This week, I have a little bit from my short story, Leap of Faith. This one is a part of the upcoming anthology myself and a few other authors are putting together. The theme is historical fantasy. This particular story is a prequel to an upcoming series, The Coalition of Magic, which takes place before the events of the Gates Trilogy, which will hopefully be reworked and prepared for publication in the distant future.

In this excerpt, the two main characters are interacting for the first time since their initial meeting.

~~~

“Does it make you happy to rile me up?”

Alantha stiffened, sucked in a breath. How had he gotten so close? She really had to stop getting lost in thought. It had been happening too much lately, and now here he was once again invading her personal space with no prior protest or warning from her. And she really should tell him off or push him away, but she couldn’t find the energy to do so. He stared down at her, those amber eyes swirling with gold and shadow. “Well?”

She bit her lip and shrugged.

“I think it does.” He glanced over her shoulder and stepped back an inch or two.

She looked behind her to see Rowena swanning up with a servant in tow. Tea, then. She was expecting Bram to stay. Alantha turned to her with a shake of her head. “Oh, Rowena. That won’t be necessary. Mr.—”

“Ravensdale.”

“Yes, Mr. Ravensdale won’t be staying. In fact…” She cast about, and her gaze landed on his coat and gloves. Alantha picked them up and shoved them into his arms. “He was just going.”

“Yes, I’m afraid your sister has it right, Mrs. Carlyle. I do apologize for the sudden departure, but Miss Alantha mentioned she felt in the mood for a bit of a stroll, and I offered to accompany her. Only around the town, of course. You wouldn’t mind terribly, would you?” He flashed her sister a winning smile.

How dare he? He still hadn’t taken his gloves from her, though he’d accepted his coat, and she clenched them in her fists. How dare he do this to her? She’d asked for no such thing. But she couldn’t accuse him of lying in front of her sister. The look Rowena was giving her told her that she had no say in this. Whether she’d suggested it or not, her sister was determined she would go on that walk with Mr. Ravensdale. She forced a smile, felt it stretch unnaturally across her face. “That’s right. He’s come all this way, so I felt it was only fair I show him what the town has to offer. Would it be a hardship for me to be gone the afternoon, Rowena?”

Rowena was positively beaming. “Of course not!” She bit back an excited squeal. “You two go on.”

“There is just the small matter of a chaperone, of course, ‘Ena.”

The smile disappeared, and Rowena crossed her arms, gave her a look that clearly said: you’ve never wished to be the lady, so don’t you dare act the part now. “I hardly think it necessary. Everyone here is always so keen to keep an eye on one another that I doubt anyone would let anything slip that was untoward. Off you go, then.”

Alantha’s cheeks burned with a mixture of rage and embarrassment. “Rowena. We absolutely must take a chaperone. People will talk.”

Bram took his gloves from her with a soft smile. “Let them. It hardly matters to me what a bunch of strangers think.”

“It matters to me! If they see me parading about with you with no chaperone in sight, they will come up with the most awful scenarios they can. I’ll be the talk of the town. This is England, not some backwards town in a backwards country. It matters here.” She put her hands on her hips, ignored Rowena’s exasperated sigh. “Do not think, sir, that you can trick me into—”

Bram offered her a slightly sadder smile. “I would never do such a thing. It is but a walk, my lady. Surely there’s no harm in it. If you wish, we can take my carriage to the park outside of town. People there would be less likely to gossip.”

~~~

That’s it for this week, folks! I’d love to know what you’re working on. Feel free to share in the comments!

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