TITLE: The Lady Caller
GENRE: historical romance (steampunk)
Tinsmouth, Devon, 1870
Vera froze the instant she heard his voice. No one had called her by her real name in ten years – and no one else's voice had ever caused her mouth to go dry quite like his did. Once upon a time she would have sworn she’d never forget him, or the sound of his voice, but spending the last decade in London must have ground down her brain. The memories rushed back. Even now, with her old home so close she could taste the raw tang of tin in the air, Cole’s voice had the power to turn her mouth to dust.
Vera squinted down the tunnel, but the faint starlight filtering into the tunnel’s mouth was coming from behind her and she could just barely make out his silhouette. He hadn’t changed that much – still those massive shoulders, that purposeful gait. Had he always been so menacing?
She took a deep breath and tried to will the sudden tension out of her system. Somehow, in all the time she’d spent dreaming of this homecoming, she had managed to convince herself she was ready to face Cole again. She couldn’t afford to be wrong.
Cole stopped, close enough for Vera to make out the shock on his face. He was looking beyond her, up the tunnel to the gaping hole in the once-solid wall which had protected the town of Tinsmouth from the outside world for the last quarter-century.