About the Book
Everyone has their own mountain to climb.
Aeron Lorelei, ex-con, now elite agent with CIG should be resting and a nice peaceful vacation with Commander Renee Black sounds perfect.
But the past lurks once more and Aeron finds herself hunted by the FBI on Black Mountain, the very place that saw Renee’s father and brother lost . . . and it soon becomes clear the mountain has a different story to tell.
With hostiles on their tail, the most dangerous mountain in the USA ahead, and a young POI close to their hearts depending on them, Aeron’s burdens are the only way to safety. But Aeron’s body is struggling, the hostiles are waiting, and escaping Renee’s past looks impossible. But Aeron is set on Renee beating her mountain, even if that means being claimed by it herself.
“There isn’t praise high enough for a series that absorbs the brain and imagination on so many levels. Its breath-taking, enthralling, engaging, well written and simply stunning. If you love good stories, strong women, fast-paced action, deep characters, wide casts and a book you can’t put down you really need to read this series.” — Velvet Lounger, Lesbian Reading Room
“Klaire really turned up a notch in this installment when it came to the action, the intensity, the relationships particularly Aeron and Renee’s, the ever-shifting web of truth and deceit, as we reached the boiling point. The poetic lyric of every description, the ongoing symbolism blew me mind in this book. At the end of it all, LOVE, is everything.” — In Bug’s Own Words
Everyone has their own mountain to climb.
Sometimes it’s easy to think that folks got things all worked out when you look at them from the outside. They have all the whistles and chimes that make you wonder how they can do everything with ease.
I’d learned that windows didn’t always reflect what was going on inside. Take the best buddy I’d always been loyal to as a teenager; he’d had looks, charm and I was sure he could get any job he wanted but when I looked closer, he’d been more busted up and warped than most. I’d gone to a secure mental institution, Serenity Hills, thinking I was responsible for the things he did and when I’d come out, he’d just started again. He’d been set on other folks thinking I was guilty.
Then some folks appeared scarred and beaten. They make you think you ain’t worth nothing to them, their shells impenetrable but, sometimes things were different when you broke through. General Ursula Frei of the Criminal Investigations Group was a lot like that. I’d thought she was mean, cold, and singled me out in boot camp. It was caring about someone else that drew us to lower our barriers and wow, was she something else. Cool, calm, heroic, and with resilience glowing from her. We’d given her family their freedom; she’d found someone who warmed her heart; her daughter owned a business empire, and Frei had beaten her past, turned it on its head, and used it to free others who’d been enslaved like her. Some hero.
My dad had always seemed distant too, and like he couldn’t bear to look at me. It had taken us nearly drowning in a river for his walls to crumble. He made me feel blessed I was related to him. He had goodness through him, and now my mom was there to heckle him again, his heart, inside and out had healed.
Some windows were skewed and my mom—who I’d never known existed until she blackmailed me into taking her place in CIG—was hard to figure out. We couldn’t even stay in the same room without clashing and it took me getting shot and half-drowned for her to open up. I loved that she had only ever adored my dad, that she’d stayed loyal even when he’d remarried. I loved that all she wanted to do was crack Nan’s recipe for cookies. Yeah, she was easier to love the more I let her in, maybe it had just been the way I was looking at the window?
Some windows were clear, true and constant, and one in particular had always been there to guide, heckle, and chastise my butt: Nan breezed on in from Etherspace a lot, and I knew I weren’t the only one she kept eyes on. Nope, she was heckling my mom and my Aunt Bess too—Aunt Bess was the coolest retired lady ever.
Didn’t think many half her age could storm a heavily guarded mansion, rescue slaves and Frei’s daughter, all while forgetting where her sweets were.
Talking of forgetting . . . Some windows were still misted up to me and there was someone I could never figure out from the outside but the more I knew of her, the more I realized I didn’t have one iota of who lay inside—Commander Renee Black. On the outside, she was the daughter of the late Colonel Charles Black—a national hero. She could talk a whole load of languages, shoot a bud off a twig, protect folks that nobody else could, and while she was at it, pull off undercover like she was taking a nap.
I didn’t know how to take her sometimes and she had more barriers than anybody I’d ever met. Still, when you needed her, she stepped up; When I’d needed somebody to reach me, she’d been there in shrink mode; when I’d been facing folks thinking I was guilty, she’d come charging in to help and dragged CIG with her. When I’d been scared and frozen, she’d been that calm commander. She made my gut wriggle looking at her and . . . well . . . I kinda liked that. Some lady.
And me? Well, from the outside, my window could get folks worried: A six-foot-five ex-con who was built like Samson and now, kind of an ex-con who worked as an agent for CIG.
Inside, I felt like Jell-O most of the time. I was an empath with the ability to see the past and present of folks around me; I read their jewelry, or other stuff that held their energy; had located them across hundreds of miles and, when they asked, I could displace their ailments.
Well, usually. I was meant to be resting. Nan had told me I was too sick to go using my burdens, as I liked to call them. I needed to recuperate. I’d been through a lot and I was real tired but did I have the energy to keep going if it turned out I had another mountain to climb?