th1I have committed to complete the manuscript I’m working on by August (I left myself some leeway by not saying whether it was the beginning or end of August, so let’s just say August).  I’ve been devoting my mornings to this endeavor so, instead of the regular plunge into my library, I’m going to be daring and share some of the work with you.

Our hero is the younger brother of a viscount who created a reputation for himself in school when he defended a gay schoolmate by calling himself “a nan boy who can kick your arse” to the boys bullying his friend. Now he is back in London, complete with the “nan boy” rep, which he hasn’t bothered to renounce. Moreover, he’s taken over his late mother’s fashion column as a tribute to her (and because he thinks it’s fun).  His heroine is a young woman from Yorkshire who has been given one season to find a husband or she must go back to being her great aunt’s unpaid companion.

This bit of the manuscript is the assembly where they first lay eyes on each other.

 Raising a quizzing glass that he didn’t actually need, Simon examined the arrivals. Ah, Baron Langridge and his brood.  Simon had been at Oxford with Langridge’s son and knew the entire family slightly, including the three unmarried sisters.  Tonight, it looked like just the baron and his wife and the three daughters.  No, not the three daughters.  Two daughters and someone else.

Good Lord!  Who was that?  Had the Langridges picked a flower-seller up in Covent Garden and brought her along for a few laughs?  No.  Not likely.  The Langridges were far too stodgy to laugh at the Ton.  Oh but her gown was a perfect disaster and she looked as though she would rather be anywhere but Almack’s.  Perhaps back at her flower stall?

At that moment, the strange young woman stopped fiddling with her ribbons and looked up. For just a moment Simon felt as though she were looking directly at him.  And something about her changed. Or something about Simon’s perception.  Yes.  Her dress was still hideous, but her face was lovely, an almost perfect oval with wide-set eyes.  Were they hazel or green?  And did he detect a satiric glint?  Perhaps she was more interesting than she appeared at first glance. Or was he fooling himself?  Good lord, he had been playing so many roles, he could not longer tell.  He looked at her again. Too bad about that unfortunate gown.

There you are, although, like all first chapters, it will probably change (again) before I’m completely done.  Stay tuned.

As a side note, although I don’t usually pick real people as models for my characters, the picture included happens to look a great deal like Simon. How can you go wrong with that?