Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Wondering what happens next? Here's a sneak peek at the first chapter of the tenth Sebastian St. Cyr mystery, Who Buries the Dead...  

Chapter 1 
Sunday, 21 March 1813
They called it Bloody Bridge.
It lay at the end of a dark, winding lane, far beyond the comforting flicker of the oil lamps of Sloane Square, beyond the last of the tumbledown cottages at the edge of a vast stretch of fields that showed only black in the moonless night. Narrow and hemmed in on both sides by high walls, the bridge was built of brick, worn and crumbling with age and slippery with moss where the elms edging the rivulet cast a deep, cold shade.
Cian O’Neal tried to avoid this place, even in daylight. It had been Molly’s idea to come here, for on the far side of the bridge lay a deserted barn with a warm, soft hayloft that beckoned to young lovers in need. But now as the wind tossed the elms along the creek and brought the distant, mournful howl of a dog, Cian felt the hard pulsing urgency that had driven him here begin to ebb.
“Maybe this ain’t such a good idea, Molly,” he said, his step lagging. “The barn, I mean.”
She swung to face him, dark eyes shiny in a plump, merry face. “What’s the matter, Cian?” She pressed her warm, yielding body against his, her voice husky. “You havin’ second thoughts?”
“No. It’s just…”
The wind gusted up stronger, banging a shutter somewhere in the night, and he jerked.
To his shame, he saw enlightenment dawn in her face, and she gave a trill of laughter. “You’re scared.”
“No I ain’t,” he said, even though they both knew it for a lie. He was a big lad, eighteen next month and strong and hale. But at the moment, he felt like a wee tike frightened by old Irish tales of the Dullahan.
She caught his hand in both of hers and backed down the lane ahead of him, pulling him toward the bridge. “Come on, then,” she said. “How ’bout if I cross first?”
It had rained earlier in the evening, a brief but heavy downpour that left the newly budding leaves of the trees dripping moisture and the lane slippery with mud. He felt an icy tickle at the base of his neck and tried to think about the sweet warmth of the hayloft and the way Molly’s soft, eager body would feel beneath his.
They were close enough to the bridge now that Cian could see it quite clearly, its single arch a deeper black against the roiling darkness of the sky. But something wasn’t quite right, and he felt his scalp prickle, his breath catch as the silhouette of a man’s head loomed before them.
“What is it?” Molly asked, the laughter draining from her face as she whirled around and Cian started to scream.


mk said...

Yay! Just finished Why Kings Confess and already jonesing for book #10!

Anonymous said...

Oh my. The agony and ectasy of getting such a small glimpse. A year is so far away. Remind me, this one isn't the road trip one (that's the one you are working on now). Any other plot hints for this one (and yes, you've probably told us and I'm still in the happy haze of Kings and have forgotten, as i wasn't focused on this one yet). Sabena

JustWingingIt said...

Ooh, how very creepy! A year does seem like such a very long time to wait. I'm not quite sure how I will manage. You could always throw some little short stories our way. They don't have to necessarily be mini-mysteries. I'd settle for small snippets of everyday life at the Devlin household - maybe a page or two's worth. You know, the stuff that goes on when there's not life or death hanging in the balance, especially now that they have little Simon. *hint*hint* :)

In all seriousness though, I already miss Sebastian and Hero terribly and I eagerly look forward to Who Buries the Dead.


Jefner said...

Love it!! How on earth are we supposed to wait a year? Oh, the agony! ;)

Judith said...

Oh my, Candy, that was just too cruel. Now the wait will be even harder.

Happy to read that your daughter lives in San Antonio. So do I, it's a great city. The wild flowers are starting to bloom. If you come for a visit, there is a spot going north on Blanco Rd by Camp Bullis where the Blue Bonnets are profuse. It's a gorgeous sight to see.

cs harris said...

MK, I just today received the a selection from the photoshoot for the cover.

Sabena, the road trip book will be #11, the one I'm just starting. WHO BURIES THE DEAD begins with the rather gruesome murder of a West Indies plantation owner (Cian sees his head on the bridge) and involves Jane Austen.

Veronica, I have thought about doing some short stories but I'm not sure it's not an art form I could handle well.

