"Captain," Isla called, grateful for the relative seclusion behind the ship. He turned and she reached his side, hating that she was slightly breathless and knowing it wasn't because she was winded from the brief run. Isla Cooper faced down dangerous predators on a regular basis. She would not be intimidated by one bad-tempered man. He frowned, and her breath caught in her throat. Oh, dear. Evidently the photos she'd seen had come criminally far from doing him justice. Even frowning, his face and form spoke to an element of feminine approval within that she usually had little time for. "Yes?" he prompted. She exhaled. "I need to join you on this voyage. Money is no issue; I am prepared to pay twice the usual fare." "This is not a commercial flight, miss." He turned away and she grasped his arm. He looked at her in some surprise, which turned quickly to incredulity and then something she decided she'd rather not decipher. Isla tightened her grip on his bicep, noting the very human feel of the very not-human limb. "I must get to Port Lucy. Immediately." He pulled away but she held tight. "There is a commercial flight bound for New Orleans, and a connecting ship to Port Lucy in six weeks." "I do not have six weeks, sir. Furthermore, I am a natural empath and a Doctor of Shifter Therapy and Human Relations. He stilled. "I do not see the relevance." "I believe you do." "What exactly are you implying, Miss...?" "Dr. Cooper. I am implying that with this particular cargo, you might benefit from my expertise." He pulled his arm roughly away from her with a scoff. He opened his pocket watch again. "If you'll excuse me, Dr. Cooper, I have an airship to fly." "Or perhaps Her Majesty's Cyborg Regulations Division would be interested to know that England's most prominent airship mogul is rather more than he appears to be." He stopped midstride and she swallowed. Her heart thumped, and she rather wished she were facing a beast with fangs; those she could usually tame. Mr. Pickett slowly returned. "I do not know what it is you  think  you know, lady, but you can take your threats and-" "Your arm, likely fusing into your pectoral," Isla said quietly and pointed from his bicep and up along to his chest. "Most forward, rational thinkers realize such implants have no bearing on one's ability to live a healthy life, run an empire. Government agencies are not always known for rational thinking, though, are they?" His jaw clenched visibly, and his nostrils flared. Isla forced her feet to remain firmly planted. "Turn around and walk away now, Dr. Cooper, and I'll do you the favor of forgetting this conversation occurred." Excerpted from Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbel Allen All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.