Preview: The Two Ringmasters

I’m so excited about this short story I wrote for The Peculiar Lives of Circus Freaks anthology. This anthology will only be available for 6 months, and I’m honored to join 7 other incredible authors with their work. I had so much fun writing my short and I have all kinds of fun prequel ideas for Sheffield and other Donovan Circus characters. I wanted to share a bit of my short story, The Two Ringmasters, with you – here’s the opening number of this exclusive Sheffield Donovan/Donovan Circus prequel. Read anything that rings a bell?

The Two Ringmasters

(A short story appearing in the anthology
The Peculiar Lives of Circus Freaks)

Sheffield Donovan was tired, weary right down to his bones. It wasn’t because of the jam-packed circus season or the small road trip he was on to an old friend’s carnival. In fact, he welcomed the brief change, the newness that came with unfamiliar grounds and staff. As Donovan Circus ringmaster and owner, Sheffield needed it, perhaps more than he realized. Calloused hands on the worn wheel and a cigarette between his lips, Sheffield contemplated the last two weeks with concern.

Boston had been a rewarding tour stop, complete with a new Firestarter who was sure to be a crowd favorite. Nikolas, Sheffield’s favorite protégé, was also a Firestarter, and he was eager to gain a gifted brother on the road. Sheffield had immediately noticed how well they balanced each other, their instant camaraderie something to appreciate. Their show would surely be some insane feat with fire and motorcycles, if Nik had any say. The new guy, Keegan Larson, didn’t appear to have any problems with adrenaline. He’d fit in well.

No, Sheffield was tired of losing friends. Of the constant battle to maintain his status, of the fight it took to keep his circus family out of debt and out of any humans’ spotlights. He’d had a brother on the road once, a soulmate of sorts, if one could be found in a best friend. His brother had passed, thankfully of natural causes, but too soon and too far away from the people he called his family.

Sheffield Donovan had gotten the call nearly the moment they’d left Boston. He’d hardly flipped open the phone before the heartbreaking sob carried across the line. His heart cracked before a single word was spoken. Lenny Sullivan, his best friend since childhood, was dead. Sheffield had first confirmed the heart attack before asking about Lenny’s small daughter, perhaps not so small anymore, he’d mused, as Lucy was in her teens.

So Sheffield had made the journey down to Virginia where Lenny had hidden his child, hugged and soothed his extended family and paid his regards. Lucy had turned down his job offer, more than likely due to her mother’s nerves (although she had every right to be nervous, given their reason for leaving the Donovan Circus). Sheffield wasn’t deterred, however, confident he’d see Lucy Sullivan again sooner rather than later. It would only be a matter of time until she would want to rejoin her gifted world; Sheffield vowed to be there for her, by her side no matter what.

The Peculiar Lives of Circus Freaks, an 8-story anthology, now available for ebook and paperback.

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