Thursday, 23 August 2012

Romantic Friday Writer Challenge 43 - Romantic Picnic

The RFW Challenge for this week is Romantic Picnic. 400 words max or less (blushes with guilt) and I'm slightly over word count ((((slaps hand))))

Should this be your first visit to a Romantic Friday Challenge feel free to join in the fun: just visit RFW, sign up on the linky and post your prose!


Cheating again with snippet from my published Historical Romance "Infamous Rival" -
 A Regency Murder Mystery.
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In the eyes of the Marquis of Rantchester this was meant to be a romantic picnic and he does intend a little romancing, but the cruelty of another toward a horse and vile confrontation moments beforehand have unsettled  him and the heroine, and she is only just beginning to trust him: again. Bear in mind it's a murder mystery.

Explanation re historical novel: tiger = liveried groom whom sits/stands at rear of the carriage!

Code: NCCO

Discussing private matters and inner fears whilst a driver up front and tiger behind, was not exactly of her choosing. She cast her gaze from the marquis’ face and he graciously accepted their conversation at end for the present: until the carriage came to a standstill beneath a magnificent oak tree at the edge of a small copse.        
    “I am utter famished he said,” alighting from the carriage before Jem had even turned, let alone leapt down to carry out his routine tasks. “Stay where you are, Jem” the marquis commanded, and duly hauled a picnic hamper from the carriage along with a carriage rug. “Right, be off with the pair of you, and back here within two hours,” his instructions to the driver, as soon as her feet touched the ground.
    The carriage rolled away and left to their own devices Rantchester spread out the rug and said, “This is where we go native, and perch our arses on the ground.” She laughed, she couldn’t help herself, for he discarded his hat and jacket and further said,  “The Lady first.”
    She settled to the rug rather glad of the cool shade afforded by the tree’s overhead canopy. “It’s a lovely spot up here. And a glorious view over Bristol.”
    “It is,” his reply, the picnic hamper to hand. “Now, what have we got to munch on?”
    She glanced to her left, Bath below them, then back at Rantchester. “How did you find this heavenly place?”
    He grinned, game pie already to mouth a bite taken. “An assignation with a lady of note, years ago.” He chewed on his pie, then said, “Memorable day, for I lost my virginity.” He swallowed, and laughed heartily. “I see you’re not shocked, which brings me to why I asked you out today.” He gestured to the hamper. “Eat, please, or I shall feel less than a gentleman whilst sat here stuffing my face.”
    She surveyed the basket, and he in turn leaned forward and drew forth a small silver engraved flagon and two silver goblets. “Goodness, who prepared all this for you?”
    “My cook, and I won’t do without her. She goes where I go and sees me proud for whatever I demand of her.”
    “Well, she most certainly sees right by you.” She selected a stuffed apricot, a mere bite delicious. “Oh my goodness, what does this filling consist of?”
    “Chopped hazelnuts, herbs, ginger, lamb and apricot.” He glanced at her then, a goblet extended and half filled with claret coloured liquid. “Why do women have to know what it is they’re eating?” He shook his head, clearly amused at her reticence to accept the wine. “Drink up, it’s not poisoned.” Again he looked her in the eye. “About that night of the summer ball.”
    Her trust in him now assured she accepted the goblet and fibbed outright. “I must tell you . . . some aspects of that night still elude me. I simply cannot remember.”
    He drained his goblet in one swig, his eyes settling on hers. “I wish.  For I remember it all too well.” He refilled his goblet, glanced skyward. “Damn it all, dragging up the past on a day like this, I must be mad.”
    “But it is necessary, is it not?”

If remotely interested in my books they're here.

To see more contributions to the challenge go here

42 comments:

Anna said...

Dear Francine,
Great text for the challenge!
A picnic scene in an historical setting, dripping with suspense! Is the food poisonous? Or does it contain a sleeping potion? Should she trust him?
Marvelous snippet! Perfect for the theme.
Best wishes,
Anna
RFW No.43 - 'Romantic Picnic'

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Anna,

Thanks for stopping by to comment. You are so right in your remark should she trust him. There is history between them involving suicide, or was it murder? Either way he has the hots for her. ;)

best
F

sulekkha said...

Reading your post took me back in time, a wonderful historical romance.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I, too, strayed over the word limit, but I forgive myself! :-) When murder is in the air, trust no one. A great step through the looking glass into the past. It felt authentic and deadly, both at once. Great job, Roland

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Francine
Fabulous. The past is such a brilliant place to take readers. Love the concept.
Nancy

Crystal said...

I can almost picture a colonial setting.. southern dialect, maybe? With a hint of English accent? As I was reading, I really got into character.. This reminds me of book that I just started reading.. The bickering, the subtle sarcasm.. Gotta love Pride and Prejudice.. but I'm not done reading it just yet. Fabulous post you have here! Thank you! It was a delight to read!

