A life cut short; unsolved robberies plaguing Philadelphia’s Jeweler’s Row; a cryptic message scrawled on a paper napkin; a Romanov prince; a young man held captive in Iran; a terrorist cell bent on revenge; and an opera company due to mount a rarely performed production of Handel’s Alexander’s Feast. What do these have to do with Jan Phillips?
One plunges Jan into a prolonged sadness. One leads him on a race to prevent a nuclear disaster. One offers Jan the promise of renewed love. One leads him to reluctantly wield his power as a Mundus master. One is bent on shattering thousands of lives beyond repair, while one unknowingly holds the key to the mystery that has baffled Philadelphia’s finest. Follow Jan as he untangles this Gordian knot that will alter his life in a way he never thought possible.
Jan stirred. He reached down between his legs. Erect again, he felt the dampness that clung to his balls and inner thighs. He smiled with remembered passion. He remembered too the return of a long dormant feeling… an infatuation with a stranger—that first flush that promises much and often risks more. Opening his eyes, he searched for Stephen who should have been next to him. The bed was empty, except for a depression where Stephen had been. Jan shot bolt upright. Dim light from glowing embers in the fireplace, painted the room with insubstantial shadows; shadows that just a few hours before, had swayed and moved to their lovemaking, and the sounds of Yo-Yo Ma’s magic cello playing Bach.
Jan slipped from the bed and walked naked to the man who had captured not only his body, but was well on his way to capturing his heart too. In a window seat, set deep in the stone wall, Stephen sat. Outside, heavy snow fell in ragged ranks. Stephen had wrapped himself in a blanket, his legs drawn up against his chest. His head, turned out toward the silvery sky, rested on his knees.
“Are you all right?” Jan asked as he approached.
Stephen turned and smiled. “Better than all right.” He reached out pulling Jan to him. “Jan, I’ve had sex a few times, but I’ve never known a feeling like this—until tonight. … I hope you don’t mind me saying it. I’d be miserable trying to hide how I feel.”
Jan held Stephen’s head to his bare chest, his early morning beard rough against Jan’s smooth skin. “Stephen, I never thought I’d be in love again, especially after Michael… I guess I felt I’d had my shot at love, twice actually. But for what ever reason, the strange gods who govern our affections seem to have decided to give me another chance at happiness.
“Jan, are you saying, what I think you’re saying?”
I was born in February 1944 three months before the end of WWII. Until the age of 16 I lived with my family in a small coal town in W.Va. I was raised a Catholic and as I child I was very devout. Until college, Capuchin monks and nuns—mostly from Italy and Ireland, meted out my education. That probably explains why my Latin has a decidedly Italian accent. When I was sixteen my father moved the family to Delaware. I finished college just as the Viet Nam War began to engulf our nation. I joined the army and trained as a tank gunner. After leaving the army I returned to Delaware where I built a career in analytical science. I retired after 37 years with the DuPont Company. I’ve traveled throughout Europe, Central America and Asia. All of my books derive from my experiences (at least emotionally) from my loathing of war and violence; my understanding of life choices and the consequences that flow from these—those we anticipate and those that are unexpected.
Michael’s contact info: michaelhalfhill.com