Tag Archives: Urban Fantasy

Lady of the Lake Chapter 4 part 3

Ella tried not to stare at the strange man sharing her boat and her life. She didn’t know what to make of him. Mordred had the wide shoulders and slim hips of a born athlete, but the muscles were too well defined. There was not an inch of fat on him anywhere giving him a half-starved appearance, especially around his abdomen, inner thighs and face. Aside from a tanned face and hands, the rest of him was fish white. Most surprising was Mordred’s extreme modesty. His face rivaled the color of John’s scarlet Speedos and he kept his hands cupped over the vicinity of his manhood as if he were naked when he had eventually emerged from the cabin in his swimwear.

As Mordred recited the mantra of ‘you, your, she, her, me and mine’ she could picture him standing on a windswept moor wearing the clothing of an ancient warrior and brandishing a broadsword. He had an innocence about him and yet she knew he was attracted to her, for all he tried his best to conceal it with sudden turns onto his belly when his body reacted. John would have certainly made a move on her by now, were he Mordred, but this man treated her with incredible respect like he really was a knight of the Round Table. In another life, was Mordred a Knight Protector?

Living in England, Ella had enjoyed studying the ancient history of the place. Like any other foreigner, she visited Stonehenge, Tintagel, and Glastonbury along with other sites of importance. Arthur was the good king, and Mordred was the evil bastard son. This was the historical myth, but Mordred, her Mordred, claimed to be the son of Merlin.

“I think you have tanned enough for today. Go below and get dressed.”

He got up awkwardly with his back kept towards her to make a peculiar exit to the cabin. Ella decided not to break out her own swimwear at that point. Gallant, though he was, Mordred might consider revealing clothing as a deliberate provocation. The Knight Protector was a much better persona than the potential ravisher.

When he emerged looking much happier, Ella handed him the wheel, but before she went below to fix lunch, she wanted some answers. “Mordred, I thought Arthur was a good king. If he was not your father, why were you fighting him? Legend tells that he tried to have you killed as a child to keep the relationship a secret.”

Yes, just how immersed in his ancient persona was this man? Was he for real, or a delusional lunatic? She kept coming back to the candles every time she started to doubt him.

He flashed a grin at her. “Who can say who is good and who is evil? I could be called evil, but then Arthur was far from good.” He squared his shoulders as he turned back to face the wind like he shifted a huge weight on them. “Is there anything to eat?”

Lady of the Lake Chapter 4 part 2

She had sunshine hair, eyes of sky and a broken heart. Mordred made an effort to learn from her since this was what she wanted of him. He owed her that and more for getting him away from the madness, yet he wished he could help her.
In this moonstruck world, full of wrong magic, he couldn’t even help himself. The last thing he remembered was a duel with Arthur. One final sword strike, within his grasp, and it would have all been over, but then the witch, Morgan appeared. Magic swirled and flashed around him until he woke up surrounded by people with strange ways of speaking. The horseless chariots panicked him. They didn’t believe him, and then the endless nightmare started. Ella was his rock, his anchor in this madness, and he would never let her go, not until he found a way back to where he was. Maybe not even then.
“Pay attention.”
“Yes, Mistress Ella. I was listening to your words.”
She buried her head in her hands, and all the sunshine hair flowed forward in an enchanting cascade. The delightful smell of flowers wafted from her, the same as his own smell now that she had made him learn how to use what she called the bathroom, a vast difference from the forced drenchings in the place of madness. But Ella promised him a more manly smell when they landed. She said there were such things, and he believed her.
Seagulls flew overhead, screaming their need at the two idle people seated not doing the expected from a fishing vessel. Mordred lounged on the deck, soaking up the sun in what he considered indecent attire. Ella insisted he needed a tan to blend in with other folks. She found him the strange garment that was more than a loin cloth and yet less than one. However, he did enjoy her anointing him with what she said would stop him burning. He hadn’t, and he really liked the anointing part.
“Mordred, you are not paying attention at all. If you had been, you would have answered me. I also told you to drop the Mistress thing. It has an entirely different meaning than the one you meant.” Fine blonde eyebrows drew together in a frown over her summer eyes.
“I am sorry … Ella. I was lost in the past.”
“Tell me.”
He couldn’t. In her world, Ella was a strong woman in charge of her own destiny. She stretched to her limits in accepting his strangeness. Mordred didn’t want to scare her. “I need to be in a place where the wild things are to replenish my magic.”
“You haven’t told me everything.”
“No more than you did tell to me.”
She sighed. “Told me, not did tell.”
He rolled over to toast his back, hoping the cooking process would be over soon. He would have preferred to be fishing while he had his lessons. At least he could be providing for them. He also wondered why Ella did not elect to roast herself in some indecent garment. That would have made things a lot more interesting, although he had to admit her boy clothing was very revealing, even though she was fully covered. Strange world.

