This is a raw excerpt from the next book of the series, Curse of the Dark Wind. I’m still working on final edits, so there might be a few wrinkles. As usual there might be a few spoilers here.
The tower shakes as a spell goes off outside, Delvin rushing to the window to see if they are under attack. Far below, he sees fire on the side of the building with Luke, Fizzle and Timoran watching it die out. A pile of what Delvin at first assumes is snow shifts and collapses as Nyx drags herself out of the mess. Dripping with foam, the half-elf is glaring at the tower, but whoever she is angry at is standing out of sight. Her rage turns to Luke, who leaps away from her tackle and continues dancing away from her punches.
“I don’t think it ever crossed their minds,” Sari says, joining Delvin at the window. She smiles at the skirmish that has turned into the half-elves hurling snowballs at each other while using Timoran and Fizzle as shields. “I admit to being worried at first, but I quickly realized that the two of them having something special. If Nyx had to pick one person in the world to call family, she’d pick Luke. Even over me, who has known her the longest, and those who raised her. The two of them are inseparable.”
“I’ve heard about their first adventure together. None of us can understand the feelings of betrayal and suffering they felt. I hate to call it a natural progression, but they went with the emotions of shared events. Maybe that’s the key. Stop the flirting and let things run their course.”
“That’s a terrible idea,” the gypsy declares, grabbing the last of her gear and heading for the hallway. She holds the door open for Delvin, snapping her fingers to hurry him up. “With Nyx, you need to stay out there. She’ll mistake your silence as losing interest. Flirting keeps your intentions known and forces her to consider her own feelings. You didn’t hear this from me, but you’re dealing with a virgin who has never had a boyfriend. She’s admitted to this, so you need to play the game carefully.”
“Nyx is a virgin?”
“Pure as the spring rains.”
Delvin startles Sari when he punches the wall, his gloved hand coming away with scuff marks on the knuckles. The gypsy prepares a calming spell, but lets it vanish when the warrior takes a deep, cleansing breath. Leaning against the wall, he shakes his sore hand and flexes his fingers.
“Guess you realized why Nyx is still focused on Stephen. She’s hiding her fear with her temper, but you can sense that she isn’t right when she talks about him,” the gypsy says. She draws a long dagger from her boot and spins it in her hand, a cold look in her eyes. “I think all of us want a piece of him. Luke and I spent a few nights discussing what we would do. I’m sure you’ve had dark thoughts along the same lines. Probably smarter to only talk about it now and not go out of our way to find him.”
“As much as I hate Stephen, he’s too powerful for us to defeat,” Delvin agrees, sighing and continuing down the hallway. “Still, I refuse to run if he shows up. He’ll have to kill me to get to Nyx.”
“That’s the mentality I want to see in my friend’s suitors,” Sari declares as she skips ahead of him and walks backwards, gracefully taking the stairs. “Just keep that emotion out there, Delvin. If Nyx has even a glimmer of interest then I promise that she’ll return your advances one day. Either that or you’ll wear her down and get a date out of her simply to shut you up. That’s when you come to me and I’ll help you pull off the most romantic dinner in the history of Windemere.”
Sari bends backwards and cartwheels over the last two steps, pushing off the ground and landing on her toes. She bows and gestures for Delvin to walk ahead, the warrior gently applauding as he passes.
“I think I’ll help you right now,” Sari states as they reach the front door. She bounds into the garden, whipping up a curtain of snow to get everyone’s attention. “Hey, Nyxie! Delvin saw me in my underwear and said I have nothing to be ashamed of!”
“How is that helping!?” the former mercenary exclaims. A blast of force knocks him back into the tower where he lands with a loud crash.
Sari skips back to the front door and grins at the groaning warrior. “She noticed you and showed that she’s a little jealous. Besides, I wanted to have some fun at your expense. Need to put you through your paces, new guy.”
“Two can play at this game,” he growls, getting to his feet and securing his shield to his forearm. Sticking his head out the door, he meets Nyx’s furious gaze. “Sari told me about your . . . lack of experience. I won’t say anything more than that.”
“Like she’s going to understand that,” the gypsy mutters with a laugh. Sari is flipped upside down by a gust of wind and hung by her skirts from a flagpole that grows out of the tower. “Well played, Mr. Cunningham, well played.”