Thank you so much for bearing with us this week. We love you. As of sometime this after, the human had counted 5,100 US sales and change from her ad efforts this week.
As of now, all ads have been turned off. Whatever happens happens. She’s tired. (We are, too. It’s hard managing a human who is hard at work.)
So, what’s next?
Burn, Baby, Burn releases May 14. If you haven’t preordered, please do so–or buy opening week. Right now, she has approximately 2,000 preorders. That’s not enough to list, but she’s over the moon because 2,000 sales is what she hopes for at the end of opening week for it to count as a success in her eyes.
She’s already hit that number! Glorious day!
Enjoy this pretty picture of a unicorn the human licensed to represent Bailey. With a little less fire than expected, but it’s still a super pretty unicorn.
This is from Chapter One, and we hope it entices you into clicking the preorder button. As I’m a thieving cat, you’ll just have to hope that I stole from the right file and didn’t just send you rough draft material. I’m a cat. I do things like that because it entertains me. I also spend an obscene amount of time perfectly arranging my fur because I’m just that fabulous.
Approximately four months following the events of Playing with Fire…
I loved Quinn, but if I didn’t get a full night of sleep soon, someone would die. I gave it even odds on which one of us would bite the bullet. I’d either expire from his drive to prove he was the perfect man, or I’d snap, pop a few transformatives, and shove my horn so far up his ass it would take a surgeon to separate us.
Come hell or high water, I’d enjoy a full eight hours of sleep. No, I’d enjoy twelve, not my current three to four. Not only would I enjoy my rest, I’d have a great time securing it, too.
Quinn loved the chase. It made him feel important, feeding his ego and adding extra spring in his step. The smug incubus-in-disguise didn’t need any more damned spring in his step. He needed to be sedated, tucked into bed, and used as a quiet but sexy pillow.
Damn it. That was the entire issue.
Neither one of us had an off switch, and Quinn viewed it as his personal mission in life to fill my every craving. The months since our haphazard marriage had changed nothing.
When he walked into the room, my panties spontaneously combusted.
I checked out the bedroom window to make certain he’d taken his cruiser to work. He had.
The snow would screw with my plans for a while, but I’d make do. I wouldn’t use my stash of transformatives until I reached somewhere a lot warmer and dryer. I’d eliminate Las Vegas from my bucket list first. If my tall, dark, and handsome failed to find me there, I’d head to California.
All I needed to do was confirm my partner-in-crime still wanted to haul ass across the United States. Using the day-old phone I’d purchased with cash, I called Tiffany.
She answered on the second ring. “Your man’s cruising your block, and he’s got mine in the car with him. If we want to bust out of this joint sometime today, you need to encourage them to leave. Why does he insist on prowling your block for twenty minutes every damned morning?”
“The same reason there are transformatives stashed in every room in the house, Perkette. It’s also the same reason he ripped out a perfectly good fireplace and installed a new one. He’s insane.”
“Bailey, we’ve talked about this before. He’s not insane. He loves you. Now, go text him on your other phone and give him the list of things we picked for clues. After you’re done, we’ll wait for your chief to pull over, read your message, and head to work. If all goes to plan, he’ll be distracted by your requests and fail to notice anything amiss.”
However much it pained me to admit it, Tiffany was right. Whenever I asked for anything, Quinn went overboard catering to me. I sighed. “He’s worse than a puppy.”
“It’s so difficult handling a loving man. Mine needs some excitement in his life, too. That’s what we’re doing. We’re giving them some excitement for Christmas.”
“Or signing up for a divorce.”
“The cretins need the time off anyway. If it takes them two weeks to find us, they obviously need to brush up on their detective skills. Have you sent him the list yet?”
“Working on it, working on it,” I muttered, pulling up the note I’d meticulously typed out, copying it to a text message. “He’s going to think I’ve lost my mind. Who asks for an indoor rose plant, not for eating? I had to specify, Perkette. If I don’t, he gets too much. Last time, he bought three dozen roses, and he made certain they were food quality.”
“You specified the color, right? That’s important.”
“Yes, yes. I specified eleven orange roses, not for eating, and I indicated I’d like to plant them outside eventually. I also asked for a single red rose, too. Also not for eating.”
“You have to admit you have issues with his rose bushes, Bailey.”
“I have issues, period.”
I sighed. “Do you think he’ll figure it out?”
“Maybe your man will need help, but mine is a mad scientist freak with a puzzle fetish. They’ll be fine. Just make sure you’re ready to roll and read from the script if he calls you on the house line.”
