Bladed Magic (A Kit Colbana Novella)

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A Colbana Files Prequel

The events of this short story take place between A STROKE OF DUMB LUCK and BLADE SONG.  It can be read as a stand-alone.

For the first time in her life, Kit Colbana’s life was going just fine.  She had a nice, easy job.  She’d managed to escape the not-so-loving attentions of a family who’d rather see her dead than look at her.  She had a roof over her head and she didn’t have to fight for every little thing she had.

Then she finds herself tangled up with a green-eyed witch by the name of Justin.  He’s looking for somebody and for some bizarre reason, he seems to think she can help.  All she has to do is say no, and she can go back to her safe little existence.  That’s exactly what she needs to do and she knows it.

Too bad she’s not very good at following her own advice.

“I knew you were in there somewhere.”

“What in the hell are you talking about?”  I stared at him, uneasiness creeping through me.  My hand started to heat.  In the back of my mind, I heard a soothing murmur.  My sword, whispering to me.  All is well, child…all is well.  I am here…

A weird refrain for her.  I was more used to the words… Call me, I am here.  She came to my call when I needed her, something I’d learned when I’d been trapped in the dirt, gasping for air and begging for an escape that I knew didn’t exist.

Except it had.

But she didn’t seem to think I needed her.

Maybe I didn’t.  This peacock was annoying, but I didn’t think he was dangerous. Not to me at least.

A queer smile lit his eyes and he just continued to watch me.  “I knew something was under all those nerves you wear like a second skin.  You ready to come out and play or not?”

Play?

“You think this is a game?”  I curled a hand into a fist.  Surprise ricocheted through me as I realized something—I wanted to punch him.  Arrogant, cocky piece of work.

“No.  It’s not a game—it’s a hunt and you want in on it as much as I do.”

He was right.  I knew it.  Not that I’d tell him but he was right.  And I still wanted to punch him.

Something of that must have shown on my face because he laughed.  Quick as a wish, he reached out and cupped my chin.  Something hot shivered through my veins as his thumb pressed against my lips.  “Keep that thought, Kitty-kitty.  You and I can go a round after we catch this son of a bitch.”

I curled my lip at him, jerking out of his reach.  “I’m starting to think I’d rather not mess with you.  Maybe I should try to do it all by myself.”

“Oh, really?”  He cocked his head, green eyes all but laughing at me.

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