At 2:30 PM James W. Collins V examined his pocket watch for the fourth time before he opened the door to the outer office of his law firm. “Harry, has Miss Alden sent any word as to why she’s late or let us know if she’s canceled our appointment?”
“Not that I know. . . Oh, I clean forgot. I found this letter on the floor about an hour ago. I must not have heard the messenger, and he probably slipped it under the door thinking we were closed for lunch.”
James bit his tongue to keep from shouting his irritation at the old clerk. Harry had been with the firm since the beginning. While he had occasional lapses in memory and did not see as well as he once had, he knew everything about every case and client that the firm ever had. His knowledge was invaluable; putting up with minor lapses was a small price to pay.
“Let me have it.”
“The letter you found on the floor.”
“Oh yes. Now where did I put that?” Long moments were spent in searching through the various stacks of papers on Harry’s desk. The letter was finally found on the seat of his desk chair.
“Here you are, Mr. Collins.”
The paper was warm and slightly creased, but James took it anyway.
“Dear Mr. Collins,
“Harry get the police here at once.”
“I will explain later.”
“Yes, sir.” Harry donned his coat and hat then searched for and found his umbrella.
“Would you hurry, man? Miss Alden’s been abducted.”
“What? When? How? I’d better go for the police.”
James ground his teeth. “Excellent idea.”
Harry made for the door, but it opened before he could touch the knob.
A woman stood framed in the doorway. Her rain sodden hair dragged down her face and across her shoulders. Her dress was muddy, crumpled, and her neckline askew. She smelled like a whiskey factory.
“This is no place for the likes of you. Get on your way,” ordered Harry. He shifted to block the door. “I’m going for the police.”
“No, please. You don’t understand.” Her elocution was at odds with her odor and appearance. Tremors shook the timid voice, and James finally noticed the shivers racking the woman’s small frame. “I’m Persephone Mae Alden.”
Harry snorted. “I doubt that. Miss Alden is a well bred miss and would never. . .”
James finally recognized the delicate bone structure obscured by the mass of wet hair and moved Harry aside. “Forgive my clerk, Miss Alden. He’s somewhat over protective.”
“Sir!” objected Harry. “You cannot believe this drab’s claim.”
“If you wore your spectacles as you should, you would see that Miss Alden is no drab. I’m surprised you didn’t hear her identity in her voice. Come into my office, Miss Alden. I gather you escaped your captors.”
“Mae, please. With all that’s happened, standing on ceremony is more effort than I can handle. And, yes, I did manage to escape, but how did you know, Mr. Collins?”
About Rue Allyn
Author of historical, contemporary, and erotic romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever after the day she heard her first story. She is deliriously married to her sweetheart of many years and loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real life adventures. Learn more about Rue at http://RueAllyn.com