By Natasha Blackthorne (Guest Blogger)
Grey’s Lady is the story of a wealthy New York merchant price, Grey Sexton, who falls for a poor but beautiful seductress, Beth McConnell. Yet, for all their social and economic differences, at their most basic level, Beth and Grey are very similar. This story explores how these similarities threaten to tear them apart before love can overcome the fear of being vulnerable.
Both Beth and Grey suffered isolation and emotional neglect in childhood. Grey grew up as a privileged only son, heir to Sexton Shipping, one of the fledgling nation’s largest mercantile fleets. Grey’s father was a stern businessman who did not understand his daydreaming son and held him at a distance. A child in this position might take solace in a closer relationship with his mother. However, Grey’s mother was chronically ill and unable to bear his childish energy. She kept to her chambers and died while he was still quite young. Later at age nineteen, Grey engaged in an emotionally scarring experience with a slightly older woman, something that is not covered in Grey’s Lady. All of these back story issues and more are explored in more depth in the sequel, White Lace and Promises.
In contrast, the focus of Grey’s Lady is on the immediate interaction between two wounded and self-protective people who feel an overpowering attraction to each other but who do not want to admit it to themselves or the other.
I will let my character, Beth, tell her story in her own words:
Why should men always have the power of choice when it comes to love? Is it right that we women have no choice but to sit and wait for a man decide to honor us with his declarations–usually uttered in the form of a demand? And all we as women may do is say “yes” or “no” and hope we have made a wise choice. The man still has the power to break his promises and it will be our good name and heart that bears the damage.
My mother fell into an adulterous affair with an unknown man and as a result I was created. Her husband put her out of their house. I would have been borne in the almshouse if not for the kindness of her employer. After my mother’s death, I would have gone to the foundling home without my kindly benefactress. My unknown father also had his power of choice, the choice to abandon me. How fair is it that men have all the power of choice?
Oh, you ask what about the gentlemen? Ha! The gentlemen. They are the very worst.
A gentleman once declared passionate love for me. He said this so ardently, his beautiful brown eyes shone with sincerity. I was young. I was naïve. I believed him. I trusted him and gave my heart wholly into his keeping. And as went my heart, eventually so went my virtue.
Do you what happened next? Surely, I don’t have to tell you. You know how these maudlin stories go. He married someone else. A lady. Someone of his own class. His took his power of choice. He became a respectable family man and I was left being a soiled dove. I had a good cry over it. I may have drank a little too much at his wedding celebration. What a pitiful little fool I was. But I did not wallow in my self-pity for long. So men have needs and desires? Well, I also have needs. I also have desires. Why should men have all the power of choice? Why should they have all the enjoyment in life?
I take my own power of choice now. I chose whom, when and for how long and I select only the most handsome, wealthy, and powerful of gentlemen.
Yes, I know you are asking do I not fear discovery? This is a worry and I take it seriously.
Truly I do. I live with my half-brother and his family now. He is very protective and very touchy about matters of honor. Our mother was not faithful to his father. Now he takes such matters so seriously. Too seriously. If he had his way, I would stay home all the time, working in the backroom of his cobbler shop with one eye on the children. But honestly, though I love my nieces and my half-siblings, life there is dreary. It’s all work, work and more work. Everything is shabby, everything seems to stay gritty and grimy no matter how hard I work to keep things clean. There are always more shoes to repair. I swear my eyes shall go crossed trying to sew by candlelight night after night. I never get enough sleep or time to myself. If I couldn’t go out and seek my adventures, I should go mad. I have my mother’s wild blood in me and my desires can run so high I fear they shall consume me.
I could marry a nice man and he would carry me away from all of this. I would have my own cozy home and hearth. My benefactress has introduced me to a nice young minister and to a nice young but struggling legal clerk and a nice young medical student who trembled all over and went pale when I said good morning to him. I have no interest in nice young men. It’s the wealthy, powerful, arrogant gentlemen who fascinate me. I know they will never desire me for a wife but they shall burn for me. They shall remember me.
How do I protect myself from discovery? I limit my liaisons to one single meeting. I never meet with my gentlemen again, no matter how desperately they implore me. And they do implore me. Though I am poor, the child of adultery by an unknown man and powerless in my society, I have something gentlemen desire. I have beauty, and thanks to my mother’s wild blood, I understand their hot lusts better than the women of their class. I do gain a measure of satisfaction out of leaving them burning for more. Burning for me. No gentleman shall ever forget the one afternoon he spent with me.
Today is a special day for me. Mr. Asahel de Grijs, otherwise known as Grey to his friends, is coming to my favorite bookseller to give a lecture on privateering. He is a New York man, the owner of Sexton Shipping which has a fleet of over forty sea going vessels. He is rumored to be the wealthiest gentleman in America. I know this is not true. I know exactly who is the wealthiest man in America. But Mr. Sexton is among the top three wealthiest men in our nation. He is also politically connected and quite powerful. He would be the brightest feather in my cap. I think I shall wear my shabbiest dress because it is always more thrilling when these gentlemen cannot resist the tattered, poor little bastard girl. They are slaves to their own greed for beauty.
I don’t really deride gentlemen for their focus on beauty. I appreciate a handsome face and well-made masculine form. Well, if Mr. Sexton’s physicality matches his other attributes, then I shall be entertaining a gentleman today. In private. In his carriage. But only for today. Afterwards, he shall burn for me. He will never forget me.****
The entire first chapter of Grey’s Lady is available here (for 18+ ONLY).
To Purchase White Lace and Promises: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1476
Watch the trailer for Grey's Lady,
Who is Natasha?
Emotional. Evocative. Erotic. Historical Romance from the Georgian and Regency Eras, set in both England and America. Whether they are bold or shy, my heroines' strong desires and deep emotions drive the plot—and drive their heroes to the point of no return.
I have always been a daydreamer who told myself stories of love and romance set in other times and places for my own pleasure. Eventually my story worlds became so real, they demanded to be brought out of my imagination and onto the page. It gives me great joy to finally share them with you. I hope you enjoy my story world.I am married to my own hero and we share our life with a very quirky calico cat. I have a BA in History and I love to read, both romance and scholarly history and I listen to a variety of music from classical to reggae. But mostly I am hard at work researching and writing my next story.