REFLECTION



A new adult dark fantasy series....


Coming August 1, 2014!

PREORDER TR in eCopy HERE
Preorder TR in Paperback


Those born Reflective are the only beings with the ability to jump between worlds. With The Cause firmly entrenched by years of highly stylized military-type training in combat of every kind, they use their natural born ability for inter-dimensional travel to police worlds where wrongdoing has overtaken civility.


As an elite Reflective, Jeb Merrick finds himself partnered with a rare female Reflective. Merrick is convinced that she can do nothing but slow him down. Beth Jasper is small, in both stature and mindset. When they are thrust together as partners, Merrick vows that she will receive the same neutral treatment as a male. Merrick cannot allow the unlikely union of Beth Jasper to get in the way of finding his prophesied soulmate. .


Beth discovers she is partnered with the cockiest of all pureblood Reflectives and struggles to maintain her composure with a hostile partner whose loyalty she doesn't possess.

Can the Reflectives uphold The Cause, reach a point of compromise and find their chosen soulmates?







Pieces of Reflection:




Prologue

twenty years before

The midwife made her way along ancient cobblestoned streets, the crevices catching on her shoes, though Principle knew, they were as sensible as they came.

As was her occupation.

She would arrive in the birthing ward at exactly eight a.m. for her twelve hour shift. Of course, it would not be twelve hours, it would be for however long the woman labored.

And if a Reflective was born.

Just the thought of the potential for that caused a nervous thrill to flutter deep within her chest. The Reflective newborn must be swaddled in special blankets.

Non-reflective. A baby would not be lost on her shift... because it was a prodigy and jumped at a mirror left uncovered.

Dear Principle, she shuddered, thinking about what the punishment would be for that. As it was they could not use any surgical instruments that were not brushed stainless steel and had since moved to all ceramic instruments which cut.

And those which healed.

Florence swept up the massive steps, the rise of the treads so low the stairs felt more like a gentle slope to climb than true steps. The flakes of sparkling charcoal that clung to the deep thickness of the white granite reminded her that the sun still shone brightly, though their version of autumn would soon be here.

A shadow fell over Florence and she twisted at the waist with her foot on the top step, her hand on the solid brass door handle that opened to the birthing center.

A swarm of butterflies, so thick it blocked the deep blue of the sky, dropped false darkness all around her as they flew through the rectangular portals that fed the ventilation system in warmer months.

And allowed the only creature in their world that could identify a Reflective... to enter.

So many, Florence stood in stunned wonder. She had seen the butterflies come to mark the birth of a Reflective but never in such a great number.

It was a rainbow of iridescent color that poured like water through entry portals that had been carved in the solid stone of the birthing center. All who lived in their world were born in similar.

However, Florence was one of the few that worked at the birthing center that had the highest incidence of Reflective births.

Florence snapped out of her reverie as the last of the swarming kaleidoscope of insects funneled through the deep recessive slits underneath the eaves that held a copper roof, now aged a deep verdigris and tore the heavy door open.

She didn't notice it clank behind her as she ran the length of the corridor to the floor that houses laboring mothers.

*

Florence burst through the swinging doors as two people, a man and a woman stood over a cradle. Florence skidded to a stop, confusion reigning supreme.

What is this? she wondered.

This... appeared to be the parents in front of a babe that was so new some of the vernix still coated the wee one, her arms swinging as she screamed.

The nurses hung back, one ending her shift, one in training.

Oh, for the love of all that is good, Florence thought, stalking over to the newborn.

Florence halted as the sight overtook them all.

Their breath.

Their thoughts.

Everything left the ones that witnessed this post-birth spectacle but the scene itself.

The butterflies descended, floating in a lazy spiral as the sunlight laid an opalescent wash over their multicolored wings. The chubby arms of the baby girl swirled and pumped, slowing as they drew nearer. The insects lighted on the rails of the basinet in a portentous group, their wings moving in a steady sweep to maintain their balance. Their appearance heralding the breath which froze in the parents' throats.

The moment swelled and grew in the stillness of the nursery. Rows upon rows of cradles pressed up one against the other as the parents watched the butterflies flutter precariously on the polished sides of the newborn's bed. Only hers and no other.

Their appearance was beautiful... final.

Florence strained to hear the mother's voice. “She is Reflective,” she said in a sorrowful tone.

Her mate squeezed her hand so tightly Florence watched her knuckles bleed to white. “Yes,” he replied, just as grave.

Their gaze met in perfect understanding. They knew what the future held for their daughter: a life as mercenary, hunter and hunted. An honor and privilege amongst their people.

