Anniversary excerpt: Living Proof (book 2)

On this day in 2010, Living Proof, the 2nd book in my New Human Intercession series, released. This series is a futuristic one, and I'm currently working on the book(s) that lead up to it. Stay tuned!

“Do you want to come to my chambers and chat?” Jak walked up two steps and smiled down at her. “You did leave your clothes there, after all.”

She looked at him, the steps, then back at him. There was no way she was going to walk up a steep flight of stairs with a naked man in front of her. “I’ll meet you there.” She started to levitate toward his balcony.

Jak laughed and bounded up the steps. They met at the summit, Dru touching down just as he reached the top landing. He put his hands on her arms to steady her as she wobbled on the tip of the balcony. “Careful.” His voice was as warm and caressing as the look he gave her. “I’d hate to have anything happen to you.” His fingers opened and closed on her arms, tugging her slightly closer.

Despite herself, Dru leaned into his touch, conscious of his body, all that taut flesh tantalizingly out of reach. She took a deep breath and pulled away. “We need the extra revenue the mining will bring in.”

“We?” He released her slowly and walked back to his chamber, taking a towel from the bin near the windoor.

Dru also grabbed a towel and quickly dried herself then snatched up her fallen clothes and followed, pulling on the T-dress as she entered the room. “You know what I mean—the Council needs the revenue.”

Jak was pulling on a pair of dark brown trousers over the underbottoms he’d donned, the loose, baggy fabric cool and comfortable in the stifling heat. “Why?” He shrugged into a loose beige shirt, as lightweight as his trousers. “The last time I checked, our reserves were very healthy. There’s no reason to establish a factory on Northern.” He ran a hand through his hair then crossed to the bathing chamber and disappeared inside. His voice echoed out to her faintly. “What’s the real reason you want that factory?”

Dru sat on the edge of his bed and pulled on her sandals, which were harder to get on than take off. She stood as he emerged from the chamber, hair neatly combed and his shirt tucked in. He raised an eyebrow when he saw her seat. “Really, Dru. If you wanted to share my bed, you had only to ask. I’d be happy to oblige you.”

Dru shot him an exasperated look. “It’s time we looked more closely at Northern. A factory gives us the right chance.”

“Looked more closely?” Jak paused, eyes narrowed in thought. “You mean you want to find out if there’s evidence of a war or—”

Hush! Dru’s mindvoice was sharp and insistent, with just a hint of Compulsion. You don’t know who might be listening.

“Spies? Here? In the government center?” Jak put a hand on his chest. “You shock me. Ready to go?”

“What?” She tottered on her high heels.

“Council meeting.” He strode past her then glanced back, his eyes sweeping her once from head to toe. “You might want to change clothes. And maybe do something with your hair. You know how Josha feels about casualness in the council chamber. Perhaps you could find something more professional. Something more appropriate to your age and station.”

“What? Exo!” Dru stomped after him, jerking to a halt when he stopped in the doorway leading to the main hallway of the Personal Wing of the government center.

“Have you talked to Isbel lately?”

Dru stared up at him. “Isbel?”

“Your sister,” he reminded her. He gestured through the door and Dru blew out an impatient sigh, preceding him into the hallway. “You remember Isbel, don’t you? She lives on Isla Buena and is a researcher into ancient diseases along with her mentor, Parlo Celmano? That Isbel?”

“She’s my half-sister. Of course I remember Isbel,” Dru snapped. She started down the hall to the left, toward the council chambers, but stopped when she realized he wasn’t following. “Where are you going?”

“Your chambers are that way.” He gestured to the right then began walking slowly in that direction.


He shook his head. “I don’t know why you insist on antagonizing Josha.”

“I don’t insist on antagonizing him.” Dru followed Jak down the hall to her rooms. “He’s old-fashioned.”

“He has scruples.” Jak waited for her next to the white plasteel door leading to her personal apartments. “Don’t confuse that with being stodgy.”

“Being what?”

“Stodgy. It’s a word I recently learned.”

She sniffed in disdain. “From one of those moldy old documents you’ve been reading, I suppose.”

“I suppose.”

“What about Isbel?” Dru ran her hand over the scanner. The door lock whirred then the door swung open.

“I beg your pardon?” Jak smiled at her politely.

“You mentioned Isbel. Why?” Dru moved into the front hallway of her personal apartments, looking back at him over her shoulder.

“Oh, yes. She’s here.”

“Here?” Dru turned slowly to confront him.

“Yes. On Main.” Jak pointed the floor, wiggling one finger up and down. “In Madride. In fact she’s here, at the government center.”

“What?” Dru’s stomach knotted, a typical reaction when she thought of her older half-sister. Her love-hate relationship with Isbel was as exasperating as this feline/rodent game she played with Exo. “Why?”

“They’re applying for a baby license.”

Dru stared at him, mouth agape. “She’s—her and— He’s—she—”

“Yes, Isbel and Cyrus are—”

“That’s impossible. He’s a c-c-clone. He c-c-can’t father children.” Anger made Dru’s words stutter and stammer together.

“Oh, I’m not so sure about that.” Jak walked back the way they’d come. “I’m sure we’ll see their application. I doubt it will be automatically approved; and you know any applications which are questionable always come before the Council.” He glanced at the hall clock. “You’d better hurry.” He strode down the hall toward the council chambers.

“Exo!” Dru glared at his retreating back. “What do you mean, a baby license? Exo!” When he didn’t pause, she considered exerting her not-inconsiderable Compulsive Talent, but she restrained herself just in time. Such a breach of paranormal etiquette would never be allowed.

Dru contented herself with striding into her apartment and slamming the door with a flick of her telekinetic power. It made a satisfying booming sound in the empty hallway. She strode into her bedchamber and peered into her closet. Something appropriate to her “age and station”? Dru crossed her arms. She’d show him.

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