I texted that I had work to do and would have my phone off for a while before I killed the device and tossed it under the couch for safekeeping. “I told him I had work.”
His inability to reach me would drive him home right on time, which would begin the hunt, as he’d begin searching for me within five minutes of discovering I’d given him the slip.
I hoped he liked the effort I’d put into wrapping his first clue, an old Elvis vinyl and a record player for his enjoyment.
“Phone is off. I’m about to stage the box. Did Perky leave your car in the garage this morning?”
“I already parked it in the neighbor’s garage and gave her the keys. Your man’s baby will be safe. Don’t forget the card or your bag.”
“And definitely don’t forget the saddle, bridle, or transformatives.”
“I won’t. Have they left yet?”
“No, but Mr. Police Chief just pulled into a driveway around the corner from your house. If he heads to work, we’ll know he’s taken the bait.”
How had I let Perkette talk me into her special brand of insanity?
Oh, right. I missed sleep.
We hope you have enjoyed the sample!
Now, onto the next thing.
Bonds, a Royal States Novel, is coming in July! Hooray! You can preorder it here.
The human is having a great time with this, and gets to climb into the saddle starting Monday for a full-time ride on this delicious book!
This is completely unedited drivel. Please ignore the typos, grammar oddities, and all uses of her creative license.
She’s absolutely not sorry.
Note: the author is very sorry that she’s sorta screwing with the Royal States timeline. Cold Flame, Runaway, and a few other books actually happen at around / before / slightly after Bonds in the timeline, but the human will be very careful to avoid spoiling anything from those titles.
The only potential ‘spoil’ for those stories is the name and number of the Rabbits of Montana’s children.
Shh, don’t tell them I said that. They might go after the human next.
We hope you enjoy the insanity.
One day, I might understand why I enjoyed jumping out of helicopters during squalls. I checked my harness for the third time since strapping in. As soon as I was a safe distance above the water, I’d release my line and go for a swim. As it so often happened, it was too dangerous to launch a diver from the nearby rescue ship waiting to pick up the crew of the oil tanker that had run aground on rocks off the French coast. The sheen of oil on the waves below complicated the already complicated rescue.
My first job would be to plug the leaks and keep the tanker from polluting even more of the water. Once I had the holes plugged, I’d board and organize the crew until they could be safely retrieved from the floundering ship.
The ship listed enough she’d go under in time; the rocks, a well-charted menace the captain should’ve avoided in the first place, kept them afloat. With each wave threatening to tear the monster ship from its haphazard perch, I wouldn’t have much time to work.
I hated when my magic became the first and last defense during a dangerous rescue. The storm turned the afternoon dangerously dark, and it wouldn’t be long until I was forced to use my magic to illuminate our rescue efforts.
I wanted to give the captain a piece of my mind for endangering the crew and the rescue team stuck bailing their irresponsible asses out.
I eyed the water again while waiting for the pilot to get the helicopter into position, close enough to the ship I’d be able to work my magic, far enough from the ship a rogue wave wouldn’t smash me into the hull. Any other dive, I would have worn flippers into the water to make swimming easier, but if I needed to board the ship, they’d get in the way.
I missed my flippers already.
With so much crude in the water already, without my magic protecting me, me and my gear would be in serious trouble. Crude oil could be volatile in many ways, depending on the type of crude. I wouldn’t know if I dealt with thicker, tar-like sludge or a lighter gas until I got into the water.
To add to the fun, a single spark could ruin my day—and light the nearby ocean on fire.
I’d gotten that lecture a few times already. Under normal working operations, fire risks on a tanker were low, but once oxygen in the air could mix with the crude’s fumes, things could go wrong in a hurry.
“I’m in position. Ready, Jack?” the pilot, Louis, asked, his French accent so thick I struggled to understand him. My French was so bad everyone on the team took pity on me, using English when they needed me for something.
The rest of the time, I pretended I understood what the hell they were saying. Learning more languages was on my to-do list, but every time I settled in to learn something, someone needed me to jump out of a helicopter to rescue a floundering vessel.
Most of the time, I loved my job. I loved knowing I saved lives. I even loved flinging myself out of various aircraft.
Today, however, I wanted a new job. No one sane wanted to enter oil-polluted waters with monstrous white-capped waves ready to pound me into a smear against the hull of the dying ship.
Then again, if I quit my job as a search and rescue diver, I’d have to return to the Royal States of America, which was on the top of my ‘over my dead body’ list.
It might really be over my dead body if I didn’t do everything just right when I entered the water.
