Free! Free!

I wrote a short prequel to Jack and as of today it is free for download at the Musa Publishing website. Here’s a teaser excerpt from the story:

Annabella’s head swam. She felt as trapped as a fly in amber. “I thought you wanted to marry Mrs. Banks,” was all she could say.

“I admit it. I did intend to marry that woman, but when I saw you…I knew that you and I had something special in common.”

Annabella was shaking her head.

“Now this rumor has reared up, I fear marrying anyone in New York is out of the question. I do not intend to ever be Edward Landrieu again.” He stood and lit another cigarette.

“I apologize for shocking you,” he walked again to the fireplace. “And I apologize for rushing you. But I am afraid I will need your answer within a day. I have two tickets for Friday’s steamer to Liverpool and I will be on it with or without you. The child of course, will remain here.”

Annabella drew a long breath. “In that case, Mr. Landrieu, I am afraid that—”

“That is not all.” He cut her off. “If you decline my offer, I have written a detailed letter to Mrs. Sterling about my suspicions concerning your past. Mrs. Banks may be an outsider who fails to see the impropriety of keeping you on, but Mrs. Sterling will counsel her wisely in this area, I am certain. You will not get a character reference from anyone in New York for a new position, I assure you.”

Annabella stared at him.

“Please forgive me, dear girl.” Mr. Landrieu looked almost truly concerned, but he went on smoking. “I do hate to be so ugly about it. But you must realize that you cannot go on deluding these people forever. Your child—she is growing and soon enough you will need to find a decent place for her. Why not give her over to someone who can provide her with an education and employment?”

Annabella’s face grew stormy. “You cannot be suggesting that I give my own child to strangers?”

“I know a home right here in the city where good Catholic sisters raise girls like yours to live productive, happy lives.”

“Catholic sisters? An orphan’s home?”

“Annabella, there is no place for that child in our scheme.”

Our? She had agreed to nothing.

Mr. Landrieu raised an eyebrow. “You can stay here and perish on the sword of your motherly duty—taking her down with you no doubt—or you can leave her in the best of hands and come with me.

Download it for any reading device here.

Advertisements