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 😉
It all began that night within the darkest shadows, in some of the darkest most secret corners of the street; that concealed the three dark figures skulking quietly along their narrow pathway avoiding the dim light that illuminated the old cobbled road about them. Between each of their own racing heartbeats they managed to snatch glimpses of the quietness echoing before them; the soft breathing of slumbering folk, tucked away in warm beds. A place they themselves should have been on this particular night. Out of sight; out of mind; and out of trouble.
It was the tallest of the three figures, who rather awkwardly abandoned its company; leaving the safety of the darkness, crossing over into the dim light of the road to lean on an empty carved doorway. Poised reluctantly to wait for what would come to feel like an eternity in frozen insecurity. Had he not been pulled into the midst of the plans tonight he himself would have been curled amongst the warm nest of blankets. That would surely have been much safer and far warmer and wiser then his current perch skulking in the doorway very alone and very anxious.
The abandoned company began to move again as they carefully slipped into a further void of darkness, the dank darkness of the nearest alley. Arms outstretched in that bitter darkness searching for the cold metal of a door knob. Finally, catching the cold metal in outstretched fingers the door was opened with the strangest care. A small flood of light met the figures. Two haunting young women masquerading in navy guards uniforms. One took the hand of the other and pulled them both inside closing the door behind their swift footsteps. Plunging the alley back into the solitude of darkness the last light their lonely ally would see that evening.
The leading womanly figure rapidly walked, calculating the paths before them through a hallway and beginning an ascent up a narrow dimly lit stairwell. In a rush and flurry their footsteps barely made a sound on the dusty wooden path.
Not once missing a door or taking a wrong turn the women navigated with acute direction, like those that have walked the ways a hundred times or more. They found themselves in the entrance way to a beautiful room. Striding past the shimmering glass cabinets and marble stands. They bypassed exhibit after exhibit carefully constructed. Not letting their eyes wander or flitter distracted over their surroundings. Like hawks focused on prey, they had not ventured through the darkness to peruse the surroundings, they had their minds set on something else. Something that to them was far more delicious, an adventure.
What they had hunted was a little to the left, in an exquisite red velvet lined case, sat so comfortably they had found what they sought, A flicker of candle light bounced around the surface of this particular cold, hard, unyielding stone. The candle light had set soft prismatic shimmering reflections, like the tides of the sea of still waters, bouncing from the soulless diamond. Crystal clear and gloriously cut, there was a pause of pure admiration. It was then that with extreme care they pulled the diamond gently from its casing and slipped it in a silken pouch that was hanging gently around the neck of one of the women.
In the distance of another room in the adjoining chamber, muffled voices carried; echoing in the darkness with every footstep. Without missing a beat, both of the women lowered their gaze and moved swiftly back towards the stairway as quietly as they could manage.
Below the girls, voices began rising up the stairway headed in their very direction. Without hesitation they took the only possible direction left to choose, that wouldn’t lead them into the hands of the guards, up.
As gently as they could manage, on their race to freedom, they manoeuvred a swift flurry of rushed footsteps they reached the exit to the roof. The search for the key to the lock had begun, finding that the key they were looking for had fallen into the dim patch of cold dust a corner. A frenzy of voices below them alerted the women to the urgency of their current predicament. Fumbling with the dust they made attempts to secure the key into the lock; they pushed the heavy door in the hope to open it enough to squeeze through. Neither had spoken in the evening but stifled groans fell from their throats in their efforts to push and shove the door just a little more, with its heavy rusted hinges their only chance to win their freedom leaving them little choice to break their silence.
They made a final attempt; with little time between themselves and the approaching guard, they combined the remainder of their strength.
The door finally gave way, falling under their sweating bodies and snapping at the hinges. It sent both of the women stumbling onto the roof falling forwards in their combined efforts. Their location had now become alarmingly obvious and confirmed their presence to the guard in their pursuit. The women ran to the edge of the roof top searching for some means to be able to descend from their desperate situation; a stairway, a nearby balcony, anything.
Their nearest chance of escape was also their slimmest chance to escape, a nearby roof top. With little choice they made their way to the gaping open door way that was beginning to fill with the lamp light of the owners of the voices that they had heard. Exhausted, panting men making their ascent became the warning that the girls needed of their impending dangers letting them know, just how far away they were from being apprehended.
Veering around back to the view of the edge of the roof; they had one chance to make that final leap for freedom. With an alarm beginning to ring and sirens exhausting themselves from within the bowels of the building they began their run. At speed towards the edge of the roof, taking that leap, they seemed to float more gracefully than they had imagined towards that roof top. They stumbled forwards a little more than they had expected landing on their fronts.
Elated with their luck and survival they resumed their running, laughing as they jumped between the rooftops and sliding their down lower and lower towards street level as quickly they could manage. Ensuring a safe enough distance between them and the sirening museum they had left behind. They had made their escape.
It seemed that with good fortune; by the size of their evening so far they had found themselves with a great deal more luck then they had thought that they would need. But that was the charm of not following the rules. They stumbled upon an unattended carriage without hesitation or encouragement they pulled themselves onboard and started back towards the museum, at speed. The cobbles jolting at the wheels bouncing them over and over as they navigated their path.
They skidded to a stop in the path of the anxious figure that had abandoned them to the doorway earlier that evening. Having watched the sirens and the alarms of the museum being raised to the world splitting and screeching through the night. One of the women reached her arm down to the man and pulled him aboard. Her voice was somehow both soft and stern in its command “Tarron, get in!” He disappeared from the street into the darkness of the carriage.
