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Chapter Excerpt : Isabelle's Locket - 2011 Release :CHAPTER ONE
Foxton: July 23rd 1910
“Shhh,” sixteen-year-old Isabelle Luff said, laughing softly whilst eighteen-year-old Flynn O’Leary showered her face and neck with kisses and boldly declared his love for her. “Someone will hear us!” She glanced at the bedroom door―firmly closed of course―and strained her ears for any sound of the housekeeper.
“I don’t care,” Flynn said, planting a line of kisses from her ear to the bridge of her pert nose and then smiling at her. “We’ll be man and wife in a few hours, and it won’t matter who hears us.” He ran a hand along the edge of her blonde hair, neatly bound and almost hidden under a rather fetching wide-brimmed hat and across the smooth white skin of her cheek, and smiled. “If you still want me, that is.”
Isabelle looked into his soft brown eyes and felt her pulse quicken. “Of course, I do.”
“I’ll never be able to give you a grand home like this one,” Flynn said, casting an eye around the spacious and tastefully decorated room in the two-year-old house that was the pride and joy of Isabelle’s father, Gabriel Luff. “Are you sure you want to marry the son of a farmer?”
“Very sure.” Isabelle kissed his deeply tanned cheek and tousled his dark, unruly hair. “Very sure, indeed.”
“Then today’s the day,” Flynn whispered. “Are you ready?”
Isabelle glanced at the small leather bag that held two changes of clothing and only the most essential of toiletries. “As ready as I shall ever be,” she whispered, glancing at the door again. “But how will we get out of the house without being seen?” She glanced to the open window. “I cannot possibly climb out of the window like you do, not on the second storey.”
“Everything is arranged,” Flynn said, releasing the tight hold he had on Isabelle’s waist and running his hands down her arms to clasp her hands firmly in his. “Billy Ryder is going to provide a distraction to keep the cook and the housekeeper standing at the front door long enough for us to sneak out the back door. We’ll have to watch out for your friend though.”
“I have sent her to the town to try to locate you, just as we planned. Oh, Flynn my heart is trembling!”
“So is mine,” Flynn said softly, “and it’s the best feeling in the world.”
“My horse is tied up in the trees over there,” Flynn gestured out of the window to a small group of trees about a hundred yards or so away. “We’ll have to run like the wind though, as soon as Billy lights the fire to distract the others.”
Isabelle shook her head slowly. “Billy Ryder is not one to be trusted, Flynn. Surely you know that.”
“Don’t worry. I’ve paid him.”
Isabelle glanced out of the window. “And what time can we expect this distraction?”
Flynn glanced at the clock on the table. “Any minute now.”
The door opened suddenly and Gabriel Luff, Isabelle’s father, burst into the room, closely followed by constable Biggs from the Foxton police and … Isabelle blinked … Billy Ryder.
“See!” Billy said, waving a hand at Flynn. “I told you!” He held out his hand to Gabriel. “You promised me ten shillings!”
“You shall have your money, Mr. Ryder,” Gabriel said, keeping his eyes on Flynn, “just as soon as I have ensured that this miscreant here rots in jail for the rest of his days.”
“But I haven’t done anything!” Flynn said, while releasing Isabelle’s hands quickly.
Constable Biggs stepped forwards and Flynn held his hands in the air at chest height.
“Have you not?” Gabriel said softly. “I do not recall giving you permission to enter my house, in fact I recall giving you explicit instructions to stay far away from my daughter. Yet here you are … so you are guilty of trespass, at the very least,” he cocked his head, “and I have cause to believe that you are also a thief.”
“I’m no thief!”
“Mr. Ryder here informs me that you are.”
“And you believe him?” Flynn said, waving a hand in Billy’s direction. “He’s a liar!”
“It is not Mr. Ryder who has been lying to me though, is it?” Gabriel said. “You and my daughter have been meeting together and doing who-knows-what for some time I have been told.”
Flynn’s face coloured. “We haven’t done anything wrong, and I’m no thief!”
“Search him,” Billy said loudly, “you’ll see.”
Gabriel turned to constable Biggs. “Search him!”
Constable Biggs stepped forwards and reached into Flynn’s pocket. “I suppose you mean to tell me that this is yours then?” he said, pulling a pearl necklace from Flynn’s pocket and dangling it in front of his face. “Well are you?”
Flynn stared at the necklace. “I don’t know how that came to be in my pocket, I swear I don’t.”
Gabriel snatched the necklace from the constable. “This belonged to my wife,” he hissed to Flynn. “How dare you!”
“I told you. I’m no thief.”
