Here’s a taster of one of my favourite scenes from Betrothed.
The following day roses arrived, as red as the Christmas tinsel draped over the mantelpiece and curling down the balustrade. The stems had foliage as green and glossy as the holly leaves hanging at the center of the ground floor doors. The note with them read:
The Prince plans with eagerness the return trip to St Petersburg.
General Demetri Petroski
And much like the spiky points of the holly, the newspapers and their addictive gossip columns pricked and drew blood.
The Petroski brothers returned to their Hotel in time for breakfast. We wonder what kept them out all night, not once but twice in a row. Could there be a rivalry for the remarkably beautiful and elusive widow seen with them at every venue? The writer thinks the possibility should not be overlooked.
The next day, more roses arrived, and the newspapers drew more blood.
Matters of state continue to hound my brother. I write to relay that they will take my brother and I from town. We will return with haste and convey travel and wedding plans.
General Demetri Petroski
The cruel and addictive gossip column reported a House party in Bath regaled by the Petroski Brothers. When the blasted roses arrived again this morning, anger flushed through her like a Guy Fawkes bonfire.
“I’ll take care of them” Georgie took the vase holding the latest red and green floral insult from the maid and walked to the window, opened it and tipped the water and flowers out of it. A wonderful flush of pleasure rippled through her as she watched the hypocritical tribute fall and land on the small path that ran alongside the house. Georgie then walked around the room and did the same with each and every other arrangement sent by Demetri on behalf of his brother. Each bunch hit the path below and scattered red petals like blood. It was indescribably satisfying.
By the last bunch she had become more expressive, more abandoned in her need to purge her frustration and vexation, she raised the blooms above her head and smashed them against the windowsill. The feeling was so cathartic she did it again, and again and again, breaking the beautiful heads and sending petals all over the place.
That was how she really felt about the blasted Vladimir Petroski, about the betrothal and about the fact that she was, for the time being, locked into it in support of her father. With each swipe of the blooms and satisfying explosion of petals and leaves, some of the pent-up frustration loosened.
How could a man so thoroughly dismiss her without ever having met her? How could her father keep her in such an unpalatable situation? And…and that Demetri, how could he make her zing and tingle with every glance, smile and charm her then spend the night on the town courting elusive and beautiful widows? She slammed the decimated bunch of buds down harder.
A masculine cough came from behind her.
Well you can guess who is standing there!
Read more about Betrothed HERE
I am deep into Book 2: Bedevilled, due out in an anthology this year in October. I can’t wait to share some snippet from it with you soon.