Wednesday, 27 June 2012


Captive Heart is the third of Erin O'Quinn's Dawn of Ireland series. Part of the action, apart from seeking the hidden island where a dozen women are being held in slavery, is another kind of captivity: Caylith is being stalked by a kinsman of her own husband Liam. The following scene is from the middle section of the book, when the lovesick Murdoch confronts Caylith.

I looked some ten feet away and saw Murdoch standing, Fintan’s bridle in his hand, the oak canopy over his head still shedding small pearls of raindrops from the leaves. His dark hair was swept back from his high forehead, lifting and falling a bit in the light wind. His eyes, usually somber, held a sadness I had never seen before, as though a deeper grief had been added to sorrow. I imagined that he looked like this the day he found his mother lying dead, his father keening at her side. 
He looked so forlorn that my heart reached out to him, in spite of all my resolve. “Oh, Murdoch, you are wet. Stand over here.”
“The sun and wind will dry me in no time at all. I can take NimbleFoot now. I will see that he is returned to you in about a month.” I could hear the distance in his voice, as though he were already practicing being far away.
“Very well. Will you be comfortable in his saddle? It is much smaller than Fintan’s.”
“Yes. We will make it work.”
“Then—farewell, Murdoch.” I stood back from my pony, inviting him to mount and ride away.
Without moving, letting yesterday’s raindrops roll down his face like tears, he regarded me beneath his wing-like eyebrows. “Cate. Where did I go wrong?”
I could feel my whole body stiffening, my throat closing up. I did not want to talk about old mistakes, old feelings. I turned away from him.
“Please tell me.”
I stood with my back to him for a while, wondering how I would talk about the bitterness of the past. At last I spoke, still turned away. “When you broke your word to me. You told me you would respect the bond of friendship—and then you broke that bond.”
“How, Cate?” His voice sounded almost strangled, as though he really did not know.
I sighed. He had broken it every way he could break it, and yet he was pleading with me to tell him. I turned quickly, now almost angry. “You bade me farewell in Tara with an unseemly kiss. When you were needed in Inishowen, you returned here instead. You would not—or could not—banish that–that look from your eyes. The one that is breaking Liam’s heart, and mine, too.”
Then he seemed suddenly angry, too. “And yet you encouraged me. You bade me sup with you. You accepted my offer of a booley on your behalf. You came almost to the very house where I am staying, dressed as though to seduce a saint. What am I to think?”
I paced in front of him, thoroughly exasperated. “Listen to me. You are mistaking my innocence for devious intent. I told you—I invited you to supper because I like you. The booley—how could I refuse you? Your search may lead to taking the savages who defiled my mother. And just look at your outrageous statement about my clothing! I will admit that I did not dress to please my husband. The selfish reason was—I dressed to please myself. I actually hid my horse so you would not see me. Can you understand that?”
He seemed to brush away my words as though they were June flies. “I have one last question, Cate. What did you hope to achieve by taking me to see Persimmon?”
I caught my lip in my teeth, trapped in a corner. Only the truth would do, as much as I hated to tell it. “I could lie to you, Murdoch. But I respect you, and I will tell you the bitter truth. It was an act designed to draw your attention away from me to–to someone else. A despicable thing to do. And I am truly sorry.”
“I love you the more for it. Oh god, Cate. You have bound me so closely I will never escape.”
He covered his face with his hands, as though to hide his stricken eyes.
I felt a great lump rise in my throat. “Then we have lost each other forever, Murdoch. Liam and I are agreed—as long as you feel this way, I can never see you again.” I felt a sudden pang of ironic kinship with Murdoch, for I felt shrouded in sorrow and loss.
He wiped the rain from his face, looking at me again. “What if–if I could hide it, never let it be seen?”
“But you cannot. In that way, we are alike. Your true feelings are caught in your eyes like a deer caught in sudden firelight. And I have lost someone I would have cherished as a friend the rest of my life. And so I grieve, for the end has come.”
I did not try to hide the tears streaming down my face. “From this day forward, please talk to me only through other people. Thank you for what you are trying to do for me and my family. Farewell.”
I turned around, head down, waiting for him to mount NimbleFoot and ride away. My chest was shaking with suppressed sobs. I felt for all the world that one of my best friends had died. And in a sense, he had.
Why had he returned so soon to Derry? Why could he have not waited and let our growing, pleasing friendship be the memories to look back on? Now the memories would be forever bleak and cold, and I would never again visit the rugged, splendid Bay of Trawbreaga.
When at last I turned around, I saw Fintan standing patiently, waiting to be mounted. There was no sight of either NimbleFoot or Murdoch—only a golden stallion, his white mane lifting and falling in the light summer wind.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

The Silent Touch of Shadows

My novel The Silent Touch of Shadows (time slip/romance) is now available on Kindle and will be released in paperback on 7th July.


