Bullies, blaggards and other nasties

Some books have real villains, with evil in their hearts and mayhem in their wake. In others, the trials our protagonists face come from circumstance, or perhaps from careless, overbearing, or self-centred relatives. I’m inviting you to put an excerpt in the comments when we see your hero or heroine having a bit of a hard time at someone else’s hands. An ex-mistress? An employee? A relative? Over to you.

This week, I’m sharing an excerpt from Forged in Fire, my 2017 Bluestocking Belles holiday box set novella. My Mrs Bletherow is not a villain, precisely. But she is certainly no sweetheart.

Mrs Bletherow was castigating her poor companion again, oblivious to her audience.

Every group was different, and most groups had someone who was troublesome. Tad Berry could cheerfully handle the drunkards, the would-be Casanovas, the know-it-alls. But he hated bullies. His muscles burned with the effort it took to keep from rescuing the Bletherow hag’s drab shadow. Not his place. She was a free adult woman, and if she chose to stay with an employer who treated her so poorly, it was nothing to do with him.

His partner nudged him. “She don’t run out of steam, that one, eh?”

“Miss Thompson should tell her to go soak her head, Atame. Old crow.”

Tad and Atame had met them in Auckland two days ago, eight tourists seeking to view what Rotorua billed as the eighth wonder of the world. Tomorrow, they’d make their way to Te Wairoa, and the day after the locals would convey them to the Pink and White Terraces, dimpled with hot pools and cascading down their respective hillsides to a peaceful lake.

All through the boat trip to Tauranga and the coach journey to this Rotorua guest house, Mrs Bletherow had found fault with everything Miss Thompson did or failed to do. She had brought her employer the wrong book, failed to block out the sun, been too slow in the queue for food, put too much milk in Mrs Bletherow’s tea. Tad wouldn’t have blamed Miss Thompson for adding arsenic.

The withered wiry maid was as sour as her mistress, and attracted none of the old harridan’s contempt. She stood now at Mrs Bletherow’s elbow, nodding along with the woman’s complaints. “You knew we would be dining properly this evening. You deliberately packed the green gown in the large trunk. You must go and find it this instant, do you hear me?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Miss Thompson said.

“See that you are quick. Parrish shall attend me in my room, and I want my gown by the time I am washed.” Mrs Bletherow sailed up the stairs, Parrish scurrying along in her wake.

Tad unfolded himself from the wall as Miss Thompson approached, her rather fine hazel eyes downcast. She began apologising while she was still several paces away. “I am very sorry for the inconvenience, Mr Berry, but I need to ask you to offload another of Mrs Bletherow’s trunks.”

“Of course, Miss Thompson. If you tell me which one, I shall bring it up to her room.”

She looked up at that, her brows drawing slightly together. “I am not sure, Mr Berry. I know which one it should be in, but Parrish finished the packing. May I come with you?”

He nodded, though the stables were no place for a lady. And Miss Thompson was a lady, and of better birth than the Bletherow, unless he missed his guess. Which, come to think of it, might be part of the reason for her ill-treatment. Not that a bully needed a reason, beyond opportunity and a suitable victim.

They needed to unload half the luggage before uncovering the trunk Miss Thompson wanted, and then it proved to be the wrong one.

Tad brushed off Miss Thompson’s apologies. “No matter. We shall just try the others.” But the gown was not in the smaller trunk, any of the leather bags, or even the hat boxes. They had offloaded all Mrs Bletherow’s baggage and even the single trunk holding her own spare wardrobe and a second belonging to Parish, and Miss Thompson had unlocked and hunted through them all.

“If this is everything, Miss Thompson,” Tad said at last, “I fear the garment has been left behind at a previous stop.”

“Do you, Mr Berry?” Tad’s hands on the straps he was rebuckling stilled at the bitter undertones in the lady’s voice, and he looked up. They were working by lamplight, but he could see well enough. Blazing eyes, thinned lips, skin drained of colour but for two hectic spots of colour high on her cheeks. Miss Thompson was quietly furious. “Perhaps you are right. I apologise for putting you to all this trouble.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
rss

Quarrels on WIP Wednesday

This week is about quarrels. Or fights, or arguments, or any kind of disagreement. It might be serious or trivial, between secondary characters or protagonists. But quarrels are a frequent element of storytelling, a way to display character, disclose unexpected plot points, and ratchet up the tension. 

