Michelle Jefferies is a writer who believes that the way to examine our souls is to explore the deep and dark as well as the shallow. To manipulate words in a way that makes a person think and maybe even second guess. Her worlds include suspense, urban fantasy, and an occasional twist of steampunk. When she is not writing, she can be found on the yoga mat, hand binding journals, dyeing cloth, and serving ginger tea. The author and creator divides her time between stories, projects, and mothering four of her seven children on the wild and windy plains of Wyoming.

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Living an unassuming life as a teacher for the Academy, the former assassin, Antony Danic, turned Speaker for the Devoted, would love to let the past stay there. However, as hard as he tries, his new identity, Noble Standing, can’t escape who Antony was. The widower, turned self-avowed bachelor doesn’t mean to fall for the red-headed sword instructor, Lyris Jaimes. Noble insists he’s better off single, but he is drawn to her in spite of his memories of Elite. Noble finds that courting her, however, isn’t easy. His interest in Lyris sets into motion a rivalry between him and a dangerous sociopath who wants her for himself. 

Regardless of the vow he made to never shed human blood again, Noble must reconcile his past with his present, and use his assassin skills and knowledge to keep himself and those he loves alive.

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“Who are you talking to?” Lyris asked as she walked in the kitchen. Noble looked up at her, his mouth open, his hand resting on the empty cupboard. The cat immediately started to preen. Noble thought it was so obvious when the sei haku changed what he had been doing in favor of looking more like a regular cat.

“Lyris, I. . .” He remembered his promise, to be honest with her from that day on. “I was talking to Quelix here.” The cat shot him a look, and he raised an eyebrow back.

“Quelix?” She looked at the empty table.

“The cat’s name is Quelix. He is actually a sei haku. A Spirit Guide given to me to help me as I work toward Head Elder.” He knew how ridiculous he sounded. Especially if the cat was still invisible? How would you believe it, without seeing it in person? “Say hello, Quelix,” Noble said.

The cat preened. Silent.

“Noble?” Lyris said. She looked a bit wary of him. Noble looked at her, then down at the cat. Seconds passed and the silent kitchen seemed to exacerbate the lack of noise. After a few seconds of chasing the cat’s tail with his foot, he caught it and pressed down on it. The cat reared up on its hind legs.

“What was that for!” the cat said and then stopped mid-swat. Lyris’ mouth gaped open. The cat sat back down and turned his green eyes to Lyris.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” he said to Lyris. Lyris looked from Noble to the cat. “I apologize for Noble’s lack of manners; a cat’s tail is extremely sensitive.” Noble turned away, a smirk on his face.

“There’s a cat in my apartment,” Lyris said. “Noble—”

“Technically it’s a sei haku, not a real cat,” Noble said. “He has this bad habit of being invisible, disappearing, and appearing at will.”

“It’s part of my calling,” Quelix said back to Noble. 

“And it talks,” she said.

“Sei hakus talk. Cats don’t,” Quelix said.

“I’m going to be here a lot more now. Lyris and her daughters should know about you.”

“You are the only one the sei haku council approved that could hear me. I will need to go to them and explain the situation. And I was doing such a good job too.”

“He’s an arrogant thing, don’t you think?” Noble asked.

“I am most certainly not!” Quelix said.

Lyris knelt down and scratched him behind the ear. He closed his eyes and began to purr. “However, I definitely enjoy a good scratching.” Lyris looked at Noble and he shrugged. Lyris laughed.

“Welcome to my crazy life,” Noble said.

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