Saturday, August 3, 2013

Taking a Leap

By Renee Michaels (Guest Blogger)

I primarily write paranormal stories, but a call for an anthology caught my eye my. The premise a spicy tale relating the naughty hijinks going on between the staff, and the lords and ladies above stairs. Now I had never written a story similar to what was needed, but I’ve read a lot of historicals, and I’m a bit of a history buff. My brain retains useless bits of trivia, which comes in handy for a writer. Why not?

I didn’t think I could pull it off but it was chance to stretch myself. Now writing for me is like cooking a good meal. Gather good ingredients, season well, and add a dash of spice. Molly, my main character, was the first essential component. Her employ and her troubles kept me interested in finding out what would happen next even as I wrote the story. Molly’s pair of lovers delivered the zest and sensuality. It was a pleasure to write this story -  so much so that Ménage a Must is the first in the Molly’s Mayhem series.

Blurb

Can Molly juggle a pair of frisky lovers and prevent her adventurous young mistress from playing fast and loose with her virtue? Yes, she can.

Molly O’Dowd is a maid with ambition. She doesn’t intend to spend the rest of her life in service. But she feels bound by loyalty and gratitude to see Annabelle, her young mistress, settled before she leaves to make her fortune.

At the estate of her employer’s potential suitor, she meets Graeme and Logan, a lusty pair of rogues who entice Molly to indulge in a tryst - or two or three.

To Molly’s delight and relief her Annabelle takes matters in her own hands and secures a proposal. Molly is now free to go, but she hesitates. After all she now has to reasons to linger a while.

Excerpt

When the wheel of the carriage Molly O’Dowd sat in dropped into yet another rut, she slapped a hand on her prized bonnet and hugged her mistress’s jewellery case to her chest. The vehicle gave an ominous creak and listed to one side before it lumbered forward. She sent up a fervent prayer that they’d reach their destination soon. Her sore bum could not take another round of bouncing on the thinly padded seat.

No title is worth this discomfort.” The loud, petulant complaint came from the young miss she served as a personal maid.
Her mistress sat across from Molly, arms folded across her chest. Ethereally beautiful, with flawless skin and cornflower blue eyes, and an heiress to a fortune built from railways and coalmines, Annabelle was the only child of the late August Calder. He’d been an overindulgent but neglectful papa, which had made her just a tad spoilt.

With her tight fist holding the purse strings, Annabelle’s social-climbing stepmamma had dragged her to England in her hunt for a title. And not a moment too soonthe girl needed a man but more importantly a husband. Molly had caught Annabelle’s dancing master lapping away at her virginal cunny.

There was no telling her mistress anything once she got a notion in her pretty head. She’d kept Molly busy smuggling the man in and out of the Calder mansion. Molly had barely managed to preserve Annabelle’s virginity using dire threats and never being more than a few feet away from the amorous couple.

Hush, Annabelle, the earl’s servants might hear you.” The admonishment hissed from the perpetually pursed lips of Annabelle’s stepmother, Priscilla.

Her name suited herprissy by name and nature. Mrs Calder never had a hair out of place or a thread hanging from her ensemble. She was a thin woman with a fondness for ruffles and pastels, which didn’t suit her sallow skin.

As far as Molly knew, Priscilla never showed any emotion but disapproval or irritation. Molly wondered for the millionth time how she had become the wife of that lusty old letch August Calder. Before he had died, he’d pinched Molly’s bum and fondled her breasts on the sly more than once. Given the chance, he’d have tossed up her skirts for sure. Now she wasn’t adverse to a good tumble, but to spread her legs for the master under his wife’s nose was the act of a slattern. She had standardsa little relaxed, but they served her well.

Annabelle groaned as they hit another pothole. “I still don’t see why we couldn’t hire a conveyance for our use.”

His lordship offered the use of his carriage and we didn’t want to offend him.” Her tone suggested that their discomfort was inconsequential.

Annabelle’s rosebud mouth formed a pout. “Molly, you did pack my bed linens, didn’t you?”

Priscilla waved her hand to cut off Annabelle’s gripes. “Never mind that, I wanted to have a word with the both of you before we arrived.”

This explained why Molly wasn’t travelling with the rest of the servants Mrs Calder deemed necessary as a show of her wealth.

