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  • Writer's pictureClarissa

Not A Fine Gentleman

Nothing is more exhilarating than reviewing a fellow author's work. The polish and word choice. It's a tricky endeavor trying to write a bygone era without alienating modern readers. Donna Hatch does just that with a flourish. Check out her handiwork with the following except.

Connor Jackson sat across the desk from Richard Birnie and gaped at the magistrate who commanded the Bow Street Constables. “You want me to hunt down Grant Amesbury’s sister? He’ll kill me.”

Truth be told, Connor wouldn’t cross any of the Amesbury men. Angering all four would be an act of suicide.

Not to mention, Grant had saved Connor’s life in battle and had treated him like an equal, a friend, all the years they’d known each other. Could he really arrest the sister of a friend?

Birnie carefully lined up the quill pens on his desk. “Lady Hennessy is accused of murdering her husband two nights past.”

Connor straightened. Murder?

Birnie met his gaze. “Not only must she face the law, but her brother wants her returned home. No gently bred lady should be out on her own. Not to mention, the murdered man’s family offered a reward, so every scoundrel after the money will be looking for her.”

A sobering thought. Connor let out his breath and shook his head. How did he get mixed up in these messes? If he refused, the eldest Amesbury family member might meet brutality at the hands of some clumsy reward-seeker who had no scruples about roughing up a lady. If Connor found her and brought her to justice, she faced execution for murder.

Either choice seemed guaranteed to destroy his friendship with that surprisingly honorable family.

“In addition,” Birnie continued. “She won’t be easy to find. According to the report from night watchman who arrived on the scene, Lady Hennessy pretended to faint right before she bolted.”

Ah. A diversion. The lady appeared to be as resourceful as her brothers. That could complicate tracking her.

“Why aren’t the Amesburys looking for her?” Connor asked. “Surely Grant could find her.”

Birnie ran his hand over his graying hair, making it stand on end. “Most of them don’t know about it yet. Grant and his wife left London early yesterday morning, and messengers have not yet caught up with them. Lord Tarrington is in route to his country house, and it may be some time before we can get word to him. In the meantime, the youngest brother, Christian, has asked that we find Lady Hennessey and bring her home.”

“Has she been formally indicted?” Too restless to sit, Connor stood and paced to the window.

Birnie said, “Yes, she has. The magistrate of that district has issued a warrant. He’d see her hang if he had any say, and who knows what influence he has with the jury. Apparently, he and Lord Hennessy were old friends.”

“This is personal for him.” Connor stared out of the window without seeing the view.

This could be personal for Connor, too. He owed it to Grant Amesbury to at least keep his sister safe from every thug seeking the reward. Once Connor returned her to her family in London, he could step back and let the family deal with her, and with the law.

“Christian Amesbury asked for you, specifically,” Birnie said. “Will you take the assignment?”

The least Connor could do was help them find their sister so they could keep her safe. She was also one of those upper crust snobs Connor had vowed would face the law just like ordinary folks. His own father had inadvertently inspired Connor’s need for bringing justice to everyone—especially the so-called beau monde. No member of the nobility should live under a different law than those which governed the rest of the people. She faced transportation at best and hanging at worst, but the Amesburys would never let that happen to their sister. Their fierce devotion to duty was only exceeded by their loyalty to their family.

Either way, Connor had two very good reasons for bringing her back to London. He could only hope justice would prevail.

“I’ll find her, sir.” Connor vowed.

For more on Donna Hatch, check out her other books here.

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