Title: SILVERED GLASS
Genre: YA SF
An intelligent race of cat-like predators nearly exterminates Piper’s kin. A skilled hunter herself, Piper and her partner Damien return the favor by taking them out, one-by-one. The partners have come home after a nearly disastrous hunt.
Piper tapped a fingernail on the panthera’s claw. It vibrated like crystal.
The light dimmed as Damien blocked the doorway. She adjusted her face into a smile. “How’s the ribs?”
“The Divine wrapped me up.” He lifted the corner of his loose tunic to expose a swath of bandages around his chest. “He said I almost cracked a rib, but I’m just bruised. Listen, there’s something else.”
“Let me guess. He chained Livy to her books after the stunt she pulled today?”
“No, he hasn’t found out yet.”
She struggled up to her elbows. “Lay it on me.”
“My brother’s disappeared. Your mother brought the news.”
She squinted at him. “You don’t look all fired upset about it.”
“I’m not.” He came in, took her chair and sat in it backwards, crushing the new yellow outfit. Piper didn’t object. “He told my parents he was leaving.”
“Which one is it?”
Damien ran his tongue over his front teeth. “Jabez.”
“He’s my next older brother. I’m to take his place.”
She should congratulate him. Damien wanted the responsibility of his clan’s defense, traditionally the second in line’s job. But he would go home, and she’d have to break in a new partner. “You won’t be able to hunt anymore. Just teach.”
“It’s better this way. My aunt trained me, and she’s never seen a panthera. Seconds should get experience on shield duty.”
Piper flopped back down.
Damien stretched out his fingers and considered them. “I’m not sure what you’re going to think. I know I should wait for your mother to tell you, but…”
She sat up. “What?”
“You and me. We’re betrothed.”