Jefner, it's not actually quite finished yet--still doing a few edits!

Judith, and here I thought it would help! And thanks for the tip about the bluebonnets; I'll have to tell my daughter to go take a look.

lmhess(Lynne) said...

I'm 3 chapters into "Kings.." and you're already tantalizing me with the next book. And that ill-fitting hat is going to make me crazy! Seriously, it sounds great and I'm loving "Kings..", Candy. I cannot read it in bed at night because I'm already on the edge of my seat...agh!!!

Barbara Butler McCoy said...

Oh wow. More Irishmen - love it! Of course I love Sebastian, too ;0 I think I'll treat myself to another read of 'Kings Confess'. Thanks for the sneak peek.

Anonymous said...

c-well i might as well chime in with everybody else and say it - another year to wait!! yuck! but those first 2 pages are great and im guessing that the wait will be well worth it!
my first thought at the end was - oh wow that must be one hell of a dead body if that kid is screaming! where would be without murder and mayhem? Thanks again for sharing.
best, ali

Charles Gramlich said...

I just love how you set a scene!

Anonymous said...

I juse love this series. Came across it last year. I own the whole series. Every book was great. Can't wait until the next one.

et, Atlanta, GA

cs harris said...

Lynne, I think they have one hat, and they're sticking with it. I said something about it before, but noticed in the photoshoot for the next cover, there is the same dang hat.

Barbara, I went to Ireland in 1981 and have been in love with the Irish ever since!

Ali, I'm really not giving anything away by saying, it's a head!

Charles, thank you!

et, I'm so glad to hear you're enjoying it!

Suzanne said...

Gosh, it sounds wonderful. So deliciously creepy. I can't wait.

How do you pronounce Cian? I always find Irish names difficult to fathom out. I am actually one quarter Irish but most of my male ancestors and relatives on that side of the family are called James or William. It is very odd that being very traditional Irish Catholics they use William and there isn't a Patrick in sight.

I can understand your reluctance to do short stories. I did a creative writing course many years ago and they are really hard. My output for the past 15 years has only been 3 of them. I just can't come up with good ideas that be can be told in only 2,5000 words. I seem to need at least 10,000!!

Suzanne said...

Sorry, I meant 2,500 words not 25,000. I have a new PC and the keyboard is taking me a while to get used to. It has a really different action to my old one.

cs harris said...

Suzanne, it's pronounced Kee-an. My daughter had a friend named Cian in Australia, and I've always loved the name even though I know most people probably can't pronounce it. I figured I could get away with it for a minor character.

I don't know about you, but I seldom read short stories, which I suspect is why I can't write them. I've tried reading various collections done by groups such as MWA, but most of them are dreadful, even the ones by Big Names. That said, I do have a friend, Charles Gramlich, who writes wonderful short stories.

Suzanne said...

I do buy a magazine called Fast Fiction occasionally and am continually amazed at how good some of the short stories are in them and how many of them some of the authors manage to write. I am very much in awe of them because I can't do it.

JustWingingIt said...

@Judith - I live in San Antonio too (well, Cibolo actually) though I haven't been out Camp Bullis way in years. I may have to take the kids out there this weekend if the blue bonnets are in bloom. Pictures!

I've been listening to What Darkness Brings on audio during my drive to/from work these past few days and I was wondering if we'll see more of Aiden O'Connell (I think that's his name) in future books. His cheek touch seemed to imply that he likes Kat.

I'm also wondering if Tom will ever come around to liking Hero or if he's always going to hold her tricking him against her.



cs harris said...

Suzanne, I'll have to look for that. I do think writing short stories is a special gift.

Veronica, yes, I have plans for Aiden!

Anonymous said...

I was so happy to see the return of an old and true friend of Devlin's, Paul Gibson. Also, do you ever plan to bring Kat into the series again? I don't like her much but I wonder how Devlin will react to her once more.

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I really can't wait to get my hands on this!!!!
Btw Candy, I have a question for you. It might sounds odd, but I was curious, what did the people who lives in Regency era drink? I assumed water is out of the question because it is not hygiene enough at that time. Or am I wrong?

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