The Queen’s Advantage: Chapter 14

Part of the serial story The Queen’s Advantage

Two wine glasses with red wine in front of candles.

Junior released Valentin just over an hour after my lunch with Margie. By that time, I had my facts in order. Valentin had returned to his suite to get ready and we were supposed to meet in ten minutes.

He’d been his normal self when we’d linked earlier, and he didn’t seem to hold my failures against me, but nerves still fluttered in my belly. I hated failing, and letting Adams escape had been an epic fuckup. At least I could help with the problem I was here to solve. Hopefully.

Imogen caught me fidgeting and rolled her eyes. “After all you’ve been through, now you’re nervous?”

“I got his soldiers killed and didn’t even catch the person responsible.”

“Neither did the ten other people with you,” Imogen reminded me gently. “I know you think you can do everything, but occasionally let the rest of us take our fair share of the blame.”

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The Queen’s Advantage: Chapter 13

Part of the serial story The Queen’s Advantage

Warehouse fire

Imogen put herself between me and the rest of the Kos soldiers. With the way the past few days had gone, it wasn’t a bad call. I tensed and waited to see if anyone would take the bait.

“You better hope you can spend those credits in the afterlife because that’s where I’ll put you if you try it,” Natalie said quietly. “Queen Rani is an ally of Emperor Kos.”

“Unless she killed him,” a female voice muttered. I only heard it through the helmet speakers, so it must be someone on another team.

“Congratulations, squad. You have Lee to thank for your extra PT this month.”

The other soldiers groaned. “Dammit, Lee, when will you learn to keep your mouth shut,” another woman grumbled. “Maybe we should give you to this Quint asshole.”

“Enough,” Natalie said. “What is the status of the explosives?”

“The building is rigged to blow,” a male voice responded. “He’s not bluffing. We haven’t found the control yet.”

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The Queen’s Advantage: Chapter 12

Part of the serial story The Queen’s Advantage

This chapter includes the beginning of the final fight. If you need something a little more chill after the horrific news out of New Zealand, then feel free to head over to my (slightly updated) recommendations page to find a book that sounds good, and then come back to this when you’re ready.

An hour after Valentin drifted back to sleep and left me with more questions than answers, I received a message from Finlay, the owner of Blind and my newest information source. It was flagged urgent and he claimed to have a lead on Adams. Two soldiers with plasma wounds had been brought to a back-alley doctor yesterday afternoon. That wasn’t so unusual in itself, but no one had seen them before, they spoke with Quint accents, and they were cagey.

That still wouldn’t have been too strange, but when news of the attack hit the wire, Finlay had put two and two together, and had them followed when the doctor released them early this morning. A grainy picture was included that had been cropped to only show a single headshot. Commander Tony Adams wasn’t looking directly at the camera but there was no mistaking his identity.

I transferred a small mountain of credits to Finlay’s identity and told him the other half was coming when his information proved reliable. I asked for any other information he could give me about the squad, location, and surrounding area.

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The Queen’s Advantage: Chapter 11

Part of the serial story The Queen’s Advantage

TQA is going to be fourteen chapters, so set your expectations accordingly: we’re in the beginning of the end. :) Happy reading!

I held out a hand and Imogen passed me one of her pistols. A sizable crowd of people milled about in the lobby, despite the ongoing alarm. A few people halfheartedly headed outside at the direction of the overwhelmed security guards, but most stood between me and the door. I didn’t want to cause a stampede, but if these people didn’t get out of my way, I wasn’t going to be held responsible.

Myra caught up to us and then shoved ahead, her own pistol visible. “MOVE! Imperial Guard coming through!” Her shouts echoed off the ceiling, and a path magically opened up.

The courtyard was filled with disgruntled people dressed in nice clothes. Luckily, they were spread out enough that we didn’t have to elbow our way through. But getting into the palace nearly took an act of violence. We had to fight against the crowd coming out, then Myra stopped to argue with the security guard who tried to usher us back outside. As soon as the guard was distracted, I bolted for the stairs.

“Stop!” she shouted.

I ignored her. Hopefully Myra would keep her from shooting me in the back.

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The Queen’s Advantage: Chapter 10

Part of the serial story The Queen’s Advantage

I’d gotten four hours of sleep. It had helped, but not enough, because now I stared stupidly at my wardrobe, unable to decide what to wear. I wouldn’t have time to change after ambushing Myra in her office, so I had to start the day in the clothes I planned to wear to lunch with the dowager empress.

Margie had been nice enough last night, but she was also effortlessly elegant in a way I could never hope to match. So should I attempt a poor copy of it by wearing one of my day dresses, as Stella had called them, or just go for comfort with slacks and a blouse?

I’d asked Valentin for advice. His completely useless response had been “be yourself,” as if I had lunch with empresses every day. To make matters worse, I didn’t know if I was walking into a friendly chat or a polite interrogation.

Done with indecisiveness, I pulled out a pair of slim charcoal slacks and a deep teal, tunic-length blouse. It limited my weapon options, but taking weapons to lunch with the former empress was probably a faux pas anyway. I put on my ankle boots and checked myself in the mirror. I looked good.

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