Saturday, August 05, 2017

Sample Saturday: Bloodied Leather

The short story Bloodied Leather will be published in two weeks. Here's a sample to whet your appetite:

San Francisco, California. 1886

Isabelle Gilbert pulled a blonde curl down alongside her cheek. She repeated the effect with a second lock of hair, then adjusted the coiffure on the other side of her head for symmetry’s sake. She frowned. Mama had such sharp eyes. If the bruise weren’t entirely hidden, she would spot it in one second and ask about it in the next. How would Isabelle ever explain how it had happened?

Surely Percy hadn’t meant to strike her. He’d been so excited about attending the prizefight, and when she had declined to accompany him... I never imagined what trouble a fiancĂ© could be to a girl. I must work harder to make him happy.

Isabelle determined at last that three dangling curls did the job of masking the unsightly discoloration. She gave her hair one last pat and rose from her dressing table to choose her outfit for the day.

Something simple. Nothing to call Mama’s attention to me.

Since Isabelle would not make any calls on friends today, she chose a pale blue bodice with puffed sleeves and a matching skirt with only the slightest of bustles. Something comfortable would be best. After all, she’d only be working on her trousseau. She grimaced. The hand towels must be embroidered with intertwined initials to herald her upcoming marriage to Percival Egmont.

She didn’t call him Percival. Who would? She had chosen to call her fiancĂ© Percy, even though he pressed her daily to use an endearment like “dear” or “darling.” It didn’t suit her to bestow such sweet names on him yet. Especially after last night.

She had left Percy in the parlor on his knees, swearing he had not meant to lay a hand on her. Well, he had done so, and her remembrance of the blow stung as sharply as had the blow itself. Fortunately, Mama hadn’t caught her on the stairs afterward or she would have known something was amiss. Isabelle wondered what action, if any, Mama would have taken in regards to the man. Mama was sometimes a puzzle.

Look for a Cover Reveal next week.


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