I have no means; I make Docility my means.
—The Samurai Creed
Janay rose out of the fog of slumber so deep, so peaceful that she hated to surface, but the jostling and undulating of the mattress beneath her sent pain radiating from her rebuilt hip. Was she on a troop carrier? Opening her eyes, she beheld a black velvet canopy draped over the ebony wood posters of a medieval-sized bed.
Where was she?
Panting grunts were followed by hot breath on her lower belly. The terror of rape lightninged through her, and she faintly whispered, “Poke!” The dirk didn’t come into her hand, but the jostling stopped.
“Trond!” a male voice said.
She lowered her gaze to find Poke’s hilt protruding from a mass of long dark brown hair that semi-veiled a man’s face. Poke’s blade tip held steady against the man’s Adam’s apple. The man was on all fours, fully dressed in a midnight-blue turtleneck and matching knit pants, the uniform of a Guardian of the Law.
“It’s okay,” the irate man said. “I’m dressing you. Putting clothes on you, not off. Tell your screwy dagger to back off.”
There was something familiar about the voice. “Why are you dressing me?”
“We’re going to the hospital. Thought you’d prefer wearing something instead of being nude.”
Hospital! She elbow-ratchet herself up. “No hospital. Poke!”
The blade was instantly in her palm. She grasped the dirk, twisted her wrist and arm, then rapped Poke’s hilt to the side of the man’s head.
“Ow!” He reared back from the blow and rocked onto his heels. He swore unintelligible words and rubbed his injury. “Put that thing away.”
She held Poke tighter and scooted backward, wincing from the pain of her protesting hip and feeling a twitch where the tormantrata had clawed her back. She soon came up against the solid, carved dragon relief on the headboard. Sitting up, she felt the coolness of fabric against her skin. She wore black silk pajamas. Men’s pajamas. And skom, the man glaring at her looked familiar. Such dark features . . . the shadow of a beard . . . Tienan? Yes. His name was Tienan and he was—he was—? The GOOL!
She quickly panned the room from right to left. Black walls. Ebony enameled furniture, Japanese styling. Lighting fixtures hidden behind crown molding. Short black velvet curtains covering high windows above a desk-computer terminal. In the corner, an upholstered black velvet, wingback chair. Everything deathly dark. Demon warlock dark.
Poke wiggled out of her hand and vanished.
Why had the blade abandoned her? She glanced about the room again. Quiet. As restful as night . . . Maybe Poke thought she wasn’t in danger anymore? “This place could use some color.” Had she just said that?
Tienan stared at her. In his stony-gray eyes, patience warred with uncertainty. “I rest better in the heart of darkness.”
KARMA AND MAYHEM is a paranormal fantasy romance first published in 2012 and re-issued October 26, 2017. It is available as a paperback and eBook. Please note that the eBook is stripped down to the story alone. The paperback carries additional pages and the "bloody" recipes used in the original promotion of the book.
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