1AM. The writer’s alone in her room, propped up in bed against a couple of pillows, staring at her laptop screen. Her face is blank, serious. Some might think she’s hard at work. Others (probably more astute) might guess that she’s written herself into a plot hole and has absolutely no clue how to get herself out of it.
The writer stiffens. Blazes, now what’s a cat knocking over?
Then the floor creaks down below. The writer’s stomach twists into knots. Mack (the larger cat, often called Butterball, Fat Boy, and other less than flattering names) might be a chunky critter, but even he wouldn’t make that much noise.
There’s an intruder loose downstairs.
The writer sets down her laptop and softly arises. At this moment, all the rest of the family are asleep. It’s up to her to investigate. (Never mind about asking for help, folks. That wouldn’t make for a good story, would it? [Intruder Invades House. Big, Strong Dad Deals With Problem. All Safe.])
On the way out of her room, the writer pauses, remembering that she still needs a weapon. If she wrote Sherlock Holmes type stories, there might be a revolver in the drawer of her nightstand. She doesn’t, though, so she snatches up a copy of Winds of War, a nice, thick tome. (Book 3’s projected to be an even better weapon, but Book 2 will have to do for now.)
Down the stairs she creeps, skipping over the top two creaky steps like she did as a small child. She sidles round the corner and down the hallway, clutching the tome tightly in her hand. As she nears the entranceway to the kitchen, she halts, her heart leaping into her throat.
A stocky fellow’s bent over the kitchen table. He holds a knife poised in his hand, ready to slice into a cake.
With a barely restrained scream, the writer casts aside her weapon. She rushes forward and, seizing hold of the intruder’s knife hand, clutches it in a deathly grip.
“Borde! Don’t touch the cake!”
The two stand frozen, staring at each other for several moments. Then the intruder gives a soft, unpleasant laugh.
“It’s for Mother’s Day,” the writer spits. “I invested hours today working on this cake. If you eat a single bite of it…”
“I’ll kill off your character in Battle for the Throne.”
Borde’s black brows draw together in a scowl. That’s no small threat. But then he looks at the cake, a three-layer chocolate affair plentifully decorated with Reese’s candies… At the sight, his mouth waters and he unconsciously licks his lips. Maybe death isn’t such a bad option…
“Set down the knife and get away from the cake.”
“Because if you don’t, I’ve thought of a worse punishment to inflict on you.”
“I’ll make you a court jester. Either that, or the fellow who empties the privy buckets.”
Borde’s tough, wrinkled face pales a touch. His grip loosens around the knife, and it falls with a clatter on the tabletop. That done, the writer releases her hold, and Borde steps back, grumbling under his breath.
“Should’ve just taken it and run…”
Thrusting his hands in his pockets, he trudges down the hallway, vanishing into thin air before the writer’s eyes.
The writer shakes her head, muttering under her breath. “Blazes, that scoundrel. If he’d touched the cake…”
Still, at least her delicious creation’s been saved from the fellow. As for Hadrian’s horse…