The theme for this week is villains. I think bad guys add an extra dimension to a story. Often they’re very similar to the hero. They’re dynamic and handsome and sexy, but they’ve made different choices, often the wrong ones, which bring them into opposition with our hero or heroine, sometimes both.
I’ve picked a villain excerpt from The Spurned Viscountess.
The Spurned Viscountess by Shelley Munro
“Hawk, the lookout sighted two people up on the cliff. Man and a woman.”
Hawk turned to stare at the wizened man who’d called out. Beneath the loose black mask, his mouth firmed to a thin line of irritation. Damn inconvenient. He wanted to shift the cargo inland today, but that wouldn’t be possible with strangers around.
“Did they see the lookout?” His low voice held authority. Power. It breached the distance between them easily.
Whiting raised his lantern to navigate the uneven, slippery floor of the cave until he stood in front of Hawk. “He said they did.”
Hawk bit back his impatience. Damn idiot. Did none of them understand how the return of the long-lost heir threatened them? Hastings must have a guardian angel looking over his shoulder. A snarl built deep inside Hawk’s chest, fighting for release. He refused to give in to the luxury, the loss of control. Hastings might have escaped death at his hands twice, but it wouldn’t happen a third time. On this occasion he had a plan—a foolproof strategy that would allow him to taunt Hastings before the final deathblow. Thank God he’d had the foresight to clear the tunnels leading beneath the castle. No more spur-of-the-moment attacks.
Instead, he looked forward to weeks of enjoyable entertainment before the culmination of his scheming. The tension inside him eased at the thought.
“Tell him to take an empty sack and collect seaweed. Once the sack is full, tell him to carry it up the path.” His words held enough bite to make the older man shuffle uneasily. Good. A little fear was a healthy commodity.
“Aye, Hawk.” Whiting doffed his hat, half turned away to carry out the instructions, then hesitated. “And if they question him?”
Hawk shrugged, his mind already busy with alternative plans to transport the cargo. “They won’t. If he carries the bag, his purpose will be self-evident.”
“Right you are.”
Whiting moved stealthily toward the mouth of the cave with a minimum of noise. The best of a dim-witted lot. At least this group carried out orders without question. Hawk heard the low hum of speech as Whiting relayed his message to the lookout.
A dull thud sounded from farther up the passage followed by a curse. Long strides took Hawk to the source of the noise. He surveyed the barrel on the cave floor. Brandy trickled from the cask, the fumes filling the air.
“Whiting will deduct that from your share. Do it again, and you’ll deal with me.” Hawk’s voice lashed out, leaving the man pale in the flickering light of the lantern. “Understood?”
The man cowered but managed to meet his gaze for a brief moment. “Aye.”
Hawk noticed the silence in the cave, and his gaze leaped to the rest of his workers. “Back to work. I want this cargo shifted by the end of the day. Move.”
A flurry of activity greeted his order as the men put their backs into the job at hand. When Hawk was satisfied the work was progressing, he stalked to the mouth of the cave, passing Whiting on the way.
“Watch the men. I want this finished today.”
“Today,” Hawk reiterated, his voice hard. “Supervise the men. I’ll keep watch on the cove. Go.”
“Aye,” Whiting bit out. “Sir.”
Hawk remained still until Whiting’s footsteps faded. But under the mask, his face tensed, eyes narrowed. Whiting’s attitude had changed over the last two months. He’d started to question orders. Damn, he didn’t have time for a power struggle. Not when everything he’d worked for looked as if it might be wrenched from his grasp, making all his plans for naught.
Hawk peered outside, along the shoreline. A man was leading a horse, followed by a woman. Hawk snorted. He would recognize that brute of a horse anywhere. Hell fire and be damned.
His hand itched to reach for his gun. He could finish this now. And solve each of his problems in one fell swoop. One shot would do the trick. His hand moved without volition to caress the pistol on his hip. One shot at close range, and Hastings would be gone.
Except that would make things too easy. Hawk stilled, frustration making him frown. He wanted Hastings to suffer for all the wrongs he had inflicted, to know who killed him and why. Hawk wanted to see his enemy’s face as his life ebbed away so he could savor his victory.
He intended to dance on his enemy’s grave.
To read more Snippet Saturday excerpts follow the trail below: