Six paragraphs from The Charm, a sweet sci-fi fantasy romance.
1. “No, it’s not that.” He breathed in deeply and lifted his head, but his gaze remained inward. “You know how I judge a man’s worth by his ability to meet me face-to-face. She didn’t back down, Vacot. She didn’t look away, even though I mentally challenged her. And as I stared directly into her eyes, at first I thought they were blue. But all of sudden they were green. I thought it was my imagination, when I saw them turn brown.” He looked up at the surymander. “Her eyes change colors. Why?”
2. A guard was waiting at the side entrance when they returned to the fortress. With a brusque “Follow me,” Genesee was led to the costell’s audience chamber where the man was pacing the room. Seeing her enter, he gripped his hands into fists and took his seat on the elaborately carved stone chair situated before an equally elaborately carved rock wall. Genesee glanced at what appeared to either be a hunting scene or scenes of battle depicted on the bas relief, and tried not to be intimidated by Carq’s reddened face.
3. Genesee drifted in and out of sleep. Egan’s arm about her waist remained rock-steady, allowing her to rest against his chest and shoulder. How she managed to relax while on her feet surprised her.
4. Sticking her arms in front of her, Genesee used them like a battering ram and struck the man's arm. The jolt shuddered through her body, but her assault was enough to knock the costell off his feet. The soldiers behind him skidded to a stop, their whips held overhead. They glanced at their superior, then at her. None looked at Egan. Their wide-eyed expressions showed their surprise and their reluctance to pursue any further. Not with the person whose powers they had yet to comprehend standing directly in their way.
5. Genesee studied the looming fortress. It was less blocky than the ones in Unurit and Bein. Tall spires jutted into the sky, giving the horizon an open maw, toothy appearance. No chasm circled it, but neither did the village. The town itself sat in the background, apart and at a considerable distance from the costell’s building. Unless there was a rear entrance into the fortress, there didn’t appear to be any way for the townspeople to access their costell except through the massive front gates made of interlocking metal bars. The same gates that were slowly opening to allow her captors to enter.
6. Genesee dashed into the chamber a split-second before the doorway collapsed. As more of the fortress crumpled around them, Egan watched as she glanced at the three of them. The floor heaved beneath their feet. He started to lose his balance when Genesee ran straight into his arms. He embraced her tightly and buried his face in her hair as the floor suddenly stilled.