Anyone who knows me, knows of my love for historical fiction, be it television, or books, or books turned into television (OUTLANDER) *cough cough* Obviously, when it comes to historical fiction/romance, the more British, the better lol.

This love naturally overflows into my writing, and it is one of my great dreams to write historical fictions while holed up in a nice stone castle somewhere foggy.

Here is a snippet of a story I’ve been working on for a couple of years now, it began as what was supposed to be a naughty historical short. As they do though, the characters became real and tangible to me very quickly, and refused to keep their story short. Meet Tess and Arlo.

Prelude

Sophie Briggs stared across the darkened room. If her son knew she watched he gave no indication.

With the heavy drapes pulled, tired light illuminated his profile but little else.

The grey light caught the strands of his hair, dark and curved as raven’s wings and Sophie’s fingers

itched to stroke them away from his brow. To sooth him as she had when he was a child.

Small, fierce and blisteringly alone he had become her son. No shared blood ran through their veins

but Sophie’s heart knew Arlo for what he was. The object of her maternal love in its entirety.

Her son.

It had taken three years for Arlo to speak to her. Even now words seemed a currency to him.

Carefully guarded and placed down only after thorough consideration.

Now, at the age of three and thirty, he’d once more come into the womb of their home, silent and

still with thunderclouds in his onyx eyes.

Sophie started under Jonathan’s touch, so lost in thought she had missed her husband’s step upon the stairs.

“How is the lad, Phie?”

“I fear he’s returning to that place, Jon. I must get him back before he’s gone.”

“He’s a grown man now, what can we do? He’s home and we must stay at his side until he’s healed.”

“The wound is far from the problem. Tis knit, the muscles growing stronger. The doctor assures me there

is no further reason to fear, yet I do, not for his body but his soul. He lost something in that horrid place.”

“He’s no longer a wee lad. He’s always been… different.”

“Yes, your reiteration of that fact does nothing to ease my worries, husband.”

Jonathan held up a placating palm. Tears rose in Sophie’s eyes to sit in a squeezing lump in her throat.

“He must return to his music. He must, and yet he sits with his fingers twitching, his voice silent as he

spirals further away from us.”

All those years ago the music had been the key to unlocking the silent boy. Would it work again?

Sophie squared her shoulders and stepped into the room.

“Arlo?”

Her son’s deep voice rumbled in a questioning murmur. He turned towards her and Sophie witnessed

the struggle he underwent to gift her with a smile.

“Arlo it’s time. If you will not play for yourself, I beg you, if you bear any love in your heart, do it for me.”

She sensed rather than saw his eyes on her face. Like the gentle stroke of small fingers his eyes

caressed her lined face.

“If? Mother, my heart can scarcely contain the love it holds for you.” Long fingers, gone thin from the

loss of weight, closed over her rough ones. “I’ve been selfish.”

“You’ve been lost.”

“Perhaps.” Arlo rose, his movements stilted with pain, and crossed the room. Sophie with her heart in her

throat, reached to pull back the drapes. Silver light crept around the room, pirouetted with dust motes and

settling into long neglected corners.

The first notes from the piano emerged foreign and harsh. Then, they smoothed, rising in clouds.

Arlo’s face eased before her eyes and through the escaped tears she saw not a man but the wisp of a

boy who had healed her heart.

 

Chapter One

“Ladies do not dally in the proximity of whores, Betty. Do continue to walk.”

“How do you know, mama? That she is a…a–” The girl pursed her lips as if the words would melt

her tongue.

Her mother scoffed, “Please, you can practically smell the sin wafting from her.”

Tess Monroe caught the eye of the woman and twisted her lips into a brilliant smile.

Yes, Betty, do continue. Promiscuity is catching, don’t you know?” She winked at the young woman

and the girl’s eyes went wide as saucers. One gloved hand snaked out to catch her mother’s arm.

The woman gave Tess a glare that should have curdled her blood, and drew her daughter away.

Betty glanced once backwards over a slim shoulder, her cheeks pink and fresh as spring roses.

Tess laughed and placed the warm loaf of bread she cradled into her basket.

The baker watched her with a look of equal portions disgust and curiosity.

Tess curled her lips at him as well. Let the baker and Betty’s dear mother have their opinions.

They could place them where the sun refused to shine. A successful woman did not trouble herself

with the meddling of others. Her mother’s advice and one of the dear snippets of wisdom Tess kept close.

When the disapproving glances travelled over her. The lecherous ones. She comforted herself

with the memory of her waiting home, her gowns and most precious of all, her independence.

Women dreaded her. Despised her for their own fear. Some wished in the depths of their secret hearts

to be her. To possess her power. Not that any would speak of such things, but she saw it often in their eyes.

Eyes that saw their husbands desire and however fleetingly, wished to be her.

When she was younger Tess would entertain herself with imagined scenarios.

How did those couples live once they returned to their homes? Did they fight?

Say terrible things later regretted, or– her fondest theory– did they tear themselves free of restraints.

Fall into sweating piles of lust. The wives playing at make-believe and the husbands happy to have their

wants met with fervor. Did she cross their minds then?

She was not so vain as to believe every man desired her. Yet, there were scant few times in her life

she had found that to be the case. Her life relied on her beauty, her ability to turn heads.

The roof she slept under, the fact she lived in freedom. All thanks to the beauty Tess’s mother had

gifted her. With a tip of her chin, Tess gathered her skirts and stepped away from the market booth and

the baker. She refused to hide who she was, and why should she?

 

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