The link to purchase the full story on amazon…
Also available is the collection now available in paper back or ebook format! https://www.amazon.co.uk/Coryburn-Girls-Collection-R-Appleby-ebook/dp/B06Y5Y5KXF/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
The first few chapters as a taster just for you
In the crisp warm air Kayetelynn and Annabella walked arm in arm through a dimly lit garden; taking the time to smell a rose on their stroll. As though nothing out of the ordinary could ever happen in their lives; as though nothing out of the ordinary ever has happened. In complete honesty, tonight was a rare night off from chasing leads as politely and as unassumingly as possible. It had become an exhausting experience, often met with dead ends at the assumption that the girls were in fact no more then dreamers or trouble stirring to have something to gossip over.
It took Annabella a few moments longer than it should have to recognise the man that had come to a stop in front of them. He seemed to be a truly disgruntled and agitated figure of a man; he pushed a piece of crumpled paper into her hand.
“My- is it really you? Where have you been?” Annabella had caught him; he was immensely uncomfortable; unconsciously in his anxious state he stroked his beard, shaking his head to her question unwilling to actually speak, hoping to get away. Barely the shadow of a man they once knew.
Annabella was baffled that it taken her so long to recognise his face, after all this time she had never imagined he could change this much. “Tarron?” she pushed but he shook his head and pointed at the paper. Kayetelynn unfolded the crumpled paper and stared at the messy scrawl, “it’s an address?”
Finally he spoke, “I heard you were looking for something. That is the very last address that I was able to track it to.”
Annabella stood still in disbelief, “but Tarron that doesn’t explain the beard, you look ridiculous.” Kayetelynn’s comment dismayed Annabella who had hoped the two would be able to get along. “Kayetelynn, hush it suits him, don’t worry about Kayetelynn. She’s not been herself lately.”
Which was a lie, this was very Kayetelynn like behaviour, but Tarron nodded and excused himself despite Annabella’s weak protests; as quickly as he had come, he had disappeared.
Annabella smacked Kayetelynn on the arm agitating her sister, “what was that for?”
“You didn’t have to be so mean, he was helping us, we haven’t seen him in months and the first thing you chose to do was insult him.”
“He is being a baby”
“Lynny, you are the one acting like a child”
“I am not. I am angry. Why aren’t you? He left and didn’t even apologize; we got caught because he abandoned us, for all we know he could have told the guards where we were.”
Annabella sighed and pulled Kayetelynn to the side of the path, away from any eavesdropping passers by. In a hushed voice she finally spoke, “we got the box and we got out, we should be thankful we managed that. Do you not think that time and time again we have persuaded him to flout every one of his morals; he does it every single time because it is you who asks it of him. He loves you and you don’t feel a thing for him. He knows that, and yet still he is clinging to misguided hope that you will change and love him as he loves you. I am sorry Lynny but you don’t seem to want to even think about the entirety of this painting so please next time you see him, just apologize. Like it or not right now we still need and we are still using his help. So just think about that next time you snap at him, we still need his help. You know we do.”
Kayetelynn soured at her sister’s reasoning, more so that she had chosen to take someone else’s side over hers. It didn’t matter that Annabella was right, what mattered to Kayetelynn was her wounded pride.
The air was dark and cool as Kayetelynn and Annabella made their way over the final hillside that stood in their path. Finally confronting their next adventure, before them was a seemingly unassuming home in the countryside that they had been seeking all this time. When the house finally came to view the ground seemed to lurch a little beneath their feet.
It was Annabella who took the lead like a hunting wolf on the scent of a kill. Annabella rarely wanted to take the lead for anything, not openly at least. But now more than it had ever been, the idea of being the leader was little but a thought in the tiny corner of her mind.
Annabella had felt the pull of what she had for so long been searching for; from the ridge of the hill it had all seemed so much harder, but now that she reached the walls of the house she could feel something calling to her. Everything began to feel that bit easier for her. She dragged Kayetelynn past the cold, ice-frosted windows towards the back entrance, quietly and with ease she picked and pulled at the lock hearing the final click she smiled.
