Hey there! Not all of you that frequent here know me as over the past few years I seldom come out of the RPG section or out of the lurking in the shadows portion of the site. However, this has all been for reasons. I've been working hard on writing, and while I'm no where near professional. I have self published my first novel and will be self publishing my second sometime in the near future. (early 2011). I'm currently working on my third and at the same time trying to drum up some interest in the series I've been working on.

The series is called Secret Service Wars, and the first book of the series is called of Secrets and Shadows. A few people who frequent the sites have picked up copies and enjoyed reading the book, I'm hoping that maybe there are few more of you out there that might be interested in taking a look at the book. In doing so I've gotten permission from Fabala and Acey to post a link to the book along with the Prologue which I'm posting below and probably a few chapters from the book in the next few days.

Please keep the following in mind. The book does NOT make me a lot of profits I make about fifty cents of each sale. I'm not in this too make a huge profit, just in it to enjoy sharing the story. The book is completely done by me and my friends. I wrote it, friends edited and my boyfriend is the one who designed the cover.

That means there will be grammatical errors, we did our bests to eliminate them but also I'm Canadian, this book is written with Canadian english... it is different, slightly so, but it is different.

Thanks, I am hoping for some comments, and keep them constructive please! Mind you, suggesting I change how it's written is kinda a waste... It's written and published, prolly not going to change it. Though I take suggestions for future novels!


Moscow, January 1, 2004
00:30 hours

“Why are you doing this?” A feminine voice asked quietly from the depths of a darkened passenger seat.

“Do I need a reason?” Nicholas Kremlin returned evenly, keeping his sharp blue eyes focused on the roads.

“Nicholas…” He felt the small hand of the young woman sitting beside him as she touched his arm and rubbed it in gentle circles.

In that moment he realized how tightly he had been gripping the steering wheel, and relaxed his hands as he casually glanced at the woman sitting in the passenger side of his coupe. She was a simply stunning woman, with red hair, silver eyes that sparkled in the light, and a look that could stop him in his tracks without a spoken word. With a deep breath he leaned his head back against the headrest and let out a heavy sigh. “I’m doing this because I want to, Firefly.” He smiled faintly at her, “Because you’re innocent, and I know it.”

“Yes, but your Alexia will not see this your way.” The woman frowned back at him causing him to want to pull over; to pull her close to him and tell her it would be okay, but he was not even sure if that were true.

Shaking his head a bit, Nicholas made a few more turns while he tried to think of how best to answer that. It was true Alexia would not see the situation his way. He could lose his job, his career, and even his life if he were caught but it didn’t seem to matter to him. “I will…” He began and sighed, shaking his head. “I will cross that road when I come to it. For now I need to take you to my condo. She will not look for you there.”

“Are you sure Nicholas?” She touched his arm again, drawing his attention to her for a moment. “You have saved me before.”

“I made it up to her. She will not look for you at my place, if anything, I am sure of that.” He did not have the time to think about everything else that had happened; everything that had changed in a matter of moments. One step ahead of the agents prowling the streets Nicholas managed to make it to his condo downtown without any problems. He pulled into the underground garage parking his personal car beside his work car. Shutting off the engine, Nicholas looked to her, “We best head upstairs, and I can take a look at your injury before I head back out to begin … looking for you.”
Covering a snicker, the Firefly nodded her head, “But I think we better take a look at your injuries as well before you leave. I still say you should be at a hospital and not on the roads working.”

“Yes, well you’re not my Empress, nor are you my commander.” He tapped her nose gently before unbuckling his seatbelt and stepping out of the car. His keys in hand, he ran his fingers through his mess of black hair, and stopped when he felt the blood matting it down to his head. Shaking his head he sighed, and waited till she was at his side. The news was still fairly new, and most citizens were not even aware there was an issue. Let alone who might, or might not be responsible for it; so he was not concerned about someone seeing them as he led the way to the elevator and up to the top floor.

