by Shane Boulware
Publication date: May 20th 2022
Genres: Adult, Supernatural
The Soulstealer’s greatest power is that no one believes it exists…
…except Steven Carpenter. One of the last remaining members of the Ordo Solis—a thousand-year-old order sworn to kill the ancient demon—even his faith has begun to wane. But when he witnesses the return of the Soulstealer with his own eyes, belief quickly turns to grim reality.
With the souls of the world at stake, Steven knows what he has to do—expose the Soulstealer. There’s just one problem, it knows it’s been discovered … and so do the nefarious cults sworn to the demon’s cause. In a race against time and evil, Steven will have to find help. But will it be enough? Or will they be too late?
Author Shane Boulware ramps up the action in his hair-raising second entry in the Soulstealer series. Burning the boundaries between urban fantasy and suspense thriller, this grim-dark stomach-churner will leave you as breathless as the characters trapped within its pages.
Though she didn’t believe him, Jeff promised Sara he’d read to Trista tonight, taking no more than two hours reviewing surveillance. He worked his schedule to spend the first hour watching the Gatekeeper in real-time as he arrived, and the second hour emailing and speeding through the day’s feed.
The Gatekeeper came into view as Jeff’s doorbell rang. Jeff stepped out of his office and got to the door in time to see Sara peering through the peephole. She scowled at Jeff as she opened it, revealing Steven dressed in a Star Trek t-shirt, leather jacket, steel-toed boots, jeans, and a ridiculous purple bandanna around his neck.
Steven waved. “Hi, Sara.”
“Steven.” She glared at Jeff. “Two hours, Jeff, and not one minute more.”
Steven grinned and made a whip-cracking motion with widening eyes as Sara returned to the living room.
“Yeah,” Jeff muttered, “I’m lucky I’m still in the house. Come on in. I’m watching the Gatekeeper.”
“Sweet!” Steven followed Jeff back into the office, setting his backpack down and pulling up a stool while Jeff returned to his chair. They huddled around the television. “Man, we haven’t done this in a while.”
Jeff cracked a smile. “Yeah, it’s been months since we’ve had a good ole fashioned sit-down. Aren’t you supposed to be out cruising the wild?”
Steven shrugged while glancing about the office; empty wrappers and gadgets strewn about. “I was in the neighborhood. I’m still on my vacation time though, so I’ll be headed back out for parts unknown.”
Jeff nudged him. “You were feeling guilty.”
Steven tilted his head. “Yeah, maybe a little. But I was serious when I said that I needed some time away from all this s***. The open road is the open road, and I got an urge I need to satisfy.” Steven pumped his fists and rocked his hips.
Jeff laughed while tucking away some unpaid bills on his desk.
“I decided to go south to the Carolinas,” Steven continued. “Through Tennessee and Missouri, then Ohio and back here. Tomorrow I’ll head out north, possibly all the way to Canuck-land. Who knows? I’ll figure it out when I get there.”
“Meanwhile…” Jeff began.
“Meanwhile, you’re fightin’ the good fight,” Steven added in a southern accent while eyeing the television. The Gatekeeper lounged in a brown leather chair, watching the fire as he did every day. A small table stood to his immediate right and another leather chair on the other side. His black leather fedora rested on the middle table.
Forty minutes into the video, a young man approached the Gatekeeper. Jeff leaned forward, snatched a notepad and mini pen from his back pocket, and scribbled notes on the paper.
Steven scrutinized the unfolding scene. “Easy, killer, just watch.”
The young man tried to sit before jerking still. He stood back up.
“I wish we had audio,” Jeff muttered.
“Shhh, just watch.” Steven strained to read their lips. The camera angles shot out both ways from the fireplace, giving them the perfect view. The Gatekeeper and his new friend began a conversation. Then the young man grabbed hold of the fedora and set it on his head, tapping the edge.
“Holy s***,” Jeff said. “That’s the Gatekeeper’s hat. He either knows exactly what he’s doing, or he has a death wish.”
“Mmmhm, we’ll see.”
They knew what would happen after the Gatekeeper verified the Soulstealer’s identity. They had learned about the procedure back when a much stronger Solis America infiltrated the Raptor’s former headquarters in Boston. Still, they could only guess at what words the two exchanged. The Raptors guarded the secret with a foolproof method: memorization.
The young man sat in the chair, back erect, and continued their dialogue. He took the Gatekeeper’s hat off and returned it to the table, tapping it again. The newcomer said something else, prompting the Gatekeeper to snatch his fedora, stand, and stride toward the VIP section.
The young man made no motion to follow, which they knew wasn’t part of the procedure unless the exchange failed. When the Gatekeeper left the room, the young man exited the bar the way he came.
Steven frowned. “That’s different.”
“What just happened?” Jeff asked.
“Looks like a failed attempt.”
“Yeah, but the guy knew what to do.”
“Or he was just a dumb drunk. It’s probably the Raptors messing with us again.”
“How could they know we’re still watching them?”
Steven gave Jeff a long look. “Jeff, they’ve probably been in your house a dozen times this year alone. I’m pretty sure they know.”
Jeff drew back, his voice trembling. “That’s not funny, Steven. I have a little girl in this house.” His eyes darted around the room as paranoia enveloped him.
“C’mon Jeff, they’re the Raptors. They have dossiers on every one of us, down to what kind of ice cream we like. We’ve been playing Spy vs. Spy since we figured out they supported the Soulstealer.”
“Is that your new name for it, the Soulstealer?”
“Catchy, isn’t it? I came up with it on the ride back. Sounds a lot better than ‘Stealer of Souls,’ or ‘Dracula.’ And Satan.”
Shane Boulware is an unconventional idealist from Orlando, Florida. Naturally, he commissioned as a Contracting Officer in the United States Air Force in 2012, where he promptly got tased, was hit with pepper spray, participated in a mock riot, jumped out of an airplane, and lived in a combat zone. These experiences tempered his creative instinct and led him to publish two music albums, found an innovation company, break a Guinness World Record, and learn over sixteen dance styles.
Having grown up a huge fan of Dune, Star Wars, Stargate SG-1, Warhammer 40K, Harry Potter, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and The Lord of the Rings, Shane always wanted to create and share a world of his own. His imagination set him on a path to write the supernatural thriller, Soulstealer, and its sequel, The Ordo Solis.
When he’s not negotiating contracts or salsa dancing the night away, you can find Shane taking his creative passion out on an unsuspecting keyboard. If you want to know when his next book will be available, visit his website at ShaneBoulware.com, where you can sign up to receive release updates and join a community of savants, swashbucklers, and nerds.
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