Interfering relatives or friends in WIP Wednesday

presentsOne recurring trope in romance fiction is the relative or friend who puts a spoke in the wheel of the budding relationship. Sometimes, the person means well and sometimes they’re just plain mean. I’ve been thinking about my own novels and shorter fiction, and each one has at least one representative of the class: Daniel in Candle’s Christmas Chair, Alex in Farewell to Kindness, the Duchess of Haverford in A Baron for Becky, and both Enid and Bosville in Gingerbread Bride (my novella in Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem).

girl_with_a_green_shawl-largeThe stories in next month’s release are no exception, with two evil brothers, a wicked cousin, a diabolic sister, and a rather unpleasant aunt and uncle.

So for this week’s work-in-progress Wednesday, give me a few lines showing your secondary characters interferring in the developing love of your protagonists. Here are my aunt and uncle from All that Glisters, being their less than charming selves. Thomas has brought a present for Rose, my heroine, but has assumed her guardians will not let her receive it unless he has gifts for them. (All that Glisters is set in Victorian Dunedin, New Zealand.)

“Turned up again, have you?” Aunt Agnes said without enthusiasm.

Thomas pulled out the first of the presents with which he had armed himself. “Happy Christmas, Aunt Agnes.”

“We do not celebrate Christmas in this house, young man.” Campbell had been sitting unnoticed on a chair facing away from the door. His glower followed his voice as he rose to glare at Thomas.

“Happy new year then, Uncle,” Thomas said, peaceably, handing the old man a package wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, and passing another to Aunt Agnes.

For a moment, the two hesitated, then curiosity and avarice overcame their distaste, and they both began to untie the string.


4 thoughts on “Interfering relatives or friends in WIP Wednesday

  1. From Shipmate (and ‘Tis Her Season), the ultimate interfering relation, Minerva, Lady Effingale.

    “Lord Holsworthy, have you any objection to secular thinkers?”

    “Isabella!” she heard from behind, her Aunt Minerva apparently unwilling to allow Bella to ruin everything by appearing to be a godless bluestocking.

    “My lady?” Bella queried.

    “Do tell the baron about your work with the village school. She does quite well there, Lord Holsworthy. All of the tenants’ children attend. Isabella is excellent with children. She’s had a hand in raising my own sons, Lady Firthley’s brothers. She will be an excellent mother for any man who might marry her.”

    Bella fell silent, face burning again.

    • Aunt Minerva is a mistress of sabotage. I totally agree with the reviewer that said Shipmate explains the Bella of Royal Regard.

  2. In A Dangerous Nativity Chadbourn wants to build a relationship between his sister and nephew and the neighbors (while he builds one of his own with the attractive daughter of the house). His sister isn’t having it.

    His impulse was to invite the Wheatlys, father and daughter, to dinner. Who would object the loudest, Wheatly or Sylvia?
    “You wish to do what?” Sylvia exploded when he asked her an hour later.
    “They are gentry. They are neighbors. It is merely a thought.”
    Sylvia sank back on her chaise longue. “I cannot entertain. I am in mourning. I am ill.”
    Even in mourning, a family dinner is unexceptional. He didn’t dare say that out loud.
    “Emery would not permit it. He refused even mention of them in this house. They are not received.”
    “Emery is dead.” God be praised, he thought without shame. “Who is Lord Arthur Wheatly?”
    Sylvia laid an arm dramatically across her eyes. “The old duke forbade that name in this house.”
    “We do not receive them,” Sylvia murmured.
    “Squire Archer receives them,” Will said. The squire had responded with an enthusiastic invitation, all admiration for Catherine Wheatly.
    “A country squire is not society, William, you know that,” Sylvia said wearily. “I can bear no more about Songbird Cottage.”
    Will sighed to himself. At least I’ve planted a seed, he thought. “You best be prepared to entertain, however. I’ve invited the Marquess of Glenaire for the holidays.”

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