Thursday, August 13, 2009

Excerpt The Wager coming in November from Awe-struck

Coast of England 1816

"It's a bloody cursed day." Damian Andrews swept the child into his arms and waded through the pounding surf to the beach. He braced himself against the out-going current then sloshed through the crashing waves. Salt spray clung to the wind, stinging his nostrils.

Damian turned. Beneath his ribs, his heart pounded the cadence hard and fast. He swore again as he watched the captain shout orders to his crew. The French brandy that was supposed to have arrived this night would have to wait.

Standing in the longboat, the captain of the ship that brought the refugees held a torch aloft--the only light in the vast darkness. "Hurry, laddie. The tide is changing."

The little girl whimpered.

Damian pulled her close, bent on protecting her at all cost. "It's all right. You will all be together soon." Yet Damian knew this was only the beginning of their long journey. From here, they would flee to the colonies. Religious and political refugees--at times it seemed they came in droves. All were seeking a better life. A life of freedom. "Your mother is coming as well as your baby brother. You will all be safe."

Damian looked to the captain. "The brandy?" he queried.

"On the ship. There is no time now. You must hurry."

The child leaned into Damian, her little face nuzzling his shoulder, her silent sobs gut-wrenching. He pulled her closer, cursing at the elements as well as mankind and wishing he could find a way to shield the tiny child from all harm. He knew the feat to be impossible. The little girl touched a place in his heart and for a moment filled that broken space with light.

Aye, the mother would be with her children, but the father had chosen to follow later. A grievous circumstance. He had learned long ago one could come to regret such rash actions. And he’d also learned one could lose all chance at love in one instant.

Lord, but he’d lost his concentration and in losing that, he could well lose his edge.

No secrets--no lies. The thought haunted him.

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