Authors: Raven McAllan
Copyright© 2012 Raven
Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is
No part of this book may be
used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission,
except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any
resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or
dead, is entirely coincidental.
me believe I can, listening to my late night moans and providing virtual
To Cherie for my amazing web and blog sites, and the girls of UCW for
who puts up with dust bunnies, forgotten meals and a lap top permanently glued
to my hand.
all at Evernight Publishing who gave me this chance.
The House on
The man who stood in front of her was an immovable object.
thought, one could almost say he was the
epitome of the great ape she had seen at Exeter Exchange the week before.
Except, it was possible that was doing any great ape an injustice. The one she
had perused had intelligence and humor in his eyes. This man, she decided, had
neither. He was overlarge in every way possible. Not only was he so tall she had
to crane her neck to look up to him—and she herself was not a short woman—he
had wide shoulders and an impressive girth.
All bulk and no
She decided he was not a person to mess with.
"I have to enter," she said for the third time. It
was obvious he’d heard her. His eyelids had widened at her words, therefore, he
could not be deaf. Would persistence pay off? Her body quivered with worry. She
put her hands into her muff to ensure he did not see the way they trembled.
"I must speak to Viscount Willingham." Once she
found him, she would shake her brother.
Until his teeth
"I know he is within." She stopped to gather her thoughts.
The ape needed to be made aware of the urgency of her demand. "It is of
paramount importance." How she managed not to stamp her foot, either on or
off his instep, Ara could not be certain. She held onto her temper with the
greatest of difficulty. It had long been one of her personal diktats that more
flies were caught with honey than vinegar, for all that she wished to be
Damn Willingham, why he had to slope off to his club when so
much was at stake she would never know.
Actually, I do know. His cock
aches and his balls are blue. This is the only way that he is able to sate
them. If I had those appendages, I fear I would be in the same state. As it is
my mound is damp and my nipples hard as I imagine the delights to be had
ape had cleared his throat.
"Sorry, marm. This is a private members club." Was
that a glimmer of pity she could see in his dark eyes?
"You are not a member.
Invited guests, who have been notified to us
well in advance.
No deviations from the rules, more than my job's worth.
And I have no knowledge of such a person."
Now that I know to be a lie.
I have oft followed him when he departs in a certain set of clothes. Those he
wore tonight when he visited me were they.
She opened her mouth to protest, just as he
moved to one side. The door opened and a masked and caped gentleman exited the
door and doffed his cap.
saw the coin that passed
"And tipping the doorman is allowed?" she asked in
a voice deceptive in its mildness. The doorman flushed.
"It is none of
your business. Now, may I flag a hackney for you? It is getting late."
She shook her head.
members of the ton, they would just be going to bed after an evening of
frivolity. Only she, it seemed, was missing such jollities. "It is a
matter of life and death. I beg you."
And how it irks me to beg.
At least pass him a message and I
will wait here until he exits." She opened her reticule for a tablet and
"No, I've told you. I know of no such person. Just
leave now, before either of us is in trouble. This is not for the likes of you."
He glared at her as if he dared her to argue. Predictably, she did.
"You lie. He is here, and so it seems am I. I will—I
speak to him somehow."
He took a step towards her and took hold of her arm. Before
he had a chance to do anything else, she jammed him in his ample stomach with
her elbow. Caught unawares, the man bent over with a wheeze as he gasped in
pain. "No need for violence, miss, you can't go in and you can't stop
here. That's final. You'll put the members off coming."
choked on a splutter. Luckily
the ape didn't see his double entendre.
"Oh, I think I
can." She looked at the flags below her feet and mentally sighed. It was
lucky her pelisse was dark, and the pavement dry.
"Do both," she said as he stared at
her. His expression was one of bewilderment. With a gentle touch,
patted his arm. "No matter, you cannot be held
responsible for your imbecility." With a shrug of one elegant shoulder,
she lowered herself to the ground and sat down.
"Hey, you can't go and do that." He looked
agitated. "It's not right, a lady on the floor."
That was not what she had heard.
smiled, and her eyes narrowed. His face mottled as if he was a turkey about to
have his neck rung.
"Miss, Marm." His voice was hoarse. "Please,
for the love of God, remove yourself. It is dark, 'tis not safe for the likes
of you. And,"—he rolled his eyes—"you'll get me sacked, so you will."
She may sympathize, but could not back down now. Too much rested on seeing her brother.
"May I go
He shook his head. His hands clenched and unclenched.
she did not feel, she took one of
the latest editions from Hookham's Circulating Library out of her spacious
reticule and began to read. The lamp was perfectly placed to allow her to see
the print. Nonetheless such was her agitation, it could have been written in
Latin for all she understood. Her anxiety was too high to concentrate on
The stone flags were cold, the night air chilly, and her
pelisse nowhere near
enough to ward of the
chill as it seeped into her.
My arse will be frozen. It
will need a great deal of heat to warm it.
Well, she thought, it seemed she was
almost in the right place to rectify that.
Ten minutes passed. She flicked the pages in an attempt to
look enthralled. Another cloaked and masked figure approached, took one look at
her, and hurried away. Twenty more minutes ticked by on the church clock she
could spy over the rooftops. Three more mysterious people later, all who
declined to approach, and she could feel the waves of frustration emanating from
the doorman. He had eventually stopped rubbing his stomach, and had taken to
glaring at her from a safe distance.
At last the door opened and light streamed out, sending long
shadows towards her. Ara wished she had not chosen a gothic horror story to
read. Mrs. Fuller's prose was enough to send thrill and chills through her
without any encouragement.
A tall, elegant, unmasked gentleman stepped out. After one
brief look, she kept her head down. It was one thing to suspect, another to
have her suspicions confirmed.
"Leyton, we are several members short," he said as
he addressed the ape.
"To say nothing of the
Is there any reason they should be held up?"
It seemed the doorman was the so-called Leyton. Out of the
corner of her eye, Ara saw him gesture to her. Her seat was partially screened
by a bush from the doorway, but noticeable to anyone who approached from the
street. She had chosen that particular set of flags on purpose.
"The lady over there, my lord.
She has a particular yen to
see Viscount Willingham, even though I told her I knew no such person."
Had those last words been emphasized? Ara chose not to move. All of a sudden, a
frozen arse seemed the last of her worries. This evening was proving to take a
very different direction from the one she had expected.