About City of Mages:
“Excuse me, sir?” Lainie said.
He glanced up from his writing board with a disdainful look on his sharp-featured face. His skin was a deep tan that could have been the result of Island blood or long days working outdoors or both. Then he returned his attention to his papers. “The hiring foreman is somewhere over there, but I believe they have enough crew already.” He spoke in the crisp, clipped accents of an upper-class Granadaian, and a broad gold ring set with amber flashed on the forefinger of his right hand as he wrote.
“I’m not looking to hire on,” Lainie said. “Some bounty hunters shot my husband and took him.” Her heart pounded hard as she put words to what had happened, and she thought she might start crying again. It seemed horribly unreal and all too horribly real at the same time. She blinked back tears and fought to steady her voice. “One of the hands said they came this way and spoke to you.”
“Yes, we let them into the pass early this afternoon. Normally, the Gap is closed to traffic until all the cattle have gone through, but their business was urgent; they’d captured an escaped bondservant and were in a hurry to return him to the owner of his contract.”
“Thank you.” Lainie wheeled the horses around and started up the road towards the mouth of the pass.
“Wait!” the man ordered as three enforcers moved to block her way.
Lainie reined in and looked around. The mage had drawn his gun and was aiming it at her like he knew how to use it. “I told you,” he said, “the pass is closed to traffic until all the cattle have gone through.” He gave her a hard little smile.
Lainie hated people who enjoyed telling other people what they couldn’t do. “That wasn’t a bondservant, that was my husband! I have to go after him.”
The mage shrugged. “How unfortunate for you.” He didn’t sound the least bit sorry. Now he cocked his gun. “I cannot and will not allow you to interfere with the passage of purchased cattle through the Gap, especially not for the purpose of giving aid to a criminal.”
“He isn’t a criminal!” Lainie retorted. “And anyhow, what about you? I thought guns were illegal in Granadaia.”
“They are.” His grin grew more predatory. “But we aren’t in Granadaia.”
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About Kyra Halland:
Kyra Halland lives in southern Arizona. Complicated, honorable heroes; heroines who are strong, smart, and all woman; magic, romance, and adventure; and excursions into the dark corners of life and human nature mixed with a dash of offbeat humor - all of these make up her worlds. She has a very patient husband, two less-patient cats, and two young adult sons. Besides writing, she enjoys scrapbooking and anime, and she wants to be a crazy cat lady when she grows up.