Scheherazade said...

Nice dialog for the historical setting with a little romantic tension.

J.L. Campbell said...

I definitely like his style and the language took me right back in time.

Donna Hole said...

A great picnic scene; and nothing better to build trust over than food.

.....dhole

Elen Lackner said...

Francine: An ideal and fantastic way of writing. I admire you. Kiss Elen

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Sulekka,


Nice to meet you, and thank you for stopping by to comment.

best
F

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi R

Ah well, there are times when the extra word is neither here nor there in the grand scheme of presenting (if poss) a stand alone excerpt! ;)

Thanks for stopping by.

best
F

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Nancy,

Good to see you back at RFW. Thanks for dropping in!

best
F

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Crystal,

Underneath it all, the Marquis is really a nice guy! Kind of sexy too... ;)

Thanks for stopping by to comment.

best
F

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Linda,

Tanks for dropping in! Much appreciated.

best
F

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi joy,

Good to see you back at RFW, and thanks for dropping in. ;)

best
F

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Donna,

He's got more than food in mind, for later when trust is hopefully regained! ;)

best
F

Sally said...

Hi Francine, you set the era perfectly even down to the fact that although he has arranged the picnic all the hard work is done by his servants. Great times if you were rich. I enjoyed reading this.

Adura Ojo said...

Hi Francine,

Oooh, he has the hots for her alright! Love this era of English culture and history. I hope she keeps her stockings...up!;)

Heather Murphy said...

Hi Francine, This makes me want to read the history of this couple to find out why she is so untrusting. Great excerpt

Michael Di Gesu said...

I always enjoy a historical romance... Nice setting and great descriptions Francine.

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Sally,

Rich being the optimum word!

Thanks for stopping by. ;)

best
F

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Adura,

Georgette keeps her stockings aloft but somebody else doesn't and the marquis stumbles upon a raunchy scene by chance of taking a hedge ticket! :o

best
F

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Heather,

Georgette has good reason to be suspicious of Rantchester's motives for the picnic, but what happens next amuses and enlightens both when he disappears to take a hedge ticket in the bushes. ;)

best
F

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Michael,

Thank you for stopping by and for you kind comment. ;)

best
F

Andy David said...

My dear Francine,
He is indeed a very naughty boy. LOL!! Romance in any sense with a setting like this is very beautiful. Even though the food sounds good, most important is to win her heart. Will he?? As always, well done my friend.

radwa pony said...

Dear Francine,

i enjoyed reading such piece alot,it simply took me far to an awesome timing,thanks for such precious share,i enjoyed to the extent

Denise Covey said...

Love this story, Francine, and love the excerpt. Favourite line: “This is where we go native, and perch our arses on the ground.” Ha ha. Now were men so mannerless as to be stuffing their mouths whilst the lady hadn't even seen what lies within the basket? Great characters! Ideal excerpt for the prompt!

Don't forget to come back to RFW if you'd like to vote for your favourite entry this week. Go with your gut. Really should be someone who kept to the word limit and has a romantic element! Poll will go up Monday AEST.

Thanks for entering! We made our 20 goal!

Denise

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Andy,

Thanks for your kind comment. The spot they are at is a high point on a plateau: breathtaking views. ;)

best
F

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Radwa pony,

Thank you so much for stopping by to comment. I try to please! ;)

best
F

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi D,

The Marquis is lovely, and his manners are impeccable most of the time! I love the bit where his horse wins the race and he's so on a high without thinking he kisses her...

best
F

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Elen,

Nice to meet you, and thank you for stopping by to comment. ;)

best
F

Nilanjana Bose said...

I love historical romances! Hugely enjoyable excerpt.

Madeleine Maddocks said...

An idyllic setting. I enjoyed the food references. Your hero sounds rather brutish, though the heroine seems unphased. LOL!

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Nilanjana Bose,

Thank you for stopping by to comment. Glad you liked the excerpt! ;)

best
F

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Madeleine,

Thanks for stopping by.

Thing is, the Marquis ain't the hero, he's just got the hots for Georgette. But he's almost redeemed himself in relation to the summer ball, by doing a good deed a few days beforehand. They do become once again the best of friends, even though she loves another. ;)

Charmaine Clancy said...

Sounds like the right way to have a picnic! Intriguing tease, leaving us wondering what did happen at the summer ball.

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Charmaine,

Thanks for dropping in! Ah well, the summer ball was a tragic event! ;)

best
F

Anne said...

Stories set at a historical period always intrigues me. Often makes me wonder if people back then see and react to things the way we do. Beautiful description of this idyllic time!

Talli Roland said...

Like others, I want to know their back story, too! Interesting dynamics.

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Anne,

Thank you for dropping in, and or your kind comment. ;)

best
F

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Talli,

Thank you so much for stopping by to comment. It's much appreciated. ;)

best
F