I have a new book coming out soon! It’s a standalone, pure scifi novel. Be sure to follow me on Goodreads and Bookbub so you don’t miss the release! Here’s chapter 1.

Kari: The Hunt

“Tell me you’re not afraid of heights,” the tall, slender redhead said. She stepped out onto the glass of the skybridge, pulling her Asian friend with her, eyes focused on me. All I could think was that Manhattan was below her—far below. If the glass gave way and she fell, that would be her end.

Fluorescent lights of blue and red shone through the glass floor of the skybridge, while the walls and ceiling flowed with augmented reality to give the impression of walking through space and looking down on New York. This skybridge wasn’t typical. It, like the rest of the architecture and eccentricities that made up Garrick Calsen’s sky loft, was a reminder that not only was he one of the wealthiest men alive, but that he had leveraged that wealth to become one of humanity’s greatest explorers of space.

Many of us simply referred to him as Mr. Tycoon, as he was the top of the top. The man was elusive, only seen from a distance at these get-togethers he would host, if seen at all. So far at this night’s get-together, nobody had reported seeing him.

“You’re doing it?” John asked, stepping up beside me, nodding. “Come on, man. Take the step.”

John Kim was my boss, technically, but the sort of boss that likes to hang out. The sort I felt bad saying no to, so more often than not ended up in these strange situations. For example, walking on a skybridge when I hated heights with a passion. His watch was there on display as always, a legit Draden—one of the fanciest you could find—to remind anyone he could that he was doing quite well for himself. The guy was half a foot shorter than me, half-Chinese and half-Japanese, but he had taken to calling himself John instead of his given name, Hiro, when he had studied abroad at Harvard.

He didn’t know what he was asking of me, but there was something about all this that felt so magical. Back in the halls, I’d been captivated by the images of the various space stations Mr. Calsen had helped set up, and the expeditions to alien planets. Pictures of strange ruins, metal domes with openings in them, and even the architecture of the penthouse, made to represent some of the most famous ruins found to date. It was also so overwhelming, and almost enough to make me forget any phobias I might have had.

Imagining I was Mr. Calsen and that this skybridge led to a shuttle and my own chance to explore space, I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing as I’d learned in aikido long ago. Opening my eyes, I took a step out onto the skybridge, staring into the redhead’s striking blue eyes. She’d first caught my attention on the dance floor, and she’d let me buy her a drink. Now I was upstairs, stepping out onto glass, and had to wonder whether I was the hunter or the hunted. Considering the fact that I was at the fanciest skyrise loft of the New Horizon zone among Manhattan’s most elite of society, but this lady kept drawing my attention, I think it was the latter. When she had first met my gaze, I’d had a feeling there was something special about her.

If she was able to get me to walk out over the city like this, it was more than most women could have achieved. Even so, with each step out there to follow her, I started to enjoy it. The AR stars and ships moved around us, and for a moment I stood there lost in it all, almost believing one of those ships was coming to pick us up for a great adventure. Then I looked down, watching a hyperloop train as it shot through the lit-up circles below, past massive billboards and holographic ads for the latest in fashion. One was viewable from up here, though only the front appeared three-dimensional, like a real woman applying perfume. At this angle, we could see the projection lights. Two guys on the edge looked high as a kite staring at it all; must have been some of that new orange blow. Supposedly it was like cocaine but from an alien planet, way too expensive for me even if I had been keen to give it a go.

“Stunning, isn’t it?” my redhead asked, stepping over to me.

“It is,” I replied, and looked up to see her leaning against a railing nearby, while John and the other woman were holding each other, and he leaned in for a kiss.

The redhead cleared her throat, noticing too. Stepping close, she looped her arm through mine. “I’m Verity, by the way.”

“Tommy,” I replied.

She considered, eyes on mine, then leaned in to kiss me on the cheek. “You’re cute, Tommy. A buff guy like you, needing someone like me to coax him out here.”

I grinned, hand on hers, and said, “I don’t imagine you often have problems getting men to do what you want.”

“No,” she admitted.

Our surroundings changed from stars and space to moving lights, some sort of show that reminded me of shifting, colorful gas. Maybe a simulation of an alien planet? I was considering going in for a real kiss when John called out for me.

I glanced up to see they were already halfway across the skywalk, motioning for us to follow.

“There’s something over here you gotta see,” he said.

Verity looked at me with excitement and gave me a pinch.

