Here is another bitty bit from my new release, a cop/sf/farce. In this scene, Bel wakes to find her kidnapper sending away someone Bel had hoped to use to send a message to her friends. “Ven” is a gender-neutral replacement for Mr., Mrs., Miss and Ms.
He bolted the door and leaned against it, listening to the woman’s heavy footsteps easing down the stairs. A ribbon several shades darker than his sky-blue eyes dangled from his hand.
When the woman had gone, he turned to Bel and sketched a bow.
“Connell Morgan,” he said. “At your service.”
Bel frowned what she hoped was a terrible frown and said, “You’ll regret this!”
Morgan smiled and went to one knee next to Bel’s divan. “No, I won’t,” he assured her. “How’s the head?”
“Among other things.”
Morgan lifted Bel into a sitting position. He fetched a glass of buff-colored liquid from the table.
“Drink some of this.”
“What is it?”
“A local concoction. Relieves pain, promotes healing. The Wandering Tribes use it, and it seems to work.”
Morgan put the glass into Bel’s bound hands. She considered dashing the liquid in his face but, although such an action would be dramatic, and would make a stirring illustration in an action comic, she realized it would also be extremely stupid.
So she drank it, instead. It tasted like a vanilla malted with a kick to it.
“Now, just lean back and let it take effect,” Morgan said. He took the glass back to the table, out of the reach of someone who might possibly want to use it as a weapon.
He looked down at the blue ribbon he still held. “This is yours, isn’t it?” He tied it in Bel’s hair. “It becomes you. Brings out the gold in your eyes.”
He sat next to Bel on the divan. Very next.
Bel absent-mindedly dug an elbow into his ribs until he moved away.
“Was I crowding you? Do forgive me.”
The pain in Bel’s head subsided. “What’s your name again?”
“Connell Morgan. My friends call me Connell. I want you to call me Connell, because I want you to be my friend.” He turned on the smile. “And you? I mean, I know who you are, but what is your name?”
“My name is Isobel Enid Schuster. My friends call me Bel. I want you to call me Ven Schuster, because I want you to untie me, unlock the door, and drop dead.”
“I sense a certain amount of hostility,” said Morgan, as if this were an insight.
“That’s coming from me, that hostility you sense,” said Bel. “People slamming my head upside a wall tend to bring out the worst in me.”
“Now, now, my dear young woman,” Connell protested, growing somewhat defensive. “An accident, I assure you. I only wanted to prevent your bashing my head in with a club. You should have let go of it. It was more your fault than mine you were hurt, you know. I never meant for you to hit the wall; it was purely an unhappy chance. You can hardly hold me responsible for the vagaries of Fate, can you?”
Bel didn’t answer.
“Well, can you?” Morgan’s eyes opened wide with boyish innocence.
Bel knew that look well from the classroom. It was the sure sign of a scoundrel.
“Tell me why,” Bel said at last. “Why? A woman who’s just had her money belt snatched is a poor prospect for robbery. And, if you planned to commit a crime against my person, you wouldn’t have carried me off to tend my wounds.”
“I had no intention of committing a crime against your person,” said Connell. “Not my style of thing at all. Good God, what do you take me for?”
“Untie me and give me back my club and I’ll tell you.”
FORCE OF HABIT is available for a mere $2.99 at Amazon for Kindle, at Barnes & Noble for Nook, and in many fine electronic formats at Smashwords and OmniLit. Your patronage is much appreciated. Don’t forget to enter the contest to win this or another of my eBooks, a MomGoth’s Sweet Little Baby Angels pin or your name in a short story.
WRITING PROMPT: What crime would your villain NEVER commit?