Adversaries on WIP Wednesday

This will be my last WIP extract from A Raging Madness. By next Wednesday, it will be a published book. So I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a bit about one of my villains. I’d love to see an extract from you about one of your adversaries; not necessarily a villain, but someone that the hero or heroine is in conflict with.

The adversaries in my extract are utterly villainess. My heroine overhears them  plotting to confine her in an asylum for the insane.

“No, Mrs Braxton. Eleanor will not convince them she is sane. I have chosen with care, I tell you. I visited six asylums before this one, and this is perfect for our purposes. The doctor in charge has promised to keep her dosed, and even if he does not, the place itself will drive her insane. If you saw it, heard the noise… Yes, my dear, I can assure you, our plans are sound.”

Constance answered, the whine in her voice grating against Ella’s eardrums. “But what if you are wrong, Edwin? If she convinces someone in authority that she is sane, prison will be the least…”

“No, my dove. Not at all. No one at the asylum will listen to her ravings, and if they did, what of it? Who will they tell? Even in the worst case, all we need do is say her mind was turned after Mother’s death and how glad we are that she is well again.”

“I do not know.” The frown was heavy in Constance’s voice. “But we cannot keep her here. I trust Kerridge, but the other servants may start to murmur. Any one of them might have spoken to that lawyer!”

“The lawyer is gone, my love. He was no harder to send away this time than last.”

“It will drive her insane, you say?” Constance asked.

“It will. I guarantee it. I hesitate to mention it, Mrs Braxton, it not being a topic for a lady’s delicate ears…”

“Spit it out, Edwin. What?”

“My own treasure, I am given to understand that the attendants avail themselves of the, er, charms of the patients and even do a– er– trade with the nearby town. Not, of course, with the approval of the medical staff. No, of course. That would be most unprofessional. But it is most enterprising of them and serves our purposes rather well, dear sister being a comely woman.”

Ella puzzled this out. Surely Edwin did not mean that the attendants forced the women and prostituted them?

“Ah. Very good,” Constance said. “The woman is horribly resilient. Any decent gentlewoman would have succumbed to madness long since with all your brother put her through and what has happened since. But surely even she is not coarse enough to withstand multiple rapes.”


10 thoughts on “Adversaries on WIP Wednesday

  1. Here’s the villain of The Reluctant Wife:

    He couldn’t say afterward what had alerted him, some sort of prickling, a soldier’s instinct. Whatever it was, Fred turned on his heel and walked back down toward the farmyard. What he saw drove the breath from his lungs.
    Cornell leered at Clare from his mount where he sat like a potentate on a sedan chair carried on the backs of slaves. His smug expression infuriated Fred who began to run toward the house, his right hand pulling out the pistol tucked in his pocket.
    Cornell’s lascivious inspection of Clare’s person became more obvious to Fred the closer he drew and blood-red rage almost blinded him.
    Catherine exited the cottage in response to the noise and arrived first. She stepped in front of Clare and glared up at Cornell who said something Fred couldn’t make out. “We’re careful who we sell to, Mr. Cornell,” she pronounced, her most aristocratic tone on full display. “This treasure will go to one who values it as we do.”
    The side of Cornell’s mouth twitched, and the smile faltered. “We’ll see about that, your ladyship. I’ll wager the men in your life will value coin over sentiment.” He spoke dismissively, gesturing toward the cottage. “This ruin is worthless. The timber yonder”—he nodded toward the wood—“has value. That brother of yours in Canada will know that.”
    “She has more than one brother, Cornell,” Fred spat as he entered the yard to stand next to Catherine, breath heaving. “We will never sell to someone like you.” He kept the pistol in his right hand but let it drop to his side.
    The man’s flicker of shock, so brief the women might have missed it, gratified Fred. The open disdain that followed did not. “Wheatly. This is a surprise. I thought you were still rotting in that putrid backwater in India. Did they throw you out? I heard rumors you had fancy relatives, but I never believed it. Overbreeding would explain why you’re a weak fool.”
    Cornell glanced at Catherine who stood chin high, Boudicca prepared for battle at Fred’s side. “Your brother failed at everything he touched in India, Countess. Did he tell you that? The company mocked him.” The villain’s eyes danced, but Fred imagined the man’s thoughts behind them spinning like some sort of clockwork machine, seeking advantage.
    Clare came round to stand next to Fred, and he put out his free arm to pull her close, grateful she allowed it.
    “Your woman, Wheatly? Well, well.” Unholy glee crept into Cornell’s voice. “I thought your taste ran to the exotic ones. Still in the dark, all women are alike, no?”
    Fred raised the pistol and pointed it at Cornell’s heart. I should shoot the laughing bastard now and save us all trouble.
    “She’s not bad, though. I wouldn’t mind a go,” Cornell said, licking his lips.
    Fred pulled back the hammer on his pistol. “Leave now, or I will have to kill you,” he said, drawing a gasp from Clare.
    Catherine threw out a cautionary hand, “Easy, Fred. I would hate to have to help you hide the body, this one being so corpulent.”
    Cornell’s eyes burned, any pretense of civility gone, and pure hatred rained down on both Fred and his sister. For a moment, Fred thought he would have an opportunity to shoot. Just give me an excuse, you sack of stinking pestilence.
    “Get off my family’s land, Cornell, before I shoot you like a rabid dog.” He kept his thumb on the pistol’s hammer.
    Cornell shifted then, preparing to turn, but sent a parting shot. “You haven’t heard the last of me. Now that I know this is your family, Wheatly, this will be even more fun.”