“What was that?” I asked, not complaining.

“Making sure you know you’re not dreaming.”

I laughed, but that joy faded when I remembered how far above the city we were walking. Everyone knew a skybridge like this wasn’t likely to break; maybe it wasn’t even possible according to some. Still, no amount of redheads could get me to smile while knowing that sort of fall was beneath me.

She was going on about something—maybe how her friend had been checking out John all night—but my focus was completely devoted to my curiosity. A place like that, what could John want to show me that he would prioritize above making out with that woman? They’d been using some heavy tongue, so I knew for a fact it had to be special. John wasn’t the type to give up tongue. Not for anything.

Once, I’d seen John making out with a woman in the middle of a hurricane, and even when the river flooded up to their feet and she tried to run screeching, he picked her up and kept going. At least, until a heavy gust of wind blew them over. He was technically my supervisor at the Titans Rising hedge fund, but we’d hung out enough to make it clear we were more buddy-buddy than anything else. For example, your supervisor shouldn’t get a tug at the dinner table when you’re there on a double date, but that had happened no fewer than three times in our case. Awkward every time, but it also brought us closer together.

“Tommy?” Verity said, pulling me from my thoughts.

We were off the skybridge, and into what I could only think of as the entrance to an opera box, complete with curtains and a couple of stairs that led to an area out of sight still.

“Sorry, distracted,” I replied, then nodded to John and his date.

“I was asking if you’re ready,” John said.

“For what, exactly?”

“To have your mind blown.”

I chuckled, wondering if this was all part of some elaborate ruse of his to get us both laid. If so, who was I to interfere?

“Always,” I said, giving Verity a comforting smile. Maybe this was about to happen, and if so, I needed to get my mind right. Start setting the mood.

“You’re killing me here,” she said, motioning to the curtains. “What is it?”

John eyed her, then his lady, and shook his head. “Nah, get lost.”

“What?” they both said at once.

I balked, too, adding a grunt of confusion.

John walked over to me, put an arm around my shoulder, and said, “This is for me and my boy, Tommy. You two can meet us back by the elevators later. If you want.”

“Seriously?” his woman said.

“Your friend is kinda being an ass,” Verity added, looking at me with arms folded.

Here’s where it got awkward. As mentioned, John was my supervisor. My boss, you could say. So, while we were buddies, moments like these made the power-matrix a bit skewed. Even more so when he leaned in and whispered, “It’s a work thing, bro.”


I let out a sigh, put a hand on Verity’s shoulder, and said, “Do you mind? We won’t be long.”

“We might,” John countered.

My glare his way made it very clear what I thought of him not being helpful, but I shrugged, turning back to Verity. “At least let me get your number?”

“You two have fun,” her friend said, already walking off to the skybridge.

Verity hesitated, then shook her head in disgust and walked off. Before they walked out of sight, she put her hand on her hip and stuck out her ass, as if to say, “For the record, you could’ve had this. All of this.”

Then they were gone.

“John, what was that?” I asked, shoving his arm away and wondering if he was actually about to make a move on me. It wouldn’t be the first time I’d wondered that about him, but nothing ever came of it.

“Told you, work related.” He took a step toward the curtain, nonchalantly motioning for me to follow. “You won’t regret it, not one bit.”

Without another word, he vanished past the curtains. I thought of Verity, of her cute little plaid miniskirt, and wondered how the hell I wasn’t going to regret missing out on the chance to be with her. John hadn’t led me wrong too often in the past, though, so I stepped in after him.

Passing under the thick, red curtains, I entered an atrium-type room with all manner of trophies and pictures. This was the true collection, not all the other showy stuff back in the main party rooms of Mr. Tycoon’s house. Red rock from Mars formed pillars at the door leading into another room. Before going in there, though, I turned, taking this one in.

Several crystals were on display in glass cases with tiny movements inside—some of his first discovered alien life, perhaps? It was a blur, but I thought I’d read something about his expedition and that early discovery. One wall was decorated with a mounted rifle above a picture of a team of hunters with him at the center. Considering the circles of ground that rose past them, one with hanging purple plants that curled up at the bottom, I had to guess that was one of his other intergalactic missions. He even had a bit of the tech that had made Faster Than Light (FTL) travel possible. An invention of either his father’s or grandfather’s, if memory served.

