A “Break” excerpt

“You aren’t protected,” he mused. “Damia gave you no defense at all. And you aren’t a true immortal. You’d be simple to kill.”
“If you were here to slay me, you’d have done so without discussing the weather first,” she retorted. Her voice quaked; she wasn’t too sure of her bluff. She knew very little of Azzie; perhaps he did chat about weather before torturing his victims. “What do you want, anyway? How did you find us?”
“I knew there would be trouble. That’s why I sent Frank back into the streets.” He released her with a violent shove. “Your brother isn’t quite as gifted at mental tracking as I am.”
“My brother,” Moon echoed. “What have you…” Her amethyst sparked to life again; pale blue energy danced from her gloved fingertips.
He called his own power, a blood-red flash of light that simply absorbed hers.
She stared at her hands in disbelief. Her own magic hadn’t failed. It had worked perfectly. He had just dispelled it so easily…
He grabbed both her wrists into one of his hands. With a vicious twist, he forced her to her knees. She yelped in pain.
“Stop it. Stop hurting me. If you came to kill me, then do it. I can’t stop you.”
“I’m feeling generous tonight,” Azzie said. He gave another squeeze; her bones were close to breaking under his brutal grip. “I should kill you. It would ideally solve everything. I kill you, here and now, Sun flies us to the Claw, we take the wand, and leave. What I came here to learn, however, is what you told Frank about Zhialliandior.”
Moon blinked stupidly. Impossible to follow his train of thought. What on earth did that have to do with anything?
“Nothing,” she lied. The pain was nearly unbearable; she ground her teeth together to hold back a scream. Tears welled in her eyes. She almost wished he would kill her, just to end the suffering.
“Liar. What did you tell him?”
“I couldn’t tell him anything. I wasn’t there.”
He yanked her forward. There was an audible pop as her right shoulder was dislocated. His claws sank into the velvet of her gauntlets; bluish-violet energy and silver ichor seeped from the wounds. She shrieked in renewed agony.
Frank didn’t budge. His soft snores were oddly incongruous with the violence happening mere yards away.
“I dislike repeating myself. Last chance. What did you tell Rhoades?”
“Everything,” she screamed. “I told him everything. The fire, the Elves, the girl…”
Azzie released her. She sank to the ground to cradle her arm. Her tears flowed freely.
“I said it was rumored that a Dharkyn went insane. I never mentioned your name.”
“Of course. You aren’t supposed to know it. You might have given yourself away. If you’d called me anything it would have been the Black Lord.”
“I told him the forest was destroyed and the Elves were looking for him. I said he was suspect, being an Offworlder. I told him about the murder, too, that he was a suspect in that death as well. I implied he would be executed.”
“That last might be true,” Azzie conceded. “The Elite stir the rabble to argue for Frank’s execution, probably to lure Sun and I into the open. That is none of your affair, however.” He moved behind her again and leaned down to brush his lips obscenely against her ear. “Heed me. Meet with Frank once more, before we reach the Claw.”
“What? Why?” She restrained a shiver. His gossamer hair tickled her back, and his breath was teasingly hot against her neck. The stink of sulfur clung to him, so faint but distinct.
There was a sensual quality to him, with his delicately handsome Dharkyn features, his massive physical body, and the raw power that he reeked of.
His magnetism frightened her almost as badly as his threats.
Azzie whispered instructions to Moon, then straightened. He seemed unaware of the unsettling effect his proximity had on her.
She shook her head, partly to clear her thinking, and partly in confusion. His orders were clear, quite blunt, yet she was no closer to knowing his true design. Hadn’t he just admitted it would be easiest to kill her now and take the wand uncontested? Why keep up the charade?
Because he has his own agenda, and killing me here doesn’t serve it.
“If I refuse?” she said finally. “Brute tactics won’t hold me after I’m beyond your reach.”
He laughed softly, a sound terrifying and thrilling at the same time. “You won’t refuse. And you are never beyond my reach. Remember that.”

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