ACTS OF WARS
Copyright © 2014 Roslyn Hardy Holcomb and Lisa G. Riley
Excerpt used by permission of the authors.
Gregor Glinka stared through the windowpane at the dark city street outside his home, his long fingers cradling and caressing the bowl of the brandy snifter he held with both pale, narrow hands.
“I hope you are right, my love, and the Abomination returns with the information you need. I do not trust her. One should not trust any of her kind; the how of their existence would naturally make them a faithless group.”
The silky, heavily-accented voice came from behind him, and Gregor turned from the window to look at his lover of fifty years. She was a beautiful woman, and her beauty had been what had attracted him initially, but other qualities beckoned him to her side time after time. Ambitious as she was beautiful and with equal parts vicious and good, she had powerful magic in her and was the only partner, male or female, in his centuries-old life that he’d had the desire to be with for more than a few months. Now, though, her presence merely irritated him. “We do not even know if more like Ms. Blackburn exist, and you would do me a great favor, Ysabel, if you would cease repeating your doubts regarding her loyalty.”
“I am only speaking truth. The hold you have on that jack-booted thug that calls herself a bounty hunter is negligible at best. She owes you nothing, and has no ties to the Confederacy. You cannot control her,” she said with a petulant shrug, “therefore you cannot trust her.”
Gregor winced and turned away from her. Finally, a barb had found its mark, slicing neatly to reveal the small amount of doubt he’d felt since he’d first learned that the woman under discussion could successfully time travel. Unfortunately, the love of his life was correct; Perish Blackburn was not connected to the Confederacy of Talents as all other people with supernatural powers were. She never had been, and wanted nothing to do with the agency that had not only protected people of their kind for centuries, but had also brought disparate groups together and made them an alliance.
No, Gregor thought, Miss Blackburn did not belong. She had not “gone rogue” as people were fond of saying, she had always been so without thought or provocation. She was a lone soldier who did not want to be beholden to anything or anyone. This explained why they at the Confederacy had had no knowledge of her existence until a few years before. It still galled him that while he’d had no knowledge of her, she’d known all about the Confederacy. Gregor worried the glass some more between his hands as the slight concern he’d felt wheedling its way back earlier began to dig deep and find a home in his full consciousness.
He then recalled the expression on Perish’s face when he’d made his proposition. He smiled at the memory, the worry once again banished. Oh, yes, Perish Blackburn would return with the information he needed. “I am not concerned, my love,” he said aloud to Ysabel. “She will return, and all will be well.”
A longer excerpt is available at Lisa G. Riley’s site.