We are only THREE days away from the release of Thea Harrison’s latest Elder Races novel, Night’s Honor (book 7)!
If you haven’t yet pre-ordered your copy, you can do so now by clicking here:
As promised, here is one more excerpt to get you through this last weekend before release day:
“I will never bite you without your permission.” His voice was soft, even courteous. “I will never take anything from you that you do not want to give, but make no mistake—there are some Vampyres who would.”
Dread had become a familiar acquaintance of hers by now. It pulsed again, sullen like an aching bruise. “I understand.”
His gaze turned hard and piercing. “It’s important you do, because if you choose to leave, some might approach you and offer a liaison merely because you have resided within these walls for a time. I would advise against doing that. Anyone who would choose to offer for you would not have your best interests at heart.”
She swallowed. “I see.”
“One more thing. If you are not able to give a direct blood offering, freely and willingly, by the end of the trial year, our liaison will be over.”
She clenched her jaw, but she couldn’t keep quiet. “Forgive me, but isn’t that a contradiction? First you said you wouldn’t take anything I didn’t want to give, but now you just said otherwise.”
He lifted one eyebrow, and when he spoke, his voice had chilled. “There is no contradiction. Everything you do here will be by your choice, and you are always free to go. I will not coerce you into doing something you do not want to do, but there are also requirements of this job that you must fulfill if you want to stay on permanently. You don’t get a free pass, and you don’t get to change my rules just because you might not like them. I will give you ample opportunity to come to terms with the blood offering, during which time, I expect you to get over it and move on. Does that clarify things for you?”
Folding her lips tight, she forced herself to breathe evenly until her unruly temper had subsided enough for her to answer. “Your job, your rules. Got it.”
“Good. Now there is one more thing you will do for me before we’re done for the night. Come with me.” He rose to his feet.
Curious, she stood to follow him, but he only led her to the large desk across the room.
Standing to one side, he gestured to the chair. “Please sit.”
Complying, she glanced at the large dark screen of the desktop in front of her. It was easily a ten thousand dollar machine. A discreet, thoroughly modern keyboard tray had been added to the antique desk. “What now?”
“Now you will prove to me that you can really do what you claim you can do.” While he talked, he pulled an iPhone out of his pocket and moved his thumb rapidly over the screen. “The Nightkind demesne website is Evenfall dot gov. You said you can break through a firewall, so go break through it.”
She had lost count of how many times her adrenaline had surged over the last twenty-four hours. Gripping the edge of the desk, she said, “No, wait. I didn’t say that.”
“I asked if you could break through a firewall.” His hard gaze bored into her. “You said you were good at it.”
She shook her head. “That was your choice of words, not mine! I just agreed because at the time I didn’t want to get into a big discussion about it.”
He cocked his head, and his expression carried a cool challenge. “Are you saying that you lied in the interview?”
“No!” Frustration made her voice go shrill. “Look, you have to understand what you’re asking and what can actually be done. There’s no such thing as breaking through a firewall, because there is no wall.”
“Explain.” He crossed his arms.
Running her hands through her hair, she tried to come up with the right words to adequately describe a complicated technical concept quickly. “You don’t break through a firewall like you would smash a window to get inside a house. A firewall is a complicated list of configured rules that either lets things pass through or blocks them. One way you can breach a system is if you discover something has been misconfigured. Do you understand?”
“I understand perfectly. You’ve got ten minutes.” He held the phone up to his ear. “She’s starting now.”
Son of a bitch. He meant it.
Son of a bitch.
Galvanized into action, she yanked out the keyboard tray and toggled the screen on, as she muttered under her breath, “Ten minutes? Excuse me, but you’re fucking nuts. It takes time to look for this kind of thing.”
“Nine minutes now.” He didn’t sound in the least perturbed by her agitation or her swearing.
Her mind raced through various possibilities. She had one potential rabbit in her hat that she might be able to use on such ridiculously short notice—she would bet everything in her inaccessible bank accounts that he was on the inside of the Evenfall security network. That would mean the network firewall would be configured to recognize his IP address and his email program.
Maybe she could get lucky. The quickest way to bypass firewall security was from the inside, through a client-side attack. If she could hack his email, she could send a rough, simple malware program to exploit the breach. He said he wanted her to “break through” the firewall. He didn’t say how, or what she should do when she did, or that it had to be an elegant job.
“Shut up,” she hissed. Her fingers flew across the keyboard.
She hadn’t hacked in a while. It felt good, running hot against the clock. It felt crazy, and she wanted to laugh like a lunatic, except she had already sworn at one of the scariest men she had ever met, and she thought she should keep her mouth shut for a few minutes.
He said, “Time.”
She sat back. “You’ve got mail.”
Sleek as a panther, he moved up behind her. She was intensely aware of his closeness as he leaned over to look at the screen. As he did so, the cell phone he held in one hand buzzed. He thumbed it on. “Yes, Gavin?”
On the other end, she could clearly hear a strange male voice demanding, “Did you leave your email program running while you set her to hack into the network?”
“Of course I didn’t,” said Xavier. “I locked it down.”
“Well, I want to fucking know how she fucking sent a blast email to fucking everybody from your email address.”
She pulled back so Xavier could take control of the desktop, open his email account and click on his new mail.
In big red letters, the body of the email said:
Enjoy your weekend, and we’ll see you all on release day: Tuesday, September 2nd.
Don’t forget to join Thea on her Facebook author page from 6-7pm (Mountain Daylight Time) on release day to celebrate and chat with her! We’ll be giving away 3 signed copies of Night’s Honor as well as a spa bag during the live chat.
Janine (Assistant to Thea Harrison)