Danger on WIP Wednesday

pexels-photo-110089I’ve been summarising the scenes in A Raging Madness so that I can map them against the internal and external journey of my hero and heroine, as I did with Revealed in Mist. I came across the excerpt below, and decided to share it with you. A moment of danger for my heroine; and this is only the first in a book of them.

Please share your excerpts showing your hero or heroine putting themselves at risk, whether physical risk, risk of rejection or scorn, or whatever you like. Here’s mine.

As soon as the key turned in the lock, Ella slid out of bed to find the chamber pot, and spit the remaining laudanum into it. She washed her mouth once, twice, three times. She had ingested a little—enough to further fog her brain, but not enough to douse the sharp flame of purpose. She had to get away. She had to escape. She had no idea why her brother and sister-in-law were keeping her alive, but she could not count on it continuing.

The room moved a little, wavering at the edges, and Ella wanted nothing more than to crawl back onto the bed and let the dreams come. Did it matter, after all? What good did it do to struggle?

No one in this village would help her, as she had found when they brought her out to display her before the squire and, on another occasion, the rector. She had been drugged both times, of course. She had been drugged these past four weeks. But when she told them, they patted her hand soothingly, looked at her jailers with sympathy, and went away shaking their heads.

But this evening, standing in the shadow of the curtain peering out to see the funeral goers returning to the house, she had seen him. Major Alexander Redepenning. Alex. Perhaps he was just a dream sent by the opium to torture her with hope, but if he were truly here, he would help her. She had to escape now. Tonight.

Alex was a stubborn, opinionated, arrogant fool—and what he had said to her last time they met still scalded her with shame and anger every time she thought of him. But he had known her since she was a child, and he would not abandon her to whatever the Braxtons planned.

She could not run away in her shift, but they had left her no clothes. A blanket? She could wrap a blanket around herself against the chill air.

If she could just open this window without making a noise… So. One obstacle overcome. She dropped the blanket to the ground below. Now she needed to climb from the second floor, dizzy and confused as she was, walk to the village, and find Alex. He would be staying at the inn, surely? He would not have gone on tonight?

She had heard he had been injured; seen the difficulty with which he had descended from his chaise, leaning heavily on his groom. He would not want to travel on tonight. He had to be there at the inn. He had to be willing to help her.

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6 thoughts on “Danger on WIP Wednesday

  1. How is this for danger? From The Renegade Wife, available for pre-order now at https://www.amazon.com/Renegade-Wife-Children-Empire-Book-ebook/dp/B01LY7IRT6/

    ” Meggy pushed against his chest. “You have to leave.”
    “Let me be the judge of what will work. Tell me what’s going on tonight. I presume the plan is to catch me here and cause an uproar.”
    “He’s bringing the constable and preparing to act the outraged husband. They’ll drag you to the magistrate. He’ll say you’ve put me up in this, this boudoir as your lover. He’ll have you jailed. He’ll feed the scandal sheets. He’ll threaten your family.”
    Rand laughed harshly. “My family is not easily threatened.” He led her to the bed and pulled her down to sit next to him.
    “Where is Lena? I need to know precisely,” he asked.
    “You can’t take her from me.”
    “I will take you both, foolish woman. Tell me where to find her.”
    Meggy couldn’t fight him. She told him about the O’Sullivans. He pulled Drew’s map from a pocket, and she cried when she saw her son’s writing. Rand wiped her face with his handkerchief but did not relent. He made her go over it with him until she pointed out both her room and the O’Sullivan’s. He asked questions about the watch, the neighbors, and Blair’s schedule, and she answered as clearly as she could.
    “I’ll get you to safety,” he promised, pulling her closer in a one-armed hug. “My family will hide you until we can figure a way out of this coil.”
    Meggy hung her head. “There is no way. I’m his wife. Those are his children to do with as he pleases.”
    Rand put a knuckle under her chin and turned her toward him. “Law and right are not always the same, Meggy. We’ll find a way to protect Drew and Lena.” His eyes searched hers as if begging her to understand, begging her to accept his words, and begging her to accept him. She yearned to do so, her heart taking her where her common sense would not.
    “You are not to fear,” he said with a slight smile.
    He kissed her then, a sweet kiss of encouragement and consolation, nothing like the fiery assault moments before. He leaned his forehead on hers for a moment, and then he kissed her again. For that moment, she felt safe, secure in his care.
    The sound of the door brought safety to an abrupt end. The force of it hitting the wall shook the bed. Meggy jumped up and stared at her husband in anguish when he sauntered in.
    “Caught ya, you wife-stealing bastard. What have you done with my son?”

  2. I do have some scenes in which John is in physical peril, but “The Long Shadow” isn’t really about that: the kind of danger it deals with is much more psychological. Accordingly, here’s a scene where John first realises his job (as his brother’s First Lord of the Admiralty) is seriously on the line. Set in 1793.

    ___

    The cabinet broke up soon after. John was knotting the cords round his leather folder embossed with the Admiralty anchor when he felt William’s hand on his upper arm. ‘A word with you, Lord Chatham.’

    The use of his title warned John he could expect nothing good, but he followed his brother into William’s study with its windows overlooking the garden and St James’s Park. William’s secretaries, Joe Smith and John Carthew, were working at a great table on one side of the room. When they saw William’s expression they hastily took their leave.

    William stalked over to his desk. Spread over its surface, hedged in by several books bristling with bookmarks, was an avalanche of papers and letters, red and green seals winking in the candle-light. William dragged a large folio out of the chaos and banged it down on the secretaries’ table.

    ‘There.’ He dragged John over and pointed. John looked down reluctantly: it was a map of Martinique and Guadeloupe. ‘That is where the ships are to be sent. Can you fix it in your mind? You will not send the transports elsewhere in a fit of pique?’

    ‘I would do no such thing and you know it,’ John said, bristling at the implication. William slammed the atlas closed. Several unopened letters slid to the floor.

    ‘What did you imagine you would achieve by attacking Dundas in that manner?’

    ‘He provoked me.’

    ‘I do not care!’ William shouted. ‘I will not allow you to reduce a cabinet meeting to the level of a petty rivalry. If you have nothing sensible to contribute, I advise you to keep your mouth shut.’

    The unfairness of the attack horrified John. ‘I think I have a right to defend myself against a personal assault on my ability to—’

    ‘Perhaps you ought to consider whether that assault has any basis in fact?’ John stared at his brother. William braced himself against the table and pinched the bridge of his nose. ‘I am sorry, John. I know you are not the only minister to have attracted blame for what has passed.’ He looked up, and John felt the steel in his brother’s gaze pierce him like a blade. ‘But blame has attached, and I think you ought to be very careful in what you do and say, for the government cannot afford any more disasters.’

    The words fell into John’s mind, coldly and evenly. He stayed silent, not sure what response to make to something that had sounded very much like a threat.

    William’s gaze sharpened. ‘Have I made myself clear?’

    John bit his lip and tasted blood. ‘Quite clear.’

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