What will it take to put the past to rest?

Professional genealogist Melissa Grantham receives an invitation to visit her family’s ancestral home, Ashleigh Manor. From the moment she arrives, life-like dreams and visions haunt her. The spiritual connection to a medieval young woman and her forbidden lover have her questioning her sanity, but Melissa is determined to solve the mystery.

Jake Precy, owner of a nearby cottage, has disturbing dreams too, but it’s not until he meets Melissa that they begin to make sense. He hires her to research his family’s history, unaware their lives are already entwined. Is the mutual attraction real or the result of ghostly interference?

A haunting love story set partly in the present and partly in fifteenth century Kent.


In the huge inglenook of the ancient manor house, the remains of the log fire collapsed with a hiss into a heap of smouldering ashes. A coil of smoke floated up the chimney, disintegrating slowly.

Nothing else moved in the room. The shadows that waited there gave no sign of their presence, apart from an occasional sigh that could have been mistaken for the draught blowing in under the badly fitting window frames.

Even so, the air crackled with restless energy and expectation. An electric charge suddenly galvanised the dust motes into a frenzied whirl, sending them spiralling towards the ceiling before they plunged downwards again in a never-ending dance.

The time had come to try again.

The time had come for the silent touch of shadows.

Longer Excerpt here:

To Purchase:


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Far After Gold by Jen Black is up on Amazon Kindle today!
The paperback has been lying forgotten on my shelves for a couple of years since Quaestor ceased trading in 2010 due to the owner's ill-health. The book had just over a year of life as a viable paperback, and I suddenly thought - why waste all that effort? Why not put it up on Amazon Kindle?

Checking my pc, I didn't have a file for it. None of my USB sticks held a copy. The thought of re-typing it all from the paperback, or scanning it, was not encouraging. Finally I found a copy on an old hard disc, which reminded me How Things Have Changed in a few years!

So I began with an old computer version. I put it into text to take out all the Quaestor formatting, and then began the laborious task of putting all the punctuation back in again. It takes time. As I inserted paragraphs and suchlike, I noticed  clumsy sentences, tut-tutted and before I knew it, I was tweaking the words themselves; a word here, a deletion there, but soon, I was taking out and rewriting whole chunks. All I can say is I wrote FAG, as I call it, about six or seven years ago, and I've learned a lot since then.

So, it's now a smart, sexy, romantic tale of a young Christian girl bought as a slave by a young Viking warrior.

Here's an excerpt:

“Come with me.”

Emer stood rooted to the deck. Flane reached the gangplank, turned and beckoned.

Emer scowled and did not move.

Flane clicked his fingers. Astounded, Emer lifted her chin, turned her head and stared pointedly out to sea. From the corner of her eye she saw one sailor nudge another and both stopped what they were doing to watch what would happen next. Memories of the overseer and his cane flashed through her mind, and she decided moving might be her wisest choice even though he treated her like his favourite hound. Pride stiffened her spine as she halted before him.

“My name is Flane.” He tapped his chest and repeated the words, as if she were stupid, and then sighed. “Trust me to pick a girl who doesn’t understand the language.” He drew his dagger, and the fierce blade flashed silver in the sunlight.

Emer’s heart leapt into her throat. Would he kill her because she could not speak his language? What other reason could he have? Should she speak now, before it was too late? She met his blue glance for an instant even as she took a swift step back, ready to run, heedlessly, in any direction.

He caught her wrist and dragged her in close.

Her heart thudded wildly at the sudden contact of chest, hip and thigh. Mesmerised by his steady blue gaze, she stood there in the thin sunlight with the sound of water lapping against the ship and the smell of seawater and seaweed in her nostrils. She drew a swift, choked breath of air. Her last moment in the world had arrived, and she could not free her tongue to speak. Dear God…. She shut her eyes, awaiting the bite of cold steel at her throat. Dear Lord, accept my soul this day

He hooked one finger under her leather slave collar. Surprised, she opened her eyes and flinched at the sight of the steel blade flashing wickedly in the sunlight.