There was more, but none of that mattered when compared to what came next. I passed the Mars pillars and found myself standing at the entrance to this massive room with no windows. Nothing covered the walls. All there was in this area was the skull that stared down at me, suspended from the ceiling to make clear this was the center of attention. Not some deer or elephant skull, mind you; I’m talking huge. This thing had to be at least fifteen, maybe twenty feet in diameter. The type of animal it had to have come from was beyond me, but I knew without a doubt it had to be alien. It had similar characteristics to a giant squirrel, but with a series of spikes along the top of its forehead. Each tooth was as long as my arm, and they looked like they’d been sharpened.

“What am I looking at?” I asked, taking a step closer, trying to ignore the way my heart pounded. My breaths came short, a line of sweat moving along my temple. This thing was long dead, but it still freaked me the hell out.

“That, dear boys, is my grand prize,” a deep voice said, and we turned to see another man in that room with us. I recognized him instantly as Mr. Tycoon himself, AKA Mr. Calsen. The old man had a full head of snow-white hair, and though I knew he had to be in his seventies, could otherwise almost pass for being not much older than myself. He stepped forward, eyes moving up to his prize. “A kill I’ll never forget. There’s something about conquering a beast of this enormity that makes you realize how great man has truly become. We have ascended to near godhood, gentlemen.”

“Sorry for wandering,” I blurted out, but noticed the humor in John’s eyes, the upturned lip. Hissing to John, I added, “You knew he’d be here?”

John grinned, and it hit me. Holy shit, he’d planned the thing with the ladies, used them as bait to lure me up here. He could have just told me he wanted me to meet someone, but no, this was his way. Always the type to make a show of life.

“Mr. Calsen here has agreed to let us see his collection on one condition,” John explained. With a nod to Mr. Calsen, he waited, hands behind his back, all very formal.

Suddenly, my going-out-on-the-town outfit felt very out of place. It was a suit, yes, but not the type we’d wear to meet with clients.

“I got my trophy here on a safari,” Mr. Calsen said. “Not a safari to Africa or anywhere like that. No, this is far more…” His eyes went up to the skull, then past it to the painted stars on the domed ceiling above. “…More exotic.”

“He’s invited us to go,” John said. “On his next expedition. Can you believe it?”

I blinked, totally caught off guard. Me, go out into space on what? A hunting expedition? There were so many reasons I felt that would be impossible. At first, anyway. Then it started hitting me that I really had nothing tying me down here for the moment. I’d recently gone through a nasty breakup—half the reason John was able to convince me to go to the tycoon’s party to begin with—and my lease on my apartment was up next month. Last I’d heard from my mom was over three years ago, when my brother had been reported dead with the Space Marines. I’d always envied his bravery, and now I had the chance to do something… well, not similar at all, but something that would at least make me feel some of what he must have felt.

Still, this was a huge step.

“What about work?” I asked in a hushed voice, hoping Mr. Calsen wouldn’t hear me.

John winked, then motioned me to join him a few paces away, our backs turned to the tycoon. “First, don’t fuck this up. Smile, show excitement, and nothing less. Second, this is work—we land this guy as a client, and we’re set for life. That means you, baby. You will be set for life, and I’ll personally see to it. Understand?”

I nodded.

“So you’re in?” he asked.

Part of me wanted to say no, but I knew I couldn’t. “Sounds like a plan to me.” I plastered on my best smile. But as we turned back to the tycoon and John told him we were on board, the smile became increasingly legit. By the time we were shaking hands and retiring to the party to celebrate over bottles of Scotch, I was downright giddy.

I, Tommy Kurbratski, was going into space with the chance of seeing real-life giant animals. That thought was only made better when Verity and her friend found us later that night, acting as if we hadn’t completely snubbed them, and spent the rest of the evening with their tongues enjoying our tongues. When we told them we were going into space with Mr. Calsen, their first reaction was to call B.S. on us, the second was to get us back to their hotel rooms for a nice send-off.

If only I hadn’t passed out in the cab and found myself waking up in front of my apartment building, alone, that might have been awesome. Even less great was the text I got the next morning—a picture of John with both ladies, all three topless, and him with a bottle of whipped cream.

“Missed you tons,” he said in the text message.

I was hungover as hell. Deleting the pic, I almost ignored the next text from him. Good thing I didn’t because it read: “Get ready, sunshine. We’re shipping out in three hours.”

