This week’s theme is one of my favorites–playlists. I often listen to certain songs as I write a book and I definitely keep playlist for each book. This snippet is fun because my heroine has traveled from modern day America to Regency England. Think it’s very safe to say, they’d probably find our music these days shocking!
Excerpt from No Regrets.
Ben awoke in his bed alone later in the morning with a smile on his face. The first thought to cross his mind was Vee, in his bed, in his arms. The previous night seemed like a dream to him, one from which he hoped never to awake. Her appearance in the midst of his darkest hour was a miracle. She was his miracle.
Glancing out the window, he was shocked to realize how late it was. Never one to sleep much past dawn, one glance at the full sun convinced him it must be nearly noon.
Vee, he thought again, suddenly very anxious to see her. To bask in her presence, smell her uniquely fresh, light scent, sneak her away to a dark corner to steal a kiss. Dressing quickly, he descended the stairs with the single-minded purpose of finding his governess and whisking her away somewhere private to have his wicked way with her once again. Or perhaps twice.
He’d already checked the schoolroom and upon finding it empty, decided she must be having a late breakfast herself. However, the dining room, study, morning room and library were also empty. Knowing her aversion to riding and Frank Prescott, he eliminated the stables from his ever-shorter list of places to search. Finally, the smell of bread baking and voices raised in laughter reached him–the kitchen. Shaking his head for forgetting her love of baking, he headed to the back of the house.
Standing at the doorway, he was shocked at the sight his eyes beheld. Mrs. Henry, Mrs. Cooke and Vee were singing and cooking while Chelsea danced, all of them laughing over their strange song. He stepped back into the shadows when Mrs. Henry passed by the door to retrieve a bowl from the opposite wall unwilling to trespass on their fun. Vee, apparently the instigator, was teaching the ladies the chorus of the song. Ever sensitive to Chelsea’s silence, she had created hand motions for the young girl so she could participate in the silliness.
“Okay,” Vee announced to her small choir. “Let’s take it from the top. And please, forgive my voice.”
“Ach, Miss Vee, you have a lovely singing voice,” Mrs. Henry said, still bubbling with enthusiasm at their private performance.
“Well, here goes nothing!” At that, she proceeded to sing a song Ben had never heard before. By the way she was swinging her hips and humming between verses, it was apparent she could hear the music in her head. He was entranced by her free-spirited nature and absorbed by the sight of his beautiful governess–singing without inhibitions, dancing and swaying. How much she had blossomed since her arrival at Waterplace.
Frowning suddenly, he listened more closely to the words of her song.
What the devil is she singing? He silently wondered as Mrs. Cooke and Mrs. Henry joined in. “I am woman. Hear me roar. I am strong,” they crooned. “I am invincible. I am woman.” At their words, Chelsea held her arms up as if to display some great muscular strength, much to the delight of the other women.
She sang of the power of women and he couldn’t help but be reminded of Hayley Campbell and Erin McCormick, the wives of his friends. Both of those women were unconventional, outspoken and rather headstrong. He felt a slight uneasiness as he considered for the first time the similarities between Vee and the other two women. They were known to be kind and intelligent, but among members of the haut ton, he had heard whispered comments about their innate oddness. He’d never mentioned the rumors surrounding the marchioness and countess to his friends because both men were so smitten, he feared they’d challenge the entire ton in an effort to silence the cruel comments. He couldn’t deny to himself that there was something different about them, something unique and more than a little strange that he couldn’t quite put his finger on. Now, for the first time, he had the same feeling about Vee.
Prior to last night, he thought he had her past figured out. He’d blamed her differences on the fact that she was part of the lower classes, a prostitute. Now, he realized that she had been an innocent, which left him with more questions than answers regarding her past, her strange clothing, her odd manner of speech and this song.
Unwilling to allow her to fall victim to the nasty remarks of the members of his parent’s society, he stepped forward just as Vee bent to pick Chelsea up and swing her around. All the women froze in mid-song and Ben would have laughed at the image they’d presented if he weren’t so upset by Vee’s behavior and the inappropriate example she was setting for his ward.
“Vee,” he said, his voice tense, despite his attempts to appear normal. “Might I have a word with you?”
Still smiling, she put Chelsea down, placing a light kiss on the girl’s nose. Groaning to himself, he watched the girl’s smile turn to one of fear as he realized, once again, he’d taken the joy out of the room. Chelsea had been acting like a normal child for once and he’d ruined it. Smiling down at her, he picked her up to swing her about himself.
“I had no idea you were such a talented dancer,” he said, desperate to rectify his mistake. “Had I known I would have taken you to every ball in London.”
Chelsea giggled as he continued to dance her about the kitchen.
“Forgive me, ladies,” he said, bowing after releasing Chelsea, “I did not mean to interrupt your party, but I need to speak to Miss Vee for a moment.” His face and voice were lighter this time, more charming, and he could sense both the older ladies silently sighing with relief that he was not angry at them.
Bowing slightly, he gestured to Vee with his arm. With a playful curtsy, she walked ahead of him toward his study. Ben closed the door as they entered, yet as she turned to face him, her eyes sparkling with laughter, he felt the chastisement he’d planned leave his head. Stepping forward, he grabbed her, pulling her into a tight embrace, his lips covering hers in a possessive kiss.
Why don’t you sing your way over to these other playlists?