Danger threatens on WIP Wednesday

Tntallon castleA story is not complete without a threat of some kind, whether physical, emotional, or financial; whether to our hero, our heroine, or someone they love; whether the danger is current and real, or remembered, or we readers simply fear it is possible.

This is certainly true of each of my Hand-Turned Tales stories. In The Raven’s Lady, my protagonists face smugglers. In Kidnapped to Freedom, the heroine comes from a life of constant threat, and has no idea what the future holds in store for her—or the identity of the man who has carried her off. In All that Glisters, the heroine’s bullying uncle beats her if she does not comply with his wishes, and he wishes her to marry his bullying friend. And in The Prisoners of Wyvern Castle, my hero and heroine face a stark future. In the passage that follows, they realise why her brother and his sister have forced them to marry.

“She is your sister. Surely she does not mean you harm?”

Rupert’s laugh was bitter. “Half-sister. And she has hated me all my life. She would harm me if it were to her advantage, but while I live—and with Lord Wyvern absent—she has the whole earldom at her command.”

The thought that flashed into Madeline’s mind was so gothic, she hesitated to give voice to it, but Rupert’s mind had clearly gone in the same direction. “While I live…” he repeated.

“If we have a child…”

“If he is a son…”

Madeline turned into him, stretching her arm across his chest to hug herself into his side, as if she could shield him from the malice of their relatives. “Then we must avoid making a child.”

He returned the hug, kissing her hair. “It will not answer, Madeline. Perhaps Graviton might hesitate to carry out his threat; his own sister, after all. But the Ice Dragon will not care who fathers my heir, as long as someone does. We cannot trust your brother to protect you.”

She shivered. “Half-brother. And he has hated me all his life.”

As always, post your own excerpt in the comments, and don’t forget to share so that others may enjoy your work in progress.

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7 thoughts on “Danger threatens on WIP Wednesday

  1. Oh, I love both of these!

    Here’s an excerpt from my own gothic, although only as a shared memory…

    “Damn you for an incompetent fool.” The earl swore, loudly and profusely. A maid, quaking in the corner of her mistress’ room fainted. “I pay you to make her well, not stand here and quiver in your shoes.”

    “Ye – yes, my lord. And I – I am trying, but she has not responded to the treatments.”

    “I will no longer accept any of your excuses, you treacherous fraud.” The earl stood with such force that his chair tumbled backward, scraping against the stone wall behind him. Letting go of his wife’s tiny hand, he righted the chair, only to take it and throw it to the opposite wall.

    Wood cracked and splintered, falling to the floor. On the bed, his fragile wife stirred, the noise penetrating her fevered brain. Large eyes, rimmed in purple and red, fluttered then opened. Even at death’s door, her eyes remained luminescent against her pale face.

    The earl, at once contrite, moved to her side, swooping her hand once more into his. “My love, you wake.” His hand swept damp hair from her face, a most gentle gesture into which she leaned.

    “My lord,” she whispered, voice rough from not being used. When he squeezed her hand, she attempted to squeeze back, but the effort was too much, and she cried in pain. “I am dying, Lassie.”

    “No, my Violette, ‘tis but a passing malady. The good doctor here, Dr. – uh, Dr.?” He looked to the doctor, scowling menacingly as he did.

  2. From A Rose Renamed, which should be out sometime this spring.

    ***

    John had no intention of putting himself in the path of his family.

    He needed to remain anonymous. He needed to wrap up mourning the dividends that were to pay his debts at long last. He could not come out of hiding. Would not become an honest man. Nor make restitution. He would remain John Smythe, man of dishonor, indefinitely.

    /I need to remain a ghost. London is not safe./

    He put off Guy’s concern and requests for his direction. He took his cousin’s card and promised to call upon him should John have any trouble difficult to overcome. “Second son I may be, but I am not without resources.”

    John extracted himself from familial intervention, finally almost stumbling in his haste to back away. He packed up his room in the boarding house, and bought a ticket on the nearest mail coach going whichever direction left the soonest. Northeast, as it happened. He was drunk as a lord by the time they left the first posting house, sleeping soundly by the time they reached the second.

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