Charlotte, now the Countess of Wrexford, would like nothing more than a summer of peace and quiet with her new husband and their unconventional family and friends. Still, some social obligations must be honored, especially with the grand Peace Celebrations unfolding throughout London to honor victory over Napoleon.
But when Wrexford and their two young wards, Raven and Hawk, discover a body floating in Hyde Park's famous lake, that newfound peace looks to be at risk. The late Jeremiah Willis was the engineering genius behind a new design for a top-secret weapon, and the prototype is missing from the Royal Armory's laboratory. Wrexford is tasked with retrieving it before it falls into the wrong hands. But there are unsettling complications to the case—including a family connection.
Soon, old secrets are tangling with new betrayals, and as Charlotte and Wrexford spin through a web of international intrigue and sumptuous parties, they must race against time to save their loved ones from harm—and keep the weapon from igniting a new war . . .
Release date: September 27, 2022
Publisher: Kensington Books
Print pages: 304
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
Listen to a sample
Murder at the Serpentine Bridge
The Earl of Wrexford paused to survey the surroundings. It was just past midnight, and the mild evening was beginning to show some teeth. A gust swirled, nipping through the darkness and rustling the leaves of the nearby trees. The air had turned chilly and was heavy with the threat of impending rain.
Wrexford sighed and turned up the collar of his coat. Much as he would have preferred to be sitting comfortably in his workroom with a book and brandy in hand, he and his three companions had just entered Hyde Park through the Stanhope Gate and were now making their way along the footpath leading toward the Serpentine—
“Wrex! Wrex!” The shout rose from somewhere close by.
A moment later, Hawk, the younger of the two boys accompanying him, broke free of the mist, nearly tripping as he tried to keep pace with an iron-grey hound, whose large size and fearsome jaws caused many people to mistake him for a wolf. “May I let Harper off his leash now?”
Squinting against the gloom, Wrexford took a last look around the vast swath of meadowland and wooded groves. “Aye, lad,” he answered. “But remember what I said—I expect you and your brother to keep the beast from wreaking any havoc, or else there will be no further nocturnal forays.”
In truth, given the hour, there was little danger of running into any difficulties. However, he had sensed that the boys wanted to feel they were having a slightly risky adventure. They were used to having unfettered freedom to roam the city as they pleased. However, their lives had recently undergone a momentous change.
As has mine . . .
A happy woof drew him back to the moment as Hawk unfastened the length of leather from Harper’s collar. The hound danced a few circles around the boy and then loped off into the nearby grove of elms.
“After him, lads!” called the earl. Few people ventured into the park after dusk—and those who did usually preferred to remain unseen. Still, he didn’t wish to take any chances.
Raven, Hawk’s older brother, appeared from out of nowhere and let out a snicker as he fell in step beside the earl. “Ha! As if there’s any reason for alarm.”
“With you two Weasels, there’s always reason to expect mayhem,” replied Wrexford. During his first encounter with the brothers, Raven had stuck a knife in his leg and Hawk had hit him with a broken bottle . . . All with good cause, he conceded, as they thought he was threatening Charlotte Sloane.
The earl made a wry face as the footpath led into the trees. Life’s journey was full of strange twists and turns. Much to everyone’s surprise, that initial angry confrontation had softened into friendship. And then . . .
A smile touched his lips. The unexpected alliance had deepened in ways that defied words. He and Charlotte had recently married, and Raven and Hawk, the two wild urchin orphans she had taken under her wing, had become his legal wards. They were all now a family—an unconventional one, to be sure. But perhaps that made the bonds even stronger.
“I’ve already checked the area,” continued Raven. “There’s nobody around.” A pause. “And you know as well as we do that Harper wouldn’t hurt a flea.”
“That’s because the beast has grown as spoiled and lazy as a dowager’s lapdog,” retorted the earl. “However, I’d rather he didn’t frighten someone to death.”
“You know”—the boy fixed him with a cheeky grin—“you should show a little more respect for Harper. After all, he recently saved your life.”
“And you should show a little more respect for me,” said Wrexford. “I’m considered a very dangerous man to annoy.”
The boy made a rude sound. “Like Harper, your bark is worse than your bite.”
“Don’t be insolent, Weasel,” he growled.
Which only drew a laugh from Raven. The earl had called the boys “Weasels” during that first attack, and the moniker had stuck, much to their hilarity.
