happens to be a beautiful firecracker Warren can't stay away from. Convincing her he's not one of the bad guys becomes harder when a mysterious energy stirs in his body, turning his brain into a hive of emotions and memories—not all his own.

A legacy of violence is not all he inherited from the brutal Kings of Texas. The myth that the royal family possesses supernatural powers may not be myth at all.

Gone are the days when choosing a major was a big deal. Now Warren must save his brother and choose whether or not to be King, follow a King, or die before he can retire his fake ID.


When Warren arrived outside his mother's apartment, he saw Luke Skywalker's face plastered against the window. For some reason, his mother had taped his old Star Wars comforter over the patio glass. He didn't pause too long to wonder why. His mother suffered from what his brother called severe eccentricity, a condition that sometimes included blacking out windows with old sheets for no obvious reason.
Warren always came home when his mother asked, in part because she tended to do things like make bacon in the toaster and start fires. However, if she called him today for anything less than a toaster fire, he would head right back to campus to enjoy the first day after finals the way he had intended to—drunk and poolside.
He wiped his feet like his mother taught him, even though the revolting brown carpeting didn't show much. He kind of missed the crappiness of the apartment he grew up in, although he didn't know why, because crappy also described his new apartment in Eugene. Still, to him, home smelled like pine trees intermingled with pool chlorine and exhaust from the laundry room.
His mother stood in the kitchen beside their yellow nineteen-eighties stove and a refrigerator that always looked too small next to Warren and his other too-tall family members. She held a box of uncooked spaghetti and didn't respond to his presence right away. The box of spaghetti looked worn and crushed, as if his mother had stood there and squeezed the box for a while. The wrinkle between her eyes had grown deeper, and a few more strands of gray had found their way into her waist-length black hair.
Warren took the box of spaghetti out of her hands.
"I will make you dinner," she said.
"I'm not hungry."
Two Red Bulls churned in Warren's hungover and now worried stomach.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
Please don't say cancer. At six-foot-five, Warren had grown too tall for most childish things, but losing his mama still felt like the worst thing that could possibly happen.
"It's Isaac," she said.
Warren's hands began to sweat.
"What's wrong with him?"
Okay, maybe losing his little brother felt like the worst thing that could possibly happen.
His mother took Warren by the hand and led him into their apartment's only bedroom. She had slept on the couch for fourteen years, and Warren and Isaac had shared this room. A bleach-stained towel hung over a broken window. Through the gap, Warren saw the courtyard full of pine trees where they had played as kids—the courtyard where Isaac collected specimens to look at under his microscope while Warren hit mud balls with his baseball bat.
Glass surrounded a brownish-red smudge on the carpet. Blood.
"What is this?" Warren asked.
"Someone took him."
Warren's breath caught in his throat.
"He came home to visit. Said he felt sick. I tried to get off work, but I couldn't find anyone to cover my shift." Her voice took on a higher, more urgent pitch. "When I came home, he was gone."
"You mean someone actually broke in and took him?"
"He's sixteen years old and freaking six-foot-four. You don't just abduct a guy like that for no reason. What the hell for?"
She shook her head, her eyes on the spot of blood.
"Did you call the police?" His voice got higher and louder too.
"Yes, I called 9-1-1, like you told me to for an emergency. Isaac put the numbers on the phone so I wouldn't forget. They came and asked me questions and took pictures."
"What did the police say?" Warren asked.
"Just to call if anything new happens."
"It doesn't make sense. He's nice to everyone. Keeps his head down. This is bullshit." He realized he had yelled. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to curse."
"It's okay."
Warren knelt to get a better look at the blood smudge, careful to avoid the glass.
His mother sat on the floor next to him and took his hand.
He didn't notice his hand shook until she held it firmly.
She pulled him into a hug and squeezed tightly.
"I love you," she said.
"I know. I love you, too, Mom."
"I think you should go."
"What? No. I'm not going anywhere." She got confused at the grocery store on her best days. She needed him now. And he needed her.
"They'll come for you, too," she said in a near-whisper.
He pulled away from her. "What aren't you telling me?"
"Nothing. I'm just worried. I don't want to lose you, too."
She didn't lie well, and only one topic caused her to act this evasive.
"Does this have anything to do with my father?"
She paused for what seemed like a full minute, and then finally gave the same answer she always gave when they asked about their father.
"No. Your father is dead. He died in Waterloo when the bomb hit Texas."
Posted by Unknown On 10:06 AM 1 comment

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