Sorry about the delay. I had some technical issues on Monday and spend the entire day trying to fix them. Turns out it was an easy fix once I had some help, but since I'm still re-learning Windows, I was lost and thought I'd completely screwed things up.
But, as promised, here is the second preview installment for the KnotMagick Post Club. Below is the prologue for the novel (which kind of still needs a title...):
Picadilly was busy, filled with people on their way here or there. Street vendors pushed carts through the crowd, calling out their wares of meat of questionable origin on a stick or baked into a bun. The smoke of London and general stink of city streets made my nose itch. I held back a sneeze, but kept my eye on the target: an unassuming looking man in a jacket and top hat, a deceptively decorative walking stick at his side.I glanced across the street at Thomas and nodded once. He nodded back, moving in the direction of the man. Further up the road, three others from our unit mobilized. He might not have looked like anything special, but it was a well known fact that the unassuming man in the top hat was running half of the illegal trade in dragon eggs in the city, and who knew what else.Wes, my partner, had suspicions that he was tied to the Rhinoceros Brigade, which had once been the largest crime organization in London. I’d known Wes most of my life, and when he had a suspicion, you could almost bet it was fact.As I passed a ratty looking man with a wheelbarrow full of fish, the sneeze won. It bent me double and left me searching for my handkerchief, even as Thomas and our quarry moved further north. I blew my nose and tried to catch up even though my eyes were still watering a little.That was when it hit me.Like a punch in the stomach, or trying to walk away from a coach only to realize your sleeve is caught in the door as the horses take off at a gallop, the scent made me stop. My knees went wobbly with disbelief.It can’t be, I thought. It was impossible. I hadn’t smelled that scent in seven years; I never thought I would again.I turned.And there she was.She wasn’t at all like I remembered. Seven years ago she’d been a playful eleven-year-old with pigtails, freckles, and a singing voice that would make angels cry, who hugged everyone and frequently fell asleep with her head on my shoulder or in my lap.Now though, her own mother wouldn’t have recognized her if they’d met on the street. Or if she did, she’d faint from shock.She was pretty in the way a burlesque dancer might be; the kind of beauty that made respectable women give her wide birth as they passed, whispering behind their hands at how scandalously short her skirt was, baring her ankles in broad daylight. It was the kind of beauty that made good men blush and turn away, and not so good med follow, come what may.Lace gloves covered her from fingertip to above the elbow, and the low, plunging neck of her dress wasn’t disguised by the matching lace shawl, which didn’t do much to cover the bareness of her white shoulders, either.Her hair was darker than when she was a child; auburn now instead of ginger, and twisted and curled over her shoulder in something almost ladylike. Her face was too sweet for the expression she gave me, which turned her red lips up coyly.Her eyes were the same gray I remembered, but were so heavily lined that I could hardly tell she’d gotten them from her mother. The look they held didn’t help.She opened her mouth once, then closed it. She raised her finger to point at me. “I know you,” She said at last, tapping me on the chest. I was so flabbergasted at seeing her again, I couldn’t speak.She turned a slow circle around me, trailing her hand across my shoulders, looking me up and down.I shouldn’t have, but I allowed my appearance to return to it’s natural state. Instead of hiding my eyes—wolf’s eyes, with a light blue center and dark blue ring—I allowed them to show. People found it unnerving, so I usually used my talent as a shapeshifter to turn them brown. I could change the color, but not the pattern. Brown made them less noticeable. I always tried to be less noticeable. It helped, in my line of work.She seemed to be considering something. Then she slid one gloved hand to the back of my neck, pulled me down and kissed me, right there on the street.I took a deep breath of her, tasted her. And there was no doubt in my mind. Despite changed appearance, she was one and the same.“Felicia…”She pulled back just enough to meet my eyes. She looked confused. Not the reaction I normally get after kissing a woman.A shout from behind me. I turned to see Thomas chasing after our suspect. When I glanced back, Felicia was gone.