Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Soul of a Hunter excerpt

My heroines tend to be the tortured characters, rather than the heroes . But it's the heroes who stand by their side when the going gets even tougher...tougher than most could imagine.

Soul of a Hunter is a book that remains among my favourites, of all those I've written. So I thought I'd give you a little taste of a female bounty hunter in the sci-fi/futuristic world of the Heart & Soul series...

The bounty hunter's soul thirsts for vengeance, her life given to the hunt. She knew the killer, but who were the extra players in a growing mystery?
One cold, bloody night, and he'd found her again. Given a second chance, could Cam convince her to exchange vengeance for love?


Sabra looked at Cormac. Reflected in his eyes was the knowledge she’d already concluded. Darcus did not mean to let them go alive.
“So, pirate.” Cormac returned his attention to the man leaning gracefully against the banister. “Is this a showdown?”
“A showdown?” He burst out laughing and his crew echoed him.
The bounty hunters watched warily, their nerves strung taut yet steady. Waiting.
“Such a sense of humor!” Darcus wiped his eyes. “I could have done with you in my crew, hunter. No, this isn’t a showdown.”
“Then what is it?” Sabra grated.
“It’s a slaughter.”
“With lasers? Stupid, don’t you think, knowing that the blasts go straight through one person and into another? You’ll kill as many of your own men as you will us.”
“Nobody said it was lasers, my pretty. We fight much better with machetes and daggers, and all sorts of lovely little things. Don’t we, lads?”
A rumble sounded from the pirates and more seemed to pour into the room. With dismay Sabra saw that the hunters were outnumbered by at least six to one. It was indeed going to be a slaughter.
“There seems to be no point in killing the others, Darcus. Take me only. They are no threat—”
“Oh, come on! Even I know that these hunters will be back if something happens to you. No, my dear, I’m afraid negotiations aren’t going to work here. You have, to state it clearly, reached the end of the line.”
“Then I see no point in waiting any longer,” Cormac said calmly and in one lightening move, drew his laser.
The room exploded, pirates swarming towards the hunters. Belmos managed to pull his laser in time, but the other hunters only had time to fend off the first of the pirates.
Sabra drew her own laser and fired straight up at Darcus, but he wasn’t there. Looking up, she saw that he’d disappeared back into the shadows, and she started towards the stairs. Her way was blocked by several leering pirates and she cut them down quickly, but no sooner had she done so than more appeared to take theirplace.

A beefy hand came from the side, grabbing her wrist in a crushing hold, and forcing her to drop the laser. A fist connected with her jaw, then the sensation of something sharp and cold across her shoulder, followed by a wet sensation. Blood. She’d been cut.
Furiously she rallied, swinging deadly chopping motions through the air, catching one pirate in the throat with the side of her palm, another in the eye. A third pirate’s nose she slammed up, breaking it and forcing bone to jar up into his brain. Drawing a dagger from her boot top, she slashed from side to side, cutting flesh, hearing curses and shrieks.
The room seemed to seethe with bodies. Tables broke, chairs were flung. The laser fire stopped abruptly, but the fighting didn’t.
Seeing Cormac go down beneath three thugs, Sabra whirled around and tried to slash a path through to him. With fleeting fear she realized that she couldn’t see the other hunters, nor hear them. But she couldn’t worry about that now, she had to get to Cormac, had to fight beside him—
Suddenly her arms were grabbed on each side and she was rushed backwards. Twisting, she was unable to break the brutal holds, and glancing back over her shoulder, saw where they were aiming to take her. The huge front barroom window loomed closer and closer and suddenly she was hoisted up and thrown backwards through it.
It exploded around her but she was protected from the shards by the thick jacket. Hitting the sidewalk, she ploughed down into the snow. No sooner did she come to a stop than she sprang to her feet, swaying and slightly disorientated, but determined to hurtle back into the fight.
“Don’t try it.”
She looked up to see Darcus standing on the sidewalk, laser in hand.
“Your friends are dead, Sabra.”
“They are. Dentil, throw them out into the snow. Let her see.”
Numbly she watched as bodies were thrown haphazardly out of the window to lie in broken heaps on the sidewalk. The blood running
down the bodies was already slowing, soaked up by the thick clothes and cooling in the chill breeze.
Harld, Belmos. The others. And there—oh God. There was Cormac at the bottom of the heap, his face covered in blood. Gaping cuts showed through the torn jackets and shirts. Part of Belmos’s face was cleaved in.
Her stomach lurched, agony gripping her heart. She looked up to meet mocking green eyes.
“Oh, does poor little Sabra cry? I like little girls that cry.”
A cold hand clutched her heart. Those words, the same he’d spoken to her all those years ago. After he’d killed Mother and Father... “You bastard.” The words came out an agonized whisper.
Snow fluttered around her, the cold gray light heavy with doom. Her breath came out in cold puffs. And then she moved fast.


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