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Gilded Lies

By

Worth reading 😎

An emotion-based superhero epic exploring psychological baggage and tangled relationships: romantic, platonic and everything in between.

Synopsis

Their powers bind them. His boyfriend must divide them.

With his supernatural sex appeal, actor John Beechum is on the precipice of recapturing the hetero heartthrob spotlight, but then he and his secret boyfriend, Emerson, share unheard-of premonitions from a teenager kidnapped by a corporation eradicating their kind. Now they need help from John's murderous ex-girlfriend—Licia.

Luckily, he knows how to act like a normal, no-ability straight guy who's totally not losing his shit.

Bringing Licia back rekindles their old affection and puts his and Emerson’s relationship on edge, forcing John to confront his lingering feelings for her—and the role he played in founding the corporation after their kind. The three must work together, using John’s public influence to save the teen and other Abnormals at the risk of exposing them all—assuming they can survive each other first.

But this captive teenager’s unprecedented ability is the key to bringing about a change in their kind that none of them ever saw coming...

Powerful vibes and emotional manipulation compel John and his many lovers into confronting their past in order to try and save the future. 


Present but unacknowledged in the world of “Gilded Lies” are people who have changed after a global phenomenon called The Shift. Kids are born different and some younger people experience an immediate change: they can manipulate themselves and others in hormonal ways. John can release his “vibe” and make crowds of people feel immediate lust, Emerson can take the feeling away, and that’s just the beginning of this story of lies, truth and corruption. For fear of prosecution, people living with these "abnormalities" are forced to keep them as secret and hidden as they can. When the gang links mysterious flashbacks to a young girl being held hostage at a corporation that pledges to expunge the abnormal people, they must deal with the sins of their past to save her, and themselves. 


This tale of superpowers and othered people is grounded in the relationship between John and Emerson. Having both lived and lied in the past, their relationship has progressed to an intersection; do they confess all that they’ve done and risk ruining what they have built, or can they balance on the edge pretending it doesn't exist. John cannot go public about the relationship and risk ruining his hetero-branded sex appeal and the fame that comes with it. Emerson is through waiting for validation. This delicate relationship is strained further when a few ex-girlfriends come back into the picture. Beyond the delicate emotional dance between them, the hidden state of the "abnormal" people hangs in the balance. Murder, fame and the survival of their kind are all thrown into question as the two struggle to do what is right.


This story is a fun, surprising journey told through alternating perspectives. The characters are rich, complex and faulted enough to keep readers wanting more. While superhero stories can easily feel overused, this story pulls on fresh elements of relationships, sexuality and emotional depth to explore new corners of the genre. A genuinely entertaining adventure novel for readers looking for equal parts romance and fight scenes. This book would appeal to anyone looking for a more adult take on Hero by Perry Moore, and Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi.



Reviewed by

I am a book (and bread) lover based in NYC. I studied Monster Culture in undergrad, concentrating in Gender Performance across Monster Narratives. I love all things horror, science fiction, diverse and compelling. I'm passionate about reading weird, unexpected and emotional stories across platforms.

Synopsis

Their powers bind them. His boyfriend must divide them.

With his supernatural sex appeal, actor John Beechum is on the precipice of recapturing the hetero heartthrob spotlight, but then he and his secret boyfriend, Emerson, share unheard-of premonitions from a teenager kidnapped by a corporation eradicating their kind. Now they need help from John's murderous ex-girlfriend—Licia.

Luckily, he knows how to act like a normal, no-ability straight guy who's totally not losing his shit.

Bringing Licia back rekindles their old affection and puts his and Emerson’s relationship on edge, forcing John to confront his lingering feelings for her—and the role he played in founding the corporation after their kind. The three must work together, using John’s public influence to save the teen and other Abnormals at the risk of exposing them all—assuming they can survive each other first.

But this captive teenager’s unprecedented ability is the key to bringing about a change in their kind that none of them ever saw coming...

Tarrah

Three months without a vision dragging her consciousness away—nearly a record. A boring one filled with rubbish day time TV and a million needle pricks, but still progress.

Dr. Benson stood at the end of Tarrah's bed, examining her chart, clicking her long, French-manicured nails along the back of the clipboard. She hooked it on the end of the bed and adjusted her fitted lab coat.

“Ms. West, you've got some color back.” Her voice was severe but in a you-can-rely-on-me way, which Tarrah usually appreciated, but right now she'd appreciate a few crackers to settle her stomach more. Besides, she doubted her color was anything more than the same ashy gray of a doused campfire—not that she'd ever been camping. She'd seen her matted bird’s nest hair and lifeless complexion in the bathroom not long ago.

Her stomach stopped gurgling and settled as the room warmed up.

“We decided you're ready for the next trial.”

Tarrah hesitated and picked at a hang nail. She'd grown used to the cocktail of antibiotics and antidepressants, but these “trials” made her feel like the grass a cow kept bringing back up to chew apart over and over again. “I've been thinking about that.”

Dr. Benson tucked a loose red curl behind her ear. The door to Tarrah's room opened, but Dr. Benson held up her hand and the nurse backed out. When the silence stretched, she said, “About what?”

Tarrah rather wished the nurse had come in. Benson was intimidating on the best days; the woman never seemed to blink. Tarrah shrank back into her pillows. “I'd like to stop the trials.”

Dr. Benson's mouth flattened. She rolled over a chair and sat so they were almost eye level. Tarrah hadn't noticed the age spots peeking through thick foundation before. Over a year with this woman and she still felt like she was talking to a shell.

“You know these trials are the only way to keep you under our care. Your insurance can only cover a couple of months, then you’d be in debt. You're only nineteen, don't make a decision that will cripple you for the rest of your life. That's why we're doing this, right? So you can have a life?”

Tarrah blinked several times while Dr. Benson pinned her with the weight of her stare. “Y-yes.”

“Then we'll double check your blood work and make sure the last medication is out of your system and get you going on the next.” She stood.

Nerves made Tarrah mumble her acquiescence while she picked at the hang nail again. She ripped it off and bit her lip as it tore, except as a small drop of blood welled there was no pain. Heat traveled down to her toes and up across her chest, like sinking into a hot bath and—oh shit. So much for that record.

“Doctor, it's happening.” She fought the weight of the vision trying to rip her mind away. Warmth clutched at her, but if she gave in, she'd disappear and see things she couldn't control. Her breath shortened and she couldn't focus.

“Stay calm. I've got the adrenaline ready. Don't fight it.” Dr. Benson hit a button near the door.

The heat-filled endorphins crept up Tarrah's throat and into her cheeks. It felt so good and terrified the hell out of her. Two nurses joined them.

“Do whatever you have to, to keep her stable. We need her,” Dr. Benson ordered.

The last time a vision took her, Tarrah lost two days and watched a week of a kid's life in China. She hadn't understood a word of it, but this time Dr. Benson had the adrenaline. She'd use it if she had to.

Tarrah sank into the dark, wrapped in the arms of a natural high that had her consciousness leaving the hospital altogether.


About the author

Lin Lustig’s tenacious nature and love of Disney villains has made her a heroic villain who seeks to support reader well-being through worlds of fierce love, magical adventures, and overdue reveling—so we can all celebrate the hidden parts of ourselves while escaping into a rich reading experience. view profile

Published on September 01, 2020

100000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by

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