The bag scraped against Tasha's chin as it came off, and she took a deep breath of crisp, night air before turning around to look at her abductor. Chin tilted oddly downwards, mouth covered by a bushy beard, his eyes were his main feature, and the glint in them made her shiver. Or maybe it was the rifle that scared her – an ancient-looking wooden killer with its business end aimed at her head. With at least ten seconds before Nathan could show up, Tasha needed a distraction. "What kind of gun is that?"
"Dragoon," came the grunted response. His eyes narrowed, and Tasha's forefinger curled in what she very much hoped wasn't empathy. A small tinkle came from the window, and the man's head snapped forward as Tasha threw herself to the floor, missing the Dragoon's bullet. Good old Nathan, six seconds ahead of schedule.
Her partner came bounding in the front door, rope cutters at the ready. "Get caught again, did you, Tas?"
"Shut up," she retorted as he freed her. "That's what you're here for."
Standing, she moved over to the bookshelf, and pawed through an eccentric collection of Strauss waltzes, models of the USS Enterprise A through J, and multi-colored retainer cases. Finally locating the first edition copy of Cabal, in paperback, Tasha shivered again. The scary-looking man on the front looked almost exactly like the dead man. No wonder he'd been reluctant to sell this, if he idolized it so.
Cover art---no one is every really pleased with it, are they?