My coffee went up my nose and out, and I had to reread the message again. Sure enough, we were really doing this, and not wasting any time at that.He then sent instructions for where to go and what I’d need. I poured another cup of coffee, started the shower, and leaned against the wall as I focused on my breathing to clear my head.

This was about to be the greatest experience of my life, or the worst. Either way, I was damn thrilled to be part of it.

COMING SOON to Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

In the meantime, check out my books on Amazon. Thank you!



RETURN OF VICTORYValerie had never realized that being alone with her thoughts would be so cathartic, but sailing across the Atlantic by herself certainly provided that opportunity. After her coms device went on the fritz halfway across, she was left staring out at the darkness to the west. She just wished the airship would hurry the hell up so she could get to New York before war broke out.

A part of her still believed there would be a way to mitigate this fire that her friends had started, but the rest of her thought that a final war to end it all wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Pull out all the rats and cut off their heads, so that they and the disease they had brought upon the lands would be gone once and for all.

That wasn’t all she thought about, though, as she sailed. She thought about how she had almost returned to the military compound where she was raised, how she could have very easily touched down in Old Paris and visited her old haunts, searching out clues to her life before she was turned into a vampire. Now that those thoughts were in the past, she realized what a trap such actions would have been. Could she ever have escaped? Even if she had physically departed, she was certain she wouldn’t have left mentally.

It was time to accept that she was a new person, that she had moved on. (more…)



Syndicate Wars False DawnThe fighter turned and Samantha admired the angle of the fighter’s chin, or the starkness of his blue eyes, almost like ice. She hadn’t thought about boys very much, but there was something different about this one. Unlike the other fighters, for instance, he was staring at the videos of the jackasses yet wasn’t braying like some barnyard animal. In fact, he seemed disgusted by the whole thing. Samantha admired that a lot.

“So … what’s your name, soldier?” she asked.

“I’m not a soldier,” the guy replied without turning from the screen.

“You’ve got a gun don’t you?”

The young fighter shrugged. “Doesn’t mean I’m a soldier.”

The fighter looked back at Samantha.

“I don’t mean to be a dick, but I’m supposed to tell you that it’s not going to be like this.”

“Like what?” Samantha asked.

“You saying things and me answering—”

“I’m pretty sure that’s called conversation.”

The fighter turned back to the TV.

“Okay. Cool. So what’s your name?” she asked.

No response from the fighter.

“I mean it’s just common courtesy to give a name when you’re holding someone against their will,” Samantha said.

“If I tell you that, will you be quiet?”

“There’s a strong possibility,” she answered.

“Daniel,” the fighter said. “Just … Dan.”

“Oh, Jeez, I’m so sorry.”

Dan looked back.


“It’s nothing … your name … it’s just … studies have shown that Daniel is a name associated with the least trustworthy people in society.”

Dan’s right eyebrow twitched up. “Says who?”

“The people who conduct such studies.”

He stared at her for several seconds. “Y’know what I think? I think you’ve just got a serious case of Danimosity.”

Samantha smirked. “Do not.”

“You totally do,” Dan replied. “You’re a raving Dan-ti-semetic.”

Samantha nodded. “Good one.” She smiled, realizing she’d been right about this guy. Not only was he cute, but he was completely different than the other schlubs who’d been guarding her. The moment passed and Dan turned back to the TV.

“So what did you do?” Dan asked, eyes still locked on the TV. “I mean nobody told me, but there’s got to be a reason why you’re down here.”

“Oh, it was no biggie at all. I was just accosted by this supernatural being who showed me the end of the world and then taught me how to trigger the stored energy in inanimate objects.”

Dan nodded, evidently not believing a word of this. “Oh, is that all.”

“Exactly,” Samantha replied. “I mean, who hasn’t experienced that.”

A few seconds of silence stretched between them.

“How old are you, Samantha?”

“I thought we weren’t conversing.”

He smiled. She lied and said, “Almost sixteen. You?”


Coolness, she thought. An older guy.

“So where are you from?” she asked.

“Originally from Delaware,” Dan said.

“What’s in Delaware?” she asked.

“A bridge and … there didn’t used to be any sales tax.”

Samantha nodded. “What’s the opposite of a bucket list?”

Dan shook his head. “Dunno. Why?”

“Because based on what you just said, I’m putting Delaware on that.”

Dan smiled.

“You got any family there?” Samantha asked.

Dan pointed to his shotgun. “Nope. Don’t have any at all other than Mary Beth here.”

