You know I am a lover of all things historical. You know I adore and am a gigantic fan of historical fiction. Yes, you do.
Well, today I'm honored to share the house with one of the most wonderful authors of historic fiction, one of my absolute favorites---author S.A. Meade.
Not only is Ms. Meade a fabulous gal and one I'm pleased to call a friend, but she is an extremely gifted wordsmith. One of the most elegant voices I've ever read with stunning, rich settings; endearing, warm and real characters; and masterful, poetic prose.
I first met the author after I'd read an excerpt on a blog from one of her books (which, by the way, is one of my favorite books ever), Lord of Endersley. Even in this tiny sample I'd read, I was mesmerized by the beauty of her voice and of the tenderness in her presentation. And...well...it was incredibly sexy, too. Very sensual, artistic, warm. I was so moved and impressed, I contacted her to let her know.
Just listen to gushing me! I'd best hush my mouth and turn the house over to Ms. Meade and let her share with you a bit about herself.
And...hey...she was way too modest, but I wrestled her into giving up an excerpt of her newest book, Darkness at Endersley, the second installment in the Endersley Papers series.
So....welcome, Ms. Meade!
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Once upon a time, a horse-mad teenager was looking for something to read in her junior high school library. A title—Sea Jade—caught her eye. She thought it might be a book about a horse, after all Sea Jade seemed like a good name for a horse. What she found was a new love—Gothic Romance.
I loved that book, written by Phyllis Whitney. I don’t remember much, only that it was set in the 19th century, and I enjoyed the historical context so much that I then went on to read just about every novel Victoria Holt ever wrote, because (a) they were historical (mainly 19th century) and (b) a lot of them were set in Britain. Oh, don’t worry, I read most of Phyllis Whitney’s novels too, even though they had a contemporary setting and were mainly set in the US. I became madly addicted to Gothic romances. After roaring through Holt’s and Whitney’s backlists, I read Mary Stewart, Constance Heaven, Carola Salisbury, Madeline Brent. So many great books, so much fun to read.
So, when I was digging around for a plot for Darkness at Endersley. I failed to find a significant historical event that would work for that particular member of the Endersley family at that particular time in Britain’s history, either domestic or overseas.
I thought about the house, and the fact that it is quite big, and that there are many unoccupied rooms. I thought about all those Gothic romances I’d read where some unseen danger lurking in a big, remote house, often formed the basis for a plot. That’s when Darkness at Endersley was born. Poor Joshua wanted Endersley to be a refuge, and the house turned into something far more hazardous.
Anyway, I hope whoever buys it likes it!
Excerpt from Darkness at Endersley
I took the sketchbook and tilted it towards the light. With swift strokes of charcoal, he’d captured my likeness, sitting with my legs stretched out before me. A few effortless lines captured the folds and creases of my clothes, my hands clasped over my stomach. “It’s excellent.”
“Thank you.” He retrieved the sketchbook and set it aside. “It’s easy when the subject is pleasant to look at.”
My cheeks burned. I retreated to my chair and took refuge in another cup of tea. “You are too kind.”
“You are too modest. I’d like to do more sketches, if you don’t mind.”
“I don’t mind.” It was a welcome excuse to spend time in his company.
“Good.” Wyndham offered me a smile. “How immodest are you prepared to be?”
“What do you mean?”
“The best way to capture the true form of a person is to sketch them without clothes. I have done innumerable portraits of people in their finest clothes. It gets very boring, all of them sitting there swathed in silk or linen. The human body is nothing to be ashamed of.”
“You want me in the nude?”
Wyndham raised an eyebrow once more. “Now there’s a question.”
“Unless you have a pressing appointment elsewhere.”
“No, not at all.”
He smiled. “Excellent. Are you sure about this?”
I unknotted my tie and laid it carefully over the arm of the chair. “I’m sure.” Some other, bolder Joshua got hold of me. I wanted Wyndham to appreciate me, with or without clothes.
Wyndham set his sketchbook down. “Let’s make sure you’re comfortable and, most importantly, warm.” He pushed the other chair closer to the fire while I unbuttoned my shirt and trousers and set them aside. My undergarments followed. I hoped that Winters left us in peace. I didn’t relish being found in such a position regardless of the innocence of it all.
