2-Dreadfully Ever After by Hockensmith Steve

2-Dreadfully Ever After by Hockensmith Steve

Author:Hockensmith, Steve [Hockensmith, Steve]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Humor, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Historical, Horror, Adult, thriller, Zombie, Apocalyptic
ISBN: 9781594745027
Google: nKmfBhSYoQUC
Amazon: 1594745021
Barnesnoble: 1594745021
Goodreads: 8718281
Publisher: Quirk Books
Published: 2011-03-01T00:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER 23

It was easy for Darcy to wait for Lady Catherine and her servants to retire for the night. Sleep was no temptation for him. He didn’t desire it. He didn’t even feel he needed it anymore. What he wanted was a little time in Her Ladyship’s study. Alone.

Alone wouldn’t be so simple, however. Not with Anne roaming the house and grounds at all hours. That night, after a long game of piquet in the drawing room (the usual round of Crypts and Coffins being, under the circumstances, in poor taste), she’d asked if he’d accompany her on another of her nighttime strolls. He’d declined. Being treated like a candy cane by a walking corpse had cured him of any desire to wander around out of doors, he explained. Perhaps tomorrow he’d be in the mood again.

Anne had nodded and patted his hand and said, “I understand,” in a strangely patronizing kind of way, as if being licked by zombies was simply an acquired taste and she felt sad for—and a little superior to—those prudes who couldn’t yet appreciate it. Then they’d exchanged good-nights, and Darcy went to his room ... where he stood now, propped against the door, listening intently for any sound.

He heard nothing, but he knew that was no guarantee where Anne was concerned. She didn’t so much walk along the halls as float, moving with a smooth silence any ninja would envy.

Still, he couldn’t just stand there all night. Well, perhaps he could, if he tried, but that wouldn’t get him the answers he so desperately wanted—and dreaded. Another two hundred breaths, tallied with the infinite patience of one trained in the ways of the Shinobi, and then he’d risk it.

On breath one hundred and twelve, he heard the opening and closing of a far-off door—a heavy jade one, as indicated by the tortured squeak of its hinges and the dull thunk as it swung shut. Darcy slipped into the hall and hurried to the windows overlooking the large barnlike structure that served as dojo and armory and barracks for Her Ladyship’s private army.

Soon enough, he saw it. A shimmery-gray shape moving through the black of night: Anne walking to the dojo. Darcy had spotted his cousin heading that way twice before, both times, as now, in the middle of the night. It was enough to make him wonder if she had a lover among the ninjas. Such things simply weren’t done, of course, and Darcy could imagine the fate that awaited any of his aunt’s assassins who dared an indiscretion with her daughter. After all, this was the woman who, that morning, had taken a whip to the entire kitchen staff because she’d been served a currant scone.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh loathed currants.

Come to think of it, though, Anne did sometimes mention slipping out to visit “friends.” In fact, she’d said it was a friend who taught her how to go unnoticed by dreadfuls. And who better to perfect such a technique than ninjas, for



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