Samantha nodded. “Happiness is a warm gun.”

Dan looked at her, the levity vanishing from his face.

“I can’t let you go by the way,” he said. “I know your mom was like, a Marine and whatnot, but I can’t help you out if that’s what you’re thinking.”

“How come?”

“I’ve been given orders.”

“Strict ones?”

Dan quirked an eyebrow. “They didn’t mention whether they were strict.”

“So there you go,” Samantha said, flashing the widest smile possible. “Orders aren’t meant to be followed unless they’re super strict.”

Dan shook his head. “I’m sorry.”

Samantha was sorry too. She spotted the lone cookie left by one of her prior guards on the floor and she was sorry about what might happen to Dan and all the others if she ever freed her hands. But her hands weren’t free, which meant that she was righteously screwed.

Her mind wandered to something she’d read in a resistance hideout in the weeks after the invasion. An article in a magazine about athletes who were able to control their immune response and autonomous nervous system primarily via a series of breathing exercises. The idea was through repeated deep, rhythmic inhales and exhales, followed by breath holding, a person could increase oxygen saturation in the muscles and body, thereby helping to focus their mind’s eye. The whole thing sounded a little loopy, but she figured she’d give it a whirl. She had time.

Leaning back, Samantha commenced inhaling and exhaling. She made sure to do it quietly, so as not to alert Dan. Then she held her breath and released it and repeated the exercise. She did this over and over and on the fifth try, something happened. It was as if she’d been rubbing two sticks together and suddenly she had a spark. Not only did her body warm, but some sensation welled up inside her that she’d only been aware of in the presence of Hadrian.

The feeling was profound and raw and somehow uncontrollable. For a moment she felt as if she had such a deep understanding of the universe that it might stretch her mind past what her body could tolerate. She’d heard of people who tripped on various drugs, and she assumed what she was experiencing had to be similar. She could see sounds with her eyes shut and hear smells and knew then that the moment of her purpose had arrived.

The ground, the room, even Dan fell away and Samantha found herself raptured up, suspended in the air, staring into a roiling void that was blacker than the bottom of a well at midnight. Her hands were still bound, but merely by focusing her thoughts was she able to birth a disturbance in the form of waves that fanned out, undulating out over the void and through the vast expanses of space and time, like a million dollops of creamer dropped in the galaxy’s biggest pot of coffee. And the power, whatever force was inside her, allowed her to influence the physical without physical interaction. She was a weapon, a human IED, an ambulatory trigger.

Her body grew warm and she found herself back in the room and her eyes hopped from the walls to Dan, to the cookie that began to thrum. Reacting to the sound of the cookie, Dan turned and time froze like a snapshot.

“GET DOWN!” Samantha screamed.

Dan did, covering his head as the cookie disintegrated with a cacophonous BOOM!

FROM JUSTIN >>> So this is skipping forward a BIT from our last snippet, but I wanted to do that for a couple reasons. One was that I’m working on a Sam spinoff, and this ‘magic’ or whatever you want to call it plays into that. The second reason is just because I think Sam’s so damn cool. There are the Hadrian parts in book 3 that just knocked my socks off (George wrote a lot of that, so I got to read first draft stuff, and it was fun!)

This week I wanted to make sure I’ve shared Glynn Stewart’s books – because they are scifi with magic too. I might have shared them before, but that’s fine 🙂

So here is Glynn Stewart’s …


A ship that cannot leave
A Mage that will not stay
A meeting of desperations

In a galaxy tied together by the magic of the elite Jump Mages, Damien Montgomery graduates into their numbers—only to discover that without connections, he can’t find a ship and is stuck in the Sherwood system.

Pirates attacked David White’s jump freighter, leaving him with a dead Mage and a damaged ship—stuck in Sherwood, where a grieving father has blacklisted him from hiring a replacement Jump Mage.

When their desperate needs meet, Damien Montgomery is drawn into a conflict with the most powerful criminal organization in the galaxy—and to the attention of the Mage-King of Mars himself!




Syndicate Wars False DawnSamantha picked her way down through an untamed landscape, moving over outcroppings of red rocks, beyond thorny underbrush, and along washouts that had been without rain for weeks. She skidded down over granite cliffs and hopped by piles of moraine, the ground falling off steeply on either side into scrub-studded gulleys.

