London 1654: Kit Lovell is one of the King’s men, a disillusioned Royalist who passes his time cheating at cards, living off his wealthy and attractive mistress, and plotting the death of Oliver Cromwell.
Penniless and friendless, Thamsine Granville has lost everything. Terrified, in pain, and alone, she hurls a piece of brick at the coach of Oliver Cromwell, and earns herself an immediate death sentence. Only the quick thinking of a stranger saves her.
Far from the bored, benevolent rescuer that he seems, Kit plunges Thamsine into his world of espionage and betrayal – a world that has no room for falling in love.
Torn between Thamsine and loyalty to his master and King, Kit’s carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. He must make one last desperate gamble – the cost of which might be his life.
(Thamsine and Kit)
Every time the door to the taproom opened, Thamsine looked around. It had been a week since she had last seen Kit Lovell, and as the other men slipped into the private parlour, she knew tonight he would come. She felt her heart skip a beat with anticipation.
Nan passed her with two full jacks of ale.
‘You’re like a she-cat on heat,’ she remarked. ‘He’ll be here soon enough. In the meantime, go and make yourself useful. There’s tables to be wiped and those ’prentices over yon could do with some female company.’
Thamsine cast a glance at the table of rowdy ’prentices and shuddered. If they required female company, they could look elsewhere. Instead she tightened her apron strings, pulled the grimy rag from the pocket and began the task of wiping down the long oak table.
‘Well, well, I hardly recognized you.’
At the sound of Kit’s voice she looked up, unable to stop the smile that crept to her lips.
He stood back and looked at her with a critical eye. ‘The black eye is now a fetching shade of yellow. As for the clothes, the bodice is perhaps a little immodest and the petticoats a little short, perhaps, but you pass.’
Thamsine looked down at the clean, serviceable, but faded cloth of the petticoats and tugged at the gaping bodice.
‘The twins found them for me. The previous owner was a little shorter and rather fuller of figure,’ she said ruefully.
‘Well, Lovell.’ Jem Marsh sauntered over and placed a hand on Thamsine’s shoulder. ‘Quite a little find you dropped on my doorstep. Broken just about every dish in my kitchen and dropped more jacks of ale than I can count, but she has one redeeming feature.’
Kit raised an eyebrow. ‘And that is?’
‘Voice of an angel.’ Jem waved a hand around the crowded taproom. ‘See this crowd? All thanks to her.’
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Award winning Australian author, Alison Stuart learned her passion from history from her father. She has been writing stories since her teenage years but it was not until 2007 that her first full length novel was published. Alison has now published 6 full length historical romances and a collection of her short stories. Her disposition for writing about soldier heroes may come from her varied career as a lawyer in the military and fire services. These days when she is not writing she is travelling and routinely drags her long suffering husband around battlefields and castles.
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Twitter: @AlisonStuart14 https://twitter.com/AlisonStuart14