When Sarahjane Collias and Felix Gryffith step through the door from the late nineteenth century, they are not completely surprised to find themselves greeted by a mature lady dressed in the height of Regency fashion. After all, the invitation that requested their company for tea was dated 1810, and bore the crest and signature of Eleanor, Duchess of Haverford.
Eleanor Haverford: Welcome, my dears! Won’t you come in? The tea is ready and I’ve been so looking forward to seeing you!
Felix: You’re too kind, Madame.
Sarahjane: We’ve looked forward to this afternoon for a while.
Eleanor Haverford: Now then, I hear you two have some interesting pastimes. Sarahjane Collias is a—now what was the word? Photographer, I believe.
Sarahjane: Painter. Although, I must admit, the new technology does intrigue me.
Eleanor Haverford: Ah yes, painter. My apologies, Miss Collias. And you, Mr. Gryffith?
Felix: Felix, please.
Eleanor Haverford: Yes, Felix. You are… involved with the steam power?
Felix: Electrical lights, yes.
Eleanor Haverford: Not steam power?
Felix: No, not exactly. Electrical power is the wave of the future, madame.
Eleanor Haverford: Future… Oh, yes. You come from far in my future, do you not? And you have a queen? One not born yet, I am told.
Sarahjane: 1888, yes. And Queen [Sarahjane sniffs] Dear, don’t make our hostess’s head explode so soon with your technical jargon. She won’t be hearing about such things for another 60 years or so.
Felix [blinking]: How else should I answer her question?
Sarahjane [laying a hand on his]: Succinctly, Your Grace, he works with technology too. Much more deeply than I, I must admit.
Eleanor Haverford: I see… Well maybe we will bring that up a little later. Tell me something that won’t ‘make my head explode’. Where did you two meet? The late nineteenth century! I must say, I can’t begin to imagine. Did your father arrange your marriage?
Felix: Sarahjane’s? By God, no. He’d rather roast me.
Sarahjane: We were friends long ago, Felix and I. But we had a bit of a falling out.
Felix: That’s putting it nicely.
Eleanor Haverford: Oh?
Felix: We had such a “falling out” that she left not only London, but Britain altogether.
Eleanor Haverford: Did you?
Sarahjane: Felix, really! Did you have to bring that up?
Felix [frowning]: Sarahjane spent the time studying in Italy, you see.
Eleanor Haverford: My goodness!
Sarahjane [returning the frown]: While he went off to god knows where.
Felix: Russia. I had a job offer there, you see.
Eleanor Haverford: A long way away from her. Did you court her via post, then?
Sarahjane: No. We met up again, last year.
Felix: Via Lady Morville.
Eleanor Haverford: Ah, yes, I’ve heard of her. Quite the philanthropist. Fine woman.
Felix: She is.
Sarahjane [blushing]: I daresay. Stubborn too. I’d say she threw us together on purpose, if I didn’t know better. Felix was working for her, at the time. How was I to know she’d send him to York on business? Right to Mr. Keane’s house. My then-tutor.
Eleanor Haverford [covering a laugh with her hand]: She didn’t!
Sarahjane: Alas, it’s true.
Felix: Good thing, too. Where would you be if she hadn’t?
Sarahjane [picking up her tea]: I shudder to think. Do you know Keane, my lady?
Eleanor Haverford: No, my dear, I do not.
Felix: Believe me, you’re better off not knowing him.
Sarahjane: Felix is right, though I still think his paintings are divine.
Felix: Never mind, that. He’s a devil, who tried to force you to marry into his family.
Eleanor Haverford: Oh my! He didn’t!
Eleanor Haverford: Yes, marry his brother, to be more precise. The Keane brothers turned out to be dreadful. If it wasn’t for Felix, I don’t know where I’d be.
Eleanor Haverford: Dear me. That is just the sort of incident our gossip columnists delight in. I hope you did not suffer unfortunate coverage in the paper.
Felix [patting Sarahjane’s hand]: Doesn’t matter. We’re heading back to North Carolina tonight.
Sarahjane: He has work to do. He has to figure out how to keep storms from blowing out his mechanisms.
Eleanor Haverford: Sounds intriguing!
Felix [picking up his tea]: Damnable things, is what they are.
Sarahjane: Don’t listen to him. He already onto an idea to help that, I daresay.
Sarahjane: Don’t play innocent, dear.
Eleanor Haverford: You don’t think you’ll succeed?
Felix: Oh, I will. One day the whole earth will be lit by electricity.
Duchess: Sounds exciting! And I understand you married in the summer, so there was a bright side to all your trouble. I must say, it has been a pleasure to meet with you both. Thank you so much for accepting my invitation to tea. Before you go, I hear a talented young lady wrote your story down…in a book that’s currently available at a bookshop called Amazon. Can you tell me something about it?
Sarahjane [huffs]: Oh, that’s right. Ms. Juli D. Revezzo wouldn’t be happy with me if I forgot to mention that. She named it…some dreadful thing. What was it, dear?
Felix: I think it was House of Dark Envy. Appropriate, since Keane was….
Sarahjane: Yes, I know. The story, House of Dark Envy, goes a bit like this:
1888: When Sarahjane attends Lady Morville’s costume party, she never expects to learn her old beau Felix Gryffith is under the illustrious woman’s patronage and stands on the cusp of making a world-changing discovery. Felix, whose lies disgraced her in the eyes of the London elite by labeling her a flirt.
Felix’s love for Sarahjane has never wavered, despite the scandal that forced them apart. He’s desperate to tell her the truth, if he can convince her to listen.
Fate lurked in the shadows that night, years ago. Has it returned to grant Sarahjane and Felix their wishes, or terrorize them?
House of Dark Envy is available in ebook and paperback at: https://www.amazon.com/House-Dark-Envy-Juli-Revezzo-ebook/dp/B06WWM8T8R/
Sarahjane: So that’s our story. Thanks for inviting us here, Your Grace.
Felix: Yes, indeed. It’s been a pleasure, dear lady. *kisses Duchess’ hand* And if you or your friends would like to find out more about fr—er, author, you’re welcome to visit her lovely home websites:
Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Juli-D.-Revezzo/e/B008AHVTLO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Sign up for her newsletter at: http://bit.ly/SNI5K6
Juli D. Revezzo loves fantasy and Celtic mythology and writing stories with all kinds of fantastical elements. She is the author of the historical romances, House of Dark Envy, Watchmaker’s Heart, and Lady of the Tarot, the Antique Magic paranormal series and Celtic Stewards Chronicles series and more. She is also a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour.