Read 03 - the wicked lady Online

Authors: Brenda Jernigan

03 - the wicked lady

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Just One Kiss


That was all Trevor wanted.  Then he’d be satisfied and could send Kristen on her way.  Her lips were soft and wet as he moved his mouth over hers. It was a featherlike kiss and then it was over.

“’Twas nice.” Her eyes were wide and clear, staring at him with unblinking innocence.

“Nice?” Trevor drew his brows together. Since when did a woman describe his kiss as merely nice. “Nice?” he repeated

“I thought p’haps there would be more.”

“Don’t tell me you’ve never been kissed before.

“Nay, I have not.”

“Then perhaps we should try again.”

“What for?”

Trevor couldn’t help but chuckle. “I would hate to leave you disappointed. There is a little more to a kiss than I’ve shown you.”

His arms went around her, and he pressed her to him till she was molded to his body. Again his lips touched hers, softly at first, but this time the kiss was different and all her senses sprang to life as his mouth moved over hers. His tongue touched her lips, and she jerked away.

“Trust me,” he whispered and pulled her back into his embrace.





Copyright © 2012 by Brenda K. Jernigan



Published by Brenda K. Jernigan - at Smashwords


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Chapter One


She hadn't meant to shoot theman!

Kristen Johnstone fled down the narrow, cobblestone streets of London, trying to lose her pursuers. She glanced up at the eaves of the buildings she hurried passed; gargoyles laughing down at her.

Kristen knew she was doomed.

But the gargoyles didn't scare her half as much as the eyes of the man she'd just shot. The vivid blue still lingered in her mind: first the amused expression, followed by the irritated frown as he'd grabbed her in the act of picking his pocket, then the look of surprise when her gun went off.

She had to move faster!

She could go to jail for a very long time for what she'd done. Then who would take care of Hagan? Her five-year-old brother would have no one.

She had to hurry.

Stay close to the shadows of the buildings, she warned herself.

A tear slipped down her cheek as she rounded the next corner.  What was the matter with her? She didn't cry.  She never cried.  She hadn't wept once since her mother died some two years past, and now was no time to start.

She hadn't meant to hurt the man.

But what if she'd killed him?

Of course, it hadn't been entirely her fault. True, her hand had been in his pocket, but he'd grabbed her.That was when she'd smelled the liquor. All the horrible beatings she'd suffered from her stepfather came rushing back to torment her. Kristen had vowed then to die before she ever let anyone hit her again. So, she had simply reacted.

Turning to look over her shoulder, Kristen gasped.

The three men were gaining on her. Why couldn't she shake them?  She knew the streets -- every nook and cranny where one could hide -- better than anyone.  Two more turns, then down a small alley and she'd be free.

Her lungs burned and her parched throat was dry and raw.She couldn't go much farther. Her heart pounded, and the lack of food made her weaker than normal. Not paying attention, she crashed into a trash heap, sending debris tumbling down the street as she fought to keep her footing.

"If ye'd just let me out of this one, Father," Kristen whispered as she glanced toward heaven. "I promise tae repent."

Just then she tripped on a brick and went flying head first, landing in a heap on the cold cobblestones.

"Get up girl," one of her pursuers said as he yanked her to her feet.

"I--I can't breathe," she managed to gasp.

"You're just winded." A big, burly man patted her on the back. "'Course, if ya hadn't run us to death this wouldn't have happened."

Kristen took a huge gasp of air. "I dinna mean tae kill him. 'Twas an accident." Wide-eyed, she looked up at the bloke. This one was a giant with bulging muscles. "Ye don't really mean tae turn me over now, do ye?" Kristen made sure she didn't break eye contact as she slipped his knife out of his pocket. The big ones were as dumb as the rest, she thought.

The other man found his voice, "My God, Robbie, she's a Scot. Ya know how Claremont hates all Scots."

"Yeah, I know." The one called Robbie nodded his head as if he just might be thinking of letting her go. "The boss has been in a surly mood lately. She's only going to make it worse."

"And what might be wrong with a Scot? And who is this Claremont?" Kristen demanded.

"Come on girl."  Robbie grabbed her arm. "Claremont is the man you just shot. You'll meet him in good time." Robbie tugged, but she pulled back.  "You've given us enough trouble for one day." This time he jerked her hard, and she fell against his chest. "I can see we're going to have to do this the hard way," he said and simply tossed her over his shoulder like a sack. "I'm not going to turn you over to the authorities, girl. I'm taking you to Claremont."

"Put me down!" Kristen beat on his back. "I'll scream," she threatened when nothing else seemed to work.

