Some characters are never going to get together unless their world is turned on its axis. I never liked those kinds of romances where the characters mostly just seem like they are dating. I want action, drama, short, intense timelines. Maybe none of it is realistic or very smart in real life terms, but it is certainly exciting to read. After all, it’s a romance novel. There is a basic assumption that both the hero and heroine are good, worthy people. Once they work through their difficulties and grow emotionally, there’s no long term risk that the match is going to turn out to be a bad one.
In Aphrodite’s Necklace, I have a hero and a heroine who would never, ever get together in real life. It’s the 1830s. The heroine is the virginal daughter of the house. A wealthy house. Her family needs her to marry. The hero is the family butler! The heroine, Emily, describes him as such: “Coxe, if he weren’t such an insufferably stuffy bore, would be a handsome man, with unruly mahogany hair that flopped on his brow no matter how much Macassar hair oil he applied, and only the most delicate of side-whiskers. His jaw was very square and the molded lips above her were tight with disapproval.”
So yes, he’s hot, but so far beneath her as to be unimaginable. And yet, he’s handy. To bring these two together despite Victorian mores, I have the Greek goddess Aphrodite cast a spell upon them. It is only when they become unwitting lovers that they can discover each other’s true worth as a romantic partner and fight back against the society that would keep them apart.
Now that’s my idea of a fun, erotic romance!
Emily caught a glimpse of the mysterious woman in the doorway that opened onto the corridor. She walked forward as quickly as she could without losing all decorum, but the woman had vanished into the hall. Nearly skipping in her eagerness to reach her, Emily didn’t see the obstacle until she stumbled over it.
A candelabra cast its light to the floor and she saw what had impeded her progress, nearly causing her to fall. She gasped and reached down a hand. It was the woman in red’s necklace.
How could she have missed her jewels tumbling to the floor? Emily examined the piece. The clasp was undone, though it didn’t appear to be broken. Perhaps it was loose, or hadn’t been fastened properly. Emily saw the winking diamonds and sparkling emeralds were quite real. If it were hers she could sell it for not only a significant dowry, but also a year’s household expenses.
Holding such expensive gems made her feel funny, as if her heart and senses wanted to jump out of her skin. What felt almost like a cool breeze lifted her skirt and the air caressed her womanflesh. She shuddered and looked around. Thankfully, no one was paying any attention to her.
Holding the necklace and feeling quite steamy in her private area, she stepped into the hallway. She pressed her thighs together and when she separated them, they were sticky with some kind of hot fluid that had moistened her inside. She swallowed her shock as her nipples thrust against her corset. What was happening to her?
Once again, she saw Coxe coming toward her. She must have strayed too far from the party for a second time. This time, instead of embarrassment at shirking her duties, she felt a hot flush of excitement. She folded her arms around herself and leaned against the wall.
Her face felt feverish and she licked her lips, thirsty despite the lemonade she had so recently finished.
“Are you well, Miss Rogers?” Coxe asked. She saw genuine emotion in his eyes, an unusual concern for her as she held up the necklace to him.
“Where did it come from?” he asked, touching the pearl drop at the end of the necklace’s center stones.
She watched with wonder as his entire body shuddered and when he looked at her again, his eyes were alight with the same kind of fever she was experiencing.
“The lady in red,” she whispered, “I saw it on her before.”
About Anh Leod
Anh Leod, AKA Heather Hiestand, was born in Illinois, but her family migrated west before she started school. Since then she has claimed Washington State as home, except for a few years in California. She wrote her first story at age seven and went on to major in creative writing at the University of Washington. Her first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. Heather’s first published romance short story was set in the Victorian period, and she continues to return, fascinated by the rapid changes of the nineteenth century. The author of many novels, novellas, and short stories, she has achieved best-seller status at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. With her husband and son, she makes her home in a small town and supposedly works out of her tiny office, though she mostly writes in her easy chair in the living room.
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