Wrexford scowled, though the corners of his mouth betrayed a twitch of amusement.
A bark sounded from beyond the trees.
“You had better go keep your brother and Harper from getting into any real mischief,” he said. “The Serpentine is quite deep at this end of the park, and I don’t fancy having to fish either of them out of the water.”
The boy nodded and darted off, a fast-moving blur that was quickly swallowed in the shadows.
Leaves rustled as the breeze swirled again. From somewhere in the trees came the twitter of a nightingale. Wrexford continued on at a leisurely pace, his thoughts straying once again to family. As a man ruled by the principles of reason and scientific logic, he had always thought himself immune to the vagaries of love. And yet, Charlotte Sloane had taken hold of his heart in ways he couldn’t begin to define.
A chuckle rumbled deep in his throat. So much for logic.
He couldn’t imagine life without her.
Indeed, their recent marriage had proven—
“Harper!” Hawk’s cry shattered the stillness. “Nooooo!”
Damnation. Wrexford quickened his steps . . .
At the sound of a loud splash, he broke into a run. To his knowledge, the boys didn’t know how to swim.
As he burst free of the trees, he caught a glimpse of the moon-dappled Serpentine up ahead, but the flitting shadows around the lake’s edge made it impossible to discern what was going on.
Where were they?
“Raven!” he shouted, feeling as if his heart was about to leap into his throat. “Hawk!”
“Here, sir!” A muffled answer floated up from the terraced stone embankment edging the end of the lake.
As the earl scrambled over the rough terrain to join the boys, he spotted the big hound swimming through the murky water, dark ripples trailing in his wake.
“What the devil—”
“S-Something spooked Harper,” explained Hawk. “His hackles rose, and then, before I could grab him, he let out a bark and leaped into the lake. I—”
“Holy hell—there’s something floating out there,” said Raven in a tight voice. “It looks like . . .”
Wrexford saw it, too. “Get back, lads,” he ordered. “I want you both well away from the water’s edge.”
The edge of alarm in his voice must have warned them not to argue. Raven took his brother’s hand and quickly led him off to the grassy verge.
Looking back to Harper, Wrexford saw the hound had taken hold of the dark shape with his teeth and was laboring to tow it back to shore. The earl glanced around. To his left, the stone embankment ended, giving way to a bank of earth, rocks, and grass.
“Harper, Harper!” Waving his arms, he picked his way to a gently sloping patch of ground.
As the hound paddled closer, Wrexford’s worst fears were confirmed.
A body. And by the look of the injuries to the poor soul’s head, there was little chance of him being alive.
“Well done, Harper.” He ruffled his fingers through the panting hound’s sodden fur before grasping the body by the shoulders and pulling it up to the footpath bordering the Long Water.
Crouching down, Wrexford turned the man over—and let out a grunt of surprise . . .
One didn’t often encounter a person of African descent in the exclusive environs of Mayfair.
His brow creased in thought as he fingered the fine linen of the man’s shirt and cravat. Especially one dressed as a gentleman. But he quickly pushed aside his initial shock. Whatever reason had brought the poor fellow to the park at this hour, it had cost him his life.
There was no need to check for a pulse. The head injury was too ghastly. Wrexford guessed that the man had been dead before he hit the water. Perhaps, he mused, that was a mercy.
And yet . . .
The earl sat back on his haunches, gazing first at the lake and then moving his eyes to the stone embankment. The top flagging was narrow, but not overly so. Looking down at the lifeless face, he frowned.
“How the devil you contrived to fall off is a mystery.” So was where he landed. Basic laws of physics seemed to indicate the dead man had been running at full tilt . . .
“Yes, a mystery,” he repeated softly. But one for the authorities to solve. His only duty was to fetch one of the night watchmen patrolling the park and inform him of the accident.
“Weasels!” he called, suddenly aware that they were nowhere to be seen. Harper, who had stretched out beside the body, lifted his shaggy head and pricked up his ears.
A chill teased against the back of the earl’s neck, as if the Grim Reaper had touched an icy finger to his flesh. Wrexford rose abruptly and called again.
The hound shot up as well, a growl rumbling in his throat.
