New Release Blitz: Shards of Trust by Fox Beckman (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Shards of Trust

Series: The Trust Trilogy, Book Two

Author: Fox Beckman

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/23/2024

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: M/NB

Length: 73800

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, urban fantasy, interracial, gay, nonbinary, time travel, witch, vampires

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Things are going good for Ravi. Sure, a bunch of vampires want to turn Atlanta into a bloodsucker paradise, and sure, Ravi’s matchmaking aunt keeps shoving available bachelorettes at him left and right. Despite all that, Ravi’s secret affair with the enigmatic time traveler Cayenne is making him happier than he’s ever been in his life.

But Cayenne has secrets of their own, ones they can’t hide any longer, past and future on a collision course to disaster.

When the truth comes out, Ravi and Cayenne face their greatest challenge yet: each other.


Shards of Trust
Fox Beckman © 2024
All Rights Reserved

“Think you could maybe get off the counter? It’s unsanitary.”

Cayenne tosses up and catches an apple, not moving from their indolent sprawl across the kitchen island. “My dear Angharad, if you’re so interested in where I lie, I could always move to your room.”

Harry sighs and leans against the sink, arms crossed. And there it is, predictably; the look of disappointment they have grown so very accustomed to. A fun game by this point, to see how often they can summon it up.

“We need to talk about today.”

“You know,” Cayenne singsongs, still throwing the apple idly from hand to hand, “this authoritarian team leader routine really does not suit you, ma chérie.”

“While your Pepé Le Pew routine suits you down to the fucking ground.”

They laugh. See, this is why Harry is the only one of them who isn’t completely insufferable. “Ah, an arrow to my heart, Harry. Say your piece, then, so I can be properly contrite and you can say you’ve given the bad, naughty chronomage a thorough spanking.” They bat their eyelashes at her while taking a loud bite of the apple.

Harry massages the bridge of her nose. “Okay, look. Today was sloppy. It nearly went completely off the rails. Val got hurt. Where the fuck did you go?”

They shrug one shoulder.

She waits.

When nothing more is forthcoming, she sucks her teeth (ooh, nice, they mentally score another point) and shoves her hands in the pockets of her battered leather jacket. “Y’know, it’s kinda hard to work together as a team when you’re not physically together as a team.”

“I had things to do,” they tell her simply, wide-eyed and cheerful. “I have a life, unlike all of you. Trust me, if things were going to be truly dire, I would have sent you a text.”

Harry manages to nod sarcastically, which is admittedly impressive. “Oh, trust you, yeah. Totally, for sure. You were so busy with your exciting, fancy-free life, you couldn’t have told us about the giant fucking snake? Not even a hint?”

They roll their eyes. Mouth open on a clever retort, they’re cut off by a new, deeper voice, one rich and bitter as overbrewed coffee.

“You’re wasting your time, Harry,” Ravi says, storming toward the sink. He throws in a bloodstained washcloth and scrubs a mixture of blood and flecks of serpent scales off his hands. The scales catch the light like glitter. “Constance has Val patched up,” he tells Harry, ignoring Cayenne. He’s good at that. It’s extremely irritating.

“Oh, look, it’s the Empty Suit! You made it out in one piece, what a shame,” they say with scathing disdain.

Ravi whirls on them, face tight with anger. “A woman died,” he spits out. “You could have prevented it. You still could. Why exactly do we keep you around?”

Keeping their expression indifferent, they take another crunch of the apple. “The only reason anyone keeps you around is in case our muscley maman gets a boo-boo, ravageur, so you must have been very excited to get a chance to throw your weight around a little. Did The Trust give you permission to go off their leash for a few minutes? Was there paperwork to fill out? Did the professor help you with the big words?”

All Ravi does is make a disgusted sound deep in his throat, as if talking to Cayenne is a complete and total waste of his time. Though their hackles rise, they give him nothing but a broad, blasé smile. Ravi shakes his head and leaves the kitchen. A second later the slam of the door to the backyard rings out.

“Was it something I said?” Cayenne asks Harry with a mocking hand to their cheek.

Harry frowns. “He had a hard time today.”

Cayenne’s only response is laughter.

“Go apologize.”

Oh, that’s a very good one. They laugh even harder, in true delight.

“I mean it, Cayenne. If you can’t work together, we’re going to have a real problem.”

They let their laughter gradually peter out. It might be amusing to try to poke Ravi out of his aloofness, like teasing a chained-up attack dog. He’d never snapped at them yet, no matter how hard they’ve tried to provoke it, but who knows! Today might be their day.

“Sure, might be fun! See what a good little spicy pepper I am. So obedient.” They throw the half-eaten apple in Harry’s direction, not caring if she catches it or not, and slip out into the night air.

They make their way across the lawn with a loose-limbed stroll. Ravi stands at the edge of the lake, looking out over the dark water. He smiles warmly back at them over his shoulder. “Hey.”

For a hint of a second, Cayenne is confused, until they notice the dew-wet grass beneath their feet has become dry, white sand.

“Hey, yourself,” they say warily, stopping a few feet away. Ravi holds something in his hands, the ocean breeze ruffling his hair. “What do you have there?”

Ravi turns around, both hands flat, displaying a long sharp knife. It gleams, picking up sunlight.

Cayenne takes a step back.

“Easy there.” Ravi smirks with a roll of his eyes and offers them the blade. “It’s a gift.”

“I know,” Cayenne whispers. A storm builds on the horizon, golds and indigos darkening nearly black where the clouds meet the water.

“Here,” he says helpfully, stepping forward and setting the hilt in their hand, not noticing the palm already dripping red with blood. They swallow thickly.

“Don’t,” they plead, near frantic. “Don’t give me this.” They want to run, to bolt, but their feet are fixed, tethered in place.

Ravi shakes his head and moves their hand so the blade’s tip angles upward under his breastbone, where a single push would send it straight to his heart. In the sun his eyes are a deep, cinnamon brown.

“It’s easy,” he says, and smiles.

And Cayenne wakes up.


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Prone to diving way too deep down research rabbit-holes and absolutely incapable of working without a curated playlist in the background, Fox Beckman lives in the Twin Cities and has far too many irons in the fire. Fox is writer, an artist, an occasional wrangler of kangaroos, a longsword fencer, an archer, a roller of dice, and a forager of mushrooms that aren’t deadly (probably).



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