Sunday, August 5, 2012

Couture Corsets and Steamy Historicals

By Beverley Oakley aka Beverley Eikli

I’m a girl who loves the wasp-waisted clothes of past eras - and her romance, historical.

My first three romances published by Robert Hale (UK) were Regency Romances with lashings of intrigue and peppered with mystery.

Lately, however, I’ve started writing erotic historicals. This year has been a big one with three published by Total-E-Bound this year.

The Cavalier is the latest of these: a poignant tale of blighted love - and renewed hope - set during the English Civil War in 1648.

Normally I write Regencies but I couldn't resist the opportunity to write about a time in history when the conflict was so raw. Brother could be fighting brother or, in this case, a Puritan woman is faced with her lost love - who turns out to be second-in-command of the King's Men currently besieging her castle.

Here is the storyline:

Since Lady Elizabeth married the brutal Puritan, Silas Drummond, against her will eight years before, she's been a dutiful and obedient wife.

However, her world is turned upside-down, not just by war, but by the return of her old love, Charles Trethveyan, who marches into her life offering her a bargain that will save her hated husband's life.

A bargain she can't resist until she learns it's based on a lie.

Not knowing that Charles is acting to save her life, Elizabeth succumbs to her husband's demands that she make the ultimate sacrifice - for the sake of honour.

Death is imminent unless the truth can be revealed in time.

Here is an excerpt from a scene in which Charles's depraved commander Reynolds has his eye to the keyhole. My heroine, Elizabeth, is in the bedroom with the man who was once her lover and whom she believes betrayed her, though she still has feelings for him.

Slowly, Elizabeth nodded once. “This is war,” she whispered, simply, “and I want to live. I’ll struggle and scream as I would if it were Reynolds but you have my permission to take me. I’ve dreamed of it.” She said it so he could be under no illusions as to her feelings and was gratified by the brief shock that crossed his face.

Immediately she tried to pull out of his arms. “You betrayed me!” she shrieked. “By God, I rue the day I set eyes on you. You betrayed me. Don’t touch me!”
The play acting had begun.

 Now, the cool thing about this book is that it’s one of four novellas in the Bodices & Boudoirs collection and readers who buy one of these books through my publisher’s site, are automatically entered into the draw to win 100 pounds (about US$155 towards a Couture Corset.

I’d love a couture corset, personally, not least because I’d love to fit into my old wedding dress.

I was 29 when I got married in my mother's French-designed 1961 wedding dress which had 11 darts artfully positioned for a perfect fit. I was lucky that I was able to just step into it and it fitted like a glove, although we had to turn the hem up a bit.
Fast forward a few years (17, to be exact) and I'm strongly considering wearing this same wedding dress for a fancy dress party. The trouble is, I can't quite get the zip up - though I'm nearly there.

So, I’ve been eyeing a sumptuous boned Lalique corset at What Katie Did, a UK company I discovered during my online corset-viewing travels.

I know I'd wear my corset a lot - both on its own at home to drink red wine and watch a movie with my husband as well as under something special to nip in my waist for a night on the town.

Last night I managed to dig out a photo which shows my wedding dress without a large bouquet covering the waist. It was taken the following day, by my sister in a field of Salvation Jane on the family farm in the Clare Valley wine growing district of South Australia - a long way from where my mother married, in Pretoria, South Africa. Mum then travelled to the remote mountainous kingdom of Lesotho where I was born and where my next book, Lammergeir Rock - a diamond smuggling romantic suspense - is set.

Anyway, just remember, a corset is a good investment as it looks good on anyone – though you might just win one, if you want to check out the details here.

In the meantime, I'm not sure what my accountant will say when I claim it as a tax deduction. Hopefully I'll convince him that wearing my cabaret number is not just for my husband's benefit but that it really is necessary for throwing myself thoroughly into my intense and passionate love scenes.

Go on - be tempted! And Good Luck!

Beverley writes traditional Regency Romance as Beverley Eikli and sensual or erotic historical romance as Beverley Oakley.

To enter the Couture Corset Competition visit: or buy a copy of The Cavalier:


 Buy the book here.


Catherine Lee said...

A corset as a tax deduction?? Too funny!
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Debby said...

I do not think I can use a corset as a tax deduction. Interesting post.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Beverley Eikli aka Beverley Oakley said...

Hi Catherine and Debby,

Thanks for your comments!

Borderline, I know. But you can get away with anything if you can justify it adequately. I guess that's what makes a book work, or not - being able to justify what might sound initially like a dodgy premise. I love that kind of experimentation.