*For the previous chapters, please go here. These are posted first draft, as the brain dictates to the fingers which are remarkably stupid. Eventually it will be cleaned up and fixed just before page is made secret/taken down and the book is published. At that time I will take lists of typos or volunteers to proof read. For now, it’s written in a hurry, usually an hour before it goes up. And, let me remind you, it’s free – SAH*
Witch’s Daughter by Sarah A. Hoyt
Before Albinia had realized what was happening, Michael had jumped on her, and was holding her down, while there was a curious sound like hail all around, combined with a sound of howling wind. And she tried to protest, but he wasn’t letting her up.
Things that Mrs. Hodges had told her flitted through her mind in sudden panic. When she’d told Mrs. Hodges that she’d rather not let Michael know she was a girl, because, she thought, men could steal a woman’s virtue, Mrs. Hodges had told her not to let him touch her, or force her into any position, and that she’d be all right. Though it was also a good idea not to be alone with him behind closed doors.
The later accorded so much with things Mama had said, that Al could only imagine it meant that when alone with a girl or in a position of command over her, a man could then steal her magic and do with it as he wished.
Panicked, unable to see, because part of Michael’s — or should that be Lord Michael’s? — cravat had come undone and flopped in front of her face, Albinia made futile attempts to get up.
The worst part is she knew they were futile. First because the big lump must outweigh her by double, and second because as the youngest sister of six boys she knew that it was almost impossible to overpower them, even the ones who were about her size. Which was why she’d learned early on to use her magic–
The though was useful. She didn’t need to maim him, or even seriously hurt him. She’d learned early on that sharp and concentrated force applied to a vulnerable area would get the young man distracted enough for her to then fight free.
Of course, if he’s already stolen my virtue–
But she’d try. The other thing she learned, growing up, is that you always tried.
With everything in her, she closed her eyes, and concentrated on the back of his neck. she’d had a view of it as they came into the house, and remembered it clearly: the pink skin beneath his hair. And then under her breath she muttered the easiest incantations for effect. If she still could do it, and had it right, it would feel like a giant mosquito sting on the back of his neck.
She aimed for effect and let it fly.
“Ouch!” came from above, and for just a moment, she felt his reaction, a slight movement, as probably his hand went to the back of his neck.
She took the opportunity to lever herself on one elbow, dig the other into what she hoped was his mid-riff, as she shoved with her whole body to get him off her, and then, before he could get hold again, before she even blinked, to leap away from him and–
That was when she slowed down enough, even as Lord Michael shouted, “Hey, I was trying–” to realize that the window that had been behind them: a vast affair composed of many little squares of glass encased in a framework of lead had broken inward, with force.
There were little pieces of glass all over the floor. She assumed that was the sound of hail that she had heard. She realized he’d been trying to protect her, probably guessing — accurately — that the impact of the glass would be less on the sturdier fabric of his suit. Even so, she realized that the back of his neck wasn’t exactly as her mental image had been. There were now myriad tiny cuts, as though he’d been excoriated by the glass, which now she thought about it, he had been. As he turned around, anger in his eyes, she said, “I’m sorry. I know you were trying to protect me, but I couldn’t see– I had to see–”
He looked confused, but only for a moment.
The gale force winds, which must have blown the window in hadn’t abated at all, and now, through the window, came something dark and formless, something immense and man shaped but which looked like it was made wholly out of smoke.
Al didn’t even mind that Lord Michael stepped in front of her. She could feel him, vaguely, because she sensed that he was working with forces bigger than she could command, assembling something magical. But it was complicated, and difficult, and the figure coming through the window swatted it aside with a giant hand made of shadow and smoke.
She would never be clear precisely what happened next, but she saw the thing grab Lord Michael, like a kitten by the scruff of the neck.
Albinia didn’t think. If she’d thought this would be the last thing she’d do. But her body reacted before her mind could. She grabbed for him, around his midriff.
And suddenly she was suspended middair, holding on to the young man, while — inexplicably — they both flew suspended over London, much higher than even the boat had flown.
*Guys, I know, I know this is very short. But I really have a million things to do. I’ll try to finish the chapter later today. – SAH*