Two thoughts came to Valerie at once. First was that, although this could be very bad, it was pretty hilarious that Diego’s clothes were back on that ship and were about to sink into the Atlantic. The second thought was that they had a ship now, and could save the innocent men and women if they acted fast.
“Get more ropes,” she yelled as she started running to the side.
“I might have to drop the hat,” Diego called back, his attempt at humor not masking the worry in his voice.
“Just do it!” she shouted.
All three ran to the rope guns to secure more rope to the ship’s railing. Valerie’s shot first, and she felt the lunge of the ship as it connected. The main ship was beginning its descent into the ocean, so they’d have to act fast.
“You two stay here. Prepare to cut the ropes when I say,” Valerie told them as she slid over the side and started walking on the rope she’d just shot over the side. “And while you’re waiting, for God’s sake, Ass-cat, put on some clothes!”
Sandra snickered at that one, and Valerie heard the girl repeat “Ass-cat” under her breath. She also noticed Sandra’s eyes dart over Diego’s way just as he pulled on a pair of bright red pirate pants.
Valerie had never known Sandra to show any interest in anyone, so she’d have to ask about that when everything settled down. Was it a little animal lust, or simple curiosity?
Valerie decided to leave on an embarrassing-for-Sandra note, and called back, “I saw that!” before upping her pace and running across the rope to the other ship.
She could almost sense the blushing from here, if that were possible. But now was the time to focus.
“Captain!” she shouted when she’d nearly reached the main ship.
He was still in the midst of a fight, even while the ship was going down. That wouldn’t do. Not wanting to waste time and risk the final ship going down as well, she ran at vampire speed, reaching for her sword as she did.
Now was her time to see if the sword training worked for the other hand. She gripped the handle tightly, ignoring the pain in her burns. Two strikes came her way at the same time, but they didn’t have her speed. She stepped around the first, parried the second, and then kicked one of the attackers so that he went sliding down the ship, which was now tipping at a steep angle. The second took one look at her red eyes and ran.
She turned to help the captain, but was pleased to see him strike down one of his attackers on his own, then shoot something that looked like a coil gun. Now she understood how the second ship had been taken out.
“Back so soon?” he asked, taking two steps before steadying himself as the ship’s angle intensified. He looked around for more pirates.
“You have to get your men and women aboard that ship,” she told him, pointing to the ship where Sandra and Diego waited. Diego did a mock salute, and it looked like he’d found the most ridiculous ensemble he could come up with.
Mental reminder: Flick him on the ear for that later.
The captain was looking between the far ship and his own, his expression full of angst.
“What is it?” she asked, frustration growing.
“You don’t understand,” he said. “I lose this cargo, my life’s as good as over. My family starves, and—”
“Captain!” She pulled him close, convincing him with her fangs to deal with his issues later.
She continued, “You’ve already lost the cargo. There’s no way to recover from that.”
It took him a moment to process this, but then he nodded. “Yes, of course. Save the men and women.” He spun and announced in a great, booming voice, “ABANDON SHIP!”
As if they’d all been waiting for the command, everyone made for the ropes. But the captain didn’t move.
“Get your ass over there,” Valerie said. “We don’t have time for this honor B.S. This is your life, and if you don’t get over there and captain that ship, I’m not sure anyone else can. That means we all die, and I’m not letting you make that decision for us.”
She hadn’t realized how intense she had gotten, how up in his face, or how red her eyes were glowing, but he certainly seemed to. After the terror had cleared from his expression, he grimaced, looked at the other ship and spit out “Dammit!”
He ran for the ropes.
The remaining pirates were trying to make the same climb, but the captain and Valerie fought them off until the rest of his crew was on board, and then the two jumped up and ran across the rope.
“NOW!” she shouted, and Diego and Sandra began to detach the ropes. A couple of straggler pirates had made it onto the ropes. One even managed to hang on after it was detached, but now it was unfortunately attached only to the rapidly sinking ship.
The captain made it across, with Valerie close behind. She turned and cut the rope with her sword, not even bothering with the detach mechanism.
With a thunderous tremor, the ship’s antigrav tech kicked in and it righted itself while the other ship broke off and began its plummet into the ocean far below. As it still had the other, flaming pirate ship attached, watching it go was quite a sight. When the two crafts hit the water, the steam billowed high, but the ship Valerie and friends had won for them was now underway once more, and the cloud of steam was in their wake.
The remaining crew were looking at her with confusion, and a couple had their swords out still, eyes on Diego.
“Stand down,” Valerie told them, a command in her voice. “He’s with me.”
Her eyes, still glowing red, pierced them as she walked past towards the Captain’s tower. The sailors sheathed their swords as she glared at each in passing.
They knew who was really in charge here.
FROM JUSTIN >>> Okay, this is the LAST SNIPPET, because they book comes out in just a couple days! (December 8, 2016).
What are your thoughts so far? Have you been reading the snippets of Michael Anderle’s other books? He’s posting them on the Kurhterian Gambit Facebook page – go follow/like it, if you haven’t yet.
You can also get the snippets (1-4) on your e-Reader by grabbing the sneak peek over at Instafreebie.
Today’s book recommendation is:
HER DANGEROUS VISIONS
Brandon Barr is awesome and his books are stunning. Start with Her Dangerous Visions, or you can get his prequel for free on Instafreebie (Ella Dethroned).
A fast-paced fantasy epic that stretches beyond the stars. Two women, two worlds, one epic destiny…
On the world of Hearth, Nightmares crawl out of the East to devour entire villages. A fire-blooded heiress named Meluscia seeks to destroy the threat plaguing her lands and become Luminess of the Blue Mountain Realm. Though she desires the throne, her heart is divided. Forbidden intimacy tempts her at every corner. With life in a state of chaos, she soon realizes that the hard choices before her will determine the fate of her world. Can she save her kingdom, or will all of Hearth be brought to its knees at the feet of a primordial Beast?
On the world of Loam, an ancient evil threatens to conquer the portals that exist on every world, and only a young farm woman named Winter is given the power to destroy it. Gifted as a Seer by the gods and tasked with a deadly mission beyond her world, Winter must first escape the cruel farmland she was raised on, even if it could spell death for those she loves.
Heart-pounding action, with rich, unforgettable characters—Song of the Worlds is the dramatic new fantasy saga for fans of Anne McCaffrey and Brandon Sanderson. Begin the powerful new series today!
So go check out Brandon’s book, and don’t forget to preorder Justice is Calling for only $0.99. You’ll love them both!