The building was close to the Kremlin palace, and was one of the more modern buildings in the downtown core. Recently built, it was styled like twenty bungalow houses all stacked on top of each other. Nicholas had been in the building since it was first built, and had many different neighbors over the years. He lived on the top floor and was able to enjoy the rooftop terrace to himself. More than once he had spent a night sitting out there staring at the lights of the city, or more specifically the lights of palace. As he opened the front door to the condo, he set the keys down on the table, and waited till his companion was inside before closing the door and locking it behind her.

“… Your home is beautiful.” The Firefly commented absently as she glanced around at the modern décor. Hard wood floors, large open windows, high-end electronics, and neutral colors blended beautifully together to create an almost calming if not peaceful atmosphere.

The foyer had opened into the living room, and as she began walking casually around Nicholas smiled faintly. “Thanks… the guys live here with me. It’s too big to live by myself.” He laughed slightly, and rubbed the back of his head. A slight, throbbing pain had begun, and he was sure it was only going to get worse. “They shouldn’t be here for a few hours though. They’re out looking and our shift doesn’t end till morning.”

“They will be angry; even feel betrayed.” The Firefly suggested frankly, observing her rescuer with her arms crossed loosely over her chest.

“They’ll get over it.” He shrugged as he slipped into the bathroom; and searched out the first aid kit he knew his team’s medic kept stashed in there.

“Nicholas…” She frowned and met him at the door to the bathroom. As she gently took the first aid kit from him, she led him out to the kitchen where she sat him down and began looking over his injuries. There was silence for the next little while, as she bandaged each scrape, burn, and gash carefully. When she was finished she gave a bit of a sigh and sat down in the chair beside him. “I wish you would go to the hospital.”

“The Empress wants me out there.”

“Finding me.”

“Yes…” Nicholas laughed at the foolishness of what he was doing. Nicholas was going to go back out, and work until the late morning trying to find the woman he had stashed safely away in his condo. What he really needed to do was see a doctor, get some stitches and plenty of rest. Pulling a few of the clean bandages towards him he shuffled his chair forward, and brushed them gently over the wound she had on the side of her head. “You were close to the stage.”

“Da, but I wasn’t on it like you were.” She didn’t pull away from him; rather she took his hand and held it there against her face. Closing her eyes for a moment she smiled faintly, absorbing the warmth of his hands. “Why are you willing to disobey her to protect me, but not to protect you, or the people?”

“I’m fine Firefly.” He returned stubbornly; pulling his hand away from her. “I will be fine, and the people are not in danger. She will soon be the Empress. I’ll admit she’s a little overzealous and at times, a little harsh on crimes. But she is the Empress and you are a criminal. She has the right to go after you to make you pay for her crimes.”

Huffing, his female companion stood suddenly, her expression icy, and harsh on his countenance. “A little overzealous? Nicholas, you don’t understand the definition, if you think she is only a little overzealous. Criminal I may be, but I will pay for my crimes, when she is brought to justice for hers.” She snapped back at him. “I'll ask you again, why the hell am I here, if you believe it is within her rights to arrest me?”
Standing, Nicholas met her eyes evenly, “She has the right to arrest you, and try you for your crimes. Tonight after the assassination of the Czar, she has no intentions of exercising that right. She is upset, that is her father-in-law, and right now she is blinded by rage. The Empress is accusing you, and will not listen to the reason that you were not responsible. You are here because I won’t see you pay for someone else’s crime. I… I won’t see you put to death. I… can’t.” Within moments his emotions had gone from rage to fear and his eyes were filled with sadness at the simple idea of losing her. Not the fact that he would lose her if his plan did not work. “Just… rest here for now, I’ll be back before my team is, and we can talk more then.”

“Nicholas, do me a favor?”

“What’s that?”

“Look. Look with your eyes open tonight please?”

