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Stillmore. If they cheat I will.

Stillmore. Sorry. I do not know if I was listening there. Didn’t you mean the winner?

Stillmore. Oh, what is wrong with you dudes and this unbearable whining? You must know how it does my head in. Obviously cheating is the only way to beat me.  And if you do that you deserve to be shot. Now then, let’s open shall we?

Stillmore… Hang it all where has that piece gone?

Stillmore. Oh stop sounding like Splendor. The one that was there a moment ago. I know I am not mistaken about this. any more than I am mistaken about anything. Ever.

Stillmore- Or should I say two pieces? Well, it matters not. Certainly I am not about to be beaten by a hamsterous bunch of cretins.

Stillmore- Obviously Shey wanted me to look my best so she used several of the most famous chess games in history as the basis for these bits of the book. For example the  Splendor /Baxby final, where she offers her queen early, was based on a famous Russian game and  worked like this….  Excuse me, where’s that piece gone?

Stillmore- If YOU are meaning THE first one where Splendor cheated–

Stillmore. Where’s that piece gone?

Stillmore–Let me say to you what I said to her…’You never let me finish.’

Stillmore — Right. Where’s my king?

Stillmore–Believe me… the waste of a bullet that would be. Now, if you don’t mind I have far better things to do with my time than sit here listening to this cretinous chatter.


Drawing his collar up as protection against the chill night air, Stillmore strode to the edge of the curb. “Hang it, Chasens, my cane. And find the woman a carriage. She looks like she needs a ride home.” Well, wasn’t this a dilemma. How the bloody blazes could she have lost and that check still be in his pocket?

“Thank you, but I shall walk,” Splendor said, her chin held high and her face whiter than if she’d seen a ghost.

“Suit yourself.”

She must want to spend the night with him. How else could he explain her sitting there like a moonstruck mouse messing up every single move she made? How was he meant to reward such imbecility? By making himself look stupid? He’d tried. He’d let her have his rook, his bishop, his knight, and half his pawns. But his queen? No. There were things he drew the line at. God knew he had tried every trick he knew to throw the game in her favor without making it glaringly obvious, and she had still lost. She was a damnable woman. Not at all his type. Too tall. Too argumentative. Too vexing. Too much trouble.

He withdrew his watch from his pocket and snapped it open. “Although you must know you are being perfectly ridiculous insisting upon walking at this hour. It’s late. It’s been a long day. And you don’t exactly live close at hand.”

“And that is somehow your concern?”

“Well, no, now you come to mention it.” Having admired the watch’s pale face glinting in the moonlight for several seconds, he flicked it shut. “I was merely trying to be helpful.”

Her widened eyes left him in very little doubt that she didn’t just believe the concept of him being helpful was as far as the stars beyond him, she believed it was going to stay at that distance for some considerable time. Probably forever.

He was just going to have to keep the ten thousand pounds. Anything else would make him look a fool. His gaze flitted over the oval of her face, shadowed by the street lamps. They’d had a wager, hadn’t they? He might as well get his wager’s worth.

“But I shall pick you up tomorrow evening at seven. Be ready.”

‘Lady’ Splendor better not think of bolting either.