The Owl and the Pussycat
by Dahlia Rose
Genre: Historical Interracial Romance
They never knew who she was though she hid in plain sight. Among the people there was awe of her, and the way she managed to slip in to steal valuables and leave without a trace. Woman were offended because she wore tight men’s trousers and apparently the bounty on her head wasn’t just for money but for lust. There was a bigger reason, why stealing was necessary, the divide between the rich and the poor was vast, and she intended to fix it by hook…. or by being a crook. Now she heard the set ‘”The Owl’ on her trail. No matter to her because she had the intelligence and skill to outwit even their most willy investigator. She was Ella Covington, the burglar called, “The Pussycat.’ She would not be caught.
There was never a perfect crime just inept investigators and detectives who cheated people out of hard-earned money. The Pussycat was just another robber who would inevitably show their hand when over confidence came into play. A female burglar intrigued him especially when he uncovered her true identity. Now it was a cat and mouse game, to tease himself and to tempt her. Like two dueling swords they parried and each time it was simply delicious. Alas, there were bigger players on the board, and he grew impatient for his prize The growing attraction for the woman whose motivation eluded him had overflowed. This was a frivolity that could catch her a hangman’s noose. He would protect her and he wanted to make her his. He was, Duke Richard Vance and “The Owl’ always caught his prey.
The mark was set. It was almost too easy and that should have been her clue something was wrong. But it was too good to pass up, after her meeting with Boone Barnes, the same son of the man trusted by her mother. Ella knew that to help Diana and her children, the risk had to be taken. Johnathan Pierre and his wife, Brigitte Au Clair, were vastly rich and to be invited into their mansion meant you had the social status they deemed worthy.
The Au Clair home sat empty, as its owners were on safari and from there would be travelling to India and finally China. Everything was covered and the staff cut to only two people who kept the property tidy and the home clean of dust. It was ripe for the taking and from it Ella could have enough to do what was needed for her friend.
Boone’s information was directly from a disgruntled ex-employee. The Au Clairs had a hidden room where they hid part of their wealth. With it was not just jewels, but gold coins, which were Ella’s focus. They were easily hidden and used as payment and if Ella could pull this off, before they returned she would have more of their wealth in her grasp.
Low clouds hung over the waning moon, making the city seem darker at night. It was perfect for her to move over rooftops and scale the walls that led to luxurious gardens between some of the larger mansions. Sometimes there were lights in windows and light laughter could be heard, and at those houses she kept close to the ground when necessary. The Graystone mansion was the last house between her and the mark. Ella moved across it with sure feet while the family played the piano inside.
Her foot slipped, sending her body down part of the gabled roof that faced the street. The special shoes that her mother had created caught the gutter and she dug her hand into the rough clay tiles. Ella took the risk of glancing below and caught sight of the black helmets of two constables passing on the street. Their usual patrol took them through the streets of the wealthy but they rarely went down to the Devil’s Acre unless there was a body. Then it was just to throw the corpse in the back of a cart without an investigation.
She pressed herself against the dark tiles hoping she blended in with the shadows from the chimney. If they looked up, she may be caught but a slow breath of relief let her lips as they walked by, oblivious to her presence. Regaining her footing, the Au Clair house came into sight and a smile crossed her face.
There was no reason to enter the home from the roof because it was empty. She ran across the grass at the side of the home and climbed the trellis covered with flowered vines to a balcony. Using the lock picking tools of her trade, Ella made entry and went from the boudoir of the master suite to the hallway and down the massive marble steps that led down to the lower level.
Her feet made no sound and she winced when the unoiled hinges of the door made a loud creak as she opened it. From floor to ceiling were books. Titles filled each wall of the room and Ella longed to sit in the leather chaise lounge chair to read every one. It was her passion, one outside her mission to help everyone she could in the slums of London.
“Fifth row down, behind the desk,” Ella murmured as he fingers trilled across the leatherbound covers. “One, two, three, four, five, six… this one.”
She tilted the book from it position on the shelf and she heard a soft click.
Boone’s information never steered her wrong. She pulled the bookshelf out and stepped inside, hoping her eyes would get accustomed to the darkness. One soft click flooded the room with light and Ella was frozen in her steps. Her eyes widened when she found Richard sitting in a chair facing the secret door, and he drained the glass that he held in his hand.
“R-Richard?” she stammered his name.
A small smile crossed his face. “Hello, Pussycat.”
Dahlia Rose is the USA Today best-selling multi genre author from Urban fantasy to Romance with a hint of Caribbean spice. She was born and raised on the Caribbean island of Barbados and now currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her life revolves around her five kids, who she affectionately nicknamed “The Children of the Corn and her husband and longtime love who is also a honorable retired Army veteran. She has a love of dark fantasy, sci-fi, and the things that go bump in the night. With over seven dozen books published Dahlia has become a reader favorite. Not only because of her writing but her vivacious attitude in talking to her fans online and at various events. Her books feature strong heroines with a Caribbean or African American culture, that is showcased in the vibrancy of her words. Books and writing are her biggest passions, and she hopes to open your imagination to the unknown between the pages of her books.