On her appearance
Nevada meant “snow- covered” in Spanish. I was anything but. Grandma Frida’s parents came to the US from Germany. She was dark haired and light skinned naturally. Grandpa Leon was from Quebec. I didn’t remember much about him except that he was huge and dark- skinned. It caused some issues for both of them, but they loved each other too much to regret it. Together they made my mother, with dark hair and medium brown skin. We didn’t know a lot about Dad’s family. He once told me that his mother was a terrible person and he didn’t want anything to do with her. He looked part Caucasian, part Native American to me, with dark blond hair, but I never asked. All of those genes fell into the melting pot, boiled together, and I came out, with tan skin, brown eyes, and blond hair.
My hair wasn’t silvery blond but a darker, tupelo honey kind of blond. I almost never burned in the sun, just got darker, while my hair turned lighter, especially if I spent the summer swimming. Once, when I was seven, a woman stopped my grandma and me as we were walking to my school. She tried to chew Grandma out for dying my hair. It didn’t go well. Even now people sometimes asked me which salon did the coloring job. Nevada didn’t exactly fit me. There was nothing wintery about me, but I didn’t care what he thought about it.
On her job
When I took over, the business had slowed to almost nothing. I built this agency on the foundation you [mother] and Dad made. It’s my business now because I worked my ass off for six years to get it running. I sacrificed for it, and I love it. I love what I do. I love our life. It makes me happy and I’m good at it, and nobody, not you, not Grandma, not MII, or Pierce, or Mad Rogan is going to take it away from me!
On Mad Rogan
Mad Rogan pulled his shirt off, and I tried my best not to stare. Muscles rolled under his tan skin. He wasn’t darker than me, but I tanned to a reddish gold, while his skin had a deeper, brown undertone to it. He was per fectly proportioned. His broad shoulders flowed into a muscular, defined chest that slimmed down to the flat planes of his hard stomach. Handsome or athletic didn’t him justice. Dancers or gymnasts were athletic. He had the kind of body that should’ve belonged to a man from a different time, someone who swung a sword with merciless ferocity to protect his land and ran across the field at a wall of enemy warriors. There was a brutal kind of efficiency about the way muscle corded his frame. I hadn’t even realized how large he was. Because all those suits streamlined him and his proportions were so well balanced, he looked almost normal- sized. But now, as he sat in my kitchen chair, dwarfing it, there was no way to ignore it.
The sheer physical power of him was overwhelming. If he grabbed hold of me, he could crush me. But I didn’t care. I could look at him all night. I wouldn’t go to sleep. I wouldn’t need to rest. I could just sit there and stare at him. And if I looked long enough, I’d throw caution to the wind, reach out, and slide my hand over that powerful muscle. I would feel the strength in his shoulders. I would kiss . . .
And that was about enough of that. Underneath all of that masculine, harsh beauty was cold, the kind of cold that could stab a helpless man with a knife, feel the tip of it scrape the bone, and do it again and again and not be bothered by it. That cold scared me. Mad Rogan, unlike other people, rarely lied. I didn’t know if it was because he knew I would call him on it or if it was simply his way. When he said he would kill you, he meant it. He didn’t make threats or promises, he stated facts, and when he wanted something, he’d do whatever he had to do to get it.
Connor “Mad” Rogan, House Rogan, is a Prime Telekinetic. He possesses an almost unbelievable magic power and US Army used his talents to a devastating effect. He was instrumental in several decisive victories of Mexico, a magic powerhouse, which earned him such nicknames as Huracan, Butcher, and Mad. Rogan has since retired from the military service. His father is dead and his mother has no interest in House affairs, so Rogan is the head of his own House and his wealth is staggering. Rogan is an enigma. He is ruthless, intelligent, and stubborn, so much so he almost comes through as a sociopath. But perhaps there is something more to his character… Appearance Kelly turned. He stood next to her. She remembered her cousin as a thin boy with striking pale blue eyes. Sixteen years later, he stood taller than her. His hair, chestnut when he was younger, had turned dark brown, almost black. His face, once angular, had gained a square jaw and hard masculine lines that made him arrestingly handsome. That face, suffused with power, harsh but almost regal . . . It was the kind of face that commanded obedience. He could’ve ruled the world with that face. Kelly looked into his eyes and instantly wished she hadn’t. Life had iced over the beautiful blue irises. Power stirred deep in their depth. She could feel it just beyond the surface, like a wild, vicious current. It bucked and boiled, a shocking, terrifying power, promising violence and destruction, locked in a cage of iron will. A chill ran from the base of Kelly’s neck all the way down her spine.
Adam Pierce, House Pierce, is a Prime Pyrokinetic. Able to conjure fire that can melt solid steel, Adam grew up in a lap of luxury, the youngest son and progeny of of distinguished House Pierce. Shortly after completing his a bachelors, Adam gave the family the finger, started a motorcycle club, and decided to become a radical. He is a frequent presence at anti-government rallies and is eagerly sought out by the media, both for his outrageous antics and his scorching looks. Appearance As if on cue, Pierce’s portrait filled the right side of the screen. He wore his trademark black jeans and un- zipped black leather jacket over bare, muscled chest. A Celtic knotwork tattoo covered his left pectoral, and a snarling panther with horns decorated the right side of his six- pack. Longish brown hair spilled over his beauti- ful face, highlighting the world’s best cheekbones and a perfect jaw with just the right amount of stubble to add some scruff. If you cleaned him up, he would look almost angelic. As is, he was a tarnished poseur angel, his wings artfully singed with the perfect camera shot in mind. I’d seen my share of real biker gangsters. Not the weekend bikers, who were doctors and lawyers in real life, but the real deal, the ones who lived on the road. They were hard, not too well kept, and their eyes were made of lead. Pierce was more like the leading man playing a badass in an action movie. Lucky for him, he could make his own background of billowing flames.
Augustine Montgomery, House Montgomery, runs Montgomery International Investigations (MII), a premier private investigative agency specializing in recovery-based investigative services, protection, security intelligence, and crisis management. Augustine is meticulous, precise, and merciless. He is a Prime Illusionist able to create incredibly life-like illusions.
Some years ago Baylor family mortgaged Baylor Investigative Agency to MII in an effort to raise money for Nevada’s father’s medical treatment, which makes Augustine Nevada’s boss.
The man looked up at me. Sometimes people with talent in illusion minimized their physical flaws with their magic. Judging by his face, Augustine Montgomery was a Prime. His features were perfect, in the way Greek statues were perfect, the lines of his face masculine and crisp but never brutish. Clean- shaven, with a strong nose and a firm mouth, he had the type of beauty that made you stare. His skin nearly glowed, and his green eyes stabbed at you with sharp intelligence from behind nearly invisible eyeglasses. He probably had to have protective detail when he left the building to fend off all the sculptors who wanted to immortalize him in marble.
The glasses were a masterful touch. Without them, he’d be a god in a cloud, but the hair- thin frames let him keep one foot on the ground with us mere mortals.