Lady of the Lake Chapter 2 part 2

“Mordred, will you shut your door like I did?” She didn’t know whether to be relieved or not when he did. Was this an elaborate act, or not? “Here is what I hope will happen. We will drive out of the village and take the main road to my boat. That is where I am going. If you want to stop any place along the way, then that is your call. If we are stopped at a roadblock, you let me do the talking. If I say to you ‘John, get your passport out’, this is what you will do.” She demonstrated. “Can you do this?”
“That isn’t my name.”
“No, but it is the name on the document. You will pass it to me, and I will show it to the policemen before I hand it back to you. Do you understand?”
“Thee will try an illusion to fool the evil ones. Yes.” He looked relieved.
She had to strap his seatbelt on for him as he didn’t seem to have a clue. Once they started, the glow of the instrument panel showed his hands as white-knuckled lumps in his lap. He had closed his eyes tight.
All went well until they hit the only road south out of the village. A cordon of police cars waited. “Mordred, there is a road block.” She couldn’t keep a tremor out of her voice. “Pretend to be asleep and let me do the talking. If you must respond, just smile and nod.” Oh God, was this going to be the end? She hadn’t seen a weapon on him, but the report said he had hurt people. A policeman waved her to pull over. She rolled down her window.
“Sorry to trouble you, Miss. Could I have your name and that of your passenger?” The young officer shone a flashlight on Mordred’s face. He winced and opened his eyes.
“John and Ella Harrison. We live just up the road. Is there a problem, officer?”
“The John Harrison?” The guy’s eyes boggled. “From ‘Cut to the Bone’?”
“Yes, that is him. Look, we are in a hurry and have a plane to catch. Is this going to take long?”
The young officer shone the light on Mordred again, who smiled and nodded. “No, you may proceed. So sorry to trouble you, Mr. Harrison.” He stepped back, spoke into his radio, and the barrier was moved aside.
Ella eased the car forward until they were clear. Beads of sweat ran down her neck and into her eyes. Her heart hammered in her chest. What had she done? How would she ever explain this away if they were caught?

Lady of the Lake Chapter one snippet.

As it happens this book is the one that just received a very stale offer of advancement after four years. Yes, I have a new title. Yes, it is most probably different from what those people read. Anyhow, here is the first snippet from Chapter one.

 