“Arrest him,” Gabriel said, his voice was very calm. “And remove him from my house at once.”
“No!” Isabelle shrieked. “No, Father! You know Flynn is no thief. You know it!”
“I know that my daughter has been swayed to act in a manner that no lady of her standing should countenance,” Gabriel hissed, “and I know that he,” pointing a finger at Flynn sharply, “is to blame.”
“But I love him!” Isabelle cried loudly.
Gabriel shook his head slowly. “You will be sent to St. Mary’s Convent, where you shall live for the next year.”
“No!” Isabelle shrieked again as the constable twisted Flynn’s hands behind his back and snapped handcuffs onto Flynn’s wrists.
Flynn, who had been struggling with the constable, suddenly stopped struggling and stood very still with his eyes locked on Isabelle’s. “I love you,” he whispered.
“Father!” Isabelle shrieked as the constable pulled on Flynn’s arm and began to drag him across the room. “This is wrong!”
The constable paused at the door and turned to Gabriel. “Don’t worry, sir, he’ll not be bothering you again.” He turned to look at Flynn. Quick as a flash, Flynn brought his elbow up into the constable’s face, sending him reeling backwards into Gabriel. As the men fell to the ground Flynn ran for the door.
“Oh no, you don’t!” Billy stood in the doorway and flexed his not inconsiderable muscles. “I haven’t been paid yet.”
Flynn lowered his head and charged at Billy, but Billy brought his booted foot up quickly and kicked Flynn across the room as he raised his fists in front of his body in a classic boxer’s pose. “You’re handcuffed,” he said, “What chance do you think you have?”
Flynn glanced at Gabriel who was scrambling to his feet and then glanced to the open window that he had climbed in not half an hour ago.
“Don’t move!” the constable said, rising to his knees and spitting teeth from his bloodied mouth.
“I love you, Isabelle,” Flynn said as he launched himself through the open window and onto the roof of the veranda below. With handcuffed hands Flynn was powerless to stop his slide down the veranda roof and into the air.
“Flynn!” Isabelle cried from the open window as he fell from the veranda roof onto the sharp pointed spikes of the wrought iron fence that ran from the house to the stone boundary fence to divide the property into two sections.
Isabelle felt vomit rise into her mouth as blood spurted from Flynn’s chest in several places as he rocked helplessly on the spikes. She quickly turned her head away from the sight. “You did this!” she shrieked to her father. “You killed him!”
“Nonsense,” Gabriel said, glancing out of the window and then glancing quickly away. “The lad brought this on himself.”
Isabelle felt the world begin to spin. “I hate you!”
“That is of no concern to me,” Gabriel snapped. “You will be taken to St. Mary’s convent forthwith,” he glanced at the bag lying on Isabelle’s bed. “I see you are already packed for travel, which will save us some time.” He grabbed Isabelle by the arm. “And there is no time like the present.”
“No!” Isabelle tore her arm from her father’s grip and grabbed at the windowsill, staring down at Flynn. The man she vowed to love forever was still twitching on the spikes. “Flynn!”
She felt her father’s strong hands close on her arm once again and made up her mind.
“Flynn and I will be together until death,” she said, stamping her delicately booted foot onto her father’s foot with all the strength she could muster and ripping her arm free from his grip as he doubled over in pain, “no matter how long that is.” She launched herself through the open window and made no attempt to slow her slide down the veranda roof.
Her descent ended abruptly, and she saw blood spurt from the sharp spikes that protruded from her own stomach and chest. Strange ... it doesn’t hurt.
Raising her head as much as possible, she looked over to Flynn and reached her hand to his handcuffed hand. He opened his eyes and grasped her hand as his lips moved. I love you, he mouthed and Isabelle smiled.
“Till death do us part,” she said, feeling blood welling in her mouth. She kept tight hold of his hand as she felt his body tense and then relax with a loud hiss. “Oh, Flynn,” she said as the world drifted in and out of focus and she heard her father wail from the window two stories above. “We shall never be parted now.”
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About The Author :
Colleen Mitchell and her husband reside in Levin, New Zealand. They have a grown daughter and two young grandaughters, to which they are devoted. She and her daughter share a life-long passion for horses and dogs. Colleen writes fast-paced romance/adventure novels with a distinctly unique New Zealand flavour. Watch for a cameo appearance of Toby, the horse, in every book she writes. He is an old and much loved four-legged-friend who appears in a minor role in every one of her novels.
Colleen’s debut novel, Isabelle’s Locket, is an exciting time-travel adventure set in 1910/2010 in Foxton, a small town in New Zealand. Other New Zealand based novels will follow.
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