Here is another excerpt from my novel Lucky Portbraddon. Ismène has been given a lift home after Christmas by her friend Nick and his nephew Noah; she has spent Christmas with the Portbraddon family and they became trapped by snow in the family home high up on the moors .

They got out of Nick’s rickety car, stepping into slush. The night was damp and had a fusty town smell after the clear air up on the tops. The thaw had set in but there were still mounds of snow, semi-frozen piles of mush, speckled with dirty grey and black.

Noah stayed in the back and she waved at him through the side window; he managed a weak smile but looked away shiftily.

“You will stay in touch, won’t you Ismène?” Nick asked as she keyed in the code on the security pad.

“I sure will, as long as you want me to,” she held the door with her shoulder so he could come in with her bags.

He made a facetious response and she replied with a joke but she had the tiniest suspicion that Nick might want to do a little more than flirt. He was lovely but she had not the slightest interest in him even if she’d wanted another relationship.

Someone grabbed her and shoved her to the floor and a man jumped at Nick and began hitting him in the face. Nick was unable to defend himself, encumbered by her bags.

 Ismène jumped up and grabbed the attacker’s arm, he spun round and it was Jaco.

 “You leave her alone, you bastard, she’s my wife!” Jaco bellowed and shoved her aside to continue his attack on Nick.

 Ismène tumbled backwards, falling over one of her bags, and sprawled across the floor again – And then there was a figure in black between Nick and Jaco. It was Noah and he grabbed Jaco, punched him straight in the face, before pushing him out of the door. He hurled him down the couple of steps then stood blocking the doorway.

Nick was on his knees, blood streaming through his fingers cupped over his face and Ismène tried to get him upright, appalled by the sudden violence.

“I’m so sorry, Nick, I’m really sorry.”

“What are you apologising for?” Nick staggered as if dizzy.

He called a muffled thank you to Noah, who cast a baleful look over his shoulder and went out, the door banging shut behind him.

Nick was wiping his arm on his sleeve, his moustache and beard a gory mess. The light in the hall was garish, Nick’s face was grey and he was certainly in pain. There were splashes of blood on the blue and green floor tiles, as if the seascape they showed had been the place of a dreadful battle.

“I didn’t realise he knew where I lived – I guess he thought you were James.”

She gathered her bags and other things, and hoping Noah was safe, she pushed Nick to the lift.  It pinged open and they hurried into its apple-scented interior.

“Long time since I’ve been in a fight,” Nick looked at himself in the mirror, touching his nose experimentally. “I don’t think it’s broken.”

“Well, it wasn’t really a fight. He hit you then Noah threw him out.”

“Oh, that’s right, spoil my moment of fantasy! In my mind I decked him with a quick one-two and some nifty footwork!”

As they stepped out of the lift Ismène’s neighbour was waiting; he cast a horrified look at Nick and hurried down the corridor to the stairs.

© Lois Elsden 2017

If you want to find out the background to this, and what happened next, here is a link:

 

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