Sorry for the delay! Today was my deadline for turning in COLD COPPER, book #3 of the Age of Steam steampunk series. I am happy to say: deadline achieved!
Then I found myself in the kitchen baking one of my grandmother’s recipes: Potato Spice Cake. I haven’t made this cake in over a decade. It is still an incredibly moist, lightly sweet, delicious cake. And it is especially delicious warm. Don’t ask me how I know that. *shifty eyes*
After that, the web page got weird, locked up, and wouldn’t let me access it. So I beat it with a hammer. Works every time.
And now, without further ado, I bring you excerpt #2 of MAGIC FOR A PRICE:
“I don’t recall anyone ever asking me to booby-trap magic before,” Shame said. “May I just say it is about time. What do you think, Z? Know some counterspells with a bite?”
“That Seattle won’t know?” Zay pressed his lips together, thinking about it.
“Reflect?” Terric suggested.
“It casts a shadow in the stream. They’d see it in time to break it,” Zay said.
“Tangle,” Shame said. “You know, old school.” He pointed one finger and started drawing the spell.
“Don’t!” Zay and I said at the same time.
He paused, his finger still stuck out in front of him. “What? I was just illustrating my point.”
“We know what Tangle looks like,” Zay said. “And we’ve seen the way you handled Light.”
Shame’s eyes twinkled. “That little scuffle back there with the Proxies? Aw, that was just for kicks. I know how to control magic.”
Zay and I didn’t say anything.
“What?” Shame asked.
“Maybe,” I said. The one test they’d taken had laid low three hundred people.
They were a huge unknown right now.
“You don’t trust me.”
“I understand you,” I said. “I know what it’s like be changed by magic. To have it take over and make everything about using magic different. I’ve been there, Shame.”
He was still smiling, but there was a hardness to him, an anger, a darkness. My very good friend was also a dangerous man.
“I trust you, Shame. I just don’t trust you with magic right now.”
He gave me this look—I didn’t know if it was anger, or hate, or something else. Something dark and hungry. I didn’t know what was going through his mind.
Terric must have. He just said one word, quietly, “Shame.” Not a warning. More like a reminder.
Shame inhaled and exhaled, the darkness lashing around him like whips, then settling again.
“Really annoyed I have to prove this to you,” he said.
“You don’t. You don’t have to prove anything to me.”
“Leave it, Flynn,” Zayvion said. “We’re all tired. None of us should be trusted with magic right now. But it is what it is.”
We had stopped outside the door to the library and Zayvion took half a step toward Shame, sort of positioning himself between us, and wrapped his arm around me.
“And,” Zay said, “if you ever look at Allie like that again, I’m going to put you flat on your back to give you a little time to reconsider your manners.”
Shame actually laughed and leaned back on one foot, giving Zay a long look. “Really? You’re going there? It has been forever since you’ve threatened me, Jones. Are you feeling a little uncertain about your abilities? Want to test them out on me, mate?”
“You and I are not getting in a fight,” Zayvion said. “Not unless you want to spend the next week unconscious.”
Shame narrowed his eyes, considering Zayvion.
Since Zay’s arm was around me, I knew that even though he looked calm and magnanimous while he was threatening Shame, he was in no mood for bullshit. If Shame decided to push this, he was going to put him down.
And beneath that decision, I felt another thread of emotion from Zay. Not fear, but a wariness, a concern. For his friend. His brother, who had changed so much in such a short time and who had had no chance to recover or regain his footing.
Zayvion knew he might have to be the one to stop Shame if he lost control.
Any magic user who lost control was dangerous. But when a Death magic user lost control, people were going to die.
Like Jingo? I thought, surprised at what had crossed Zay’s mind.
Shame could never be like Jingo, Zayvion thought. And he meant it.
But I watched the darkness and death roil around Shame, just as Death magic had cloaked Jingo, and had my doubts.
Shame could be like Jingo Jingo. Just as powerful, just as deadly. Maybe more deadly since he’d been the one who killed Jingo Jingo.
Available November 6, 2012