03 November 2011

An excerpt from my NaNoWriMo WIP

The "prologue" of my NaNoWriMo project is finally done. I am so very pleased with the start of things. I'm right on target with my word count so far--I'm on it! And I think this chapter is going to be a strong start with some foreshadowing happening here. I'll let you decide for yourself.

Remember, this is raw, fresh from the fingers. It'll need editing and rewriting, but I'll give you a taste of what's to come. Enjoy, my friends....

The Brothers Cameron: A Crooked Rainbow Trail
by Jesse V Coffey
(c) 11/02/2011

This document is for your reading pleasure only and may not be shared or quoted anywhere for any reason. Do so and it'll be the last time I share anything from this book. I mean it!



The storm abated enough that the Dark Lady was able to slip into the harbor and finally come to the dock. The deck hands rushed about, tying up to the moorings and releasing the cargo to be unloaded. The activity was a flurry of men going about their business in perfect efficiency; their footfalls were staccato raps on the deck. Several young lads scaled the rope rigging and dealt with the sails, folding yards of thick linen into neat bundles and tying them to the masts. Still others dumped barrels of stale water that had been used for drinking onto the decks, swabbing for all they were worth. Others unloaded barrels and crates, readying the cargo for removal to the dock below.

The dark haired man watched with some amusement, as the sea below the boat had finally calmed but the sea of men was still roiling in action. The crew had performed admirably, but the heaving ship had reminded him why he hated to sail to begin with. Didn't mean that he was altogether comfortable with the idea of being another collection of Davy Jones's locker. So thinking, he plucked up his bag and slung it over his shoulder, making his escape down the gangplank as he threaded his way around the sailors.

It was this way after any new ship arrived in dock – a veritable blanket of bodies moving at odds with itself as the mass surged and receded with each packet of materials, each cask of scotch or brandywine was settled on the dock. The view of a new receipt of herbs or cloth was like shopping without the payment. There was new gossip to be told, packages and parcels from across the sea and perhaps messages to be given to someone from someone. There were new tales of adventure, new fabrications from the sailors of glories and defeats of brigands on the ocean blue.

The bustle of foot traffic slowed his pace but not his mind. His thoughts were racing but he had only one goal in mind. He wanted nothing more than a hot meal and a good sleep in a comfortable bed. Maybe find a clean woman to take his pleasure with, and a bottle of the best whiskey in . Tonight was his; tomorrow would be time enough to visit the Abbey and see Dev.

Cieran Morris may have been tired from his long journey but he was ever watchful of the crowd around him. There was no one here that could ever tie him to that business back in England. That had been a bloody mess; the whole thing had gone balls up and he'd been forced to run with only the one bag of coins instead of the three he'd been owed. He'd managed to stuff it in the hidden pocket of his breeches before the humiliation of that boy who'd bested him with of all things, a branch.

His mouth was dry, so he left the memory behind, his boot heels rapping smartly against the boards beneath them. The sound resonated as he pushed his way through the sea of bodies, working his way through the crowd, silenced only when he set foot on dry land at last. The street was cobbled, the stones unyielding, and it took him most of the journey for his legs to realize that he was no longer on the ship. He was no longer weaving, thankfully, but kept walking until he had reached the end of the wharf district.

He stepped onto a good, proper street and savored the smell of the air that wasn't filled with offal, fish guts, or human waste. He wanted something a little nicer than the taverns there, something with a little more class. What he was thirsty for, those places wouldn't carry. Grog and rum had their places but after several months in France, his palate was used to finer stuff. And he wanted a colleen that had a fair chance of being free of the syph.

He settled for Le Trois Chevres, stepping inside a building that was full of light from open windows of stained glass. This place must be doing quite well to be able to afford such a thing. Cieran dropped his bag down on a chair before taking its twin on one side. He pulled the chair closer, to keep track of the bag. He carried more than clothing inside; he carried two large bags of gold coins, the payment from a Spaniard who knew the right hand to grease to have a rival killed.

"Well, well, if it is not Monsieur Cieran. What you doing here, love?"

