Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors !
This week I’m switching to another of my Christmas novellas, It Happened at Christmas. It’s the first of a pair of Christmas tales sent in Bath, England and featuring heroes who are two long-time friends.
‘Tis the season to be scandalous…
Exiled to Bath for Christmas, Miss Portia Willingham writes to her uncle to cheer her up. The letter lands in the lap of a stranger, Nicholas, Lord Daventry, who travels to Bath in hopes of meeting the spirited young woman he only knows by the name of “Pence.” But protocol demands they be introduced, and as they don’t know each other by sight, and Portia is prohibited from attending the dances at the Assembly Rooms, they must find a more ingenious way of turning their forbidden correspondence into a Christmas romance neither one will ever forget.
In this snippet, Nicholas, Lord Daventry has received a letter from a young lady butnot intended for him. It intrigues him, leading to a possibly rash decision.
His decision to pursue this madcap scheme, however, could indeed start him on a road at the end of which lay a leg-shackle–just as the lady said she desired.
And yet something about the author of that letter had captivated him, something about the slightly wicked nature of such a correspondence called to him like a siren’s song. Unable to help himself, he picked up the pen and drew another sheet toward him.
To the young lady signing herself as Pence,
I am sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but I regret to inform you that your Uncle Demon has not received your letter. I’m the current resident at the address I assume your uncle just vacated, but he left no direction to indicate where he may be reached, so I cannot send your letter on to him.
That was actually all he needed to write, in addition to a closing, to let the lady know her letter had not reached its destination and move on.
Nick stared at the lines he’d written then grasped the paper, rubbing his fingers against the smooth, creamy page. No, you don’t want to do that, said the devilish imp on his shoulder, wouldn’t you rather have some fun with her instead?
He laid the letter back on the desk and picked up his pen again.
And a little more for good measure…
In passing, I must remark that, having read your letter in an effort to learn something about where to send it on, you should be careful to whom you speak and when and where. If you are to have any career as a gossip, you must learn the basic maneuvers to keep your identity hidden, lest you end up again exposed and chastised.
Should you wish me to, I can give you instructions—having done my share of gossiping in the not-too-distant past—that may make your future endeavors more fun and less punitive.
In closing, may I wish you a pleasant stay in Bath and give you my best wishes for a happy Christmastide.
Your obedient servant,
The signature surprised Nick, even as he wrote it, although it made sense. His devilish side had prompted him to write, after all. At any rate, something cautioned him not to reveal his true identity. If indeed this letter compromised the lady, it would be a deal harder for her aunt or parents to find him and easier for him to deny writing it if his name was not presented in black and white for everyone to see. Even if Pence would, most likely, simply toss the letter in the fireplace and no one would be the wiser.
All of my Christmas novellas are on sale this month for just .99 each, as part of my Christmas in July promotion. If you’d like to grab a copy, click on the covers below!
I’m also giving away signed copies of my Christmas novel The Widow’s Christmas Surprise on Mondays in July. If you’d like to enter to win one, click here.