The way I write books is… chaotic… shall we say. So what often ends up happening is that I write a lot of scenes that end up being hacked out, chopped up, or deleted entirely as the story changes and evolves beyond my original outline.
So I thought I’d share this one in particular because it’s spoiler free for book two. There’s a minor mention of something HEA related to book 1.
Please note, because this didn’t end up in the book, it’s TOTALLY RAW, first draft, not proofed, not edited. So be gentle! Forgive the mistakes.
But I figured this was something fun to share because it’s Stirling at her finest, and I was a little sad to remove it! (There’s no spice here, sowi… all those scenes made it INTO the book ;p)
I’m still wondering what’s causing the shift in negotiations when some posh legacy magician I barely recognise appears right in front of me.
I move left, he blocks the way.
I move right, he moves with me.
So I stop, sigh, and look up. “Can I help?”
He’s the same height as me, but he’s standing close enough that if I were a different woman, I’d be intimidated. Unlucky for this oaf, I’m packing at least three knives, some poison powder Quinn gave me that I’m pretty sure will make his dick shrivel and a right hook that has a habit of knocking teeth out. So he better step the fuck down.
I eyeball him, still unable to recall where I know him from. Probably some party or other from years ago. I square my shoulders wondering whether Scarlett would have gutted him already. Not that she’d have come today. I left her and Quinn bonking like rabbits in the castle. Since their engagement a couple of weeks ago, they’ve barely left the bedroom.
I’m happy for her, of course, but a part of me is sour she got the happy ending and I didn’t.
The oaf leers at me, wearing a suit that has the kind of fine embroidery that smacks of designers and oodles of cash. His shoes though, don’t match. They’re frayed at the seams and fake by the looks. Meaning this guy wants to appear wealthier than he actually is.
See, it’s my job to know things. To notice the clues that tell me about people. What they wear, how they move through the world and how that changes their motivations.
And this prick is the worst type of magician. Wants to be wealthy, is clearly over privileged and insecure enough he needs to show it with garish suits. I sigh internally.
“I need a room,” he says.
I knead my forehead. “Right? I’m going to need a little more than that.”
He glances left and right, but the street is empty. I don’t like this guy.
“One of Roman’s. I want a room.”
“What do I look like? A fucking receptionist? Go and book a room. Head office is right there.” I point at the black mansion at the end of the street.
His jaw flexes. “Off books.”
Ahh. And here we have the rub. The real reason he’s sought me out. And then his face twitches and I groan silently. Every so often, I have this effect on people. Those weaker of mind have a habit of spilling their secrets to me. They don’t want to, and trust me, I don’t want them to either. But that is the way of a negotiator, my magic calls like a siren, and so people confess…
“I…” his face twitches like he can feel the secret seeping out and he’s desperately clinging to the threads.
“I like to do things to women… I like to stick—“
“I can’t help you.” Won’t, more like.
He huffs. “I assumed you might have a shred of decency left. I know you’re not… you know, a proper legacy, but you’ve at least lived in our world. I thought you would do me a favour.”
I blink at him. Trying to swallow what he just said. Not a…proper? Oh, he did not… My eyebrow rises, trying to crawl off my forehead, who the fuck does this prick think he’s talking to?
“I’m going to assume that was an egregious error of judgement,” I say.
He rolls his eyes. “Look, Stirling. I know what you are. Who you are. None of the legacy families are going to accept you back into our world. You’re tarnished. Doesn’t matter if your parents were pardoned and you have your titles back. The damage is done. Now. If you were to… say, help a guy out. Then I could talk. I could help you get some of the elders to accept yo—”
“Let me stop you there…” I waft a hand at him and wait.
“Reginald Burtshold the second.”
Christ, he didn’t stand a chance, even his name marks him as a giant wanker.
“Mmm… kay. Let me stop you there, Reg.”
“Like I said, Reg. I don’t need your help. I am legacy. My family has been legacy for a millennia which is more than your family can say. I own Castle Grey. Whether the legacy elders like it or not, my family is second only to the fucking throne and you’d do well to remember it.”
He scoffs, “Your mansion might be under renovation but it’s had its day. Pieces of paper and words are meaningless, Ms. Grey. Just because you are legacy doesn’t mean you’ll be treated that way. You’re nothing now.”
“You’re not even a proper underground magician either. Too underground for the legacies, too legacy for the underground. I suspect you’ll find things get more and more difficult for you unless you make friends. And giving me attitude like this isn’t going to make you friends.”
I’m not taking this bullshit.
I turn to leave but he grabs me by the arm, his pudgy fingers digging into my bicep. He hasn’t seen the knife.
“Unless you remove your fingers from me this fucking second, you’ll find yourself with one less appendage and I’m not talking about the ones I can see.”
I flex the knife I whipped out and slipped against his cock. He startles, his eyes wide and he releases me immediately.
“You listen to me, you giant waste of fucking oxygen. I am Stirling Grey. But you already know that… Because you came to me. Meaning you couldn’t sort your little kink problems out yourself. So the only thing you need to be worrying about is not pissing me off because you’ll find it very fucking difficult booking a room for your whores in future. Now get the fuck out of here before I gut your manhood like a fish.”
I swipe the blade across his crotch hard enough to lacerate the flesh, not hard enough to cut his useless todger off.
Such a shame.
There’s a fleeting rush of disappointment as I suppress the urge to make an example of him.
He grabs his crotch and stumbles back spitting at me. “You’re pathetic, Stirling. You’ll come running eventually and then I’ll enjoy telling you to go fuck yourself.” He’s breathless, his eyes wide and round as he scarpers across the road.
I just smile and wave, and waggle my middle finger at the ignorant prick.