We are participating in a blog tour that has an ongoing excerpt from Denise Montcrief’s novels. We also had a wonderful time with Denise when she answered some questions for us in a previous post. You can read that here.
Here’s the latest….
The man had memorized the layout, although he’d never actually been in the house. He’d acquired his information from someone who hated Hamilton as
much as he hated Hamilton’s wife. He almost laughed aloud. The old goat had named his brand new house for his brand new third wife. Victoria. The man had heard the house was beautiful. His informant had told him that Hamilton wanted the mansion to be as elegant and sophisticated as his new wife. The baron of Hill County obviously didn’t know her very well. When the man was done with her, there would be nothing elegant or beautiful about the new Mrs. Hamilton.
Once the man reached the top of the basement stairs and entered the kitchen, he stopped and stared. The space was huge, filled with the latest in modern equipment. Large lavish meals were prepared for Hamilton and his numerous guests. So much food wasted when there were people who needed jobs so they could feed their families. Unless a man worked for Hamilton, he had no means to support his wife and children.
Another set of beautifully crafted stairs rose from the kitchen to the second floor. As he climbed, he sucked in oxygen rapidly. He’d already overexerted his weakened body. The consumption was eating him alive, from the inside out. It wouldn’t be long before he coughed up more blood. He should have stopped to rest, but didn’t have the time. Any moment, one of Hamilton’s guards might have found him sneaking around the house.
His breath caught in his pained lungs. If the guards were patrolling the house, even in the middle of the night, why weren’t they making any noise? Certainly, there should be footsteps. Creaking and thudding and bumping. True, the upper floors were carpeted with the finest new materials, but three large men couldn’t keep from making some noise, even on padded flooring. No matter. He continued on his mission, the drive to execute so strong that he would only stop if someone stopped him permanently.
When he reached the second floor hallway, he paused to catch another ragged, raspy breath. The black cloth clung heavy to his face. Sweat covered his skin and dripped down his backbone. He wanted to snatch the mask from his face so he could breathe, so he could wipe the moisture from his skin. Not yet. It wasn’t time yet to reveal his identity.
Her door was at the end of the upstairs hallway. In another heartbeat, his hand was on the doorknob. Victoria was on the other side of the heavy wood door. Only a few more steps, a few more breaths, a few more heartbeats. He’d finally reached his goal. He pushed open the door. Padded across the bedroom floor. Drew back the canopy that sheltered her sleeping form. Raised the knife in the air above his head, pulled the mask from his face…and froze.
Victoria’s eyes were open, unfocused, and unseeing. Her face set in a mask of terror. A scream should surely erupt from her mouth any second. Then his eyes shifted to the blood on her clothing, on her linens, splattered on the headboard of her bed. The thin red line of seeping blood that she wore around her neck like a too tight choker.
Too late. I’m too late. Instinct slammed every one of his senses. Run. Get away. His mind reeled. His feet should have been in motion, but instead he remained frozen in place. He reached out with his free hand to touch her. Even in death she had the power to immobilize and emasculate him.
The man experienced a sharp pain slice across his throat. His fingers released the knife above his head. Before his mind could fully absorb his fate, he watched in horror as the red of his blood mingled with Victoria’s on the bedspread. Just a second of realization. A quick flash of knowing. Just enough time to sense the fatal error he had made.
Then, his world went dark forever.
Purchase Victoria House (Haunted Hearts Book 2) on Amazon
If you haven’t been following the tour, here’s the itinerary so you can ‘catch up.’