Genre: Young Adult, Teen Alternative Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Clocks and Cobras
(Wherein Alexander Sinclair, the boorish American Inventor, has come to Lady Jane for a dance lesson)
The Grand Salon at Haversmythe house is an elegant soft blue with lavish white moldings. Queen Anne chairs, upholstered in a matching blue velvet, are arranged along the walls. Two enormous chandeliers hang from the ceiling. One is lit for this evening, and it glitters with fifteen brightly glowing candles. The floor is smooth and waxed to a brilliant shine. But the most notable feature, is how perfectly this room sets off Mr. Sinclair’s features.
He is clad in his new Corinthian black coat and navy blue breeches. I will not remark on how his hair glows in the candlelight, nor how the blue walls are a perfect foil for his angelic features. The effect is somewhat marred by the fact that he is smiling at me like a roguish pickpocket.
He bows over my hand and one might almost think him a gentleman. I run through all the things I should like him to say.
I’m yours to command, Lady Jane.
You look perfectly stunning in that gown, my lady.
My dearest Jane, I’ve been counting each torturous minute until this moment.
To all these compliments, I plan to offer a ladylike laugh, and playfully scold him the way Lady Jersey would. I will say, mind your tongue Alexander Sinclair, and then smile coyly.
He rises from his bow, and I perform a slow languid curtsy.
“All right, Lady Jane, what are you up to?” He stares down his nose at me. Which, by the way, looks as if it was broken at one time or another. There is a decided knot in the fine lines of the bone. “I see cogs turning in that dangerous little head of yours.”
Dangerous. Not pretty. Of all the things he could’ve called my head, lovely, or even clever, he chooses to say dangerous. What’s worse, I am completely innocent of plotting at the moment. I was merely enjoying looking at him.
“I’m not up to anything.” I cross my arms. “Why should I be?”
“Because you always are.” He says this with a modicum of respect, as if it is not entirely an insult, even though it is. “Craftier than a mongoose chasing a cobra, you are. I never know what to expect.”
Suddenly, I want to punch him. My fists are balled and I have half a mind to actually do the deed, except that would not be ladylike, and fortunately for him Captain Grey and Miss Stranje are approaching, otherwise I might fling caution to the wind and smack him properly, right there on his angelic cheek.
Miss Stranje greets Mr. Sinclair, and says, “Lady Jane, we will leave you and the others to instruct Mr. Sinclair on the finer points of our English country dances. Mind you, the gentlemen have an early morning tomorrow. So, you only have an hour and a half before they must take their leave.”
Mr. Sinclair bows to her and holds out his arm to me. “I am ready for your instruction, my lady.”
“I’m surprised you would trust a mongoose.”
“With my life, your majesty.” He adds a jaunty smile. But his flippant remark, with my life, jolts me back to the cold cruel fact that his life may indeed rely on whether or not I can catch the cobra.
My fists uncurl.
Other Books by the Author
A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS
Series: Stranje House, Book 1
Napoleon is exiled, Europe is in shambles and Britain is at war on four fronts. Daughters of the Beau Monde who don’t fit high society’s strict mold are banished to Stranje House, where headmistress, Emma Stranje, entangles these unusual girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.
“A completely original–and totally engrossing–world, full of smart girls, handsome boys and sinister mysteries…Sign me up.”
– Meg Cabot, NYT Bestselling Author of The Princess Diaries on A School for Unusual Girls
EXILE FOR DREAMERS
Series: Stranje House, Book 2
Tess Aubreyson can’t run far enough or fast enough to escape the prophetic dreams that haunt her. But with Napoleon threatening to invade England, Tess’s disturbing dreams may be the only means of saving Lord Ravencross, the man she loves, and her friends at Stranje House.
“This spy school for girls . . . is impossible to put down! . . . I recommend this book to anyone that loves brave girls, adventure and great friendships.”
– 5 Girls Book Reviews
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About Kathleen Baldwin