Thursday, June 18, 2009
Excerpt: Stargazers: Wanton by Anne Kane
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2009 Anne Kane
Tarik watched the young woman pacing the cargo bay of his ship. Tall and willowy, she stalked the width of the cell with angry strides of long, slim legs. A short, fitted tunic did little to hide her shapely figure, and he felt a spark of heat ignite in his gut despite his mistrust of her kind. Wisps of wavy, chestnut hair escaped from the single braid that hung to her waist, and her green eyes sparkled with rage.
He felt the corner of his mouth tilt upward as she aimed a kick at the wall. He'd bet if he could hear what she was muttering, it wouldn't be very ladylike. Of course, she wasn't really a lady. Krystal de Mylar was a Stargazer, one of the few who hadn't yet sold her talents to the Intergalactic Council. Probably holding out for a better deal, he thought cynically.
The lack of military security surrounding her had made her an ideal target when he realized he needed to acquire one of the accursed witches in order to rescue his brother. Tarik's renegade status made it impossible to post a job proposal with the Stargazers' Guild, so he'd simply used his resources to plan and execute the perfect kidnapping. Unfortunately, none of his cybernetic enhancements would help him explain to the infuriated redhead why he'd spirited her away from her home without her consent.
The woman stopped pacing and pivoted to face the hovering droid, her eyes narrowed so that the green irises sparkled like gems. She'd obviously realized someone was monitoring her. A flicker of heat ran up his spine as she stood still, legs spread and hands on hips. Her mouth moved, and his attention dropped to her full, luscious lips as they moved slowly in exaggerated speech.
You are going to regret this.
It wasn't hard to read her lips. Or the threat in her eyes. He sure hoped she didn't know how to wrap the interplanetary energy lines around his neck.
"Not exactly what I'd expected." He turned to address his second-in-command. "I pictured someone older, and tougher."
Ryan grinned. "And a little less mouthwateringly attractive? Might have made it easier to deal with her. Do you want me to go in first and soften her up a bit? Your reputation with the ladies doesn't bode well for gaining her co-operation."
Tarik sighed. They'd managed to spirit Krystal out from under the noses of her parents and her bodyguards without a problem, but they needed her to co-operate if they hoped to accomplish their mission.
Stargazers could sense the energy lines that connected the stars and planets. They had the ability to grasp those lines and harness the energy for their own use. If she agreed to help them rescue his brother Cynn, all they'd need to do was narrow down his location and the witch could use the energy lines to get them in and out of Intergalactic space undetected by the patrolling warships. He didn't understand how the Stargazers accomplished it, but the results were irrefutable, which explained why the unscrupulous bastards running the Intergalactic Council made a point of hiring as many of the witches as possible.
Before his parents were murdered by the Council, they'd likened the Stargazers' abilities to the witches of Old Earth, who used the planet's ley lines to feed their magic. They'd been baffled though, by the Stargazers' tendency to accept employment with the restrictive Intergalactic Council. He sighed, running his fingers through his short hair. The longer he put this off, the angrier the witch would get.
"Get her into a set of restraints and bring her up to the interrogation chamber." He turned to leave, pausing when Ryan grabbed his arm. He looked pointedly at the offending hand, raising one eyebrow questioningly.
Ryan let go of his arm. "Restraints? Are you serious? She's already pissed. You need to convince her to help us, and treating her like a criminal isn't going to win you any brownie points."
That might be true, but he wanted her under control until she agreed to help. "Just the wrist restraints, then." He ignored Ryan's glare of disapproval. "If I understand the theory, she can't hook into the power of the energy lines without lifting her arms, so we should be safe enough."
Ryan's disbelieving snort told him what his second-in-command thought about that.
"Get her up there. Now." He issued the command in what he hoped was a stern tone, pivoting to stalk out of the room. The damn witch hadn't been on his ship for a full solar cycle and already she was causing trouble.
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