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Authors: Genella DeGrey

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Cat and Mouse

BOOK: Cat and Mouse
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Table of Contents

Legal Page

Title Page

Book Description

Dedication

Trademarks Acknowledgement

Author’s Note

Glossary of Lower-class Victorian Slang

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

New Excerpt

About the Author

Publisher Page

A Totally Bound Publication

Cat and Mouse

ISBN #
978-1-78184-891-3

©Copyright Genella DeGrey 2013

Cover Art by Posh Gosh ©Copyright December 2013

Edited by Sue Meadows

Totally Bound Publishing

This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Totally Bound Publishing.

Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Totally Bound Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.

The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.

Published in 2013 by Totally Bound Publishing,
Newland House, The Point, Weaver Road, Lincoln, LN6 3QN

Warning:

This book contains sexually explicit content which is only suitable for mature readers. This story has a
heat rating
of
Totally Burning
and a
Sexometer
of
2.

This story contains 164 pages, additionally there is also a
free excerpt
at the end of the book containing 4 pages.

CAT AND MOUSE

Genella DeGrey

A proper lady would never steal or lie

nor would she enjoy the sting of her lover’s hand upon her posterior.

Fortune has frowned upon Miss Katrina Harwood. After the passing of her father and the sale of their possessions, she’s found herself at the mercy of London’s underbelly, and what’s worse, she’s now a vital member of the East Side Den of Thieves, even though she’s entirely miserable. Every day is a battle between her morals and the need to survive—and every day takes her further from a solution to her dilemma. During one of her many missions to lighten the pockets of the well-to-do, she finds herself in a precarious position—over the knee of her would-be victim. The impression he leaves on her bottom is one she won’t soon forget, or fail to yearn for.

During the previous London ‘season’, Maxwell Courtland married off his little sister Susannah to an up-and-coming barrister. Now, Susannah is trying to convince Max that it’s time for him to settle down, a prospect that he finds completely disagreeable owing to the fact that he cannot abide the women she’s chosen for him. When he catches an adorable thief trying to make off with the family silver, he never imagines that a little game of cat and mouse will lead to falling for someone so unconventional and yet so tempting.

Dedication

To Helena and Tim

In gratitude for your inspiration and fathomless talents—may you be blessed with abundance, always.

A special thanks to Mark T. for the invaluable tutelage.

Trademarks Acknowledgement

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

The Times
: News Corp Group

Through The Looking Glass
: Lewis Carroll

Author’s Note

In desperate times when our own mortality is placed into our hands, it matters not what society thinks or says. One does what one must to remain alive. There is something within each of us called the survival instinct. We are born with it and it will kick in when the similar fight or flight instinct is drawn from the depths of our souls.

Many of my heroines have been called, ‘too modern’ for the time periods in which I write. Taking into consideration the human survival instinct, and the fact that my stories are fictional, the actions of my players have never faltered from their fictive human archetypes and the sticky situations in which they find themselves.

I will continue to write relatable, strong heroines as I know my discerning readers will be amused by them and come back again and again for more.

Glossary of Lower-class Victorian Slang

—Source: tlucretius.net

Fine wirer—a highly skilled pickpocket

Firkytoodling—17th century term meaning ‘fondling’; Victorian slang for f**king.

Luggers—earrings

Penny gaff—low or vulgar theatre

Roger — (v) 1 the act of sex, 2 to f**k. Rogered, Rogering, etc.

Scurf—an exploitive employer or gang leader

Snatch—(n) a pickpocket or (v) stealing in a crowd

Take down—to steal

Ticker—a watch

Chapter One

The London Season, 1898

Does she have to be so bloody loud?
The woman mewled like a cat in heat
. For God’s sake, it’s only a
rogering
.

From underneath the partially refurbished rig in a fashionable London town house’s repair shed, Katrina waited, ice pick in hand, for the perfect opportunity. Thankfully, the woman, who may or may not have been in the throes of passion, was too occupied with her ear-piercing song to notice when her overly-gauche diamond necklace, heavy with its glittering jewels, slid round to dangle from the back of her neck. The woman must have been hanging halfway out of the buggy door, for the top of her blonde head nearly swept the ground. Had the lamed rig wheels been attached, her coif wouldn’t be in danger of attracting bits of hay and dirt from the floor—then again, Katrina wouldn’t have been so well hidden in the moonlight-dappled buggy port.

