Tag Archives: aiden

Writing Prompts Take 01

I got a writing prompt app on my phone today that truthfully I’ll probably only use once or twice, but it was an impulse buy and it could lead to more fun, or possible give me that kick in the ass when I need to get a move on writing anything.

The first part of the prompt already coincided with an upcoming scene, so with 3 minutes between each new instruction, I rolled with it. 🙂

Start writing a story scene that..
Has a character who receives a mysterious message

Luke sat at the dining table feeling rather triumphant. The shooting lesson had gone as best it could (she was really a terrible shot), and now there was stew before her. It was getting a bit warm for stew, but cook had made it upon her request, and she was happy.

A footman appeared at the table then, bowing to her and handing her a folded card before excusing himself. Ever watchful, Aiden looked on curiously, but Wentworth was, as usual, engrossed in the evening’s news.

Surprised that any sort of note had come for her, Luke wiggled her shoulders and flipped it open.

    You are sadly mistaken, my darling.

Taken aback, she set the card down.

Include this sentence: “She was so forgetful that…”

“What does it say?”

Wentworth lowered his paper then, glancing at the furrowed brow of Aiden and the slightly ashen face of the girl directly across from him.

“Is something the matter, Miss Avery?”

“Who sent this?”

Aiden began to rise to grab the missive from her, but Luke was faster. Her panic, however, set her mind at a distinct unease. She was so forgetful, that she failed to push her chair out before she rose, and her crinolines resisted the movement, shoving her back into her seat, her bare elbow smashing against the gilded wood of the arm.

Include a dialogue that begins with: “I’ll tell you the secret”

Hissing in pain, she clutched her elbow as Aiden reached forth and snatched up the note. He read it and his mouth turned down.

“What does it say?” Wentworth asked, pushing his newspaper aside and resting his own elbows on the tabletop.

Aiden turned it over in his hands and cleared his throat, announcing, “You are sadly mistaken, my darling.”

Luke nibbled on her lip, and the blonde banged his fist against the table. “What the devil does that mean?”

“I’ll tell you the secret of the Infection if you could tell me that,” Aiden snapped in return, tossing the paper into his wineglass and watching the liquid soak itself hungrily into the paper.

Add this word: boots

“Well I, for one, am not about to stand around waiting,” Luke declared, remembering to push back her chair, and lifting herself safely out of it, “Let’s get to the bottom of this prank.”

“It isn’t a prank.”

Both Luke and Wentworth turned their eyes to Aiden in question and he sighed, looking over at his partner. “Fly, you and I both know this. We’ve all received them now.”

Shoving a hand on her hip, Luke stomped her foot, wincing slightly. These boots were new and not yet broken in. “You’ve been keeping things from me?”

Add this word: island

Aiden shrugged. “We keep many things from you.”

“Well I think I ought to know if we’re all getting nasty letters at the dinner table!”

“It’s far better if you don’t,” he told her, doing his best to keep his irritation at bay. She opened her mouth to protest again, but he leveled his gaze, “Consider it your own blissful island of ignorance.”

She cocked her head, but didn’t break eye contact and he groaned inwardly. There’d be no stopping her now.

“I’m not very ignorant of it now then, am I? Nearly getting eaten up by cannibals in the library, no less.”

He rubbed his forehead, sighing. “Yes well, I suppose we hadn’t considered there’d be a connection until now.”


Recap: 50% Progress

I did it! I’m halfway through The Book of Luke! Admittedly, I hit this milestone some time back at the beginning of December, but it was a crazy month and I didn’t really have the time to sit down and do much of anything, never mind a recap post. So here we go, picking up from the last milestone of 30%

As a note: Cramming 20,000 words into a recap post is NOT easy. :3

Luke takes Aiden by surprise:

Music filled her ears. It was dark–heavy and haunting in D minor, though Luke was hardly educated enough in arts to pinpoint a key. Aiden sat at the bench, upright, but not alert. There was a candelabra on the pianoforte that lit the midtones of his face and as his fingers danced effortlessly across the keys, with every stroke, a new memory washed over his features.

She saw the pain of loss, the remorse of regret, and something she couldn’t quite pinpoint. He seemed to be searching. His eyes bore down on the parchment before him, as if he didn’t quite believe his own elegant script, like the notes before him held a secret that he couldn’t yet unlock.

The piece soared in an overwhelming crescendo and the intensity and passion which he displayed in his hands left Luke shaking. She closed her eyes, holding her breath, waiting for the song’s climax, praying for the musical release to take her into oblivion.

But it never came.

In the midst of the ascent, Aiden stopped and without warning, stood, knocking the bench to the ground and in one vicious sweep, scattered all of his music across the marble floor.

