Barbara E. is the winner of the first two books in the
Mortal Path series, Dark Time and Sacrifice.
Thanks to everyone who commented!
I have a title, I have a title ... Deliverance! Mortal Path #3 is listed online with a release date of March 27, 2012. It's official. My heart went pitty-pat when I saw the listing for the first time, as it did with every other book I've published. What a thrill! :)
This book has been a challenge for me because my personal life went through some bumps while it was being written. I came out of that period fired up and ready to renew my writing life, and I think Deliverance fits the bill! Writers, if you're working on your first book, hang in there! The rewards from completing a book into which you've poured your heart and soul are immense and when you see it published you will absolutely melt. Can you tell I'm happy?
Here's a brief excerpt from Deliverance, a tense confrontation for Maliha.
Maliha Crayne placed her feet carefully on the old clay-tiled roof. Freezing rain made the passage treacherous. Xietai, the man she was chasing, seemed as sure-footed as a gazelle. She had already sent a tile sliding to the street three stories below.
It was three in the morning, and although New York never sleeps, the residents of this neighborhood did. Most of them, anyway. As another tile clattered to the sidewalk, a window was flung open and a woman’s head appeared, her neck twisted to look up at the roof.
“What’s goin’ on up there? Think yer Santa Claus or somethin’? Get off my roof!”
With flat roofs all around, he has to choose one with tiles. Should have gone around and picked up his trail on the other side. Maliha 0, Xietai 1.
Xietai had been in her sights twice before, and he’d eluded her. He ran a human trafficking ring, bringing Asian girls to America, and then sending American girls to Asia. Round-trip profits. Complicating matters was that Xietai was the son of one of Maliha’s dearest friends, Xia Yanmeng. Maliha planned to bring Xietai to justice but with his record of confrontation, it was possible she’d have to kill him.
Maliha came to the end of the tiled roof and paused briefly. Xietai’s footprints led her on into the moonless night. Using her ability to view auras, she could see the outline of his footsteps and the tendrils of red and black twining together, rising from them. Normally she used her aural vision for a few seconds at a time, a quick check to see if someone was lying or to make sure she faced a truly evil person before plunging her sword into him. Constant viewing, as she was doing now to track Xietai, was draining. His aural footprints were clear, but her surroundings were a little out of focus. As long as Xietai kept out of her normal sight, he had an advantage.
She swung over the edge of the roof, hung briefly by one hand, and dropped down to an adjacent flat roof. Landing with a forward roll to break the momentum of the fall, she put out a hand to avoid sliding on the patchy ice. She scraped the side of her hand raw on the rough roofing material. She wasn’t an accomplished traceuse—tracer—so her hands weren’t calloused. The man ahead of her was a highly skilled practitioner of parkour, a method of crossing obstacles in the most efficient way and the shortest time.
She ran barefoot, with loose black shorts, a black t-shirt, a belly bag with a few throwing stars secured inside so they couldn’t shift and hurt her, knives strapped to her thighs, with her thick black hair flowing behind her. It was late November, and an icy rain pelted her face and other exposed skin. Maliha wasn’t prepared for this pursuit, but when Xietai crossed her path, she had to try it.
Maliha jumped to a building a dozen feet away. She rolled, then ran and dropped to the fire escape.
Could he be Ageless?
Her bare feet landed lightly on the fire escape’s icy stairs, and at each landing, she vaulted the railing to the next run of stairs. She dropped the last ten feet to the ground. Thin red wisps spiraled eerily up from slushy puddle he’d passed through. She cleared the puddle in a small hop. Ahead a wall loomed. He’d taken her down a dead-end alley. Using the momentum of her run, she stepped up the brick wall to a balcony, used a spring from the rail to power another couple of steps, and then muscled up to the roof.
No good. Blind corner ...
Anticipating a trap, Maliha threw one of her knives, then ducked and rolled as a sword swung powerfully where her neck should have been. She lashed out with her second knife, scored a deep gash in Xietai’s calf, and felt the splash of hot blood on her hand.
That should slow him down a little.
Xietai took off into the night, running away before she’d come fully out of her roll. She retrieved her thrown knife from where it had landed. Her opponent took them down to street level. She was gratified to see a blood trail in the pale cone of light from a street lamp.
He bleeds too much to be Ageless.
Then she spotted Xietai on the roof of a run-down theater, standing next to the marquee with its hundreds of broken bulbs. His aura was blacker than the night sky washed by city lights, and the spidery electric red web of his anger had intensified since she’d wounded him.
This is it.
One of them was going to die.
For a giveaway, I'm offering the first two books in this series, Dark Time and Sacrifice, to get you caught up for the release of Deliverance.The winner can have the paperbacks or ebooks, and the giveaway is open internationally, as all of my giveaways are. (I just sent a book to Malaysia, what fun!) Leave a comment below to enter the giveaway. The last day to enter is August 2, 2011. If you include your (disguised) email, I'll contact you if you win the random drawing; otherwise, check back to see the winner's name at the top of this post.