Hiya guys! We have Santino Hassell popping in today with his new release Sightline, we have a great excerpt and a fantastic giveaway so check out the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
Chase Payne is a walking contradiction. He’s the most powerful psychic in the Community, but the least respected. He’s the son of the Community’s founder, but with his tattoo sleeves and abrasive attitude, he’s nothing like his charismatic family. No one knows what to make of him, which is how he wound up locked in a cell on the Farm yet again. But this time, the only man he’s ever loved is there too.
Elijah Estrella was used to being the sassy sidekick who fooled around with Chase for fun. But that was before he realized the Community wasn’t the haven he’d believed in and Chase was the only person who’d ever truly tried to protect him. Now they’re surrounded by people who want to turn them against their friends, and the only way out is to pretend the brainwashing works.
With Chase playing the role of a tyrant’s second-in-command, and Elijah acting like Chase’s mindless sex toy, they risk everything by plotting a daring escape. In the end, it’s only their psychic abilities, fueled by their growing love for each other, that will allow them to take the Community down once and for all.
The Community series!
What lies beneath the surface of the world you thought you knew?
Secrets and lies have twisted an underground community founded by psychics escaping persecution. Blackmail, sex, and social climbing in the name of power has created an irreparable rift.
In the eyes of the founders, there are two sides: loyalists and everyone else. Surely no one would emerge from their tightly woven webs. And they certainly wouldn’t sow the seeds of rebellion within the heart of the Community’s only queer night club.
Now an outcast, a scion, and a runaway are leading a revolution to save not only the men they love, but the entire Community.
Check out The Community series!
It was always a challenge to maintain his mental shield while pretending to be mind-controlled by a sociopath in a black lab coat who was trying to splinter his brain. However, Chase had done it before.
Without his shield, the sociopath in question—Jasper, psychic vamp extraordinaire—would realize Chase had never been truly loyal to the Community. More terrifyingly, he’d also gain access to Chase’s psychic talents. The trick to keeping up his shield was focusing on why he needed it. Usually it was because he trusted nobody enough to let down his guard even for a moment. In this specific moment, it was because he needed Jasper to think he had Chase, biggest freak of the multitalented freaks, firmly on his side so he’d stop pulling.
Pulling wasn’t a technical term, but it was the only way Chase could describe the sensation of Jasper trying to absorb the abilities out of his fucking brain. It felt like a giant vacuum had attached to his ears and eyeballs and was suckingaway the psychic bits that made him Chase. And there were so many of those bits that each pull left him convulsing, eyes rolling back, pained screams wanting to escape his mouth.
As a kid, he’d tried to justify the existence of psychic powers as genetic mutations. That had to be why the Black family was so strong, and why Richard had taken a page from their book to begin breeding psychics of his own.
But if all of it was just mismatched genes . . . what clusterfuck of a mutation had given Jasper the ability to suck the abilities out of Chase’s brain? To cause such mind-numbing pain that Chase at times forgot who he was or even what he was. Could a human experience this and still come out okay? Maybe not. Maybe he wasn’t human. Whatever the case was, he wouldn’t let Jasper get him. And Jasper would never hear him scream.
Chase gritted his teeth, fingers clenching where his arms were pinned to his sides, and worked on keeping Jasper out. The psy-sucker could do his best, but he wasn’t going to succeed. Not until Chase’s brain completely buckled and he lost all agency over his body. And his abilities.
“You’re going to kill him.”
Jasper didn’t look back at Richard. He continued to loom over Chase’s pinned-down body, hands braced on either side of Chase’s temples, and struggled to work his way in past Chase’s mental shield.
The commanding whip crack of that voice jolted Jasper. Shit, it even jolted Chase, and he was in the process of caving under a mental attack more excruciating than usual. His father tended to have that effect on people.
“He won’t die.” Jasper’s cat eyes fixed on Chase. “He isn’t in danger until he starts to scream.”
Chase bared bloody teeth at him in a smile. “When have you ever heard me scream, shit bag?”
“The times you don’t remember.”
Disgust curdled Chase’s stomach. Jasper made him sicker than the torture itself. So, he did the only thing he could do in such a situation, and spat a bloody gob in Jasper’s face. It wasn’t easy to get all his facial muscles to cooperate and aim just right, but he did it and got a violent backhand for his trouble. It was followed by a punch in his face, then his stomach.
Physical pain joined the mental torment he’d been enduring for . . . a week? Two weeks? Time wasn’t real to him anymore, and he had no idea how many days had gone by since he’d jumped out of that boat. Since Holden and the others had left him and Elijah behind. All he’d known since that point had been a narrow room, an uncomfortable hospital bed, and the sensation of being ripped apart from the inside out.
