This is it! The last teaser from The Mystic Marriage
. When Teaser Tuesday rolls around again, I'll have to come up with something else to post because the book will already have been released (for one whole day).
Shh, let me tell you a secret. Some bookstores already have it on the shelves. If you're in the SF Bay Area, you can get it at Laurel Bookstore
in downtown Oakland (where I'll be doing some sort of release event in a month or so, currently under discussion). I know Bookwoman
in Austin TX has copies already. Possibly others, but I have no idea who. If you want to get it from your local SFF bookstore, you're probably going to have to go in and specifically request that they carry it. (See my previous comments on that.)
And, of course, you have until next Monday to enter for a chance to win a free e-copy
, which you'll be able to get instantaneously!
* * *
So, Antuniet thought, it had come to this in the end. She waited for the old despair to sweep in--the conviction that fate had allowed her to rise only for the fall to be greater. But she and despair had become estranged lately.
* * *
After Barbara was gone, the hours ticked by, measured by the regular faint tonk tonk
of a drip somewhere out of sight. A gutter pipe, from the metallic echo. No windows gave any clue to the sun’s passage but the chill of evening quieted the sound. Then she was glad for the lack of windows. Powerful friends could do that much at least: an interior cell where the cold could be kept off with blankets. Good food and plentiful, when it came. It could have been far worse.
Higher friends could do more, of course. Efriturik had spent no time inside these walls. He’d been released on oath as soon as the charge was laid. If truth could not be held as constant, even less could justice. There had never been any possibility that a son of Atilliet would suffer worse than humiliation and count that bad enough.
What were the penalties for sorcery in the ordinary courts? Her imagination had never shied away from picking at wounds. Gone were the days when such a case would have been handed over to the church—not unless there were blasphemy involved as well. It was such an elusive charge, sorcery. So easy to believe; so hard to prove. And so rarely brought against anyone with standing. What penalty would Elisebet have sought had Efriturik not escaped her grasp by claiming privilege? It didn’t matter except to guess what she herself might face. And even so, would Elisebet have been mad enough to demand the ultimate penalty? It wasn’t right or just to have one law for princes and another for such as her. And yet, justice be damned, if she had the same right to appeal her case to Annek, she would, so long as honor remained.
She slept in fits and starts with no dreams that she could recall. The nightmares that had preyed on her while waiting were satisfied with her waking fears now. In the morning, Jeanne came. She hadn’t slept well either; that much was clear. Even paint and powder couldn’t conceal that she’d been weeping. She wept again now, held close while Antuniet found herself playing the awkward role of comforter. Jeanne’s voice came muffled, “I meant to be strong for you.”
“Hush, hush,” Antuniet found herself saying. “You needn’t be afraid. Barbara has all manner of ideas in train. Do you know? She even offered to bloody her sword in my name.”
“She would do that?” Jeanne asked in surprise.
“Well, I’m not as shocked as I should be,” Antuniet said in an attempt at humor. “For all her grand speeches about justice and law, I know she has few qualms about settling matters in dark alleys. I suppose I should be glad I’m under her protection. There was a time when I would have been on the other end of her blade, though God knows why she’s taken me in. I’ve brought no honor to her house or lineage.” She was babbling and she knew it. Jeanne wasn’t fooled.