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DescriptionHaving returned to Elizabethan London after an absence of two years, Hugh Seaton is happy to resume his old job as tailor to the company of actors known as Strange’s Men.
He is less content when he finds himself looking for a murderer, and hiding his former lover, playwright Christopher Marlowe, who is suspected of stabbing one of the players to death. Marlowe wants to resume their relationship, but Hugh has doubts about the wisdom of this, especially as he has already decided to find himself a wife and family rather than risk his soul with the dangerous and disreputable Marlowe.
To complicate matters, the young actor, Barnaby Winter, also has his sights set on Hugh and seems determined to win him. Hugh’s enquiries, together with his efforts to keep Marlowe out of the hands of the law, cause him difficulties that threaten not only the lives of both men, but also the fragile relationship between them. Hugh also finds unexpected help from Marlowe’s newest rival, a young playwright named Will, who is trying to make a name for himself in the theater world.
Seeking the truth about the murder becomes the least of Hugh’s worries, as he tries to decide where his affections lie, and in the process learns more about Marlowe than he wants to know.
Reader Rating: Not rated (0 Ratings)
Sensuality Rating: Not rated
Hugh pushed these uncharitable thoughts away and entered the house, ascending the narrow stairway until he reached Kit’s rooms. He rapped hard on the door and a familiar voice from within called, “Come in, unless I owe you money—in which case, get you to hell and tell them I sent you!”
He was obviously not expecting to be arrested, Hugh reasoned as he entered the room, feeling as nervous as if he were stepping onto the playhouse stage itself. Kit was sitting at a table near the window, writing busily, and glanced over his shoulder as Hugh came in. For a moment his face was blank, as though his mind could not take in what his eyes were seeing, then he threw down his quill and leaped to his feet.
“Hugh?” In three strides he had crossed the room and flung his arms round the other man. For a moment he said nothing else, just held on to him so tightly that Hugh could scarcely breathe. Hugh tried not to respond with too much warmth, and failed miserably. Holding Kit was like pulling on a familiar glove. He tried not to admit to himself how much he had been longing for such a welcome.
Kit raised his head at last. “Hugh, is it really you? What are you doing here, when you swore you’d never return to London?”
“I’m sure I didn’t. I’ve come back to the city for good, I hope.”
Kit loosened his grip and stood back a little, and Hugh studied him carefully. Last time Hugh had seen Kit he had been tall and lean and brown-eyed, with chestnut hair springing up from his brow as if it had a life of its own, and he had not changed very much. A few lines around the eyes, maybe, and the mouth a little more determined—if that were possible. He was a year younger than Hugh, which would put him at twenty-seven, so why did Kit always make him feel as old as the hills and twice as stolid?
“You came straight to see me.” Kit took in Hugh’s travel-worn appearance with pleasure.
“Well,” Hugh began evasively.
Evasion was never any good with Kit. The smile disappeared and the brown eyes narrowed and darkened almost to black as he let go of Hugh abruptly. “You went to the Theatre first and asked that fool Burbage for a job.”
“Ned Alleyn would have given you just as much work, but no, you prefer Strange’s Men to the Admiral’s—”
“Not at all, I—”
“And Burbage is insufferable now that he has someone of quality to write for him—”
“Kit!” Shouting was the only way to get his attention when he had begun ranting. He stared at Hugh in amazement and Hugh suppressed a smile. “One of Strange’s actors was murdered today and Burbage says you did it. I came to warn you that as soon as the play is done, he’ll call the Watch.”
Kit blinked at him. “Murdered? Who?”
“I’ve never heard of him. You’re telling me I murdered someone I don’t even know?”
Prove a VillainBy: KC Warwick