It was now or never. Eyeing the stone she’d chosen to detach from the ensemble, Katrina adjusted the instrument of liberation in her grip.

The woman who’d been vocalising her crisis, feigned or not, quieted.

“Come, Mrs Fowler, this is no time for your silence,” the man doing the firkytoodling, and the front row centre recipient of her concert, hissed in a strangled whisper.

“Shut up, you lout. I’m almost there,” she retorted.

At once the padded bench squeaked with the vigour of a thief fleeing a crime scene. Katrina reached out to grasp the winking stone between her fingers when all at once, the entire necklace fell to the floor.

“Stop! I’ve lost my necklace!”

Katrina shrank to the opposite side, deeper into the shadows, her breath trapped inside her petrified lungs, and watched as the woman scrambled out of the cab to retrieve her bauble.

The wayward wife snatched it from the dirty ground and huffed out an exasperated-sounding breath. “I’ve had enough sport for one evening, sir.”

After a few feeble protestations from the man, Mrs Fowler’s pink slippers hit the dirt floor with a soft smack. She stepped a dusty, silk-clad foot into each of them and hastened from the repair shed.

Katrina’s angst about being caught quickly transformed to anger. However, she found it unnecessary to verbalise her internal monologue. Readying to dismount from his makeshift love nest, the man let loose a string of scalding swearwords worthy of a sailor writing his memoirs.

She hated this—hated stealing—hated her life. And it was all her father’s fault.
Damn his dead drunken soul to the Devil
!

* * * *

“I almost had it—it dangled not a pinch away from my fingertips. Had the woman’s paramour been more efficient, I would have the entire necklace for you.” Katrina flopped onto the nearest love seat in the dingy warehouse turned multi-nook lair. The scent of dust, likely belched up from the old seat, permeated her nostrils, causing her to hold her breath for a scant second or two.

Mr Brenner sat upon the lumpy, mouldering cushion next to her. If any of the thieves who ranked above Katrina in the self-imposed hierarchy of the Den knew she could get an audience with Mr Brenner any time she chose, she’d likely be pulled into a dark alley one night and experience a thrashing for doing so. One didn’t presume to be familiar with their superiors, even in the underbelly of society.

“You know, love, no one ever said life is a late-afternoon stroll through Hyde Park.”

Katrina nodded and scratched her nose on the back of her fingerless black glove as he snaked his arm round her shoulders.

“And regrettably, there is no prize, nor quarter given, for a botched mission.” He pulled her close so that her shoulder acted like a wedge beneath his pungent underarm.
Thank heavens for the barrier of his thick coat
. She’d smelt that pit of spoiled soup up close the very night he’d taken her under his wing—and taken her virginity as payment for the tiny space he’d let to her and the one trunk of gowns she’d refused to part with. He’d convinced her it wasn’t whoring herself out, merely forging a contract between two friends.

However, Mr Brenner was
not
her friend. No, he was more like an accidental acquaintance. In her wildest dreams, she’d never have pictured herself in the same room with the sort of man who was even now attaching himself to her side like a leech.

“But I was so close!” The tears that threatened to form sounded in her voice.

“Do you know what tonight is?”

The abrupt change of subject knocked her off topic so fast it took her logic by surprise. “What?”

“Tonight marks the second month with us here at the well-oiled machine that is the East Side Den of Thieves. And you know what that means?”

She attempted to pull away discreetly. “But I tried—I’ve
been
trying to pick pockets and lift trinkets from the more fortunate of London—”

“I understand, I truly do. However, you agreed, of your own free will, to my payment terms. Had you been able to make rent in a more fiscal way, we wouldn’t have need for a
physical
reimbursement, would we?”

Panic welled in her belly. Katrina would do anything to keep Mr Brenner’s greasy attentions at bay—even if she had to pilfer a ring from the hand of Queen Victoria herself. “Wait. I—I just remembered something.” She disentangled herself from him, rose and walked to the doorway—the workings in her head turning with purpose as she went. That ball tonight was a public affair, which meant anyone could come and go as they pleased. “I shall return before sunrise.”

“My dear, the terms are the same if it’s midnight or six in the morning.”

BOOK: Cat and Mouse
7.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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