He knew that voice. He looked up into the smiling face of the sweet maid he'd wanted all along. He was sure that Madeline wasn't her birth name, but Madeline was what she wanted to be called and so that was how he addressed her.

Madeline had dark brown hair that flowed down her back in a tight braid that had been doubled back and tied in a loop. The round face was pale with a hint of natural blush in her cheeks, ones that had never been pitted or scarred from a pox. Her hazel eyes were rimmed by long dark lashes and her lips were plump and full. She was quite buxom, breasts of milk and peaches with nipples that were brown as raisins. Her hips were wide but the arse behind them was just as ripe as her breasts.

"Madeline, my dear colleen, you're just the one I've been thinking on. I've missed you."

She brushed a stray wisp of curl away from her cheek with the back of one hand, while resting the other on Cieran's shoulder. "Sweet talker. Tell me of your many adventures, eh?"

He grinned at her, reaching behind to give her buttocks a friendly squeeze and pull her into his lap. "Well, was just one this time, and is a tale of bravery and sorrow." He pulled the material of her chemise down just enough to show the light brown of the skin around her nipple and kissed it, brushing his teeth lightly enough to raise gooseflesh. "But 'tis certainly a tale to tell, if you'll want to be hearing it."

Madeline ran her fingers through his thick hair. "Just so happens I've no one to keep me warm tonight. I'd love to hear that tale of yours."

He kissed her breast, pulling the cotton material back to cover it again, and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Well, how about we settle for a mug of your finest ale, my dear. And then, we'll be discussin' an evening of tales. Shall we?"

He dropped several copper coins in her hand and pushed her off of his lap, sending her off for the ale. It gave him time to think. He'd have to stay away for a while. But how long?  A few months, perhaps? There was probably a price on his head now, thanks to the noblewoman. The boy and his brother would have alerted the local constable about his guilt in the murder of their father. Cieran supposed he could understand, he'd been paid to take care of the baron's "Cameron problem." There'd been no remorse or emotion about it; he'd just done as the baron paid him to do.

But that little snot nosed bastard had bested him. A boy, a mere boy. With a tree branch, that whelp had beaten him and then had bloodied Cieran's face, splitting his lip and breaking his nose. That boy had thrashed him soundly. If it hadn't been for the to do in the baron's house, that little shite would have done worse. Cieran grimaced at the memory.

A mug was plunked down on the table in front of him and he captured the hand that had set it there. Madeline hiked up the front of her skirt and chemise up with the free hand and slipped one long leg over until she straddled his lap. He kissed her wrist, pulling her closer.

"So," he said. "You've a liking for a saucy tale, have you?" He took a long pull on the mug, his hand still comfortably settled on her beautiful plump arse and her hands resting on his neck.

"Mais oui, my dear Irish lover." She leaned closer. "It is the saucy tales that afford me the most pleasure. Especially when I can help you live them out again and again and again. I do love to be the maiden in distress, oui?"

He chuckled and took another gulp of the ale. It was cool and soothing on his throat, the sea salt slowly washing out of his mouth. "Tell you true, me darlin', this tale is not one I'll want to be reliving, thank you."

"No?" she teased. "Well, then, something else for you. Something sweeter and more…." She pressed her lips against his, the taste of them full of cherries and wild honey. When she'd left him with the promise of pleasures to be hand, she pulled back. "But you will still tell me?"

"Sweet girl, I've far better things to engage your time with." He took another swig and then held the mug for her to drink from. "I'm not thinking the tale I have to tell will be near to as entertaining as what I have in mind for my mouth."

Madeline traced the scar over his eye with her finger, barely touching the skin. She ran her tongue over her lower lip, leaving a sheen that excited him and made him hard and willing. Her hips pressed against his, she felt the bulge and smiled at him.

"Then, I shall have to find better ways for your mouth to be occupied, monsieur." She pressed her lips to his again, this time wrapping one arm around his neck and threading her fingers deep into the curls to prevent his pulling away. Her breasts pressed into his chest and she rocked against him. When she sat back to draw air again, she smiled. "Of course, you will speak with Pierre, oui? And I will get the room ready."

