Release Date: 03/2009
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher Link: http://www.loose-id.com/prod-Sursein_Judgment-927.aspx
Blurb: The innocent have nothing to fear from Surseine… Rynn made a mistake in taking the drug hextasy with his fiancé. It was supposed to be the ultimate sexual high, except that you have to sleep with the one you desire most. If you don’t, your body won’t be satisfied and you’ll die. Rynn lived, Lynnette didn’t, and now her parents want someone to pay. But either luck or Surseine, the god of justice Himself, takes pity on Rynn by putting his trial in front of one of His judges. Sursei are graced by the god they represent with the power to see truth and Sursei Shasertai finds Rynn innocent of murder. But the drug is still out there and Shasertai and the people who travel with him are determined to root out the drug lord responsible for its existence. Shas invites Rynn to join them. He goes willingly, fascinated by the judge who gave him a second chance at life. Shas is drawn to the naive farm boy at every point in their journey but he’s promised Rynn not to force him into anything. It is his soothing innocence that draws Shas to him, but the delectable judge makes Rynn feel things that aren’t so innocent.
The man’s eyes narrowed, and then he shook his head and backed down. “You’re a cheat, Shas.”
The judge tossed his head with a laugh. Instantly, the tension in the room dissipated. “Again, I assure you, that is quite impossible.”
The bodyguard led the other man toward an open doorway at the far end of the room, and finally the judge turned to face Rynn and the sheriff.
Purple eyes. That one detail jumped out at Rynn as the judge stepped toward them. It wasn’t the eerie total color with no whites or pupils that he’d seen earlier in court. The judge’s eyes were now quite normal-looking except for the vivid amethyst that Rynn had never seen on anyone else. They were like perfectly round gemstones set in red-veined white marble. The strange color, though, seemed to go with the judge’s light complexion. Did all sursei have purple eyes, or was this one special?
Pistol holstered, Sheriff Trent snatched off his hat and exchanged greetings and a handshake with the judge. Trent had met with him earlier about Rynn, but he was clearly not very comfortable in the judge’s presence. Then the judge turned to extend his hand to Rynn. A thick gold ring glittered on his middle finger, matching two thinner bands on his thumb and little finger. A full head shorter than Rynn, he had to tilt his head up to get a good look at Rynn’s face. “We’ve not been formally introduced. I’m Shasertai Kogin.”
“Yes, you are.” The judge folded his free hand over their entwined hands. “Forgive me. I know, technically speaking, I’ve seen you, but my experiences while in Surseine’s trance are nothing compared to when out of it. I see many things clearly, but others” — he shook his head as his gaze raked down, then back up, Rynn’s chest — “I miss entirely.”
Rynn almost felt that gaze, and it made him want to scratch again. “It’s an honor to meet you, sursei.”
The judge returned to studying his face and didn’t let go of his hand. Then a small smile curled up the corners of his full-lipped mouth. “Truth preserve me, you are a fine-looking man, aren’t you?”
Appearing beside him, the woman slapped the judge’s arm. “Shas!”
Rynn’s eyes went wide when the judge raised the hand not linked with Rynn’s to draw his fingers down the beard on the taller man’s jaw. “Such rugged, handsome features.”
Surprisingly strong fingers gripped the tip of Rynn’s chin, nudging his face sideways to reveal his profile. “Sheriff, is there a secret about the farms out here that I should know about?”
The woman grabbed Shasertai’s wrist and tugged his hand away. “Stop that.”
He gave her a wide-eyed look, full of false innocence. “You don’t think so?” He faced Rynn again and winked. “She thinks you’re good-looking too.”
She threw her hands in the air, rustling her skirts. “Honestly.”