I don’t usually write funny, but this book just demanded it. Think of it as a cross between Moonlighting and the X-Files and you’ll get the idea.
This bit is from when Ella Walsh our empath gets her first look at an unknown man in the offices of the SBLE.
Speaking of misbehavingâ€¦ Ellaâ€™s gaze came to rest on the broad shoulders of an unknown black-haired man who was studying the vending machines with deep suspicion. He wore a nice dark suit, white shirt and tie, which meant he was either a regular government employee, or some religious groupie that had inadvertently slipped through security. Male was probably a more appropriate word than man, because Ella could already tell there was something not quite human about him. As Ella approached, he turned more fully toward her, and she got her first good look at him. She sighed. He was way out of her league. With his pretty face, height and distinctive cheekbones he could have graced the cover on any magazine. Her appreciative gaze dropped to his broad chestâ€”imagining him, preferably without his shirt on. Sheâ€™d just bet he worked out.
â€śWhatâ€™s up?â€ť Ella asked as he continued to study her.
He looked even more confused. â€śI beg your pardon?â€ť
His Russian accent was as divine as his cheekbones, and she actually wanted to squeal a little. She gestured at the five-dollar bill in his hand and spoke very slowly. â€śAre you having trouble with the vending machine? Donâ€™t they have those in your country?â€ť
His sapphire-blue eyes narrowed. â€śYes, they do, and you donâ€™t need to worry about whether I can understand you. I spent four years at Harvard, so I speak American.â€ť
â€śYou do?â€ť She flashed him her best smile. â€śThen Iâ€™ll leave you to it.â€ť
His shoulders slumped. â€śDo I need change for the machine?â€ť
Ella fished out a crumpled dollar bill from the pocket of her ripped jeans and put it in his hand. â€śHere you go. This oneâ€™s on me. Donâ€™t ask me to recommend whatâ€™s good. They all taste like shit.â€ť
He smiled and her hormones started singing the Hallelujah Chorus. â€śThanks. Thatâ€™s very nice of you.â€ť
He spoke as though he was still feeling his way with the language. She had to wonder just how long it was since heâ€™d last graced her countryâ€™s fair shores. â€śI donâ€™t do nice. Iâ€™m just trying to keep you moving along so that I can get some hot chocolate.â€ť
â€śThen Iâ€™ll get out of your way.â€ť
Ella waited while he punched some buttons, slid the dollar into the slot and bent to retrieve his plastic cup of hot watery goodness. His ass was nice tooâ€¦
He straightened, then nodded to her. â€śThanks again.â€ť
â€śYour shields are very good,â€ť Ella said. In fact, they were exceptional, but he didnâ€™t need to know that. â€śWhat branch of the SBLE are you in?â€ť
He leaned one hip against the countertop and looked down at her. â€śAre you always this inquisitive?â€ť
â€śYeah, I find it cuts out the need for small talk. Iâ€™m not good at that.â€ť
â€śI noticed. Iâ€™m glad you approve of my shields. Iâ€™ve been working hard on improving them.â€ť
â€śWhyâ€™s that?â€ť She got her hot chocolate and blew on the scummy brown surface. â€śDid they fail you?â€ť
The irritated look he gave her was quite impressive. â€śThatâ€™s none of your business.â€ť
â€śTrue.â€ť She smiled sweetly at him. â€śIf you want to make them even better, Iâ€™d focus on the center. Youâ€™re still a little thin there. I can see your anger building up and thatâ€™s never a good idea.â€ť She turned back toward her office. â€śNice to meet you, and good luck with whatever it is youâ€™re doing here.â€ť
Soul Sucker comes out from Carina Press in April 2013.