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An Improper Derailment: Chapter 13

Where Mary learns when to hold ‘em, and when to fold ‘em…
cards
Catch up with Chapter 12…

Start the series from the beginning…

The bed rocked something fierce. Mary pushed up to see whatever was happening. Chicago didn’t have earthquakes. Or did it?

“Whoa now little lady, you don’t want to—”

Several things happened in quick succession. Mary realized she was on a train. She attempted to sit up, only to bump her head on the ceiling of her birth. Startled, she jumped and rolled out of the pull-down bed, and landed in Marshall Hunt’s arms.

“—fall.”

She stared up into the blue eyes she had dreamed about. The blue eyes that meant she was safe. The blue eyes that meant she was on a train, in an open car, and other people could see the inappropriate actions of this brute of a man.

She smiled and let out a nervous giggle. This man who caught her.

He lowered her to the floor, bracing her against his body with one arm, while he braced the other against the bunk. The train rocked fiercely.

“Did the storm wake you?” Marshall asked in lowered tones.

With a few vision clearing blinks, Mary realized the car was dimly lit. Other passengers rested in pull-down births, similar to the one she had so suddenly exited, or they slept with their heads flung back, and mouths open.

“I’m sorry, did I disturb your rest?” She knew she should push away from him. She shouldn’t allow herself to be held so close to him this way.

To her disappointment, Marshall eased her away and onto the rear-facing couch.

“Not at all. You were restless, so I was already up and checking on you. Are you feeling much better?”

Mary pressed her fingers to her face, wanting to grind her fists into her sleep-filled eyes, but knowing that was not lady-like. Taking quick stock of her predicament, she discovered that she no longer wore her overcoat, hat, or shoes. But the rest of her wardrobe was in place, if not wrinkled.

“Yes, I think I’m better. No. I know I’m better.” She reached forward for his hand and gave it a quick squeeze. She no longer cared about polite displays of affection. He saved her. “You saved me.”

“I was in the right place at the right time to catch you. You wouldn’t have fallen far,”

“That’s not what I meant. I have never been so concerned for my person as those painfully long moments between being pulled onto the train and seeing you once more.”

Marshall chuckled, “It was all of three minutes tops.”

“No, it was infinite and ever-expanding. In that time I saw my entire life destroyed. My future was bleak and meaningless. I realized my past has been frivolous and superficial. I wouldn’t know how to survive on my own.”

“Mary…” Marshall cut in.

She leaned forward again, pressing her fingers to his mouth. “You say it was moments, but to me, it was a vast and expansive as the Pacific Ocean. Time stopped and I came face to face with an ugly reality. I am not cut out for this life of adventure. My quiet life has not prepared me for anything. I don’t even know how to play cards.” Mary sat back with a sniffle and clapped her hand across her own mouth. How could she even utter such words? A lady of polite society would never play more than a game of bridge with like-minded ladies. But Mary didn’t even know that. Cards were a sign of gambling and wantonness. At least in her grandfather’s house, they were.

Marshall eased back against the cushions of his own couch with a smirk and a glint in his eyes. “I guess we’d better take advantage of this time together and teach you how to play cards.”

Read the next installment, coming in October…

©2020 Lulu M Sylvian

Ballad: Ares Cover Reveal

Ballad Cover Reveal

Ballad: Ares

 

She wasn’t looking for a rock’n’roll fantasy. He was looking for her.

Lizzy feels invisible to the world, fading into the daily grind of her role as a divorced, single mother. She longs to be visible to someone.

Ares “Mars” Martin is in town hunting for a recording studio for his band’s next album. After just one meeting, Ares can’t help but see Lizzy. Instant attraction grows into a steamy relationship with Ares ready to leave his wild rocker days behind him and start a family. But Lizzy is afraid that out of sight will mean out of mind when Ares returns to touring.

Lizzy doesn’t want to live some rock’n’roll fantasy and be another groupie or someone’s baby-mama. She will have to conquer personal insecurities and preconceived notions about rock stars to claim a future with the man she loves.

Coming October 2020
presale links soon

Redemption is now available!

happy release day

Redemption

Legatum Book 6

Fernando del Fuego was created to take over his father’s empire. He has zero interest in the politics of vampires. He would much rather pursue a life of music. People died because of his apathy.

Melinda is strong-willed and focused. As a wolf-shifter and therapist specializing in patients with PTSD, she has the calmness and perseverance to help those who need her. She can tell there’s more to Fernando than a vampire-musician super-ego combination.

Determined to prove he is more than a self-centered mistake, Fernando stumbles into unexpected peril. Even though wolves and vampires have never played well together, nothing is going to stop Melinda from protecting whom she holds dear.

Click here to get your copy now

An Improper Derailment: Chapter 12

Where Mary forgoes decorum in her relief…

Crying woman is holding onto the derailment locomotive.

Catch up with Chapter 11…

Start the series from the beginning…

With a cry Mary dropped the hat she clutched tight to her bosom. She flung herself at the man who lounged so carelessly on the couch the conductor had indicated as hers.

She pressed her face into his chest and clutched hand fulls of the rough fabric of his clothing. The sobs she could barely contain on the interminable walk from boarding to here escaped on a hard gasp for air.

She drowned in fear and relief. Unable to manage unfamiliar emotions. Emotions she had never experienced in her over-protected life.

A comforting pressure anchored her in place as she cried. She was safe. She was saved, and that’s all she knew. The horrors of abandonment flickered through her mind like a racing zoetrope, only to be replaced with one still calm image. The image of Marshall Hunt. But not the image of him lounging and smirking, or of him glowering at her as he was want to do. But the image that was carved into her mind was of him smiling down at her, blue eyes twinkling with mirth.

