Book Two of
Here's a little bit
I hope you enjoy it.
High Commander Kade Quil loathes everything about his former enemy world, Pygras. Ordered to assist a Pygrian priestess on a rescue mission, he explodes—until he meets the graceful shape-shifter priestess assigned him. Her enchanting pink eyes halt his warpath. What creature could she manifest?
Scholar Willa Canatar must save her kidnapped sister, but tolerating the handsome but nasty-dispositioned investigator is torture. When tragedy blows their mission apart, the priestess and the cop become entangled in the turbulent forces of the universe.
The invincible Master of Cig wants the shape-shifters dead, their magic stolen, so he’s experimenting on them, exterminating their prophecy of his fall. Before he accomplishes his evil plot, he’ll face a sneaky cop with few boundaries, a beautiful priestess, and a wolf-spirit from the Second Universe ready to prove the Master’s immortality a myth.
Someone near the Master holds the secret to trumping the undefeated Kade Quil—take the priestess the high commander wants, and kill his people.
[ This excerpt is
rated PG. The story is rated R. ]
His hateful, wild-armed gesture caused some of his documents to hit the floor. High Commander Kade Quil’s nasty attitude for the Pygrians had returned.
Willa’s impulse was to rise and quit the room, but she dared herself not to run away again. She went back to her study of the scripture book open in her lap.
“You will see how my people contribute greatness to the good emperor’s kingdom,” she murmured under his spite-filled glare.
“I’ve perfect vision, and I haven’t yet seen what value your kind will bring my planet.”
He stood from his seat and bent to pick up his fallen papers, and she saw something slide from his shirt to be caught by a chain around his neck. She immediately recognized a sacred symbol of her religion and felt a chill at its appearance. The priestess reached for the pendant and snatched it, dragging Kade by the chain close to her.
“Where did you get this?” she snapped at him, eye-to-eye, willing herself not to emit a second sign of disposition that he controlled something of such sanctity. His nearness to the infinity symbol was awful. She tried not to notice he possessed deep, mossy-green, and beautiful eyes, the shade of the summer-blooming trees back home.
But she failed. The complexity of his eyes moved her, even in this angry moment.
Appearing to suffer a rare sympathy for her gravity, he removed the silver chain from his neck and passed the symbol to her.
“I’d taken it from your sister’s cabin room on the transport.”
Willa took the charm into her hand, and her thumb stroked the hieroglyphs she knew so well etched into its edge. She felt peace just holding it. It was the most revered symbol of her faith, a symbol of forever.
He paid too much attention. She must have expressed too much relief and love in her face.
“Would you like to tell me what it is?”
She put the chain around her neck, taking the sterling into her hand for safety. “It is a symbol of Mathari, and I cannot allow you to keep it.”
As she should have expected, Quil turned mean again, and he lifted the necklace from around her neck.
“This is evidence in an ongoing case, and it must stay in my custody.”
He returned the necklace to his own neck, and he cast her a dare in his squint.
She made fists of her hands beneath the table. It was blasphemy for him to wear that symbol.
“It wouldn’t hurt you to give it to me.”
“Not gonna do it.”
“Why not?” she calmly asked, but pain was coming on. She felt agony’s pounding beat at the door of her heart, waiting alongside fear of losing her sister to rush in and ambush her. She vowed for the umpteenth time not to accept any loss of hope for finding Veena. Willa didn’t wish to verbalize any weakness at all.
“If it is my sister’s property, High Commander, then it is mine as she is missing.”
He put up another snobbish dare. “It’s ConsulateRhonta’s jurisdictional property, priestess. Until I decide it is not.”
“Evidence of what could it be?”
He examined the large silver design in his hands, and he caressed the sterling, underscoring his custody of it. “I’ve a feeling it will reveal itself in proper time.”
Wary of him, she decided she did not want him to realize the necklace’s full value to her. “You enjoy being cruel, don’t you?”
“It’s a good pastime.”
“Did you enjoy pulling wings off butterflies when you were a boy? Surely, your sadism is a lifelong hobby.”
“Nah. My father had told me to pick on kids my own size, so I did. Then I’d started picking on kids bigger than me, though there were damned few of those. After a while, I’d acquired quite a bit of respect from my fellow Academy cadets. That was how I’d joined the emperor’s circle of friends. I’d picked a fight with his cousin, who was bigger than me. Now we’re best friends.”
Violence sickened Willa, but she’d never seen him happier than this moment, talking about boyhood fights.
“Who'd won the fight?”
Kade broke his arrogance to chuckle. “Depends on your point of view. We’d beaten one another senseless. I’d required three more stitches, but Ty had sported one more fist-size bruise. If it hadn't been for our good births, we would have been expelled from the Academy.”
She shot him a stone-cold glare. “High Commander, I’m not going to give you the power to be mean to me. I’m not one of your men who must stand at attention and endure your unkindness. So save yourself some effort and choose another diplomatic strategy in dealing with me. What was all that talk about you being nice?”
The necklace dangled around his neck before her as he bent again to collect his scattered papers, reorganizing the reports he’d spilled. “I can turn on that nice crap whenever it pleases me.”
He moved closer to her to gather up his mess, and she took her chance. Willa reached out to snatch the infinity symbol from the chain. Her hand clamped around the ritual symbol, but Kade’s large hand, even quicker than hers, clamped around hers instantly.
Eye-to-eye again, he shook his copper-highlighted dark head to punctuate his control of the necklace, and he did not give up the hand he’d caught. It was a stare-off, and she gazed into his eyes until she tired of it. The high commander’s firm grip held lightning. He wasn’t going to release her hand without her submission.
Finally she released her grip on the sterling, and he freed her hand. He said nothing to her of her attempt to repossess the ritual jewelry, just let his poignant eyes warn her.
“Tomorrow we teleport to Cig,” he deadpanned as he rose to his full height, his hands filled with reports. “Prepare yourself for it. See that your gear is placed on the teleport pad.”
Then she watched the high commander stalk away. And she thought she’d never met a person so cold. But she was accustomed to the peace and isolation of the temples.
Who couldn’t see a hard time coming with the high commander in tow? What would soften the man’s hard heart when he considered a fistfight a bonding ritual among friends?