Here is this weekend snippet from the start of a historical novel set in Victorian London called THE VEILED HEART.
This is in the beginning of the book, Chapter 1, pages 3 & 4. You can hear / read pages 1 & 2 here I’m going to start reading in order from this weekend on as THE VEILED HEART will be on pre-sale shortly and available from 14th July.
Audio File ( seems to work best with google chrome)
In less than a few moments of whispered exchange, Miriam slipped through the opening of a pivoting bookcase and down the dimly lit wooden stairs to the basement shop beneath. The Velvet Basement.
Her hands shook as she reached out to the small brass rail guiding her down to one of London’s top-end illicit sex-shops. The Velvet Basement catered to all things related to pleasure, from the practical to the perverse.
She stopped on the stairs, her fingers gripping the rail. From the practical to the perverse. The words swirled around her. Anyone could be down there. Her chest tightened.
What had she been thinking? Seedy stairs and dark basements full of lascivious men hadn’t occurred to her as she thought this plan up in her sun-drenched parlor.
It was too late to turn back.
Miriam eased her fingers from the rail and willed herself to take the next step down and then the next.
Right now, she needed to keep her nerve and stay her course.
At least there was some comfort in knowing that Mr. Howard was upstairs. He seemed reliable. Then again, you couldn’t tell a person’s character by their looks. That life lesson had been learned already.
The narrow stairs under her feet made the descent a little precarious. Yet that wasn’t the worst. No, it smelled of stale sweat, and something else. A musky, pungent smell held in the small space by a lack of fresh flowing air.
Miriam took a crisp, white, scented handkerchief from her coat and held it over her nose as she pushed the black velvet curtain aside at the last step. Lily of the Valley flooded her senses as her gaze took in the few, cloaked men who turned away as she stepped into the room.
Her pulse thumped a solid beat as she peered through the small spaces of her veil and found her bearings.
It was a notably large space with high ceilings. The lighting was subdued, making sultry shadowy corners behind the furnishings. Rich brown wallpaper covered the walls with a burgundy patina and the floor gleamed of polished wood. Plush red velvet couches with potted palms and a large Persian carpet filled the area in front of the counter. The whole impression was of an opulent bordello, one that was regularly cleaned and dusted.
She placed the handkerchief back in her coat; the faint scent of the perfume settling in her veil.
The air was better; it smelled of leathers and wood polish.
Thank heaven. A woman was behind the counter.
Miriam’s fingers tightened around her reticule and she tilted her chin up. She was here for a worthy cause.
The already dimly lit room took on foreboding shadows as her veil allowed only small glimpses of her environment as she navigated toward the counter. But there was no mistaking the type of goods sold in the shop.
The tables contained boxes filled with postcards of plump derrieres, breasts of all sizes and shapes, and their owners in every situation imaginable to the erotic and lurid mind. A rabbit warren of shelves and glass-fronted cabinets covered the space. They housed all manner of objects, belts, buckles, batons, and whips. Black in an array of all types of materials. The textures were all designed to be experienced on the skin, for both pleasure and pain. Large wood and stone members sanded down into a gleaming and insert-able shine.
With a different personal history, she might be shocked, even confounded by some of the items. Unfortunately she understood the use for which a good many of them were designed.