Laura Anne Gilman - Retreivers 05 - Free Fall

By Connie Lawrence,2014-10-31 11:02
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Laura Anne Gilman - Retreivers 05 - Free Fall



Free Fall

Laura Anne Gilman



    Praise for the Retrievers novels of

    laura anne gilman

     Staying Dead

    “An entertaining, fast-paced thriller set in a world where cell phones and computers existuneasily with magic, and a couple of engaging and highly talented rogues solve crimes whiletrying not to commit too many of their own.”


    “Gilman delivers an exciting, fast-paced, unpredictable story that never lets up until thevery end…I highly recommend this book to fans of urban fantasy, especially [the works of] JimButcher, Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, or Laurell K. Hamilton. This is an extremely strongstart, and I hope Gilman keeps it up.”

    —SF Site

    “What’s a girl to do now that Buffy’s been canceled? Read Laura Anne Gilman, of course!…IfNick and Nora Charles were investigating X-Files, the result would be Staying Dead. These‘Retrievers’ are golden.”

    —Rosemary Edghill, author of Met by Moonlight

     Curse the Dark

    “Gilman has managed the nearly impossible here: a cleverly written and well-balanced fantasywith a strong romantic element that doesn’t overpower the main plot.”

    —Romantic Times BOOKreviews [4 1/2 stars]

    “Fans of Tanya Huff will cherish Curse the Dark, a fabulous romantic fantasy that showcaseshow talented Laura Anne Gilman is.”

    —Affaire de Coeur

    “With an atmosphere reminiscent of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Umberto Eco’s The Nameof the Rose by way of Sam Spade, Gilman’s second Wren Valere adventure (after Staying Dead)features fast-paced action, wisecracking dialogue, and a pair of strong, appealing heroes.”

    —Library Journal

     Bring It On

    “Fans of Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong and Kim Harrison will find Bring It On a veryspecial treat. The author is an expert worldbuilder and creates characters that are easy tocare about.”

    —Affaire de Coeur [5 stars]

    “Gilman has outdone herself…. The revelations are moving, the action is fantastic, and theending is something that makes you wonder what will happen next.”

    —In the Library Reviews

    “Ripping good urban fantasy, fast-paced and filled with an exciting blend of mystery andmagic…Gilman continues to explore a world where magic runs like electricity…where demons andother non-human breeds walk the streets in plain sight…this is a paranormal romance for thosewho normally avoid romance, and the entire series is worth checking out.”

    —SF Site

     Burning Bridges

    “This fourth book in Gilman’s engaging series delivers…Wren and Sergei’s relationship, asusual, is wonderfully written. As their relationship moves in an unexpected direction, it makesperfect sense—and leaves the reader on the edge of her seat for the next book.”

    —Romantic Times BOOKreviews [4 stars]

    “Wren’s can-do magic is highly appealing.”

—Publishers Weekly

    “I’ve been saying it all along, and I’ll say it again, this is an excellent series, wellworth picking up, and I haven’t been let down yet.”

    —Green Man Review

    “Valere is a tough, resourceful heroine, a would-be loner who cares too much to truly walkalone. A strong addition to urban fantasy collections.”

    —Library Journal

laura anne gilman

free fall


    When I wrote the first book of the Retrievers series, Staying Dead, I was in love with thecharacters, the world, the magic system and pretty much everything about it. What I didn’tknow was how everyone else would react. After all, I was coming in as a fantasy/horror writer,and LUNA was all about romantic fantasy. I wasn’t writing anything romantic, was I?

    Wren and Sergei—and yes, P.B.—taught me differently. Because romance isn’t just about sexuallove. It’s about the emotional attachments that form between people—no matter their gender,their background or, in fact, their species. Over the past four books we have seen thatattachment grow, be tested and evolve into something quite, well…magical.

    And it was in writing Free Fall that I realized how very magical love can be. Because when theweight of the past few years finally takes its toll on Wren, it’s not spells or weapons or herfamed Talent that might save her. It’s love.

    Oh dear. I’m a romantic after all.

    I won’t tell anyone if you won’t.

