To celebrate the release of the new novella (THE ASYLUM INTERVIEWS: BRONX) and the new series (THE ASYLUM TALES), I popped over to Low Town to interview Gage and some of his friends who appear in his stories. Let’s just say it was an adventure. This somewhat long interview will be posted in five parts over the next week, introducing you to Gage’s world and friends.
Seeking Asylum: Jocelynn Drake’s Adventure in Low Town
Trixie disappears down the stairs and I return to the couch where I turn off the recorder and thumb quickly through my small notebook. I had made some notes of questions I wanted to ask Gage before he distracted me with Parker. Sneaky bastard.
With my thoughts organized again, I grab my things and head out of the apartment, but I find myself frowning as I hit the first step. All the exterior lights are out. The parking lot street lamp, the light above the back door to the shop, and the light beside the door to the apartment are all out, blanketing the open area in heavy blackness. The sky is overcast, leaving me with little moonlight, but there’s still some faint ambient light coming from the nearby buildings, allowing me to pick out some of my surroundings.
Tightly gripping the hand railing, I tell myself I’m being silly. The back door to the parlor is less than a dozen steps from the foot of the staircase. I’ll be safe inside in a matter of seconds. But as I reach the ground, I realize that I was being overly optimistic.
“Ms. Drake, a moment of your time, please.” The voice curls out of the darks, wrapping around me while sending chills down my spine. For a moment, I forget how to breathe and my heart hammers painfully in my chest. Unlike Parker’s deep voice, there is no warmth in this person’s tone and the “please” sounds like it’s being ground between two giant boulders.
A part of my brain is screaming run. Run for the door. I’m so close. But I have a feeling I know who is requesting my time and if I’m right, I wouldn’t make it inside the parlor even if I was already standing at the threshold.
I somehow manage to nod once before turning my head toward the voice and searching the darkness. A tall, lean figure is standing in the shadows, watching me, but I can’t see his features.
“Who are you?”
“I’m sure you can already guess my identity. This way, if you will.”
I woodenly step away from the staircase and approach him, following him until we are standing under the staircase, partially hidden from the view of the back door to the parlor.
“Could you turn on one of the lights again, please?” I ask when we stop walking.
To my surprise, the street lamp across the back parking lot pops on, flooding the area in dim, dirty light. I gasp as I’m finally able to see my companion.
“Gideon,” I whisper.
The warlock’s lips twist into something similar to a smile, but his face is like his voice – lacking any and all warmth. “You sound surprised.”
“I thought it was you, but …you’re just not quite what I expected based on Gage’s description.” That’s an understatement, but then you really couldn’t leave the description of an attractive man in the hands of a heterosexual male. Gideon is easily as handsome as Parker, but where the incubus is like melted chocolate and sleep-warmed sheets, Gideon is like a living glacier or snow-frosted granite. His face is all hard angles, while his long black hair is back in a loose ponytail. He is wearing an exquisitely tailored suit, but it did nothing to hide the raw energy that seems to exude from his lean form. Of course, where Parker makes you think of sex, Gideon just makes you think of death.
“Which is the reason why I’ve come to speak with you,” Gideon says.
“I don’t understand. Did Gage tell you he’s talking to me?”
“He didn’t tell me, but then there is little happening in Gage’s life that I don’t know about.” Gideon paces away from me and then looks back with a frown. “You can breathe, Ms. Drake. If I was going to kill you, I would have done it already.”
“True, but something I say may change your mind.”
“What if I promise not to kill you on this visit? Does that help?”
I ignore his question and try to push forward. There is very little that Gideon can do that would help me relax around him. A part of me longs to press the record button on the digital recorder clenched in my left hand, but I don’t dare. Even if I wasn’t sure he’d hear the tell-tale click of the button, I just have a feeling he’d know he was being
“What are you concerned about? Is it me being in Low Town or is it Gage talking to me?”
Gideon slowly walks over to stand directly in front of me. I flinch when he reaches out. His large hand covers my left hand and his fingers gently squeeze mine until the record button clicks. My eyes widen, but I say nothing.
