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Authors: Jerri Hines

The Heavens Shall Fall

BOOK: The Heavens Shall Fall
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THE HEAVENS SHALL FALL

 

 

 

By Jerri Hines

 

 

 

* * * *

 

 

 

PUBLISHED BY

 

 

 

J
e
rri
H
i
n
e
s

T
he
Heavens Shall Fall

 

Book
Four
,
Wi
nds
of
B
et
r
a
y
a
l
S
e
r
ie
s

 

 

 

Copyright @2014

 

 

Edited
by Faith Williams,

The Atwater Group

 

 

 

Cover Art by Erin Dameron-Hill

www.edhgraphics.blogspot.com

 

Smashwords Edition License Notes

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May 2014

 

http://jerrihines.org/

DEDICATION:

 

As always—t
o my husband, Bob

Who
se love and support has allowed me to follow my dream.

My son, Gary, whose faith and belief, inspire me.

 

 

Acknowledgement

To my beta readers who painstakingly went through my manuscript for me. A special thank you to Karen Skiby for her insights in helping me refine my work.

Let justice be done though the heavens sh
ould fall. ~ John Adams

 

New York, 1778

Chapter One
 

The
room lay still. A single lamp’s light cast a shadow across the walls while Rupert Arnett sat behind his littered desk and wrote furiously. Deep in thought, he dipped his pen in his inkwell and wrote between the printed lines of the paper. The words disappeared quickly when they dried, as if he hadn’t written anything at all.

The whole of his intent lay with the hidden words, exposed only after heated by a flame of a candle. His life and those associated with him depended upon the secrecy of the invisible words.

“I suppose I should go now.” A feminine voice broke the silence from the bed behind him. She swung her shapely legs to the side of the bed, reached for a night robe at the foot of the mattress and wrapped it around her bare body. “Rupert, you have no more use for me?”

She received
no answer. She cleared her voice loudly. Rupert paused, and glanced around. He smiled slightly as if the realization dawned upon him she was still in the room. He watched her step barefoot upon the wooden floor beneath her.


Ah, sorry, my love. I didn’t want to forget everything you told me.” With the greatest of efforts, he pushed his chair back and rose. “Do you want me to escort you back or is it fine for Nat to do so?”

Ruefully, she smiled at her lover.
“Another, you know, might take offense to being treated such.”


But you know me well, Susanna, and understand the importance of what we do.” He slipped his arm around her and pulled her into an embrace. “You do understand?”

She placed
a kiss upon his lips and then answered wryly, “Very well. And with that, I’m going. Oswyn will be home shortly, I am certain. Not that he asks or cares, but I do understand the need to be cautious. We do not want to raise suspicion.”

Rupert
’s eyes glanced over her body once more before he released her. “It will do well to meet at week’s end.”


I may not have any more information for you by then,” she answered.


There are times when I want only to see you.”

A smile curved to her lips.
“We shall see.”

She walked across the room and gathered up her clothing. He said nothing while she dressed. He walked over and helped her
tie up the back of her gown. He leaned down and kissed her neck.

She glanced back as she opened the door.
“I believe I can make it.”

He nodded. A moment later
, he stared at the closed door where Mrs. Suzanne Millbury had just departed. Well over a year ago, the cool, stoic beauty had entered his newspaper office and had intrigued him immediately, knowingly handing over papers to him that brought her family to ruin.

Her family! Vast extremes! Her grandfather, Alexander Clay, had been a hard fast Loyalist, intent upon the destruction of all that stood in his path. Her cousin, Hannah, a lovely unassuming Patriot
, had almost single-handedly given the British its greatest defeat so far in the colonies’ fight for independence.

T
he British had greatly underestimated Hannah Corbett. The Brits had allowed her to walk within their social world and collect information with ease until the end, when she had copied word for word the British military plans for Saratoga under their very noses.

But
now she was gone. Her network had been dismantled, leaving only a void to be filled by his network.

The spy ring his childhood friend
, Major Benjamin Tallmadge, established where the
operatives were known only by numbers and aliases. No one else, except Tallmadge, knew all who was in the network, not even Washington himself.

The circle depended up
on this secrecy, for all were embedded within the British occupation with only one thought in mind—freedom. A commitment so deep, that all lay their lives on the line in constant danger for this cause. For now the cause depended upon them and the information they could discover.

Rupert knew his role well, posing as a Loyalist newspaper man. His paper supported the propaganda the British wanted proclaimed across New York City. He gave the British what they wanted. His
mercantile store offered a perfect cover to deliver his camouflaged messages to the courier, Giles Cooper…Hannah’s husband.

In truth, Hannah had been a thorn in his side from the moment he met her, but he couldn
’t deny her effectiveness. That was until the whole of her network exploded, when the British suspected her activities. In turn, it led to the desperate need for his ring of spies.

Nor could he ignore her intelligence in the way she had brought her grandfather to ruin. Alexander Clay was once one of the most powerful men in New York City, but he was also the man Hannah held responsible for the death of her family in Williamsburg. In the end,
her grandfather paid for his deeds; he lost everything and died a horrible death on board the
Jersey,
the notorious British prison ship.

With her network imploding, Hannah had to disappear. Circumstances dictated she had to stay within British
-occupied territory, which worried Rupert to no end, but at the moment she and her secrets were safe. Then, to his dismay, she had married a vital link to the ring—Giles.

Giles, a tavern owner back in Rupert
’s hometown of Setauket, ran as an unsuspecting courier for the ring. He made constant trips back and forth to New York on the premise of needing supplies for his tavern and store.

Susanna had been a loose end, left alone in New York.
Caught in a marriage of her grandfather’s making, Susanna lived with her elderly husband, Oswyn Millbury, a Loyalist merchant. Her mother and sister, Camilla, had moved to England after Camilla married a British officer.

