Read an Excerpt
Palin usually didn't linger, but there was something about this vala. He was large and dangerous; there was anger in the dark eyes and something else as well. Need. Palin could almost hear the man calling to him. Palin understood need.
He let the image go, latching on to the bright thread that would lead from Jonas to the subject. The two men had met, were friendly colleagues, the way between their minds was easy, direct, lit in brilliant neon.
Palin slid undetected into the subject's mind and searched for the man's mother. She was well-hidden, but once Palin found her, the information flowed easily. He began to tell Jonas what he saw, only slipping from the subject's mind when he could feel conscious attention begin to turn toward him. After that, he told Jonas as much as he could remember.
Sahib Jonas was practically crowing, hand moving quickly over the page as he scribbled everything down. "Wonderful! Wonderful! And he doesn't know you were there?"
"Wonderful! You shall have a very good bonus for this."
"Act-tually, S-s-sahib, I w-was hoping f-for an exchange th-this t-t-time."
The man's face grew sharp, calculating. "What kind of exchange?"
"Inf-formation f-for inf-formation. T-t-tell m-me about the v-vala y-y-you showed m-me."
Jonas relaxed, smiled. "In exchange for all you've told me today?"
Palin nodded and Jonas' smile grew wide.
"It's a deal. Don't ever go into business, boy, you'd be lousy at it.
"He's a vala at the flesh emporium on Broadway. A man named Favila owns the place and the man. The vala's a beast. Fights until you drop him with electric shock, but then he's a great fuck. It's a good workout, ifa little dangerous.
"I heard someone dropped the controller once and the vala broke his arm and shoulder before he was subdued by the club guards."
Jonas laughed. "Yes, I daresay he is, though no one's been able to keep him. He'd have you for breakfast, Palin, no offense meant."
Palin only inclined his head. Jonas was too good a client to lose over what could be perceived as an insult. His private life was none of this man's business anyway.
Jonas thanked him for the information, made an appointment for the following week, and left. As Palin watched the man go, he wondered suddenly if Jonas was behind the attempts to get into his own mind. He guarded well, any invasion setting off an alarm and he'd been able to fight off the attacks. It would be like Jonas though, to want information on him as well.
It made him shiver, to think there might be something written about him in that little book in Jonas' black-inked scribble.