As always, I’m inviting you to share your excerpt in the comments.

My piece is from The Realm of Silence, the next book in the Golden Redepennings. 

Once they had asked every question they could think of in several ways each, they let the boy go. Gil had requisitioned a private parlour for their interview, but of course Susan could not remain here alone with him. Nor could she follow her burning urge to leave immediately for the answers that must surely lie in Stamford; not on a moonless night. She would thank Gil for his help and go up to her room.

As if he heard her thoughts, Gil turned from a low-voiced conversation with the inn-keeper’s stout daughter and said, “I’ve ordered us a dinner. No point in us leaving until the morning.”

The urge to stay surprised Susan with its strength and made her refusal less graceful than it might have been. “I cannot have dinner alone with you, Lord Rutledge.”

A flicker of uncertainty before the granite face settled again. “Do you want to send for your maid? To protect your name?” His voice was as calm and emotionless as ever, and it was unfair of her to read a sneer into that last remark.

“I do not have a maid with me. Just my groom. He has a room above the stables.” She had sent her other carriages on ahead when she chose to detour to Cambridge, figuring she and Amy could have lunch together before Susan followed her younger children and her servants to London.

Gil regarded her gravely, and Susan waited for him to berate her for foolishness, impetuosity, or arrogance in thinking she could run her own life as she pleased, and without the interference of a man. But he merely nodded once. “And my man is entirely trustworthy. So if you sit down and eat, no one but you and I will know. And you need to eat. Have you eaten today?”

Susan was about to disclaim appetite when her stomach made her liar by rumbling with considerable enthusiasm. Was that a twinkle in Lord Rock Ledge’s eye? Surely not.

She surrendered, at least this battle, returning to the seat she had just vacated. “Very well. But I shall pay for my own meal.”

Gil made no reply. Just took his place in the chair on the other side of the hearth, as two maids carried in laden trays and began transferring their contents to the room’s table.

While the servants set the dishes out, and laid a place for each of them, Susan made some commonplace remarks about the weather during her journey from Wessex, and Gil said nothing. Was he even listening? She seemed to have his attention; certainly he did not move his gaze from her; barely blinked. But what thoughts seethed under that still surface? Even as a boy, he had been grave and silent, speaking seldom but always to good purpose.

As he did now, as soon as the maids left the room, closing the door behind them.

“So by now your other children are safely at home in London with their nurse. I will go after Miss Cunningham and Miss Foster, of course, but you had better come with me.”

“Come with you? I am going alone, with my groom. I am not your problem to solve, Lord Rutledge. My daughter is not your problem to solve.” He might look like a stone carving, all hewn planes and angles, but he had never been a fool. Surely he must realise how impossible it was for the two of them to travel together.

Gil stood. “We should eat.” He suited action to words by pulling out a chair at the table, standing with one hand on the back, waiting for Susan to take her place. It would be childish and counter productive to refuse to sit, purely because he expected her to do so. She quelled but did not extinguish the spirit of opposition that consumed her whenever one of the men in her life tried to organise her. She would eat with him, but he would not be coming north with her.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
rss

Travel on WIP Wednesday

We historical writers have history on our side when it comes to putting our heroes and heroines in close proximity for long periods. Our own ease of travel, with cars, trains, buses, and airplanes makes it a feat of the imagination to envision day-long trips to the shops, week long trips to house parties, and trips lasting months to places further afield.

This week, I’m looking for posts about journeys. Mine is from my story for the Bluestocking Belles’ 2017 Christmas box set. I’d love you to post yours in the comments.

Mrs Bletherow was castigating her poor companion again, oblivious to her audience.

Every group was different, and most groups had someone who was troublesome. Tad Berry could cheerfully handle the drunkards, the would-be Casanovas, the know-it-alls. But he hated bullies. His muscles burned with the effort it took to keep from rescuing the Bletherow hag’s drab shadow. Not his place. She was a free adult woman, and if she chose to stay with an employer who treated her so poorly, it was nothing to do with him.

His partner nudged him. “She don’t run out of steam, that one, eh?”

“Miss Thompson should tell her to go soak her head, Atame. Old crow.”

