Below is a deleted scene from Liar's Game, set shortly after the events in Part I. I ended up cutting it because it didn't really add anything to the larger arc. I also wasn't totally sure how to end it. It was just a moment between Callie and Silas that jumped into my head and so I wrote it.
Silas bent and slid the last of the lasagna into the bottom oven. He looked over at Callie and tipped his head to one side, "wash or dry?"
She looked over at the pile of dishes and wrinkled her nose. "Wash."
The little one was silent for several minutes though she kept shooting him glances when she thought he wasn't looking. An unexpected nervous flutter tightened in his belly. It had only been a few days since Callie had figured out what he really was and this side-eye glance had preceded some awkward questions. Silas still couldn't believe Callie hadn't died. As a precaution, he spread his power out thickly to make sure no one could overhear them talking.
Finally, Callie spoke. "How often do you feed on sex?"
Silas felt his eyebrows lift in surprise. He suppressed the urge to say something enigmatic and instead shrugged one shoulder. "Depends on what is going on. With Mark around, I go out less than I might otherwise."
"Okay." Callie said with a nod and then set a bowl down on the edge of the sink. "And how do you do that? I mean, not literally." A blush spread across her cheeks and chest. "I mean, do you just go out and say, like, what? Hey you, wanna shag?"
A grin spread across his face. "That technique might work better for you than me."
She rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Well, I'm going to have to figure out how to feed on sex. Seems easier than feeding on pain or blood. Right? Or am I missing something?"
Silas considered the best way to answer her question. "Easier than pain, certainly. But sex and blood feeding can be combined, if you are careful."
"Oh my god." She closed her eyes for a moment and shook her head. "I'm going to bang strangers and then eat their blood. Wow."
He gave her an appraising glance. She was foul mouthed and had several adults in her head, but she never ever used the word 'fuck' to talk about having sex. At least, not without blushing. It was both funny and irritating.
With a shrug, he said, "Many of us need to feed on sex. We've developed networks to facilitate this."
Callie frowned. "How?"
Silas lifted one eyebrow and shot her a side-eyed glance of his own. "How do you think?"
She was silent for a minute as she scrubbed. Then she froze in place. "Do we run brothels?"
He tried not to smile and failed. "Run them and staff them."
She shot him a startled glance. "You have sex for money?"
"I have sex for food. The money is just a bonus."
"But." She stopped and stared at the soapy pot in front of her. "What about the cops?"
Silas let out a huffing laugh. "You think we cannot manipulate a few cops, grease a few political palms? And we do not run the kinds of operations that cause the regular public trouble. Why bust us when there are much better targets about?"
"Is being a hooker required?" Callie set the pot down and glared up at him. "I feel like you should have been more up front about this."
Silas twisted his mouth to one side and let out a sharp sigh from his nose. "Of course not. It is an option available to you if you decide that is the easiest way to eat. If you would rather scare up your own food, that is fine. People keep an eye on you, though, to make sure you do not harm the people you feed on."
"Oh. Okay." She rinsed the pot off and handed it to him. "And how much do people pay to sleep with you?"
Silas gave her a wide, toothy grin. "I am very expensive."
The One Rises
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Date of Publication: February 1st, 2016
Word Count: 75,900
Cover Artist: Kip Ayers
The Seer yanks his chain, and Silas could swear she does it for fun. Knowing that she manipulates everyone around her hasn't helped him at all over the last two centuries.
His little band of misfits has come apart. Edie is gone and refusing to speak to him. Mark is still trying to figure out how to control his ability and the Seer has ordered him to keep the boy in the dark. And Callie tempts him with a life he cannot have.
A seat on the powerful Witches Council has opened up and Silas is stuck in the middle of the machinations unfurling over which faction of the witches will gain the upper hand. Angry witches, lies, and murder are just the start.
Events in the Windy City will push Silas to the edge and reveal an unexpected enemy.
Silas stood in the kitchen and stared down at his coffee. It was late and they'd only just gotten back from the West Coast. The others had promptly vanished into their rooms, no doubt to stew and generally hate his guts. He leaned forward and inhaled the rich aroma of coffee made properly. He hadn't done more than catnap since the disaster that had been his trip to the Bay Area enclave.
Edie is going to leave. The thought made him restless and angry. It wasn't that he needed her to stay, but he didn't want her to leave hating him. Again. He hated the blood contract that bound him. It killed anyone who discovered who he really was and he had no control over the memories it stuffed into people's heads as it hid his existence. It's better that she leaves before I get her killed. He carried the coffee to the living room and sat down on the couch. I don't want her to hate me. I hate that she hates me.
