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Authors: Kate Noble

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Historical, #General


BOOK: Revealed
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Table of Contents
Berkley Sensation Titles by Kate Noble
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
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Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Copyright © 2009 by Kate Rorick.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
SENSATION and the “B” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Berkley Sensation trade paperback edition / March 2009
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Noble, Kate, 1978-
Revealed / Kate Noble.—Berkley Sensation trade pbk. ed. p. cm.
eISBN : 978-1-101-02290-0
1. London (England)—Social life and customs—19th century—Fiction. I. Title.

To my father and brother, the two wisest
and most unflappable gentlemen I know.
HE setting sun reflected off the inn’s bronze door knocker, blazing orange light like a beacon to the weary traveler. He had been on the road for days, on the trail of his enemy, and at last, the inn at the end of the road beckoned him as if to say, “This is it. The final place.”
It would end now. He was certain of it.
The building sat on the jagged edge of land and sea. He felt, he feared, it was the right place. His sinking stomach told him it was. He took a swig of water from the leather pouch he kept hooked to his waist. Squaring his shoulders, he ruthlessly combed his fingers through his hair, willing himself out of exhaustion. Then, as he approached, the building came into focus.
His instincts had been right, and tonight there would be blood-shed. But would it be his or his enemy’s?
His contact’s information was very good, he thought, as he read the choppily carved text beneath the inn’s name on its mast-head. Fin de Rue Poisson. Literally translated, End of Fish Road. His contact had told him that the encoded communiqué they had intercepted had been translated to say “fish fin.” And thus, he had been searching every stall, every ship, every pub in every small coastal village in this northern region of France for a “fish fin.” The Fin de Rue Poisson may not be a literal translation, but as an amalgam of English and French, it fit the bill.
The sea lapped jawfuls of water nearly at the base of the inn. If he looked hard enough, stared long enough, could he see England? Could he see home?
No. All he could see was the water and the looming building, beckoning him closer.
It was time to find the man who had eluded him for so long.
The Frenchman stood at the window in the westernmost room of the uppermost floor of the seaside inn at the end of the rue Poisson. He faced the cobbled street that led from the village to the seashore, the farthest corner of the structure, yes, but it was strategic. Here, he could see what was coming. The copper sun burned his eyes, but he had to remain vigilant, had to stay aware, had to stay alive.
He knew the man they called the Blue Raven was due to arrive. He knew, because he had leaked the clue to the safe house whereabouts himself.
Tonight he would prove his worth.
The Frenchman glanced at his pocket watch. Who knew it would take so damned long?
Movement on the street caught his eye. The Frenchman squinted into the sun and leaned into the glass, searching. His heartbeat quickened, the blood rushing to his temples, his muscles tensing, ready for fight or flight.
The clacking of horse hooves on cobblestones reached his ears as a carriage came into sight, a large, burly man driving the team. His face was shaded by an oversized leather hat, his form covered by a heavy cloak. The Frenchman watched and waited as the carriage approached . . . and turned a corner, out of sight.
A breath held too long fell from his lungs in a staccato rhythm. The Emperor had waved the white flag at Waterloo nearly a fortnight ago, but he knew the loyal were still being hunted. He was still too used to that rush of noise in his ears that woke him up in the dead of night. They would come together again. They would not surrender as easily as their leader. But for now, he kept his hand on the beautifully scrolled pistol at his waist, squeezing its cold, hard length for comfort.
“That will not help you now,” said a deep, rasping voice from the door.
The Frenchman turned, his hand remaining still on his belt, and took his first look at the Blue Raven.
He was dressed in the worn oilskins of a local fisherman, but the ornate pistol leveled at the Frenchman’s fair head was not part of a fisherman’s costume. That deadly weapon, as a matter of fact, was an identical match to the one he held at his waist.
“So,” the Frenchman spoke in perfect if accented English, “the little pigeon has arrived. Finally.”
“I apologize if I kept you waiting,” the Englishman replied in perfect if accented French.
The Frenchman leaned back in the comfortable, leather, winged chair. “I must say, you look different than I expected.”
The Englishman’s eyes narrowed. “You look exactly as I expected.”
“Do I?”
“Yes, but then again, I have the advantage. I saw you once at a distance.” The Englishman cocked the pistol, the metallic click echoing in the small room. “You were slitting the throat of one of my countrymen.”
A sudden flash of feeling ran down the Frenchman’s spine, so unfamiliar, it took him a moment to identify it as panic.
He knew, in that spare second, that he had greatly miscalculated his adversary. He had neglected to factor in the hate he saw burning in the Blue Raven’s eyes.
“You’ve been tracked through cities and across battlefields,” the Englishman said, his voice breaking with bitter spite. “And too many lives have been taken or destroyed by you.”
“Monseiur,” the Frenchman said, managing a cold smile in spite of the wildness of his heartbeat. “Surely we can settle our dispute as gentlemen.”
The Englishman regarded him, his arm and gaze steady and strong. “No,” he replied. “I tire of being a gentleman.”
The Frenchman’s hand came up in a blur of movement, and the air rang with the sound of gunfire.
The Blue Raven remained standing in the doorway until the weight on his leg gave out. The hole three inches above his knee leaked smoke, then a warm red spurt began trickling down his calf. But the Frenchman, the adversary he had hunted for the better part of a decade, who had seduced secrets from England’s top leaders and spilled the blood of those who weren’t so easily charmed, remained seated.
He wouldn’t be getting up any time soon.
The red stain grew and spread on the white lawn of the Frenchman’s shirtfront. His eyes were opened in surprise.
Until the end, he had believed he would win.
The Englishman hobbled over to the Frenchman’s body and removed the pistol from that man’s limp hand. He stuffed it ruthlessly into the waist of his trousers, reuniting it with its mate after so many years. A small glint of metal from around the dead man’s neck caught his attention. He pulled it free of the bloody shirt: a crucifix. Quietly laying it back on the man’s chest, the Englishman took a moment and then gently closed his enemy’s eyes.
The Blue Raven straightened, wincing as his weight fell on his wounded leg. He didn’t have much time; the English had won the war, but he was still on French soil. He could hear the innkeeper’s boots on the stairs already; there was only time for one last detail.
From the pocket of his oilskin overcoat, he pulled out a black feather and laid it gently on the dead man’s lap.
As he departed the inn via a window, he couldn’t keep the elation from flowing, adrenaline overcoming his injury and powering his escape.
It was over.
One Year Later
“Will this work?” the first man asked, more nerves in his voice than he liked. He prided himself on maintaining an air of nonchalance, but the jostling evening crowd at the Bull and Whisker and the company of the man next to him had him slightly on edge.
“But of course. While your English imagination is lacking, I see clearly,” his companion answered, his French accent smoothing over the cruel bite of his words. “But I’m counting on your English prejudice.” He rapped his knuckle on the bar once more, and the beefy man behind brought over the bottle and refilled his glass again.
BOOK: Revealed
8.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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