Tuesday, November 03, 2009

In Name Only

My NaNo novel is a Regency romance called In Name Only. I'm having a blast writing it, so I thought I'd share the first few paragraphs with you. I hope you enjoy it!

“Straighten your shoulders, Lucinda Jane. You don’t want some impudent man peeking down the front of your gown when he asks for a dance, do you? Gracious, my dear, sometimes you have less sense than a goose!”

Dutifully Lucie pulled her shoulders back slightly so her gown’s low-cut, yet oh-so fashionable pearl-trimmed bodice lay snugly against her chest, exactly where its dressmaker, as well as Aunt Lucinda, believed it ought to be.

Had Lucie realized how wholly involved Aunt Lucinda, the Dowager Countess of Waltham, would become in every facet of her dress and behavior, she might not have agreed so readily when her aunt offered to sponsor her for the Season. But she hadn’t known, so she had accepted the proposal. Now, she had to take the sour with the sweet, and smile when she might have otherwise wished to stamp one dainty, slippered foot.

As the crowd inside the ballroom at Cresthill, the Earl of Gloucester’s London home, grew, so did the heat. The air would have been utterly stifling had it not been for the staff of frond-waving servants placed strategically around the huge room. Still, as the dancing progressed, breathing easily grew increasingly difficult.

Lucie snapped open the delicate, handmade silk fan that hung from a ribbon at her right wrist. The fan matched her gown perfectly, its aquamarine hue chosen by Aunt Lucinda to show Lucie’s creamy complexion to its best advantage.

At the moment, Lucie doubted her complexion was creamy at all, or even the tiniest bit becoming. She felt soaked in perspiration, and, even though she knew her aunt would be vexed by the request, she couldn’t hold off any longer.

Turning slowly, not wishing to appear indelicate and further displease her aunt, she gently waved her fan in front of her lips and said, “Aunt, I am nearly wrung out with the heat. I fear I must take a breath of fresh air, and quickly.”

The older woman cast a dubious gaze at her, the heavily powdered skin around her eyes wrinkling disapprovingly. Her expression spoke volumes; Lucie had no doubt that “back in the day” neither Aunt Lucinda nor any of her friends would ever have been so frail they required air—fresh or otherwise.

“Really? Why, I rather feel the touch of a chill.” With a dramatic shiver designed, Lucie knew, to squelch her request, Aunt Lucinda pulled the fine silk georgette shawl at her shoulders tight with one gloved hand. Its dark green edging and fringe matched the feathers on the dowager’s headdress.

Lucie stood her ground. “Be that as it may, I could nearly swoon from the heat. Either that or the boned corset you and your modiste insisted I wear is far too tight. My lungs feel deprived of air, and unless they are refreshed in all haste, I am sure I will fall to the ground. Just think…if I swoon here and now, and crumple helplessly at your feet, all kinds of improper peeks down my bodice might—and most likely will—be stolen.”

She slapped her fan closed, leaned in close to her aunt’s ear and whispered, “Oh! Imagine the scandal!”


Wendy said...

Oh yes . . . imagine!