TITLE: Little Corrupt Shadows
AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult
WORD COUNT: 92,000
As part of the city’s female mafia, Lucks knows that leverage is worth more than gold. But when a young duke threatens her gang, she’s drawn into a court of heists, masquerades and power-play.
Though the room is empty, I’m suffocating. Incense curls against the walls, sneaking up my nose in sly eddies of smoke. Or perhaps I’m imagining it. The scent lives in my head after all, a malicious reminder of what needs to be done. Sometimes I smell it in the streets and whip around accusingly, only for a courtier to back away, a sprig of lavender about her neck.
I’ve always been one for revenge. Pa says that the promise of it is sweeter than the tasting, like the chase of a boar hunt. But, I tell him, no hunter stops after the chase. They savor that promise until they’ve killed their quarry, licking up the bitter aftertaste and all.
The darkness lifts the longer I am here. My leg acts as a quill that needs blotting, jiggling nervously. I hadn’t noticed the diamond-shaped window when I broke in, but now it conspires to cast a blue flush into the study, revealing two maps on the walls. The one of the city is useless; I already know every street in Bliss as well as if they were scars upon my own body, but my fingers itch to steal the larger one. It will help if I need to carve a new life someplace else.
The door swings open and my thoughts dissolve. I grab the handle, slowing the door so that it doesn’t crash into my nose, and pause, listening hard. The cold sweat upon my neck and curled serpent in my belly tells me that if I’m caught, it won’t matter that I’m a Shadow.