“Steady, steady,” he murmured, as if to a nervous animal. “I thought you’d rather be free of this.” He gave a couple of gentle tugs on the leather collar at her neck, and before she grasped his intention, the steel sliced through the hated thing. She never even felt the coldness of the blade.

He dangled the strip of leather with its attendant piece of rope in front of her. “Do you want to keep it?”

Furious at being frightened and then gentled like a nervous horse, Emer seized the hated collar and hurled it far out over the loch.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

RumRunners on Trial

By Carola Dunn
Here are some of the extraordinary stories, often amusing, I read while researching for the 17th Daisy Dalrymple Mystery, BLACK SHIP.

 US cover

In BLACK SHIP, the seventeenth Daisy Dalrymple mystery, my protagonist, Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher, and her family move in next door to the family of a high-class wine merchant. At the same time, an old acquaintance from her US adventure, THE CASE OF THE MURDERED MUCKRAKER, turns up on the Fletchers' doorstep.

US hardcover

Lambert was then a youthful, hapless, helpless, hopeless FBI agent. 

Now, he announces, he is a Prohibition agent, sent to England to find out who is shipping forbidden alcohol to America. He starts spying on the neighbours--very embarrassing. Then a body is found in the communal garden and Daisy finds herself involved in the affairs of bootleggers, rumrunners and mobsters. Not at all what a respectable mother of twins is accustomed to.
UK cover
Also available as e-books
In researching for this book, I came across a library book, The Black Ships (black ships is what the coast guard called the rumrunning ships), by Everett S. Allen. Mr Allen grew up on the New England coast and knew many people who had been involved with rumrunning during Prohibition. He interviewed many of them as well as doing research in the US Coast Guard archives. His book sent me to the Coast Guard on my own behalf, to clear up a few points, and the USCG sent me their history of the period: Rum War at Sea, by Commander Malcolm F. Willoughby.
The USCG was in a very difficult position. Prohibition had been passed by a narrow margin, so a large proportion of the US population were on the side of the bootleggers, at least until organised crime took over. This resulted in a "disheartening number of releases and acquittals by certain courts, when there should have been forfeitures and convictions..." [Willoughby].

One Federal judge in Connecticut was so anti-Prohibition that he virtually never convicted a rumrunner, however convincing the evidence.

In one case, a small cargo vessel was stopped in Long Island Sound. The Coast Guards couldn't find any liquor aboard. They suspected concealed tanks built behind false bulkheads, but at sea it wasn't possible to make the measurements necessary to find them. She was released, but later was seized for running without lights (a common ploy to make the rumrunners harder to find, which led to the name Black Ships). She was taken into custody. Tied up at a USCG pier, she was measured and hidden tanks full of liquor were indeed discovered. The court pronounced that as she had been seized for running without lights, that was the only offence for which she could be prosecuted. Ship and cargo were returned to the owners.

A Norwegian steamer, Sagatind, was found drifting on "Rum Row", forty miles offshore, well outside the three-mile limit. The Coast Guard fired shots across her bow to stop her, without eliciting any reaction. They boarded, and found the crew drunk and incapable, some injured from fighting amongst themselves. They also found 43,000 cases of liquor and a large amount of cash. However the Government failed to prove any liquor had been sold, rather than just transported in international waters. Ship and crew were released by the court.

Large Print

The USCG was permitted by law to fire upon ships that refused to halt when ordered to do so. Inevitably, this led to deaths on both sides. In one such case, three seamen on a black ship were killed. Because of conflicting evidence, the coastguardsmen were tried for murder. They were acquitted, but when the captain of the black ship was tried for smuggling, the jury acquitted him, too, saying he had been punished enough by having his thumb shot off in the incident.

The 3-mile limit was extended to 12 miles or one hour's sailing time, by international treaty in 1925. This made it much more difficult to pinpoint the position of black ships, and proving how fast they were able to sail was no easier. By this time many bootleggers were highly organised. They could afford their own experts in navigation, whose testimony refuted the Coast Guard's careful measurements--at least when judges and juries were already far from keen on producing a conviction.

