Only 6 days until the release of ‘Forever Hold His Peace’ (final of my Elizabethan series, ‘The Crofton Chronicles’) so I thought I’d share the opening of novel!
The dancing shadows of the undergrowth provided excellent cover. Sebastian moved quietly, placing each foot with care and avoiding the dry twigs whose treacherous snaps would give him away in an instant. He headed deeper into the woods and crouched down. The summer warmth didn’t penetrate this far, and he paid no attention to the gnats as they flew around his head or the earthy smell of the damp ground. His ears pricked at what he thought were footsteps, and he fought to keep his breathing shallow so not to disclose his hiding place. The sunshine dappled through the canopy of the trees, the pockets of light catching something and making it glint. Grinning to himself, he picked up a stone and threw it to the right, expecting it to draw out his quarry.
A flash of dark green, just visible in the shadows, coupled with a rustle of leaves only inches from where he hid had Sebastian ready to attack. He balanced himself, curled up like a frog about to leap to a lily pad, and sprung out of the undergrowth. But no one was there. He whipped around, convinced his prey should be here, but saw only trees and the mossy covering of the forest floor.
His instincts told him he should get back undercover, head to the safety of the trees before he became the hunted and not the hunter. He turned to dive back into his hiding place, but the weight of something hitting him hard sent him to the ground. With the air knocked out of him, Sebastian lifted his head and peered over his shoulder. Rolling backward, he stared up into Anthony’s grinning face.
Anthony sat astride him, grabbed his wrists, and held Sebastian’s arms above his head. “Not bad.”
“I thought I had you that time.”
“Oh, you’re a long way from being able to catch me in these woods, Sebastian. I’ve been causing mayhem in here since I was a boy.”
Sebastian tried to wriggle out of Anthony’s grasp. “Well played, my lord. Now may I be so bold as to ask you to let me get up?”
“And if I were to do that, how would I claim my prize?”
Sebastian struggled again but not with any real effort, and from Anthony’s wolfish smile, he could see his lover knew he was not really trying to escape. “But surely getting the better of me is good enough? There cannot be many men your age who could claim they have beaten a man of mine.”
“I’ll give you ‘man of my age,’ you insolent whelp!”