Happy Valentine’s Day, lovelies!
Here are some “presents:” First, I announced yesterday that Threats of Sky and Sea’s release date is officially scheduled for May 20, 2014!
Secondly, have a short Threats of Sky and Sea teaser! I hope you enjoy!
“Got a name?” I ask. I bite at a frayed nail. Maybe he’s a wealthy merchant’s son. The fibers in his cloak are certainly finely-wrought enough.
“Something to call you by. For example, my name is Breena Perdit.” I extend a hand. “I’ve also been known as Bar Maid, Bree, or, when I’ve got my most shining personality on, Brat. Something like that. Got one of those?”
“Breena,” he repeats thoughtfully, finger to his chin.
Something about the way he says my name is disconcerting. He rolls it on his tongue like a wine.
Nonsense. He’s only repeating it so he doesn’t forget it. I’ve used the same technique with newcomers in the tavern. I repeat the name a few times and I’ll remember it for at least a little while.
But when he doesn’t say anything else in response to my question, I begin to entertain the thought that he’s perhaps a bit mad. Maybe I should withdraw my hand. “No,” I say slowly, drawing the word out. “You can’t have ‘Breena.’ That one’s mine. Any other ideas?”
He comes back to himself and coughs into his sleeve. “Rick,” he says gruffly. He seizes my hand, still dangling between us, and gives it a hasty shake.
I glance him over from the top of his well-groomed head down the length of his lanky form all the way to the tips of his barely scuffed shoes. Back in Abeline, we’d had a Rick who frequented The Bridge and Duchess. A bit of a ne’er-do-well, his hair was long and always uncombed. He had a beer belly, and was missing several teeth.
This boy is not a Rick. A Leopold, maybe. I’m sure he has a name that’s as fancy as his cloak and isn’t some shortened thing that his friends call him. If he doesn’t want to give me his real name, I don’t much care to hassle him for it. Maybe he just wants to pretend to be someone else before he’s sentenced, or maybe he has another reason. Either way, it doesn’t affect me.
“Don’t you want to know my family name?”
“Why bother?” I ask, feeling weary. He must have an answer prepared. “You’ll probably just tell me it’s Smith or Jones or some other name that every other person in this kingdom lays claim to.” This is my life now. People who deal in falsehoods and omissions.
“It’s Williams, actually,” Rick says, tilting his chin at a proud angle. He draws himself up to his full height. He doesn’t tower over me like Tregle does, but I do have to crane my neck a bit.
I wave aside this information. “That would have been my third guess.” I deflate as a wave of tiredness washes over me. “Look, there’s still hours to dawn. I don’t know about you, but I find sleep a much more pleasant place to be when I’m here.”
He nods stiffly.
“No funny business,” I warn him. “You stay on your side, we’ll stay on ours. And,” I add in a fit of inspiration, remembering Da—who’s miraculously slept through all of this undisturbed. “My Da here’s a Rider. You’ll not want to cross him.” There’s little enough comfort to be found in the knowledge of his power, but at least I can use it now.
Rick looks affronted. “Lady Bree—”
“Just Bree.” That makes twice in the space of several hours that I’m making this correction.
“Do I look the sort to cause trouble?” he asks. For the first time, he looks me directly in the eye. I catch my breath as his eyes slam into me. They’re the gray of the sky right before a blizzard.
“Well, they did just throw you into a cell,” I say, voice soft. “But, no.” I break our gaze, finishing my thought silently.
You look like the sort that brings it.