Tad and Atame had met them in Auckland two days ago, eight tourists seeking to view what Rotorua billed as the eighth wonder of the world. Tomorrow, they’d make their way to Te Wairoa, and the day after the locals would convey them to the Pink and White Terraces, dimpled with hot pools and cascading down the shores of a peaceful lake.

All through the boat trip to Tauranga and the coach journey to this Rotorua guest house, Mrs Bletherow had found fault with everything Miss Thompson did or failed to do. She had brought her employer the wrong book, failed to block out the sun, been too slow in the queue for food, put too much milk in Mrs Bletherow’s tea. Tad wouldn’t have blamed Miss Thompson for adding arsenic.

The withered wiry maid was as sour as her mistress, and attracted none of the old harridan’s contempt. She stood now at Mrs Bletherow’s elbow, nodding along with the woman’s complaints. “You knew we would be dining properly this evening. You deliberately packed the green gown in the large trunk. You must go and find it this instant, do you hear me?”

“Yes, Mrs Bletherow,” Miss Thompson said.

“See that you are quick. Parrish shall attend me in my room, and I want my gown by the time I am washed.” Mrs Bletherow sailed up the stairs, Parrish scurrying along in her wake.

Tad unfolded himself from the wall as Miss Thompson approached, her rather fine hazel eyes downcast. She began apologising while she was still several paces away. “I am very sorry for the inconvenience, Mr Berry, but I need to ask you to offload another of Mrs Bletherow’s trunks.”

“Of course, Miss Thompson. If you tell me which one, I shall bring it up to her room.”

She looked up at that, her brows drawing slightly together. “I am not sure, Mr Berry. I know which one it should be in, but Parrish finished the packing. May I come with you?”

He nodded, though the stables were no place for a lady. And Miss Thompson was a lady, and of better birth than Dame Bletherow, unless he missed his guess. Which, come to think of it, might be part of the reason for her illtreatment. Not that a bully needed a reason, beyond opportunity and a suitable victim.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
rss

Complications on WIP Wednesday

I can think of several plot complications from this scene: a painting called The Knight at the Crossroads. Talking raven? His bride’s tombstone? He is really a she?

The devious plotter’s mantra is ‘What can possibly go wrong?’ And I’m nothing if not a devious plotter.

I love to throw complications at my poor characters, the more snarled the better. And I’d enjoy seeing yours. Give me an extract where things are just getting more and more complicated. Here’s mine, a scene from the little story I wrote for my April/May newsletter.

Helen sat holding Olivia until she fell asleep again, and only then tucked her back into the bed. Helen should try to rest herself, but her fears and her plans kept her awake, chasing one another around inside her skull as she lay in the dark staring towards the slightly lighter rectangle of the window.

Eventually, she got up and lit a candle. She wished she had a book to read. If she had known Collingwood had intended to abduct her, she could have put one in her basket. The foolish thought brought a wry smile. If she had known, she and Olivia would have sought her step-son’s escort to the village, or stayed at home. She had thought nothing of the carriage that crept up behind her on the road, just moving to the grass beside the road, while trying to keep Olivia under her umbrella. She had not noticed the two bullies until they seized her and hurled her into the carriage where Edward Collingwood had waited.

It was only the second time she had seen him since she fled her aunt’s house after her father’s death. The first time had been at her husband’s funeral six months ago. For weeks after, she had waited for him to storm in and claim her, though Rick said he would not let it happen. “My father left you to my care, Helen,” he assured her.

The Bancrofts owned their own farm, and were not answerable to the local baron. Dickon Bancroft had married her to protect her and Olivia when Edward uncovered her hiding place with her aunt. But she doubted he could have prevented Edward taking her if Edward had known where she lived. The Collingwoods were gentry, and no-one, common or gentry, had ever held Edward Collingwood accountable for his misdeeds except his cousin Jacob, who had suffered for it when his own father and brother took the villain’s side. The former Lord Collingwood had exiled Jacob because of Edward’s lies. Yes, and Colin Marfield, Jacob’s closest friend.

Helen had always known that staying hidden among the yeoman farmers’ wives was her greatest protection. Who would have thought that paying her last respects to the man she had married would be her downfall?

