Welcome to the final day of our 10th anniversary blog tour for Nalini Singh’s bestselling Psy-Changeling series – we hope you’ve all been enjoying it as much as we have (don’t forget to follow along with the hashtag #SlavetoSensation). Today we’re celebrating the publication of book 15 in the series, ALLEGIANCE OF HONOUR, and Nalini has given us an exclusive excerpt to share with you.
(In this scene, Kaleb and Ivy Jane are speaking on the psychic level, while being physically distant.)
Then had come the empaths. Kaleb had seen those empathic sparks of color, begun to comprehend the mental strength it must’ve taken for an E not to break despite being in a psychic stranglehold for decades. He knew what it was to be leashed, to have that leash pulled until he couldn’t breathe.
Those who underestimated the Es would one day get a very nasty surprise.
“I thought you might’ve become sick of politics by now,” he said to Ivy. “I can offer a pay package that’ll take you immediately into the top percentile of earners in the world, and you’d be working in a far less stressful environment.”
“You’re very good,” she said with open amusement, “but I’ve settled into my position in the Collective.”
Despite his offer, Kaleb had thought as much; Ivy Jane Zen had started out unsure if she could lead, but these days, she was a force to be reckoned with. “The offer is open to any high-Gradient E who wants a more regular nine-to-five job.”
While the Honeycomb needed every E in the Net, it had become clear that not all Es could bear the pressure. Those Es remained useful in other capacities, including in specialized medical professions and to corporates who wanted an edge on their competitors during negotiations. Empathic ethics might not allow for active scans without the permission of the individual being scanned, but as changelings picked up scents without trying, Es picked up the emotional undercurrents in any given situation.
Even in “passive” mode, they tilted the scales to their employer’s advantage.
Ivy was quiet for a long time as she focused on the problematic section of the Net, but when she spoke, her answer was unexpected. “I’ll keep that in mind. I wouldn’t recommend jobs at most of the corporates to my people, but you . . . yes.” As if guessing his surprise, she said, “Because of Sahara. She’d never let you mistreat an E.”
Again, Kaleb wasn’t certain he liked being in any way predictable. Sahara, he telepathed to the woman who had held his heart in her hands from the day they met, please refrain from making me appear “nice” or trustworthy. Especially to those of Designation E.
Sahara’s laughter was light in the darkness, a brightness that encompassed the most twisted corners of his soul. No chance of that. Underneath the glittering night sky on the outskirts of Moscow, she came out of the house to wrap her arms around him from behind. The Es know exactly how dangerous you are—but they also know you and your abilities are on their side.
I’m only on one side. He closed one of his hands over hers. Yours.
Look after my friends, won’t you, Kaleb?
Stop making so many.
I love you, too.
Allegiance of Honour is out now in hardback and ebook.