Title: Borders Between Empires
Series: A Luxor City Novel
Author: Sasha Hope
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: 09/05/2023
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, paranormal, crime, gay, shifter, Alpha/omega dynamic, organized crime, police/detective
Detective Hanni Nassar finds himself in enemy territory while investigating a string of robberies. After accidentally crossing the Central Empire’s borderline, he comes face to face with Jaemin Yi, a high-ranking Alpha of the Southern Empire’s Elite.
A cop and a gangster, both Hanni and Jaemin are suspicious of each other at first. Jaemin wants to know what Hanni’s doing on Southern turf, and Hanni wants to know if Jaemin’s notorious boss has any involvement with his case. Their initial meeting is tense, but soon Jaemin starts pursuing him for his own dissolute reasons.
Despite the clandestine rumblings through the streets of Luxor City, this isn’t about a case anymore.
Jaemin Yi is persistent. He thaws Hanni’s frigid airs and shows him there’s nothing wrong with caving to his more primal desires once in a while. As an Omega working in an Alpha-dominated field, Hanni has buried the Omegan side of himself, and Jaemin seems keen to draw it to the surface.
But where did his sudden interest come from? And will the lines crossed be too much for Hanni to handle or will adversarial passions heat up the borders between Empires?
Borders Between Empires
Sasha Hope © 2023
All Rights Reserved
Being an officer of the law in a gang-run town like Luxor City was an admitted contradiction. Hanni Nassar had accepted this fact as soon as he’d decided to join the force. The entire experience had been what some might call a bit of a rough ride, but he’d survived the salacious comments about his small Omegan build, his cute curls, and his lovely tan. He flew through basic training and even surpassed some of the Alphas on his final scores. It was an accomplishment very few Omegas could attest to.
Years later, he was still one of only two Omegas in his precinct. Exhausting as it was trying to prove day in and day out that as an Omega he could hold his own in even the most Alpha-dominated environments, Hanni stuck it out.
After the academy and basic training, he took an assignment at the Central Empire’s Southern Border Precinct and had been working there ever since. He was a Central Empire brat, born and raised, proud to serve his community. However, with every business on every street corner being owned or operated or protected by Luxor City’s old crime families, in reality, Hanni served the Central Empire first and the law second. His work and the work of every officer in the Central Empire was to protect the interests of the Empire and its Alpha leader, Dominik Wesa.
The job paid well, but Luxor City wasn’t an ideal place to fight crime. The list of actual laws the police could meaningfully enforce was short to say the least. Some laws were obvious, of course: break-ins, theft, vandalism, speeding…but even then, if you stopped the wrong car and a member of the Wesa Family stepped out, well, that was asking for trouble.
As the leader of the Central Empire, Dominik Wesa’s interests were typically aligned with those of the police force. He didn’t want drug dealers on his streets, neither did they. He didn’t want disorderly conduct running rampant, neither did they. He didn’t want thieves stealing from his businesses…and that’s where they’d run into serious issues lately.
Through hard work and perseverance, Hanni had moved up through the ranks and was now a detective for the Southern Border Precinct. His jurisdiction extended over a strip of the Central Empire that ran across the island, coast to coast, just north of the Southern Empire. There had been a spate of robberies in the area at a few of the bars in the Central Empire’s lower downtown. Over the course of two months, more than a hundred thousand dollars had been stolen. It was pennies to a man like Dominik Wesa, but as the Alpha of the Central Empire, he had been very firm in letting the police force know he was going to make sure his interests were protected one way or another.
“I don’t think I need to explain that the police force doesn’t have any sort of monopoly on violence in this Empire. So if we don’t want Dominik Wesa and his lot handling this, we’ve gotta get on it,” Hanni’s police chief, Noor, had said as she handed him a file. “Consider it a mercy if we can get these guys behind bars before they end up in a heavy, metal shipping container a few thousand leagues under the sea.” She had chuckled before patting him on the back and leaving him with the case.
At least Hanni could be tempered by the fact that he was never bored on the job. He sighed as he looked over the case file. Scrolling through the tablet, he saw the main suspect of the three hadn’t been quite good enough at asymmetries in his disguise to block his appearance from the AI security systems at the last place they hit up. Using footage from the heist, Hanni was easily able to uncover the suspect’s identity and track him to his place of work on the edge of the border.
Hanni spent a few tedious days at his desk staring at holo-screens, tracking the man’s comings and goings. The video surveillance footage followed the man from his work to his car to his home. Running a security algorithm showed Hanni that with only five percent deviation his suspect went to work then went straight home except on Thursdays. On Thursdays he went somewhere the cameras couldn’t track him before returning home much later that night.
It wasn’t much, but it was enough of a lead to give Hanni something to do other than sit at his desk staring at grainy security footage. And so that next Thursday, he took the logical step and followed the suspect from work to the unknown location.
Hanni waited until the end of the day and parked a few blocks from the factory where the suspect worked. The sky was overcast, pitch black, and the streetlamps barely lit the alleys Hanni was traveling through to keep out of his suspect’s sights.
Like every previous Thursday, the suspect left his work walking with a casual ease. Whistling to himself, unaware he was being followed, he made his way through Luxor City’s back alleys.
Hanni twisted and turned through the dark, tailing the man across the city for a good half hour. The suspect walked into a dead-end alley and his whistling stopped.
Hanni froze in the shadows. The alley was barely lit by the red glow of a set of bulbous neon lamps hanging outside a small import-export business at the far end. The crimson glow hardly brightened anything in the shadows between buildings.
Standing between the mouth of the alleyway and the dead end, the suspect glanced around quickly before opening a door and dipping into a ramshackle old building. A warehouse of some sort. It sat tucked away and probably was being used to house something illicit. Hanni planned to find out just what that something was.
A broken window, open just a crack, allowed him to see his suspect walking into a room where a few others had clearly been waiting for him. Their voices reverberated through the big empty space as they spoke, making it hard to distinguish their words. Hanni leaned into the window, trying his best to get close enough to hear.
“Took you long enough,” one man huffed.
“Some of us have to work,” his suspect replied.
A third man chuckled. “Huh, well, you’ll be able to quit that shitty day job of yours once all of this is done. I heard we’re going to hit up something bigger than Wesa’s little bars next month.”
Hanni frowned upon hearing those words. Next month they were changing tack? What could they be planning?
Meet the Author
Sasha Hope is a lover of story, art and design based in Canada. As a writer and an artist, she enjoys having the opportunity to create new characters and build new worlds for readers to explore. Having studied linguistics and a myriad of languages from a young age, she is passionate about including characters of different backgrounds in her work. Whether the setting is fantasy or reality, she believes that a diverse cast with diverse languages and cultures is a wonderful thing.
Crafting stories that embrace MM romance and erotica is her modus operandi. When she is not creating new worlds she is travelling this one looking for inspiration or enjoying her career in the videogame industry.
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