Thursday, February 11, 2021

Read an excerpt from The Last Game by Lance S. Taylor

Welcome to the Book Tour for
The Last Game 
by: Lance S. Taylor

Keep on reading to find an excerpt from this fantasy! And be sure to check out the rest of the tour for even more.

Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: Feb 4, 2021

Seventeen-year-old Cael is a bridger, someone whose job consists on saving people who get trapped in the Bridge, the ethereal space between the real world and VirtuaNet, the world’s leading online game. His high genetic compatibility with the online world allows him to bridge, but it comes at a price. Any injury his character sustains in the game, he will suffer in the real world.

Cael is also committed to reform a society that forces blind adherence to dissonant values in exchange for a comfortable existence. But this commitment exacts a heavy toll on Cael, a declining client base and a starving family.

So just when Cael is ready to forsake his beliefs and risk his soul in order to save his family, an influential young woman in need of someone who’d risk his life in VirtuaNet, offers him the opportunity of a lifetime. Wealth beyond his wildest dreams and social influence to implement the needed reforms.

But some things are too good to be true.

Read an excerpt:


It was the first time Aisha Lexington experienced unbearable pain. Raw. So overwhelming that tears streamed down her cheeks, and she’d do anything to stop the agony, even risk that which  she loved most. The young woman had waited loyally for a brother who would not return, a  fraternal promise that would not be fulfilled. For a father who pretended everything was all right,  that nothing had changed since the day the pandemic struck, since her brother vanished out of  hatred for his own blood, out of sheer rebelliousness and a desire to cause mayhem. For a mother  she could only talk to atop the Heavens. 

But she would wait no longer. 

Aisha Lexington didn’t know why sorrow had slashed her soul when she did not see her  brother return, but not when her mother gave her last breath. She didn’t know why grief had seared  her heart when she heard her father crying in secret once he realized his son would not return, when  she overheard her father and her brother arguing to the point of fist fights, but not when she was  told she only had a month to live and would soon join her mother. 

She didn’t know when her home had turned into a three-story gothic mausoleum cocooned  by the hills and mountains of North America’s Pacific Coast, where Renaissance and Enlightenment  paintings hanging from ivory marble walls gave way to achroite hallways, oak staircases, and a  multitude of rooms from which no more laughter sprung forth. No more joy or warmth. Only the  cold sound of whispering chandeliers and people exchanging pleasantries at dinner. A museum of  acquaintances instead of a home with a family. 

She didn’t know when her manor’s fruitful gardens had begun to wilt, to serve solely as a  reminder of an age that would soon end. Or depending on the perspective of those who believed in 

the Chairman’s vision of progress, an age that was just beginning, reborn from the ashes of the past.  But to the young woman, the withering meadows that sheltered her were nothing but the stench of  all the rotten things in the world she thought was perfect, in the world she thought would never hurt  her, of the brother she thought would never make her suffer. 

All the young woman knew was that her father and brother had been lying to her, trying to  protect her, to take care of her, to be her rock, to be strong for her, and that she’d have to break her  father’s heart to mend her own. That was what made her waver. That was what made her hesitate. 

The young woman had tried talking to her father, assisting him as she did in the family  business, where her keen business acumen had increased the company’s profit margin by fifteen  percent. She had managed to increase the money earmarked for social responsibility—to help those  less fortunate than them—but all she got was a reply that she shouldn’t worry. That he’d take care of  everything. 

But that only meant yelling at the Lezavres, saying that they were Lexingtons, and that this  type of thing shouldn’t happen to them. It only meant more sleepless nights of tears, where the soft  Pacific breeze wafting against her home’s clerestory windows was the sole respite of peace in a mire  of agony and distress. 

But the young woman wouldn’t let her father needlessly suffer. She would not let herself  needlessly suffer. She knew her plan was outrageous, folly even, and perfectly understood why her  father didn’t think it would succeed. She doubted at times, but all other avenues had failed. All  conventional plans had failed. All interventions had. So now, only foolishness remained. 

