So here’s the thing. I was going to start working on the idea for my next serial yesterday, but got sort of side tracked . . . Okay, here’s the truth. I got involved in this discussion about favourite fictional heros and mine are the Black Dagger Brotherhood (by J.R. Ward, no relation), and naturally this led to pulling out my favourite book in the series, Lover Eternal, which is about Rhage, and before I knew it I finished that book and went on to the next. And guess what? I don’t even feel guilty about it. Well, okay, maybe just a little guilty.
Anyway, I don’t have the new serial ready to start being posted today, and all I can tell you at this point is that it will be another Elemental story - this time Fire - and there probably won’t be so much stuff going on in space. I’ll also leave the Space Opera up until I get the first chapter of the new one posted.
In the meantime, I’m posting an excerpt from the novel I’m currently working on. This scene is towards the end of the novel. Our heroine has been kidnapped, drugged, and left in the catacombs to die. Our hero is just a wee bit upset.
Trez woke slowly, reluctantly. She hurt. She was cold, and she couldn’t move. With returning awareness came pain, a great deal of pain. She whimpered, the only sound she was capable of making.
She thought about opening her eyes, then with a shaft of fear realized they were open. The darkness around her was all encompassing. The silence was so absolute she could hear the beating of her heart, the faint puffs of her breath.
Trying to keep the panic at bay, she took stock of her injuries. The largest source of pain came from her leg. There was a good chance it was broken; she vaguely remembered hearing a snap before she passed out. Her head was resting on something hard and raised; the surface beneath her was hard and uneven.
A single tear made a hot, wet, trail down her face. A second one followed. She was going to die here. She would never see Aleksandar again, never feel his arms around her. They would never have the chance to have children, to grow old together. The tears came faster. He would never know what happened to her.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Aleksandar stood in the doorway to Trez’s bedchamber. It looked so normal. He stepped inside and went over to the bed. There was the case from the jewels he sent her. He wondered if she liked them. He wondered if she’d ever be able to tell him. His foot struck something and he bent down to pick it up. It was the amethyst necklace.
Raynor tapped gently on the door. Aleksandar turned.
“Were you able to find anything out?”
Like Aleksandar, Raynor was still dressed in his clothes from the day before.
“Where would you like me to start?” Raynor said wearily. “Faella is,” he stopped, then ran a hand through his hair and started again. “She’s been behind it all, starting with drugging you before you went off world, and ending with engineering Trez’s disappearance.”
“What?” Aleksandar’s fist tightened around the necklace until drops of blood beaded up between his fingers and dripped to the floor.
“She was quite proud of herself, told us everything.” Raynor sat down heavily in one of the chairs. “She’d been slipping you a drug for weeks that made you act out of character. She was hoping Mahalia would want to marry you off to settle you down.”
“And she thought I’d want her as my wife?” Aleksandar’s lip curled.
“When she overheard the argument you had with your grandmother, she changed her plan. She figured with you out of the way, they’d make Cayden heir and she could inveigle her way back into his good graces. She sabotaged your ship – if you hadn’t been shot down it would have taken you to the heart of the Regulian sun.”
“I can’t believe she’s so twisted.”
“Believe it, my friend. She alternated boasting about the attempts she made on Trez’s life, and complaining about how she always managed to escape. She was especially bitter that the pirates didn’t get her – she let it slip to them that Trez was carrying a cargo of Imperial rubies.”
“Did she give any clue about what she did to Trez?”
Raynor shook his head, unable to meet his eyes. “No, just that she hoped Trez suffered before she died.”
“At least she didn’t kill her outright,” Aleksandar said bleakly.
“We found the Azure,” Cayden said, coming into the room from the connecting door.
“There were two men on board, both dead. It was set on automatic, headed out of the system.”
“Were you able to identify them?”
“One was a palace gardener, you might have even seen him around – a large man, not too bright but good at following orders. The other was one of the maintenance workers from the space port.”
“I’m almost afraid to ask how they died,” Raynor said.
Cayden hesitated. “It was a slow acting poison.”
Aleksandar went very still. “I want you to talk to everyone in the palace – staff, guards, even the children. Someone must have seen something. I want Faella’s family and friends brought in and I want them questioned thoroughly.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Trez thought she might have passed out again, but there was no way to be sure. Time had no meaning in this place; she might have been laying here for minutes or days. She no longer felt so cold and wondered if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
The pain had become so much a part of her she could no longer separate the individual injuries. She was, however, very much aware of a new discomfort – thirst, a terrible thirst. How many days could a person last without water?
The darkness was still all encompassing, but the silence was no longer absolute. She could hear faint rustlings, the sound of one surface brushing another, the scurry of tiny feet, sounds made all the more ominous because their source was unknown.
Her mind began to drift.