The inn was quiet. Helen snuffed the candle and stood at the window to study the inn forecourt. The rain had eased to a drizzle, but the creeper-clad walls still dripped their burden of water. All the better. This late on so foul a night, no-one would be tempted into the outdoors, to witness Helen and Olivia as they made their escape.

She eased up the window, taking care to make no noise. She could hear the angry grumble of the river that churned between her and Bancroft Farm, but no matter. It was not worth risking the bridge tonight. Her home this past six years was no longer safe.

Helen had no idea where to go next, but time enough to worry about that. She could only plan as far ahead as she could see. She would get them safely out of this room. She would take shelter somewhere hidden, and wait for the storm and her enemy to go away.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
rss

Adversaries on WIP Wednesday

This will be my last WIP extract from A Raging Madness. By next Wednesday, it will be a published book. So I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a bit about one of my villains. I’d love to see an extract from you about one of your adversaries; not necessarily a villain, but someone that the hero or heroine is in conflict with.

The adversaries in my extract are utterly villainess. My heroine overhears them  plotting to confine her in an asylum for the insane.

“No, Mrs Braxton. Eleanor will not convince them she is sane. I have chosen with care, I tell you. I visited six asylums before this one, and this is perfect for our purposes. The doctor in charge has promised to keep her dosed, and even if he does not, the place itself will drive her insane. If you saw it, heard the noise… Yes, my dear, I can assure you, our plans are sound.”

Constance answered, the whine in her voice grating against Ella’s eardrums. “But what if you are wrong, Edwin? If she convinces someone in authority that she is sane, prison will be the least…”

“No, my dove. Not at all. No one at the asylum will listen to her ravings, and if they did, what of it? Who will they tell? Even in the worst case, all we need do is say her mind was turned after Mother’s death and how glad we are that she is well again.”

“I do not know.” The frown was heavy in Constance’s voice. “But we cannot keep her here. I trust Kerridge, but the other servants may start to murmur. Any one of them might have spoken to that lawyer!”

“The lawyer is gone, my love. He was no harder to send away this time than last.”

“It will drive her insane, you say?” Constance asked.

“It will. I guarantee it. I hesitate to mention it, Mrs Braxton, it not being a topic for a lady’s delicate ears…”

“Spit it out, Edwin. What?”

“My own treasure, I am given to understand that the attendants avail themselves of the, er, charms of the patients and even do a– er– trade with the nearby town. Not, of course, with the approval of the medical staff. No, of course. That would be most unprofessional. But it is most enterprising of them and serves our purposes rather well, dear sister being a comely woman.”

Ella puzzled this out. Surely Edwin did not mean that the attendants forced the women and prostituted them?

“Ah. Very good,” Constance said. “The woman is horribly resilient. Any decent gentlewoman would have succumbed to madness long since with all your brother put her through and what has happened since. But surely even she is not coarse enough to withstand multiple rapes.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
rss

Comedy on WIP Wednesday

Who doesn’t enjoy a book full of humour and fun? Even in a story where grim things are happening, humour lightens the moment, whether it is a bit of slapstick or a wry comment. And romances are, by definition, comedic in the original sense of the term. A comedy, as defined by the Greeks, is a story with a happy ending.

So this week, I’m looking for excerpts with your comedic moments. Give us a belly-laugh, a giggle, or an appreciative smile—or even a raised eyebrow.

Mine is from The Lost Treasure of Lorne, a story I’m writing for the patient Teri, who has forgiven me for falling off the face of the planet since Christmas. I’m finishing it this week, Teri, but this is how it starts.

22nd August 1785

His Grace the Duke of Kendal was digging in the moat again. The unusually dry summer had presented an opportunity he could not resist. With the moat almost empty, even the deepest pools came barely to the hem of his kilt, which, apart from the boots that were out of sight under the murky water, was all that he wore.

At not quite forty years of age, the duke was still a fine figure of a man, broad of shoulder, slim of waist, and well-muscled. Even Caitlin Moffat, that stern moralist his housekeeper, paused at the windows of the long gallery to admire the view before she scolded the maids who were doing the same thing and sent them scurrying back to their tasks. Caitlin stopped for one more glance before resolutely turning away and closing herself in the housekeeper’s pantry with her accounts.

