Waaant equity, " hisses the alien intruder. "You can't be Pamela Macx, " says Pierre, his back to the wall, keeping the sword point before the lobster-woman-thing. "She's in a nunnery in Armenia or something. You pulled that out of Glashwiecz's memories - he worked for her, didn't he?" Claws go snicker-snack before his face. "Investment partnership!" screeches the harridan. "Seat on the board! Eat brains for breakfast!" It lurches sideways, trying to get past his guard.
Now, there is a tendency at a point like this to look over one's shoulder at the cover artist and start going on at length about leather, tightboots and naked blades. Words like 'full', 'round' and even 'pert' creep into the narrative, until the writer has to go and have a cold shower and a lie down. Which is all rather silly, because any woman setting out to make a living by the sword isn't about to go around looking like something off the cover of the more advanced kind of lingerie catalogue for the specialized buyer. Oh well, all right. The point that must be made is that although Herrena the Henna-Haired Harridan would look quite stunning after a good bath, a heavy-duty manicure, and the pick of the leather racks in Woo Hun Ling's Oriental Exotica and Martial Aids on Heroes Street, she was currently quite sensibly dressed in light chain mail, soft boots, and a short sword. All right, maybe the boots were leather. But not black.
He shut the door, and stood looking across the room at her. 'Cressy, what did you mean when you told that harridan that your affections were engaged?' The colour deepened a little in her cheeks, but she replied lightly: 'Well, she talked so much like someone in a bad play that I became carried away myself! Besides, I had to say something to convince her! I could see she didn't quite believe me when I said I wasn't going to marry your brother.' He let his breath go in a long sigh, and walked forward, setting his hands on her shoulders, and saying: 'You don't know how much I have wanted to tell you the truth! Cressy, my dear one, forgive me! I've treated you abominably, and I love you so much!' Miss Stavely, who had developed an interest in the top button of his coat, looked shyly up at this. 'Do you, Kit?' she asked. 'Truly?' Mr Fancot, preferring actions to words, said nothing whatsoever in answer to this, but took her in his arms and kissed her. Miss Stavely, who had previously thought him unfailingly gentle and courteous, perceived, in the light of this novel experience, that she had been mistaken: there was nothing gentle about Mr Fancot's crushing embrace; and his behaviour in paying no heed at all to her faint protest could only be described as extremely uncivil. She was wholly unused to such treatment, and she had a strong suspicion that her grandmother would condemn her conduct in submitting to it, but as Mr Fancot seemed to be dead to all sense and propriety it was clearly useless to argue with him.