A Dead Man's Debt by Grace Elliot.
[Lord Ranulf Charing has rescued Celeste from the fire…but was he too late to save her life?]
Ranulf stirred beneath the bedcovers, trying to shut out the nagging voice in his ear.
“It’s me sir.
lace w:st="on">Smethwicklace>. Can you hear me?”
Ranulf stretched; he’d had a hideous nightmare and waking seemed a good idea. Then a terrible realisation washed over him that it hadn’t been a dream. Merciful heavens Celeste was in danger. He struggled to sit up but his head swam with the effort. A hand restrained his shoulder, that same voice firm but reassuring.
“Steady now Sir. You’ve had a nasty shake up.”
Ranulf wanted to ask how Celeste was but his question came out as a moan; his tongue like a leather strop, mouth bone dry. Somewhere beyond his vision a hand steadied a beaker against his cracked lips. He took a sip. Never had water tasted so good. A cough racked his body; soot coated his throat and filled his nostrils.
“Easy sir, take your time. You’re safe now.”
But what of Celeste, he wanted to scream, is she truly dead?
Ranulf lifted his arms, but they were strangely wooden. He flexed his fingers but scalding pain shot up his arms and he nearly passed out. Blinking he tried to clear the fog from his stinging eyes, but what he saw was not encouraging. Both hands swathed in bandages. He collapsed back against the pillows, exhausted.
“Are you alright sir?”
It took all his strength to nod.
“Are you in pain?”
The question confused Ranulf. Was
lace w:st="on">Smethwicklace> referring to his hands, or the sickening sense of loss? A shadow flashed across his soul assailed by the hideous conviction that something so terrible had happened that he’d wiped it from his mind. Then he remembered her limp body, her dead weight in his arms…
“I let her die.” He groaned and turned away. “I killed her.”…….
[Excerpt from ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’.
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