Hidden Gem Series
Size: 5.00 x 8.00 in
The sparkling jewel of the Hidden Gem, City M’s most renowned brothel, Misaki “Aki” Ito is living the good life. He’s not subjected to torture for his psi abilities, he has a roof over his head, food to eat, and all the sparkly shoes he could dream about. He also has one particular regular he can’t get enough of, Shane McNaughton, even if Shane occasionally asks for Aki’s help on a case.
Shane is a cop specializing in missing persons. He’s good at finding people, not just because of his years as a seasoned detective, but because he survived the Third World War and resulting plague with a few supernatural abilities himself. Mutated by the virus that wiped out two thirds of the world’s population, Shane no longer considers himself human. Which is why he limits his visits to a very breakable psi companion when not working a case, no matter how much he might want Aki.
When a high ranking official’s daughter goes missing and feared dead, Shane has no choice but to ask Aki to use his abilities to help him track down the kidnapper. The case opens a door to a past Aki thought he had escaped. Will Shane’s love be enough to save them all when something dark is awakened inside of Aki?
Note: Re-edited, but content still the same. Short fiction added to the end.
- 3 To Be Read lists
- 2 Read lists
Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay, Genderfluid
Protagonist 1 Age: 36-45
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Alpha Character, Fated Mates / Soul Mates, Forbidden Love, Healing Power of Sex, Hurt / Comfort
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Misaki sucked in a deep, cold breath, wondering when he’d finally die. How long had it been since he’d last eaten? A week, maybe more? He couldn’t remember the taste of food. Even the gruel they got in the concentration camp had been better than nothing.
The cold frost of winter covered the streets and made him shiver. Layers of dirty clothes stolen from the trash and other homeless didn’t help. Somehow the wind blew right through him.
He huddled in a doorway in the heart of the City M slums. There had been talk of police enforcement sweeping through, jailing those like him, throwing others out of town. He could hope for jail. It had a roof, heat, and inmates got food. If he hadn’t escaped the containment camps of the south, he’d have thought anything would be better than this endless cold and gnawing hunger. But really he’d had it much worse.READ MORE
People wandered by him. Some even paused to stare. Did he look so awful? “Spare some food?” he whispered, not too proud to beg, but knowing well enough not to meet their eyes. A shadow loomed over him, then another joined the first. He should have been afraid, but they could do nothing that hadn’t already been done. Any violence against him now would likely kill him, and he had longed for death for years.
“He’s a child,” one voice said.
“Small, but I bet he’s legal or will be soon. Good bone structure. Could be pretty with some meat on him,” another replied.
“I have people begging to work for me. What do I need of a street urchin starved near to death?”
“A hidden gem. Give me six weeks with him, and he’ll be one of your biggest earners. I did promise when I bought out my contract that I’d find you a comparable replacement.”
“How can you see this as your replacement, Paris? He’s a psi. People will run the second they glimpse those eerie eyes.”
Their banter bounced back and forth like Misaki couldn’t hear them. He squinted against the sunlight to try to make out the figures without blatantly staring at them. One was younger, handsome, dressed up like some sort of dandy or a prince from a storybook. The other stood tall and firm like a soldier. Misaki cringed away from the older man, too many memories of beatings, experiments, and pain.
“You had a brother who was psi, did you not? You once told me he went missing at a young age. How would you feel if the world treated him like this? Left him out here to die like a rat? I plan to put an end to this homelessness in my new job. No matter how the other senators fight me, I will use my own money if I have to. No child should end up like this.” The younger man was speaking. He knelt down, reaching his hand out. “What if I offer you food, shelter, and safety, little one? Would you come with us?”
False promises. Misaki had heard a lot of those. “What do you want me to do?” he whispered, not daring to hope. No more experiments—please, if there was any sort of god or goddess of life and death, there would be no more. He’d go with them anyway, if only to hasten death. Surely it would take him sooner rather than later. He had already endured so much. The pretty man before him could be an angel from the darkest bowels of hell, and Misaki would still go with him. Maybe he could be warm for a few minutes. Or even have the endless ache in his stomach eased by a bit of broth. He could only dream of having someone to hold him again like Hyeon had. Hope was by far the cruelest of emotions.
“My friend here offers contracts for favors. You’ll have food, shelter, security, all the clothes and pretty things you could ever hope for, and all you have to do is work for him. Ease the troubles of others, provide pleasure, and be all they hope to ever attain, even if it’s only for a half an hour.”
“You want me to be a prostitute?” Misaki couldn’t see anyone wanting the battered shell he was, starved, emaciated, ugly. Who would pay for that? And then there was his curse. “I can’t touch people. I see things....”
The older man sighed. “Useless, Paris. If you want a charity case, so be it. But I don’t know how I can use him.”
“Six weeks, Bart. Give me six weeks. What is your name, child?” the younger man, Paris, asked.
“Misaki. Misaki Itou.” Please take me with you. Or kill me. Anything but leave me in this misery for one more day.
“Misaki—a shining star indeed. Six weeks, Bart, and you’ll be unable to hide the brightness of this little gem.”COLLAPSE
L.S.F. on Amazon wrote:
Ummmmm... How to start...
Well, I bought this book because I got attracted by the cover, and of course, its book description. Having a anime-kind-of cover is very attractive to me since I have read and watched a number of manga and anime for ages. And I have a hunch that books that have anime-kind covers are somehow "special" or "different".
When I was in the first few chapters, I really wanted to punch Shane. His mouth was a jerk to Aki though I knew he was using his own way to protect Aki. It took a long way (in my opinion) for Shane and Aki to start a love relationship. The only thing that bothers me a little is how Shane went from being a bad mouth to Aki to being a sweet mouth. The change is quite sudden to me.
Moreover, somehow this book reminded me of Santino Hassell & Ais' series "In the Company of Shadow". The characteristics of the characters are definitely different, and the descriptions of many things. I supposed that's because the story is much heavier than I had expected (or it's as heavy as ICoS). I thought this story was a light one like Mary Calmes' "Change of Heart" series when I purchased it.
Anyway, I have enjoyed the reading!!! I want to read more about Shane and Aki after they are in love. So, I can't wait for the second book to come out! (Yes, it's the first in a series.) Hopefully, Lissa Kasey won't make us or me wait for too long! (Please have the WHOLE SERIES out asap!!!!!!!!!!!)
PS. Though it's about 245 pages, it took me longer than usual (5 hours) to finish reading.
D. Moore on Amazon wrote:
I read this practically in one sitting and if the sequel had been out would have gobbled it up the same day. The characters really shine in this one, not just the leads, who are great, but the whole ensemble. For a book set mostly in a brothel there was less sex than you might expect, but Casey made up for it with the supercharged dynamic, between Shane and Aki obviously, but also between Aki and Paris, his trainer, and one of my favorite characters. My main complaint was that I found the world-building busy and info-dumpy--especially as we got close to the climax, which is not the best place for huge, confusing revelations. Frustratingly, I wanted more details about the overall dystopian setting, especially the split between the North and the South.
But still, this is an entertaining, sizzling hot read, with great characters. I can't wait for book two.
The story was good. Figured out the villain fairly easy - and believe the reader was meant to figure it early as it builds some of the suspense. There are pretty much four main characters but only two in this story are mates for each other. The other two get their own stories in different books.
I would have liked at least one additional chapter that started the mates into their new life together. A little day-to-day interaction of them starting to live and work together would have been a better ending (at least in my opinion).
Maybe that too is in the next story of the series.