The columns of figures were unlikely to drive the sight of a half-naked duke from her mind, but one could try.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
rss

Uncertain love on WIP Wednesday

Unrequited love.

He loves me, he loves me not. It’s not just a rhyme to chant while picking petals off a daisy or counting cherry stones; it’s an essential tool of the romance writer’s arsenal. We love to give our hero or heroine a bit of uncertainty to raise the stakes, and if each doubts the feelings of the other, all the better.

Do you have an extract to share in the comments where your hero or heroine thinks about or expresses their uncertainty? Or perhaps another character loves the hero or the heroine, and is doomed to disappointment? My expert is from A Raging Madness.

He was very tempted to kiss her but feared to change their relationship. Change it more. They were friends again, as they hadn’t been since she was a young girl and he a cheeky subaltern missing his home and his family.

But she loved him. One should not treat those one loves. That’s what she’d said. Those one loves. Loved how, though? As a friend? As a—Heaven forfend—as a brother?

Even if her love included the large measure of lust that coloured his for her, she had never been available for dalliance. If he tried a kiss, he would be lucky to get away with a slapped face. At worst, she would assume he was courting her. How he wished he could! For the first time in his life, he was experiencing the joys of that happy state, all but the physical intimacies, and he wanted them to go on forever.

But he had no place asking Ella to wed him. All he could offer was a broken crock of a man, made ugly with scars, subject to nightmares, prone to shedding splinters and lumps of metal from his leg.

A bored and useless man, at that. He had been a career officer. What was he now? He had investigated the Chirbury estates as a favour to his cousin, removing the land agents in two of them and buttressing the third with an assistant. But for all it proved to be necessary, the task had started as make-work, and his pride would not let him accept more.

He had no idea what to do with himself, and he certainly would not inflict himself on someone he was fast coming to love.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
rss

Beginnings on WIP Wednesday

A Raging Madness is in the Pending Review queue on Smashwords, and I’m celebrating by writing a short story for next week’s newsletter.

So this week, I’m thinking about beginnings. Use the comments to show us an excerpt of a beginning (of your book or of a chapter). Here’s mine from the as yet unnamed story I’m currently writing. Subscribe to my newsletter if you want to know what happens next.

“It’s too dangerous,” Wakefield reported as he approached, shouting to be heard above the wind and the sound of the brook. Not a brook today; twenty yards of seething roiling water stretched bank to bank, branches and entire trees rolling and colliding in their frantic race to the distant sea.

Blade had waited with the horses while the other two checked whether the bridge was safe to cross. He frowned across at the far bank, just visible between gusts of rain. So close! Natching Brook marked one boundary of the Collingwood lands; another twenty minutes would have seen them at the manor.

But the twenty yards might as well be miles. They’d not end their journey today. Even from here, he could see the bridge shuddering as its piles were battered: by the water, the trees, bits of fence post or building or boat, the occasional pathetic corpse of an animal swept away by the flood. And more. That constant grumbling rumble was boulders washed from the banks and rolled by the force of the brook, a giant watery hand playing at bowls.

The third member of their party joined them. “The bridge at Stenforth may still be passable. The river is wider there.”

“Stenforth has a decent inn,” Blade remembered. “Stop there and carry on in the morning?” He made a question of it, and added a belated “my lord.” Baron Collingwood was eager to return to the ancestral estate that had ejected him so violently ten years ago, but it would be rank foolishness to carry on in this weather at this time of day. He and Col had not survived so much and for so long just too lose all on the last hand.

Col nodded, and within minutes the three of them were mounted and heading back up the river. Col led the way, Wakefield next, and Blade brought up the rear, his eyes scanning constantly for threats, though what villain would be out in this storm was more than he could say.

Here came another corpse, washing towards him on a flat section of planks; a sheep perhaps. No; a white dog, sheep-sized and woolly. It was almost level with him when it lifted its head. Alive? Not for long, in this torrent.

Blade did not stop to think. In moments, he had his horse wrenched around and galloping back to the bridge. He hurled himself onto the rickety structure, stretched full length to distribute his weight, and reached down into the current just in time to grasp the poor beast by handfuls of fur.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
rss

Shopping on WIP Wednesday

Crowe, Eyre; Johnson (1709-1784), Doing Penance in the Market Place 

Do your characters shop? Go to the modiste, the tailor, or the milliner? Buy a horse or a carriage at Tattersalls? Buy flowers from a girl on the corner?

