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[Excerpt from Book 10 [Untitled], Copyright © 2022 Diana Gabaldon]
“What are you thinking?” I asked. “I know it’s about William.”
“Oh, aye?” He glanced at me, mouth curled up at one side. “And what do I look like if I’m thinking of William?”
“Like someone’s handed you a wrapped package and you’re not sure whether it’s something wonderful, or a bomb.”
That made him laugh, and he put an arm around me and pulled me in close, kissing my temple. He smelled of day-old linen, ink and hay, and the dribble of honey that had dried down the front of his shirt, like tiny amber beads.
“Aye, well, one look at the lad and ye ken he’ll explode before too long,” he said. “I only hope he doesna damage himself doing it.”
He shrugged comfortably.
“I’m no very breakable, Sassenach.”
“Says the man with four—no, five bullet holes in his hide, to say nothing of enough surgical stitching to make a whole crazy quilt. And if we start counting the bones you’ve cracked or broken…”
“Ach, away—I’ve never broken anything important; just the odd finger. Maybe a rib, here or there.”
“And your sternum and your left kneecap.”
He made a dismissive Scottish noise, but didn’t argue.
We stood for a bit, arms about each other, listening to the sounds outside. The younger children had fallen asleep under bushes or in their parents’ wagons, their happy screeching replaced by music and the laughter of the dancers, the clapping and calls of those watching.
“He came to me,” Jamie said quietly. He was trying to sound matter-of-fact, but he’d stopped trying to hide what he was feeling.
“He did,” I said softly, and squeezed his arm.
“I suppose there wasna really anyone else he could go to,” he said, off-handed. “If he canna find his grace, I mean, and he couldna very well talk to anyone in the army, could he? Given that….” He stopped, a thought having struck him, and turned to me.
“D’ye think he knows, Sassenach?”
“About—what he said. The… threat to Lord John. I mean—” he elaborated, seeing my blank look, “does he ken that it’s no just a canard.”
“A—oh.” I stopped to consider for a moment, then shook my head with decision. “No. Almost certainly not. You saw his face when he told us about what Richardson was threatening. He’d still have been scared—maybe more scared—if he knew it wasn’t an empty threat—but he wouldn’t have looked the way he did.”
“Both. But Anyone would be, wouldn’t they? Under the circumstances.”
“They would. And… determined, would ye say?”
“Stubborn,” I said promptly, and he laughed.
“A bomb for sure, then.”
Visit (or return to) my Book Ten webpage for more excerpts as they are released and information on this new book. As of April 5, 2022, this new book does not yet have a title.
This is excerpt is from Book Ten (as yet untitled) of my major Outlander series of novels,Copyright © Diana Gabaldon 2021. All rights reserved. Please do not copy and repost this excerpt elsewhere; instead please share the link to this blog post. Thank you.
This excerpt (aka “Daily Lines”) was also posted on my official Facebook page on Thursday, March 31, 2022.