It was supposed to be a simple burglary...but the ghosts had other ideas. Glaswegian single mother Ariadne McSween is not having a happy New Year. Instead of celebrating with family and friends in time-honoured tradition, she's helping her scallywag brother and his even less-savoury friends burgle a mansion in the Scottish Highlands. And nothing is going right.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
October 27, 2008
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Ariadne's Thread by Marie Treanor
Closing the door silently, Addie walked across to the open window. The snow continued its graceful, silent fall, piling up a soft, white carpet on the ground below. Addie had serious doubts about driving in the hills in this weather. In fact the whole plan was bloody stupid. Turn up here on Hogmanay while the owners were having a New Year party and rob them under cover of general jollity. And if they encountered anyone, they just said "Happy New Year!" and no one would suspect a thing. Apparently.
Oh, yes, Shug was an arse.
Addie closed the window as quietly as she could, though it still screeched painfully, and turned back to the room. For a moment, she just gazed at the shadowy piano, till the distant merriment of the house receded and she could imagine only too well the glorious music...
Inevitably, it drew her--although since Jim had taken the torch, she had to feel her way toward it with outstretched hands and feet, avoiding possible obstacles like a blind woman.
Once there, she discovered a lamp. She hesitated only briefly. The door was closed. No one would see so dim a light from the hall.
She clicked it on, and the piano was bathed in light.
It was a beautiful thing, overwhelmingly so. Polished dark wood, gorgeous curves, intricately carved ornamentation on the lectern... Addie slid onto the stool--old and comfy.
Something made her shiver again, a cold fluttering from the base of her spine to her neck. She twisted quickly to check she was alone. For a fraction of an instant, she imagined a shadow disappearing from her view, but when she turned her head further, there was nothing. Of course.
Feeling slightly foolish--she prided herself on being down to earth, the sensible one of her ridiculous family--she returned to the piano, lifting the heavy, shiny lid to reveal the ebony and ivory keys beneath. The maker's name, Bechstein, stood out in gold lettering, causing her eyes to widen further. Never in her life had she been this close to such a wonderful instrument.
Greatly daring, she touched her fingertips to the keys. Love at first touch, she thought wryly, before she'd even heard it sound a note. Tenderly, she glided her fingertips along the keys. Sparks of excitement flowed up her wrists. Desire to play twisted through her, all the more forceful for the years of abstinence.
Delicately, so gently she wasn't even sure it would sound, she depressed the middle C with her thumb. It was soft, barely startling her at all, yet clear as a bell, full-toned and gorgeous, in perfect tune...
Addie risked another note, then another. She brought up her left hand, watching her fingers settle over the keys as if they owned them. She gave one uneasy glance toward the window, cocked her head for any untoward sound, then looked back at the keys. Very softly, she began to play Beethoven's "F�r Elise". It had been her party piece as a kid, on the bashed up old piano in the church hall. There was no comparison. On this instrument, you could make _music_... For an instant, Addie had a glimpse of another world, beyond the music she had learned and loved, of a talent and knowledge nurtured way beyond the level of her own. Abandoning Beethoven, she began the most difficult piece she had ever played, Christopher Maxwell's "Sonata in F".
It was a beautiful, evocative piece that made her think of bubbling streams and high mountains, the sort of wild nature you didn't get in the city. It had brought her peace in the past, along with fresh excitement in life, and powerful, reasonless happiness. In this particular situation, she hardly lost herself in the music. She was in the house of people she was helping to rob. She had to play extremely quietly while listening for sounds of approach. Her nerves jangled, and she had to ignore the creepy, guilty feeling of being observed that had freaked her when she first sat down. Besides which, she'd forgotten some of it and had to improvise.
With a frustrated gasp, she dragged her hands upwards off the keys as if they'd been burned. Enough of this, Ariadne!
Twirling round on the stool, she leapt to her feet--and faced the man standing in the open doorway.
"F***!" she uttered before she could prevent it.
It wasn't Jim, or even Shug. Dimly lit from behind as well as from the piano lamp, she had only the impression of a large man in a kilt, arms folded as he leaned against the doorframe to watch her.
"Before we've been introduced?" he enquired.
His voice was Scottish, but only just. The sort that would be considered English where she came from. Worse, it was deep and low, with a devastating timbre that vibrated right to the bits you didn't want to think about while trespassing with criminal intent.