My dad’s surgery went great and he’s recovering quickly; thanks to everyone who sent well wishes!
I finished the second round of edits on The Queen’s Gambit and sent it off to my agent for review. Thank you once again to the betas who generously volunteered their time!
On Friday, the copyedits for Polaris Rising landed a few days early. This is a very important step in the process of my little story becoming a Real Book™. To celebrate, here’s a new PR snippet. I can’t wait for you to get to know Ada and Loch! :)
We turned down an alley that stank of urine and worse. A lanky man several centimeters shorter than Loch detached himself from the wall and stepped into our path. He was younger than me but old enough to know better. A smirk twisted what would be a moderately handsome face into something cold and cruel.
“See here,” he said, “this is my alley. And I charge a toll for its use.” Another man, bigger, older, and stronger, stepped out behind us. I half-turned so I faced both threats. “A hundred credits each and you can be on your way,” the young man said.
“Move,” Loch said. He seemed completely unconcerned.
“Oh, we’ve got a tough one here, Vance,” the young man said to the bruiser behind us. “What do we do with tough ones?”
“We break their knees, boss,” Vance said. He brandished a half-meter length of pipe in his meaty hands.
Vance would be slow but devastating if he landed a blow. The “boss” would be sneaky and underhanded but would probably break down in a true physical fight. I drew my knife and kept it hidden under the cloak. I didn’t know what Loch’s plan was, but I doubted he’d turn over the credits.
“Do you know what I do to young upstarts who try to shake me down for money?” Loch asked as he rolled his shoulders and cracked his neck. His tone was terrifying and I was on his side.
Unfortunately for the young upstart, Loch didn’t wait for an answer. In an incredible flash of speed he spun and punched Vance in the throat, then took his pipe and swung it with sickening force at the young man’s torso.
Vance went down with heaving gasps and the young man crumpled at Loch’s feet. Loch picked him up by the neck. “New deal,” Loch said. “I won’t kill you and you’ll crawl back under whatever rock you came from. Try any revenge bullshit, though, and it’ll be the last thing you do. Understand?”
The young man muttered something that might have been assent.
“What was that?” Loch asked with a shake.
Loch dropped him on the ground. “Let’s move,” he said. He stalked off, and I followed without comment.
Once I was sure we were alone, I closed the distance between us. “I’m not sure that was wise,” I said. “We need to be invisible, to be overlooked. You put a target on us.”
“Sweetheart,” Loch drawled, “I’ve been running from mercs for far longer than you’ve been slumming it. If I want to know what fork to use at a Consortium dinner, I’ll ask you. If we’re dealing with mercenaries, I’ll handle it.”
I clenched the hilt of the knife and told myself I absolutely, positively was not going to bash Marcus Loch in the head with it. But I imagined it. Oh, I imagined it with great relish. One of these days I was going to take the cocky bastard down a peg or two or twenty and he was going to deserve every second of it.
A rough draft excerpt from Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik. All rights reserved. Coming early 2019 from Harper Voyager.