He released her with a real regret, patting her on the arse as he sent her off. "I'll take m' usual room, if you don't mind. And I'll talk to Pierre. If I'm having my way, you'll not be back until in the morning when I leave."

Talking to Pierre was nothing; he greased the Frenchman's palm with a single gold coin that more than paid for Madeline's evening, the room, the food, and the wine. And still left enough for the man's compliance. By the time he arrived in the room, Madeline had the food ready, and was standing in the middle of the pile of her clothing.

The first time he took her, he took her standing up and from behind. He gripped her breasts, panting hoarsely against her neck, as he pounded inside of her. It had been a long while since he'd had a woman. He felt the need roaring through him, spreading her legs as easily as a knife would cut through warm butter. But it wasn't Madeline's face he saw as he closed his eyes. It was a brown haired pixie that danced behind his lids, an English wench who carried a small poppet in her pocket and fought with fire. The colleen with that Cameron brat.

He pictured her beneath him, wrapping her legs around him. He slipped his cock inside her warm muff, having his pleasure of the woman. Mary, that was her name. Aye, Mary. When he took Madeline to the bed, it was still the brown one, Mary, that he was having his way with. And he fucked her and fucked her, until he thought he could never be finished, never run out of the spunk inside his poor cock.

But it was the wee small hours when at last he did release his last drop, and fell against the warm body lying under him. She was Madeline again and she held him close, as exhausted as he was. Sleep took them both; he fell down the dark tunnel into a black peace with no one chasing him, no one to kill. He disappeared into the sweet oblivion that he longed for, away from this life, if only for a short time.

When he woke with the sunrise, she was still sleeping. Her beautiful mouth wrapped around her thumb in an oddly endearing gesture. Cieran gave a thought to one more time with her, once more suckling those plump and juicy breasts or diving inside that sweet cunny, but decided against it. The ride to the Abbey would take most of the morning and he wanted as much time as he could get with his brother. He left two gold coins for her on the bedside table; one she would have to share with Pierre – even though he'd been paid very well – but the other she could hide in her skirt pocket and keep for herself. She'd more than earned it. One coin was the wages of a twelvemonth. It would be enough to keep her and her family well taken care of. He kissed her brow softly and took his leave.

He stopped long enough to get some bread and cheese from the kitchen to break his fast with and collected a horse from the stables. Climbing up in the saddle, he took off at a brisk pace, headed for the Abbey of St. Dymphna and his brother.

It was near on twenty years since his brother had been brought to the Abbey. Dev's illness had taken the sweet child he'd been and turned him into a brooding, angry man. Only Cieran had a way with him, could smooth the anger into silence. Cieran had been the only one who could chase away his brother's monsters, and it was Cieran who had searched for this place to bring him. The monks had been performing miracles with their herbs and simples, Cieran had been told by a former patron. He knew it was the right place when the Abbot had performed such a miracle upon their arrival.

The trip across the channel had been wicked and the demons in Dev's mind had been particularly vicious. His brother had spent the entire journey hidden under the bunk, alternately screaming and crying out in agonies of the monsters that threatened to suck him under the dark waters of the channel and eat his flesh. Dev railed at voices that only he could hear and pounded first his fists and then his head against the floor until he finally slept. Cieran had managed to pull him out and laid him on the bunk, singing to his brother to give him the good dreams.

Cieran had had to bind his brother to the saddle to keep him from climbing off the horse or bolting away. He needn't have worried, Dev growled and carried on a monologue of his terrors, arguing with the demon that sat on his shoulder. Cieran had led the horse along, arriving in the late afternoon with his brother.

Abbot Francoise had met them at the gate, carrying Cieran's letter of introduction with him. He said nothing to Cieran, nodding his greeting only. It was straight to Dev's side he went, speaking in a calming tone to the babbling, cursing man. First he stroked Dev's leg, murmuring a French patois of a child's folk song until he had Dev's silent attention. The abbot slowly untied the bonds that held Dev to the saddle, still speaking in a singsong voice, still speaking of nothings and silliness. Dev was immediately captivated, and Cieran thanked whatever God the Abbot worshiped.

