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ON THE COVER January, 2008

Sketch and Travel

Seducing The Spy (Excerpt)
Chapter Seven (abridged)
By  Celeste Bradley

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tanton Horne, Marquis of Wyndham, sat in Lady Alicia Lawrence's opera viewing box, bored. Then the curtains parted behind him. Lady Alicia seemed startled to see him, and hung back in the shadows.

"What are you doing here?" she hissed.

"Did I not make myself clear? I am to be your escort at all times."
"You were entirely clear. I simply ignored you." She looked behind her as
 if contemplating escape.
Stanton smiled. "Why don't you let me take your cape?"
"I – " She pressed her lips together in irritation. "Oh, I simply do not care what you think!"
She stepped into the light, then dropped the cape and raised her chin defiantly. Stanton felt his mouth go dry. It wasn't her. Lady Alicia Lawrence was a blotchy, ill-kempt creature, swollen like a grape and not as appetizing.
Before him stood an elegant lady, posed with her head high and her shoulders back, showing off a truly prepossessing figure, if one preferred a bit of plump abundance with one's morning cup of tea . . .
Stanton blinked. It wasn't her. Yet lively, cat-green eyes gleamed at him knowingly.
"You seem taken aback, my lord. In the last week I've spent more money than the Prince Regent's new mistress! Have you nothing to say about my accomplishment?"
She was the embodiment – oh, dear God, that body! – of every man's most wicked dream. Whose dream? Yours?
The air re-entered Stanton's lungs in a rush. "What in the seventh level of hell are you wearing?"
He hadn't meant to bellow and he hadn't realized that the orchestra was just finishing the last movement, and he sure as hell hadn't meant his question to resound through the opera house like a bass crescendo.
"Oh, well done," Alicia murmured to him. Then she stepped away in a dramatic flounce of skirts. "You beast!"
Again, her voice carried. Every neck craned to see. A soggy sob followed. "You horrible, cruel man! First you seduce me, then you denigrate me!" She staggered melodramatically, one hand to her brow. "I cannot go on this way," she wailed.
Stanton wasn't sure how it happened. Perhaps she became caught up in her own performance but suddenly Alicia lurched sideways, hit the balustrade with her hip and began to tip over the railing of the box.
The crowd below gasped in delicious horror as Stanton leaped for her. He caught one hand and wrapped his other arm about her waist even as she began to flip backward.
Stanton almost lost her when the railing cracked beneath their weight. Wrapping both arms about Alicia, he swung her high and around, pulling them both back as the railing failed completely.
They rolled across the carpeted box, her ending beneath him. Stanton heard only his own racing heart and Alicia's gasps against his face. He wrapped her tightly in his arms.
She hadn't fallen. She wasn't broken, bleeding on the floor below. That moment when his grip had slipped – he'd never before felt such fear.

Read IN's interview with Celeste Bradley in ON THE COVER.
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IN This Issue
Gory Glory
Undertaker's Moon (Excerpt)
Romantic Intrigue
No Safe Place (Excerpt)
From The Docks To The Commons
The Care Vortex (excerpt)
Irish Mists And Histories
Shadows Will Fall (Excerpt)
A Mind On The Move
The Rush To Here (Excerpt)

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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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