Foiled again on WIP Wednesday

cottageGiven how little actual writing I’ve done in the past fortnight, I thought an excerpt about frustrations would be a good idea. You know what I mean? Your characters are bowling along, their plans all in place, when bam. Something happens. Your villain sees his schemes come crashing down around his ears. Or your heroine’s dreams seem to dissolve in smoke. Or your hero’s future, which was secure, turns to custard.

Show me yours and I’ll show you mine. This one is from Revealed in Mist. The villain (one of them) and his cronies have the heroine and her sister trapped, and the villain is determined to show his power. He overreaches, of course, as villains do. The sister is not as cowed as she pretends. But just when we thought he was foiled, the tides turn again.

It was enough. As Charity grabbed the most vulnerable part of Selby’s anatomy and squeezed, Prue flung herself on the hand in which Annesley held the gun and knocked it upwards. From the stairs, Barnstable gave a yell at the same time as Selby’s anguished scream.

Prue had no time check how the other women were faring. Annesley was larger and stronger than her, and close quarters was not how she would win this fight. Still, if she could get the pistol off him, if Charity had enough wits about her to come to Prue’s aid, they might have a chance.

He was forcing the barrel around towards Prue when Charity hit him over the shoulder with an iron pot, and the gun went off with a loud reverberating bang, throwing him backwards.

Prue sprawled where he dropped her, but was gathering her feet beneath her to throw herself back into the fray, when Charity threw herself down between Prue and Annesley. “Prue? Are you hurt?”

The swine had missed, thanks to Charity, but she had not hit him hard enough. He was levelling the pistol again, grinning broadly. On the stairs, Barnstable was dancing in place, complaining. “She bit me! I was going to be nice, little girl, but…”

Selby’s voice was high and strained, as he dragged Charity away from Prue by her hair. “You’ll pay for this, Charrie, you filthy little trollop.”

 

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7 thoughts on “Foiled again on WIP Wednesday

  1. This is from Never Kiss a Toad, which Mariana Gabrielle (Mari Christie) and I are cowriting, and posting on Wattpad as a serial. In Chapter Four, Toad and Sale are lying in one another’s arms (relatively innocently) when they are interrupted.

    The footsteps grew closer and closer; whoever was coming made no effort to remain unnoticed. As the steps drew nearer, Toad twisted his shoulders and wrapped his arms protectively around Sal, covering her face from anyone who might see her. He shifted even further and pushed her behind him when the intruder pushed the bedroom door open and showed himself. Toad flinched, anticipating the blows when Sal’s father beat him to a bloody pulp.

    There being no good way to also hide his own face at this late juncture, he brazened it out, grimacing.

    “Uncle Haverford. It is a… surprise to see you.”

    The duke’s amusement was patent. “A surprise to see me in my own house, Abersham? Much like it was a surprise to find your don in his own study?” He arched one brow in sardonic question. “Did I not tell you only hours ago not to take your clothes off in a room you haven’t paid for?”

    “Yes, Sir.”

    “I would ask what you are doing here, but it is quite obvious, isn’t it? My bed, Abersham? You couldn’t find a place in your own house to take your wench? Did you not just give your father your word you would remain home?”

    “Yes, Sir.”

    Haverford sighed and rubbed his temples, shaking his head. “I apologize for the interruption, young lady, but you are going to have to leave. I will have our coachman take you wherever you wish to go.”

    At first, Haverford didn’t seem to hear it when Sal said weakly, muffled behind the blanket and Toad’s chest, “I live here, Papa.”

    Toad cringed again, waiting to be hit.

  2. Ooh, good stuff. 😀 A fair bit of tension going on in both pieces.

    Mine’s from The Long Shadow: I do rather love this scene. John has just come back from the Helder expedition (big disaster) and is feeling a bit … frustrated. So he gets drunk, and then realises his brother has invited a welcome home committee…

    ***

    ‘You must be exhausted. Your guests—’

    ‘They are not my guests,’ John interrupted, coldly. ‘They are yours. But it matters little, for Major-General the Lord Chatham is home. I suppose you are longing to hear my stories of bloodshed and defeat.’ Nobody moved. John’s mouth curled. ‘I assure you it makes a fine tale for a winter’s evening.’

