COLD FIRE has just released in the mass market (less expensive) paperback format in all English language markets. The ebook has also dropped in price.
I have completed major revisions for COLD STEEL and have now embarked on a close line edit to trim, polish, and make sure all the details are consistent. The book will go into production at Orbit Books next week. Production is a bit of a long process, but I plan to write a post next week describing how it works. Thank you for your patience.
Here is the first page, after the cut:
I was serving drinks to the customers at the boardinghouse when a prince came to kill me.
I had my back to the gate and had just set a tray of empty mugs on the bar when the cheerful buzz of conversation abruptly ceased. Behind the counter, Uncle Joe finished drawing a pitcher of ale from a barrel before he turned. His gaze widened as he took in the sight behind me. He reached under the counter and set my sheathed sword next to the tray, in plain sight.
I swung around.
Like most family compounds in the city of Expedition, the boardinghouse’s rooms and living quarters were laid out in a square around a central courtyard. A wall and gate separated the living area from the street. Soldiers stood in the open gate, surrounding the man who intended to be the next ruler of the Taino kingdom.
Prince Caonabo had a broad, brown face, and his black hair was almost as long as mine, although his fell loose while I confined mine in a braid whose tip brushed my hips. He wore white cotton cloth draped around his body in a manner similar to a Roman toga, and simple leather sandals. Had I doubted his rank because of the plainness of his dress, I might have guessed his importance by the gold torc and gold armbands he wore as well as the shell wrist-guards and anklets that ornamented his limbs and the jade-stone piercing the skin just above his chin.
The prince raised a hand, palm up. A flame sparked from the center of his palm, flowering outward as a rose blooms.
“Catherine Bell Barahal, you have been accused in the council hall of Expedition of being responsible for the death of the honorable and most wise cacica, what you call a queen, she with the name Anacaona. As Queen Anacaona’s only surviving son, and as heir to her brother, the cacique, I am required to pursue justice in this matter.”
I met his gaze. “I would like to know who made that accusation.”
“I made the accusation.”
He knew what I had done.