Shrouded Passions – Excerpt

Devon's steps were measured, suddenly fearful what was to become of Lotte and himself. "What are you going to do with us?"

"Whatever I want, my boy." George smiled evilly at them.

Without warning, Devon lunged at the older man, struggling with him for the weapon. George fought back strongly, until Devon feared he would lose this fight. In desperation, Devon laid his hands on the weapon, struggling to try and knock it free from the other man's hold.

Suddenly, a loud shot echoed throughout the cottage.

Hearing a scream, Devon turned instantly toward Lotte, a sickening feeling in his gut. Watching her fall to the ground, Devon let go of George and rushed to her, catching her just as she was about to hit the floor.

Studying her frantically, Devon prayed to every god he knew that Lotte had just fainted out of fear, but seeing the blood seeping through the fabric of her dress, he knew that wasn't the case.

"Lotte!" he cried, lifting her onto his lap, his hand cradling her face against his chest. "You'll be fine, honey. It's just a little nick."

Lotte didn't move though.

"Lotte, please!" he cried, tears welling in his eyes as he cradled the woman he loved in his arms. "You need to hang in there, honey. Just a little bit longer and help will be here."

Just then, loud voices were heard outside the still open cottage door as Jack Munroy and his servant, Andrew Hult, came barging inside.

"What the hell have you done?" Jack roared as he rushed toward his son and the dying girl he was still holding.

"Devon shot her," George said immediately. "Your son will hang for this, Jack."

Jack turned to his tearful son. "Did you shoot her?"

Devon looked at his father, desperation filling him as he replayed the events of the evening again and again in his mind.

"T-there was a s-struggle. The g-gun went off…"

Jack pulled Devon up from the floor. "You have to get out of here!" he yelled, shoving Devon toward the door of the cottage.

Devon fought against his father. "I won't leave her." He tried to go back to Lotte's still form, but Jack stopped him. "Lotte!" Devon screamed, hoping that alone might wake her up.

Lotte still didn't move.

"Get out of here, Devon!" Jack yelled, dragging him with him. "Now!"

"Let me go, Father!" Devon roared, fighting against the older man's hold unsuccessfully. "I have to save her. I have to be with her!"

"There is nothing you can do for that girl now, Devon," Jack said firmly, directing his son through the door of the cottage. Stopping briefly, he turned back to look at his servant. "Get it cleaned up, Andrew. Take the body to the woods."

"No!" Devon screamed as his father led him away from the cottage and to his own carriage.

Jack threw his son inside the carriage. "Get him out of here!" Jack screamed at the driver.