Gold Fever

Gold Fever by Vicki Delany

Book: Gold Fever by Vicki Delany Read Free Book Online
Authors: Vicki Delany
Tags: Historical, Mystery
walked away.
    She barely moved her thin shoulders. “Good night, Mrs. MacGillivray.”
    â€œGood night, Mary.” I watched her round the building towards the stairs at the back. Her back was stooped and her tread heavy.
    I paused for a moment, wondering what it would be like to wash clothes all day long. I never allow myself to forget how I was able to escape the filth of Whitechapel and Seven Dials and men who would control my fate. If not for a proper education, good bone structure, and most of all a generous helping of luck, I might now think myself fortunate to spend the day in Mrs. Mann’s laundry shed.
    I looked out over Front Street towards the swiftlymoving brown river and the tent-dotted hillside beyond. And there she was: Chloe, standing on the sidewalk, watching me. She made no gesture, no movement, didn’t wave or smile or even pull out a gun. She only watched me, her face expressionless.
    I stepped off the boardwalk, ready to confront her and demand to know what she thought she was doing. A heavily laden cart clattered past, going much too fast for the road conditions. Did the driver think he was on parade in Pall Mall? I shouted abuse at him, and he shouted back over his shoulder, not even watching where he was going, flicking the reins to make the horses go faster. They clattered down the street and disappeared around a corner. Damned fool. He’d be lucky if he didn’t kill someone, or get one of his horses injured. Judging by the condition of the horses—if I’d had enough time, I could have counted every rib—he didn’t care over much about them.
    When I looked back across the street, Chloe was gone. She could be anywhere—ducking between tents on the mud flats that served as the centre of commerce; lost in the teeming crowd surging up and down Front Street; doubled back and slipped up an alley; heading for the docks and the next steamboat out of town, if I were lucky.
    â€œYou know that…lady, Fiona?” I whirled around, startled. “Graham Donohue, do you always have to sneak up on me?”
    He grinned most charmingly. Graham at his handsome best. “I wish I could, my dear.”
    I tried to look stern. “Don’t be naughty.” “Seriously, Fiona. That woman was watching you, and not because she was admiring the cut of your dress. Have I ever told you it is the most handsome dress?”
    â€œEvery time I have worn it, but you needn’t stop. As for that woman, I fired her recently. She was drunk on stage. I’ve seen her, more than seems coincidental, several times today. You’d best step back quickly, Graham.”
    The orchestra came spilling out of the doors of the Savoy, and Graham scooted out of their way, conveniently putting one arm around my waist to guide me to one side. They weren’t much in the way of musicians, my orchestra. A violinist, a clarinet player and one trombonist. Inside we had a piano, but the pianist could scarcely carry that out to the street, so he acted as caller. I stood in the doorway, flashing a gracious, welcoming smile while the three instruments played a few tunes. Graham didn’t remove his arm, and I allowed it to remain, enjoying its warmth. All down the street, the dance halls sent their musicians out. It made a considerable racket: talent was no requirement for a musician’s job in Dawson. Eventually my men shuddered to a halt, and the caller lifted his bullhorn to announce to the entire population of the Yukon Territory that the Savoy, “the finest establishment west of London, England”, was open for their entertainment.
    The orchestra gathered up their instruments and trooped back inside, followed by an eager pack of customers. I smiled at Graham. He tightened the arm around my waist and bent forward. His lovely hazel eyes moved under their heavy lashes. “Fiona, I…” “Show time,” I said cheerfully, wiggling out of his

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