Red Pencil Thursday
Through a series of unfortunate events, my volunteer from last week, when I was without internet connectivity, is no longer available for this week. And I didn’t get the next volunteer’s critique to her soon enough for today’s post. So I’m taking a turn in the RPT hotseat myself.
If you’ve ever considered being a Red Pencil Thursday volunteer, now is a great time to submit your material. I have only one more person in the queue! Check out the details.
This is the opening from my new series, Somerfield Park. It’s a comedy of manners, not unlike the misdirection and mistaken identities in My Lady Below Stairs. I look forward to your comments and suggestions.
“Where one stands on a matter depends upon where one sits. When someone else is holding court on one’s settee, spreading delicious falsehoods, one is tempted to brand them a liar. When one finds oneself on the same settee practicing deception, one considers it being economical with the truth.”
~ Lady Phillippa, Dowager Marchioness of Somerset
The Importance of Being Scandalous
“What the devil do you think you’re doing?” Richard Barrett demanded as he climbed down from the hired carriage, pushed open the garden gate and thundered up the overgrown walk.
The young woman wielding a wicked pair of shears continued annihilating the runaway rosebush with evidence of malice aforethought. Prickly cuttings spilled from the basket at her booted feet. Peeping from under the broad brim of her straw bonnet, the girl glanced over her shoulder at Richard, and then turned back to her pruning.
Without a word. Most of the time, Richard was benevolently neglectful where servants were concerned, not bothering to even notice them. But he certainly wasn’t used to them ignoring him.
His friend Lawrence Seymour ambled after him, hands in his pockets, whistling tunelessly. Lawrence was only along on this trip for moral support. If Richard wanted to dally on his way home to Somerfield Park with an unscheduled stop at Barrett House, he knew Seymour wasn’t one to complain.
Dallying was one of the things Seymour did best.
“I said,” Richard spat through clenched teeth, “what are you doing?”
“What’s it look like?” she muttered. “Writing a book?”
If she knew who he was she’d never be so cheeky. Richard was about to give her a blistering dressing down when she looked up and held his gaze with a pair of astoundingly blue eyes.
“Do forgive me. I simply despise being interrupted when I’m working on something,” she said in a slightly more conciliatory but not at all deferential tone. Her voice was low and strangely musical, with an unusual lilt he couldn’t identify. She certainly didn’t sound like one of the local girls who went into service on his father’s estate. But then she ruined her blue eyes and lyrical voice’s effect. “In case you’re not as bright as you look and truly don’t understand my purpose, I’m trying to undo years of neglect.”
Richard drew himself up to his full height, but didn’t blast the girl with the outrage he felt. He’d leave it to Mr. Hightower to give her the sack.
“In case you’re not as bright as you look, may I point out that you’re cutting the bush back too far?” Ordinarily, he wouldn’t care, but Richard’s grandmother, whom he adored, had planted that bush, or at least had ordered it planted. The dowager marchioness might arrange cut blossoms in crystal vases, but she drew the line at any activity which involved perspiration. “You’re going to kill it.”
“Perhaps.” The young woman shrugged and tucked away the straggling lock of dark hair that had escaped her bonnet. “But if
Now it’s YOUR turn. Please weigh in with your thoughts about my first 500 words. Since this is an unusual Red Pencil Thursday, I’ll be doing a giveaway too. One of the commenters will win My Lady Below Stairs in their choice of Kindle or Nook format.
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