Clown and juggler Marcus is good enough at his job that he doesn't mind not
having a net for his high wire act. It's a good thing, too, because his boss
won't let him have one, which proves to be a problem when his act comes
crashing to the ground during a performance.
Jericho is Marcus' best friend, the brother of the circus owner, who has
been in love with Marcus for years. When Marcus is injured, Jericho sees it
as the perfect time to confess his love. Danger lurks around unexpected
corners, though, and Jericho and Marcus will have to step very carefully to
Marcus Jacobs rested his elbows on the tiny dressing table and sighed at the
reflection that looked back at him from the antique mirror. Twenty-seven
years old, and he already had tiny lines spider-webbing from the corners of
his eyes and dry patches high on his cheeks and forehead. Came with the
territory, he supposed -- greasepaint could dry out a man's skin like
He'd tucked his wavy red hair, inherited from his dad, the Great Coppertop,
neatly inside a white stocking cap, ready for his trademark rainbow-colored
fright wig. Marcus' lithe body was snug in his sparkly silver leotard, soon
to be hidden away inside his raggedy shirt and baggy, patched pants. On a
chair next to the table were his oversized, floppy red shoes, white gloves,
and polka-dotted suspenders. He only wore the shoes during his clown
routines -- when he was on the high wire, he went barefoot.
On the dressing table before him was his makeup box, filled with the tools
of his trade -- small pots, tubes, crayons and pencils of color. Taped to
the inside of the lid was a tarot card -- the Knight of Wands. He paused,
tracing the image on the card with his finger. The Knight held aloft a torch
instead of a sword, as if lighting the way. It seemed to Marcus that the
Knight knew the secret all clowns knew -- that the way to peace and
happiness was through light and laughter, rather than violence.
Garishly colored, edged in gilt, the card had been a gift to Marcus from his
father. Marcus remembered the day his father had given it to him as if it
had been yesterday. Marcus had known on that day, in that very moment that
he would follow in his grandfather and father's footsteps -- he would be a
He'd been six years old.
"This is me," his father had said, placing the card in Marcus' hand and
pointing to the Knight. "He was your grandfather, and he will be you, too,
Marcus. The Knight is full of fire. He is carefree, happy. He takes what
life throws at him with grace. Never forget that with humor, Marcus, no
heartache is unbearable."
"I still miss you, Pop," Marcus whispered. "It's been really lonely without