This week, I’m looking for shopping excerpts. Mine is from A Raging Madness, which is coming out on 9 May. (I hope to be adding buy links within the week.) In this scene, my hero and heroine have been forced into travelling disguised as husband and wife, which is causing some discomfort. The market is in the town of Stowe-on-Trent.

They wandered the market, stopping first to buy some meat turnovers, rich in gravy and with crisp, flaky pastry that clung to their fingers so that Alex stopped at another clothing stall to buy a rag for them to wipe their hands. They shared a jug of small beer, and Alex purchased a pear each to crunch on while they continued around the stalls.

Pat returned, and trailed them at a distance, keeping them in sight but leaving them to one another’s company. They bought some supplies to put into the housekeeping on the boat: leaf tea, a ham bone with plenty of meat still on it, some vegetables, a loaf of bread. Alex bought her a bunch of Michaelmas daisies from a flower girl, which she held in the hand not tucked comfortably into the crook of his elbow, warm against his body.

The proximity heightened the thrum of awareness that had been plaguing her for days. Years. For years, she had kept the gorgeous Major Redepenning at a distance with a cool reserve, ruthlessly suppressing any outward signs of her unfortunate reaction to his physical presence.

Under the circumstances, her defences were in ruins. He had rescued her, believed in her, put himself at risk to help her. The least she could do was to respond to his conversational overtures, laugh at his jokes, enter into his plans for the rest of the day. Besides, for at least the rest of the canal trip—weeks though it may be—they had to play the part of newlyweds, whatever that cost her in uncomfortable dreams, asleep and awake.

No other man had ever affected her so. Perhaps if she had lusted for Gervase the way she yearned for Alex, they might have made something of their marriage? But no. Gervase would still have been a bully and a cheat. And besides, by the time she met him, it was too late. She was, sadly, a one-man woman. And Alex—though he would never know—Alex was the man.

A stall selling herbs and elixirs attracted her like a bee to nectar, and she was soon in deep discussion with the stall owner over the bundles and packages and bottles, while Alex leaned against the side of the stall and looked on with a smile.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
rss

Confidantes and Confederates on WIP Wednesday

Who do your main characters confide in? Their confidantes and confederates hear their plans, their worries, and perhaps even the secrets of their hearts. Some give excellent advice. Some slouch off to grumble to their fellows. But we couldn’t do without them.

This week, I’m opening the comment stream to extracts about those secondary characters. My bit is from Farewell to Kindness, published two years ago this coming Saturday. My hero is receiving advice from his enquiry agent, who has been his friend since school. Oh, and yes, that is David Wakefield. This scene comes between the end of Revealed in Mist and the beginning of its sequel, Concealed in Shadow.

As Will left, John appeared with a tray—hot coffee and some bread rolls stuffed with meat and pickle. “Get your mouth around that lot, then. Expect it’ll be a while till we eat again.”

“Rede, I can’t come to Longford with you.” David was back on the balls of his feet again, and leaning slightly towards the door.

“Care to tell me what’s going on, David? Perhaps I can help.”

David paused, then asked, “Was that a special licence you gave Will, by any chance?”

Rede accepted the change of subject, and nodded.

“You love Anne.”

Again he nodded.

“So much you’re willing to give up the revenge you’ve worked three years for.”

“I still think they need to be stopped. Not for revenge, but what they’re doing is evil, David. Anne’s safety comes first, though. Once I know she’s safe, I’ll figure out how to stop the Wades, Spencer and their backer in a way that doesn’t put her at risk.”

“Prue… Mist, I mean—she’s gone, Rede, and I didn’t tell her how I feel.”

“Surely she knows…”

David shook his head. “How? Men make love to women they don’t love every day of the week. How is a woman to know we love them if we don’t say? I need to find her. I need to tell her, and I need to make sure she’s not in danger. I’m sorry, I can’t come with you.”

“No. Don’t be sorry.” Rede clasped David’s hand and gave it a firm shake. “Go well, and look after your lady. I wish you every success.”

“And I you, old friend.” He hesitated again, his heart and body still straining towards the door. “If I think of anything else, I’ll write.”

“Go. Find your lady.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
rss