Laois Writers’ Corner
The Laois People is delighted to continue its LWC series with work from acclaimed Mountmellick writer Nadine Millard. Her author page is www.facebook.com/
Extract from Miss Channing
Julia continued down the steps, but, instead of heading to the kitchen, she turned instead toward the music room. If someone was waiting until the house was abed to play, she or he probably did not want an audience.
But Julia’s curiosity got the better of her. Whoever was playing was wonderfully talented. It was a melody she hadn’t heard before, simple yet intricate. It spoke of love, of longing, of loss, and it pulled at Julia’s heartstrings in a way that she could not explain.
Inching closer, Julia reached out a hand and pushed the only partly opened door even wider. She should have known. Everything about him called out to her very soul. Why should his playing be any different?
Julia watched fascinated as Charles’s deft fingers skimmed gently over the keys, and, to her shame, she imagined those same fingers and their magical touch on her flesh. Her heart beat faster, and her throat suddenly dried up. The music, the silence, the darkness that lent itself to secrets and hidden desires — they all served to make it seem as though her fantasy had come to life. She and Charles alone.
Julia had not thought that she had made a sound, but she must have for in the next instance, he spoke.
“Come closer if you wish. I do not bite.” He paused then continued, a smile in his voice. “Not unless you ask.”
He should not say such things. And not for any proper reason. But because she wasn’t sure she could remember to breathe when he did.
“You knew it was me?” she asked softly, as though speaking above a whisper would somehow shatter the air around them.
“Of course,” he responded, still playing, still looking at the keys.
“You have supernatural powers?” she quipped, though her throat remained as dry as a desert.
He laughed softly.
“Only when it comes to you.”
Julia’s heart went from galloping to stopping in an instant.
Extract from Duchess
Edward leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes, enjoying the peace and quiet. He meant to enjoy his solitude before having to join the ladies and deal with his raging hormones. He had enjoyed the reprieve with the earl and Tom but, when talk turned, not very subtly, to marriage he made his escape promptly.
Until he spoke to his mother all he had were suspicions, but he could almost guarantee that they were planning on him leaving here engaged to Lady Caroline.
They would be disappointed, however.
He had no intention of marrying.
And whilst he could admit that Lady Caroline was very much duchess material, it would be deuced uncomfortable taking her up the aisle when his entire being was preoccupied with taking up her sister’s skirts!
He began to think about returning indoors when a noise to his left caught his attention.
He said noise, but it was really a curse. And a very audible one at that.
He had to bite back his laughter as he realised that the chit was once again swearing like a sailor and unaware that she was doing so in his presence.
“Devil take him anyway. He is not even that handsome.”
His ears pricked up. To whom was she referring? It could not be him, he thought rather smugly, he was quite the catch.
She groaned next and he moved nearer to get a better look.
He found himself conveniently hidden behind a huge potted plant, yet still perfectly able to see her.
“Perhaps he is handsome. Well, there is no perhaps. He IS handsome, blast it.”
Was it odd that he found her endearing whilst talking to herself?
“How dare she? I could care less about Society. And I certainly am not trying to seduce the duke.”
Her ranting suddenly became a lot more interesting to him. Though not nearly as interesting as the idea of her seducing him.
He nearly groaned aloud himself at the mere thought. He could not help feeling slightly proud that she found him handsome.
As he watched she kicked out at a defenceless plant then slumped against the balustrade looking very young and very defeated.
His heart clenched and he desperately wanted to reach out to her. Oddly enough, to comfort her and not even think about the idea of her seducing him… well, perhaps a little, he was still human–
“The sooner he marries her and takes her away the better.”
He froze again, this time in anger as the little minx inadvertently confirmed his suspicions.
And he, he who never lost his temper, felt a burning anger slam into him.
Stepping out from behind the plant, he addressed her in the haughtiest voice he could manage.
“I assure you, my lady, I have no intention of marrying anyone.”