“Oiy, oiy!” Raven’s reply was muffled by the thick shadows twined within the trees. Holding his breath, the earl stared into the darkness, unsure of why he was so on edge. Granted, death was always unsettling, an unwelcome reminder that existence was finite. The clockwork universe ticked through the same elemental cycle for all living creatures, great and small. And yet, this seemed to stir an uneasiness . . .
The boys materialized from the darkness, a flutter of moonlight revealing that Raven was cradling something in his arms.
“I found this near the stone wall,” announced the boy, rushing to hand over an old-fashioned tricorn hat.
It was well-worn, but like the dead man’s shirt and evening coat, it was made of quality material. Closer inspection revealed a maker’s mark on the inside band. Wrexford didn’t recognize the name.
“There were footsteps, too,” offered Hawk. “One set of tracks came from the direction of Knightsbridge, while two other sets came from the same footpath we used. They met up right at the end of the Long Water. And then—”
“And then, it looked like they had a confrontation,” interjected Raven. Having spent most of their early years in the London stews, both Weasels were far more savvy and observant than other boys their age. Their skills had also been sharpened by having played a part in previous murder investigations—much to Charlotte’s dismay.
“Judging by the length of the stride,” continued Raven, “the Knightsbridge tracks took off at a run.”
“An attempted robbery, perhaps,” mused Wrexford. Though footpads were usually smart enough to choose a wealthy-looking victim. After crouching down again, he felt inside the dead man’s overcoat pockets and found a purse. “They would have been greatly disappointed,” he added after giving it a jingle.
“Perhaps they were partners in crime, and had a quarrel,” offered Raven.
“A good surmise,” replied Wrexford. “But it’s pointless to speculate.” In his opinion, the exact reason for the death—be it an unfortunate accident or some more nefarious cause—would likely never be known.
He shifted. “There’s nothing more for us to do. We need to fetch a watchman and be done with this sorry affair. You two stay here . . .” However, as his hand brushed up against a bulge inside the dead man’s evening coat, the earl hesitated. If the dead man had been chased for something on his person, then a pair of dangerous ruffians might well be lurking nearby, hoping to get their hands on the body.
“On second thought,” said Wrexford, “I want the two of you to run to the powder magazine by the stone bridge.” A watchman would be on guard there. “Explain that we’ve fished a body from the Serpentine and bring him back here.”
“Shall we take Harper with us?” asked Hawk.
The hound wagged his tail.
“I think it unwise, lad,” he replied. “The sight of Harper might be intimidating and discourage the watchman from obeying the summons.” To Raven, he added, “Move quickly and stay alert.”
“You expect trouble, sir?”
“No.” But alas, trouble seemed to take a pernicious delight in appearing in their lives when least expected. “I simply wish to err on the side of caution.” Wrexford waved them away. “Off you go.”
Harper huffed a canine sigh and lay down with his head between his paws.
“Don’t look at me like that,” muttered Wrexford. “There are times when your ferocious face doesn’t work to our advantage.”
The hound’s response was to roll over on his side and sink into a gusty slumber.
Turning his attention back to the corpse, Wrexford probed at the bulge beneath the wet wool. It felt like a rectangular case made of metal. Perhaps a silver box for cheroots—though it feels a little large, he thought, working the object free of the inner pocket and holding it up to what little moonlight was dribbling through the overhanging leaves.
A glimmer of gold winked from the brass corners of the case. Other than that, it was crafted out of a fine-grained dark wood. Ebony or rosewood, he guessed as he turned it over in his fingers, admiring the workmanship. There was a decorative inset at the center of the lid, which appeared to be ornate initials made of ivory.
Wrexford clicked open the latch and looked inside.
Set on a bed of black velvet lay a set of precision drafting instruments. Compass, protractor, dividers, and tiny ruler . . . Somehow, they gave the dead man an individuality—he was no longer just a nameless victim of circumstance, but a person with flesh-and-blood interests . . .
Angling the lid higher, Wrexford looked for a name, but the inside of the lid was also covered in velvet—
A sliver of white silhouetted against blackness caught his eye. There was, he realized, a pocket sewn into the fabric. Taking careful hold of the folded paper, he eased it out. The exquisite craftsmanship of the box had sealed out most of the lake’s water—it was damp but still intact, and as Wrexford smoothed the sheet open, he saw the pencil lines hadn’t blurred beyond recognition.
It was a sketch . . .
“Bloody hell.” Drawing a deep breath, he looked down at the dead man’s shadow-dark face with a searching stare.
