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Kathleen is new to our blog and I'm so excited to meet her and introduce you to her! Take it away Kathleen....
A FATAL FIRST NIGHT opens with a murder in Richard III’s dressing room after the premiere of the Ella Shane Opera Company’s new production, The Princes in the Tower, featuring the trouser diva and her favorite singing partner as the evil king’s young victims. Though their colleague seems guilty, Ella and friends aren’t too sure about that. Meanwhile, newspaper reporter Hetty MacNaughten has finally escaped hats to cover a sensational murder trial. Before it’s over, the cast will have to sort out several interlocking mysteries, welcome an unexpected visitor…and find another Richard III. Will everyone survive to the final curtain?
Ella already has enough on her hands with the new show, the backstage killing, and the murder trial her friend is covering -- when her British beau, Gilbert Saint Aubyn, Duke of Leith, appears unexpectedly at her home. They reunite with a fencing match, and over the swords, the topic very quickly turns to an unexpected embrace in their last misadventure:
“I am still, however, considering the appropriate response to that assault upon my honor, Miss Shane.”
“Really.” I almost missed the parry again at his direct reference to my pulling him into a kiss after I swung to safety. I still don’t know what came over me, other than playing the swashbuckling hero in the moment. Which, I guess, would make him the fair maiden. “Well, it was a truly terrible offense, Your Grace.”
“Indeed. So awful an insult I haven’t been able to forget it.”
His voice was light and teasing, but his eyes burned into mine. The kiss, my first and only, had been entirely inappropriate and wrong, of course. But amazing.
“Ah.” I smiled a little and backed him off. “Well, I suppose I shall have to pay the price for my rash actions.”
“You could be facing a life sentence.”
“I’m not sure I want clemency.” Parry.
“What do you want, Shane?” Attack.
“What do you?”
I could have launched one more attack and cornered him, and he knew it. But the duel was now beside the point.
“Draw?” I offered.
“Someday, I will prevail.”
We bowed and stood there for a long moment, eyes locked. My braid had come loose during the match, and he reached over and gently touched the falling curls, carefully pushing back a stray bit. His thumb rested on my cheekbone, the warmth of his skin soaking into mine, the electricity between us practically a wall of crackling blue fire…