Varro Dacien spends his life riding toward the next adventure. Brian Christie, his best friend and touchstone, the one person who’s always truly seen him, plays sidekick on these madcap adventures and subsequent trips to the hospital until he can’t take it anymore. While Brian can see Varro, Varro has never caught on that he’s breaking his best friend’s heart. Without Varro, Brian builds himself a life that’s all about just getting by, doing his best to ignore the hole in his heart and his life. Without Brian to balance him, Varro pushes harder and takes more risks to reach that ultimate high. His job racing high-octane bikes on suicide-level courses makes it easy to get that rush… until it’s no longer enough and Varro realizes it’s not the race, but who’s waiting at the finish line that truly matters. Now he just has to convince Brian to be there.
I TOLD Aidric Bates the same thing in person as I had on the phone.
“Come on, mate,” he muttered, pushing my front door open from his side while I held it closed from mine.
“I’m not your mate and I’m not going.”
“But he’s runnin’ it with or without you.”
“’Tis not fine, Brian.”
He groaned loudly. “Brian.”
“No,” I said firmly. “Get off my porch, Aid.”
“You’d have him race without you, then?”
“I don’t want him to race at all, but it’s hardly my concern anymore.”
“He almost died the last time.”
“Yes, I know. I was there, if you recall.”
“Not then! Since you’ve been gone!”
But the time I’d seen it had been enough to haunt my dreams. I didn’t need to hear about his most recent brush with death. I used to see him fall over and over every time I closed my eyes.
We had all been there when the rear wheel of his bike suddenly slid out from under him. Because he was moving so fast, easily two hundred miles an hour, the motorcycle had simply flipped over with him still on it. It was called a high side—but I just called it a horror, because that’s what it looked like.
He’d broken four ribs, punctured his left lung, and fractured his collarbone as well as his left arm. Pins had been needed to hold bones in place, and the worst part was he had just gotten through physical therapy as a result of a previous crash, and now he was going to have to do it all over again.
It made sense; it did. Racing was the love of his life, and he wasn’t going to stop for anyone. The rush of adrenaline,…