Lesser Evil, The
Sky Turan doesn’t trust warrior Vilicia or her diplomatic mission, but he lusts for her despite the dangers and until his suspicions threaten to tear everything apart.
Length: Full Novel
Word Count: 96,414
Genre: Futuristic Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Eliza Black, September 2007
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Vilicia pulled Slate to a stop. Jolts of pain shot up her arm. She gasped again before pressing her lips together in an effort to defeat the pain. Hot bitter blood seeped into her mouth from her split upper lip.
Her fingers tingled when she tried to clench her fist, causing her to wonder one more time if the limb was broken.
Slate pranced sideways as if eager to continue toward his home-her home, too. Why had she ever thought to leave it? She sighed and reawakened the ache in her ribs.
"Let's go, Slate." The horse needed little urging. He picked his way down the rock littered hillside. Though the trail was rugged, the young stallion had carried her over it many times. He knew the way home to his herd mates without her guidance.
The land evened out, allowing the gray horse to break into a smooth walk. Vilicia thanked him, this wonderful animal who had saved her life. He was a gift from Juston Steele. Slate was the offspring of Juston's own black stallion, Stone. It was a royal gift. She'd thanked him many times, but her appreciation for the fine animal reached new heights as he carried her toward home.
The afternoon sun beat against Vilicia's back and woke her as Slate started up another slope. She'd never actually slept in the saddle before. How long since she'd passed the last sentry? Vilicia vaguely realized she was drifting in and out of full consciousness, but the thought of getting home remained clear and in the forefront of her confused thoughts. Fortunately, Slate needed little more than a loose rein.
Sometime later, an hour or a few minutes, they topped the slope and the Solonian settlement stretched out before them. "You did it, Slate."
The horse, even though the corrals were in sight, maintained his measured pace. A shout went up in the distance, but the meaning of the words eluded Vilicia.
"Whoa there, boy," a deep male voice said. Juston Steele peered up at Vilicia, his fierce blue eyes shooting bolts of blazing anger at her. "What the hell happened, Vilicia?"
She didn't know how to begin, so she shook her head as more people rushed to join them. The movement set her head to pounding and the saddle slid sideways away from her.
Juston cursed as he caught her. Her head cleared enough to realize she'd fallen from her horse rather than the saddle sliding away. Her vision came and went as Just carried her toward the main buildings. He growled a variety of curses as he stalked along.
"I'm too heavy for you," Vilicia protested.
Juston cursed in an exceptionally colorful and novel way.
"Could you repeat that one. I might want to use it sometime," Vilicia mumbled.
"Shut up," Just ordered.
They climbed a set of steps. Just showed no strain despite the fact Vilicia was the same height as him. Her swirling thoughts latched on to the further example of how much physically stronger men were than women. Her current condition was proof of that.
"Bless the Good Father! What happened? How did she get here?" Katerina's familiar voice shook the iron control Vilicia had on her emotions.
Juston continued through the common room and took her into his and Katerina's own bedroom without answering. He laid her on the bed, his movements gentle despite the dark scowl on his face.
Katerina leaned over Vilicia. "My sister, who did this?"
Vilicia winced when Katerina ran her hands in a quick healer's exam.
"Talk to us, Vilicia," Juston demanded.
His righteous anger destroyed the last of her control. A sob swelled in her belly and welled up her throat. Another followed and endless ones after.
Katerina wrapped her arms around Vilicia's shoulders, igniting more agony in her broken arm. Vilicia couldn't stop sobbing enough to tell her sister she was hurting her.
Other people crowded into the room and still Vilicia couldn't stop the flood of tears now that they had started.
"Vilicia, please tell me who did this." Juston's familiar glare comforted her some. Wasn't this one of the reasons she'd come home? She'd known Just would see things put right.
Her voice rough and hoarse, Vilicia managed the name of the one who's actions had sent her limping home.