Everything bad she could imagine, and she could imagine quite a few perils, was stopped in their tracks by the smiling face of Marshall Hunt.

Mary’s crying subsided to a stream of constant sniffs and quavery lip. The tears continued to flow, but she no longer sobbed. She slowly came to the realization of her predicament. The firm comfort she felt belonged to the strong arms that held her securely in place against Marshall’s chest.
Her breathing quavered as she assessed her situation. She was safe, but the car was open, and the other passengers could see. She knew in their politeness they would pretend not to notice. She also knew that pretense was a thin veneer of a façade that hid judgmental glares, gossip, and two-faced false friendships. She knew this well because she and Janey had been like that. Sweet as pie at face value, and shallow and undependable when it came right down to it.

If she stayed wrapped in Marshall’s embrace, she would be protected from the oblique glances and sneers hidden behind the masks of propriety. He would stare the false niceties down, and his glare would silence any busy-body gossip. For once in her life, she understood what it felt like to be truly protected, and not merely hidden behind a barrier of money and manners.
She held still. Not loosening her grip on him in any form. She should move, but she didn’t want to. If she let go she would have to return to the world of prying eyes and arranged marriages.

“You all right there Mary?” His voice was softer and soothing than she ever imagined it could be.

A soft kerchief fluttered in front of her nose. She braved releasing the grip of one hand to snatch at the fabric and wipe at her face with it. With as much decorum as she could muster she blew her nose.

The chest under her face rocked with a soft chuckle and the arms around her adjusted and shifted her position.

Oh dear lord. How long had she been sitting on him? Did it matter? Would he allow her to sit here for the rest of the journey? Here she could pretend there was no one else on board the train. Here she could let the motion of the train and the warmth of Marshall’s body lull her to sleep.

Within second of thinking about sleep, Mary’s soft hiccuping snores reached Marshall’s ears.

He shifted again, getting the small woman in his embrace into a more comfortable position as it looked as if she would be here in his arms for a might bit longer than he had ever expected.

After he managed to get her successfully onboard, he knew there was no way he could catch up. He slowed ever so slightly allowing the locomotive to move ahead. With ease, he caught the railing between the next set of cars and swung himself on board.

Surprised not to see Mary with her little nose wrinkled in disdain waiting for him in their seats, he made himself comfortable in the way that would boil her tea kettle the most. But she didn’t stare at him like some lowly cockroach. No, she was ashen pale, and clutched his Stetson as if it were the only thing keeping her alive. He didn’t question his good luck when she landed on him with the force of a broken heart and fear. He knew the sound of those sobs entirely too well.

She was safe. He would protect her.

A clap of thunder rumbled through his chest, and he realized a week in her presence would never be enough, but it was all he had. He wasn’t going to put her down while she slept. Not when he knew it was probably the only time in his life she would allow him to hold her.

 

Tune in at the end of August for the next installment…
©2020 Lulu M Sylvian

An Improper Derailment: Chapter 11

Where Mary has to face she may be alone for the first time in her life…

old train station

catch up with chapter 10

start from the beginning

Steam filled Mary’s view. Marshall Hunt was gone.

She didn’t remember crying out, she barely remembered clutching at the thing that hurled toward her from the blinding white.

A conductor held her arm and she realized she had been reaching out, trying to get off the train. She couldn’t be here, not without her escort, as gruff and inappropriate as he was.

Words were murmured behind her, and hands grasped her upper arms preventing her from slipping into a faint. Someone propelled her down a row of open couches.

One step in front of another. How was she to do this? She didn’t even have her ticket. That man had all of her documents, all of her money. What was she to do?

She tried to turn and make her way back to the front of the car, back to the little platform where she had entered the car. Maybe he was there, maybe he had caught the train.
“Miss, please.” The conductor turned her around and continued her in a forward motion.

“But…” Mary couldn’t form words; she didn’t know what to say. Her guardian, her travel companion, her deliverer was gone. How was she to prove her ticket?

Her brain froze on the thought, no matter how she tried to work her way around it, they were going to put her off the train at the next stop.
What was the next stop? They would leave her in the middle of the wild west, bandit country, restless natives, whore houses! Oh her reputation would never recover.

“I need…” She tried to turn again, only to be directed through the car with a firm grasp on her arms.

Other passengers looked at her with expressions of horror and pity. A young woman traveling alone, how completely untoward. She tried to swallow and compose herself.

“I… I’m fine,” she stammered out.

She was not fine. Her knees buckled and threatened to leave her on the floor, but the resourceful conductor caught her in a timely fashion.
The conductor guided Mary through the car, out the other end, and into another car. More faces judged Mary as she clutched the thing in her hands. What was it? She looked down and realized she crushed Marshall’s unfashionable Stetson to her breast in her despair and grief. She barely had the wherewithal not to break down in tears.

“Almost there Miss,” the conductor said as he led her between rows of couches.

“But I have a private sleeper,” she whined, trying her best not to wail out her terror at being alone, and being parked in such a public space as this. No. She was certain, there had to be a mistake.

“This is the sleeper car Miss. There are no private compartments unless you have an entire train car, which you don’t.”

Everything was wrong. Marshall was gone. She had no ticket. This car was wide open. There were no private births. Her trunks were away in some baggage car. And she was… alone.

“Here you are Miss.”

Mary had to blink to clear her vision. No privacy at all, and the unmitigated uncoothness of boots resting on her couch!

“I know you don’t care much for me Mary, but you don’t have to take it out on my hat. Hand it over before you crush all shape out of it.”

©2020 Lulu M Sylvian

Tune in June 30th for the next installment!