There’s a doll on my shelf that everyone mistakes for a girl. Could be the long hair, or the skirt, or the high heeled shoes that make people think this, but everyone who meets him knows who he is. Misaki ‘Aki’ Itou, psi, companion, AP survivor and the hidden gem is unforgettable.
When I first started writing Aki’s character he came across to me as very girly—something I am not—into clothes, hair, painted nails, and shoes. His shoe fetish is legendary. But that’s all exterior. The saying “old soul” is barely scratching the surface with him, and as I wrote more about him, delved deeper into his story he began to pour out some very painful and terrifying memories.
At the time the story began I was having a lot of medical problems that no one could explain. Thousands of dollars in tests and a bunch of doctors could only tell me that I was fine and it must be in my head. I kept thinking that with all the modern medicine knowledge we have now, how can anything be unknown? We spent billions every year on drugs to treat the symptoms for diseases we aren’t even sure exist. And every year millions of tests are performed, examined, studied, analyzed and realized trying to create a new and better drug. My thought was what if it wasn’t really for the betterment of humanity? What if—like chemical warfair—they did all this to be the next to reach world domination? And so the world was born. Of course that mean putting Aki through hell and back, but we all love that in a character, right?
His vicious past scrapped away at the surface of who he was, battered and bruised him until he is the person he is today—a survivor. We don’t have much in common other than that. This book was a step outside of a lot of boundaries for me. The first in a new series it’s third person—I’m most comfortable writing first—it has BDSM elements, and it’s very science fiction based instead of magic.
I’ve always found that I have certain comfort zones. Pushing them in this book has opened my horizons to walk even further. Hidden Gem has very mild dominance and submission elements, some mild hints at pain play, though Aki never experiences them. He’s looking for a master to love him enough to make the rules. And the side characters have already begun to speak up about their books.
Paris—who is the Master trainer of all the companions—is next and then Candy who is not far behind Paris in his need for control. These books will probably be long projects much like Hidden Gem was. A year the first one took, and I’m not expecting less for the other two. Each book will dig deeper into the world, a dark urban sci-fi world with growing BDSM elements. An exploration of science, the human psyche, and kink.
I hope you all enjoy the wild ride I crafted for this new series. Here’s a clip for you.
Excerpt: Hidden Gem by Lissa Kasey
Aki waved to everyone and headed back toward the Gem. The last of the guards conversed near the fire as a fight broke out between a couple patrons. Aki decided it was a good time for him to leave though he knew Bart would yell at the guards later for not accompanying him home. But he was a big boy and they were busy. He could find his way back on his own, sloshed or not.
He took the longer path, the one that snaked around the park, to let some of the buzz of alcohol fade. The more he burned off now, the less likely he’d be to have a hangover tomorrow. He couldn’t help that his mind kept going back to the chip in his spine. Even half-drunk he tried to convince himself they wouldn’t want him. What need would they have for a whore anyway? He shrugged at a passing tree like it could answer the question. It almost seemed to sway in reply, or maybe that was just him.
He glanced up and smiled at the moon. So pretty, like a giant pearl. He had a couple of skirts that were sparkly like that. He needed another pair of shoes with that bright shine. Maybe he’d go to Just Shoes the next day to see if they had anything new. Maybe when he decided to give up being a whore, he’d design shoes for the rest of his life.
He smiled at the thought.
He must have stopped moving for a time because he didn’t seem to get any closer to home. “Nights like these they should just carry us all in baskets, like in ancient Egypt,” he grumbled at a decorative boulder. It let him sit without complaint, reminding him it was no more than a rock with its hard, cold surface. He patted the stone. “Comfortable enough, though. I will just rest a second or two, then be on my way.”
Aki closed his eyes for just a minute. After a moment or two of basking in the solidity of a nonspinning world, he felt something nudge the back of his hand. He blinked a few times, eyes heavy with sleep. How had he gotten on the ground? The boulder seemed to glare at him in a mocking way. Had it kicked him off? Of course not. Boulders didn’t move without the help of giant trucks or cranes.
