Tuesday Sampler: An Unlikely Deception by Patty Wiseman
August 16, 2016
In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Tuesday’s Sampler features an excerpt from An Unlikely Deception by Patty Wiseman. The historical suspense thriller is book four in the Velvet Shoes Collection.
Hattie Taylor has unfinished business. An unexpected death and an unwanted guest bring chaos to her newlywed euphoria. Was her marriage a sham?
A mysterious key turns the lock in her heart and reveals a dark side she didn’t know was there. Will her marriage survive or will and English aristocrat destroy her happiness.
The porcelain clock on the mantel chimed two o’clock. Hattie woke with a start, Cal snoring beside her. Embers glowed in the fireplace, and a chill hovered in the air. She didn’t know what roused her. A noise? A dream?
Reluctant to exit the warmth of the bed and Cal’s arms, she waited and listened.
She heard it again, outside the door. Her heart beat faster. She nudged Cal. “Wake up, something’s out there.”
He mumbled something and turned over, settling back with a soft snore.
“Cal, wake up,” she whispered louder. “There’s an intruder.”
“Probably just Robert. Go back to sleep,” he murmured.
“You’re right. Robert might have gone down to the kitchen for something.”
She waited, one ear straining to pick up another sound.
The house remained silent, and after a few minutes, she relaxed and snuggled back into the comfort of the bed. Eyes closed, heartbeat restored, she drifted off with one hand on Cal’s back.
The false security soon dissolved.
Her eyes flew open at the slight squeak of the doorknob. Fear cleared the fuzziness of sleep and her eyes riveted on the door. The knob turned.
Horror replaced any sense of complacency as it opened and a dark form entered.
Panic rendered her frozen, unable to move, unable to scream. The one sense not paralyzed was her sense of smell. A strong scent of garlic floated through the door.
The figure moved toward the coatrack beside the mirrored dresser, quiet, but deliberate.
This time Cal flew out of the bed.
Hattie heard the sounds of a struggle. Furniture toppled over, glass broke, and grunts from the brawl reverberated in the room.
Unable to see clearly in the darkness, she let out a piercing scream which cut through the melee, but the struggle continued. Frantic, she flailed around in the bed trying to find something to help Cal, but a sickening thud preceded an ear-splitting gun shot. Complete silence followed.
Someone moaned. As she jumped from the bed to find Cal, a strong hand grabbed her and forced her out the bedroom door and down the stairs.
The grip was too strong to be Cal, the hulk hovering over her too big. “Let me go! You’ve shot my husband. He might be dying.”
Adrenaline surged through her. She tried to swivel to see his face, but his grip was too strong. “You’ve killed him. Let me go!”
The captor said nothing, but pushed her toward the back door and out into the cold night, barefoot and wearing only a nightshift. The cold engulfed her at once. She gasped from the shock of it.
A dark automobile sat in the alley. He shoved her inside.
She waited for it to speed off. It didn’t.
Shivering, she whispered, “What do you want?”
The bandit, dressed in black and wearing a stocking mask, muffled his voice and made his demand. “The key.”
“Key? How do you know about the key? Who are you?”
His voice lowered, disguised behind the mask. “Nevermind who I am. Give it to me, and I let you go.”
“I haven’t got it. It’s upstairs in my bureau.”
He gripped her arm, hard. “Go and get it. I’ll be right behind you.” He poked the barrel of the gun out of his pocket to show he meant business.
Hattie heard the sirens and a small window of hope flickered within. “Will he kill me before he runs or will he flee with me as a hostage?”
Strong hands grabbed her arm. She closed her eyes to prepare for the gunshot.
Instead, he shoved her through the door of the automobile and unto the sidewalk. The distinct crack of her shoulder ignited concern as pain took the place of panic.
The black sedan roared to life, raced out of the driveway, and down the road away from the city, leaving her sprawled on the cold, hard ground.
She ignored the oncoming sirens and the pain. Desperate to get back to Cal, she wasted no time, thankful to the crook for a reprieve from certain death.
The injured shoulder hung helplessly by her side, but she managed to hoist herself up on one knee. When both feet were under her, she hurried to the front door.