Luke’s eyes snapped open, and it was then that he noticed her. She watched his expression through the falling papers, her gaze locked to his, and neither of them saying a word.

He was frightened. No, not frightened. She doubted he could ever feel such an emotion, but there was a distinct look on his face that told her he had not expected an audience. It didn’t last long; his pupils returned to their normal size, and his lips moved down to their frown as the parchment settled onto the floor.

“You play beautifully,” she whispered.

They, um. Bond?

“You’d never be able to learn,” he said, moving to stand behind her. Without much thought, he leaned over, stretching his arms over her shoulders, and placing his large, weathered hands over her own petite ones, “Your hands are too small.”

Luke stiffened, unsure of how to react to his closeness, and not quite knowing what to make of it. She licked her lips when he laced his fingers in hers and began to play a soft tune.

“You need a good reach,” he explained, nudging her fingers along when they couldn’t keep up.

“Oh, I see,” she agreed, though she was hardly paying attention to what he had to say.

He found his rhythm in the song instantly, even with her short fingers hindering his normal speed and finesse, and when he relaxed, falling into the music, his chest came to rest on her back and her breath hitched. She could feel his heartbeat. It wasn’t manic and unsteady like hers, but calm and regular, as if this were an every day occurrence.

“I know this song,” she said quietly, “I’ve heard it played before.”

Aiden smiled over her head. “I should hope so,” he said, “it is the anthem of our Kingdom.”

Aiden divulges some of his past:

Her question surprised him, even if her apprehension did not. “My speech finally corrected itself when I was fourteen,” he told her. At her horrified look, he let out a short sigh. He didn’t want her pity.

“My father was killed when I was nine,” he said. He had meant to calm her with that statement, to allude to the fact that he had been freed, but she wasn’t satisfied. He knew why. She was perceptive. He had many marks on his back that were much fresher, but there were some things that he was not ready to share.

“Believe me, Miss Avery,” he started, pushing off the sideboard and pulling her off the bench, forcing her to stand, “learning to shoot has saved my life on countless occasions.”

“Did you shoot your father?”

With one hand on the small of her back, he nudged her forward. He had no more use for this room.

“No, I poisoned him.”

And then regrets it.

Emotion welled up inside of him and he sank to the floor, overcome by it. There wasn’t a day that passed that he didn’t think of his sister, but it had been years since he had let those thoughts actually seep into his conscious.

Pulling his knees up to his chest, his fist closed around the miniature and he swore aloud, cursing Luke Avery to her grave.

When he looked up, he was seven years old. He was walking down a hall at a slow pace, a stinging sensation on his back preventing him from thinking of much else. He entered a music room; it was his favourite.

And there she was.

She looked like their mother, from the few glimpses he had caught of the older woman, but with a kinder face, the sort a mother ought to have. She was seated at the harp, plucking out a hypnotizing melody, her chestnut curls bouncing the early afternoon’s rays off of them. Her husband sat beside her, strong, noble, and entirely besotted with her.

Aiden closed the door and the music stopped. She looked to him and smiled. She was always smiling for him.

Aiden begins to doubt the purpose of his mission:

“There’s something that’s been bothering me, Fly,” he said, leaning forward with his elbows on the table.

Wentworth nodded through a bite of potatoes for him to go on.

“I have reason to believe Xander is bluffing.”

Slightly stunned, Wentworth lowered his utensil. ”You believe that he has… lied to us?”

Aiden didn’t appreciate the slightly appalled tone that he was given. “He’s getting on in his years. He doesn’t have the mind he once did.”

“He’s not so old,” said Wentworth. “Younger than me, in any case.”

“By half a decade,” Aiden said dismissively, “but what reason would he have to collect collateral? Have we ever wrong him? Has he ever doubted us before?”

Wentworth cracked a smile. “The girl is important to him. He knows of your homicidal tendencies and is simply taking the utmost care to ensure she arrives unharmed.”

“But I have nothing missing,” he growled, “haven’t you noticed? Nothing in our lives has changed since we received these orders.”

Normally at times like this, Wentworth would lift his hand and give his mouth a few thoughtful taps with his index finger, digesting what Aiden had said, and come up with a logical answer. This time, however, he stiffened and stared, rigid.

“I know exactly what he has taken from me,” he told Aiden darkly, “do not act like this is a game.”

“But it is a game, Fly. And you are playing your part so well.”

They’re growing fond of each other, though neither of them will admit it:

“Have you at least got stockings on your feet?”

“Yes,” she replied, “woolen ones.”

Aiden narrowed his eyes at her smart tone. She certainly was a sight, but he thought perhaps she was accustomed to the cold. If the gown she had first been subject to was any indication of her wardrobe, the chances of her having warm clothing was very slim. She must have survived the winters on willpower alone.