Something bumped him again, this time on the side of his head. He turned to stare at who was nudging, but it wasn’t a person, it was a thing. A dog, he thought, since they weren’t all that common. He recalled seeing pictures of them in books, but nothing like this. Some farms still had dogs. In the city dogs were small enough to fit in a person’s lap. This was large enough to fit a person in its lap.
Aki squinted at him. Was it real? Could he be that drunk? Perhaps it was another rock. It was rather gray and dark. But rocks didn’t move, and the dog leaned forward to nudge Aki’s shoulder with his snout. “You want something?” Aki asked.
The dog tilted its head to the side like he was trying to understand Aki’s words, then tugged at Aki’s sweater.
“Okay, okay, already.” Aki crawled up on the rock and finally got to his wobbly legs. Just how much had he had to drink? He glanced back and forth but couldn’t remember the right direction to get back to the Gem. The moon had begun to sink, leaving him with little light and a big scary dog breathing down his neck. “Don’t suppose you know where the Hidden Gem is, do you? I think I’ve had a bit too much to drink.”
Aki stepped around the rock, but the dog moved, cutting him off, then growled a deep scary sound. “Whoa, hairy thing. You woke me up, remember? If you wanted to make me doggy lunch, you should have done it while I was sleeping. I fight dirty. Part of companion defensive training is to go for the balls first.” He took a step back, then pivoted to go around the other side of the rock. He searched his pants for his phone, but vaguely recalled leaving it on his bed since he had no pockets. The dog growled, once again moving into his path. “Seriously. I gotta go one way or the other else I’m just lost in the woods.”
The dog bared his fangs. Huge, white, sharp, fangs, dripping saliva, like in the movies Candy dragged him to. Aki blinked a few times. Maybe he wasstill asleep. He reached out his hand. The dog took a menacing step forward. Aki backed around the boulder, putting the rock between them. “Play nice. I’m just a little companion. Not much meat on me. Not like Royce or Preston. Preston loves cake. Probably tastes a little sweet. Let me go. I’ll run home and get him, okay?”
The deep warning growl was all Aki got before it leapt at him. He threw himself backward, rolling a little, before fumbling back to his feet and running. He had no idea where he was going. He just had to get away. Behind him the sound of something big and heavy moving through the trees made his tired body push harder to keep ahead. He swung around trees, over rocks, and through dense grass like liquid. His lungs ached from his strained breathing, but he kept pumping his legs. He raced through the trees until he hit a darkened neighborhood, townhouses all looking the same, high fences keeping him out and looming in menacing darkness all at once.
Where was the Gem? Had he gone in the wrong direction? Tears blurred his vision. His feet ached from being cut and bruised by rocks and brush. The animal was still behind him, insanely loud in the waning hours of the morning, terrifying. Just when he feared he couldn’t run anymore, he stumbled into a fence and an open gate. He flew through it, bolting toward the house beyond. He stumbled up the stairs and yanked at the back door of the darkened house, expecting it to be locked, but it opened under his trembling fingers.
He flung the door wide, throwing himself to the floor and slamming the door behind him. The lock turned, his heart pounding, the world around him silent as the tomb.
Misaki “Aki” Itou is a psi—a person with mutated DNA granting him psychic abilities. He’s also a contracted companion—a whore. It may not be the perfect profession, but having a roof over his head, food to eat, and not being subjected to torture is a dream come true. He is the top companion at the Hidden Gem, and it makes him enough money to buy the prettiest, most sparkly shoes he can find.
Shane McNaughton is an Irishman who survived the Third World War and works as a cop. Head of Missing Persons, he’s good at finding people, but after the plague of the Third mutated his DNA, he has a hard time letting anyone see the monster inside. He’s been paying for Aki’s services for two years, both the psi and the sexual kind, but he wants more from the companion.
Shane needs Aki’s ability to see into another person’s past to track down a serial killer murdering the children of rich and powerful men, but the more they work together, the clearer it becomes that they are linked through a darker past than either of them realizes.
Read Sammy’s 5 Star Review HERE
Author Bio: Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, and collects Asian ball joint dolls that look like her characters. She has three cats who enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. She can often be found at anime conventions masquerading as random characters when she’s not writing about boy romance.