Major Quentin “Jack” Crisp of the Light Dragoons leaned against a pillar, surveying the ballroom. Amidst the swirl of couples waltzing to Strauss was the person whose diabolical cabal had led to the deaths of so many good men. Jack’s men, whose bodies had lain decomposing under the cloudless Portuguese sky. The horror had nearly unhinged him. Vats of gin had not been enough to quench the stench of decay and despair. But now, with luck his enterprise would succeed. Revenge would be his.
A liveried retainer passed with a silver tray, its crystal contents sparking under the candlelight. Jack waved him by. No time to drown his sorrows. He must keep his wits about him.
Across the room, Sir Alistair Crouching-Snark spotted the hidden dragoon behind the column. It was time to flee for France tonight. His work for the little Corsican upstart was lucrative but mayhap his fortune was running out.
Just then Lady Araminta Fotheringhay bumped into him, dropping her reticule.
“Oh, la, sir, I am so clumsy!” She bent to retrieve her purse, her perfect pearly breasts spilling from her low-cut bodice. Ever the gentleman, Sir Alistair leaned down too, the better to assess her ample assets. His last sight before his eternity in Hell was a half-inch of rosy aureole as Jack’s stiletto found its target.
“Dance, my darling?” Jack held out a blood-stained hand.
“Delighted.” They swept swiftly away from the body before the first scream.
Well, I always liked people getting dropped kicked through the goal posts of life on page one, but holy moly.