Without much thought, he unclasped his domino and wrapped it around her shoulders, but when it touched the ground, he shook his head and pulled it back. Concentrating, he undid the buttons of his topcoat and shrugged it off, depositing that into her instead.

Luke’s eyes widened and, too surprised to do much else, she slid her arms into the sleeves of the jacket, still warm from his body. Crouching down, Aiden straightened it, and did up the clasps, eyes furrowed, and shivering. He had left himself in his waistcoat and linen shirt. His domino was draped over his forearm and while it would return to his shoulders, Luke knew that it would not compare to the warmth that was the heavy thickness of this coat.

“Mr. Finnegan, I am able to walk back into the house without this. You don’t have to…”

We learn that Francesca is actually sort of mean.

Luke thought on this for a moment. Undoing the buttons, she prepared to remove the coat from her body. The fire was blazing in her fireplace and she could feel her cheeks growing warm from the heat.

“Do you know what he likes best?” she wondered aloud, head bowed as she fiddled with the fastenings. “His favourite colour, maybe?” When she looked up with a grin, she met Francesca’s disapproving stare.

“Do not get involved with him,” she said lowly, unable to hide her resentment, “he is not the right sort of man for you.”

There was an expression engraved in Francesca’s face that Luke knew well. It had been the foundation of many-a-brawl in her father’s tavern, and it had been cast upon her just as often when wives came to drink with their husbands. It was ugly and mean; the worst sort of face a woman could put on.

Jealousy.

Fletcher puts her back in her place:

“She is nothing more than a stupid peasant girl,” she replied, “I didn’t realize she had noticed.”

“She has noticed,” Fletcher alerted her calmly, “and frankly I find myself disappointed. Our mission here is clear, Francesca. I didn’t think Xander would have sent someone so inexperienced to attend to the lady.”

At this, Francesca’s eyes flashed, “I’d advise you not to refer to me as inexperienced, Fletcher.”

With his ever even, and truth be told, slightly frightening stare, he spoke calmly and with a cool air of authority. “I’ll advise you not to refer to me in such a casual manner, or I might have your tongue cut out.”

“You wouldn’t,” she challenged, “you couldn’t. Xander hired us all.”

The grin that he donned then was akin to Aiden’s:  sharp, menacing, and freakishly feline. “I do not work for Xander, Francesca. I am at the command of Aiden Finnegan alone.”

She wasn’t convinced. “You’re nothing more than a valet, old man. And I am a ladies maid. Our status is equal.”

“Our status is not equal,” he replied plainly, “I am the valet to a duke. You attend his charge.”

Ex-duke,” she corrected, crossing her arms.

Fletcher lifted his chin and smiled again, “and his prisoner.”

To that she had nothing to say, so he tilted his chin down to her in farewell and swept from the room.

Christmas Eve happens:

“You will take cocoa in your chambers,” he replied taking her hand and helping her up. She followed him for a few steps before he stopped, instructing a servant to have the drink sent up to her room. When he looked back to her, her attention was not on him, but the large bundle of mistletoe above his head.

She didn’t look eager, and he was thankful for that. In fact, she looked at the decoration only with a mild curiosity, as if she wasn’t entirely sure how it had gotten there. Aiden knew that she was well aware of it; he had seen her dashing across thresholds to as not to be ensnared by its traditional symbolism.

“I really don’t think you deserve a kiss,” she told him, glancing up at the mistletoe again.

“And I don’t want one,” he replied, “at least not from–”

Her hand on the side of his face halted his words, and when she rose up on her toes, and brushed her lips against his cheek in a whisper of affection, he went rigid.

“But seeing as it is Christmas,” she continued softly, lowering herself back to her flat height, “even you should be shown a bit of kindness.”

Christmas morning brings back bad memories for Aiden:

“I have no doubt that you have assisted Miss Avery in her purchase,” Aiden said coldly, slipping the new leather over his fingers and marveling at the perfect fit.

“I have,” Fletcher admitted, unable to lie to his master.

“Might I ask why? You know very well why I had not had a new pair made myself.”

Fletcher stepped forward, his hawk-like eyes baring into the icy steel of the young man before him. “Because you needed to let go,” he replied, “and because I believe Miss Avery might finish what your sister and his lordship started.”

Aiden’s mouth set itself in a thin line. His feelings about Gabrielle and Micah were personal, private, and very dear to his heart. To suggest that Luke was anything like them was insulting.

“I can not be healed Fletcher,” he bit off, “and even if I could, Micah and my sister hardly cared enough to complete their task. They left me alone.”

The old man took a breath, “Master, it was not their intention to do so, you know that.”

“They abandoned me!” Aiden hissed, pulling on his cloak. He was becoming irrational.

“They died, Aiden!” Fletcher snapped, losing his temper, and only just holding back from giving the man the slap he deserved.

