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Orphaned at an early age, tormented by a wicked uncle, abandoned on the mean streets, Jaz grew up fast. She had the potential to become one of the most powerful mages Earth had ever known. But which side would she choose—that of light, darkness, or something altogether different?
The nightmares were getting worse. For the third night in a row Jaz woke up in a cold sweat, biting back a scream. It took her a few seconds to remember where she was and pulled herself into the corner again, wrapping herself up into a shivering bundle.
She glanced over at the floor in front of the door, dimly lit by the omni-directional light that suffused the room, dimmed during sleeping hours. An empty tray still sat there where she’d thrown it after her last meal.
At first she’d refused to eat, realizing almost instantly that the food was drugged, but it didn’t take long for them to show her how they dealt with her reluctance. They flooded the cell with gas that left her weak and nauseated then entered the room while she was woozy to deliver a thorough beating. Her body still ached despite her parahuman healing factor.
She had eaten the next meal they brought. It also left her feeling weak, but far less sick to her stomach than the gas.
Thus passed the first three days of her captivity.
Some couple hours later the light began to gradually increase, as if the room were filling with daylight. The door opened and she tensed, not sure whether to expect another meal tray or something else. This time it was something else.
The woman, the one the gorilla guy had called Hecate, stepped over the threshold and regarded her coolly. “I see you’re learning to adapt,” she said, in her saccharin voice.
Jaz said nothing, trying with all her will to incinerate the woman with the power of her glare. Of course it didn’t happen. She couldn’t concentrate enough to even access her magesight, so even the spells in her web were out of reach, much less any mana effects. She’d been effectively crippled and she still didn’t know what this was all about.
The woman’s small mouth tightened but she said nothing. She continued to watch Jaz for a few minutes in perfect silence. “Stubborn bitch, aren’t you? Well, we’ve had stubborn bitches here before,” she murmured. “We know how to deal with your kind.”
My kind? What the fuck is your problem, lady? But Jaz didn’t say it aloud. As much as she didn’t want to admit it, part of that was fear. She was afraid of what this woman might do, or have done to her at her command.
“What is your name?”
She hesitated, then sighed. “Jasmine.”
“Good. You’re still learning. Jasmine is a beautiful name. It suits you. I am Hecate, but you are to call me ‘Mistress.’ If any other appellation passes your lips, you will suffer the same punishment you underwent when you refused to eat.
“I will not tolerate rebellion or disobedience. If I--or one of my men--gives you an order, you are expected to obey it instantly. The repercussions if you do not will be... most unpleasant. Do you understand me?”
Jaz nodded numbly. “Why am I here?”
Saje Williams lives in Washington State with his wife, four dogs, the world’s politest cat, a ball python, and a mouse named “Leftover.” He’s been involved in canine rescue for years.
Of Man and Monster: “With the fast pace, this reviewer was hard pressed not to scream and shout as the heart-pounding ride felt like a roller coaster that wasn’t going to stop! With each page, Mr. Williams will capture the readers’ imagination and deliver them to the brink and back with every word!” -- Dawn, Loveromancesandmore.com .
“Saje Williams has written yet another compelling and complex story in Freak City. The world-building is vast and brilliantly done and the variety of characters is immense.”—Kelley Hartsell, Kelley’s Kwips and Kritiques
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 382
Paper Weight (lb): 15.9
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