“…Da.” He turned and walked out the door after that. His head was still spinning, and his chest heaved painfully with each breath, but he was not sure it was the injuries causing the pain in his chest at that moment. Shaking his head, Nicholas made his way down to his cars. This time he took his agency issued car and began hunting for the ‘Pyrofairy’. The very same woman he had left in his condo, protected from the agency wide man hunt orchestrated to find her.

It was as he was driving back to the scene of the crime that her words played in his head again. Over and over he could hear her voice telling him to look with his eyes open. He could see that innocent expression on her face, that almost pleading pout as she watched him leave the condo to work, when he should have been in bed resting. All of it played like a broken record, replaying again in his memory until finally he turned his car, and headed away from the scene and towards the palace. There was something he needed to do.

Moscow January 1, 2004
03:15 hours

It was hours later when Nicholas returned to his condo in the city. Slamming the door and storming right into the kitchen where he opened and shut cupboards with little regard for how much noise they made. He also did not seem overly concerned as some of the cabinet doors swung back at his head rather than staying shut. He shot a hard stare across the room at his liquor cabinet, which remained steadfastly locked in spite of his attention. ‘Livid’ was the only way to describe his frame of mind.

His team had always found it to be something of a joke to hide the key to the liquor cabinet, but at the moment he was not sure he wanted to find the key. Nicholas felt more like breaking the lock, or perhaps the cabinet itself. A good, stiff drink was what he felt he needed. All those years, and all the lies. His rage, white hot and blinding, dug deep. It was only as he heard the soft, sleepy voice of the woman he had left asleep hours before, that he seemed to shake it off.

“Nicholas…” She spoke, stepping carefully into the living room. Perhaps it was the noise as he slammed things around, or the knowledge that Nicholas would be exceptionally unhappy when he returned that brought her into the living room. Yet as she stood there, she had an all too knowing expression on her face. He had seen what she had wanted him to find, only she had wished she could have softened the blow.

“All these years…” He spoke slowly at first, hands clenched into fists on the counter.

“I know.”

“All these years…”

She moved slowly towards him, one hand gently touching his arm, while the other rubbed small circles on his back. Firefly leaned her head lightly against his shoulder. “I know…”

“Why didn’t I see it?”

“Because you like to see the good in everyone.” She responded quietly and his shoulders slumped at her words as he closed his eyes a moment.

“I’m sorry.” Nicholas told her, but it wasn’t clear if he was apologizing for waking her up, or if he was apologizing for never listening to her before. Many times, she had warned him to look, and each time he had told her there was nothing there to be found. Why had it taken the death of his Czar, for him to open his eyes and see the truth?

“I know.” She smiled up at him. “Come… get some rest now.”

“I want a drink.”

“You can have a drink later…please… rest for now.” She held his hand, and led him out of from the kitchen towards the bedroom. Even if it had meant her life, she would not have let go of his hand in those moments, he could see that in her eyes. So he allowed her to lead him to bed, and he allowed her to curl around him under the blankets where she gently sang him to sleep. After a few moments of just watching her, he allowed himself a few moments of precious rest next to the one who loved him.

Moscow January 1, 2004
06:45 hours

It was not the door opening, the light turning on, or even the footsteps into the room that had woken him from the semi-peaceful slumber. Nicholas had woken instead to the noise of someone clearing their throat and like watching a movie forced into slow motion, he woke up. He blinked his eyes awake slowly, cuddled the precious and beautiful woman closer to him and then suddenly shot forward and snapped his head to the side to see a member of his team standing there with his arms crossed over his chest.

“Mikhail!” He practically shouted as he pulled the somewhat startled woman behind him. Though he doubted any member of his team would act without his instructions, it was instinct to protect this woman, to shield her from potential danger even if she could more than likely take care of herself. “…Where have you been?”

“I should be asking you the same.” The accent from this slightly taller man was thicker than Nicholas’s own Russian and held little to no amusement in the tone. He looked tired with his green eyes drooping slightly and his brown hair a mess about his head. “But I imagine the answer would somehow explain the woman in your bed. Alexia is demanding you report in. I suggest you do it before she ends up here looking for you and sees your lovely companion.”