“Who are you?”
Charlotte watched in dismay as a pair of footmen wrestled yet another two traveling trunks into the baggage carriage. “Ye heavens, one would think we were transporting a regiment of hussars to the battlefields of America,” she muttered under her breath. In the not-too-distant past, a few battered bandboxes and canvas valises would have carried all her worldly possessions.
But life has changed. She was now the Countess of Wrexford—which held a certain irony, as in her rebellious youth, she had eloped to Italy in order to escape from living life within the English aristocracy’s gilded cage.
But then, she had met Wrexford . . .
An irascible, sarcastic earl, who possessed one of the leading scientific minds in all of Britain. Her lips twitched. As a brilliant chemist, he would no doubt have a rational explanation as to why the volatile combination hadn’t blown up in their faces.
However, against all logic . . .
Charlotte hurried down the grand marble entranceway of their magnificent townhouse on Berkeley Square and joined her husband amidst the commotion of preparing for their visit to Kent.
“Wrex, do stop growling at Tyler,” she murmured after flashing the earl’s valet an apologetic smile. “The fault is all mine for accepting my brother’s invitation to attend a gala birthday celebration given by his wife’s side of the family.” Wrexford disliked frivolous social engagements just as much as she did. “But Hartley was so eager to have us meet his sister-in-law and her family that I didn’t have the heart to say no. However, I promise that I won’t make a habit of saying yes to such distractions.”
A sigh. In truth, she was already reconsidering her decision. Much as she valued her recent reconciliation with her long-estranged brother—the current Earl of Wolcott, now that her father and oldest brother had shuffled off their mortal coil—she had never before allowed personal concerns to cause her to put aside her principles. It took only one small—and innocent—step to start the slide down a slope that could all too quickly turn devilishly slippery. “Like you, I have far more interesting things to do with my time.”
Despite his troubled expression, Wrexford allowed a gruff chuckle. “Like poking fun at Prinny?”
Tyler choked back a snort.
Among Charlotte’s many secrets was the fact that under the guise of her nom de plume, she was the infamous A. J. Quill, one of London’s most famous satirical artists. She used her pen to expose corruption and scandal within the highest circles of Society and government, as well as to puncture the vanity of pompous prigs.
“But of course.” Charlotte made a face, reminding herself that she would only be absent from the city for two days. “Given the grand Peace Celebrations about to take place in London to honor the Allied victory over Napoleon—not to speak of the coming festival in August marking the centennial of the Hanover family ruling Britain—I fear there will be more than enough fodder for ridicule over the coming weeks.”
Napoleon’s recent defeat by the Allied Coalition, led by Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, and his exile to the island of Elba, had finally brought peace to Europe. And to celebrate the momentous occasion, the Prince Regent had invited the other Allied heads of state to a month-long series of lavish balls, concerts, entertainments, and fireworks. The Tsar of Russia, the King of Prussia, the King of Austria, along with the leading Allied generals and a host of important international dignitaries . . . It promised to be a spectacle unmatched in the city’s history. Already a number of minor royals had arrived in the city and the partying had begun.
“The Allied leaders ought not celebrate too hard, and the Duke of Wellington would be wise to keep his saber sharpened,” muttered Wrexford. “I think they’ve made a grave mistake in putting Napoleon on a tiny island just a stone’s throw from the coast of France.”
“Don’t be so pessimistic,” chided Charlotte. “After over a decade of war, surely the world is tired of conflict and carnage. Surely you don’t think that the French would welcome him back to the throne.”
“As you know, I tend to think the worst of people,” replied the earl. “That way, I’m rarely disappointed.”
Charlotte chose to ignore the remark and returned to the subject of the upcoming festivities. “Prinny is in a fit of pique over the fact that Tsar Alexander is more popular with Londoners than he is.”
“Alexander is said to possess a boyish charm to balance his many faults,” said Wrexford dryly. “Though I daresay we’ll have a chance to experience that for ourselves.”
They had, of course, received an invitation to each of the most sought-after events, she reflected. Which would no doubt provide ample opportunity to observe the peccadilloes of the high and mighty.
“Yes,” replied Charlotte, “and I expect that, along with all the grand displays of fireworks planned for the celebrations along the Serpentine, we’re also likely to see a great many pyrotechnics in the ballrooms.”
Again Wrexford smiled, but shadows remained pooled in the depth of his gaze.
