I just can’t get enough of this cover by Anne Cain.
Right now Dreamspinner Press is having a sale. 30% off the ebook here until Sept 9th and 30% off the print book with free shipping to GRL (code GRL2015). You can get that discount here. The print is actually the better deal because you get the ebook for free with print purchase but if you are watching shelf space like me you might prefer electronic.
By now you probably know Keys is my first over 60,000 words novel. This was a HUGE challenge for me and I’m quite happy with how it came out. Time will tell if you, my fans, agree.
I thought I’d post a bit more about it to lure you into purchasing. LOL!
My name is Octavius Septimus Stalk, but my friends call me Oss. I live in the City of Keys, a town of gears, keys, locks, and wonder. Our forefathers banished magic long ago, bolted the doors and locked everything up tight to keep people out and the town’s secrets in. Four Lock Lords control what information is left, and everyone else is left struggling to survive.
Despite what Thorne, my naïve lover, thinks, I was an orphan, but not a victim. When I walked the streets at the age of twelve, I learned fast where to steal the best food, how to use my daggers, and where to hide my would-be attackers’ bodies. No one suspected me of such violence. No one knew then or now that I have magic inside me.
Now, power hungry men intend to release the magic for their own benefit—at the expense of the rest of the city. We will stop them, even if Thorne must battle his own kin, even if I must reveal my hidden talents and the role I seem destined to play.
Layers of cloth created my uniform. I pulled my rough woven
shirt over my head, then slid on my thick trousers, carefully tucking
my top into my waistband. Two of my knives were shoved into their
usual spaces, wrist sheath and the special insert in my trousers then
I tossed the third blade on my bed. I fastened the buckles up my
calves before transferring my poisoned darts from one set of boots to
the other. I finished my outfit by donning my long duster. I glanced
around the room. Only one thing left.
Kneeling I snatched the knife off the bed and set the tip to the
edge of the floorboard at the bottom of my bed. The wood screeched
as it pulled free, sending up a puff of dust. Coughing I swept up the
small velvet bag beneath and added it to the rest of my cache. My coin
collection didn’t rival the Lords’ treasury, but it would bide me over
while I looked for a new place.
Shouting outside caught my attention. Keeping out of sight, I
peered through the dirty windowpane.
The magistrate stood in the front yard shouting at the tenants, no
doubt laying down his rules, which I could guess included him getting
the largest share of everything. I couldn’t hear his words, but the sneer
on his face didn’t promise anything good for the lodgers.
I grabbed my satchel and slid it over my head and right shoulder
before settling the bag’s strap on my left. The satchel held all my work
gear: a small lantern, a box of matches, and my goggles. Although I
would collect a larger lantern at the Key Master’s office, I liked to
have a backup.
A quick check in the mirror had me brushing my hair. The light
blond mess never settled properly, but some days it stuck up more
than others. Thankfully today it lay down after a quick run of my
fingers. Another shout hurried me on my way.
I opened my door and peered down the hall. No one. The
magistrate must still be screaming out front. Not willing to take
any chances, I ran down the stairs faster and more silent than ever
I’d dared before. My belongings weighed me down, but I ignored
my body’s twinges and aches. Next time he asked, I would accept
Thorne’s invitation to run with him. The guards had a strict exercise
regimen, maybe one I should adopt.
The back door appeared unguarded, but I peeked my head out
before I committed to the action. Still, no one.
Okay, I could do this. Pushing open the door, I slipped outside
and closed it behind me. A twinge of guilt had me turning my thoughts
inside the building. I touched the outside wall, and closing my eyes, I
simultaneously connected with all the interior locks.
Cries of joy echoed around inside. Thorne would’ve been proud
of me. Too bad I’d never tell him. Careful to not garner any attention,
I headed to the park behind the house. The sun had risen enough that
most of the vagrants had wandered away.
I could still hear the magistrate shouting as I walked, but since
no footsteps followed me, I ignored the sound. I didn’t see Paul.
Hopefully he’d found a way inside. Legally the magistrate could only
demand 10 percent of an occupant’s belongings as part of his take, but
I didn’t trust him. He didn’t follow the law, and he had enough judges
in his back pocket to have any legal challenges disappear.
Grinning I headed for work. I’d escaped with my stuff intact. I
could shove everything in my locker before I began my day. For once
I’d been lucky.