Florence closed her eyes in sympathy, a female Reflective.

Every parents dream... and nightmare.

*
five years later

Beth shot the marble across the stretch of earth, watching the glass orb tumble and spin as it met the others she shot, it swerved at the last moment, ricocheting off a shooter and came to stand where she'd intended. She had none that were mercury. All the other children her age could play with any marble they chose.

Beth was a solitary girl.

But not lacking in intelligence. Beth had felt the sadness from papa and mama and knew she would soon leave for the building that had a big butterfly above the entrance of silver.

Mama and papa had taken her there last week and a man with a nose like the water birds that gathered by her family's pond. It made it very difficult not to giggle. Beth sometimes had a problem with laughing when she ought not to.

Beth was an observer and stood watch over her new surroundings, remembering what her adoptive parents had told her.

Beth, you must let us do the talking. Under no circumstances should you volunteer to train for a combat role. There are alternative roles for female Reflectives.

Beth crinkled her face, she understood all of what they wanted of her and she would not shuffle papers and look like the dolls that she had given up playing to sit behind a desk.

All Reflectives were far advanced in all areas of maturation in comparison to their humanoid counterparts and Beth was no exception. She spoke like a teen, though she was five years, she puzzled through things that confounded adults.

She was faster, stronger... brighter.

Beth was female.

When Commander Rachett of the beakish nose leaned forward and delved deep, trying to pierce young Beth's very soul. She met him halfway, her small body pressed toward his. Unafraid- bold.

In their people's ancient language he posed the question: What role will you fill within The Cause, young Beth?

Beth's eyes narrowed and Rachett's brows raised slowly. He watched the young half-breed, for she was not of pure descent and female beside, meet his stare with bold eyes.

A combative role, of course,” Beth said in her childlike voice, though the meaning was very adult. Understood and communicated like one.

No! Beth...” she heard mama say. Beth swung her legs back and forth underneath the chair, her eyes drifting to the candy dish poised at the edge of the desk then returning to the commander's.

Beth's stare never dropped from that of Ratchett's. He knew what she was: a warrior.

Her papa stood. “We can't have her fight. She is female... and not big for her gender.” Her father's face pleaded with Rachett to see reason.

Rachett wasn't known as a reasonable man.

Rachett steepled his fingers underneath his chin, looking to her adoptive parents. Good people, common folk-- loyal to the Cause, believers in the Principle. Then his gaze shifted to the delicate child before him, striking if one cared after such things. He looked at those eyes like crushed brown velvet, hair like a raven's wing, skin like polished marble, pale but not pasty.

She is too beautiful to fight.

Then he looked at her hands. Long-fingered and limber.

His eyes shifted to hers.

Beth,” he asked softly.

Yes, Commander Rachett?” her small fingers held something in them.

He frowned, distracted from his original comment. “What do you have in your hand?”

She opened her palm and a large reflective marble stood in the middle of her tiny hand. A shooter.

Rachett sucked in his breath. “That is a locator.”

Her parents looked at each other. “Where did you get that Beth?” Her father asked carefully.

They hand them out at the front entrance...” Rachett said thoughtfully.

Beth nodded carefully. The nice lady had given it to her so she could have something to entertain herself.

Do you know what those are for?” he asked her.

She nodded again. Beth knew and she liked the feeling of the smooth glossy surface. Her fingers worked over the cylindrical perfection delicately, with reverance.

It is for those Reflectives that need to find another,” Rachett commented neutrally.

He smiled... she was very bright. Then his smile faded as he reminded himself that she was female.

Rachett hung back, he wanted to allow her into the program but thought... no, he knew that she would be summarily bullied within the ranks. What did she have, after all? Looks... some Reflective blood? Though of course, like everyone, he had heard about the swarm that had descended at her day of birth.

He shook his head, decision made. It was safer. Safer for everyone.

Safer for Beth Jasper.

Rachett stood, as did Beth and her parents that were not of her blood.

I'm sorry. Beth will be placed in... inter-dimensional communication training. An excellent program and critical calling for the female Reflective,” Rachett stated, lacing his hands together, effectively closing the meeting.

Thank Principle,” Beth's mother murmured, shooting a look at her daughter who had not remained silent about her crazy intentions as instructed.

Heat began in Beth's chest. She recognized it immediately: anger. It began at the core of her body and swam out like molten lava, lashing through her circulation system in defiance of being contained. Beth did not want to be a weak female. She was not.

Then Beth did what all children do.

She threw a tantrum.

