Sunday, July 7, 2013

My WIP - Sinners' Waltz - Second excerpt - Don't forget the Prizes!

The prequel to Sinners' Opera is on the back burner while I finish the sequel, Sinners' Obsession.  This is the beginning of the first chapter.  Please let me know if you think it is intriguing!

Chapter 1 - 1659

Light danced on gold and silver, ruby, emerald and diamond.

I glanced at my companion in adventure.  Conroy had slid another inch in his determined collapse beneath the table.  I had drunk more than my share of the French’s wine as well.  On a dais, at the head table, Cardinal Marazin, effective ruler of the country, and Queen Anne looked down on the pecuniary English.  Beside his mother, the young King Louis' place was vacant.

Our station at dinner reflected our status at court.  Five years ago, when Cardinal Mazarin dangled full payment of Charles' French pension before his eyes—with the condition that he leave France within ten days—the destitute King of England accepted.  Mazarin was preparing for an alliance the French hoped to complete with the usurper Cromwell.

Charles put his coach horses to a light cart and, with his ragged retinue, departed on horseback.  We became a wandering court with our wandering prince—grand tour, beggar-style.

Queen Henrietta Maria had assured us places in the marble walled, glass chandeliered dining hall with the French royal family and aristocracy.  Golden arches swept to the painted ceiling.  After Antwerp, the opulence of the French court overwhelmed the senses.  The food and wine were excellent, and the scenery a reminder of bygone days.  Perfumed women in the latest Paris fashions teased the eye, but I was a poor relation at best and had learned my begrudging fate—until my King was restored to the throne and my properties restored to me, I had few prospects among women of my own class.

A lute accompanied the meat course, duck in orange sauce.  Footmen in gold and white brocade refilled a Venetian glass and grief—for all that Cromwell had stolen from me—gnawed at my heart.  While the man filled my friend’s glass, my gaze wandered to a handsome woman displaying her ivory breasts in a low cut gown the color of the wine.  She was older than I, perhaps even forty, but passion shown in the dark eyes that held me prisoner.  I would have liked to slide my hand beneath her petticoats, up her leg, untie her garter and slowly guide her hose down her legs.  Having been celibate for over a fortnight, I was up for bed sport.  The Madame smiled as if I’d voiced my lusty thoughts.  I winked, and she sucked her lower lip into her mouth.  A man paused with his glass halfway to his mouth to frown at me.  She laughed and kissed the tangy sauce from her middle finger.  My cock tingled at images of her pink tongue licking other appendages.  Her husband gestured, reclaiming her attention, and I returned to my food.

Conroy and I were doing an admirable job of celebrating our recent success.

I leaned near my befuddled comrade to make an astute observation, and one of his hazel eyes drifted open.  "Civil war has its disadvantages, don't you think?"

Conroy frowned, favored me with a grave nod, and wiped the bread sauce from the corner of his mouth.  “Poverty chief amongst them, D’Arcy.”

I dipped fine white bread into sumptuous red gravy.  “Conroy, our reward for saving the King's son is fowl and grape.  Savor your dinner.  Soon, we return to the spartan existence in the Spanish Netherlands.”

Conroy grunted.  “Cute little fellow.  Looks like his father.”

“Nonsense.  Crofts looks like his mother.”  I laughed, stabbing the bird with my knife.  “Or do you mean the duck?”
“I don't think Crofts looks like a duck.”  Conroy frowned, shaking his head.
I bit the lower lip of a smile, resisted laughing at my friend’s serious expression.  The hair at my nape quivered, and I sensed someone staring at me.  A young footman in his uniform of gold and white brocade stared an open invitation at me.  His checks were rosy, his lips sensual.  In fact, he was pretty as a girl, but I was not up for that!
“We did it, D'Arcy.”  Conroy pounded my back, sloshing the wine in my hand.  “And it was so easy.  We simply danced in and swept Mrs. Walter off her feet.  So easy.”
I glanced at the Royal table.  The young king's chair remained empty.
“Easy for you, perhaps.”  I cut another slither of duck.  “I narrowly escaped with my tarse intact.”
“You didn't shag Mrs. Walters, did you?”  Conroy draped an arm around my neck and pressed his face close to mine.  “The King warned you not to dally with her.  She has the French pox, you know.”
A recorder joined the lute, and three dancers took the floor.  They bowed, yet the petite one in hose and embroidered satin doublet was undoubtedly a woman.  Elaborate curls framed a delicate oval face, her blue eyes doe-like.
Lucy Walter had such eyes.
           Two months ago, Charles II, the rightful ruler of England, dispatched us to France, our mission to steal his illegitimate son. 



Catherine Lee said...

That's a fun excerpt. Thanks for sharing.
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Nightingale said...

Thanks Catherine. I just never know if I've got a strong enough beginning!