If you don't understand the title, try this link (video is entirely safe to watch and under a minute):
How about... cupcakes?!
Then enjoy the following excerpt from The Highwayman's Apprentice, to celebrate it reaching 20K words at nine days into production writing! Comments, thoughts, and questions are very welcome!
Quick pronunciation guide to the names of the ladies (and if I'm wrong, please do let me know, I'm working off a source I think is trustworthy but I could always be mistaken...):
Saibh: Sive, to rhyme with "five"
Turning back to the desk, she stopped in surprise. A sheet of paper
lay on the floor, where none had been a moment before. By its rough
left edge, she guessed it had been torn from her brother's
sketchbook, and likely it had been displaced from the desk by her
stack of shirts, but the picture drawn on it was nothing and no one
she had ever seen before.
"Who is she?" Grainne stooped to pick up the paper. "More
important, what is she going to be to us?"
With his usual economy of line, Sean had depicted a slender,
dark-haired lady walking alone in a formal garden with her face full
of sorrow, her right hand not quite covering the wedding band on her
left. The ring was shaded with dark, fierce slashes of the pencil,
and some of the crosshatching formed tiny arrows. Following them with
her eyes, Grainne gasped. Another face was peering through one of the
topiary sculptures past which the lady walked.
"And whoever he is, I hope he never comes here." She
set the sketch down hastily on the desk and took a step back from it.
"How does Sean do that?" In just those few pencil strokes
forming the watcher's face, so cunningly hidden within the leaves of
the trimmed bush that a casual observer might miss them, her brother
had managed to convey an impression of careless, brutal power. "When
I think that Ma gave us both the same lessons in art, and I never got
past women in triangle dresses and men in square shirts and
But in reality, people were curved, curved and firm and warm where
they held her close against their side and peered down into her face,
with perhaps a strong dose of arrogant possessiveness in that
speculative smirk but nothing of the easy cruelty, the delight in
others' pain that the man in Sean's drawing seemed to radiate. No,
people might have a wicked glint in their sea-blue eyes, but it was
only an invitation, not a command.
Grainne shivered deliciously, thinking of the secret she had shared
with no one. Saibh, with her devotion since childhood to stalwart and
steady-minded Finn, would have found it nigh-impossible to
understand. Liadan might have stood a better chance, given her
ongoing flirtation with Kieran, except that flirtation was all it
was. Neither of them was seriously interested in the other, but they
found it amusing to play the game, and it drove Stiofan Connolly,
currently at sea with his father and the Laverty brothers, absolutely
mad, which was a bonus from Liadan's point of view.
Fleetingly Grainne wished that Isabel was here, Isabel with her
energy and her enthusiasm, with her rapt attention to stories about
Glenscar and her frustrated desire to experience the forbidden life
of a village girl for herself. Isabel, if anyone, would have
comprehended perfectly Grainne's feelings on the subject of the
black-haired king of the gypsies…