My Vengeful Wallflower

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I finally typed THE END on my first rough draft in eighteen months or more, and it feels good. It is for Snowed by the Wallflower, which is on order now. In this bit Bel’s cousin Cecil (the rat) pushed John into the tiny buttery she uses as a laboratory, and locked the door:

03b-copy-189x300 Author's Blog John’s warm body pressed up against hers and her precious silver nitrate had been destroyed, robbing Bel of coherent thought. His arms came around her and slid up her back, cradling her closely. There being little room to move, she leaned her forehead into his shoulder savoring the piney smell he always brought with him. “Did I hurt you?” John murmured.

She shook her head, still against his shoulder. “Cecil again. What did he mean I spiked his plans?”

“Not you. Me. I had a word with the earl. I suspect your nasty cousin has been banished back to the wilds of Aberdeenshire,” he replied rubbing circles on her back.

“Good!” she said fiercely. She backed up an inch or two, enough to look down at the floor. “Drat him. That was the last of it.”

“What was it?” John asked, peering around the tiny room for the first time.

“Nitrate of silver,” she replied.

“Saints and the devil protect us! That stuff is dangerous.”

Bel nodded upward with her chin toward the grillwork, ten or eleven inches wide, that lined the outside wall just below the ceiling. “There is ventilation. I’m not a complete fool. Though I admit I usually work with substances like this on my table in the chicken house.”

“This is a chemistry laboratory!”

Bel grinned up at him. “Clever of you to notice.”

“I thought it was some sort of herbal apothecary,” he grumbled.

She ignored him and surveyed the floor. “It is probably best if I cover it though. Help me remove my smock.” She untied the bow at her neck.

John brushed her hands away and slid the smock down her arms, and the sensation of his hands along the soft muslin of her gown distracted her for a moment. “Where on earth did you get silver nitrate?” he asked.

She set about covering the mess on the floor with her smock. At his question she peered up and sighed. “I mostly order supplies from members of Apothecaries’ Hall in London when I can afford it from my pin money. I have them sent to M.R. Wesley and the cook takes possession for me. Nitrate of Silver is too dear so I made my own.”

“Made your own?!”

She had truly astonished him now, and it delighted her. “Nitric acid was easy enough to obtain. I just hope Aunt Flora doesn’t notice I no longer wear the silver chain for the cross my father gave me. I put it on a velvet ribbon.”

“I hope you did that in the chicken coop,” he grumbled.

Bel grinned. “I did. With mask and gloves. Speaking of which…” she pulled off her kid gloves and dropped them on the table behind her.

John shook his head. “You are amazing.”

A surge of pride overwhelmed Bel. No one had ever called her amazing before. Peculiar, strange, or horrid, but never amazing. “I might be if I had a real laboratory with good storage for problematic chemicals. And proper ventilation.”

His smile melted her insides. “I have no doubt you would be. You continue to astonish me more every time we speak.” His words cast a spell, binding her eyes to his. They stood chest to chest, eyes fixed together, as if enveloped in a realm in which no words were needed, a kingdom of their own vibrating with attraction and desire.

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Caroline Warfield, Author

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