It's getting to the bitter end of the Spanking from A-Z blog challenge, hosted by Celeste Jones and Spanking Romance Reviews.
I was so on top of things in the beginning but I will have you know that I am now slapping these posts together nightly in a panicked rush sometime between dinner and that few hours a night I promise to my husband to not be buried in my Kindle and/or laptop. (Okay, really a promise to myself, but if I power down so does he and then we can actually see each other's faces and remember what it's like to use the spoken word.)
I asked Etta to come one over for any letter she would like. She requested W, so this morning I was all messaging Etta, "Umm, my W post is tomorrow! You still coming?"
We got this! Have no fear! Etta is here :)
She's brought us a lovely post and I was so freaking thrilled to find out she is working on another Westbrook tale!!! You're only getting this news slightly 24 hours later than I did. I am stoked and do not want to take up any more precious time. So here is my friend Etta:
W is for Westbrook
Hello Casey! Thanks very much for having me on your blog.
Being here on ‘W’ day, gives me the chance to talk about the Westbrook family, who were first introduced in my historical novel, Lady Westbrook’s Discovery. Lady Margaret Westbrook is a widowed forty-something year old and the mother of two adult sons, Robert and Jasper. Much to her surprise, she falls in love with a far younger man, Felix Oliver who is a scientist working in the field of electricity – which was a pretty revolutionary and exciting area of science in the nineteenth century.
Margaret’s elder son, Robert – the current Lord Westbrook –disapproves of the match while her younger son, Jasper, takes a much more laid back approach to the whole affair.
My second Westbrook story, Lord Westbrook’s Muse focused on grumpy elder son Robert and his passionate love affair with unconventional campaigner for Women’s Rights, Cass. Happily, the love of a good woman ensures that Robert is a good deal less grumpy at the end of the book than he was at the beginning.
I am currently writing a third Westbrook story. This one features Margaret’s younger son, Jasper and is tentatively entitled The Westbrook Trial but will probably change before it gets published because they usually do.
Jasper Westbrook is gay. The book is set in the late nineteenth century - a time when both English society and English law took a dim view of that sort of thing.
This isn’t really Jasper’s story though. I don’t feel ready to write a M/M romance just yet. Although the relationship between Jasper Westbrook and his lover, Charles Taylor is, of course, central the story.
Rather this is the story of Charles’s sister, Flora and the romance that flourishes between her and William Beech, a solicitor and close personal friend of Jasper and Charles. The following scene takes place shortly after the arrest of Jasper and Charles. Having just seen her brother taken away by the police, Flora is understandably in shock.
The Westbrook Trial
“Here, drink this,” said William, passing Miss Taylor a glass of brandy. She accepted the drink and took several large sips, becoming noticeably calmer as she did so. “I understand that it must be hard for you to accept your brother’s predilections. “
Miss Taylor shook her head. “That isn’t it. I don’t blame Charles for wanting to be with Mr Westbrook. I know others consider them abnormal but who am I to judge what is normal? I often have feelings which I am sure would horrify you, Mr Beech.”
William looked at the slender beauty sitting in his study and doubted that she was capable of saying anything that could horrify him. “Surely not, Miss Taylor,” he said.
“It’s true,” she replied. “When I think of love, I think of the most terrible things.”
“What on earth do you mean?” asked William gently.
Miss Taylor finished off the brandy in her glass. William refilled it, sensing that the liquor was probably giving her the courage to talk to him.
She took another sip immediately and began haltingly to speak, her eyes focused on the floor by her feet. “I like to imagine women being punished,” she said in a voice almost to quiet to hear. “I think about women being spanked or caned or thrashed with a belt. It gives me ... pleasure when I think of it. And I like to think of those things being done to me. How I would feel if someone struck me in that way.” She took another gulp of brandy. “So you can see why I cannot possibly condemn Charles. My own perversions are so much worse. I fear there must be something dreadfully wrong with me to think the things that I do. Forgive me, Mr Beech, if I have disgusted you.”
Of the dozens of emotions that Miss Taylor’s words had fired up inside of him, William could quite confidently say that not a single one came close to disgust.
His heart thumping, he stood up and walked to his bookshelf from where he removed a slim volume in a plain cover.
“I think you are too hard on yourself, Miss Taylor,” he said. “Perhaps you would like to take a look at this.”
Miss Taylor took the book and looked at the page to which he had opened it. Her eyes widened in shock.
He had chosen a page with which he was very familiar. It contained an illustration in which a woman was bent over a man’s lap, her skirts and petticoats thrown over her back and her bare bottom prominently on display. The man held in his hand a bundle of birch twigs which he held poised ready to strike the woman across her exposed posterior. The welts across her back side showed that the man had already delivered several stinging blows. The woman’s mouth was open in protest but she did not appear to be struggling to escape. Indeed, the pose in which she had been drawn suggested that she was actually lifting her bottom into the air as if presenting it for more punishment.
Miss Taylor stared at the picture, trembling slightly. Looking at her reaction, William suddenly felt like a heel for exposing her to such an image. She was a well-brought up young lady. What had he been thinking? He went to remove the book from her hands. “Forgive me,” he said. “That was exceedingly inappropriate. I should not have shown you such a thing. Please don’t be alarmed.”
As he moved to remove the book from her hands, Miss Taylor gripped the book tighter. “I am not alarmed,” she said, her eyes still riveted to the picture. “Mr Beech, this drawing – it must have taken many hours to complete, don’t you think?”
“I imagine so.”
“And then somebody printed it and bound it and someone – you – bought it. And all so that people could see this picture of this woman getting her backside thrashed like this?”
Miss Taylor looked at him, her eyes shining. “Then other people feel the same way I do? I am not the only one?”
Lady Westbrook's Discovery
Lord Westbrook's Muse