Miss Darcy participated in the New Year Blog Hop and couldn’t be more excited to announce the winners.
Miss Angelina Daniels-Shaw is the fortunate winner of the $20.00 gift card. She will be getting the gift card directly from Amazon. Hope it will make start her new year off just right.
We also had daily winnners who won a free copy of The Scandalous Ward.
Day One winner was: Vera Mallard
Day Two winner was: Shadow Kohler
Day Three winner was: Nuzaifa
Day Four winner was: Karen C
For this blog hop The Scandalous Ward was the featured book. Although Miss Darcy tries not to show preferences, she has to admit that this story is one of her favorites. This excerpt documents Leslie Lathrup’s arrival from India and the introduction of her traveling companions to the Duke.
* * * * * * *
“This is Jacko, your Grace.” Leslie indicated the wizened figure standing protectively at his shoulder.
The old man drew himself smartly to attention. “Private Jacko, sir! General factotum to Captain Philip, sir! Right glad to be back in a civilized country, sir!” His voice rasped like sandpaper on wood.
Pax wondered if all Jacko’s sentences ended in ‘sir’? He guessed that the little Englishman was close to sixty, but his remarkably fit body made it difficult to determine. Under a wild mixture of black and white hair, the old man’s face was tanned and wrinkled like ancient parchment.
Silvery-blue eyes shone brightly in the otherwise expressionless face. Arms, impressive in their wiry strength, dangled from a broad muscular chest. Short bandy-legs completed the picture of Leslie’s self-appointed bodyguard.
“And this is my other friend Manji.” Leslie was positively dwarfed by the giant on his other side.
Although Pax was six feet tall, he suspected that Manji topped him by at least four inches, and outweighed him by a good six stone. The man was totally bald, the skin of his head gleaming in the late afternoon sunlight, giving a slight haloed effect. But the face beneath the shining dome was far from saintly.
Manji had the look of a fierce brigand with slanted brown eyes under bushy brows, a nose that had a decided list toward the right side and a moustache bristling above and then drooping dispiritedly on either side of a glowering mouth.
“Manji, syce.” The deep voice rumbled threateningly around the room.
“That means groom, your Grace.”
Pax could feel an aura of menace emanating from both the older men, so the boy’s calm explanation was a welcome relief. “And your mother, Leslie?” Pax asked forcing his eyes away from the giant and the gnome.
“She died when I was born, sir. The Captain—that’s my father—was mostly busy with the army. Jacko and Manji pretty well raised me,” the boy explained.
“And I can see they’ve done a fine job,” Pax acknowledged hastily. He eyed the bizarre duo, curious despite himself. “Where did Jacko and Manji come from?”
“I can’t say for sure about Jacko. He was sort of on the scene when I arrived. When Father first went out to India, he took Jacko as his batman. Since then, of course, the Captain wouldn’t move without him. He’s good at about everything.”
The boy grinned as the old man creaked once again to attention. “Sometimes I call him Teach because most everything I know I learned from him. ‘Cepting that Manji taught me to ride.”
“I wouldn’t have thought there was a horse alive that could carry the man,” Pax laughed.
Bristling at the implied criticism, Leslie hurried to Manji’s defense. “He’s really wizard on horseback, your Grace.”
“Give over, lad. I’m not doubting your word.” Pax smiled affectionately at the boy, pleased when the youngster returned the gesture.
“Well, anyways, my father found Manji on the waterfront. He was sick with a putrid fever, but we soon put him to rights.”
There was a note of pride in the boy’s high-pitched voice. “Manji was ever so handy when we were coming out of India. Speaks a lot of languages. His mother was an Indian prostitute, and his father was a Mongolian whoremaster.”
Pax coughed to cover his startled gasp at the blunt words spoken so nonchalantly by the ten-year-old. Good God! What kind of a life had the child led? Pax wondered in horror.
Looking across the desk at the placid expression in the clear blue eyes, he realized with a shock that the boy had little understanding of the words he used so casually. He was obviously parroting phrases, without any awareness of their meaning. Pax realized that he would have to see to the repair of some of the more exotic characteristics of the youngster.
* * * * * * *
What an exciting story it is. How was Pax to know that this simple beginning would lead to a scandal that would rock society? Even Downton Abbey hasn’t seen the likes of this!