Dear brother, on WIP Wednesday

A romance novel, by definition, is about the developing love between the two main protagonists. But the story is often given strength and substance through relationships with other characters: family members, friends, even enemies. In particular, we grow to know our main characters through their actions towards those they love but with whom they are in conflict: and that’s the theme of this week’s work-in-progress Wednesday: conflict between the main character and family members or friends.

Mine comes from Concealed in Shadow, which is in the very early stages of writing. At this point, I have a few paragraphs of beginning, a general idea of the overall shape of the plot, and random scenes, most of them still in my head. This one happens early on, after David comes eagerly to London to meet and marry Prue, and finds her missing. His half-brothers were the last to be seen with her, and only one of them is still in London.

(Concealed in Shadow is the sequel to Revealed in Mist, which is on presale and will be released next week. See the link for purchase information.)

The early morning sun was just filtering through the fog when David’s quarry let himself into his bed chamber. He had already discarded his hat and gloves somewhere between the outside door and this upper floor, but he was shrugging out of his overcoat as he entered the room.

The overcoat flew to drape over the arm of a couch, and the muffler beneath followed. David watched from the shadowed corner behind the draped head of the bed as the man stripped to his shirt and breeches, with swift economical movements. The coat, richly embroidered waistcoat and cravat followed the rest, and the man crossed to a fireside chair to pour himself a brandy from the decanter that stood ready and slip out of his dancing shoes.

He had clearly been somewhere that required formal evening dress, though David was certain a ballroom had not been his last stop of the night, or David would have found him four hours ago. The man sat relaxed in his own private domain, a little tired — though his energy was legendary — beyond a doubt sated, resting a blond head back against the chair and shutting his hazel eyes as he cupped the glass in his hands to warm the brandy.

When David spoke, it was not much above a whisper, but shockingly noisy in the silent room. “Where is she, Aldridge. What have you and Gren done with her.”

 

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6 thoughts on “Dear brother, on WIP Wednesday

  1. OK Jude, I’ve got one for you. (It was hard picking a particular scene, because The Long Shadow’s all about brothers!) It’s from the end of TLS, when John is trying to work out what went wrong between him and his brother.

    ____

    ‘He is not gone yet. There is still time—’

    ‘Time for what?’ John did not really know; the words had slipped out meaninglessly. The numbness that had settled on him at Putney was finally giving way to the burning agony of grief. A sweep of sadness settled over him, followed by the anger that had been his mainstay throughout the years of estrangement: directed, this time, not at William, but at himself. ‘I suppose you find it strange that I am so disturbed at the prospect of losing him.’

    ‘Not at all.’

    ‘I confess I do. William and I have been estranged so long. I’ve lost count of the number of times I wished I did not have a brother.’ Mary watched him through her tears. She no longer looked reproachful, only sad, but John had no use for her pity. ‘It seems my desire is to be granted.’

    ‘It does not matter what you thought then,’ Mary said, unsteadily, wiping her eyes with the inside of her wrist. ‘What matters is what you want now.’

    ‘No. I have never mattered. As long as I can remember I have been William’s brother; I have never really been anything else. Without him I am nothing but the Earl of Chatham, landless and debt-ridden. It diminished my father and God knows what posterity will make of me.’

    ‘You are not merely William’s brother,’ Mary corrected him, with a glint of emotion. ‘You are also my husband.’

    Fondness pierced his grief, suddenly, unexpectedly, as warm as though she had wrapped him in her embrace. ‘I will always be that, it is true. I will always be that.’

    They sat with clasped hands in silence. The feeble glow from the fire played on the lines of Mary’s face, touching on the grey at her temples, the half-dried tears in her eyes. They had been married twenty-two years. The memory of that happy summer ceremony came with difficulty to John on this cold, dark January evening, and yet it nudged at his thoughts. It had been the last summer of innocence, the summer before William took the Treasury. William’s twenty-four-year-old face swam before his eyes, already wearing the cautious, shaded expression that later became habitual. *I will do my duty, Your Majesty.*

    William had more than kept his word to the King. But what of William’s duty to John, the head of his family? What of John’s duty to William? John’s thoughts splintered on the rocks of his guilt, a guilt that transformed his grief and anger into a debilitating exhaustion that seemed likely to drown him.

    Mary saw the shadows cross his face. She released his hands. ‘John. You must return to Putney.’

    He had known she would say this; he also knew it was impossible. ‘I cannot. They will not let me in.’

    ‘You said there is still time. Are you telling me you want to wait until there is no time left?’

    • Hi! Yes, it will be on Kindle. I am in Amazon jail for putting Gingerbread Bride up 8 days before release when their rules say 10. They say they don’t accept even good reasons, so I can’t do a prerelease for one full year from 28 April 2016. But I’ll be loading it this weekend, so it should be approved by Tuesday, which is release day. If you’d like an email on the day, please follow me on Amazon.

      • Amazon rules suck! I read a lot and post my rev’s on Amazon and Goodreads primarily, but Amazon has new rules now, that says they’ll be looking at our PURCHASED rev’s first and there’s a limit to how many non-purchased rev’s I can post. A$$holes. Most of my books come from NetGalley, ARCs so I’m really pissed.
        I’ll purchase this one 🙂
        HUGS!
        Mel

      • Hugs back! Yes, I was disappointed that they wouldn’t listen to my reasons. And I’ve had two reviews removed from one of my books because they were written by people who didn’t know me at the time, but who later became friends. Thank you for your support, Mel. I am very grateful.

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