I checked my mask again, as if I lost it, I wouldn’t be able to communicate with the helicopter and the rest of the rescue team. Once certain I wouldn’t lose it along with my oxygen tank, I replied, “Oui.”
My limited French usually made the team laugh. Beyond a basic yes, I could cuss like a champ and ask where the bathroom was. After trying to order a drink and getting a fish instead, I’d given up pretending I had any idea what I was doing.
A rapid conversation conducted in French filled my ears, but I’d been on enough dives with the team to know the pilot was giving the basic instructions to the rest of the team, who’d handle the wench and be prepared for when I released the line and went into the water.
The first time I’d released my line and dove into stormy seas with a small oxygen tank, the entire crew had about shit their pants until they remembered I used a blend of illumination and waveweaving magic. Unless knocked unconscious, my chances of drowning was slim to none. Add in my minor airweaving talent, which allowed me to refresh my oxygen tank without needing to surface, and I made the perfect rescue diver.
No one needed to know I wasn’t actually a borderline elite. Borderline elite put me one step below the elite class, and I’d made certain to leave the Royal States before I could be evaluated again.
Being above average worked well for me.
My real rank, elite class or better, would’ve dumped me directly into a political nightmare. Before I could get sucked into worrying about what would happen if I had to return to the Royal States, the rest of the team finished their final checks and gave the okay for me to slide out of the helicopter.
I descended until I was only a few feet from the crashing waves. After eyeing the roll of the waves, I waved to indicate I was ready, released my line, and plunged in the water.
More French, probably confirming I was in the water, blasted into my ears. I ignored the chatter and submerged, swimming for the ship. In the eyes of most, my illumination talent wasn’t worth writing home about. Unlike the truly powerful illuminators, I couldn’t become a living lighthouse capable of guiding ships safely to harbor.
I could, however, flood the ocean with a gentle light, which worked well for my needs. My magic exposed a gaping hole in the vessel.
“The breach in the hull is at least ten meters long, starboard stern,” I reported before approaching, eyeing the ship until I found a suitable handhold. “There’s enough crude leaking out I need to get it back in the ship before this shit hits shore.”
We’d gotten lucky; the waves were mostly keeping the oil near the ship, but it would be a matter of time before the rocks and the ship itself no longer protected the rest of the ocean from the mess. I closed my eyes so I could concentrate, getting a feel for the churning water and the crude polluting it.
If we got lucky, it’d be a lighter gas, which would evaporate quickly and do minimal damage to the environment. Light gasses and oils registered as an oily warmth feathering over my skin, expressing its more volatile nature.
The cold, sticky sensation clinging to me promised I had a heavier, toxic crude on my hands, and I’d be pushed to the limits of my skill dealing with it. Worse, it was a mixed blend, and at first glance, it hadn’t been blended well. On second though, I suspected the tanker carried at least two crude batches, one possibly partially refined. It was also possible it was just one of those batches of oil that couldn’t quite decide if it was a heavy or a light crude. That left me with one viable candidate for the origin of the oil: OPEC liked trying to control the market, and its suppliers, mostly from the Middle East, would often flood the market with their crude if the prices got out of hand to make certain demand didn’t die out due to price increases.
It just wouldn’t do if safer, cleaner alternatives were pursued due to economic factors.
“Likely an OPEC Basket mixed shipment,” I finally reported. “It’s a huge spill, so I’m going to get as much of it back in the tanker as possible and plug the hole. Flag the wreck as critical. This shit is toxic.”
“It’s toxic. It’s heavy enough if I don’t get this back into the tanker where it belongs, say goodbye to France’s nice beaches for a few years.”
A chorus of French curses blasted my ears, and once they started chattering to each other, likely cursing the Middle Eastern oil trade, I began the tedious and exhausting process of pulling the crude oil back to the ship where it belonged. At the same time, I began encasing the tanker’s hull and the rock it perched on in ice.
The ice might help keep the ship afloat for a little while longer. Maybe.
We’d find out soon enough.
Liked it? Click herrreee~
Being serious, you don’t need to have read any of the other Royal States novels to enjoy Bonds. Any old characters are introduced to poor Jack as they go, and his story doesn’t touch very much onto the rest of the world–too much, that is.
Now, last but not least! The female got this really cool link she wants to share with you. It’s a page that has carousels of all her books in one easy place! Not sure if you’ve read all of her books? That’s the place to go to check!
Happy reading, folks, and we hope you enjoyed the first scenes of Burn, Baby, Burn and Bonds!