“I’m not happy with you being in Low Town, but you’re unlikely to draw attention to yourself so I will permit it,” he says as he steps away from me again. “I am concerned with Gage’s stories and his viewpoint on our world.”
“Are you afraid he’s lying?”
“Aren’t we all in some way? Gage is telling the story of his life. I’m sure if the Towers were to tell the story, they would have a different version, the same with Bronx or Trixie.” Gideon doesn’t look pleased with my comments. “You may be surprised to know that Gage is more sympathetic to the Towers that he may lead you to believe at
“You’re right, that is surprising,” he grumbles mostly to himself.
I give a little shrug. “I think it’s something that he’s not very comfortable with himself, but at least he’s aware of it, willing to admit it in some small part. It seems to have grown since we finished the second book.”
“Reave?” I nod. “Not surprising.”
“How long have you been a guardian warlock, Gideon?”
Even in the shadowy light, I can see him arch one eyebrow at me in question. “You’re interviewing me now?”
“Well, the recorder is on.”
“Ten years. Gage is my first assignment -- one I thought I would have completed already.”
“But you’ve had other assignments for the council of the Ivory Towers. What kind of things have you had to do?”
“I hunt down and kill those that would threaten the safety of the Towers.”
“That must be hard on the soul.” I almost regret the words as they cross my lips.
Gideon closes the distance in a breath, blotting out the only light in the area so that I am sinking in the darkness. “I would guard against comments on my soul,” he says in a silky smooth voice filled with razor-sharp ice shards. “You may not approve of the Towers, but you must understand the importance of protecting that which you value.”
My heart is pounding in my chest, but I manage to steady my voice. “Yes, but considering how powerful the Towers are, how much of a threat could the people of this world actually be?”
“It’s my job to make sure we never find out.”
“I think you need a new job.”
Gideon makes a strange sound as he steps back. “I can see why he picked you. Your attitude is similar to his. You’re also not too bright like him.”
“If you’ve got nothing but insults for me, Mr. Toussaint, then this interview is over.”
“I do have one last thing for you.” Gideon walks over and takes my left hand again, squeezing it until the recorder turns off. “A warning. Remember that if you can come here, we can go to your world to.”
“Are you threatening me?”
“Just pointing out the danger. If the wrong people were to discover those books, Gage wouldn’t be the only one being hunted. It’s your name on those books. I find myself wondering if it’s worth it for a bit of ‘fiction’.”
“Yes, it is.”
Gideon steps backward into a thick shadow. “I hope so.” And then he is simply gone.
A harsh, shattered breath jumps from my chest and I find myself shaking so hard that I’m in danger of dropping the recorder and my notebook. It isn’t just that I was just face to face with one of the most dangerous creatures on this planet, but he has given me an ugly reminder of a danger that I have been blocking from my mind. What if the Towers discover the books? It isn’t just mine and Gage’s lives that are on the line.
To my left, I hear the back door to the shop open and footsteps on the concrete.
“Joce?” Gage calls.
“He--. Here,” I say after a couple tries. My throat isn’t quite working yet as I struggle to even out my breathing. It’s only when Gage walks over to me that I realize that all the lights are back on. He steps in front of me and he curses.
“What happened to you?”
I try to smile at him but it crumples. “I met Gideon.”
He curses again as he wraps his hands around my shoulders. “Are you alright? Did he hurt you?”
“No, he was fine. Civil. He just gave me a warning.”
“He’s worried about the Towers finding out about the books.”
Gage sighs, his hands tightening slightly on my shoulders. “They won’t,” he says, but we both know that he can’t be sure. We both knew the risks when we started this.
“I’ll tell you what I told him. It’s worth the risk.”
The tattoo artist nods and releases me as he steps back. “Come on. Let’s get inside. It’s late and we’ve got to get you home.”
I lead the way back into the parlor, catching glimpses of myself in mirrors along the way.