  2. They’re pretty loathsome *shudders*. Poor Ella.

    I have yet to decide whether this chap will be my main antagonist or not, but I think he has a fair claim. I know many people who are fans of George Canning. John didn’t like him; I tend to agree with John. This is from his first appearance in my TLS sequel. This scene is set in Westminster Abbey in 1806. John has come to visit his family grave, but he finds he’s not the only one paying his respects.


    John stepped deliberately out of Canning’s close vicinity, squared his shoulders and looked back down at his family’s grave. Could the man not take a hint? Apparently not. To John’s rising irritation, Canning stepped in closer again.

    Before John could move back, the younger man held his hat to his mouth as though in thought and muttered behind it, ‘In all honesty, my lord, I am glad to have run into you. I have a message.’

    John did not remove his eyes from the stone slab covering the vault. How typical it was. He had come to Westminster Abbey to remember his brother; but William had always been steeped in politics, from the roots of his hair to the tips of his fingers. Intrigue had always surrounded him like an impenetrable fog. Even in death it was not far away. ‘A message from whom?’

    ‘I do not think I need to say.’ This was true, but John said nothing. A pair of vergers in long black gowns walked behind the pillars flanking the transept. Canning stepped back as they passed, lowering his head as though in prayer. When they were of earshot he moved back and lowered his voice even further. ‘We meet at Portland’s after the birthday.’

    The two vergers came back. Canning’s eyes followed them; the suspicion in their black depths shook John to his core, despite his efforts to remain unmoved. The shadows in the transept seemed suddenly longer and more threatening than they had done before.

    When they were alone once more, Canning looked back at John. ‘What do you say?’

    ‘The night of the King’s birthday drawing room?’ There was something almost brilliant in it, John had to admit. A gathering of Mr Pitt’s old friends might provoke gossip under other circumstances, but a dinner party to celebrate the King’s birthday would not cause undue comment. Canning’s dark eyes were on him, full of curiosity and a hint of contempt. Dislike crystallised in John’s heart. This attempt to draw him into something for which he had neither time nor taste, something over which he had no control, turned his stomach. He owed allegiance to nobody. Not to a man five months dead; not to any of the ambitious young men who sought to succeed him. Certainly not to this jumped-up son of an Irish actress, who could not have made it clearer he only tolerated John because John was William’s brother.

    ‘What do you say to it, my lord?’ Canning repeated.

    ‘I have an engagement,’ John said, frostily.

    Canning looked as though he had expected nothing less. His lips twitched in amusement, but he said only, ‘Cancel it.’

    He put his hat back on, bowed and retreated before John could reply.

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