THE DARKEST VILLAIN

Excerpt from A Fond Hope by Vanessa Lind (copyright 2022)

From Chapter Thirty-Two

April 11, 1865

“Our cause is nearly lost,” Booth said. “Something decisive and great must be done. By God! I'll put him through. That speech we heard tonight is the last he’ll ever make."

I’ll put him through. That was no idle threat.

“That speech tonight…” Boots clattering on the cobblestones, Booth quickened his steps, his words swallowed up in the sound.

She hastened, closing the gap between them, willing her slippers silent. Closer. Closer still.

“…last he’ll ever make,” Booth said.

He swung around. She stopped short.

He stepped close, his dark eyes glinting in the moonlight. “To what do we owe the pleasure, madam?”

“Sorry, sir. I mistook you for someone else.”

His searing gaze. His anger, now turned on her. “Ah, but you know me now, do you not?”

He wanted acknowledgement. Wanted it above all else, she knew. Well, she wasn’t going to give it to him.

“If we’ve met, it was only in passing.”

“In passing.” His tone mocked her.

Watching this exchange, his companion set his hand on Booth’s shoulder. “Come along, man.”

Booth shrugged him off. “A moment, Lewis. To place this lady who saw fit to sneak up behind us. I’m certain I’ve seen her before. Recently, as a matter of fact.”

Hattie locked eyes with him. “Isabelle,” she said.

He touched his finger to his chin. “I’ve known an Isabelle. Sweet young thing. Pretty too. Almost as pretty as you.”

She stepped forward, shoulders squared. “Alice.”

A derisive smile. “Surely you don’t think I’d mistake a stranger for Alice Gray.”

“Lucy.”

His face darkened. “You are toying with me.”

“We’re all the same to you, aren’t we, us women? Props for your ego. Women you use and cast aside.”

“You little slut. How dare you!” He lunged for her.

 

A fascinating historical novel of grit, valor, and resilience

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