Jun 7, 2017

QK Agent Round - Bounty and the Beast

Title: Dangerous Beasts
Entry Nickname: Bounty and the Beast
Word Count: 85K
Genre: Adult Fantasy Romance


Query:

Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep shit. An empty pocketbook pushes her to sell her mythological beasts on the black market—an offense punishable by death—and the Charmers Council has just the assassin for the job. With the realm’s most talented murderer for hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes him an offer he can’t refuse—a promise to procure a handful of magical creatures in exchange for her life.

For assassin Noc, murder comes easy and pays well. So when Leena’s life falls into his capable hands, he doesn’t hesitate to accept the bounty. But only fools pass up the chance to own a rare and powerful magical beast—let alone one for each of his closest friends. Agreeing to her terms, Noc quietly keeps the hit live on Leena’s head until the creatures are his. Two paychecks, one job, no sleep lost.

Embarking on a hunt across the countryside of Lendria, Leena, Noc and his trusted band of assassins follow the trails. But traps capture more than beasts, and ensnared hearts are hard to untangle. Bound by the magic of the assassin’s oath, Noc can’t renege the price on Leena’s head—unless he wants to sacrifice his own. Yet, neither he nor Leena can tame their growing feelings, and the ever-watchful eye of the Council calls for blood. But with Noc’s hands and heart tied, no manner of beasts or money can protect Leena’s hide.

First 250:

By the time evening fell, three things were certain: the gelatinous chunks of lamb were absolute shit, my beady-eyed client was hankering for more than the beasts in my pocket, and I was being watched.

Two out of the three were normal for my after-hours dealings.

Sliding my meat to the side, I propped my elbows against the heavy wood-plank table. My client lasted two seconds before his black gaze roved to the book-shaped locket dangling in my cleavage. Wedging his thick fingers between his shirt collar and neck, he tugged gently on the fabric.

“You have what I came for?” Nasally and high-pitched, his voice grated along my skin. A businessman. A rare visitor in the black market bar of Midnight Jester. My pocket hummed with the possibility of money, and I fingered the copper key hidden in my jeans. Sinking further into the booth crammed against the shiplap wall, the cracking black cushions let out a soft oof.

“Maybe.” I nudged the metal dinner plate farther away, and the gray meat jiggled. “How did you find me?”

Dez, the bartender, sourced most of my clients, but a businessman? Neckties and Midnight Jester didn’t mingle. Shady with a side of grime, the regulars were as dirty as the floors. The unseen pair of eyes lingering in a dark recess of the bar burrowed further into the back of my head. Earlier, faint movement from the shadows had flickered into my awareness. Movement that should have gone unnoticed, but I’d learned to be prepared for such things.

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