Now you listen to me, miss, I’ve paid that impoverished noblewoman a small fortune to secure this invitation. Muck it up and I’ll ship you off to my aunt in Maine.”

The threat hung in the air. Priscilla’s aforementioned relative would make a Puritan look like a hedonist.

Annabelle narrowed her eyes into slits and her expression turned mutinous. Even then, she looked like an annoyed fairy. “The executors of my father’s estate wouldn’t let you.”

Everybody has a price.” Priscilla pinned Molly with an inimical glower. It seemed she wasn’t to escape Priscilla’s censure. “I expect you to keep her in line and not pander to her odd whims.”

Molly gulped and nodded. She couldn’t afford to lose her place, not when she was so close to getting out of service on her own terms.

Priscilla sniffed and smoothed out her wrinkleless skirts. “Gertrude Whittenham got a baron for her buck-toothed daughter. I want that earl. You are lovely enough to catch the eye of any peer. With your inheritance, it shouldn’t take much effort to engage his interest.” Her eyes glittered with the unhealthy avarice of someone who had everything but wanted more.

And if I don’t comply?”

At Annabelle’s defiant question, Priscilla’s thin lips curved into a humourless smile.It would be a pity if word got out Molly facilitated your meetings with that Frenchman. I’ll put your precious maid out without a reference and funds for her passage home.”

The tea and bun Molly had gulped down at the last posting inn curdled in her stomach. She glanced at Annabelle, and hoped she caught the silent plea she sent her.

Pardon me, ma’am, but Miss Annabelle knows what’s at stake,” Molly murmured, injecting the right amount of timidity and subservience into her voice.

For both your sakes, I hope so.” The frosty warning wasn’t lost on Molly. She’d bear the responsibility of making sure Annabelle toed the line.

A fraught silence hung in the air as the seconds ticked by and Molly’s apprehension grew.

After what felt like several lifetimes, Annabelle shrugged. “Fine, have it your way, again, but Molly stays. I’ll need to dress my hair and see to my clothes to bait your honey trap.”

Your speech is appalling. Maids are ten-a-penny. She is not indispensable.” Priscilla’s eyes raked over Molly with dismissive condescension and Molly’s face heated with humiliation. “Besides, it would be more appropriate for you to have a French maid. It is all the rage.”

I said I’ll go along with your little schemes, Priss,” Annabelle snapped. She used the name that would jab at her stepmother the most. “But don’t overplay your hand. Once I marry, I’ll be free of you,” Annabelle said flatly in a rare show of defiance.

With a sour expression, Priscilla turned her head and looked through the window. “Then I will have to make sure you marry a man who dances to my tune, won’t I? We’ve arrived.”

Molly twisted in her seat to look at the Earl of Glenhaven’s ancestral home. It might be tumbling down about his lordship’s noble ears, but the autumn was kind to the great rambling Elizabethan manor. It softened the signs of neglect and disrepair and gave the stone edifice a rosy glow. With a great deal of hard work and pots of Annabelle’s money, it could shine like a gem.

The aged carriage jerked to a halt. A footman opened the door and let down the steps. Priscilla allowed the servant to help her disembark. 
 
Seeing the mischievous sparkle in Annabelle’s eyes, Molly almost groaned.

Wait for me in my rooms,” Annabelle whispered.
What are you up to now? Don’t antagonise your stepmother. She watches you like a hawk.”

An unladylike snort escaped from Annabelle’s pretty mouth. “More like a vulture waiting to pick our bones clean. Don’t worry, Mol, I have a plan.”

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About the Author

Renee Michaels is a multi-published author. She is published with Liquid Silver Books, Red Rose Publishing, Samhain and Secret Cravings as well as with Total-E-Bound. She is also a contributor to the Ippy Gold Medal anthology Carnal Machines, published by Cleis Press.

Widowed with a grown daughter and son, she is a voracious reader, avid cook, and die hard Trekkie much to her children’s embarrassment.

1 comment:

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Renee,

Welcome to Beyond Romance! Thank you for being my guest.

I have to say that I love Molly. I can easily see a series based on this character.

Also, I second the notion about stretching oneself to try new genres. Who knows, I might even write a western some day (though I'm not holding my breath!)

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