The Smugglers Wife – Extract
If you’re a fan of historical fiction, you’re in for a treat as I’ve an extract from Evie Grace’s new book called ‘The Smuggler’s Wife’, the latest in ‘The Smuggler’s Daughter’ series.
It was all very well Louisa warning her off. Grace’s eldest sister had her best interests at heart, but she didn’t know that she had a fancy for Isaiah so strong that she couldn’t eat or sleep.
Not only was he a Deal boatman who could be relied upon to go out in the fiercest of storms, risking his life to save others whose vessels foundered on the Sands, he was landlord of the Rattling Cat pub and a notorious smuggler. He was a loner – Grace often saw him walking along the beach with his grey longdog at his heels – yet he was leader of a gang, capable of inspiring respect and loyalty. The contradictions intrigued her, and it helped enormously that he was also dark and handsome and at least as tall as her, she thought, smiling to herself
‘Where do you think you’re going?’ Louisa stepped across the hall and stood between Grace and the front door as she tied the laces on her boots.
‘Back to the market before it closes – I forgot to buy the bread.’ It wasn’t a lie exactly – she had accidentally on purpose forgotten to pick up a loaf with the rest of the shopping.
‘Haven’t I told you before to take a list with you?’
On many an occasion, Grace wanted to say, but she managed to bite her tongue just in time.
‘I don’t feel so good, having been staring at the accounts all morning. Maybe a breath of fresh air will perk me up. Why don’t I come with you?’
‘You look well enough to me,’ Grace said, standing up. Tall, slender and blue-eyed, they were peas from the same pod, except that Louisa was five years older than Grace and an inch shorter, and her hair was a dark brown while Grace’s was the colour of ebony.
‘Where is your sympathy for your hardworking sister? Let me put my ledger away and fetch my bonnet. It’s a lovely day. We can walk along the beach afterwards.’
‘Are you sure you wouldn’t prefer to go and have a liedown?’ Grace suggested, but Louisa had made up her mind.
Her plot foiled to see Isaiah again, Grace reached for the willow basket on the shelf, at which a pair of green eyes peered over the top.
‘Oh Kitty,’ she said.
‘What’s that creature doing, lazing around in there when she’s supposed to be earning her keep?’ Louisa grumbled lightly
‘She’s done her work for today – tell me when you last saw or heard a meaker?’
‘Not for a while,’ Louisa admitted.
‘Mrs Witherall next door says she’s overrun with them while we have none, proof of Kitty’s prowess.’
‘I’ll suggest she gives her board and lodgings then – on a permanent basis.’
Grace’s exclamation of protest sent the fluffy black cat leaping out of the basket on to the floor.
‘You wouldn’t? I couldn’t bear it!’ Grace noticed the alteration in Louisa’s expression. ‘You are shamming me?’
‘I am indeed. Although I was very annoyed when Isaiah pressed you into having her, she’s turned out to be rather endearing.’ Smiling, Louisa looked down to where Kitty was winding herself around her legs, then glanced back up. ‘Hark. Do you hear that?’
Straining her ears, Grace listened for the faint medley of sound coming from the distance. Gradually it grew louder, and she began to distinguish the individual parts: the voice of the town crier; the steady beat of a drum; cheering and laughter; a piper’s merry hornpipe; a troupe of fiddlers scraping their strings. The church bells pealed, and the ships’ bells clanged relentlessly from the roadstead.
‘What is it? Has the world come to an end?’ She pushed the front door open. Kitty dashed outside and shot back in again
‘Miss, miss, ’ave you ’eard the news?’ One of a gaggle of shore boys who were half running, half walking along the alley stopped outside Compass Cottage. Fourteen-year-old Cromwell’s face was as brown as a nut, his eyes alight with excitement.
You can buy ‘The Smugglers Wife’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.