Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sneak Peek: Bête Noire

A bit ago, I told you about "Bête Noire," the story I have coming out in Jen Blackmore's Beastly Affair anthology from Circlet Press.

You can read some background on how I came up with the story in the post I linked above. Today, I thought I'd share a quick taste of the story. So here, for your reading enjoyment, are the opening paragraphs!

I. Beautiful, Beastly Revenge

Before we shoot out a window and start killing all the guards in sight, Beauty leans in to kiss me.

I stop her. “You’re making me feel pretty, darling.” I hold up one matted, woolly hand, protract the obsidian claws still dripping blood from what we had to do to get this close to Orlagh’s fancy house. “We can’t risk breaking the curse here.”

“I just thought… This might be our last chance, Bête. If she kills us…”

“She won’t.”

Neither of us is sure of that, but there’s no choice besides pretending. True love and its urges aside, Beauty knows there couldn’t be a worse time for me to return to my former, softer self. She pulls back her face and reaches for my hand instead. Even the brush of her fingers—oily from her gun—makes my heart shiver with sweet visions of who I could become for her. I take my hand away and shove it into my pocket, ignoring her quiet, hurt sigh. We’ll have time to talk this over after we deal with Orlagh.

I force myself to stop contemplating the subtle scent of roses that manages to linger around Beauty even after three saddlesore days of bloodshed, dust, and magic so cut-rate and ragged it could give a person tetanus.

The sound of a footstep makes me press myself flat against the stucco wall in front of us, though we’re well hidden for the moment. Orlagh is the sort of rich asshole who grows a lush formal garden around her desert mansion—whether she has the water shipped or conjured, it’s disgustingly ostentatious—but I do admit some gratitude for the thick blue-and-pink endless-summer hydrangeas currently concealing our position. Still, assuming we got an accurate map of the grounds from the former servant we bribed back in town, we’re kneeling right outside Orlagh’s bedroom window. Her habit of tossing around curses when she’s drunk and horny have made her a lot of enemies, and by all accounts she compensates by hiring vigilant guards.

Beauty and I exchange a glance. Her chest doesn’t move until the footsteps fade away. Then she offers a tentative smile. “I guess we should…” She nods upward.

“No point killing time when we could be killing the enemy,” I agree.

I don't have a release date yet, but I'll give you more information when I've got it!

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