by Lisa Henry
Thank you so much for hosting me here at The Blogger Girls today, and letting me talk to you about my latest release, Starlight.
Starlight, the third and final book in the Dark Space series, is unquestionably Brady and Cam’s story, but for a series that started out with Brady and Cam literally locked in a room together, the supporting cast has grown quite a bit since the first book. I’d tell you that was never in the original plan, but this is me talking here. There was never anything resembling a plan.
So Brady and Cam’s story has grown since the first book. And one of the first book’s antagonists has, very awkwardly, become one of the protagonists in the third book. Or has he? Brady certainly has his doubts that Chris is on their side.
Sometimes when you’re writing a book, a character just comes along and demands attention. And look, this guy was only ever supposed to be in the background, but he just keeps insinuating himself in the action, and it turns out it’s a lot more interesting when he’s there. Chris Varro is that character in Starlight, I think, or at least he was for me. There’s a reason he made the front cover of Starlight, and it’s not just because I was afraid nobody would buy it if I put Kai-Ren on there…
Chris Varro was introduced way back in Dark Space, first as a memory of Cam’s that Brady shared through their psychic connection, and then as an officer from intel who arrived to interrogate Cam. Brady hated him. Firstly on principal, because he was an officer, but also on a personal level, because Chris was Cam’s ex-boyfriend and Brady is nothing if not petty like that.
We saw Chris again in Darker Space, where we first learned exactly how out-of-the-box his thinking was when it came to the Faceless. If Cam and Brady had a psychic connection to the Faceless, why shouldn’t Chris? So he injected himself with their blood to make it happen.
In Starlight, Chris is in charge of what is a very strange diplomatic mission indeed. A small group of humans—most of them military but one of them very decidedly not—is travelling with the Faceless to see what they can learn about them. It’s not exactly going to plan, but when does anything go to plan for Brady? And being stuck in close confines with his boyfriend’s ex isn’t much fun either, especially since Chris seems to find Brady’s jealousy so amusing.
But while Brady and Cam have been on a journey through the past three books, I think that perhaps Chris has as well. Brady didn’t notice it—he only looks at Chris to glare and fantasize about murdering him, probably—but a lot of the plot in Starlight rests very heavily on Chris, and how he’s going to react to what the universe throws at him. Brady doesn’t trust him and he doesn’t like him, but if he ever wants to make it safely back to Earth, he’s going to have to rely on him all the same.
Brady Garrett is back in space, this time as an unwilling member of a team of humans seeking to study the alien Faceless and their technology. It’s not the first time Brady’s life has been in the hands of the Faceless leader Kai-Ren, and if there’s one thing Brady hates it’s being reminded exactly how powerless he is. Although dealing with the enigmatic Faceless might actually be easier than trying to figure out where he stands with the other humans on board, particularly when one of them is his boyfriend’s ex.
Cameron Rushton loved the starlight once, but being back on board the Faceless ship forces him to confront the memories of the time he was captured by Kai-Ren, and exactly how much of what was done to him that he can no longer rationalize away. Cam is used to being Brady’s rock, but this time it might be him who needs Brady’s support.
This time Brady is surrounded by the people he loves most in the universe, but that only means their lives are in danger too. And when Kai-Ren’s fascination with humanity threatens the foundations of Faceless society, Brady and Cam and the rest of the team find themselves thrust into a battle that humans have very little hope of winning, let alone surviving.
*Starlight can be read as a standalone but probably words better with knowledge of the first two books in the series.
Available at: Amazon
An Excerpt from Starlight
The Faceless ship was silent, but the anger and the adrenaline rush of the battle ran on a constant feedback loop in our skulls. Spikes of pain, of fear, were like blasts of static in our heads. And sometimes, more than once, we felt that same dizzying sensation of sudden loss—and of that hole immediately being filled in again. The Faceless felt no grief for the fallen. The hive barely even noticed the loss of one drone.
I thought of my dad and how acutely I still missed him and how his loss was written in my bones, and in everything I did. A day didn’t go by when I didn’t think of him. And I thought of how my grief and my fear for Lucy had captured Kai-Ren’s attention in the first place.
I wondered which one of us was the most incomprehensible to the other. The most alien.
We made our way carefully down toward the core of the ship. Everything seemed dimmer. There were fewer lights drifting in the walls, and the fluid itself seemed darker than usual. The ship was hurt. Was she dying too?
Chris and Doc carried the hybrid between them, his thin arms held across their shoulders. His pale feet dragged more than stepped, but his eyes were open now. They were dark and wide and fearful, just like mine.
Cam and Harry led the way, and Andre and I brought up the rear. I held Lucy’s hand tightly. It was warm and damp with sweat. She was quiet. Her face was pinched. But she didn’t even stumble as we moved forward through the dimly-lit curving passageway of the ship.
As we moved toward the fighting.
“If anything happens,” I whispered to her, “run back to where we just were, okay?”
She nodded, and squeezed my hand more tightly.
We kept moving, right up until we didn’t. Cam and Harry had stopped, and I craned my head to see.
“It’s okay,” Cam said. “Keep moving.”
There was a dead Faceless lying in the corridor. His mask had been removed. His eyes were covered in a white film. His yellowish skin was stained black around his throat, and over one cheek, like someone had spat ink over him. And then I realized that no, it wasn’t a stain. It was necrosis, or something like it. His skin had been ruptured in several places, punctured, and the flesh around it had turned black.
Venom. It had to be venom.
I looked at Doc and Chris, and at the way the hybrid was slung between them. The hybrid’s fingers curled around their shoulders, and I thought of claws digging into their flesh and wondered how long it would take Faceless venom to kill a human. And then I thought of every time that Kai-Ren had run his hands over my skin, and of how the Stranger had prodded my stomach, and how each time I’d been staring death in the face. I’d thought of Kai-Ren as a god once, hadn’t I? A god who could strike any one of us down on a whim.
I held Lucy’s hand tightly as we passed the dead Faceless.
There was a voice in the back of my head—mine, for once—that told me we weren’t going to make it to the pods. That told me we’d be caught here, in a curving corridor with nowhere to take cover and that the Stranger’s Faceless would kill us, but whatever was happening in the rest of the ship was keeping all the Faceless busy.
My heart was beating out of my chest by the time we descended to the bay where the pods were kept, and the doors shut behind us, the sticky seams sealing closed.
There were six pods here, and seven of us plus the hybrid. It didn’t matter, because Cam and I had shared a pod before anyway. There was plenty of room. But mostly it didn’t matter because we had no way of getting the pods to work, let alone launching them.
And then it really didn’t matter, because we wouldn’t be launching them into some tranquil sea anyway.
“Holy fuck!” Harry exclaimed from the one of the windows that looked out into the nebula.
I look past him just in time to see a Faceless ship being torn apart by a massive explosion. It was colossal. It was blinding.
And it was close enough that the shockwave hit us like a tsunami.
About Lisa Henry
Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
Lisa has been published since 2012, and was a LAMBDA finalist for her quirky, awkward coming-of-age romance Adulting 101.