On one occasion, an overzealous coast guard falsified his log to show the rumrunners were within territorial waters. This was a serious offense, the log being a legal document. The chief warrant officer concerned was found guilty and reduced in rank.

There was no effort to falsify the position in another case, off the West coast. The Coast Guard found a known black ship, the Federalship, far outside the limits and trailed her from Oregon to California, hoping to catch her actually breaking the law. She flew the flag of Panama. The decision was taken by the San Francisco headquarters to seize the ship. Two USCG cutters came up to her and ordered her to stop and let them come aboard. The captain refused, saying that for all he knew they were "a lot of bloody pirates." After being fired on--and hit--several times, Federalship stopped. She was taken to San Francisco Bay and the cargo of liquor removed (it disappeared from storage!). A Federal Grand Jury indicted the captain and crew for conspiracy. The defence claimed the seizure was illegal, and an act of war as she was Panama registered. The US attorney said that under Panama's law Federalship had lost her registry by engaging in rumrunning and so was a renegade pirate. However, the black ship had not engaged in any illegal activity--had not, in fact, entered territorial waters--while under pursuit from the Columbia River to the point where she was seized. She was released and the USCG had to tow her all the way back to where they had captured her.

The law required the Coast Guard to seize not only any liquor they found aboard a black ship, but the ship itself and all its equipment. This led to the rumrunners turning the tables. They'd go to a friendly local jurisdiction and accuse the individual Coastguardsmen of stealing their tackle--charts, sextant, timepiece and so on. The US attorney would request a transfer to Federal court, where the rumrunners didn't pursue the case, but in the meantime the newspapers made hay with the charges of theft and the Coast Guard became ever less popular.

The rumrunners used to communicate from shore to ship by illegal radio transmissions in code. One radioman who was arrested was fined $10 for violation of a fire ordinance, the only charge that a hostile jury would make stick. The Prohibition authorities managed to crack the code of one prolific transmitter. They found themselves in a quandary: if they prosecuted, the rumrunners would know the code had been cracked. Not only would no further information about ship movements be overheard, but to persuade a jury of conspiracy to break the law the Coast Guard would have to reveal its methods. They decided not to prosecute.

In one prosecution, when a motorboat had been seized loaded with liquor, the Coast Guard witness was asked what he had found aboard. "One hundred cases," he said. The judge responded, "There's no law against carrying cases," and he dismissed the case.

One final episode among many: Off Key West in Florida, a black ship was halted by gunfire. The boarders were told they had killed the skipper, who had fallen overboard. The Key West population was almost wholly anti-Prohibition and there was talk of lynching the coastguardsman responsible. He was charged with first degree murder by the father of the captain. At the hearing before a justice of the peace, the charge was reduced to manslaughter because the body of the victim could not be found. The coastguardsman was released on bail. Subsequent investigation revealed that the skipper had disappeared before in similar circumstances and had reappeared in Cuba. This time, apparently, he had swum to shore and made his way to his girlfriend's house in Tampa. When the case went to the Grand Jury, some months later, it was dismissed because no prosecution witnesses turned up!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Gentle Wind's Caress released

My historical novel, The Gentle Wind's Caress, has been released in paperback and in digital formats. Yay!

The Blurb:Halifax, 1876. On the death of her mother and sister, Isabelle Gibson is left to fend for herself and her brother in a privately-run workhouse. After the matron's son attempts to rape her, Isabelle decides to escape him and a life of drudgery by agreeing to marry a moorland farmer she has never met. But this man, Farrell, is a drunkard and a bully in constant feud with his landlord, Ethan Harrington. When Farrell bungles a robbery and deserts her, Isabelle and Ethan are thrown together as she struggles to save the farm. Both are married and must hide their growing love. But despite the secrecy, Isabelle draws strength from Ethan as faces from the past return to haunt her and a tragedy is set to strike that will change all of their lives forever.

The except:‘He’ll be here soon.’ Hughie sat by the fire darning a sock. ‘The snow has likely held him up.’