“That’s better.” Wyndham placed the chair so that it faced the window, faced him. “You should be warm enough here. If you’re not, let me know.”
“Don’t worry, I will.” I resisted the instinctive urge to shield my privates from his view.
He inhaled sharply. “Oh. I was right about you.”
“I beg your pardon?”
His cheeks reddened and he returned to the window seat in silence. “You’re…well-built.” He crossed his legs and retrieved the sketchbook.
“Thank you. How do you want me?”
I heard a small moan and put it down to the wind whistling down the chimney.
“Just make yourself as comfortable as you can—nothing formal or stiff.”
I glanced down at my cock, shrivelled by cold and decided there’d be no danger of that. “All right.” I settled into the chair, shifting until I found a position I could hold for a long period of time, draping one leg over the arm of the chair, and leaning back. “Like this?”
Wyndham gazed at me over the top of the book and picked up the charcoal. “Perfect, just perfect.” His voice faded away to a sigh and he started to draw.
After a few moments he set the book down. “Just one small thing.” He rose, then crossed the few short feet between us before taking my chin in his hand. “Can you just turn your head a little more…this way?” He turned my head a fraction to the left. “Just like that.” Wyndham’s hand remained under my chin for a moment. “That’s it. Can you hold this pose for a little while?”
“Good” His hand was gentle. His fingers trailed away slowly. “You must let me know if you are uncomfortable.”
Wyndham started sketching again and I continued to watch him, fascinated. His gaze flickered from paper to me and back to paper again. Rain streamed down the window, whispering, while the fire warmed my skin. I let my mind wander, lost in thoughts of tasks to be done, or what Mrs Washburn might serve for dinner. I hoped it would be something warming, a nice stew or a pie…
“There we are.” Wyndham set his sketchbook down and leaned against the window. “I think that will do for today.”
“For now. We can do more on the next rainy day, if you don’t mind.”
“I don’t mind.” My foot had gone to sleep. I sat up, leaned over and tried to bring it back to life. I limped to the other chair to retrieve my clothes, finally feeling the chill. It was a relief to get dressed and feel warm again. Only the tie caused difficulty due to the lack of a mirror. I fumbled about, trying to recover the original knot.
“Allow me.” Wyndham took the recalcitrant tie and placed it carefully beneath my collar, before tying the appropriate knot. “How’s that?”
I let my fingers work it out. “That feels right. Thank you.” I looked at him, wondering why he hadn’t moved away, why he was silent while he studied at me.
Wyndham leant forward, his finger tucked beneath my chin. His breath was warm on my lips, his hand gentle on my skin. He drew close and kissed me. This was no stolen, cheeky kiss. He sighed between my parted lips and curled his hand around my neck, fingers brushing across the collar he’d just straightened. I rested my hands on his shoulders and let myself be led. He left me dizzy and breathless.
Wyndham’s hand fell away. He took a step back. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.”
“There’s no need to apologise.” The room was cold once more.
“There’s every need to apologise. I took a liberty I had no right to take.” Wyndham turned away and closed the sketchbook. “It might be best if you left now.”
His regret hung in the air. I wished that he’d turn around. Instead, Wyndham stared resolutely at the rain, arms wrapped around the sketchbook.
I took a deep breath. “I’d apologise but I’m not sure what I’d be apologising for. I bid you good day, sir.” I left with as much dignity as I could muster at short notice. Once I reached the gloom of the hall, I pressed my forehead and palms to the wall and wondered what I’d done wrong.
It was no surprise when Winters later informed me that Wyndham would be taking a light meal in his room that evening.
* * * * * *
And that, lovelies, is exactly what I was telling you about Ms. Meade's writing!
Oh, now that is exquisite, so gentle and erotic! Perfection! Masterful writing is when one is able to portray a scene with such delicacy and yet such incredible power. And that was absolutely masterful!
You can buy ‘Darkness at Endersley’ and my other stories here
So...go! Find her! Discover the beauty I have discovered in this marvelous author's work!
And, Ms. Meade, thank you sincerely for sharing your talent and your time at my place! What a treat this has been!