This is my snippet for Weekend Writing Warriors (www.wewriwa.com) where writers share 8 – 10 lines of their work, for others to see and comment. Please follow and comment about others on the list.
I am continuing with my next book, called The Artist. Although this has been accepted for publication, it hasn’t yet been edited and I don’t yet have a date for publication, or a cover picture. This is an historical erotic romance, based in England in the 1850s. Theodore (Theo for short) is the son of a Viscount, but has rejected the life of an aristocrat to live as a rather bohemian artist. He has an eye for pretty girls, whom he likes to paint in the nude. Lizzie is a poor village girl who made a disastrous marriage, from which she has fled, and is destitute. When Theo asks her to be his artist’s model, she swallows her natural modesty and accepts. After their first day working together, Theo wondered where Lizzie was sleeping.
Lizzie was, in fact, sleeping in the place where she had been this past week, the hay barn of Oak Lane Farm. Her only companions were a half dozen heifers munching on hay in the pen below the loft, which she had reached by the rickety ladder. She didn’t mind the proximity of the cattle, being a country girl and well used to the sounds and smells of the farmyard, but she wondered as each day passed, whether she was beginning to smell like the animals with whom she shared a home. She did her best to wash in the stream that ran fifty yards beyond the farm entrance, but she had no spare clothes that would enable her to wash the clothes she wore each day, and wondered how long it would be before the artist noticed her smell and raised his objections to it.
She had heard about Theodore Harper from one of the girls she had encountered on the nights she had spent wandering the streets after her husband had thrown her out of the house. It had seemed the only option open to her to earn some money for food, after attempts to gain respectable employment had failed because of her reputation – a reputation that she did not deserve. She bitterly resented her husband spreading the false and malicious lies about her after her utter refusal to earn money for him by walking the streets as a common prostitute, and regretted the day she had met him.
Lizzie had been the eldest of nine children from a very poor family, and when Lionel Prendergast had passed through the village with his gypsy caravan, from which he sold pegs and kindling, and other household items, and had set eyes on her for the first time, he had recognized a striking young woman who he thought could earn him a pretty penny in the taverns of the towns and villages through which he passed, lying on her back in the back of the caravan, or up against the alley wall next to the inn. Her father had not needed much persuasion to allow him to marry his daughter and remove one of the mouths to feed in his household.
Lizzie had, at first, been taken in by the gypsy charm of Lionel, but it wasn’t long before she had realized what he was expecting from her, as a way of earning money to pay for her keep.
So….as you can see, life in the mid 19th century could be very harsh, in particular for a woman who is deemed to have fallen from ‘respectability’. But has Lizzie jumped from the frying pan into the fire by agreeing to pose in the nude for Theo? Tune in next week to see what happens. And, yes, this piece is only ten sentences long. I counted them three times to be sure. Some of the sentences are rather long, and I wonder what my editor will make of them. But this is how they stand at the moment.
I don’t have a cover picture yet, but here is a nice shot of a woman posing in the nude, although it doesn’t look very 1850s to me.
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