He'd stayed a month – as long as he could afford to do, given that he had business for Baron Joseph to attend to and needed to go as soon as he could – to get his brother settled. The medicines and decoctions the monks brewed and the Abbot administered wrought great changes in his brother. Dev was almost his old self again, the cheery sweetness that had always marked his brother's demeanor. Cieran gladly paid the money to keep his brother in those same medicines, purchasing herbs when the monks ran out and food for them to eat. It was money well spent as far as Cieran was concerned.

He was arriving earlier than his usual visits. But after that evening, he'd had to run as fast and as far as he could. He'd taken off to Spain for a time, spending a few weeks there to complete a job for a Spanish merchant. He learned through a reliable source that the Camerons had put a price on his own head, to send him to the gaol for the murder of their father. Joseph might be able to stave that off, if he still lived at all. But Cieran wasn't going to count on the baron and he certainly wasn't going to go back for a time. He needed some place to hide, And so France was perfect. He'd found a ship that would take him out of the way, give him time to hide from anything or anyone on dry land that could associate him to Edin-on-Norwich.

He arrived at the Abbey close on after the noon day meal and prayers. One of the monks, a novitiate that was taking the steps to receive his ordination in the abbey, took Cieran's horse and led the stallion to the stables. Francoise had a love of horses and he had often let Dev spend time with them. Another bit of brilliance, something that helped Dev come out of his shell and made the lad happy. Cieran made his way to the stables to find Dev, sure that's where his brother would be.

He was several paces behind the lad when he pulled up short and ducked behind a wagon. No, it couldn't be. No, it was impossible. He looked around the wagon and confirmed his worst suspicion. Abbot Francoise was standing near the fencing, a man and a woman standing beside him. Cieran's face flushed with heat and his fingers rolled into fists of rage as he saw exactly who the couple were.

"That fecking whelp! That little Cameron shite and his woman!"

How the hell had the brat known to come here? Was it a coincidence? He recognized the black hair, the carriage of the insolent shite. He knew the sword the Cameron carried, the one that had been in Cieran's possession for a short time. He'd taken it from the brat's father after he'd shot the man. They were standing with the Abbot, gesturing to the horses in the field.

"What the bloody hell is that little shite doing here? What is the abbot doing dealing with the wee bastard, as well?"

Cieran was suddenly convinced that there was something wrong here. Suddenly convinced that the abbot was doing underhanded things. But what, he couldn't tell. And with the fecking brat here in France, he could finally have his chance for vengeance. To pay the son of a bitch back for the beating he'd had at that Cameron's hands. He decided the sanctity of the abbey would have to survive the spilling of blood on its green field, and he reached down for his sword. He'd take care of that brat for once and for all.

"Dearthair!"

Dev saw him, hiding behind that wagon, and rushed out of the barn, racing to throw his arms around Cieran in a bone crushing hug. Cieran hastily pulled his brother behind the wagon, in case the others turned to see the commotion.

"Dev, me lad!"  He released the hold on his sword, and returned the hug to his brother. "How are ye?"

Dev was grinning ear to ear. His thick black hair had been cropped close to his skull, leaving only stubble on top of his head. He was dressed in the simple robes of the monks, and they suited him quite well. Dev was having a good day, which tugged on Cieran's heart.

"Dearthair, the horses, ye must come in and see the horses. I helped with the wee one, I helped,  I did. I helped it birth, 'twas some fearful being what Abbot says was breech." He tugged on Cieran's hand. "Ye must come see, dearthair, ye must."

Cieran spent one moment torn between wanting to gut that Cameron bastard and wanting to please his brother. But it was only a moment. The whelp could wait; he knew where the Camerons dwelled and he could take his time at it. He was more troubled with what business the abbot had with the brat. But that too would have to wait.

He let Dev pull him into the barn, pausing just long enough to glare at the trio standing next to the field. Yes, there would be plenty of time. He'd take care of that brat and his bitch besides. But first, his brother needed him. He followed Dev inside and paid them no more mind that day.

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