All Manner of Badness
I’m awfully sorry this cookie is not on the ninth as usual! I was at the Romantic Times convention in LA, and our internet was very, very sketchy.
I have also received all the Promotion Notion entries and am dazzled and amazed! I have some agonisingly difficult decisions before me…
LA was lots of fun, from getting to meet lovely people at Book Soup (some of whom gave me brownies!), to Holly Black’s Red Glove and Cassandra Clare’s City of Fallen Angels fancy midnight opening at which I wore a shirt proclaiming my love for Holly Black’s evil brothers, to all of my adventures at the convention. Doing impressions of various books, standing on chairs, stealing other authors’ watches, you know how it is.
We had several wonderful panels at Romantic Times, one of which was on Bad Boys and their role in fiction, and we got to talking about Bad Girls and the way they usually came to bad ends, and one charming lady had read my books and asked if Sin was a Bad Girl. 😉 And I had to say yes, I guessed she was. She and Nick, as seen in the cookie below, really do have a lot in common…
Hope you enjoy!
There was a roof garden on top of Nick and Alan’s building. A roof garden where they grew cigarette butts and concrete.
Sin bounded up the couple of steps to where Nick stood outlined against the chilly steel-blue sky.
He’d pulled off his shirt and thrown it on the ground: Sin noticed the flex of muscles in his arms and chest as he feinted, lunged, and withdrew. They’d lost a good dancer there.
They’d lost a better one with her. Sin cast off her own shirt and began to warm up wearing jeans and her sports bra, doing some shoulder rolls and ankle circles, and then started on hip flexes. With her knee on the floor and her arms over her head, she pushed her hips forward and counted heartbeats.
When she switched to the other leg, Nick tapped her on the back of her knee with his sword. Sin glanced at the talisman, glinting and swinging from his bare chest, and up to the challenging curl of his mouth.
She grinned back and he swung, and Sin bent over backwards on her palms to avoid the blade. It cut through the air, the edge skimming an inch above the line of her hips. Sin rolled away as Nick’s sword lifted, and then dodged as he swung. She went weaving around the silver blur of his blade, rolling over and under it, capturing it in the arch of her arms and leaping over the bright barrier.
“Stop dancing around,” Nick said, baring his teeth at her.
She let her arms dip low, crossed at the wrist, as the blade flashed forward. She caught the blade just above the hilt, just before the point touched her stomach.
She grinned back at him. “I never do.”
They disengaged and she spun away: he lifted the sword and she swung out from it, her fingertips on the blade as if it was her partner’s hand. The cold air felt good against her hot skin now, and her muscles were all singing to her.
Nick advanced on her, bringing his sword up and around. Sin did a split and sprang back to her feet when the sword had already passed her. Sin retreated a step, and the inside of Nick’s arm hit the small of her back.
He stopped and looked down at her, as if he had only just noticed she had turned his sword practice into their dance.
There was a flash above them, almost like a spotlight. Standing out against a pale empty sky, with not a cloud or a murmur of thunder, was a brilliant silent stitch of lightning.
They both stood staring at it for a moment, their faces lifted.
“Did my phone ring while you had it?” Nick asked.
Sin said: “Yes.”
“I have to go,” Nick told her. He disengaged and went for the steps down to his flat, sheathing his sword as he went.
He left Sin with his shirt at her feet and her head tipped back to stare at the sky.
Only a magician could send a sign like that.
She was still staring when Nick’s phone went off in her back pocket.
Sin answered warily, waiting for magicians, and got a reminder that she had plenty of problems that were all her own.
The woman at the occult bookshop, the one with the worried voice who’d asked her if she was quite sure, had clients lined up for her already.
“You don’t have to do this,” she said.
Sin said, “I’m on my way.”
She met Mae and Alan coming into the flat.
Mae frowned. “Is this no-shirts festival day?”