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Appleton's Run
by Bruce Cooke

Category: Romance
Description: A sweet revenge for murder and theft. When Nicholas Appleton escapes a murder plot he is determined to get his father's run back. Now he has to evade an assassin and make a fortune in gold. How can he reach the deadline, find the girl he loves and extract revenge on the men who want to kill him? This is a roaring tale of the gold fields, murder and romance.
eBook Publisher: Eternal Press/Damnation Books LLC/Eternal Press, 2010 2010
eBookwise Release Date: September 2010


Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [278 KB]
Words: 63391
Reading time: 181-253 min.

* * * *
Dedicated to my beautiful wife, Nancy who I lost through illness in 2007. Her spirit will always be with me.
* * * *
To Eternal Press for accepting this manuscript. Much appreciated.
* * * *

Chapter One

* * * *

London 1832

The cold wind whipped through Arlington Close causing the two men to pull their coats up higher. Both men stood back in the shadows protected from the gas lights of the exclusive Mayfair surroundings. It would look suspicious if two rogues were seen loitering in such an affluent area. Seth Carter stamped his feet impatiently trying to keep the circulation going. He fiddled with his cosh slapping it into the palm of his hand. His accomplice Bryan Flannery was just as impatient, as he stared across the road at the Mayfair Gentleman's Club waiting for a victim to emerge.

"Business must be slow," said Seth at last. "We've been here for over an hour."

"Someone will leave soon. Thursday night is cards night and the gamblers are out in force."

"I don't like this. Some of these toffs have high connections, if we're caught they'll hang us higher than the spire on St Paul's." Seth wondered how Flannery had talked him into this. Robbing some drunk in London was easy, but picking on an influential gentleman was another thing entirely.

"You've robbed more mugs than I can count. Why the nervousness?"

"Because I pick my marks but this doesn't sit well. The gentry look after their own, even if they don't give a shit about others."

"We made two pounds last time and ten pounds for the month. It's a nice little business."

"But ease up on the old geezers. We don't want to face a murder charge."

"What difference would that make?" said Bryan slurring his words. "They'll hang us anyway if they catch us. Murder or no murder."

"For minor crimes, they'll more than likely send us to Port Jackson in the New World. For murder they'll string us up. All I'm saying is, be careful."

"You bloody worry too much, Seth. We cover up real good, they'll never see our faces."

"Just be careful, that's all." Flannery began to worry him somewhat.

"Here's one now," said Flannery watching a man leave the club. It brought a smile to Flannery's face when he saw the man stagger across the road, apparently drunk. This would be too easy.

Flannery noted his clothes as they fell in behind the man. "This one looks really rich, Seth."

Their footsteps on the bluestone cobbles made the man look around sharply and it was then, that they saw he was only in his mid thirties. Because they were committed, both with coshes in their hands, they had to go with it. Leaping at the man, they pulled him into a dark narrow alley, where Flannery hit him over the head. He fell to the wet pavement and Flannery leaned over him and reached into his pockets to capture the man's purse.

He yelled with glee when he felt how fat it was. Suddenly the man reached up and pulled Flannery's scarf from his face causing him to panic.

Recognition was the last thing he wanted and his eyes opened wide, when he saw the man staring into his face.

"Come on, let's go," shouted Seth, anxious to get away before anyone came along.

"He's seen me face," said Flannery quickly. "We'll have to do 'im"

"'No," said Seth, realizing the problem that would cause, but Flannery would have none of it. In five quick successive blows he smashed the man's head to a pulp and Seth stepped back to evade the blood splatter."

"Mother of God," said Seth angrily. "You stupid bastard. Let's get out of here."

"Wait," said Flannery and quickly went through the victim's pockets. He withdrew a fine looking gold watch and plunged it into his pocket. As quickly as they could, they hurried through the foggy night until they reached Flannery's room. Emptying the purse on the bare table they gasped at what they saw.

"Sweet Jesus," said Flannery softly. "There must be over four hundred pounds here."

"Four hundred and twenty two," said Seth, after he'd finished counting it. "I'm taking my half and we're parting company. The man is the son of Sir James Peterson, the head of the London constabulary."

"How do you know that?" asked Flannery, fear showing in his face.

"This is a copy of a bill of sale for a property in the area. No wonder he had so much money. He'd just made the sale. Look, it's witnessed by Sir James himself."

"Shit," said Flannery. "The bastards won't rest until they catch us."

"I bloody warned you, didn't I?" snarled Seth, wondering what he should do next.

"How can we share the watch? It must be worth at least ten quid." Flannery gazed at the bright surface longingly. He had a fascination for gold.

"You keep the bloody thing. If I was you I'd drop it in the Thames." muttered Seth, as he snatched up his share of the loot.

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