One man has swiped bounties from Viola, the Brass Violet, for years. Longstanding rivals, they’ve only had brief encounters, and if she had a choice, she’d avoid him entirely. When he saunters into her bar with an offer to work together on a job, the proper response would be to shoot him down and send him back to Shantytown. However, curiosity’s a wicked beast, and Viola needs to know why, after so many years of stealing her marks, he’d approach her now.
The man is insufferable, annoyingly cavalier, and tends to stir up memories she'd rather forget--but she needs assistance on this job and he's offering aid and blueprints which could cut their work in half.
Given the intense way he looks at her though, working together isn't all he has in mind. Van Clef is known for his persistence and, with his charm, he wins women over effortlessly. Viola’s not so easy though--she’s wise to his tricks. But if he wants to play the game, she will gladly rise to the challenge. By the end of this bounty, she’ll be the one leaving him in the dust.
"Barkeep, I'll take another," the chap from the opposite end announced. His loud voice hung in the air like noxious perfume and drew the eye of every patron in the bar. Viola held her sigh back, grabbed a glass, and poured. As she handed over his pint, his rough fingers brushed against hers.
He'd slipped her a piece of parchment. Curious.
Before she could retreat back to the other end of the bar, he stood, chugged his lager, and plunked the empty glass back down.
"Thank you kindly, madam." He tipped his tattered top hat her way, a cheeky grin on his face. Whistling, the man walked out the door. Grimaces weighted the faces of gentlemen and ladies alike in the wake of his departure.
Viola swiped his glass and made a retreat back to the washroom. Carefully, she unfolded the parchment.
Meet me at the Rusty Scupper tomorrow evening. You want word on Brownetree's brother? I've got it.
Damn and double damn.
While the run-down tavern, the Rusty Scupper, was the last place a lady should dally, the opportunity was too good to pass. She'd been on this bounty for months and couldn't let this chance slip. Viola focused on the name. Should've recognized the scoundrel.
A smile curved her lips. No, she couldn't pass up this opportunity. Under her alias, the Brass Violet, she'd maintained a healthy competition with most, but none as much as the Fox. Like his namesake, he snuck in and snatched her targets before she had the chance to nab them. He stole the pickings of others, especially hers, for his own entertainment. So why the peace offering? If he had information, he wouldn't share it unless he needed something from her. Which meant this bounty was about to get interesting.
I split my time writing and working my day job as a massage therapist. If it’s a creative pursuit though, chances are I’ve dabbled in it. Hell, I’ve played around with soapmaking, beer brewing, cupcake baking, tea blending and everything else under the midday sun. At the end of the day, my constant is always reading, writing and editing. I’m an Aries-Taurus cusp–which to any astrology buffs should tell you plenty.
I hit the East Coast convention circuit pretty hard and chances are, you can find me vending for Solstice Brews while simultaneously promoting my books. As for more journalistic writing, I’m the founder, an editor, and a writer on Caffeine Crew.