Good news! I plan to finish the first draft of this book this weekend!
However, I’ve been having a hard time getting the pieces in place for it. I’ve gone back twice now to add new scenes and delete ones that didn’t work. I’ve changed a couple of things in the book, like Claire’s sister marrying Lord Hedwrett and suddenly “thinking” about it. But I haven’t smoothed out the contradictions yet. That’s after I finish the first draft. So anyway, right now this book is like one big train wreck. LOL But my philosophy is to get the first draft down and then go back to work out the kinks.
So in going back to flesh out the book, I have added about 12,000 words now because the book was in danger of being finished at 45,000 words instead of the 65,000 to 70,000 words I was hoping for (which is what I usually do). This excerpt is one of the scenes I’ve added to increase the word count. I’m sharing it because (to me), this was a lot of fun to write and I chuckle when I read it tonight as I skimmed the book to get an idea for the overall feel of it.
By the way, Lord Edon is the hero in “A Most Unsuitable Husband” so I’m also laying the foundation for his book.
He’s the hero who is pretending to be a rake, and in this excerpt, you’ll notice he’s vague enough in his answers to Lord Roderick on how to please a woman in bed. The reason he’s vague is because he has no idea, but that’s something that’s supposed to be revealed in his book. (I only state it here on this blog because I think knowing the truth makes the excerpt funner to read.)
Enough about all that. Here’s the excerpt. The scene takes place at White’s club, which was where men went to play games, discuss politics, and probably some other things. It’s been a while since I read up on it, and I plan to go back over the research book after I finish the first draft. Right now, I’m just trying to get the story down.
“Checkmate,” Clement said with a shake of his head as he secured Roderick’s king. “It’s no fun winning when the opponent makes it too easy.”
Roderick glanced away from the table where Lord Edon was playing cards with some men. If he didn’t know better, he’d swear Edon was trying to lose everything but his shirt. The man had a penchant for making outrageous bets. At the moment, he was even offering his title.
Roderick turned back to Clement and straightened in his chair. “What?”
Clement sat back in his chair and sighed. “Never mind.”
Roderick motioned to Edon. “Does he make any sense to you?”
“Since when have you tried to figure out Lord Edon?” Clement asked as he set the pieces on the chess board in their proper location.
With a shrug, he watched as Edon made a crude joke that had the men at his table howling with laughter. He shook his head. How could Edon not care that he could lose everything?
“You don’t usually take an interest in Lord Edon,” Clement observed.
Leaning forward so he could lower his voice, he said, “No, I don’t, but I’ve never watched him gamble everything away either.”
“He likes to live dangerously.”
“Carelessly, you mean.”
“It’s his choice on what he wants to do with his title and money. Besides, wouldn’t you rather talk about Napoleon’s move into Germany with a bunch of incompetent recruits?”
Roderick shrugged. Talk of the wars didn’t interest him at the moment. Today he had other things in mind, more notably the one involving his wife and her comment about being scared to consummate their marriage. Exactly what could possibly scare a woman about something men and women had been doing since the beginning of time? There was only one person he could think of who’d volunteer the information, and that person was Lord Edon who was, at the moment, referring to the Prince Regent as his unofficial hero. Roderick resisted the urge to roll his eyes. As if Edon’s moral depravity wasn’t bad enough.
Clement sighed and grabbed his cane. “I know when I’m not wanted.”
Turning back to his friend, he said, “Forgive me, Perry. It’s been a long week.”
As Clement stood, he gave him a pointed look. “I hope you’ve been good to your wife.”
“You have no need to worry. I wasn’t harsh with her.”
“Good. I suppose next time I see you, it’ll be at Weston.”
“Or Blackburn. I don’t mind taking the trip to visit you.”
“No, Nate. You need to spend time with your wife. Make her happy. Show her that underneath that hard exterior is the man I know who has a heart.”
Roderick rolled his eyes, purposely facing his friend so he’d see his thoughts on the matter.
“I really should send Lady Claire a gift to express my condolences.”
From Lord Edon’s table, the group roared into laughter, and Edon gave a bow as he collected his winnings.
“He’s either very lucky or very unlucky,” Clement commented. “If you’re right and he’s trying to lose, he’s doing a lousy job of it. However, if he’s trying to acquire more, his ability to do so from a gambling table is admirable.”
As Lord Edon got up from the table, Roderick rose to his feet and pushed his chair in. “Maybe I’ll ask him why he’s so extravagant with his bets.”
It occurred to him by the tone in Clement’s voice that he didn’t believe him, but there was no way he’d even tell Clement what happened with Claire. Sure, they were friends since childhood, but some things were too personal.
