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))))

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Cheating again with snippet from my published Historical Romance "Infamous Rival" -
 A Regency Murder Mystery.

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?”

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