Monday, January 24, 2011
Tasman looked at his watch again and growled under his breath. They were late. They were always late. He detested lateness. They did this just to spite him, as they had when they were cubs.
He was about to go out and stalk them when they entered in a group and came straight to his table. “Sorry we’re late,” Guri said. “Traffic – ”
“Is non-existent in this backwater. Try again.”
“Very well. Ravi had difficulty in relieving himself.”
“I told you not to eat the burritos.”
“Enough.” Tasman gestured curtly to the chairs around his table. “Sit. We have business to discuss.”
The tigers took their seats. A human waitress with blue hair strolled over to the table. “Afternoon, gentlemen. What can I get you?”
“I will have tea,” Tasman said.
“This is a coffee shop.”
“But you serve tea. It says so on that sign there, yes?”
The blue-haired monkey sighed. “Okay, you got me. We serve tea.”
“Good. I will have chai.”
“And I,” said Ravi.
“I also,” Sanjay said.
“I’d like a cup of cream,” Guri said. “And a plate of those little vanilla cookies.”
The waitress left. Ravi lifted a brow. “Cream, Guri?”
“I like cream. I like to dip the cookies in it.”
Ravi shook his head. “I worry about you, Guri.”
“That will do,” Tasman said. “We aren’t here for cookies. Events have taken an unfortunate turn. One of our ninja was captured.”
“By a bunny.” Guri giggled.
“By a ronin trained in blade and in combat,” Tasman said, with a scowl at his brother. “I’ve heard of these. They don’t come cheap. I doubt if even Damien Hancock has the resources to employ one.”
“Brandon Wayne?” Sanjay suggested.
“Perhaps. Guri, you followed the bat. What did you learn?”
“He is worthless. A tail chaser. He spent the morning buying frocks for his latest she. Afterwards they went to lunch. I watched them from the bar. They stayed a long time. I had many drinks.” He giggled again.
“Guri, are you drunk?”
“No!” Guri said. He hiccupped. “Maybe.”
“Brandon Wayne is dangerous,” Tasman said. “He shows the world one face and his enemies another. We must be cautious with him. Ravi, you will take over surveillance.”
“If you can stay out of the litterbox,” Guri added.
Ravi turned to Tasman. “May I kill him?”
Their teas arrived, and Guri’s cream. Guri dipped a cookie carefully into the cream. It took him two tries to find the cup.
“We won’t be killing anyone,” Tasman said in a low voice. “Father has hired a specialist.”
“Not another buffalo,” Sanjay groaned. “Herbivores make terrible assassins.”
“Frikkin’ herbies,” Guri agreed. He popped a cookie into his mouth.
“Not a herbivore,” Tasman said. “This is a cousin. One of us, from the Siberian branch.”
Ravi and Sanjay sat up, alert. Guri tried to sit up and nearly lost his balance.
“I know them,” Ravi said. “They’re vicious. They’re as likely to kill us as their target.”
“This one can be trusted, up to a point. He owes a debt to Father.”
“When can we expect this Siberian cousin?”
Tasman nodded toward the door. “Right now.”
Heads turned, and not only the tigers’. The newcomer commanded attention. He stood close to seven feet tall. His long black coat strained over muscles solid as iron. When he moved, the rickety tables trembled. The blue-haired waitress started toward him, thought better of it, and wisely retreated behind the counter.
“Inconspicuous,” Ravi muttered sarcastically. “Our enemies will never notice him.”
“No, they will not. I know of this one. His record is unblemished.”
As unblemished as his skin, Tasman thought. Both his hair and his skin were as white as Russian snows. He strode to their table and removed his dark glasses. Pallid blue eyes as cold as the heart of winter glowered down at Tasman.
“You are the sons of Shere Khan?” he rumbled.
Tasman nodded. “We are. And you are … ?”
“I am Sergei. I am here to kill.” He eyed Guri’s plate. “Are those cookies for anybody?”
I've posted the cover for my upcoming release, Belonging, over on www.titlemagic.blogspot.com. I'd have included it here but I don't know how to add a picture anywhere other than at the top. I'm working on it. I can either post the cover here Thursday or wait until the book actually comes out. Since I sent the edits back Friday, that could be March. In the meantime, visit the Previous Posts and enjoy my shirtless inspiration photo. I feel inspired just thinking about it.
Posted by Pat C.