At a steep hillside, she needled her way down and came to a stop on a valley floor that had the brownish color of river sediment. A fine, white mist hovered over the flat ground, shrouding everything in a hazy halflight. Her mind reeled. She was lost, confused.

“Mom?” Samantha called out, hand cupped to her mouth.

Her voice echoed, but nothing stirred, save a thin breeze that shimmied through a nearby stand of brush. Somehow she’d wandered away from the base and gotten lost. But where was she? What time was it? And more importantly, where the hell were the others? She was alone and felt the bitter taste of abandonment at the back of her throat. (more…)



Shades of DarkAlastar laid on his back and closed his eyes for a moment, reveling in the speckled evening sunlight that made its way through the leaves above to warm his nude body.

Just yesterday he had been a paladin, chaste and pure. He would never have thought about lying with a clanswoman; he had considered all members of the clans his enemy.

But tonight, Estair was lying beside him, breasts exposed to the evening air, and he felt like he was the luckiest man in the world.

She opened her eyes with a moan, then turned to her side. She propped her head on one hand, moving the other to caress his chest.

She giggled. “You have dirt on your cheek.”

“I’m sure I have it in worse places than that,” he said with amusement.

She hit him playfully. “Don’t be dirty.”

He laughed out loud. “That’s a tough one, out here.”

For a moment he just laid there, enjoying the way her fingers played across his skin. When she stopped, he noticed the distant look in her eyes. “What is it?”

“You mean aside from us being about to ride off to our potential deaths?”

He smiled. “Aye, aside from that.”

“Isn’t that enough to worry you?”

“No,” he replied. “Because I’ve seen what we’re capable of when we all work together. You kicked butt back there, and my sister’s magic is unlike anything I’ve ever seen; anything any of us have seen.”

“And to think you used to be one of the people who would chop off a person’s head for using magic.” (more…)


UNEDITED (Coming July 11, 2017!) 

Shades of Dark

Rhona sat at the edge of the water, staring west and wondering if they could ever truly be prepared to set foot on an island rumored to be covered in remnant and ghosts.

It was bad enough that she’d be leaving Donnon and Kia behind, given that the remnant were starting to cause trouble even here. Then there was the invading force Master Irdin had told them about: a dark, secret society that meant to conquer these lands, as best they could figure. Oh, and they were powerful sorcerers, too.

At least the land would be in good hands, since Donnon and his daughter had the ability to control fire.

None of that would matter, though, if she and her brother could retrieve the Sword of Light from Sair Talam and return to unite the lands. For too long they had been at war, the paladins and the clans. For too long the King of Gulanri had left them to their own devices.

Now all of that would come to an end, if only they could achieve their goal quickly.

“So eager to be gone?” Donnon asked, stepping up behind her.

She imagined him wrapping his arms around her, holding her and staring out at the setting sun with his lips gently pressed against her neck. The look in his eyes told her he had a similar idea, but they had agreed not to tempt themselves; not when she had to leave and he had to stay to unite the clans in the land’s defense.

Neither wanted to be so emotionally attached that they would put their missions at risk, so she simply nodded with a forced smile while he licked his lips nervously.

“When we return, everything will be different,” she finally said.

“Aye, of course.” He nodded to the city walls. “Kia has fed the horses, and there is food in your packs.”

“Thank you.” She got lost in his eyes for a moment, then turned, blushing. “If the sorcerers return while we’re gone—”

“We’ll hold them off. I’ve sent riders to the nearest clans with messages for them and to pass on to the outlying clans. If nothing else, they’ll be ready. Best case scenario, we’ll hold our own with the paladins and stand united, even if we’re in hiding when the sorcerers arrive.”

“Those damned paladins,” Rhona replied, shaking her head in frustration. “If they’d just listen to reason…”

“A sentiment we’ve expressed for many years.”

“Well…” Rhona sighed at the thought of the warrior order her brother had once belonged to; that she too, in some ways, had once belonged to. Taland and his wicked tongue—and she meant that in more ways than one—had spread his poison widely within the Order of Rodrick. As far as she was concerned, they were as much an enemy as the remnant at this point.

“Leila was asking about that brother of yours. He seems to have run off.”

Rhona chuckled. “Alastar is like a child who has never been to a bakery before. Suddenly he has access to cakes and tarts whenever he wants them, and can’t get enough.”

“I’d say Estair is definitely more tart than cake, but yeah, I get your meaning.” Donnon flushed, and his eyes darted across her body before he looked away. (more…)