Apricum (Apricum Kingdom #1)

Orphaned and in charge of keeping her young brother alive, Helga survives by using her powers to kill for hire. But, when she is kidnapped by people wanting to exploit her, Helga's life changes drastically. No longer sure who to trust, she escapes and goes looking for her brother Finn. But she's been keeping secrets even from those closest to her, and secrets have a way of finding you, in the end... [PG-15 for violence and language - keep in mind that the protagonist kills for a living. Some references to sex.]


1. Prologue

Cursing in a way that would make her Mama faint, Helga stomped her way through the sewage, chasing after the man who was assigned to her this night.

She really hated it when they ran.

With an impatient mumble, she flicked her elegant hands and a ball of fire danced up from her fingertips and floated up towards the damp ceiling of the tunnel. Really, it would have been so easy to just send it after her target and have it done with, but Raul insisted that his client wanted the body to be found. And angering Raul over such technicalities really wasn't worth it. Sometimes she wondered if she should just tell him who she had been, once upon a time, to see if he'd stop threatening her so much, but really it just wasn't worth the lack of anonymity. Besides, it's not like he could actually hurt her. There was a reason he wasn't the one chasing contraband thieves through sewers, after all.

And that was that he couldn’t fight worth shit, and he knew it.

Pulling on the magic within her, Helga forced her legs to run faster, ignoring the slosh of sewer juice as it penetrated her skirts. Yet another ruined outfit. She really should get paid better for this crap.

Forgive the pun.

Sighting her target in the distance, she jumped and landed gracefully on his back. The man struggled and swore, but she ignored him, securing his hands behind his back and making sure he wouldn't run again.

"Gerrof me!"

"Sorry," she said lightly, still sitting on his back, contemplating how to do this so he wasn't in pain for too long. "Nothing personal, you see."

The thief went still beneath her, and she could see him trying to turn his head to look at her. "Yer a..."

"Yes, I'm a girl."

"Nah. Tha's common 'nough I reckon. But yer accent. Yer rich."

She went silent at that, preferring not to answer. It hardly happened anymore, people didn’t really know the difference between a sophisticated accent and a foreign one, since the high and mighty rulers didn’t deign to dirty themselves by conversing with the poor. No one really could understand why she did this. As a child she had been a poor orphan, who had had to do what she could to survive in the streets. When Raul had offered her a job - a way to right all the wrongs that the King and the rest of the royal family did - she had jumped at the chance, especially after he’d told her the going rate.

She needed the money badly to help pay for food for her and Finn, and she’d had weapon training growing up - and she had her magic.

So instead of answering the squirming man beneath her, she took out her knife from the strap beneath her sleeve and, in one quick motion, slit his throat.

"No. Not anymore," she said as she walked off down the tunnel. She'd tell Raul where he could find the body. Her work here was done for the night

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