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The King's Man
Alison Stuart
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When desperation caused Thamsine Granville to hurl a brick at Oliver Cromwell’s coach, she did not expect to find herself in the arms of Kit Lovell.

Kit plunges her into a world of espionage and betrayal, a world that begins to unravel and the price Kit has to pay is the hangman’s rope…

Thamsine Granville had not begun the day with the intention of killing Oliver Cromwell.

In the midst of the jovial crowd that pressed against the barricades determined to enjoy the spectacle of the Lord Protector’s ride in State to dine with the Lord Mayor of London, she had eyes for only one man who stood across the road from her, prevented from reaching her only by the barricades and the red-coated soldiers.

His eyes fixed on her, a triumphant smile crossed his handsome face and he raised his hand to his hat, doffing it as he inclined his head. She saw him mouth her name and push his way towards the barricade. She only had a few moments to make good her escape through the press of people to her rear.

The bells of London, silenced for so many years, rang out and the flags of the City Guilds flapped in the chill wind. A roar went up from the crowd as the coach bearing Cromwell approached.

The Lord Protector, clad in a reddish-colored suit embroidered with gold, inclined his head to acknowledge the cheers of the crowd with all the aplomb of a man born to such a station. There was no trace of the simple farmer he had once professed to be. Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector, the false King. Unbeknown to him he was about to become Thamsine Granville’s personal protector.

Impervious to his fate, Cromwell smiled, his right hand raised in a parody of benediction as if forgiving them their sins. At the sight of his face, solid and pudding-like, framed by the open window of the carriage, she raised her arm and threw with all the strength that she could muster.

The large chunk of broken brick, the only weapon she could find, hit the body of the coach barely inches from the open window. She got a brief impression of surprise on her intended victim’s face. The coach stopped, the horses rising in their traces, whinnying in alarm. The crowd, stunned into silence, held its collective breath, every eye fixed on the ugly graze on the coach’s paintwork where the brickbat had struck.

In the instant her fingers uncurled from the missile, someone grabbed her from behind. Strong fingers dug into her arm and drove her with force through the crowd that parted before them like the Red Sea. It had all been for nothing; somehow he had reached her.

She was only dimly aware of a commotion in the press around her. Soldiers yelled and a woman screamed. The world roared in Thamsine’s ears and she could feel herself slipping into unconsciousness, only to be drawn back by a sharp, agonising tug on her arm as it was cruelly and expertly bent behind her.

“Don’t faint, don’t you dare faint,” an unfamiliar man’s voice hissed in her ear.

She could have screamed with relief. It wasn’t him.

“Now unless you want to end your life on a gibbet on Tower Hill, you will co-operate fully in what we are about to do.”

Her rescuer thrust her down a dark, noisome alley, pressing her back against a wall. The rough brickwork dug into her spine as he pulled her around to face him, pinioning her arms at her side.

His body pressed against her and she closed her eyes bracing herself for the blow or whatever punishment was coming her way. She did not expect to be kissed. Her instinctive reaction was to resist but with her arms and her head immobilised, she was reduced to trying to kick her assailant. He responded by placing a booted foot firmly on her instep. She gave a muffled yelp of pain.

“Who’s down there then?”

Alison was born in Kenya and has lived and travelled around the world but home is Melbourne, Australia where she lives with her two sons, two cats and her husband, the one true hero in her life. In her “real” life she is a lawyer and has been, among her many and varied occupations, a legal officer in the Australian Army reserve. She lived in Singapore for three years, pretending to pursue a serious, full time writing career while being ‘just an expat wife’. During that time, she was published in two anthologies of short stories (one of which appeared briefly in a best seller list and both of which are available on Amazon) and wrote the first draft of The King’s Man! She has had other short stories published in anthologies, and has been a contest finalist in a number of competitions, including the shortlist of the Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize, the Emerald Award and the Emma Darcy Award.

Fiction Books :: Romance Books :: Historical Books

ISBN: 1597057974
ISBN(13-digit): 9781597057974
Copyright: 2008
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
Binding: Perfect
No. of Pages: 336
Paper Weight (lb): 14.0

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