Welcome to my blog, and to another WIP It Up Wednesday where authors share excerpts from their works in progress. Please feel free to comment – we love feedback, and it’s great to know if we’re on the right track.
The working title for my current WIP is Victoria’s Mill. This picture is of Gibson’s Mill in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, where the story is set. Now restored as an open-air heritage centre, this atmospheric building was the inspiration for the mill in my story.
Victoria’s Mill is a historical novel, set in the 1880s, and is the story of an ambitious Yorkshire weaving mill owner – Victoria – who finds herself thrust into an unwilling partnership with Adam, a wealthy entrepreneur. He has more than just fine quality cloth and a decent profit in mind though when he offers Victoria a very special sort of business deal.
Here’s the excerpt, the first encounter between these two.
Adam dismissed his valet, preferring to leave the donning of his tie until it was time to leave the house. The man took his leave, along with Adam’s jacket which he would brush and press whilst his employer enjoyed his breakfast.
Adam glanced at his watch. Five minutes after seven. He allowed himself a yawn. It had been almost two in the morning when he returned from his club, and he supposed he could have permitted himself an extra hour in bed this morning. He had no meetings before noon, but even so, it was his habit to be up and about before seven. Today was no exception. He picked up his daily newspaper from the hall table at the foot of the stairs, glancing at the headlines as he strolled across the polished floor to his dining room where the door stood ajar.
He reached the threshold and stopped, stock still.
What the fuck?
Accustomed to living alone, the unexpected vision of female loveliness seated at his breakfast table brightened Adam’s morning immeasurably. Newspaper forgotten he leaned on the door jamb to watch as his mystery guest helped herself to his marmalade. She spread it on her toast, then took a dainty bite from the corner. She had miscalculated and a stray smear escaped onto the edge of her lip. The matter was set to rights with an elegant flick of a pink tongue, then the lady took a second bite.
Adam’s groin tightened and his cock swelled. Christ, she was seductive, though he knew the lady’s allure was not deliberate. She was unaware of his presence, her sensual manners not intended to be provocative.
As he continued to observe unnoticed she set her toast down and picked up her teacup. She took a sip, then replaced it in the saucer with a delicate clink before returning to her toast and marmalade. The lady’s attention was absorbed in a document spread out beside her plate, which she perused as she ate. She appeared deep in thought, whereas Adam could only claim to be deep in lust. His erection solidified within the confines of his tailored trousers, threatening to seriously embarrass him before much longer. There was no help for it, he had to end this free show.
“Good morning.” He uttered the words from his position in the doorway, only after strategically repositioning his copy of the Illustrated London News.
Startled, the lady whirled in the direction of his voice, her toast halfway to those luscious lips. She caught her teacup with her hand and slopped a good portion of the beverage into her saucer. Her eyes were a brilliant, deep blue he noted, before they darkened in her shock at being discovered here. Her dark hair was neatly secured in a simple knot at the nape of her slender neck. His fingers itched to loosen it.
She rose to her feet, dropping her napkin onto the floor. “I, I…”
Adam strolled into the room, his deliberately casual gait somewhat marred by his rampant erection. He was reasonably confident he’d got away with it as he lowered himself into the chair at the head of the table. His guest hovered uncertainly beside the chair she had occupied, her pretty mouth working though no sound emerged. He decided to put her out of her misery.
“Please, be seated. I did not intend to disturb you.” Liar!
“I, I… are you Mr Luke? Mr Adam Luke?”
Her tone was breathless. He noted she did not resume her seat. “I am, and at your service. You have the advantage over me, Miss…?”
She sat down again, though her hands were folded in her lap, her spine ramrod stiff. She glared at him, and he found he did not entirely care for her hostile expression. It was, after all, his marmalade.
“Miss…?” he prompted.
“Wynne. Victoria Wynne. From Hebden Bridge, in Yorkshire.”