After Clement left the room, Roderick made his way over to Edon who drank a shot of whiskey before he turned to leave. “Lord Edon,” he called out.
Edon stopped and turned in his direction. “Lord Roderick? To what do I owe this pleasure?”
Glancing around for a private spot, he motioned to a couple of empty chairs by the window. “Do you mind?”
“Of course not.”
He followed Edon to the chairs and sat next to him.
Edon picked up the paper sitting on the table between them. “Should I be skimming through the news to have this discussion?”
“No. Why would you think that?”
“Because the wars are all you talk about.”
“That’s not true.”
“It is whenever I hear you speak.” With a glimmer in his eye, he chuckled and threw the paper back on the table. “I’m teasing you, Lord Roderick. We both know I don’t care about the wars, and you’d have better sense than to ask me about them. So, what desperate thing has brought you to the point where you need to seek me out?”
“I’m not desperate.”
His eyebrow rose, and with a disbelieving look, he asked, “No?”
“You’re a man of your word when it comes to confidentiality. At least that’s what the rumor is.”
“It’s my only redeeming quality. I’ve heard enough stories that would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.”
“No doubt.” Knowing Edon, that had to be true. Making sure no one overheard them, he continued, “What I wish to discuss with you is something you have plenty of experience with.”
Edon laughed. “Two compliments in one day. I fear the praise will make me think more of myself than I ought.”
“Not praise. Just an observation.”
“Now I’m intrigued.” Edon leaned forward and looked Roderick in the eyes. “You have my word. I’ll take what we discuss to my grave. What is it?”
“Well, I…” Despite the heat rising up in Roderick’s cheeks, he forced out in a whisper, “Is it common for women to be frightened their first time…you know?”
Amused, he grinned. “Lord Roderick, you were caught out in the open rolling around on the grass with Miss Claire. Surely, she wasn’t afraid of going further.”
“I wasn’t rolling around on the grass with her. It was a misunderstanding. Do you honestly believe I’d have her right there when I could have taken her to the gardens?”
He shrugged. “I assumed you liked the danger of being caught.”
“Well, I don’t. I don’t like any kind of danger.”
“That’s a shame. I was beginning to respect you. Too bad you’re as dull as your reputation states.”
“I’m sorry. We’re here to discuss your wife’s fear of the bedchamber, correct?”
“Didn’t you marry her yesterday?”
“Then that fear should be history. That is, of course, unless you were awful in bed. Is she afraid she’ll never climax?”
“No!” A couple of men looked their way, so Roderick lowered his voice and added, “It’s nothing like that. I didn’t consummate my marriage last night because my wife is afraid to go through with it.”
“Haven’t you ever had a timid virgin before?”
Edon hesitated for a moment and chuckled. “Sure. I’ve had all kinds of women. It’s what I do best, besides gambling and drinking.”
“So what do you do to ease a virgin into things?”
“Every woman’s different. The best thing you can do is ask her what you can do.”
“Her answer was to get drunk.”
His eyes grew wide and he threw his head back and laughed, bringing more unwanted attention their way.
Roderick hushed him, and when he finally calmed down and the men stopped watching them, he continued, “I don’t want her to be that nervous about it. There’s nothing about it that hurts women, is there?”
“I’m amazed. You’re an earl, and you have no idea about women…at all?”
“I’ve spent most of my life in political affairs. I’d still be doing that if it weren’t for my brother dying without an heir and leaving me with the task.”
“Trading boring discussions about laws and wars for a woman’s bed? I can see how distressing that is.”
He sighed at the sarcasm in Lord Edon’s voice. Coming to this rake just might have been the biggest waste of his time. “I’m not asking for your opinion about my pursuits. I’m asking for your advice on how to make a woman more comfortable in bed. Surely, you know all about that.”
“Yes, of course I do. However, you might be better off reading a book on the matter.”
“There are books on this subject?”
With an incredulous expression, Edon shook his head. “You poor, poor man. How little you know of the world. There are books on almost every subject imaginable. I have a few such books and more that would make the Archbishop blush. I’ll send you one in a package so no one knows what a rake you’re becoming in your old age.”
He hid his exasperation. Leave it to Edon to enjoy teasing him on such a personal and sensitive matter.
As Edon stood, he added, “I’ll be sure to address it from here so no one knows it’s from me.”
Surprised he chose to be discrete for once, Roderick glanced at him as he rose to his feet. “Thank you, Lord Edon.”
“I can be a gentleman when the situation calls for it, but let’s keep that our little secret. No sense in raising anyone’s opinion of me.”
Roderick wondered what he meant by that but decided it wasn’t his business. After thanking him again, he left White’s club to go to an appointment.