‘What keeps him out night after night?’ She stamped her foot in frustration. ‘He drinks more than a sailor does on his first day back at port!’
 Hughie grinned.The sound of scratching made Isabelle frown. The snowstorm grew in intensity. She could no longer see the outbuildings. The scratching sounded again. ‘What is that?’
Hughie shrugged. ‘The trees on the window upstairs?’
Isabelle stepped away from the window, nibbling her fingertips. There would be no market day today. She went to walk into the scullery when a thump hit the back door. She opened it and cried out as Farrell landed at her feet.
Hughie dashed to her side and together they stared at her husband’s bloody form.‘Heaven’s above!’ Isabelle bent to touch him. He stirred and moaned. ‘Help me bring him inside, Hughie.’
They grabbed him under the arms and dragged him down the step and onto the kitchen floor. His coat was missing and his wet woollen vest cloaked him like another skin.
Farrell opened and closed his eyes. ‘Isabelle…’
‘What happened to you?’ She took a dishcloth from the table and knelt to wipe the blood oozing from a cut in his forehead. She gestured to Hughie. ‘Get me some blankets off the bed and a pillow too. He’s too heavy to lift, so I’ll have to make a bed in here for him.
As Hughie ran to do as she bid, Isabelle quickly made him a cup of sweet tea and held his head up to pour a little into his mouth. Next, she rubbed Farrell’s cold hands between her own. Hughie ran into the room with the items she asked for, and Isabelle placed the pillow under Farrell’s head. ‘Heat a warming pan, Hughie.’
Farrell’s eyes fluttered, he moaned between blue lips.
Isabelle ran into the scullery and found an old pair of gloves. She returned and tugged them onto his icy hands. ‘Lord, what have you done to yourself?’
He murmured and opened his eyes. She tucked the blanket around him more securely. ‘Lie still.’
‘No…’She put the cup to his lips again. ‘Drink this now. You need to get warm.’
He slowly eased himself up onto one elbow. ‘Got to hide.’ He wheezed and then coughed. His split lip began to bleed freely again.
‘Hide?’ She frowned. ‘Why?’
‘They’ll find me here!’ He tried to get up, but she pushed him back down. 
‘Had to run…’
Hughie knelt down beside them. ‘Has he lost his mind?’
‘Heaven knows, silly man. It’d be hardly surprising if he has, being out in this weather all night.’ She made Farrell drink again. ‘Take his boots off, Hughie.’
‘No!’ Farrell reared up. ‘I must hide.’ He gripped Isabelle’s arms until they hurt. His eyes were wide and frightened. ‘I can’t hide here. They’ll find me.’
In a panic, Isabelle glanced up at the door as though the riders from Hell would burst through it any moment. She flung away his hands, alarmed. ‘What have you done?’ Her voice sounded high to her ears.
‘They nearly caught me. Had to run.’ Farrell panted, throwing off the blanket, struggling to sit up. ‘They saw my face. I must go!’
Isabelle stood and hugged herself, fighting rising terror. ‘Tell me,’ she whispered.

To Purchase:

Amazon USA
Amazon UK

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Adventure and romance

Dark Pool-Banners of Alba Sequel

Dark Pool by Jen Black, published by Cambridge Books.

Eba of Bundalloch finds her brother's cattle raid on neighboring territory has repercussions that take her from  medieval Scotland to medieval Ireland.  Thinking herself quite grown up, she craves adventure and suitors, but soons finds herself longing for the security of home. The customs of the hardy Vikings of Dublin disturb her, and when she is betrothed, against her will, to a vicious young man she realises just how naive she has been.

The newly crowned king of Alba, Finlay, feels constrained to rescue her, but comes up against the wily old Viking king, Stiric, who denies her existence. Jealousies and feuds erupt, and when Dublin goes up in flames, Finlay thinks he will never find the girl.

"As a romance, this tale is a bit too harsh to handle, but as a historical and a believable portrayal of the ancient times of transition where Celts, Gaels, Picts, and Vikings lived together in the isles I give this book a 100 percent. The snapshot of life in those unsettled times, especially the life of an unprotected young maid makes for a great read. An informative and interesting tale set in a troubled time in history."
Reviewed by Raakhee Suryaprakash for The Road to Romance 
Click for a link to Amazon

Eba stirred in a brief, incoherent way and then woke with a jerk. She was naked beneath the wool blanket and a man she did not know stood within the cubicle; thankfully his back was to her, but he was so close she could have touched him. Beyond him, a crowd of men laughed and talked round the long hearth out in the open hall.

