15 March 2009

Magician's Spell Coming Soon

Hi all. I was contracted in November for my upcoming novel Magician's Spell, an historical action adventure set in the 1800s - Napoleon's Era. Below is an excerpt.

Harold Monroe balanced on the starboard railing poised in the moment, taking in the cloudless sky and the endless horizon. Leaping up he traveled the warm air until his body split the green water. He dove deeply and, upon reaching the dive’s nadir, rose back to the surface breaking the liquid barrier. Shaking the water from his eyes he looked back at Magician checking her for any unnoted damage. He swam in closer, took a few laps around the boat and then climbed aboard. Usually the reliable Maddox would be waiting for him with a towel, or robe. However, on this day the man was oddly missing and so were the garments Hal left at the rail. Under his breath he cursed his steward’s inefficiency; all he had left were his shoes. Stepping into them he walked across the deck, intent on his cabin.
It was at this moment Colette mounted the deck from below. Her fear was appeased by the apparent normal routine of the ship. As she scanned the horizon for another ship her gaze fell upon the captain, flagrante delicto. With a shriek Colette threw her apron up over her head and in backing down the ladder collided with her mistress. A similar yelp was elicited from Johanna when her hand was pinched under Colette’s shoe. Shaking her wounded fingers she leapt down and side-stepped out the girl’s path of retreat. In her haste, Collette missed her footing and fell ungracefully into a heap on the deck below. Quickly Johanna assessed the girl for any severe injuries, and found none. Returning to the ladder she ascended to an adequate height which would allow her own curiosity to be satisfied.
Raising her head slightly above the hatchway she had a fleeting glance of the commander as he retreated to his quarters. Before her impulsive reaction surfaced, she ducked below out of sight. Sitting on the riser she lost the battle at containing her mirth and her laughter spilled forth. It was Colette’s puling from below which sobered her amusement. Coaxing her up from the floor Johanna led her back to their cabin, then closing the door behind them she instructed Colette to be seated. Restraining the emotions desperate for expression she reexamined the girl’s limbs for cuts or sprains. Once she ascertained her first diagnosis was correct she looked up into the girl’s face. Pushing the hair away from her eyes she received the faintest grin. It needed only that commiseration for Johanna’s suppressed emotion to bubble forth, joined in kind by the maid.
Further down the passageway Dr. Emrys paused as he tended to his patient, listening in disbelieving silence at the most incongruent sound ever heard aboard a man-of-war: feminine giggles. Returning to his treatment he smiled approvingly, mentally noting to satisfy his curiosity at a later date.

“And how is Colette?” James asked Johanna looking up through his glasses he wore while preparing medications for his patients.
It was much later the same day and she had returned to a calmer, quieter sickbay to check on those in her care.
“As regards her health, her imagined fears, or her injured sense of modesty?”
James raised his eyebrows at the last. “Modesty?” He handed one of the treatments to her, indicating with a nod the patient in need.
“Oh, James, did you not hear.” She withdrew to the cot, mixed the potion in a small glass and assisted its administration. Pausing for a moment she confirmed the man’s comfort. Once satisfied she turned back to the doctor. “I know how fast news travels in a community as small as this. Surely, someone has told you what happened earlier – after the battle?”
“No, my dear. After breakfasting with the Captain I came down here directly to tend to these men.”
“Ah, my poor Colette. She was party to viewing Captain Monroe after he finished his swim today.”
James peered at her across his work, not understanding her insinuation.
Further explanation was gladly offered. “Have you seen how the captain swims?”
Realization dawned on the doctor’s face.
“Need I say more?”
“Unfortunate timing.” he said picturing the maid’s reaction to this austere officer walking naked across the deck. So far James had managed to maintain his propriety.
“He did have his shoes on.”
Grin met grin and, in deference to the captain, they both tried to stymie their amusement, but to no avail. Soon as Johanna freed her laughter, the doctor’s restraint was doomed. The sound of this joviality was greedily consumed by all within ear shot; a relief from the brutality of the ship’s earlier encounter; a welcomed contagion and remarkable remedy.
As a member of Magician’s crew Emrys had never, hitherto, succeeded in breaching the communication barrier between the officers and crew, and the inviolability of the doctor/patient relationship offered him no further insight into this inner sanctum. Yet comparatively, in the briefest of interactions with this body of men Johanna Cornehl had secured their trust. Through his association with her he was now allowed a unique personal glimpse into the lives of his messmates – men he had known for years, but never truly perceived until that moment.
Lying in the darkness of night, waiting for sleep the doctor’s thoughts were much occupied with Lady Cornehl. Undeniably she was versatile, her social skills polished, – and her beauty – arousing. Considering this paragon of womanhood James was confounded by her singular attention to him.
Throughout his acquaintance with Harold Monroe, and Timothy Ruhl, he was often witness to their inherent magnetism where women were concerned. Unlike his friends, James had capitulated any delusions held in that regard shortly after his first sophomoric attempts. He held no resentment in this divergence; he affirmed it as a rational conclusion any woman would reach upon comparison. Because his work and education satisfied, there was no need to seek further proof. Human interactive relationships were approached much the same as his experiments, offering the opportunity to observe and learn.
He trusted once Lady Cornehl was introduced to Harold Monroe, or Timothy Ruhl, he would once again, assume the role of researcher. The unique position which he now enjoyed with the lady threatened to negate his assertions. Tim’s attraction to the opposite sex was irrefutable, yet Johanna seemed unimpressed. As for Hal, well, she was certainly his match in wit, fire and obstinacy. However, it appeared the captain’s prejudice against her father, combined with his aversion to the imposed circumstances, defined his opinion of the lady. He disliked her and she reciprocated his opinion. At this point in the acquaintance neither showed an inclination to travel a different course. Could he presume on her distinct preference for his company? James drew his blankets close against the chill. Turning to his side he forfeited his musing in lieu of sleep. As the persistent sounds of the ship eased him into unconsciousness he smiled contentedly. Perhaps he had erred in his estimation of his charisma, after all.

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