    ‘I think we ought to leave,’ Dundas said. Steele and Mulgrave rose, but John barred their way.

    ‘No, stay a while. I long to hear what has been happening while I have been spilling my blood for my country.’

    ‘And we are grateful,’ William interposed, in an attempt to deflect the flow of John’s drunken ire. ‘We are glad to see you safe.’

    It was a singularly ill-judged statement in John’s current mood. ‘Well, that’s never been much of a concern for you, has it?’

    William looked as though John had kicked him in the stomach. ‘What do you mean?’

    ‘My well-being,’ John snapped. ‘Although I suppose you do have a right to be concerned about it. If I were to die, you would go to the Lords as Earl of Chatham and that would be the end of your ministry, would it not?’ The stunned look on William’s face made John laugh. ‘Do not tell me you have not thought of it. I have! It gives me great pleasure to know I have more power than Fox to bring down your government, simply by taking a knife and—’

    ‘You’re drunk,’ William gasped. John leaned back and addressed the plaster mouldings on the ceiling.

    ‘Hark at the pot calling the kettle black!’

    ‘If you really meant what you said then it is long past time you got some rest.’

    John moved closer to his brother until their faces were only inches apart. He could see the doubt in William’s grey eyes, the freckles across the bridge of his nose, the smudge of brown hair at his temples beneath the powder. ‘Maybe I am drunk, but I still know what has been going on. You, Dundas and Windham, sending good troops to Belle-Isle, Ferrol, and Minorca. What did we get? A load of drunken militiamen, enough to stave off the reckoning for six weeks in Holland and no more.’ Out of the corner of his eye John saw Dundas rise, a concerned look on his wine-reddened face. ‘Perhaps you never meant me to return at all. Perhaps you sent me on a doomed campaign to dispose of your embarrassment of a brother. Tell me you were not disappointed when you heard that spent musket ball had not killed me.’

    ‘If you wish to insult me,’ William snarled, ‘for God’s sake be consistent.’

  3. This is from my current WIP, The Lady’s Gentleman. It is book 3 in The Radcliffe Family series.
    “Have you heard back from your people, Jeffrey?” Laura inquired.
    “No and I don’t expect to until tomorrow at the earliest,” he replied.
    “And the reports you will receive will show that no one of the suggested secretaries or clerks are being blackmailed,” Jason inserted.
    “Why is that?” Jeffrey demanded.
    “That is because Mr. and Mrs. Drummond are the spies and are French. His real name is Dubois. He was born and raised here in England and later Anglicized his name to Drummond,” Jason started to explain.
    “But what about Mrs. Drummond? How was he able to enlist her?” Valerie inquired, not caring if she had overstepped her bounds.
    “She is his sister. Both parents had been enlisted by the French years ago to spy on us and when he was old enough, with the new name was able to get a position in the government. Slowly, he made his way up which allowed him to see increasing sensitive documents. Of which many would have mentioned the late Duke of Kettering.”
    Now, at least to Valerie everything was beginning to make a great deal of sense. The French were still trying to destroy the Kettering name. If word got out of the late duke’s involvement in spying that would help bring the house down.
    “Excuse me but I’ve a question?” Valerie uttered.
    “My dear, as we’ve learned a great deal about your ability to take unrelated facts and come to a solution, you most certainly may ask,” Jeffrey announced.
    “Thank you. Jason, you said Drummond or Dubois, was able to get his hands on papers referring to Simon’s late father. When was this? Recently or years past?”
    “Only within the past few days, before coming here. From what I’ve been able to learn he’s waiting to pass copies along to his contact then with his sister flee to France.”
    “Father, yesterday when we were at the late baron’s looking into his murder, remember we met Drummond. He said he’d see us in a few days but wouldn’t recognize him,” Matthew said.
    “Yes. What if one of them will be passing this information to their contact at the ball?” Jeffrey replied.

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