Richard appeared in Chase’s view and grabbed Jasper’s arm. Had he been watching the entire time? Chase didn’t know why Daddy Payne was suddenly involved in this shit show.
“I’m beginning to think you’re enjoying your role rather than understanding the utility of it,” Richard said coldly.
“You don’t understand my role, Richard. That’s why you need me.” Jasper wiped blood on his lab coat, green eyes and narrow pupils still drilling into Chase. “He’s keeping me out, and I need to drain him.”
Richard glanced down at Chase. His nostrils flared before his eyes sharply cut away. “Chase’s abilities have been useful in the past. He doesn’t need to be left a husk.”
“He’s too dangerous to be left whole,” Jasper said with no emotion. “If it weren’t for him and his telepathic communication with his inbred brothers, none of this would have begun. Either he’s stripped or he’s removed entirely.”
Richard’s lips thinned. “He doesn’t need to be a corpse either.”
Chase panted harshly while staring up at his father. The man he’d never expected to . . . defend him?
“He is a traitor,” Jasper said, enunciating each syllable. “The fact that you look at your offspring as your children is the one thing I don’t understand. There is no need for parents in the Community. Isn’t that part of your ideology? That we should be devoted to the cause, to the community as a whole, and not to specific relations?”
Richard ignored the jab. He seemed to ignore a lot when it came to Jasper. “The only thing Chase is definitely guilty of is not telling us what he knew about Beck—not trusting me to tell me what he knew.”
“You really think that’s all he’s done?” Jasper sounded on the verge of laughter. “Are you that desperate to cling to one of your children?”
Richard’s lips curled just slightly before his expression smoothed again. “This has nothing to do with family. But I find it difficult to believe the only person who has consistently remained inside the Community is the one you suspect of betraying it. Especially since you can’t explain how you know.”
Chase stared up at Jasper through his eyelashes, breathing hard and hearing himself wheeze with each gasp. He wondered whether, when Jasper was rooting around in the depths of his mind, he’d found psychic evidence of Chase’s transgressions. The residue of lies, the stain of a secret, a shadow shaped like growing dissent. Could Jasper see those things? Or was this all . . . his assumptions? His personal vendetta because in all their time together as researcher and test subject, since Chase was a child, he’d never broken. Never screamed. Never given Jasper the satisfaction of watching Chase Payne break down.
“In all my years of studying siblings, I’ve discovered they have the strongest bond of all family members,” Jasper said. “Even more so than a parent and a child. They’re unique, especially twins. And that uniqueness would be heightened by psychic siblings, two of whom are from a family with enough power to send a rocket to space.” Jasper’s cat eyes slid away to focus condescendingly on Richard. Leader of the Community, but it seemed, in Jasper’s mind, still lesser. “I think Chase assisted Theo Black when it came to Beck, and I think he called Nate Black here after Theo was killed. Our reprogramming prevents Chase from fully acting against us, so he sent an SOS to his inbred brother. And I believe it’s Chase who continued to send messages to both Nate and Holden, drawing them here.”
“They left him behind,” Richard said. “Holden left him behind.”
“Because Chase came back for the boy.”
“Then use the boy to control him, not the shit that you’re doing now.”
For the first time since this had started, maybe since his childhood, and before Jasper had started practicing pulling from him, Chase panicked. Fear took hold of him with violent fuck-boy paws and forced him to see nothing but images of Elijah being hurt. Tortured physically. Ripped apart mentally. Left a husk as Richard had said. Beaten. Starved. White torture. Disorientation. Or totally reprogrammed and controlled.
The heart monitor tracking Chase’s vitals sped up.
“If I can’t get him to break, we’ll use the boy.”
A concession. One that satisfied Richard. He took a step back, retreating to his corner of the room while Chase shot him a panicked look.
Richard started, then went still. Jasper put his hands on Chase again.
The pulling began more violently than usual. Chase’s eyes rolled back and he seized, limbs shaking and lips parting. A grunt escaped, the first sound all day, and Jasper released an excited hiss: “Yes . . .”
This man would soon have Elijah. He would use Elijah. Hurt him. Take him. Destroy him. Control him.
The possibilities shrieked through Chase on a loop, one image more awful than the last, as Jasper continued tearing him to pieces out of determination to destroy Chase’s telepathy—the only tool he had to communicate with his brothers. It hurt more than anything had ever hurt before. Maybe Jasper was getting closer, and this would work, and Chase would end up incompetent or brain-dead. Or maybe it wouldn’t work, and they’d drag out Elijah.