He set the coffee down untouched and prowled across the living room. Perhaps some music will help. And maybe I should bake something. He set the volume low and scrolled through his music collection. A nagging sensation of wrongness tugged at the back of his mind. He paused, finger hovering over the screen, and swept his eyes over the living room. A book was missing from the shelf.
Adrenaline rushed through his veins. Not just any book. The text about the demonborn. The book about me. He forced himself to control his breathing and heart rate as he replayed the memory of their arrival home. Mark, Edie, and Hatter all went directly to their rooms. Callie got fruit from the… Callie!
Racing across the house, Silas hoped he wasn't too late. He attempted to turn the handle of her door and snarled when he found it locked. He kicked the door open. Even as he did so, he spread his power out over Callie's room as thickly as he could. If Callie was going to die, at least he could make sure she was the only one.
Callie looked up, her mouth hanging open in shock. The book was open on her lap.
"Stop!" He bellowed the words. "If you want to live, stop!"
The girl scrambled off the bed and away from him. The book tumbled to the floor and, mouth set in a firm line, Callie threw her power at him, shoving him against the wall and then pinning him there. Her power pulled up loose bits of paper and dust until the air crackled with them.
"You stay the hell away from me!" Callie pointed a finger at him.
"Stop. Stop thinking about me. Stop thinking about anything. Or you die and not by my hand." Silas wriggled against the weight of her power until he slipped free. Before she could hit him again, he held his hands up in an effort to be nonthreatening and begged, "You have to forget."
"Yeah, well, I can't." Callie folded her arms over her chest. "And you and your siblings were scary as fuck so just stay the hell over there."
Silas winced and then a sick ball of dread opened up in his stomach. And now she dies. I'll have to pass it off as a suicide, but after the events in San Fran, Edie and Mark will be at risk. They will both have to leave. And soon. Only Callie didn't die. One moment turned into ten and still Callie stood there glaring at him. Shock rippled through him, and for a moment, he couldn’t hear anything. The room wavered under his feet, and he stumbled forward until he could sit on the end of the bed.
"Silas?" Callie's voice sounded like she was speaking from the end of the tunnel. "Dokuz?"
She butchered the pronunciation of his name and still she didn't die. Silas stared at her. How? How is this possible?
Her power dropped away and she edged closer. "Are you okay?"
He grabbed her wrist and yanked her towards him. Callie let out a shocked squeak, and he could feel her gathering her power. "Why aren't you dead?" They were nose-to-nose as he growled the question.
"I don't know." Callie shook her head as she spoke. "To be honest, it still doesn't seem possible that you're… what? Four hundred? Silas, that's crazy."
"Say it." Silas bit off the words as a sudden, wild hope sprang up in his chest.
"Uh, what?" Callie tugged her arm and when he didn't let go, she glared down at him. "Let go of me or I'm going to knock you clear across the room."
"My name." He enunciated as he released her wrist. "Everything. Tell me who I am."
Callie rubbed her wrist and narrowed her eyes at him. "Dokuz, born in 1603, the ninth demonborn to survive his birth and Gabriel's youngest offspring. Mated with Sekiz."
Silas flinched to hear her say the words. And still she does not die. She was looking at him like he was a mad man, but showed no signs of burning up from the inside out. Silas let out an involuntary sob and then pressed his head into his hands. I don't understand. This shouldn't be possible.
When he looked up, Callie had gathered up the book and stood on the other side of the room. Her gaze was fixed on him, almost unblinking, as she set the book down on top of her dresser. "How did you survive Gabriel's purge?" She looked ready to bolt.
She's afraid of me. The one person, other than the members of Conclave, who knows who I am and she's terrified. Silas started to laugh and once he started, he found he couldn't stop. Even Callie pressing herself into the corner and pulling up her power didn't slow the laughter down. He fell back on the bed and laughed until tears rolled down his face.
Finally, the laughter wheezed to a stop and Silas could push himself back up into a sitting position. He wiped at his face with his hands. "You should be dead."
"And that's funny?" She edged towards the door.
"No." With the madness of the laughter gone, all he felt was tired. "How do I make you not be afraid of me?" He winced and rolled his shoulders to ease the tightness. He needed her to have an answer to his question.
Callie chewed on her lower lip and stared at him. He could tell when she went to confer with the memory-sets because her pupils expanded to the edges of her irises and her gaze went distant. When her gaze found his again, Silas straightened his spine.
"Show me." She stepped forward and held out her hand. "Show me how you survived."
About the Author:
Anna Wolfe is a college professor by day and a novelist by night. In fact, writing urban fantasy is the only reason she is still (mostly) sane post-dissertation. When she isn't writing, teaching, or dicking around on the Internet, she is probably cooking with her husband or watching trashy television.
You can visit her at: http://anna-wolfe.com
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