We’re just one week out from the release of Capture the Sun, and if you click over to the book page, you can read the first three chapters!
If you would like a signed book, you can either order from BookPeople or come see me in person here in Austin on June 25 at 7:00PM. I’m signing preorders on June 20, so you need to get your order in before then. :)
While you’re waiting, you can read Magic Claims by Ilona Andrews which came out today! Happy pub day to House Andrews! 🎉
An Ilona Andrews book might be the only thing that could tear me away from my Diablo IV fixation, lol. Mr. M and I completed the campaign over the weekend, and now we’re on to World Tier 3. Overall, the campaign was darkly beautiful and the cinematics were absolutely incredible, but the plot/writing was a bit uneven. I get it, plots are hard!
This week is all admin, all the time. I’m going to try to schedule some of my release posts ahead of time so next week isn’t so hectic. We’ll see how successful I am, but wish me luck!
And since you made it all the way to the end, you deserve another small snippet, so here you go! See you next week!
The transport dropped us on a poorly lit street in a run-down part of town. I was armed with a plas blade, a pair of plas pistols, and three knives of varying sizes. Nilo had his own weapons, including a knife that matched the one he’d used to demonstrate his teleportation abilities.
Nilo’s research indicated there could be as many as eight guards, so we were aiming for stealth, but we were prepared in case that plan failed—as plans so often did.
After a few minutes of walking, Nilo pulled me aside. Besor’s building should be just around the corner.
“I will have to shield for you,” Nilo whispered.
“Then you’ll have to stay here. Your mental shields aren’t good enough. The Valoffs inside will be able to sense you before you set foot on the property.”
I clenched my jaw against the instant, instinctive panic at having someone else in my head. I knew it was irrational, that Nilo wouldn’t hurt me, but that didn’t make it any less awful. Even if I could force myself to agree, I didn’t know if I’d be able to function.
Nilo drew me into a niche of deeper shadow. “What is wrong?”
I shook my head.
“Would it help if I built an additional shield between us? We won’t be able to communicate telepathically, but I also won’t be able to sense any of your thoughts or feelings, I swear it.”
“I don’t know,” I whispered. “During the war…” I trailed off and swallowed, unable to get the words out.
“Many people carry trauma from the war. It is not a weakness,” Nilo murmured, his voice quiet but firm.
I chuckled bitterly. “It sure as fuck feels like it.”
Nilo pulled me into a gentle hug, and I let myself enjoy the embrace for a moment before I sighed. “Let’s try the additional shield. But you have to swear you’ll drop it the moment I ask, no questions.”
Nilo let go of me to cross his left arm over his chest. “I swear it.”
I shook out my arms and bounced on my toes. I felt like I was getting ready to fight, and I was, but my foe was my own brain.
“Let me know when you’re ready,” Nilo said.
I met his eyes in the dim light. “Don’t break my trust.”
“I won’t,” he said, his tone solemn.
“Then let’s try it. I’m ready.” It was a lie, but waiting wasn’t going to make it any better.
I closed my eyes as the faintest hint of cold touched my mind. My pulse skyrocketed as panic took hold. I threw everything I had into reinforcing my mental shields, even knowing that it wouldn’t be enough, that the enemy would peel my brain open like an orange. The cold didn’t dig any further, but it was a brief respite.
“Lexi, if you don’t respond, I’m dropping the shield.” Nilo’s urgent whisper finally cut through the panic.
“Wait,” I gasped, “I’m okay.” Another lie, but perhaps one I could make true through sheer force of will.
“You’re breathing like a sprinter, and you didn’t answer me. I don’t need to be able to sense your emotions to know you’re panicking. I swore I’d keep you safe, not torture yo—”
I pressed my fingers to his lips and shook my head. “Just… give me a second, okay?”
He nodded, and I reluctantly removed my fingers. Now that the panic had receded slightly, I could still feel the coolness of his mental shield. I breathed through the spike of panic. He was not attacking. I was not in danger.
I don’t know how long I stood there just breathing, but Nilo didn’t rush me. Eventually, I could think past the panic. My adrenaline stayed too high, but I was functional.
I held up my hands, and my fingers were steady despite the anxiety. “This will work,” I murmured. Then I blinked and looked at Nilo. “Does shielding this way drain you?”
“It’s not as easy as a normal shield, but it is not something you need to worry about today. It may be a concern if we need to infiltrate a military base, but we’ll deal with that problem when we get to it.”
“Don’t overtax yourself.”
He grinned at me. “Don’t worry, I have plenty of stamina.”
I rolled my eyes, but I couldn’t quite suppress the shiver of desire. He’d proven that statement true quite thoroughly, and the memory was seared into my mind. I clenched my hands against the yearning to reach for him. We were here to do a job, and I was supposed to be keeping my heart from getting broken.
I was afraid I was going to be quite terrible at it.