As a Touch-Know, Genevieve has never been required to steal more than a few paltry coins. But when a powerful stranger requires their help, her family of street-wise thieves sends her to get the most important thing they’ve ever decided to liberate. It was supposed to be a simple overnight job. Instead, Genevieve is required to appear attached to her mark, the curator of the British Museum. For Genevieve it becomes more than an act, and her problems are far more significant than the possibility of her lies being discovered.
When her family betrays her, she must make an important choice – turn to the man who has destroyed everything she holds dear, or strike out on her own.
In the distance a steam engine stalled out and throbbed in the night air. My skin rippled with distress as I picked through sludge-stained cobbles. I could hear the machine drawing closer, but still far enough away that, perhaps, I wouldn’t be noticed.
My heart fluttered, adrenaline sharpening my senses. Only a few more steps. A bright shaft of light sliced across my back, sending my shadow into sharp relief on the pavement.
All pretense thrown aside, I broke into a run. The steam auto roared behind me and I risked a glance over my shoulder. Two police officers hunched in the cramped glass carriage of the auto. One drove, following commands barked by his partner, who rode in the passenger seat. He hung out the window, his spotlamp trained on me.
At the nearest corner I flung myself to the left and searched for an alleyway, a door; any place to hide. The brick buildings coated with soot and grime didn’t offer any respite.
My lungs burned and fear made my legs watery. The auto was close enough, even after making the turn, that I could see the sparkling moisture gathered on the lookout’s brow. I hoped his eyebrows singed in the heat from the gas spotlamp.
Paying too much attention to what was behind me, I missed the curb and slipped. I tumbled, both hands spread to break my fall. My knees scraped rough pavement and I heard the sound of ripping fabric. Pain radiated from my wrists to my elbows from the impact. The auto pulled along side and I paused, waiting as the officer leapt from the auto, laughing.
I slid my feet under my body, hiding them in the folds of my ragged skirt. When he reached out to grab my hands, I sprang up, caught him off guard, and pushed at his chest with all the force I could muster.
He toppled eyes wide with surprise and a wicked oath on his tongue. I noted with some satisfaction that he’d landed on his rear in a large puddle of something unpleasant. Then I spun and ran back the way I’d come.
When my knees felt like pudding and my chest burned with each breath, I stopped, crouching in the shadow of a doorway. I strained to hear past my heavy pants. For the moment, there was nothing. I’d run more than ten blocks. Surely they hadn’t followed. All the same, I waited, pressed against the glass doorway, for several minutes. No sense in getting away once only to be caught again. I didn’t have enough stamina for that.
Somewhere nearby a church bell tolled the hour. Nearly one. Time for a shift change at the station. No police officer stopped if they were on their way home. Too much effort. Creeping out of my hiding place, I made my way down the street, clinging to the walls and shadows, staying away from the pools of flickering gas light under the lamps.
Almost halfway home, I stopped and patted my pockets, anxiety making my heart jump. Tonight I had been sent out alone, which didn’t happen often. My value lay in knowing an object’s worth rather than actually stealing anything. I never came back with much, but I didn’t want to come back empty handed. This evening, only a few small coins weighted my pockets. I reached inside and curled my fingers around the round metal discs, warm from my body heat. Continuing, I sighed in relief. Everything was still there. My hands burrowed deeper where the icy air couldn’t reach.
Footsteps sounded behind me, slow at first, then gaining speed. They drew closer as I approached the dark mouth of an alleyway. My stomach knotted and I jumped over a mound of blackened snow landing neatly in the center of the street.
Before I could summon the energy to run, a dark shape rammed into my gut and locked arms around my waist. All the air rushed from my lungs and I narrowly avoided cracking my skull on the pavement.
Joey– Well that was utterly fabulous! Thank you so much for stopping by Vanessa. So glad that we had the chance to get to know you a little better. Can’t wait to see what more you have in store for us in the future. If you would like to follow along on Vanessa’s journey, you can visit here at http://vanessabargerwrites.wordpress.com/ Plus, you still have two more days to get in on her Big Release Contest! Hurry because it ends March 17th!