“Tyler, might you oversee loading the rest of the baggage while I have a private word with His Lordship?”
“But of course, milady.”
Taking Wrexford’s arm, Charlotte drew him to the graveled path leading around to the back gardens. “Are you still troubled by the events of last night?” Neither of them was a stranger to unnatural death, but she sensed that something about the discovery of the body was bothering him.
He didn’t answer right away.
“You instructed the watchman to take the sketch and drafting instruments to Griffin . . .” The Bow Street Runner had worked with them on solving a number of previous crimes. And while some people took his plodding movements and taciturn manner to mean that he was slow-witted, she and Wrexford knew otherwise. “If there’s any reason to suspect foul play, he’ll find it.”
A hint of humor sparked beneath his lashes. “Perhaps that’s what I’m afraid of. I was hoping that we might have an interlude of peace and quiet in which to begin our married life.”
“Peace and quiet?” She raised her brows. “Admit it, Wrexford—then you would be grumbling about being bored to flinders!”
“Speaking about grumbling,” he muttered.
“I know, I know.” Charlotte flashed an apologetic smile. “I, too, expect this upcoming visit will be exceedingly tedious. But thankfully, it will also be short and—”
“And cursedly boring.”
“Bring along your books on Priestley’s experiments with oxygen,” she soothed while trying to fend off exactly the same thought. “I shall make sure you have ample time for reading.”
A shout rang out before he could respond.
“M’lady, m’lady!” An instant later, Hawk skidded around the corner of the townhouse, followed by his brother. Their relationship had changed immeasurably since the boys had first taken to calling her by that name, but they all felt comfortable with it.
The two boys were another of her secrets. Wrexford had procured official documents—she had never inquired as to how—stating their lineage, along with all the necessary paperwork making her their legal guardian. But, in truth, they were orphan guttersnipes that she and her late first husband had found sheltering outside their house and had taken under their wing.
Her heart swelled as Hawk gave a gap-toothed grin. Love came in many guises . . . She glanced at Wrexford and then back at the boys. Perhaps the ones that were unexpected made them even more precious.
“We were just wondering . . . may Harper come with us to the country?” asked Hawk, a hopeful note shading his voice.
“I fear not, sweeting,” answered Charlotte. “It would be impolite of us to bring along a dog.” Indeed, it was rare that a country house party invitation included children, but their hosts had insisted that tomorrow’s picnic was to be a festive affair for family and friends of all ages. “In any case, our hosts have a boy around your age, and there will be other child—er, that is, young people—at the picnic tomorrow with whom to play.”
A pinch of disappointment spasmed over his face.
“And don’t forget, your uncle Hartley mentioned that the gardens at the Belmont estate are very grand,” she quickly added. Hawk was a budding artist, with an interest in botany. “There will be much for you to explore and to draw, so be sure to bring along your sketchbook and paints.”
“Be quick about it, lad,” counseled Wrexford. “If we are to arrive at the appointed hour, we must leave shortly.”
Raven lingered as his brother raced away. “It doesn’t sound like a very interesting excursion,” he said, not quite meeting her gaze. “I’d rather not go. Lady Cordelia said that she and Lord Woodbridge would be delighted to have me stay with them while you are gone.”
Lady Cordelia and her brother were part of her and Wrexford’s inner circle of close friends. They had all met during a previous murder investigation—one in which Cordelia had, for a short time, been the prime suspect—and had proven valuable allies in solving more recent conundrums. A brilliant mathematician, Cordelia also tutored Raven in the subject.
Be that as it may, the request took Charlotte by surprise. “I would have thought you’d enjoy meeting another boy of our extended family, and attending a party with his friends.”
“I’ve seen the fancy little aristocrats who come to Gunter’s Tea Shop for ice cream,” muttered Raven, “and they strike me as puffed-up popinjays. Why would I want to spend any time with them? We have nothing in common.”
It hadn’t occurred to her that he might worry about fitting in. Granted, the other boys and girls attending the party had grown up within a world of privilege and plenty, but that didn’t mean that they all would be featherbrained widgeons. “It’s unfair to make such a sweeping assumption,” said Charlotte.
“Even though it’s likely true?” challenged Raven.
“You know very well that the world is rarely painted in aught but black and white,” chided Charlotte. She then tried another tack, hoping to lighten the boy’s scowl. “It’s only for two nights.”