“…” Nicholas looked back to his firefly and kissed her cheek softly. “Stay here….” He whispered to her before standing and leaving the room. Though it would have been mildly amusing to leave her with the stern second staring down at her, he’d taken the time to grab Mikhail’s arm and drag him out of the room with him. “Let her rest.” He instructed before taking the cell phone from the other man and stepping off to check in with his Empress as she demanded he do.

Listening to the ringing, the events of the night before began replaying in his mind. His discovery of the betrayal and deceit was like re-watching a bad movie and being unable to stop it from continuously playing. Yet with everything he had, Nicholas pushed the rage that crept slowly up out of his voice and listened as the woman berated him for going hours without checking in. So far he had not even managed a simple hello and he had been called names and scolded like a small child who had perhaps broken a vase or some priceless heirloom. “Well, hello to you too.” He spoke when he finally had a moment and it was harder than he thought to keep the snarky and defiant child in him at bay. “I’m well, thanks for asking. I’ve been at my condo, trying to recover…from you know, the explosion.”

It was likely more than a small mistake to speak to the Empress in that tone and the lecture that followed it reminded him of his position versus hers but it did not bother Nicholas as much as it likely should have. If it were not for the woman in his bed, he would have hung up on her and vanished but for his firefly’s sake he apologized and confirmed he would be at the palace later today to report his team’s findings and resume the search for the wanted ‘Pyrofairy’.

Closing the cell phone he made his way into the kitchen and sighed as he dropped down onto the stool beside the other members of his team. His intention was merely to drink some orange juice and perhaps eat a piece of toast before making his way back to his companion and sleeping a little longer but as Mikhail came and poured him a glass of orange juice the mere look in his eyes told him that was not going to happen. “So what is the plan?” His second questioned without the slightest emotion in his voice.

“What are you talking about?”

“How are we going to get your criminal lover out of the country?”

“Criminal lover?” Nicholas was not sure how to react, he had stood from the stool quickly enough that the stool had fallen to the ground behind him. His eyes and expression must have shown the blatant panic that he felt racing in his heart because Mikhail’s emotionless expression suddenly became cheerful and amused. “Yes, Nicholas.” He spoke with the smirk plastered on his face. “Your criminal lover.”

“…” Somewhat shocked he just stood there and stared at Mikhail while the other four members of his team just sat and ate their breakfast as if nothing else was happening.
“Nicholas…” Mikhail sighed and shook his head, which must have worked like a child’s Etch-a-Sketch toy because the grin faded away and was replaced with the same emotionless expression that had been there when he was pouring the orange juice. “You seem to think we work for Alexia.”

“…We all do?” Nicholas blinked, baffled by what this man was talking about, they all worked for Alexia, it was part of working for the KGB. Someone did not work for the KGB and not work for Alexia.

“Nyet, we may be members of the KGB Nicholas, but she is not our boss… Your father is.”

“…oh.” He was not sure how to take that, he had run away from his father to join the KGB and now he was finding out his father had kept tabs on him all along. Strangely enough it was not that surprising, it was just like something his father would do, he was more upset at the fact he had failed to notice it.

“So how do we get her out of the country?”

Silent for a few moments as he thought about that, he realized he had not much thought about anything he had done so far. Impulse had driven him to go to her, panic had made him steal her away to his condo and now as he calmed down he realized he was without a plan and she was currently snuggled up in his bed. “Alexia’s rights to Marshall Law will only last for so long.” He spoke slowly. Nicholas picked up the stool and took his seat at the counter once more. “The people will overthrow her if she attempts to abuse it too much or doesn’t turn up results. Considering we know where the target is and Alexia isn’t about to look here for her… we should be able to keep her safe until travel is opened back up in the city. She is a master in disguise as much as we are, getting her fake Ids and tickets out of here is not going to be much of an issue if one at all. Really what we need is just some patience and for me to idly entertain Alexia for the time being.”