Laura Anne Gilman May 2008

    For ChristineH. Because every Calvin needs her Hobbes…

“…And if we ever leave a legacyIt’s that we loved each other well.”

—“Power of Two”Indigo Girls


     Chapter One

     Chapter Two

     Chapter Three

     Chapter Four

     Chapter Five

     Chapter Six

     Chapter Seven

     Chapter Eight

     Chapter Nine

     Chapter Ten

     Chapter Eleven

     Chapter Twelve

     Chapter Thirteen

     Chapter Fourteen

     Chapter Fifteen

     Chapter Sixteen

     Chapter Seventeen

     Chapter Eighteen

     Chapter Ninenteen

     Chapter Twenty

     Chapter Twenty-One

     Chapter Twenty-Two

     Chapter Twenty-Three

     Chapter Twenty-Four

     Chapter Twenty-Five

     Chapter Twenty-Six

     Chapter Twenty-Seven


Spring, 1910New York City

    The conversation was subdued and civilized, as befitted the surroundings: a large, tastefullydecorated library, surrounded on three sides by leather-bound books and a marble fireplace, andon the fourth by a wall of floor to ceiling windows, respectably covered by sheet curtains toallow light in but deflect the gaze of those on the street.

    Out of the murmured conversation, a complaint lifted into the air. “We must have a motto.”

    “Oh, not again,” his companion replied. “Who would we tell this motto to, Alan? Where wouldwe place it? Over what mantel would it be carved?” He gestured around the rather plain roomthey met in, the high ceilings and wainscoting on the walls almost austere in their simplicity.“It seems somewhat counterindicated for a secret society, if it truly wishes to remainunnoticed. If we must formalize our identity, I should think a statement of purpose before amotto.”

    The argument had been raging on-and-off for three months now, ever since they had gathered tobring in the New Year and officially inaugurate their new organization, and most of theassembled men—eleven in all—were heartily sick of it.

    The first man stuck to his guns. “We all know why we are here, Maxwell. A motto will bind ustogether, remind us of our purpose. Give us light in the darkness.”

    “A lamp will work as well for that,” Maxwell retorted.

    There was some muted laughter among the other men gathered, which quickly turned to coughs andcovered grins. All eleven were well past the first blush of youth, with graying hair and facesthat showed lines of wear. Yet they were all full of energy and vigor; the perfectadvertisement for a generation of leaders, the lifeblood of Manhattan society, both businessand social. Only under the surface did a difference show, a stern determination inherited lessfrom Society and more from their Puritan forebears.

    “Gentlemen, please.” Their leader, a relatively young man with a fashionably clean-shavenface and well-cut brown sack suit held up his hand. “Peace. Alan, I am certain that a mottowill be chosen when the time is right. It is not a thing to be rushed, after all. Posteritywould not thank us for an ill-chosen motto.

    “For now, it is more important that we come to order with the day’s business. If you wouldplease join me?”

    The eleven men gathered around the long, dark mahogany table. It would not have looked out ofplace in a formal dining room, but instead of china and linen it was set with a three-color mapof the United States, a Holy Bible, and a sword of gleaming watered steel placed lengthwisealong the center of the table, its tip resting on the Bible. The hilt was of an Indian style,placing the age of the weapon at anywhere from 300 to 600 AD.

    “Lord, we ask your blessing upon this gathering. In silence we have seen the wreck of humannature. In silence we have borne the preditations of the old world, the creeping darknesscoming upon us.”

    In New York, in America, they were safe. But these men looked beyond their walls, consideredwhat might be looking at them with a hungry or jealous eye. And Europe was under more than oneshadow, stretching out toward the New World. They knew it, even if the government did not, yet.

    “In silence we have watched as the glory of your word was drowned under the work of evil-doings. And so in silence we gather now, to protect those who would be true to their betternatures, those who have no defense against the serpent of evil save your flaming sword andfierce justice, and those who, through lack of knowledge, have no salvation. We are the wallbetween the old world and the new, and we ask your blessing upon our hands, and our weapons, toguide them true.”

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