Monday, October 5, 2009
My good friend and fellow author, Phyllis Campbell, agreed to share an excerpt from a current work-in-progress, Night Secrets. Phyllis is known as the "Queen of Sexual Tension," but it appears she's good at creating tension period. You can check at her available work on her website.
Get ready to shiver:
Eager to crawl between the blankets and snuggle against the pillows, Hannah hurriedly undressed. While her maid, Francine, brushed Hannah’s hair, the servant babbled about the friends she’d met in the Thornton’s staff.
“Although they are very kind, I fear they are keeping secrets.”
Hannah yawned. “What secrets, do you think?”
“Well, there was no mention of the East Wing ghost, but instead they talked about the cursed white wolf that roams the land.”
Arching an eyebrow, Hannah met her maid’s gaze in the vanity mirror. “A white wolf? I’m quite certain there are many wild animals roaming around.”
“They said the white wolf was cursed.”
“Hmmm...I wonder if the wolf and the ghost share tea every evening. Do they meet on the cursed island, too?”
Francine snickered. “Your sarcasm is not becoming, Mademoiselle.”
Hannah laughed. “Forgive me. I’m tired.”
“I believe the servants. They say every full moon the white wolf comes out of hiding and feeds upon the innocent.”
Hannah scrunched her forehead. “Feeds upon the innocent? Pray, what does that mean? And how does the wolf know if a person is innocent or not? Does he ask them before he kills and eats them?”
“It’s rumored that the wolf only kills virgin women.”
“Once again, Francine. How does the wolf know they’re virgins?” Hannah rubbed her forehead. “Oh, why must you believe these stories? Have you not stopped to think the others are telling you this to frighten you?”
“Oui.” Francine stopped the brush in mid-stroke and leaned closer to Hannah’s ear. “Why, and for what purpose? Why would they wish to scare us away?”
“Why, indeed.” Hannah tapped her finger on her chin. “I think they are creating these stories to cover the truth.”
“I don’t know. But I will find out.”
Hannah shrugged. “That is a good question, one I will ponder tomorrow.” She exhaled slowly. “Because tonight I plan to rest.”
Francine placed the brush on the vanity table and turned toward the door. “I shall be in my room if you need me.”
“Good night, Francine. Please lock your door.” Hannah tried not to grin. “With the roaming wolf and musical ghost, I’m quite certain you’ll need as much protection as you can get.”
Francine shook her head and hurried out of the room. Hannah chuckled as she pulled back the blankets and slipped between the sheets. After switching off the lamp, she thumped her fist into the pillow and curled on her side. What she needed was a couple hours sleep if she intended to search through the house tonight. Although she didn’t believe these ridiculous ghost stories, there was still something not quite right in the manor.
Just as her body relaxed, the floor creaked. She snapped her eyes open to cloaking darkness.
She pulled the sheet to her neck. Soft noises shuffled in the room against the far wall. Her heart slammed against her ribs and her breathing became ragged.
Straining, she cocked her head toward the noise, but heard nothing more. She rubbed her eyes and tightened the sheet around her before curling back under the covers. Fear threatened to close her throat. She squeezed her eyes shut, concentrating on her surroundings. Should she pull on her robe and investigate?
She rolled in bed and peered toward the window. The moonlight peeked through the slit in the curtains, but did little to brighten the room.
So intent on listening, her forehead pounded in a quick rhythm. She breathed a deep sigh, rotated her shoulders and once more closed her eyes. Old homes settled and groaned, and certainly the manor was no different.
The floor creaked again and she stiffened.
Heavy breathing floated through the air. She focused on the dark shadows playing marionette with her sanity. Someone was in her room. But how? Her gaze darted to the closed door.
As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, a tall shadow appeared at the foot of her bed. She managed to discern someone dressed in a cape with a hood pulled low over their head. A man, she assumed, with wide shoulders. Darkness covered his face.
Was this the ghost Mrs. White had spoken of?
She wanted to scream, but fear kept her mute. Should she lie still and pray he’d disappear?
The stranger’s breathing grew heavier, as did her own. The figure didn’t move. Building the courage she needed to scream, she opened her mouth, but the caped figure held up his hand, his finger pointing at her.
“You’re in danger here. You must leave.”
END of Excerpt
That was quite a teaser. Now we have to email her and bug her to get this finished and published. :)