Thank you to Kristina at KayKay's Corner for hosting this blofest.
On Monday March 7, post the first 550 words (or less) of your WIP on your blog.
Hop around on the 7th and 8th to spread the love to the other participants. Feel free to post an updated version after you've gotten some suggestions. Remember: The more comment love you give, the more will come back to you :)
Below is the first 553 words from my work in progress, Courtly Abandon. Happy reading! I look forward to seeing what the other participants have posted.
Note: I made some changes based on the comments. The changes w/in the excerpt are in bold.
Holme LeSeiur, Nottinghamshire, 1573
Jane hefted her full hoopskirts and sprinted across the orchard as fast as she could.
Rufus, the elderly hound, probably thought she was playing but this was not a game. No, she had to get to the split log fence at the edge of the orchard. Rufus, the elderly hound and her companion this morning, did his best to lope wide circles around her. She was glad he was enjoying himself, but prayed he would not trip her. She had to get to the split log fence at the edge of the orchard without becoming disheveled. Arriving at the property line, she realized it might already be too late.
Out of breath, she leaned against a thick apple-tree trunk and ran a smoothing hand over her artfully tousled blond curls and net coif. She had looked both ladylike and wanton when she left the house. Now, she hoped her exertion had brought a rosy glow to her cheeks that would make any hot blooded man think of bedding her. Of course Sir William, Earl of Kingsley, was not any man. He was the man she was going to marry. She would make him a wonderful wife – he just did not know it yet. More interested in farming, he had not even noticed her flirtations. At least she hoped that was all it was. She could not abide being married to a stupid man.
Her first husband had been sharp witted. Though quite a bit older than she, he had treated her well and she had been fond of him. She had also enjoyed her widowhood. Immensely. But, it was time to marry again and Lord Kinglsey was convenient, comely, and amiable enough.
He frequently made a morning round of his lands. Jane liked to make herself visible whenever possible. Bringing the dog along had been a stroke of genius – should Lord Kingsley happen to pass by, he would see her as a lovely young woman, full of life, delighting in country pleasures. What man could resist such an image?
Jane straightened her emerald green silk skirts and leaned back against the tree in a nonchalant pose. Lord Kinglsey would never know the encounter was staged. And, Jane looked down to make sure both breasts were still contained, he would get an eyeful.
She waited, adjusting her position a few times. Perhaps she had been too late? Rufus’ bark made her jump.
“Mistress Radclyffe,” the Earl of Kingsley’s called out a greeting, “What a pleasure to see you out so early.” He remained astride. Though his voice was courteous, there was no sign of eagerness to see her.
“I love spring mornings and the scent of the world coming alive. Everything is so… fertile. The earth is ripe.” Nicely done. Honest, suggestive, and sure to play to his interests.
The earl jumped off his horse, but kept hold of the reigns as he toed the ground, careful not to get mud on his boots. “Right now I smell dung.” He sniffed the air.
Dung? Really? Earl or not, the man could use a lesson in courtly manners.
“It appears that the LeSeiur’s have already had this ground turned with mulch. Good of them to be so proactive. The orchard should yield a fine crop.”
Jane watched his face as he cast a speculative eye over the empty branches of the apple trees. Lord Kinglsey ran a fine estate, always conscientious of the tenants and almost obsessive in his desire to improve his own knowledge of agriculture. She admired his devotion, but she certainly hoped that once they were wed he would pay her some attention.