Wrexford was far blunter in his response. “Being part of a family requires us to do things we might not want to. M’lady wishes to make her brother happy, and is asking us for our support.” His dark brows arched up to accentuate his stare. “Surely, you wouldn’t be so churlish as to refuse?”
“I . . .” Raven bit his lip. “Might I borrow your book by Leonhard Euler on his method for finding curved lines, sir?” The boy had a special gift for mathematics, and was taking advanced lessons in the subject from Lady Cordelia. “I should like to take it with me on the trip.”
“Let us go fetch it,” answered the earl. “And as I, too, wish to take along reading material, you can help me collect it . . .”
Charlotte gave him a grateful look as the two of them moved away. Despite his reputation for snaps and snarls, Wrexford was very good at dealing with the Weasels. Raven, who had always possessed a stubborn streak of independence, was reaching that difficult age when boys felt compelled to challenge authority. She was still trying to feel out how to handle such confrontations, but the earl seemed to have an intuitive understanding of when to loosen the reins and when to tighten them.
But even more worrisome was the fact that as Raven grew older, he might feel out of place in the beau monde . . .
“M’lady?” McClellan, the redoubtable Scotswoman who had served as jack-of-all-trades in Charlotte’s previous household, cleared her throat with a cough. “According to our schedule, the carriages need to depart in a quarter hour.” Though her current official title was lady’s maid to the Countess of Wrexford, everyone in the Berkeley Square town house knew that she and the earl’s longtime butler were co-commanders of the establishment. “So we had better hurry upstairs and collect your shawl and reticule.”
“Sorry,” apologized Charlotte. “I was woolgathering.”
“Hmmph. By the look on your face, they must have been very mangy sheep.”
She sighed. “Raven just made an unexpected request to cry off from the sojourn. Of late, he’s had so many changes in his life that I was loath to press him, even though my brother would have been disappointed if he didn’t come. But, thankfully, Wrexford handled the situation with greater skill than I could have managed.”
“That’s because he’s aware that boys will be boys, and naturally seek to press the boundaries of behavior.” McClellan waggled her brows. “If they’re not told no, they know they haven’t pushed hard enough.”
Suddenly all the complexities and challenges of her new life felt a little overwhelming.
“Don’t be apprehensive about the future, m’lady.” McClellan’s flinty features softened for a moment. “I’ve never met anyone as strong and sensible as you are. Whatever challenges lie ahead, you’ll chart a safe course through them.”
“Let us begin by navigating the next few days without mishap,” murmured Charlotte.
“Speaking of which, your shawl and reticule are waiting,” reminded McClellan.
“You go on.” She felt the need for a moment of solitude in which to settle her thoughts before the journey started. “I’ll be up in a trice.”
The maid’s steps receded, leaving her with only the rustling of the ivy as company.
Was Raven’s small rebellion a sign that he was growing unhappy with his new life? It was true that Polite Society bristled with small-minded superficiality. And yet, there were also kindred souls who defied conventional thinking. One simply had to—
“Your pardon, milady,” called the earl’s butler, pulling her back to the present as he hurried down the back terrace stairs. “Forgive me for disturbing you, but a note just arrived from Madame Franchot, and I thought you would wish to see it right away.”
Madame Franchot was London’s most exclusive modiste. She was also part of Charlotte’s network of eyes and ears within every circle of Society—an army from which no secret or scandal was safe.
“Thank you, Riche.” Repressing a sigh, Charlotte accepted the missive, hoping against hope that it was merely a message about new fashion or fabric. But the smooth stationery stirred a prickling of foreboding as she unfolded it. And sure enough . . .
“Wrex—” Christopher Sheffield, the earl’s closest friend since their days at Oxford, stopped short in the doorway of Wrexford’s workroom and frowned in consternation. “What the devil is going on?” he demanded, eyeing the stack of books on the desk and the half-filled traveling satchel beside it. “Why are the carriages being loaded?”
“We are taking a journey,” answered Raven, with a martyred sigh. “To Kent,” he added as he tucked the remaining books into the bag.
“It’s not as if you’re being transported to the penal colonies in the Antipodes, lad,” called Wrexford from the depths of the storage alcove. He finished searching through one of the cluttered cabinets and moved on to the next one. “Blast it all.” . . .
We hope you are enjoying the book so far. To continue reading...