Glass Coffin Excerpt

Only stalkers and men of ill-repute watched women from behind street corners and lampposts and carriages. William felt like both, but he could not keep her out of his sight.

He’d only just arrived in Everdale an hour before, and, to his surprise, he saw her immediately, Trudy, not fifteen paces away. He should have talked to her. Instead, he’d hidden.

William was a coward. He felt like a coward. He did cowardly things out of fear. Fear, his biggest weakness.

Fear made men do strange and peculiar things.

Fear made men travel hundreds of miles away from home to stay alive. Fear made men drink more than they should to forget the past — though William hadn’t drank in over five days, since he’d first left Darenset. And he felt it too. Every bit of him begged for a drink, only one, to take the edge off. Only one to chase the nightmares away.

Without the alcohol, William dreamed. In his dreams, he remembered everything. The fire. Lord Ravenston’s face. Losing Trudy. Blackmail by Mr. Dodsworth — a man even more evil than himself. Mr. Dodsworth was a ‘sin collector’, a man who collected the misdeeds of both the titled and commoners and used them against anyone he wished when the time suited him. Though William knew he shouldn’t judge. He had no way of being saved. What he’d done… He would never be forgiven. He didn’t deserve it.

He hadn’t meant to set the fire. No, that was a lie. He’d meant exactly to set the fire. Revenge and all. He’d just never meant for anyone to get hurt.

The fact that someone had, Nicholas Wellington — the Beast — well, it was fitting. William knew he’d never be forgiven. Not for the fire or what he’d done to his best friend, Vaughan, Earl of Brighton.

But, even with all that, even with the fact that he knew he’d spend his eternity in hell, William made the conscious decision to not drink — to try, try, to do good. He might never, in his mind, make it to the Pearly Gates, but he would do his damnedest to never hurt another living soul.

He never should have chosen Everdale; he knew that now. Not after he saw her. He should have hopped right back on the first carriage out of town and headed… somewhere. Anywhere. This was supposed to be a place to start over, refresh, and move on.

How could he move on with her beautiful face taunting him?

So, he crouched behind carriages and behind corners, watching, waiting, and gawking.

The first time his gaze had slid passed her, he hadn’t recognized her.

Gertrude — Trudy — Dodsworth had become more of a lady since that fateful night six months ago. Her long red hair that had always lain in unruly curls, the tresses he wanted so much to run his fingers through, to pull her toward him and take her lips on his, was piled atop her head like all the proper ladies. William understood pomp and circumstance. He understood the ways of the world, more than most. However, he missed seeing those wild locks. The girl who, though wealthy and well-brought-up, always had a wildness about her. But not around her father. No, she was too smart for that. Frederick Dodsworth would have scared the devil. He sure as hell scared William.

Around her father, Trudy was the perfect lady. Around William, it was completely different.

In Darenset, their encounters had come about unintentionally at first. They’d run into each other, literally, as he rounded a street corner on the way to Vaughan’s residence, and she’d come bounding around the other direction. She’d ended up on her bottom. William had wound up red-faced and apologetic.

Then, the most wonderful thing had happened.

She’d laughed.

A proper young lady, laughed at him — not at him. Not like he’d done something wrong, but a light-hearted chuckle. People around them had stopped and stared, but the girl hadn’t seemed to mind. She’d taken William’s extended hand, and he’d pulled her upright.

He’d found out later that she’d escaped her chaperone because she’d only wanted a few minutes to herself. Her father wouldn’t allow it. Trudy had always assumed he’d been afraid someone would hurt her. William figured it was because he had to control every single situation. Even his daughter.

Especially his daughter.

Time went on, and they continued to run into each other. William found that he looked forward to those meetings most in the world. Not the ones with the important folks that he had to attend. No, he daydreamed about Trudy, about pulling her into his arms, about things he knew he should not even consider.

Then came her ball, her coming-out party. And William had never felt more alive… and more scared. He’d known it meant that she’d start courting. Other men would be able to meet her, unless he asked her father for her hand. William had a title, a good title, anybody — well, most people — would love their daughter to marry above her station.

Not Mr. Dodsworth.

The answer had sullied William’s spirit, and he’d done something he never in his life imagined he’d do; he had set a blaze to Dodsworth’s textile factory.

He’d stood there and watched it burn.

Then he’d heard the screams.

Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.com/B01BL1A8WG
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1RmMy4L
Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/25rl6sQ
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/22SbkO2
B&N: http://bit.ly/1SfjYyL
iBooks: http://apple.co/1ZFGUwy
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1SfkGfq

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Glass Coffin Excerpt

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s