To Trust a Thief Teaser

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today, so I thought I’d post an excerpt from my very first novel, To Trust a Thief  🙂

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Min stumbled back toward Arthur’s clinic, stunned by what she’d overheard. Well,
perhaps not as surprised as all that. After all, she’d always known what Bryant was. She’d realized from the beginning he couldn’t be trusted. Yet lately…

She groaned and kicked at a rock as she entered the shed, embarrassingly close to tears. Min knew she had no real right to be upset that Bryant was planning on double-crossing her. After all, she had her own secrets and double-crossing plans. Though she hoped to find a way for everyone to benefit.

And what on earth did Lord Rellik have to do with this mess? He’d hired Bryant to find
the necklace? What in heaven’s name for? After his dealings with Arthur, she wasn’t really surprised, though she couldn’t imagine that he needed the money.

Her breath caught on a ragged sob that she furiously choked back. She would not cry over that man. Over any man. Ever.
She paced the length of the shack, her vision swimming with the tears she refused to shed while she muttered curses into the darkening night.

“Min?”

She stopped short and turned to face Arthur.

“What are you doing here? Are you all right?” He came to her, took one look at her face,
and gathered her into his arms.

She sank into his embrace with a grateful sigh. She could always count on Arthur.

“Do you want to tell me about it?” Arthur asked.

Min shook her head. “It’s nothing. I’m just…worried about my parents. About the necklace. I’m afraid we won’t find it in time. Maybe Charlotte’s right. Maybe it really doesn’t exist. We’ve been searching for weeks…”

“Shhh,” Arthur murmured, holding her tighter. “I promise you we’ll find a way to help your parents. We’ll find a way.”

Min looked into Arthur’s kind, sweet face and smiled. He always made her feel better. “Thank you, Arthur.”

“Now, do you want to tell me why you snuck out of the manor to come hide in my shed?”

“Not really,” Min muttered.

“Min…”

She released a long sigh and focused on Arthur’s chest. “I followed Mr. Westley.”

“You what?”

Min broke into a rush of explanation, her words coming so fast she barely paused to breathe. “He knows something about the necklace, Arthur. He’s looking for it, too. He offered me a truce, wants us to team up, and I wasn’t going to but then I thought maybe I should, though I wasn’t going to let him take the necklace.”

“Min—”

“I would have made sure we both had enough to take care of everything. That necklace is priceless, so surely there is enough for all of us. But even if not, I wouldn’t have let him take the whole bounty, I promise.”

“Min—”

“And I didn’t tell him about you, I swear, but I didn’t know what else to do and we could use some help. But then he left so quickly so I had to follow him and I overheard him talking to his partner, and I think Lord Rellik is involved but I don’t understand wh—”

Arthur leaned down, crushing his lips to hers. Min froze. She couldn’t have been more surprised if he had upped and slapped her.
He pulled back. Min stared at him, unable to think of a single thing to say.
“Now that I have your attention,” he said, smiling.

Min released a shaky laugh and Arthur wrapped his arms about her. “We’ll figure it out, okay?”

Min nodded, still struck mute by his kiss. The way it had lingered on her lips…

“But I don’t want you following Mr. Westley anymore. Stay away from him, Min.”

“But—”

“No, Min,” Arthur insisted. “Anyone connected to Rellik is dangerous. If Mr. Westley is involved with him, then he is probably a criminal. A thief certainly, and who knows what else. If he were to bring you to Rellik’s attention…” He trailed a finger down her cheek, his hand slipping into her hair. “Rellik would have no hesitation in doing whatever he must to use you to further his plans.” His other hand rose and cupped her face, drawing her closer. “I don’t want you anywhere near that man.”

His lips brushed against hers again, softly, asking. Min hesitated. There was none of the heat that her brief moments with Bryant generated. But there was warmth, comfort. It felt…nice. Arthur held her tightly, molding her to him. His mouth moved eagerly over hers. The warmth spreading through her intensified and she wanted—

“Ahem.”

Min pushed guiltily away from Arthur. When she saw whom it was, her cheeks flushed with heat.

“Mr. Westley,” Arthur said, unperturbed. “May I help you?”

Bryant ignored him, his gaze riveted on Min. “Miss Sinclair. I don’t believe you obtained permission to leave the manor’s grounds. I will escort you back. Now.”

Arthur stepped forward, forcing Bryant’s attention. “I will escort her back. When she is ready to leave.”

“Miss Sinclair is under the guardianship of her aunt in the absence of her parents. As an employee of her legal guardian, it is my responsibility to see her safely home.”

Min untied her horse and swung up, piercing them both with a glare. “Miss Sinclair is standing right here and is perfectly capable of both answering for herself and seeing herself home.”

She kicked the horse into a canter and rode out of the shed, turning the mare toward the school. She didn’t care who saw her, as long as she got away from the two men in the shed behind her.

The church clock struck ten as she rode out of town. One hour until she was to meet Mr. Westley in the picture gallery. Mr. Westley, who must know she had followed him and spied upon him. She didn’t know how long he’d watched her with Arthur but he probably knew everything. He had certainly seen the kiss.

Blast.

The first chapter and more info on this and all my books can be found HERE.