The Moonlight Market

 by Aidee Ladnier

Publisher: Loose Id
Pages: 194
ISBN: 9781682521854
ASIN: B01KIQNTNU
Editor: Kierstin Cherry
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

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Blurb:

Enter a world of dark fantasy and magic…

College senior Cory Long tracked his missing sister to the magical Moonlight Market to bring her home. Instead, he found a disorienting world of performers and hawkers, bizarre sights and sounds, and one very familiar showman, Sanderson Beets. Like a drowning man, he latched onto Sanderson, trusting him to navigate the twists and turns of the Market as unerringly as he had steered Cory to passion in their furtive trysts on campus.

But Sanderson was tired of being the quickie in the alley.

Sanderson Beets had escaped the Moonlight Market to attend college, hoping to settle into a normal life, maybe meet someone and fall in love. To obtain that new life he made a dangerous bargain. And when the sinister woman known as the Weaver of Dreams is involved, second chances always come with strings attached…and sacrifices. Sanderson’s debt has come due, and the only payment he has to offer is Cory, and their chance at a relationship.

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Excerpt:

Cory inhaled the heavy air and coughed, the smoke from the fire and the steam from the calliope mixing with the smells of fried food and strange spices. His eyes burned, and he pushed under his glasses to rub at them. He fished his phone out of his pocket. With a sinking feeling, he watched the display die with the last of his battery’s charge. He should have plugged it in during his drive.

“See the wonders.
Experience the thrills under cover of darkness.
Fun for children of all ages.
Fri & Sat night only.
Visit Kindle Bay’s Moonlight Market.
Have an adventure.”

The flyer had stated that the Market would begin Friday night and close at Saturday’s sunrise before opening again at sundown. He’d only been here a few hours, but the crutch of the digital clock on his phone had been a comfort. Now how would he know how long he had?

Poe’s face stared up at him from the photo, her sad expression tugging at him. He would find her. He had to find her. Cory returned the picture to his shirt pocket and shoved the useless phone into his jeans. He was startled when the raucous calliope music died midnote.

“Ladies and gentlemen.”

A commanding voice trumpeted over the noise of the crowd. Steam billowed from the muted calliope, and Cory’s gaze was drawn to the hazy shape of a tall figure obscured within the dense, swirling cloud. After a moment, the coalescing form emerged, revealing itself as a young barker who sprang to perch atop a crate in front of a green-patterned performance tent. His top hat brushed the silver tassels hanging from the tent, and he doffed it, bowing low to the audience.

“Ladies and gentlemen, don’t let hotheaded women turn your heads. Step this way to see the real wonders of the human body.”

The barker’s close-cropped blond hair glinted with perspiration. It glowed in the bright lights that burned away the shadows along the Moonlight Market. His long-tailed jacket, wrinkled by the steam, covered his bare, muscled chest and matched his silvery pants. His dimpled smile promised mischief as he gestured with his top hat, arms flung wide to embrace the crowd.

Cory’s breath caught, trapped in his throat.

It was Sanderson.

It was Sanderson, but not the nice, sexy guy from college.

This creature was something preternatural and beautiful.