This is the second of my posts in the lead up to Read Tuesday (9th December) – an excerpt from each of my books.  There will be special offers available for Read Tuesday itself – see details at the end of the excerpt.

I’m doing them in sequence, choosing an excerpt I like.  We started with an excerpt from Book 1 last week.   I’m aiming to keep the excerpt to around 800 words. In case you haven’t read the Princelings series yet, I’ll give you a short introduction to the excerpt each time.  I was going to give you a bit of life on the pirate ship, but, realising it’s Halloween on Friday, thought you’d prefer a ghost story.

The Princelings and the Pirates (book 2)

Fred and his brother George (the Princelings of the East), and various other people including Princess Kira of Dimerie, have all been kidnapped by pirates and escaped.  They’ve found a message from Baden (Steward of Buckmore), and have split into two parties to search the deserted Castle Fortune to find him.

From Chapter 7: Castle Fortune

They set out on their quests, Fred, George and Kira leaving through the door near the fireplace after the others had gone back down the stairs.“What if they are between the ground level and this one?” asked Kira.

“I think we could cover that if we think we hear them,” answered Fred, and they went quietly along the main passageway, turning corners cautiously, looking round before they moved into the open, and stopping every now and then to listen. Eventually they came round to what they thought must be the end of the castle at that level.

“Shall we go up here?” said George, pointing to a stair spiralling up inside a tower.

“Might as well,” answered Fred, and they went forward, Kira following Fred, then George in the rear. The stair curved round the wall and occasionally there was a slit window where they looked out on the surrounding countryside. “We ought to watch for pirates as well,” said Fred and they nodded in agreement.

They skipped one floor and went along the corridor on the next. It had a low ceiling and they thought they were probably pretty much on the top floor.

“Stand still,” hissed George suddenly. They stood, and listened, but could hear nothing. Fred and Kira looked at George questioningly. He shrugged. “I thought I heard something.”

They walked on but George stopped again and turned round. They all stopped, and George looked carefully behind them. “Swap over,” he whispered to Fred, and they changed places so that George led on and Fred brought up the rear.   They went a few more paces then Fred stopped and turned round. He looked carefully, then looked at George and nodded. He pointed to an archway a little further ahead, and they crept forward to it and stepped out of the corridor itself. Fred stood in front of Kira, but she looked over his shoulder, not wanting to miss anything. They could all hear a quiet shuffling noise now they had stopped.

Slowly the noise came closer.

“Is it a ghost?” Kira breathed in Fred’s ear.

Fred shook his head, no, and said nothing. His heart was beating very fast. He didn’t know whether it was scared of the shuffling noise or excited by Kira so close to him.

The shuffling noise went past them and then disappeared.

“Did you see that?” whispered George, puzzled.

“What?” responded Fred, equally quietly. “I didn’t see anything, except it all went fuzzy for a moment.”

“Exactly,” whispered George. The brothers looked at each other, then at Kira.

“I couldn’t see a thing,” she breathed.

They cautiously looked out of their alcove. There seemed to be an obstruction in the corridor, but they couldn’t make out what.

“It’s beginning to get dark,” Fred whispered, “We’d better get back to the others.”

Their alcove seemed to have a set of narrow stairs in the corner. They decided to go down two levels and hope to get back to their own hall rather more quickly that way. They seemed to be in quite a hurry to get down the stairs and they crowded up against each other until they got back to the hall they had started in. Once there they relaxed by the fireplace. The others were not yet back.

“Umm, did we see something odd upstairs?” asked Fred when they had sat there a bit.

“Er, yes, I think so,” said George. “I don’t know what it was, and I don’t really want to find out.”

Night had fallen, and they looked at the fireplace wishing it had a nice comforting fire in it.

“We really need a nice comforting fire,” said Fred, wistfully.

A small glow appeared in the fireplace and grew to a small sized log fire, all of its own accord. Kira started shaking.

“What is it, Kira?” Fred asked, going over to her and putting his arm round her shoulders.

She pointed at the fireplace. “H-how d-did that get th-there,” she stammered.

“Well, it’s just something that’s been happening to me lately at my home castle, and I just thought it was worth a try here,” he said, squeezing her and rubbing her shoulders comfortingly.

“Good idea,” said George. “How about saying we need to find Baden?”

“I don’t think I’ll push my luck,” said Fred, grinning and letting Kira go. “I wonder where the others are?”

“You know we were doing this search till sundown and then coming back here?” he said after a while.

“Er, the others aren’t back, are they?” said George, and they looked at each other in the dark room, their faces only visible in the light from the little log fire.

“Oh, dear,” said Kira.

(c) 2012, 2014 J M Pett

Buy the Princelings and the Pirates, full price $2.99:

You can get it half price ($1.50) at smashwords.com (all ebook platforms including online) with the coupon code NN94N until one week after Read Tuesday.

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Tuesday Read – Princelings and the Pirates
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