Perhaps to find her brother, she’d have to stop acting like her father and act more like her  brother. Reckless. Emotional. Without a care for her own safety. Without the slightest sense of how  things were supposed to be done. She had always found that sort of thing endearing in her brother,  and sometimes she thought of molding her personality to be more like him, but now that he had  hurt her, failed to keep his promise of returning after a week in VirtuaNet, she wasn’t so sure if his  way was the right one. 

A part of her wanted to believe her brother had not done that to her. A part of her wanted  to believe that something had happened to him. That he was hurt somewhere. Kidnapped. Dead.  And she didn’t know which was worse. That the brother who understood her fully and could  decipher what she’d do before she even made a sound had hurt her. Or that the only person who  treated her as herself, instead of just the daughter of Lexington Bank & Trust’s founder and CEO,  was lying somewhere as vermin food, forgotten by all but his father and sister. It was a fate that 

clawed at her soul, because the same thing had happened to an acquaintance of hers due to a drug  overdose. 

The young woman knew what she had to do, even if it meant sneaking away without her  father knowing. Even if it was the first time she’d disobey him. But he had taught her well. He had  taught her to stand up for herself, to fight for what she believed in, even if it gashed her heart into  myriad pieces. She was not a little girl anymore, but a young woman. Capable. Strong. An Achroite,  the best of humanity, at least according to the government’s propaganda, but she didn’t think herself  better than others. 

So, leaving a tear-soaked note in her father’s studio, telling him where she was going and  what she was planning to do, the young woman skulked away, past the servants in a house whose  every nook and cranny she had memorized. Once at the heliport, she ordered the pilot to take her to  Wessex, the capital of the United States of the North, or USN, the newly formed nation east of her  own. She lived in the Jointly Administered Territories of the Pacific, where the laws were more  flexible than in the USN, where the USN’s ideology had not fully taken hold yet, but where it’d soon  be adopted. Soon everyone would believe the same things, behave in the same way. An ideological cleansing of our own making. Because we were too distracted to notice. 

The young woman didn’t know if that was for the better or worse, though, as she had never  ventured abroad. For the first time, she would dare to go into the lands she’d only known through  holographic screens and books. For the first time, she’d brave the heavily shelled cities of the  Eastern seaboard, go to the capital by the Atlantic, to the Capital of Rebirth, where the Chairman of  the nation had declared a new world arisen, a future that was now. 

When the pilot started the plane, she hesitated for a second and almost told him to stop, that  she wanted to get out. What her father had told her pounded through her mind. That for all its  importance and haughty title, for all the appeal the government tried to bestow upon it, the capital  city Wessex was nothing but a repository of crime-prone refugees from the Unification. People who,  no matter what, the Chairman would not have been able to civilize. People of a nascent terrorist  movement who would kidnap her for ransom and soon cause a civil war in the political powder keg  that was the capital. That no one in their right mind would visit that wretched city unless they  absolutely had to. 

As the jet took off, the young woman gazed upon the ash that Yellowstone had brought  upon the land. The radiated rivers that made up the free lands of the Rim and the poisonous smoke  rising from the country’s many Eugenex generators. She took a deep breath and projected a 

hologram through her smartwatch. She looked one last time at the hologram of the young man who  she thought … who she knew would help her find her brother. At the bridger who was her last hope.  Her family’s last hope. 

The world’s last hope. 

Cael Cavanaugh.

About the Author: 
Lance S. Taylor is the pseudonym of an author who preferred books to toys as a toddler and was already writing short stories in grade school. Soon, he discovered anime and video games, especially JRPGs, which led him to write original scenarios that he still hopes will get adapted into a Tales series videogame. He’s been always creating worlds of his own, for others to leap into. He lives in a tropical paradise, where he spends his time deciding which of his many ideas gets written into a novel and creating characters whom you’ll get to know and care about as if they were your lifelong friends.

If you want to write to him, he appreciates your comments. Contact him at:

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