Get excited because Death Mark: Hunting an Angel (Aeon 14: Hand’s Assassin Book 2) is COMING SOON!
Here’s an excerpt from chapter one to get you excited!!
Lyra’s voice rang out on the ship’s comms. “Kelem, you had better bite your tongue,” the AI said, a tad haughtily.
Nerishka—who’d been leaning against the viewing window—pursed her lips to hold back her smile. She watched as Kelem–currently sprawled beside her in an overstuffed recliner–shook his blue-haired head.
He lifted his chin defiantly, his gaze flicking up at the audio panel on the bulkhead in the corner of the room from where Lyra’s voice had emanated. “Well, I don’t really think it’s wise to head back to Nimrud Station just to pick up a bunch of plants,” said Kelem, rolling his eyes as he redirected his focus and stared out of the Teshub’s viewing window at his left.
In the distance, Xerxes floated in the black; a hazy blue dot that Nerishka had to admit was a risky destination, however brief. Nimrud was fast approaching and given that President Inanna’s death would have incited the wrath of her most ardent followers, the crew would need to make it a fleeting visit.
Raz chuckled. “Don’t worry, Blaupunkt. No-one knows who we are. Besides, we’re the right now. Officially, the Icarna was blown to bits outside Ishtar Station, and the Teshub is…nowhere.”
The pilot had spoken without looking up, blond head bent as he studied the cards held tightly within his fanned fingers. He and Judith were engaged in a spirited and intermittently bordering-on-violent game of Snark. The battle had provided much amusement as well as a much-appreciated distraction from the many unresolved issues that hovered around the crew like persistent, hungry ghosts.
Kelem’s frown only deepened as he glared at the planet, then sent a narrow-eyed dirty look at the nonchalant and oblivious pilot.
“And you’re really sure your fake ident will work?” Kelem asked, ignoring Lyra’s long-suffering sigh. His face was still pale and somewhat grey, half-moon shadows beneath his eyes proclaiming that he hadn’t yet fully recovered after Nerishka had killed him.
She felt a stab of regret that their mission had come to such a dire crossroads where Kelem’s death had been the only way to avoid him being blown to all corners of the Ayran system.
A system that Nerishka would be only too happy to never see again.
Now, she patted Kelem on the shoulder, ensuring her touch was gentle. “You sure you don’t need a rest? Maybe a little investigative probing back in the medbay? You sound…tense,” she said, at last failing to hold back her grin.
Laughter echoed around them, and Kelem’s lips twitched, though he made a valiant effort to control the urge and reward the crew with a stony glare.
He unfolded himself from the sofa, his movements slow. He’d only taken a step away from the window when Lyra asked, “Shall I prepare the medbay, then?”
The card sharks chuckled, Kelem rolled his eyes, and a new voice said, “They giving you a hard time, Kelem?” Dresden smiled as he strolled into the room, but the tension radiating from his body simply canceled his attempt at cheerful.
Kelem kept walking toward his boss. “That’s an understatement, he said with a low growl. ”Okay if I space them if they don’t cut it out?”
Dresden titled his head, lips pursed. “Who would be the first to go?”
With a waggle of his eyebrows, Kelem replied, “It’s a tie at the moment between Raz and Lyra.”
A chorus of laughter filled the room again, but the sounds did nothing to hide Lyra’s shocked gasp. “You wouldn’t,” she said, initiating the team’s Link and sending them all an avatar that glared narrow-eyed, hands on her hips.
Kelem barely paused, though both Dresden and Nerishka spotted the brief hitch in his step. “I so would.”
“Sorry, Kelem. Don’t think you can space an AI,” said Raz, at last dragging his attention from his cards to look over at the Kelem who’d just reached the threshold.
“I can tray,” Kelem called out over his shoulder. As he left the room and walked off down the corridor, the bulkhead lights flickered, and the passage went dark.
“Sorry, Lyra. I don’t need light. Modded eye remember?”
Lyra’s ‘Fudge,’ and Kelem’s ‘How exactly can one space an AI?’ filtered into the viewing room, their bickering voices fading away as Kelem disappeared into the sleeping quarters of the freighter.
Nerishka laughed. “Think we need to make sure all airlocks have triple security coding? Spacing is appearing more likely the closer we get to Nimrud.”
“Better safe than sorry,” Judith replied. “Never know who’s next.”
Haven’t read the first books?