Here it is, NOT Wednesday again, and time for the should-have-been-posted-Wednesday excerpt!
Last week I was distracted by the repair work going on at my house, which, since I’m a writer, is also where I work. The repairs are still in full swing, and just to make things even more treacherous, we have a nice layer of snow and ice out there this morning. Snow was not a problem when they were setting brace boards in the basement to support the weight of the sagging roof. But today they are working in the attic to put in MORE boards to support the sagging roof, which means they are climbing on my steep, snowy lower roof while carrying heavy boards and power tools.
This has me concerned for their lives and limbs.
The access to the attic is right above my office, so hopefully, if there is any sliding-off-the-roof action, I will hear and see it immediately and can dial 911.
Other than me worrying about their safety (which they assure me is not as dire as I’m imagining) I have also been immersed in working on the last book in the Allie Beckstrom series, MAGIC FOR A PRICE which will be in stores in November. I’m almost at that point where I can tie a bow around it and send it off to my editor for her feedback. Since this is the first series I’ve brought to a close, I have a big-ol’ bag of mixed emotions about it all. But that’s a subject for another day. Today’s subject is an excerpt of MAGIC WITHOUT MERCY. Without further ado, here it is:
Excerpt: Magic Without Mercy
Then Zay began whispering. Soft, sibilant, the words slipped out like a hush of rain. Zay said one last word. A glyph blazed bloodred in his hand, between his palm and the man’s forehead, and then sank into the man.
Even unconscious, the man stiffened. Even unconscious, he screamed.
Zayvion was still whispering, a rush of words, half-caught phrases, like someone had hard jacked an information stream into his head.
No, not information—Zayvion was reading, whispering, ripping through the man’s memories. Zay’s voice grew louder and he straightened his elbow, somehow pressing the spell deeper into the man’s brain, then twisting it like a knife.
The man yelled out again and went still. Unbreathing. Dead.
Zayvion drew his hand away. Inhaled, exhaled, and stood. He was sweating.
“So dead guy have anything interesting to tell us?” Shame asked.
“They were sent here by Bartholomew. Have been here for three days. Don’t know that he’s dead.”
“Well, that’s good news for us,” Shame said. “Did he know when his replacements were coming?”
“And there’s the bad news, right on schedule.”
“You killed him,” I said a bit belatedly.
Zayvion arched a look at me as he knelt next to the bleeding man. “Yes.”
“You took his memories and killed him.” I felt like I was stuck in a loop. I mean, I’d seen Zayvion kill things, beasts that crossed through the Gate of death, the Veiled, who were not really people anymore. But he’d put his bare hands on an unconscious man, sucked out his brains, and left him dead.
“Yes,” he said again.
“Why aren’t you paying the price?” I finally asked. “Death for a death, that’s what magic makes you pay. If you kill someone with magic, you have to pay the same price—death. Unless you have some weird Proxy setup I can’t see?”
Get enough Proxies linked up and you could spread the price of a death across enough people that everyone except the target would walk away. Hurt, but still walking.
“No,” he said. “No Proxies.”
He put his hand on the next man, and whispered a spell. I saw the harsh Disbursement flare again and Zayvion’s shoulders jerked back and down like he’d just stuck his finger in a light socket. He was breathing a little heavier now, but began whispering again.
“Shame?” I said quietly.
Shame was in mid-inhale on the cig. “Mmm?”
“Is he going to kill him?”
I didn’t know why it bothered me. It shouldn’t. Bartholomew’s men would have killed me in a second. Killed Zay. Killed Shame. Done more than that. They would have turned us inside out if they got the chance. They had just tried to kill me, all of us, as we walked in here, as a matter of fact.
Shame exhaled and threw the cigarette to the ground. “Likely, yes. He’s in a mood, that one.”