Earls Behaving Badly Novella

Happy Saturday! I am currently writing a novella about a woman who is quite, quite literal. I thought I’d share the opening bit here (keep in mind this is the first draft!)

I will be finishing the first draft this weekend–fingers crossed–then moving on to outlining the second book in the Dukes Behaving Badly series. Hope everyone’s weekend is glorious!

“While it’s not precisely true that nobody is here, because I am, in fact, here, the truth is that there is no-one here who can accommodate the request.”

The man standing in the main area of the Quality Employment Agency didn’t leave. She’d have to keep on, then.

“If I weren’t here, then it would be even more in question, since you wouldn’t know the answer to the question one way or the other, would you? So I am here, but I am not the proper person for what you need.”

The man fidgeted with the hat he held in his hand. But still did not take her hint. She would have to persevere. 

“I suggest you leave the information and we will endeavor to fill the position when there is someone here who is not me.” Annabelle gave a short nod of her head as she finished speaking, knowing she had been absolutely clear in what she’d said. If repetitive. So it was a surprise that the man to whom she was speaking was staring back at her, his mouth slightly opened, his eyes blinking behind his owlish spectacles. His hat now held very tightly in his hand.

Perhaps she should speak more slowly. “We do not have a housekeeper for hire,” she said, pausing between each word.

Now the man’s mouth had closed, but it still seemed as though he did not understand. “I do not understand,” he said, confirming her very suspicion. “This is an employment agency, and I have an employer who wishes to find an employee. And if I do not find a suitable person within,”–and at this he withdrew a pocket watch from his waistcoat and frowned at it, as though it was its fault it was already past tea time, and goodness wasn’t she hungry and had Caroline left any milk in the jug, because if not, well,–“twenty-four hours, my employer, the Earl of Selkirk, will be most displeased, and we will ensure your agency will no longer receive our patronage.”

That last part drew her attention away from the issue of the milk, and whether or not there was any. “The Earl of…?” she said, feeling that flutter in her stomach that signaled there was nobility present, or being mentioned, or she wished there were, at least. Rather like the milk, actually.

“Selkirk,” the man replied in a firm tone. He had no comment on the milk. And why would he, he didn’t even know that it was a possibility that they didn’t have any, and if she did have to serve him tea, what would she say? Besides which, she had no clue of the man’s name, even, he had just come in and been all brusque and demanded a housekeeper when there were none.

“Selkirk,” Annabelle repeated, her mind rifling through all the nobles she’d ever heard mentioned.

“A Scottish earl,” the man said. 

Annabelle beamed and clapped her hands. “Oh, Scottish! Small wonder I did not recognize the title, I’ve only ever been in London and once to the seaside when I was five years old, but I wouldn’t have known if that was Scotland, but I am fairly certain it was not because it would have been cold and it was quite warm in the water. Unless the weather was unseasonable, I can safely say I have never been to Scotland, nor do I know of any Scottish earls.”

Megan

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