“Look, I think it is time to call it quits.” John’s voice sounded crisp, clear and rehearsed on the other end of the phone as if he had studied for the part. “We don’t move in the same circles anymore, and I certainly don’t want noisy brats invading my space. You made it clear that you do.”
A woman’s throaty laugh sounded close to him, too close. Someone was there, with him, listening to him give her the brush off. Ella started shaking. The oak-beamed room blurred under a veil of tears. A lump grew in her throat. What had happened to her husband? Who was this stranger with his voice?
“I’ve paid the rent on the cottage up to the end of this month, in two days’ time, and I handed in our notice. The landlord just told me it is let, so you need to be out tomorrow. I have also removed your name from my bank account.” More throaty whispers came from the vicinity of the receiver followed by John’s low-toned ‘Hush’. “I am suing you for divorce on grounds of adultery. Don’t imagine you will get any alimony out of me.”
Adultery, the word jumped down the line and carved into her heart. “That is not true!” Ella’s voice came out in a squeak. How could he say these things to her? She had never even looked at another man since he came into her life and who was that woman with him listening in to a private phone call? If anyone was having an affair it was him.
“I have pictures of you with another man, someone who is prepared to come forward. The pictures show a very good view of that disgusting birthmark on your leg. If you try to fight me, I will see to it you never work again.”
He could do that, the big name movie star. He could set people up to act the part, with a little help of Photoshop to reproduce her single blemish, an unusual pattern of freckles shaped like a trident. What was the fate of a make-up artist to film producers by comparison to the needs of the big star? Why hadn’t she seen this coming? They had been so happy, or so she had thought. Her dream, her illusion, built on the bones of an unknown actor and her with a foot in the industry, meeting and getting together, making sure he got the right introductions to the right people.
“One more thing, do you think you could find my passport? I am flying out to work on location in Australia next week so could you leave it on the coffee table for my agent to collect? Cooperate with me and I might consider giving you a reasonable one-time payoff.”
Money, it was all about money and lust. John had a nasty habit of accusing others of his own flaws in any disagreement, so she guess the woman by his side was his current woman. Cold logic began to take over from the pain and shock. He had been caught by the paparazzi with some bimbo. He couldn’t risk his image, so this was going to be her fault for cheating on him. How he must have scrambled to manufacture his evidence. Ella didn’t know this person anymore. Four years of living an illusion of love came down to a moment on the phone.
“I will be gone first thing in the morning. I take it you haven’t canceled the lease on my car?”
“No, I was too late. You have it for one more month, not that you’ll need it for much longer. I imagine you’ll want to go back to the States.”
Ella put the phone down very gently. They were done. It didn’t matter whatever else he might want to say. Through it all the smell of a roast wafted from the tiny kitchen; a supper they were to have shared together by candlelight. The supper he had told her to get ready to celebrate his new contract and their four year anniversary. Maybe she could salvage it to take with her.
He was right on one score; she was not going to stay on this damp and crowded island, despite the lure of its history. The Tudor cottage, with it blackened oak beams now sharpened her loss. This was to have been their love nest where they raised their first child together, for it looked as if John was going to be based in England for a few more years. The overstuffed chintz furniture wasn’t theirs. The place had come fully furnished so she didn’t have to worry about getting removal people to come in, or sorting through what she wanted to keep. She should pack her clothes to make an early start since she didn’t want to see his agent. Move, do something, so she didn’t have to think—do anything.
The narrow stairs creaked when she went up to their bedroom, her bedroom now for just this night. What to take? The tools of her trade for sure, but the rest? Where would she need designer dresses again? She left them hanging, along with her wedding gown. What would fit into the tiny foreign car? Pack the practical work clothes and leave the rest. She didn’t want to pack more than she could book in at the airport.
Two large suitcases full of clothes later to haul down the stairs and Ella realized she had no idea where she was headed. A person couldn’t simply head to London and jump on a plane, although that was what she had been thinking before her mind woke up. It had to be booked, and she had no money, not now he had closed their joint account. God, did she have to go cap in hand to beg him to buy her a seat? No, there was the boat. Frantic now, she attacked the Georgian bureau for her passport, driver’s license, birth certificate and the deeds for her boat. It was in her name—his gift to her when he had scored his first blockbuster. Fairy Child was ocean going and would fetch a good price, maybe enough to set her up without begging from him. Yes, she could go to the West Country and live on the boat until a buyer came along. If she were quick, she could stock it up with provisions before he thought to cancel her Visa card. No doubt that would be done at the end of the month. Tonight, she had to leave tonight.
Ella hauled the suitcase with her work stuff out to the tiny car, flipping up the tail gate to heave in the heavy burden. Light rain anointed her face with sky tears. Clouds covered the stars and the moon, making for a dark and grim night of driving. She didn’t care. All she wanted was to be away from the ruin of her dreams. Two more case and then put the food in containers to take whatever she could. Yes, she would need that tomorrow. She ran for the door.
A hand snaked out, covering her mouth. An arm wrapped around her, stopping her from moving. Oh God, oh God, nothing more bad, please don’t let this be happening.

 

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