Her wet clothes hung from a peg in the wall, well out of her reach. The man ran a wad of straw gently up and down the blade of his sword, stripping it of dried mud, and took no notice of her. With her gaze fixed on his broad back, Eba gripped the edge of the blanket, pulled it tight around her and shuffled cautiously across the bed platform until she got her back against the wall. The straw mattress squeaked and rustled beneath her, but his own work masked the sound and he did not turn.

Eba curled her knees in close to her belly and looked at the man. He was tall and broad across the shoulders. A memory of his rain drenched, mud splattered face filled her mind, and she remembered he had dragged her to a ruined shed of some kind. He would have raped her if she had not fainted. Her heart leapt in her chest, and the air vanished from her lungs as the thought struck her that he would probably do it now.

He hung the sword belt on a convenient wall peg, jerked a rough leather curtain across the front of the cubicle and laughed softly when the simple act provoked a roar of outrage from men deprived of their entertainment. The sickening realization struck Eba that most likely they had already had a fine view of her when he had removed her clothes.

She watched him hitch his sodden linen tunic up and over his head and toss it onto a small wooden chest. He toweled his hair, face and throat, and Eba's gaze flicked nervously over the shadowed ridges of his chest and stomach. He half turned, noticed she was awake and smiled. He tossed the rough cloth to her.

Eba ignored it, and huddled so far back into the corner of the bed space that the wattle wall pressed into her back. Fear rose through her in spiralling waves. Torquil had captured her, but he had commanded his crew and kept them away from her. He had kept her safe until she met Kimi. Even then, Annikki and Conn had kept a careful eye on her. Now there was no one at all. She was alone in a hall filled with rough men.

Fear magnified her senses. She registered the rumble of conversation outside in the big hall, and the mixed and jumbled smells of pine, wet wool and smoke in the air around her head. She thought she might be sick. The curtain twitched to one side and admitted a pair of large and dirty hands offering two steaming wooden bowls between curtain and wall.

"You wanted to feed the lassie, Aralt. Here's broth for you."


Sunday, 3 June 2012


My latest Regency comedy novella, An Inheritance for the Birds, the next entry in The Wild Rose Press's Love Letters series, is now available. All the stories start with a letter that changes the hero's and heroine's lives. Mine is a letter about an inheritance, but there's a catch...

Available at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance Ebooks and other places where ebooks are sold.


Make the ducks happy and win an estate!

Mr. Christopher "Kit" Winnington can't believe the letter from his late great-aunt's solicitor. In order to inherit her estate, he must win a contest against her companion, Miss Angela Stratton. Whoever makes his great-aunt's pet ducks happy wins.

A contest: What a cork-brained idea. This Miss Stratton is probably a sly spinster who camouflaged her grasping nature from his good-natured relative. There is no way he will let the estate go to a usurper.

Angela never expected her former employer to name her in her will. Most likely, this Mr. Winnington is a trumped-up jackanapes who expects her to give up without a fight. Well, she is made of sterner stuff.

The ducks quack in avian bliss while Kit and Angela dance a duet of desire as they do their utmost to make the ducks--and themselves--happy.

Yawning, he shut the door behind him. Enough ducks and prickly ladies for one day. After dropping his satchel by the bed, he dragged off his clothes and draped them over the chair back. He dug a nightshirt from the valise and donned the garment before he blew out both candles.

Bates had already drawn back the bedclothes. The counterpane was soft under Kit's palm, and covered a featherbed. He grinned. By any chance, had they used the down from the pet ducks to stuff the mattress and pillows?

After tying the bed curtains back, he settled into the soft cocoon and laced his fingers behind his head. Tomorrow, he would have it out with Miss Stratton about the steward's residence, but that was tomorrow. He fluffed up his pillow and turned onto his side…


A bundle of flapping, squawking feathers exploded from the depths of the covers and attacked him. Throwing his arms over his head for protection, Kit fell out of bed. He scrambled to his feet and bolted for the door, the thrashing, quacking explosion battering him. A serrated knife edge scraped over his upper arm. "Ow!" Batting at the avian attacker with one hand, he groped for the latch with the other.

The door swung open. Miss Stratton, her candle flame flickering, dashed into the chamber. "Esmeralda, you stop that right now!"

The feathered windstorm quacked once more and, in a graceful arc, fluttered to the floor.

Kit lowered his arms and gave a mental groan. A duck. He should have known.

Thank you all,
Linda Banche
Welcome to My World of Historical Hilarity!