This week’s WipItUp picks up from Last week’s Work in Progress, a Regency spanking romance – supposedly bereaving Sophia has been caught attempting to kiss a naive young man by her formidable French grandmother, Maria.
Sophia jumped, scrambling away from the young man, creating necessary space. It was too late. Maria, clothed in all her finery, had filled the doorway and behind her moved the swaying, swirling throng of dancers.
Somehow, in her haste to be kissed, Sophia had not noticed the door to the ballroom open. Neither had she witnessed when her grandmother had crossed its threshold. Sophia shrank into the shadows of the antechamber, avoiding the prying eyes of the guests whose heads bobbed behind Maria’s shoulders. With her eyes popping out of her head and her lips pressed together into a fine line, her grandmother looked furious.
Maria turned on the youth. “How dare you, young man. How dare you touch my granddaughter!”
“Granddaughter,” he stuttered. “The Duchess!” Now, thought Sophia, he truly looked overcome with heat and perspiration. He clutched his hands together as if to implore. “I didn’t know. She said she was a maid.”
“I did not!” retorted Sophia. She bit down on her lip, because neither had she introduced herself properly.
“Sophia, did you deceive him?” Her grandmother re-directed her dagger eyes at Sophia.
“Not on purpose,” mumbled Sophia.
“Regardless. Fitzwilliam, that is your family name, is it not?” She snapped at the crimson faced man and he nodded. “I am most surprised at your behaviour. Your brother I know well and he would not approve. As for you, granddaughter, you were about this Fitzwilliam person in a most demonstrative fashion—unchaperoned, too. You should be cloistered in your rooms in sad reflection, praying for the soul of your beloved Percy.”
Sophia wanted to scoff at the mention of beloved, but it would be pointless, instead she uttered a low grumbling, “I suppose.”
Fitzwilliam backed away farther, his lower lip trembling. “I must humbly apologise for such atrocious conduct on my behalf.
“Indeed,” Maria glared at him, then back at Sophia. “As for you, I’ve a good mind to have you soundly thrashed.”
“Grand-mere,” screeched Sophia. Behind her redoubtable grandmother, the dancers had paused. The altercation was becoming a spectacle. Thankfully, the rise in muttering voices brought her austere grandmother to her senses. Maria glanced over her shoulder at the hovering, unwanted audience. She closed the dividing doors and gave them privacy.
“Very well,” Maria snorted. “What were you thinking, Sophia. Coming down here?” She snapped open her fan and waved it before her face briskly.
I don’t have a release date for this book, but hopefully not too long.