The captain placed a kid-gloved hand over Malfric’s. “Walk a bit with me while I fill you in.”
Malfric got to his feet, leaving the barrel-stool behind and looped his left hand through the crook of the captain’s arm. As the captain led him towards the bow of the ship, Malfric tasted currant jam and warm biscuits on the salty sea air. His favorite.
He stopped the captain before he could take another step. “There’s no point in buttering me up, Finch. Just give me the details. If I agree, we can proceed straight to the repast you have set up in your quarters. Otherwise, just hand me your purse and we’ll call it even.”
Finch muttered beneath his breath. “Your infernal nose ruins everything. Fine then, have it your way. A job has come up ― not our usual fare, but the bounty was too good to resist. So I booked it. But I need a voyeur to get it done. Naturally, I thought of you.”
Naturally. “What’s the catch?”
“No catch.” Shifting floorboards belied the captain’s response.
Malfric frowned. “You wouldn’t have laid out my favorite tea if it were an easy job with no strings. In fact, you wouldn’t have sent for me at all...any novice voyeur would have done.”
A snicker came from his right. Ah, Quantex had followed them.
The captain’s arm tensed beneath Malfric’s hand. Though he said nothing, Malfric detected the shift and rustle of his silk coat as he turned to glare at his first mate.
“There’s an artifact. We were not the only ones hired to find it,” Finch said with a disgruntled sigh. “The other crew has a day’s head start.” His voice softened to a conspiratorial whisper, “but we have an advantage they do not.”
Oh? “And what, pray tell, is that?”
A sharp intake of breath, a faint whistle through his nose, and the captain answered. “A body.”
I don't know about you guys, but I can't wait to curl up in the garden with this action-packed novella!