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 5 & 6. You can listen to / read pages 1 & 2 here & pages 3 & 4 here.
I’m going to start reading in order from this weekend on as THE VEILED HEART will be available from 14th July.
Audio File ( seems to work best with google chrome)
Plush red velvet couches with potted palms and a large Persian carpet filled the area in front of the counter.
“Can I help you, ma’am?” The attendant had a rather striking angelic face and looked much too young to have lost the ability to be surprised.
Miriam tightened her hold on her reticule and glanced about, privacy was not going to be possible.
“Are you looking for anything in particular?” the angel asked.
The expected look of mockery didn’t come. Yet her limbs felt too long and awkward in the space as a small cough cleared her throat.
“French letters.” Her discrete whisper found its echo in a young clear voice.
“A sheath is it, ma’am? Why, we have a good selection for your consideration.” The attendant’s right hand motioned in the direction of a man further down the counter.
Under the veil, her face was burning at the announcement of her purpose to the shop.
Nevertheless, this was not the place to get embarrassed.
Bracing, Miriam turned. The man was tall and exceedingly broad. There was a focus and presence about him. A confidence in his own skin that made her straighten her spine a fraction.
He was going through a box that had a partially torn card with the words ‘Sheaths ten pence’ written in neat letters. He lifted first one and then another sheath out of the box, each apparently different and, it seemed, unsatisfactory, as he kept searching.
Were there really so many types to choose from? The thought was disconcerting. That meant the need to know the benefits and drawbacks of each type. Know any differences in maintenance and handling.
“I’ll take them all.” She could deal with the issues later.
The angel didn’t show the slightest hesitation as she turned, took the three steps to the end of the counter, and extricated the box from the man.
How odd. Even from the end of the counter, he was making her aware of every breath she took.
Under-the-breath words became louder until the angel enunciated clearly in their small, shared space.
“You will have to negotiate that with Madam over there. These are all sold.”
That sounded very awkward.
It was better to look away in these sorts of exchanges, and she did. Just like she had when her now dead husband had opened his trousers in a curtained vestibule of the opera theater and flexed with purposeful precision into the chorus girl from the third act.
Unlike her, some men had more courage. The man from down the counter now stood right next to her.