TITLE: The Imprint of Desire
GENRE: Adult Historical Fiction
Jack drew his hands into his sleeves. The wind whistled along the high stone wall, rippled the gentlemen’s coats, and puffed the water-splotched capes of the fine ladies who’d braved the dreary clouds to join them.
A small part of him wished he weren’t here. The part of his left arm that ached from carrying Lady Roxbury's casket upon his shoulder, along High Street, down Cowgate, and into Greyfriars’ Churchyard. The part of his foot, sore in his stiff-ankled shoe coverings, the mark of mourning. The part of his heart that beat too fast when cordoned on all sides, as he was now, by the press of strangers and the town’s most notable Protestants, judges, and titled men and women. None like him. No Irish Catholics, no nearly abducted children, and no other young black men.
His breath ratcheted. The breeze blew on his white-wigged curls and he tried to time the rise and fall of his chest to the wind’s pulsing rhythms. Slid to the edge of the crowd and pressed his back against the blessedly solid stone wall. His hands crunched together. No sight he could see but the widowed earl’s bent head, and Admiral Lord Dunmore's beside it, fixed firm in his vision. The rest of the assembly blurred in a jumble of cloaks and canes and tartan scarves. His chest pattered, bum da dum, like a soldier drummer boy’s, as once he’d hopped to be.