As quickly as they had arrived, they had sped off into the darkness once more until they believed that they had finally cleared enough distance between themselves and the museum. Eventually slowing before finding a safe, out of the way place to fall apart laughing hysterically at their escapades of their evening.
Stepping out into the moonlight the young women’s eyes seemed to sparkle as vividly as the diamond they had just stolen, that now swung gleefully in the pouch hanging from the neck of the girl who by some miracle owned the gloriously hypnotizing, vivid green eyes. Her beaming smile completing her natural beauty as she released her hair from the guards hat letting it fall loose, with a glossy light chocolate brown sheen in lose curls draped over her shoulders. She hugged her partners in crime.
Jumping back in excitement she pulled off her partners guard’s hat letting a curtain of fiery, red, cinnamon-ginger hair cascading around her flushed cheeks. Her bright honeyed, amber-brown eyes meeting the captive from the darkness of the carriage. Tarron, a tall, mousey brown haired blue eyed man who raised the first question that he had obviously been bursting at the seams to ask. “Did you get it?” The women burst out laughing as they dangled the pouch teasingly before his face. Knowing that he would try to catch it to see the girl with the green eyes pulled it out of reach.
The women, sisters, twin sisters; bright and beautiful had roped Tarron into tonight’s activity; not that it had really taken much effort, not that he ever really had much choice. Tarron had long since become like the twins personal pet in some respects. Kayetelynn the green eyed beauty and her fiery haired sister, Annabellarose (commonly called Annabella by those she cared for) had known Tarron for what had begun to feel like an eternity, but childhood always seemed like it would last forever, now they were getting wiser about the flighty nature of time it seemed almost right to describe it as an eternity. It would be true to say that they had almost grown up together if it wasn’t for the fact that the girls though thoroughly immature in their pursuit of adventure were on the day to day norm, perceived as wiser than their years, and much beyond their time.
It had made perfect sense to the girls to have their most loyal, doting friend, Tarron act as their lookout boy for the evening.
Finally agreeing on a safe place to hide the carriage and the horses for the meantime they resumed their desire to slide back into the darkness of the night.
It was now down to Kayetelynn and Tarron to stand either side of the entrance to a dark, dimly lit alley. That sat woefully by the side of a heaving pub filled with the groans of walks of life that had never quite made any sense of their dreams, nor ever stood the chance to achieve what they dared to dream. That is if they knew how to dream. The strong stench of stale beer and urine flooded out from the alley into the nostrils of those unfortunate enough to pass it by. Annabella nodded to Kayetelynn and Tarron before she took her last breath of clear air.
Wincing as she set foot into the stench of the alley, scanning the dark ground beneath her feet for rats, rubbish and pools of what she wished would not be so obvious. Her eyes skimmed and scanned until she saw a pair of shoes that would be more suited to the plush delights of a large stately home. The feet belonging to the man she was in fact there to meet. He was a rather tall slender man with cruel dark eyes and a twisted smile with the vile designs of a fresh stubble goatee. Annabella stifled a laugh at the pin striped suited and booted man stood uncomfortably before her in such a place.
“I admit, that I did not think you would or could ever do it” his voice was a drawl of displeasure, much like the alley they stood in, Annabella hated every aspect of her encounter.
“Perhaps, I should leave then-” Annabella quipped.
“No. Not at all, but do you have it?”
“Would I be here if I did not?”
The man gestured behind him and another, more imposing figure appeared. He was presenting a thick, filled bag; the black leather glistening as it was opened to reveal the depth of its contents, bundles of money arranged as neatly as such a bag could allow. “This is all of it Miss” the man servant offered; far too eager to please his master.
“As promised your nine-hundred pounds and now for your part madam. The diamond if you will?” Annabella dangled the pouch toward him, his cold eyes met hers as he snatched it pulling roughly at the strings like a child with a gift, and he withdrew the diamond without hesitation. The man servant handed her the doctor’s bag. In appreciation she nodded before turning to leave. Not making it further than one step, the man servants voice rang out “Wait Miss!” And she stopped turning back to face them. The smell of the alleyway was beginning to make her eyes water and sting.
The cruel man in the suit sneered, “This is no place for a lady” he began to approach her, “Perhaps you are not as much of a lady as you seem.”
“Sir that is precisely why I intend to leave.” The advancing master and his servant began to stride, that bit more assured, far more threatening than they had before their exchange. “So soon? How disappointing. I wonder miss, how much you would charge for a night with me?” His voice matched the vicious sneer on his face, sinister and dark.
Annabella felt the repulsion in her throat, “Your life is not worth it.” He laughed at her tenacity, “It is sweet, that you place value on yourself, but there is no use of that from now, this will be so much more fun.”
Annabella turned to leave but felt the hand grabbing the wrist that held the bag containing the money pulling her back, “You will stay.” The insistence and intention in his voice was now colder and clearly malicious.
She turned and slapped him around the face; it was far from what she had expected, far from normal. She had sent him flying into the dark corner in the pit of a pool in the alley landing with a sodden thud. She had surprised herself. Or at least his weakness had surprised her.
The man servant made to grab her but her swift hand sent him flying back into the same darkness that had swallowed his master. She heard him land and turned on her heels and ran back towards the light of the street ahead. Quite unsure and confused.