“And after she’s out of here… what then?”

“…We shall discuss that after.” He sighed. “There is much to tell.”

“I imagine there is.” Mikhail nodded his head.

Moscow January 15, 2004
07:00 hours

He had spent so many nights with her he was not sure he wanted to let go of her, but Nicholas knew better. She was not a pet and he could not lock her up in his condo and keep her there like one. It would kill her spirit, the same as it would have killed his. Standing with her hand clasped within his, amongst crowds of people in the airport lobby, he frowned and released a soft sigh as he brought her towards the ticket counter.

“This was bound to happen.” The once red headed girl spoke up meekly. She had dyed her hair a dark brown color and cut it short, despite Nicholas’s consistent protests that she leave it long, and was wearing a pair of hazel colored contacts. Though the purpose had been to blend her into the crowds at the airport more, Nicholas found it to be a moot purpose, he felt she stood out in any crowd… at least to him she did.

Brushing some of his hair back with his free hand he smiled faintly and gave a light shrug of his shoulders before picking up her bag and walking with her up to the counter. He set down her ticket to New York City and a ticket of his own that he would not be using but would get him past the gate and he could at least watch her take off from the lounge.

“Passport.” The woman demanded without much more than a sneering look up at the woman who smile cheerfully back and set the falsified documents down on the counter before her. She was not concerned about the rather grumpy woman seeing through the disguise and false papers, she had done this many times before.

Nicholas had left her side only for a moment so he too could check in to the flight he had booked and then made his way with his carryon luggage to the security checkpoint with his companion. Weapons would not be taken on the planes, of course, but most had far more creative ways to obtain their weapons after the security checkpoint if they were necessary. “Not still carrying are you Firefly?” Nicholas asked anyway.

“Would I do that?” She smiled almost ferociously up at him as her eyes shimmered.

“Of course not.” He grinned in return and placed both their bags down onto the scanner and waited as she walked through the screening point without so much as the slightest hiccup. As he walked through she had already picked up their bags and cheerfully waved at the stone faced security officers before trotting off with Nicholas in tow.

Having walked quietly almost the entire way to her gate Nicholas finally let the curiosity get the better of him, “Ceramic?” He questioned her as if she had known exactly what he was talking about.

“It’s good for at least one shot.” She returned casually as she noticed her plane was almost already boarded and ready for take off. “Here.” She spoke suddenly turning to him and handing him a small package tied with a red ribbon. When she had even obtained the package Nicholas was not quite sure but as he took it from her she must have noticed the most bizarre look on his face and even the sideways glances that he had made to see if maybe he would catch sight of one of her associates. “You may need it.” She told him.

He did not need to look at the package to have an idea of what might be in there, but he smiled warmly to the woman and touched the side of her face as they heard the attendant make a final boarding call for her flight. “You know you can’t come back.”

“I know.” She smiled and placed her hand over his, her accent was beautiful the way it rolled off her tongue, her eyes soft when they looked back up at him. “Take care, Nicholas.”

“You too, Firefly.” He kissed her softly before hesitantly letting go and watched as she walked away and boarded her plane. He should have left then, his disguise did not have dyed hair just colored contacts and baggy clothing, he should not have stayed around but he could not just walk away. Instead he walked forward to the window, he watched as the plane taxied for the runway, watched as it lined up and then watched in horror as it burst into flames. Debris had flown everywhere, he had barely had time to shield his eyes from the sudden burst of blinding light but he almost did not want to shield his eyes, it was horrifying. He felt his heart leap up into his throat and his body move as if it were in slow motion. His badge was out faster than the hare in a race and he flashed it at the guards as he ran for the runway. “Don’t let her be dead… don’t let her…” Yet he knew, he knew as he reached the scene, that no one could have survived that. “Firefly…”

To read the whole book visit http://stores.lulu.com/sheyna And check it out in Soft Cover, Hard Cover or Digital Download! (I have permission to post the link =P)