Robbie swore.  "Go ahead," he muttered. Then he chuckled.

Of course, Kristen didn't utter a sound. She knew no one could help her now, and she especially didn't want to attract a Bow Street officer. She was doomed at eighteen. And, worse than that, who would take care of Hagan? He was too young to survive the streets alone.

Kristen could smell the salt water and hear the rude comments of the dock workers, letting her know they were nearing the river. All the blood had rushed to her head from hanging upside down and her temples pounded. She looked up to see her brother starting for them, and Kristen frantically waved him away.

"Let go of my sister." The sandy-haired child ran over and kicked the man following them.

"Run, Hagan! Run!"

"Now, what do we have here?" Robbie picked the child up by the collar "A little scamp?"

"Leave my sister alone!" Hagan swung at Robbie, barely missing his nose.

"This gets more interesting all the time." Robbie tucked Hagan under his arm and started up the gangplank.

"No!" Kristen managed to scream in her upside down position. "I--I can't swim." She started

thrashing around, beating her hands on his back.

"Then I suggest you quit struggling," came a deep voice from someone she couldn't see, but was certain she'd not heard before. One that sent shivers down her spine.

She had to think fast.  "Hagan, I told ye tae stay home. Now look what's happened. Don't ye say a thing, ye hear."

"Look Kristen.  'Tis a ship," Hagan breathed. The child wasn't any more worried than a flea on a dog.

"I see you were successful, Robbie," came the same deep voice.

Kristen twisted to see the speaker, but she couldn't see him.

"Take the thief to my cabin. And what's this you have under your other arm?"

"Seems our thief has a brother, sir."

Kristen and Hagan were placed in a cabin. The big man called Robbie gave her a soulful look before he turned to leave. The light faded as the door closed and locked between them and freedom. She wondered how she'd ever get out of this one.

The room was large for a ship and very neat. A table commanded the middle, and a single bunk was built into the side. There was a desk in the far corner, and a sea chest in another. Kristen assumed this must be the captain's quarters.

"Gosh, Kristen. This is jolly good. Never beenon a ship before."

“‘Tis not an adventure, Hagan. I could be in a lot of trouble."

"You'll get out of it, Kristen. You always do."

She could see complete faith in the child's big brown eyes. At the moment, he was the only one with confidence in her.

Suddenly, the door flew open and Robbie and a man likeno one she'd never seen before filled every inch of the doorway. Kristen's legs trembled, but she struggled to hide her reaction. The man had unusual greenish-blue eyes. His jaw was rigid. A muscle worked below his cheekbone as he glared at her, and his left arm carried a crimson stain. Even though his stance was relaxed, it was clear he wasn't.

"Ye're not dead," she managed to whisper.

"Are you disappointed?" His scowl was hot enough to burn her.

"No." She swallowed hard. "I dinna mean tae shoot ye."

"So what do you call this?" He pointed to his injury with a cynical smile.

"A mistake," Kristen offered. I did pull the trigger, but 'twas an accident, tae be sure."

He took a step closer, making Kristen feel smaller still. "And I suppose your hand in my pocket was an accident, too?"

"Nay, that was on purpose," she admitted and watched as the man smiled for the very first time. He could almost be called handsome when he wasn't frowning and the coldness left his eyes. She noted his eyes had changed from the dark color they were a minute ago to a lighter blue. His hair was the color of dark wheat and a bit longer than stylish. He kept it tied back with a leather thong. Ah, but he was big--too big, she thought now that she'd gotten a good look at him. Why hadn't she picked a smaller man's pocket?

Probably for the same reason she couldn't quit looking at the man now. He was a fine one. And she'd been drawn to him.

"Well, at least you're an honest thief. Which surprises me since you're aScot." He took another step forward, and she took one backwards, and then another when he didn't stop.

"Don't you hurt my sister!" Hagan drew back and kicked Claremont in the shin.

"Watch it," Robbie's warning came a little too late. "The boy's got a nasty habit."

"Bloody hell," Trevor Claremont shouted as he snatched the child up by the scuff of the neck.

The child's brown eyes grew large, but he put on a brave front. "I'm not 'fraid of you," he blustered, remindingClaremont of a kitten spitting and hissing.

Trevor wanted to smile at the brave little boy who reminded him a lot of himself at that age, but he didn't. He admired the lad for taking up for his sister. The boy's hair was cut in a bob that hung to his eyebrows, and he looked as if he was peeking from beneath his bangs.  A child this young shouldn't be on the streets, then again, neither should his sister.

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