There’s something intensely sexy about broken men. Maybe it’s the shred of humanity lingering inside, waiting for the right person to draw it out. Maybe it’s a single act that proves the man in question indeed has a heart and a soul. Whatever it is, I’ve always been a sucker for such guys in stories.
Such men usually fall into the anti-hero category as well–another literary weakness of mine. Lord knows folks are probably tired of hearing me ramble on about how much I absolutely adore Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights). He was my first anti-hero, the first one to spark what has become something of an obsession.
I’ve written a few anti-heroes over the years, and every one of them remain close to my heart for one reason or another: Triarius (Inferi Brotherhood), Braen (Secrets of Socendor), the list goes on. But there is another favorite that I didn’t write; Shayne did.
“Shattered Dreams” was written for Phaze Books’ Obsession line back in 2008, 2009. It’s a weird mix of modern, dark fantasy, and science fiction, with plenty of paranormal and magic thrown in for good measure. The character I wrote is Li–Kulisael–a demon commander. Shayne’s character is Cody Slate, a human wizard capable of immense power and driven by unfathomable revenge.
When we wrote “Shattered Dreams,” we weren’t sure how folks would respond to it. It doesn’t have a truly happy ending. More of a ‘kinda-happy-for-now’ ending, really. But it’s one of our stories that’s stayed with me over the years.
Cody truly is a broken man, hellbent on revenge against everyone–including his ex-lover, Li. Li, for his part, had nothing to do with the events that led Cody down a path of destruction. He also still harbors love for the human–a love that threatens to completely destroy them both.
But…love prevails. Sort of. Or maybe Li just got tired of waiting for Cody to get a grip and decided to take matters into his own hands. Either way, the two star-crossed lovers remain a favorite pair of broken men for me.
Call me Katherine or Mychael–I’ll answer to both. I’m a mother, partner, student, author by trade, and editor by compulsion. I’ve been in the publishing business for several years, namely as a writer but also as an editor on occasion. It never fails, though. I always end up editing eventually.
I’m a proud bibliophile, to which my poor sagging bookcases can attest. I read all the time, namely fantasy and romance.
When not writing or reading or editing, I…eat. Maybe sleep. Or watch Spongebob. Yes. I am a self-proclaimed, thirty-something year old Spongebob Squarepants addict. Much to my partner’s dismay. It’s fun.
If you’re curious about what I write (and who wouldn’t be?!), then you can find me below:
by Shayne Carmichael & Mychael Black
Sometimes happily ever after just doesn’t happen. Cody knows his lover, Li, is a demon. Yet he remains with him, waiting for Li to tell him the truth. The truth never comes, but Li’s brother, Vaul, tries to destroy Cody in a vicious attack. Because the demon seems to know every one of Cody’s magical secrets, Cody can’t defend himself.
What’s left of Cody is sent to a suspension chamber and requires twenty-cycles to regenerate a body. As the time passes, Cody, trapped inside a medallion, learns and grows more powerful. Anger becomes twisted rage that only thirsts for revenge. Near insane when he steps out of the chamber, Cody sets out to destroy every demon present at the attack, make Li pay for his betrayal, and to destroy Vaul.
Li cursed under his breath and turned. “Yes? Do I know you?”
The man who spoke was taller than Li’s six and a half feet. Looking at the black and white uniform with red insignia patches, Li knew this demon was high level.
“I thought as much,” the man said dryly. He smirked at Li.
“What do you want?” Li started backing up, and the man advanced.
“You are required to return home.”
“Home?” Li shook his head, not once looking away from the coal-black eyes staring through him. “I no longer have a home.”
The man pulled out a small square card and handed it to Li. “Your service is requested.”
“Something tells me this isn’t a volunteer thing,” Li remarked. The man simply laughed. Then he was gone in the blink of an eye.
* * * *
Skulking on the outer fringes of Caeunial, Cody stayed well away from its demon populace. He had his own agenda to take care of, and the thirst for vengeance had led him here. It fucking figured it would be the one place Cody really didn’t want to be. Keeping a low profile in the midst of demons, as a human, wasn’t the easiest thing to do. Sitting in front of the small fire he’d set to ward off the chill of the coming night, Cody stared into the black flames.
“I thought I might find you here.”
Cody didn’t freeze with the sound of the voice, but he refused to turn around and look at the speaker. He knew who it was. “That’s odd. I didn’t think I would find you here.”
“I was on my way to…work.” The speaker emerged from the shadows and knelt across from Cody, on the other side of the fire. “You look worse for the wear.”
“You were called in to deal with the zombie problem, weren’t you?” Cody’s gaze remained on the fire as he reached into the pack near him. Pulling out a can, he opened it and drank his dinner. “Are you going to provide additional incentive from the Counsel to hire me on?”
“How do you know any of that?”
Shrugging, Cody tossed the empty can back into the pack. “They already tried to hire me. I told them ‘no thank you’. I just didn’t think they would bring you into it.”
“I don’t know what they’ve called me in for. And I guess it’s safe to assume that you’re still pissed off.”
“Now why would I be pissed off?” Finally looking over at Li, Cody gave his ex-lover a bland look. Li hadn’t changed one bit. The demon still was one of the most incredibly handsome creatures Cody had ever seen. From the top of his golden blond curls to the innocent looking features of an angel, Li had eternal youth and extraordinary good looks on his side.
“Why else would you storm out?” Li asked him. “Why else would you turn away from everything?”
“Things change. Didn’t anybody ever tell you that? I learned the hard way myself.” Cody had found out in a hard way exactly what Li was. In the lesson, he wasn’t given a chance to choose, either by Li or the demons who’d damn near killed him.
“Fair enough.” Li stood and ran his fingers through his hair. “For what it’s worth, I haven’t changed, Cody.”
“That mean you still don’t tell the truth?” Cody stood and went to a pile of small sticks. Picking up several of them, he turned back to throw them into the fire.
“Never mind. Water under the bridge, Li.” In a more conversational tone, Cody asked, “So, are you going to wade into the zombie problem?” Internally, Cody cursed the Counsel. Whether it was deliberate or not, sending Li into it would be an excellent way to drag Cody in as well.
Li eyed him dubiously. “If that’s what my orders are, then that’s what I must do.”
“Never one to do what you want to do, or what you really should do, are you, Li?” Cody tried to keep his own personal issues out of it, but it was hard to do. “You’re on your way to the Scarlet Chapel, then.”
“Excuse me?” Li stepped closer and glared at Cody. “I went against laws you have no concept of, just to be with you!”
Those laws had been beaten into his body by a group of extremely angry demons, and Cody had precious little use for them.