TITLE: Bad Company
GENRE: YA Steampunk
Spying for President Grover Cleveland in San Francisco is seventeen-year-old Jesse James’s top priority until an alluring sleuth named Scarlett foils his mission and swindles his heart.
“Don’t move.” I lifted the brass bow to my bare chest and shoulder, my focus trained on the apple balanced on Henri’s head.
With shirt sleeves rolled up and scrawny arms poking out, Henri trembled like a winter bare tree in a gale wind. He pressed his back against the stable wall and swallowed.
“You sure Katya fixed the power increments, non?” he asked, his dark hair falling in his eyes.
“I’m sure.” I took a deep breath and drew the string of flexible, coil-like electrum taught.
“Jesse. Arrete!” Henri bobbed and the apple disappeared into a pile of straw. Annoyed, I eased the string to resting position.
“The kinks have been ironed out,” I said.
The sixteen-year-old Parisian snatched up the fallen apple but glanced at the practice bull’s-eye with its scorched edges and large holes everywhere but the center mark. “Why am I target practice? Shouldn’t le petite Russe be holding the apple?”
I tilted my head past the curve of the bow, following the sight-line my knuckles created. “She’s researching a lead.”
“What about your shoulder?”
With the electrum string pulled back, the Akasha in the quiver thrummed against my bare spine. My fingers released the string just as my mother called from the stable door.
“Jesse James Whitedove!”
The Akasha arrow - a shot of pure energy - went wild, hitting somewhere in the loft. Henri crumpled to his knees, crossing himself and calling on saints I’d never heard of.