Fealty, Not Favors


Fuck. Me. Hard. It’s nearly August. While I’m not entirely sure where the past seven months went– mostly I blame the gin– I do know that in August I will be in Troy, MI for Rust City Book Con‘s kick off year. As always, I’m wildly excited to take my pants off and meet fellow authors and book nerds. To get my game face on, I recently participated in Alpha Heroes’ five-word flash fiction game. Because I know nothing about steampunk, other than I love the cosplay, and I’m not sure I could effectively write contemporary if my life depended on it, I was the fourth author to take on the Alchemy series. See the full interview and find links for parts I, II, and III here. Keep reading to see what shenanigans our dear Mara got to under my tender, loving care.

Mara was scrambling to get to the aquarium. It was well past dark and there was an excellent chance that Izyk had gotten tired— or bored, or irritated— and left. If she were truly being honest with herself, it was equally likely he’d found himself distracted and hadn’t hung around to begin with. Fickle, fickle man.

God, she needed a drink. Alcohol would make seeing him easier. Wouldn’t it?

A sharp pain lanced through her palm and Mara looked down to see Spike had clamped his teeth around the meaty part of her hand. Mara immediately unlocked the fist she’d unintentionally clamped over the poor thing, but it was already too late. It felt like he’d injected a shot of flames directly into her blood stream. Even as she watched, burning heat bloomed and spread from the points where his needle-like teeth had penetrated flesh.

“Spike!” The word left her lips on a gasp, rushing to escape as tears stung her eyes and she tried her best not to scream into the night.

“What did you do?” Izyk’s chastising drawl sent her blood boiling for wholly different reasons. She couldn’t decide if she wanted to punch or kiss him.

“Izyk, please.” Mara barely managed to squeeze the words out of her throat.

“The dragon bit you.” 

The observation did nothing to rectify the matter, nor stop the spread of the poison up her arm. She could lick him—kick him! She could kick him. After he helped her, she reminded herself. “Izyk, please,” she repeated, pushing the words between her firmly clenched teeth. “Can you help?”

“Certainly,” he agreed. “But it’ll cost you.”

“Really, Izyk? Really?! Soliciting favors? Now? You’re despicable.”

“Not favors. Fealty.”


“Fealty.” Izyk walked two fingers up her shoulder. “Not much time. The poison is nearing your heart.”

Mara didn’t need the reminder. She could feel it searing its way through her chest.

“Fine! I swear.”

“Say, ‘I, Mara, swear my unwavering fealty to you, Izyk.’ Basic, but we’re in a bit of a rush so it’ll have to do.”

The scathing remark she might have thrown his way disintegrated on her tongue as her chest seized and her breath hitched. “I Mara swear my unwavering fealty to you, Izyk.” She hoped this worked. Ruefully, she acknowledged that it might not. The sounds she’d managed to expectorate hardly sounded like words.

Izyk grabbed her face in both his hands as her feet turned to Jell-O beneath her.

 “If I die, I’m going to haunt the shit out of you.”

The next thing she knew, his lips were on hers. Figured. She should have known better than to trust him. He’d always been a phenomenal kisser and all he was doing presently was blowing air hard into her mouth. Mara felt a fleeting moment of disappointment. There wasn’t time to dwell on it. In an instant it was as though every atom in her body collapsed in on itself and then exploded outward. Only the feel of Izyk’s hands on her face and his mouth on her own confirmed that she hadn’t been blasted to the four corners of the globe.

When he pulled away from her, she stumbled, catching her footing and standing dazed. His usually stunning blue eyes were matte and pale.

“You look lovely,” he said softly, his pallor going whiter than when he was in his deer form.

Clearly he was delirious if he believed her bedraggled appearance was even remotely attractive. What had gotten into him?


“Did you bring the astrolabe?”

Confused, Mara nodded.

“Time to make good on your vow.” With no warning, he collapsed into a heap on the ground.

“Izyk!” She rushed to his side and couldn’t find any trace of breathing or a pulse.

What the hell was she supposed to do?!

Mara pulled the antiquated tool out of the inside pocket of her jacket.  Spike—who was mercifully free of her shredded palm, though she had no idea how— settled himself directly over Izyk’s heart. “I hope you’ve got a clue, because otherwise we’re screwed,” she told the pocket sized dragon blowing smoke rings from on top of the chest of the only man she’d ever loved.

Stalk me to Michigan and come say hello at Rust City. Pants not included.

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