[This excerpt is from WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD (which will be published June 10th, 2014. Copyright 2013 Diana Gabaldon.]
She was shaking. Had been shaking ever since Lionel Menzies left. With a faint sense of abstraction, she held out her hand, fingers spread, and watched it vibrate like a tuning fork. Then, irritated, made a fist and smacked it hard into the palm of her other hand. Smacked it again and again, clenching her teeth in fury, until she had to stop, gasping for breath, her palm tingling.
“OK,” she said, under her breath, teeth still clenched. “_OK_.” The red haze had lifted like a cloud, leaving a pile of cold, icy little thoughts under it.
_We have to go.
And the coldest of all:
_What about Roger?_
She was sitting in the study, the wood paneling glowing softly in the candlelight. There was a perfectly good reading-lamp, as well as the ceiling fixture, but she’d lit the big candle instead. Roger liked to use that when he wrote late at night, writing down the songs and poems he’d memorized, sometimes with a goose-quill. He said it helped him recall the words, bringing back an echo of the time where he’d learned them.
The candle’s smell of hot wax brought back an echo of _him_. If she closed her eyes, she could hear him, humming low in his throat as he worked, stopping now and then to cough or clear his damaged throat. Her fingers rubbed softly over the wooden desk, summoning the touch of the rope-scar on his throat, passing round to cup the back of his head, bury her fingers in the thick black warmth of his hair, bury her face in his chest…
She was shaking again, this time with silent sobs. She curled her fist again, but this time, just breathed until it stopped.
“This will _not_ do,” she said out loud, sniffed deeply, and clicking on the light, she blew out the candle and reached for a sheet of paper and a ballpoint pen.