Chase did the only thing he could do to stop this.
He dropped his mental shields and invited in the full force of Jasper’s power. Then he screamed.
What had been painful was now unbearable, and he let himself feel it all. Red streaked across his vision, then black, and everything was cold. Everything was agony, and his scream got louder until he sounded like something else. Something different.
The glass lining his cell shattered.
“Goddamn it, Jasper!” Richard’s voice shook when he yelled.
The pain kept coming, a freight train of agony. Heat blazed over the cold, until Chase’s body felt flayed and exposed. His mind was a distorted mess of crossed wires that scrambled his thoughts and distorted his vision until everything was wrong.
There was shouting above the screaming in his head and the sound coming out of his mouth, but none of it made sense. Even when the pain traveled down his arms and something cold and sharp bit into his wrists.
Something touched him. Fingers. Hands. And then the pulling, the awful violent stretching, stopped.
Chase peeled his eyes open to find himself crouched on the floor, curled up and panting like a feral animal. The skin of his wrists was torn and bleeding. Apparently, a surge of energy and adrenaline had soared through him, and he’d broken the straps. Or that spark of telekinesis had come out like it always did when he started to slip away.
Licking his lips, Chase tried to reorient himself while huddling and hiding his face again. The voices around him still seemed too far away as he regathered his wits, but he could hear Richard snarling at Jasper, and Jasper lazily defending himself.
Everything in his body was on fire, but Chase forced himself to unlock his limbs and muscles. There was a conflict going on around him, and he could work with this. Divide and conquer, even when it felt like his own brain had been split in two.
Chase clumsily scrabbled across the floor, unable to walk, mostly crawling. The words silenced around him as he huddled by Richard’s feet.
“Please,” he managed to gasp. “Please help me.”
Silence resounded in the room. There was nothing but his labored breathing and the drip of his blood on the tile. He chanced a look up, squinting through the blurriness and lights dancing before his eyes, and saw naked horror on Richard’s face. It was amazing how a man who’d done so much, who was responsible for so much, had never witnessed this violence with his own eyes.
It made Chase hate him even more. But he swallowed his revulsion and clutched the smooth, perfectly cut slacks his father wore.
“Please,” he croaked again.
“You’re not buying this, are you?” Jasper asked, again sounding bored. “Put him back on the table and next time—”
“There won’t be a next time,” Richard thundered. “We’re done here.” He took a deep breath, which came out shaky, before kneeling beside Chase. “Come on. Up.”
Chase tried to grab Richard’s shoulders and failed. His fingers wouldn’t lock. His limbs wouldn’t cooperate. For a second, he really did panic. What if this was permanent? What if . . . he couldn’t escape? Or help Elijah.
“Why can’t he move?”
“It should fade.” Jasper walked closer, his footsteps slow and deliberate. “Richard—”
“‘Should,’” Richard repeated. “I told you not to hurt him.”
“No, Dick. You told me not to kill him.” A patient sigh, one that prompted Chase to glance up through his tearing eyes. All he could make out was a clenched jaw and Jasper holding himself very still. “I know it must be shocking to see what I do here, but it’s been sanctioned by you. Long ago. Why do you think the child is the way he is? He was half a beast when you finally took him to the city. Still is.”
A beast. One day Chase would crush Jasper’s head. That was a promise.
“You’re right. This is why Chase is the way he is, and this is why I’m putting a stop to it. Now.” The tremor was gone from Richard’s voice, and he was himself again. Commanding, strong, and brooking no wiggle room for debate. He was once again the person Chase had been in awe of as a child. The first time they’d met, Chase had been amazed at the man wearing the dark suit and shiny shoes—the first person he’d ever seen without a uniform or lab coat. “He’s my son. My only remaining adult son. And I won’t waste his life so you can have his talent.”
Richard hooked his strong hands under Chase’s arms and pulled him up. When Chase, whose knees were like water, nearly slid to the floor again, Richard held him.
“Fine,” Jasper said, voice gone cold. “And the boy? Elijah.”
Chase dug his fingers into Richard’s arms as tight as he could, and forced himself to make the most pathetic whimpering sound he could muster. Save me, Daddy. Save me from the bad man who wants to hurt me and my friend. I’m still loyal to you.
“I’ll deal with the boy myself.”
Richard put his arm around Chase’s shoulders and drew him out of the room, but not before Chase chanced a disoriented look over his shoulder at Jasper. He was furious. And that wouldn’t end well for any of them.
Read more at: https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/sightlines (just click the excerpt tab)
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.
He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.
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