“I should get a promotion,” Bella said glancing at her handiwork then the blood glazing her hands. Bella was the name she had taken in her days as an executioner. Short for the nightshade she so favored during her executions. She reveled in fact that only he knew her true name.
The woman narrowed her eyes, the dim lighting making it difficult to discern the figure crouching beside what she assumed to be one of her fatales.
“Bloody hell,” the figure said, their voice deep, if not darker than the nightshade itself.
Her heart sped wildly even as his name snaked between her teeth.
“Ace Moncoeur,” she whispered.
Bella folded her hands under her breast before turning her gaze toward the unnatural scarlet of the blood moon. Figures Queen Katherine would send Ace after her. In the current day and age it was rare to find a lone detective in the remnants of England. Most stuck together in packs while other formed teams of three men, all which the Queen called the Royal Guard. A bloody muddle of incompetent dogs should you ask Bella.
Bella turned her attention back to Ace. Of course, England did have its exceptions. She listened as he growled out her name and stepped forward. “Congratulations, Mr. Moncoeur,” she said as loud as her voice would afford. Her slow methodical clapping caught his immediate attention. “Only you would know a poison from scent alone.”
Ace dug into side of his suit before removing a clean handkerchief from his pocket. “Was it absolutely necessary to kill the children, Lady Dame?” His calm countenance unnerved Bella but she refused to show it.
Bella took another step until she was sure Ace could see her dirtied hands in the dim light. “I quite prefer Bella,” she said, “and you know my rule, Mr. Moncouer.”
Bella felt herself smile at his furrowed brow as Ace growled in annoyance.
“All that defy me must perish,” she continued, “Nothing better than an off-with-their-heads sentence to clear a misdeed.”
“They were innocents, Bella,” Ace gritted through clenched teeth. “Most not even residents of this country, let alone this town. Are your intentions to start an international incident?”
Bella yawned at his persistence to guilt her. This talk was becoming a bore. “Call them whatever you will, but… those people were not innocent,” she stated with a wave of her hand. “Any town craven enough to brow beat a young girl into submission deserves a good murder or two.”
Ace tightened his fingers as if around an imaginary throat. The thought enticed a small chuckle as she was willing to bet it was her throat he wished to strangle.