Beth threw the marble at Commander Rachett of the Reflective Militia and shouted, “No!” in a clear, bell-like ring that stung the ears and raised the hair on the back of his neck.

Beth's body reacted to her emotions, and the spinning ball of glass coated by mercury. It spun and Beth tracked it automatically, as naturally as taking her next breath.

The heat inside her body coalesced, bursting painfully- beautifully and she gasped as it moved for her, slamming into the ball midair. Her body morphed into the narrow strip of shimmering ribbon that all Reflectives become when they jump.

Beth allowed all of it to happen in an instinctual slide of circumstance and emotion. Her new form lashing like a shining whip, absorbing into the shell of the spinning glass as it sailed in the air for its two seconds of flight.

Coolness washed the heat away and she spun with the ball... and went somewhere else in a falling stream of fire bathed by ice.

Rachett stood stunned as the ball that Beth Jasper had used for transport shattered at his feet.
The three of them stood... dazed, their bearings- gone.

Commander Rachett picked up a shard, one of his eyes caught in the mirror-like image and didn't like what he saw there.

Fear.

His own and that of Beth Jasper's future within The Cause....



"... Respect earned through fear instead of deeds was not truly respect... "





A woman without advantage, save one....

Ryan caught her before she had a chance to block his assault, nailing her gut then swinging his fist into her jaw, it was a glancing blow, thank Principal, or she'd have been out and at his mercy.

Ryan had none.


As it was Beth fell in a spinning arc backwards, landing with her palms behind her, blood splattering the mat they fought on. 


Ryan moved toward her, hatred the only expression in his eyes. Their final match played out in a sick parody, unfriendly eyes watching her from every corner of the mat.


"Get the fuck up, Jasper," Commander Rachett said through gritted teeth.


Beth swung her head back and forth to clear it, blood from the blow she'd just taken falling like scarlet rain beneath her position. 


Ryan smiled, his hands curling into abusive fists and spoke quietly so only she could hear, "This ends here, Jasper. The Reflective doesn't have room for mongrel females."


Heat ground up from her feet, her anger a boiling pot of rage, overflowing all over her, filling Beth with purpose.


Ryan flicked out the blade as smoothly as they'd been trained to do. Its mirrored surface shimmered in the low light.


"No blades!" Rachett bellowed too late. The unfair advantage of Ryan's size against her, his gender, dismissed.


When the weapon came out they finally noticed he wasn't playing fair. 


Well no shit, Beth thought, the last of her lucidity pegged on the surface of the blade.


Rachett moved in to stop his best soldier from gutting Beth as a justified elimination tactic but instead she let the heat slide out of her body like a focused spear and leapt.


Ryan's eyes widened and he threw the blade, it spun in the air and Beth followed its momentum, her body using the surface like an unlikely transporter.


To the others it looked like a shimmering ribbon of irridescent white as it slammed into the blade, her body disappearing as it collided with the metal.


The knife made a soft thunk as it landed on the mat.


Beth Jasper had vanished. Only her blood remained as grim testimony to her presence but moments before.


Rachett fisted Ryan's tunic in his hand, drawing him close. "You dumb fuck," he began with quiet menace, "all ya had to do was keep weapons out of it. You could have pummeled her into the mat. Now," his flat eyes locked with Ryan's, "she's jumped. She won."


"There's no way!" one of the Reflectives said quietly, "that's a six inch surface... she's a half-breed!"


"The Principal chooses who they will. There is no logic. That is why when we have an opponent, we do not underestimate their skills. Let this be a lesson to all that fight. Be ready," Rachett said, landing a leaden glance on Ryan one last time as he stalked out of the training facility.


Jeb Merrick watched as the last recruit filtered out. He ran a frustrated hand through his hair at the scene he'd just witnessed even as the beautiful Reflective came toward him, her hips swaying so he'd notice.


He did.


But even as her lush body moved toward him like water finding a crack in a stone, his mind wandered to the newest member of The Cause.


Beth Jasper, a jumper without compare....

6 comments:

  1. Such a tease! Can't wait for the release!

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  2. Holy crap woman!!! That's awesome!!!! Can not wait to devour that!!

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  3. Can't wait to read the whole book. On your facebook page you said that somebody from this new world would visit Caleb's, so I wonder if we'll some of Caleb's son's abilities in play. As I said before, I can't wait to find out.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much!

      I am definitely planning some cross over. It would be very small ( in the Death & Savage series) but it would showcase how much and diverse The Reflective must be to blend in with the different cultures...

      As far as Paxton Hart goes... that's a whole other series! lol~ and yes, it might happen :)

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