Genre: Adult Upmarket Contemporary
Word Count: 99,000
Hogwarts House: At the start of the book, Ángel's definitely Slytherin. He can be a bully, he's lying to everyone he knows, doing all sorts of bad things, and not getting in trouble for any of it. But the arc of the book is about him changing himself into a person worthy of Gryffindor's legacy of heroism (and, appropriately enough, his heroic alter ego is named Griffin.)
When Ángel leaves a fantasy roleplaying cult, he finds real life to be another lie. To succeed and move on, he must resist the lure of his former identity and the woman he left behind.
When Ángel saw people with foam swords in the park, he knew he should keep driving. Stopping might undermine his new life, destroy five years of anonymity. Then again, live action roleplaying looked really stupid from the outside. Watching for five minutes might kill any remaining nostalgia he had for his old life. That would be a good thing.
He pulled a U-Turn and parked in the lot.
They were kids, probably late high school, all guys, all white. As they sparred, fighting in uncoordinated jerky bursts, attempting to mimic movie duels, Ángel winced in embarrassment for them.
This is why you quit LARPing.
And yet, he wanted to join them. Swing a sword. God how he missed that.
Fighting wasn’t LARPing. Fighting was exercise. And he needed exercise. Almost as much as these kids needed a swordmaster. If they seemed okay with it, he’d spar with them for ten mutually beneficial minutes—helping the boys would put him in a better mood for the family reunion waiting for him at home.
Ángel put on his Red Sox cap, got out of the car, and headed straight for the weapons pile where he crouched down and gauged his options.
“Are you here for the event?” a kid said.
Startled, Ángel turned, throwing himself off balance. He rolled with the momentum in a backward somersault and popped up next to the kid.
The kid gaped. “That was amazing.”