Deadly Peril

Free Deadly Peril by Lucinda Brant

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Authors: Lucinda Brant
Tags: Historical Mystery
did she mean?”
    “Just what she said. We do have a lot to do before the ship sails.”
    “You keep using the word we , too. Why?”
    Plantagenet Halsey clapped his nephew on the shoulder. “Because, my boy, we are coming with you.”

S IX
    ‘ I DON ’ T KNOW how many ways to say it. Midanich is in the midst of a bloody civil war. And I’m not swearing at you when I use the word bloody, though I could very well do so, such is my frustration in not being able to convince you of what awaits us—no, me . There is no us or we , just me . Do you understand?”
    “Yes. Yes. Understand completely,” Plantagenet Halsey muttered, attention on a long checklist of items considered necessary for travel to foreign winter climes. He looked about at Hadrian Jeffries, who was in his master’s spacious dressing closet, the doors wide on several mahogany clothes presses, and arms full of white linen shirts. “When did you say m’tailor would be here to deliver those fur-lined breeches?”
    “Later this afternoon, sir.”
    “How many pairs did you order for his lordship?”
    The valet glanced at Alec but answered the old man. “Four pairs, sir. Three are fur-lined. The fourth pair is of a heavy twill cord, which his lordship says affords enough warmth within doors at those places where there are Dutch stoves installed to heat the rooms.”
    “Got y’self a pair of fur-lined breeches, too, I hope?” Plantagenet Halsey asked the valet.
    “Yes, sir. His lordship was very generous in having me fitted for a suit, and an all-weather cloak.”
    “Good. You’ll need ’em. His lordship is intimate with the weather in that part of northern Europe, and he says it’s damnably freezing and blowing gales off the North Sea all of the time. And there ain’t nothin’ to stop the winds blowing far inland because the landscape is so flat and featureless. Sounds damnably inhospitable, wouldn’t you say?”
    “I would, sir,” Hadrian Jeffries responded with a rare smile, which disappeared the instant his master spoke.
    “I am still in the room,” Alec stated flatly.
    “Ah, and so you are!” Plantagenet Halsey winked and smiled lovingly at his nephew. “And we’ll talk when you stop haranguing me about our upcoming journey, which you’ve been doin’ since yesterday mornin’. Olivia St. Neots and I are comin’ with you and that’s that.”
    Alec nodded to his valet to get on with what he was doing and went through to his dressing room, the old man following. He tried to temper his annoyance and worry and be conciliatory.
    “Even if I were to sanction you both being part of the legation, you must see that permitting Olivia to do so is foolhardy at best, and shows a wanton disregard on my part for your safety. If something were to happen to her—or to you…”
    “I won’t change my mind, and you have as much chance of convincin’ Her Grace to stay at home as you do of findin’ a kernel of wheat with your name etched upon it. Don’t you see, she needs somethin’ to occupy her mind, just as you do—as do we all. All she thinks about is what that lovely young girl and that fine young man are being subjected to, imprisoned in a hostile country that, yes, is at war. When she first told me her plan, well, I reacted the way you have. But the more I thought on it, the more I could see it will be a good thing, for her and for me. We can’t stay here pacing the leather soles off our shoes while you go off into God-knows-what danger. Besides, you’ve not given me a chance to explain what we intend to—”
    “I’m sorry, but I can’t allow it,” Alec interrupted bluntly as he perched on the edge of the window seat. He continued before his uncle could interrupt him. “I’ve never mentioned what happened to me while I was in Midanich…why I was imprisoned… how I managed to escape a prison fortress… why I vowed I would never return…”
    “You said you weren’t permitted to tell me. Somethin’ to do with Foreign

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