INTO THE BLACK
Well, for those of you familiar with Shehanne Moore—author of taut, emotion-laden historical romances with more edge than Jack the Ripper’s blade—you’ll know she likes nothing better than raising the bar. The woman’s fearless. She also enjoys a good challenge…setting them that is. I want a guest post on ‘security’ she elbowed (demanded). To help birth ‘Loving Lady Lazuli’ into the world. And, after a jostled retreat from my own heroes, Nick, Jack and Will, Nick Marshall stepped up, hiding his concern of travelling back across the centuries. Yes, he feared for how his diction might change, but in truth, he feared for his baubles more. This was one recital for which he did not want to provide security.
Anyway, I’m replicating the post below (almost in its entirety)…you’ll be pleased to know Nick’s baubles survived the time travel intact—just ask Anna, in Hard to Hold when it hits the e-shelves in April 2014, because she should know.
To Catch A Thief
There is a gulp, maybe a charm, of magpies aflight in the area. Clever, devious thieves hell bent on gathering baubles and sparkles. And then there’s the recital. An evening of entertainment. A social gathering of the gem bedecked. A prize opportunity for those who would purloin. An imperative that they be denied. Dev (hero in Loving Lady Lazuli) won’t be played for a fool. Not again. No jewels will be disappearing this night. History is for the making, not the repeating. Hence, Dev’s turned to his friend Marshall for assistance, a spy, a master of security, a man as relentless (and reckless) in the pursuit of pleasurable escape as he. Come, let us eavesdrop on their preparations.
Dev: “I’m not arming my footmen with pistols. Chances are they’d shoot me up the arse. It’s security I’m requesting, not a damned firing squad.”
Marshall: “So you don’t trust your own staff?”
Dev: “I don’t trust anyone.”
Marshall: “Wise, given your unfortunate experience, but…”
Dev: “No pistols! I can’t abide swooning females, and they’ll fall like swans shot at the sight of a weapon. It’s the godforsaken fashion.”
Marshall: “Then I’ll use my own men. They know how to be discreet. And whilst on the subject of discretion, kindly have the place aired before tonight. Opium’s not a scent to impress, not if the ladies are as delicate as you suggest. I had thought you’d forsaken that particular pleasure.”
Dev’s response, a half-muted muttering, is too filthy to share, but suffice to say Marshall, a champion of gutter language and anatomical description, barked a laugh of respect and admiration.)
Marshall: (sobering) “My men. My rules. They’ll be patrolling the grounds and the corridors. You stick with the brandy if you’ve a need for numbness, but I want you alert. And present. No disappearing with a lady (or two). Not tonight. In fact, I’ll be sealing all doors so the only caress you can expect is if our suspicions become aroused—then I’ll allow you a search of the culprit. Count your luck should the thieving bastard prove to be female.”
Hard Men the Hard Way