I’m paler than usual and my eyes are wide, but then fear and shock will do that. I pause in the backroom, my hand grazing over the padded table in the middle of the room as I remember the first story Gage ever told me.
“Do you regret tattooing Tera?” I ask, referring to the girl at the center of his first novel, Angel’s Ink.
“I wish I did,” he replies softly from behind me. “Those angel wings created chaos and endangered friends, but I can’t regret it. I learned too many important things from that mess, things I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. I wish I could have learned them without people getting hurt, but sometimes things don’t work out that way.”
“I think the bigger crime would be if you hadn’t learned anything.” I walk over to large cabinet at one end of the room and look over the ingredients.
Gage stands beside me. “I’ve got some time. I could set you up with some fresh ink. You said you’ve got an open spot on your back that needs filling in.”
I laugh, finally letting go of the tension I had been holding onto since first seeing Gideon. “Not tonight. Maybe to celebrate the release of the first novel.”
“I’ll hold you to that,” Gage says as he follows me out of the room. In the main tattooing room, both Trixie and Bronx are working on customers, while Parker sits in one corner telling a story. Parker’s voice pauses for only a second when he sees me but he quickly carries on. I know I’m not looking great, but everyone is kind enough not to say anything as I walk into the lobby.
“If you’re ready?” Gage asks, motioning toward the front door.
“Do you mind if I just sit here for a few minutes?”
“That’s fine. I’m going to go lock the apartment and back door. Just sit here.”
As he disappears back into the parlor, I sit down on the wooden bench that runs along the back wall of the lobby. Leaning back, I close my eyes and let myself got lost in the sounds of the shop. Parker’s soothing deep voice rises and falls over the steady buzz of dueling tattooing guns, while the Red Hot Chili Peppers can be heard over the speakers in the infrequent lulls in noise. There’s a hint of antiseptic in the air, mixing with a dozen other scents that I can’t name, but somehow the blend seems both familiar and calming. Gage and I have known each other little over a year now, but already this place feels like home. So, yeah Gideon, it’s worth the risk.
To catch the first part of this five-part series and my meeting with Gage, go to Literary Escapism, while the second part can be found at All Things Urban Fantasy. The third part of this series was posted at Tynga’s Reviews and the fourth part was at A Great Read.
If you’ve enjoy visiting with Gage and his friends, or are even a little intrigued by his world, check out the newly released novella The Asylum Interviews: Bronx. Also, coming soon is The Asylum Interviews: Trixie and the first novel, Angel’s Ink.
For more information, check out Jocelynn’s Website:
Bio for Jocelynn Drake
Love comes in many varied forms. There is the love of family, love of country, and love of chocolate. But for Jocelynn Drake, one truly treasured love is the love of a good story. This Midwestern native spends the majority of her time lost in the strong embrace of a good book, whether she writing it or reading it doesn’t really matter. When she’s not hammering away at her keyboard, frowning at her monitor, or curled up with a book, she can usually be found cuddling with her cats, Harley and Demona, walking her dog Max, or flinging curses at the TV while playing a video game. Outside of books, cats, and video games, she is completely enamored of Bruce Wayne, Ezio Auditore, travel, explosions, fast cars, tattoos, and Anthony Bourdain (but only when he’s feeling really cranky).
Author of the Dark Days series (Nightwalker is 0,99 for Kindle)
Author of the Asylum Tales series
The first of two prequel stories to Jocelynn Drake's Angel's Ink. It's not easy being a tattoo artist and a warlock, especially when you're in hiding. Or when a botched tattoo has amplified an incubus's existing sex appeal into one that could wreck the whole town. And your only help is a troll.
July 2 – Literary Escapism : http://www.literaryescapism.
com/July 3 – All Things Urban Fantasy : http://allthingsurbanfantasy. blogspot.com/July 4 – Tynga’s Reviews: http://www.tyngasreviews.com/July 5 – A Great Read: http://jessica-agreatread. blogspot.com/July 6 – Larissa’s Bookish Life: http://www.larissaslife.com/
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