Kayetelynn was open mouthed as Annabella made a line straight into the study; as though she had always known this house. Kayetelynn was in awe of her sense of direction, but her admiration fell into a sense of unease at an army of taxidermy squirrels, badgers and foxes that lined every single space around her. Annabella hissed at Kayetelynn to follow her, having seen the hundreds of draws lining the study room. Kayetelynn began to rifle through them making a considerable mess. It was Annabella who dropped to her knees and felt around the corner of the heavy rug, pulling it back to reveal a loose floorboard that creaked below her feet. It took a little bit of effort for Annabella to gently prise it open quietly.
Feeling around in the open space she felt the cold, hardness wrapped within a bundle of cheap rags. She peeled the layers of fabric away like it was an onion until she saw the core. The thing that had occupied her every thought for the last few months; night after night, with that same strange dream. The desire that had fuelled her determination and her search was now in her hand, the cold glinting blood diamond. Carefully she wrapped it back up and placed it within her bust before she replaced the floorboard wanting to keep a safe hold of the stone and never wanting to let it out of her sight.
Annabella and Kayetelynn left the door unlocked as they left; sensing that feeling that they had long overstayed their unwelcome; getting away would be a thousand times more important than locking the door behind them.
Somewhere within the house its owner had indeed awoken, with a start, leaping from his bed he ran to the window. There in the darkness he saw the figure of two girls running, desperate to get away. Clutching at his chest he knew what had been taken. It wasn’t fear that had overtaken him at the loss of something precious. Instead he smiled as he watched them leaving over the edge of the hill. “At last it is finally gone; it can be their nightmare from now.” He mumbled to himself.
He smiled getting back into his bed he nuzzled at his wife kissing her neck in the darkness. Uncaring of what mess could await them in the morning. His desire that had long since been suppressed seemed to awaken and with it a new energy.
It was after leaving a rather vibrant dinner party, although it seemed like two very different events, the younger more youthful crowd had remained in the living space of the house, chattering a way and dancing, unaware that in the upper rooms a rather adventurous crowd had spent the evening locked in a variety of embraces.
A party that none of the younger guests would have been able to enter, unaware of their parents activities, it was the way things had been for some time, and would remain that way. Though their antics had been hidden under the guise of protecting their prodigies innocence.
Walking from the party Eustace and Chrystyne laughed as they took their time walking arm in arm watching their daughters walking ahead of them, with Caspian and Steffon strolling gently; laughing and flirting.
Something had stopped Annabella from laughing at Caspian’s last punch line. Out of the corner of her eye Annabella had caught a glimpse of an intoxicated Tarron. Kayetelynn followed the direction of Annabella’s fleeting glance absorbing more of the scene more of the spectacle he was providing.
Tarron was fawning and groping at two very drunk girls who giggled loudly. Eustace and Chrystyne approached the girls watching the rather public display before them.
Tarron caught sight of Kayetelynn arm in arm with Steffon stood next to Annabella and Caspian. The tension between them was clearly visible as Tarron locked eyes with Kayetelynn as he pulled the nearest of his drunken company into a deep embrace not taking his eyes off of Kayetelynn, determined that she see him in this drunken kiss pawing at the dress of the girl. Kayetelynn’s expression seemed to bear a somewhat stony disbelief.
Annabella wasn’t the only one who watched Kayetelynn’s reaction, Eustace and Chrystyne watched them with deep interest. Steffon watched Kayetelynn attempting to read her, it was Caspian who got the greatest surprise; rather then watching Kayetelynn he was watching Annabella, she had softened her guard; she gently took her sisters hand.
Kayetelynn turned to Annabella maintaining a stony false smile as her muscles tensed for a moment meeting her twin’s eye she flashed a look that Annabella had rarely ever seen. Kayetelynn was flashing a vicious glare, a glimmer of revenge that hinted in her gaze, a look Annabella was more likely to wear between the two, normally with a menacing grin as her mind formulated a plan. Alas this was Kayetelynn’s first visible response after disguised anger; Annabella could feel the remaining flushes of heat from the fire of Kayetelynn’s heartbeat in the warmth of her hands.
Eustace and Chrystyne urged Annabella and Kayetelynn to continue rather then taking up space on the pavement. Kayetelynn lead Annabella forwards maintaining their stony smiles as they ignored Tarron being pulled into the alley by the girls who had rather eagerly begun removing his clothes in the middle of the street.