Rupert
’s mind wandered back to the moment Susanna cornered him at a dinner party. Calm and cool, she invited him to walk in the garden with her. Beautiful in the moonlight, her blonde curls were pulled back in such a way that called attention to her large, shimmering blue eyes and creamy smooth complexion.

He couldn
’t deny his eyes devoured the sight in front of him. He remembered every detail of her appearance in the pale pink gown cut to set her figure off to perfection. Susanna, though, had not minced words. She told him plainly her conclusion that he held Patriotic views.


Hannah wouldn’t have given you those papers without a purpose, and confidence in what would be accomplished with them. And you did well, Mr. Arnett.”

At first
, concern surged within him at her accusation, but quickly the situation soon became beneficial to him. Not only did she offer to become an informant, she had…well…it was understandable the two of them would be drawn to each other.

Comfort sought in the midst of
the cold reality of the war. If only for a brief escape, he drowned in the scent from her skin, the touch of her soft, warm lips...

He had cautioned Susanna of the danger
, but he need not have bothered. She was perfectly aware of the price that would be paid if caught, the price any would pay. New York had changed over the last couple of years under British occupancy.

The war had not gone as planned for the arrogant British. And with that, gone was any leniency toward the Patriots.

No one involved with the network lived with any illusions, none more so than Susanna herself. Seemingly so cold and frigid on the surface, she took her life in her hands by becoming one of his best informants.

He had warned her, though, he could offer her no protection if caught. As her cousin before her, she seemed to give no thought to her own
safety, but unlike her cousin there seemed to be no fire to survive. It was as if she were upon a mission of her own.

Besides Tallmadge, o
nly Rupert knew her identity and her purpose. To his spy ring, she was known simply as Agent 355.

Rupert turned again to his desk. He had much to do. Rumors abounded in New York. He had no doubt that General William Howe would soon be replaced,
especially after the loss at Saratoga. The talk was that General Henry Clinton would step into the position of Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty’s Army in the colonies.

Then there was the Southern
Campaign that had become a subject of contention. The word trickling back in was Washington’s army was having a devil of a time this winter. No, even after such a great victory at Saratoga, the war was far from over…neither was his work.

*
* * *

Despite the war, Rupert would not dispute the fact that he had done well for himself over the last few years. He owned not only
the
Loyalist
, the most highly circulated newspaper in New York, but he operated the Green Lion, a popular coffee house among the British ranks.

The Green Lion
was situated on the corner of Broadway and Dyes. The
Loyalist
was attached to the coffee house and across the street from the mercantile store he held in partnership with James Rivington. He had chosen his editorial office with care: above the coffee house, which gave him a better view of the activity in the street.

Rupert had taken great pride in his organization skills.
He liked to be in control…needed the control he welded for his purpose.

He played a dangerous game with the fine line he walked between both worlds, the British and Americans. His close ties to the British allowed him accessibility, but never could he proclaim his true feelings. To the world, he was a Loyalist. If the British got an inkling of what he was doing, it would mean not only his life, but others…the entire network.

He well understood the absolute need for secrecy. It was what bothered him at the moment. He put down his pen, got up and rounded the desk to look out the window.

He watched the bustling street from his office window. All seemed normal, but he was nervous
, with good reason. He had rushed to prepare this message. The information that Susanna gave to him was of the utmost importance. Time was of the essence.

The British counterfeiting Continental money had always been a concern
. If Susanna’s information held merit, it seemed that the British had gotten their hands on the exact paper the Continental Congress used to print the money.

The money needed to be recalled—
immediately—or there would be dire consequences. If the British had their way, the American’s money would become useless. Thus, Congress would be unable to finance the war raging around them.

Rupert prayed he had not called attention to himself. He had added to Giles
’ order this morning and left the message in the goods. He hoped Giles didn’t question the extra tea. He hadn’t a choice. Giles wouldn’t make another trip to New York for another two weeks.

If he missed him today, he would have to make other arrangements…which would deviate from the normal
routine. Normalcy was vital so not to call attention to themselves.

Looking below, he caught sight of a
couple of British officers as they walked down the street. He eyed them carefully. He recognized one immediately.

Devil be all! He
’s back!
There was no mistaking the officer. Walking with an air of confidence and arrogance, the tall handsome officer could be none other than Major John Andre, an old acquaintance and a shrewd one.

Rupert
’s heart raced when he saw Giles cross the street into the mercantile. Major Andre pointed toward an enlisted soldier. The soldier halted. Andre nodded and continued into the Green Lion
.
Good Lord! Andre was watching Giles!

Calm yourself
! Rupert breathed deep. There was no way for Major Andre to even suspect their deception, much less the method they used. It was Giles’ typical behavior to be in New York, to collect inventory for his tavern and general store in Setauket.

The two never met unless Giles came in for refreshment at
 the Green Lion before he headed back to Setauket, and only then they gave each other a casual greeting. How often had Giles called him paranoid! Rupert ignored the comment. He had no defense for it. He was.

Rupert
had reason. His patriotic calling had not emerged in his youth. No, his focus at that time was upon making his fortune. Only with the events over the last few years had he questioned his loyalty to the Crown, beginning with reading
Common Sense,
as had so many others.

Raised a moderate Quaker, he realized he would never forsake his value on a person
’s life. He stayed in the background of the turmoil until the British had occupied his home in Setauket, insulted his father, destroyed his property, and threatened his father and him with prison if he did not swear allegiance to the king. The flames of freedom burned within him upon that knowledge.

From across the street, Rupert watched in alarm as Giles walked
toward the coffee house. Rupert shook his head. Major Andre may not suspect their mission, but this was no coincidence. Rupert didn’t believe in them.

BOOK: The Heavens Shall Fall
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