Anyway, I gave it a few minutes of thought last night and things started clicking together in my head. I finally got a handle on the story I wanted to use Kolya Mason (the woman with the scarred-up face -- character profile here) in. Started writing last night and cranked out almost 3,000 words. Not that I wanted to start on yet another project while I still have four other ones going, but the word range they're looking for is between 15,000 and 25,000 words, so it's not like starting on a whole novel. But most of the major plot points have popped into my head so I have a good idea of where the story is going. And so far, it's a fun little story.
And here's an excerpt from the rough draft, part of a fight Kolya gets into around three pages into the story. On some of the terminology -- the shonari are one of the alien species in the setting, and the panther and minotaur are genetically-engineered "anthros" similar to the ones that have appeared in some of my other books.
So ... yeah. Probably not your average "romance" story. XDThe knife-wielding human lunged forward and clamped his hand onto Kolya's left arm. "We didn't say you could leave!"Kolya rocketed her forehead into his nose. Bone snapped and he dropped the knife and collapsed with a howl, pressing his hands against his face and rolling on the floor. Kolya turned and whipped the edge of her hand into the baseball bat guy's throat. He gagged, dropped the bat, brought his hands up to his neck, and staggered backward.The female shonari rolled her eyes and casually slammed his head into the wall, knocking him out cold.Kolya grabbed the bat, swung it around, and swept the panther's legs out from under him. He landed flat on his back with a grunt, and Kolya whacked the bat across his midsection. The air rushed from his lungs and he curled into a fetal position.The minotaur leaped at her, but the two shonari tackled him to the floor. Kolya grinned, turned to face the four remaining humans, rested the bat on her shoulder, and took another bite of her hotdog. One of the humans dropped his knife and ran down the corridor. The other three turned to gape at his receding backside.More clopping footsteps caught Kolya's attention and she glanced over her shoulder to find the third shonari approaching. She handed her hotdog off to him and caught a glimpse of his bewildered expression as she gripped the bat with both hands and marched over to the nearest of her attackers."Uh …" The shonari glanced at the other two, who were still struggling with the minotaur."Hey," one of the other humans bellowed at his fleeing cohort. "Get back here!"Kolya raised the bat into position, drew in a deep breath, and blurted, "Have you seen my baseball?""What?" The man spun toward her and she swung for the fences. The end of the bat connected with his jaw. The resultant sickening crunch was followed by a long, warbling shriek as he spun around and toppled over.Back at the elevator, one of the watching humans burst out laughing.Kolya risked a glance over her shoulder and found the female shonari clamping her arm around the minotaur's neck and bearing down until he turned limp. She released him and he flopped over.Kolya turned back to the third shonari and took her hotdog back. "Thanks.""Uh … sure. No problem."She grinned and turned back to the last two thugs in time to catch one of them yanking a pistol from under his vest. She whipped her arm out, spinning the bat through the air to slam into his face. He stumbled backward and dropped the gun.Kolya rushed forward, scooped up the knife from the floor, and whipped it out to the guy's belly. She jabbed him with the tip, not quite breaking his skin, and he froze. His breathing turned shallow and sweat beaded up on his forehead.Kolya held his gaze, took another bite of her hotdog, and chewed slowly while the shonari planted themselves between her and the last goon."Walk away," she finally said to the guy she held at knifepoint. She pushed a little harder and the tip barely pierced his skin, prompting a whimper out of him. "Now. Or I'll turn your innards into outards."