I don't do commitment so well.
For now, however, here is the first installment of From the W.I.P. Today's excerpt is from Eclisped, the third Princes of the Shroud book, my romantic Science Fiction series from Zharmae Books.
Books one and two are available already. Gods willing, book three will join them on schedule.
(disclaimer- from the W.I.P excerpts are from works in progress and therefore not edited or proofed. Please expect errors)Inhale. Shuffle forward. Mof’s chain buddy passed into illumination, and the official flicked a glance out and back. Not good enough. They needed him looking, paying very close attention. He let the rumble have full rein this time, growled with all his breath, for all he was worth. The slave ahead hurried his feet. The guards’ heads swiveled toward the hold. Mofitan growled like a shadow cat on steroids and stepped, fully upright, into the light.
The slaver emitted a girlish scream and backed into the port official. The cargo manifest, so carefully checked and re-checked, fell to the ground with a sharp, expensive-sounding crack. Mof kept his eyes on his target, on the thin, well-dressed man who was definitely paying attention now. He met those calculating eyes with his own, flicked a half grin for the man’s benefit and then held his chains up between them and flexed once.
Metal snapped. The cuffs came free of one another and it took only one good jerk of his fists to separate the looped chains, to free the other slaves from the futile and blatantly stupid thing he was about to do next. The rain of links rattled against the open hatch. Mofitan growled over the sound, winked at the man he’d bet belonged to Gervis Dern, and then bolted straight into the nearest line of guards.
They should have been fired to a man. He’d never have hired anyone so incompetent in the first place. Spectre’s protection fell away in the face of the lavender giant. They parted courteously and let Mofitan slip between them. Damn. If he got away the whole wretched ruse would be for nothing. If the idiots in Spectre couldn’t catch a rampaging Shrouded prince, why had he come in the first place?
He slowed his feet after passing them, growled in real frustration now and heard, at last, a thin voice shouting orders. Mofitan pretended to flee while avoiding anything truly helpful. He leaped over a motorized cargo sled, ran past at least three dark alleys, and kept himself in the light, visible, as obvious as a man of his size and color could possibly be.
Like a vein of heartsone in a basalt matrix.
Mofitan glowed against the night. He shouted and feigned a stumble. A web of darts landed against his bare back. Electricity fired from the studs, lanced through his body and curved his spine backwards. Pain, lightning through his veins. He howled it out, let his muscle spasms feed Shayd’s mind shield, let it keep his thoughts genuine. Pain and freedom… Shit that hurt.
He fell forward, no pretending now. The electric web embedded in his back zapped his spine again and turned his limbs to jelly. They had a remote on it. The ground slapped against him and he lay on it twitching and imagining what sort of weapon fired a unit like that. Useful. A good non-lethal option. He might look into picking some up if he survived this shit.
They gave him another jolt after he was down. Probably to keep him there. It blazed through already raw nerves and, possibly, made him drool a little. The ground might have been wet before he whacked it. Now, something sticky clung to his face and his body registered the impact of the fall as a dull background to the fire of pain from the dart net.
Perfect really. When they rolled him over, he burbled something he’d meant to be an argument. It came out in bubbles that might have contained blood. Possibly, he’d done his job a little too well. The men glaring down at him didn’t look amused. They shuffled aside for their boss, but someone triggered to jolt again, just to be sure.
Mofitan screamed. His back arched, lifting his considerable bulk from the pavement until only his shoulders and heels touched down. He saw stars outside and inside, and he heard the enemy for the first time, the soft chuckle of a man who he prayed actually worked for Gervis Dern. The stars winked and began to fade. Dark, dark and more dark. A voice snapped like the metal whips of the net in his back.
“Well now. Isn’t this just something.”