For this week’s work-in-progress Wednesday, I have an excerpt from Pathway of the Moon. In this excerpt, Alrian is once again butting heads with our favorite assassin, and she strikes a little too close to home for comfort.
THE cell door slammed open. Leo bolted upright, instinct kicking. He reached for his obsidian blades, but his fingers only brushed against the loops of his pants where they should’ve hung.
“Relax. It’s just me.” A familiar voice snapped him out of his sleep-fogged state.
Leo slumped back against the wall. “Next time, knock or something.”
“I didn’t realize that was standard procedure with prisoners.” Alrian crossed her arms and leaned against the wall.
He eyed the open door then dropped his head back against the wall and shut his eyes. Escaping was pointless. Even if he hadn’t been literally shackled by the collar, he was just as shackled by those who would suffer if he left. Honor-bound to remain for their sake, he forced himself to ignore the instinct to fight free of the cell.
“Glad to see you aren’t going to run first chance you get.” Alrian kicked the door shut and went to sit on the windowsill. “If you had, you wouldn’t be going anywhere until we left.”
Leo refused to let her see that her words had grabbed his attention. He remained still and silent.
“Aren’t you the least bit curious about what I came to offer?” Her voice held an edge now.
Good. He’d gotten under her skin. A small victory, all things considered, but it was a measure of control in an out-of-control situation. He still didn’t respond.
She shifted, her uniform rustling. “Fine. Be that way.” The door opened again.
He opened his eyes, her question nagging at him. She’d come to offer something? That was outside the normal way things went around here. Normally, she was in here to demand something. He sighed. “Wait.”
Alrian turned back to face him, arms crossed. “So, you are interested. You’re just too much of a Rith-cursed jerk to let me have the satisfaction of knowing right away.” Her jaw clenched.
She’d pegged him. His cheeks heated, and he looked away. “Can you blame me for trying to find some control in this situation?”
She heaved a sigh and slammed the door shut again. Striding over to him, she settled cross-legged on the floor. Just out of reach, he noted. “Are you going to live your entire life trying to be in control? That’s a miserable existence.”
He raised a brow.
“If you’re always trying to control things, you’re constantly going to be frustrated when things invariably end up out of your control.” She shrugged. “It’s one of the few useful things I learned from my worthless father.”
Leo cleared his throat. “I don’t have to control everything.”
“Really?” She snorted. “You absolutely do. Even if it means losing your life, you refuse to cooperate with others unless it fits with what you’ve already chosen to do.”
He stared down at the floor. She was right again. Though, lately, nothing had seemed under control. Since he’d gone off script and rescued Deira, everything had been a jumbled mess. “Not anymore.”
“Then what was with the childish behavior earlier?”
He wished she’d quit making good points. Maybe then he could argue with it. “Things haven’t been under my control for quite some time, Lord Alrian.”
She crossed her arms. “And that means you have to behave like a mule?”
“No.” He ground his teeth. “I suppose it doesn’t.”
That’s it for this week’s Work-In-Progress Wednesday. Have a piece you’re working on and want to share? Feel free to leave it in the comments below. And as always, keep any feedback you choose to give respectful and constructive!