“Micah died,” Aiden said flatly, “Gabrielle sought out death.”

“She was heartbroken.”

“She was weak,” the fallen duke said through grit teeth, his hands in fists at the memory, “and she left me alone.”

Our trio falls under attack :O

Wentworth burst into the room then and he breathed a sigh when he saw the dead man and Francesca standing over him unharmed.

“I sent Miss Avery down the servant stairs and into the courtyard,” she said, returning the letter opener to the desk. “I thought it to be the best course of action.”

The blonde nodded, “Naturally. These men aren’t experts. Mr. Finnegan is finishing up outside. I’ll have him fetch her.”

As she watched him pull the dead man from the room so she could begin cleaning, Francesca couldn’t help but smile. Even amidst chaos and death, those in the employ of Xander kept their calm and treated the occurrence as nothing more than a small wrinkle in their plans.

“A job well done, Francesca!” he called to her as he heaved away the thief’s body, “we are lucky to have you!”

Wentworth was always particularly nonchalant about these happenings.

Our hero and heroine share their first kiss:

He knew that expression. He had used it as a child, when he looked to Gabrielle or her husband. That light look of adoration. Proud to be complimented by him, excited to have his attention. Perfectly and utterly loyal.

He couldn’t help himself.

Dropping the hair soap, he leaned forward and touched his lips to hers. He hadn’t meant to, and until it actually happened, he couldn’t believe it himself. But it did happen. He was kissing her.

Aiden wasn’t entirely sure how she first responded, so lost was he in the moment, but soon, her arm came up to touch his cheek and the other, his hair.

It wasn’t long after that he climbed into the tub, breeches and all.

“Mr. Finnegan!” she cried, startled, but he silenced her with another crushing kiss.

Aiden,” he growled against her mouth, “Aiden.”

With her back against one wall of the basin, he held her face in his hands and devoured her. Frantically, her hands pulled at his hair and his shirt, now wet and useless. She’d never experienced such a thing in her life and quite frankly, had no idea what to do with herself.

“Aiden,” she whispered between kisses. It was the first time she’d ever uttered his christian name and as she had done so oh-so obediently, he couldn’t help but smile against her lips. His ego was pleased.

Wentworth is less than pleased about it:

“Be quiet, man!” Aiden barked, pounding his fist against the wall. Then calming, he took a breath. “I don’t know what overcame me, but I assure you it won’t happen again.”

“Won’t it?” asked Wentworth, setting down his teacup, “Aiden, might I ask you a most inappropriate question?”

Seething, Aiden looked to him darkly. “Nothing has ever stopped you before.”

“When was the last time you were with a woman? It wasn’t back at Glendale’s was it?”

“Of course not!” Aiden bit off, very much irritated with the inappropriateness of the question indeed. Then he crossed his arms again and leaned up against the doorframe, but thought better of it and shifted anxiously in his place.

“I don’t know, “ he said bitterly, “I can’t remember.”

There was no hint of mockery in Wentworth’s voice when he spoke. “I find that hard to imagine. You can’t remember the last time you’ve been satisfied? It must have been a while. More than a week?”

“A month, maybe,” Aiden replied. When he thought about it, he shuddered, “I’ve gone a month without the affections of a female.” He lit up a cigarette. “That’s horrifying.”

Wentworth smiled. “Then perhaps that is what you need. Put you lips between the legs of a woman, and keep them off of Miss Avery.”

But that hardly stops Aiden from taking what he wants:

“I know exactly what sort of man you are!” she cried, wrenching herself free of him.

He was much faster than she, and, lit by the flames of an altercation, his eyes, those dangerous, devilish eyes of his, shone brightly in the dimness of the setting sun. He was in front of her now, and with one hand on her neck, he shoved her against the wall.

“What sort of man am I?” he asked darkly, spreading her skinny legs and using his hips to pin her into place against the wall. If he backed up, she would fall, and she would be hurt, but right now, she was exactly where he wanted her.

As her back collided with the wooden panels that made up the wall, Luke grit her teeth, but when Aiden moved between her legs, and nothing but the cotton of her bloomers and the deerskin of his breeches stood between her maidenhood and his arousal, she let out an involuntary whine with a sensual tone.

His mouth found her neck, and as he leaned over to suckle her pulse, she cried aloud. “Mr. Finnegan!”

Aiden,” he hummed against her skin, “my name is Aiden, you stupid cow.”

And Luke gives in with only half-reservation:

Still, she moaned into him, showing that she was a liar, and he was right. She had never, in nineteen years of life, felt as alive as she did now, with him controlling her every move, and forcing her to accept his advances.

“What’s the matter?” he muttered, smiling when she wedged her feet between their bodies, prying them apart, “the miners’ sons don’t know how to rough you up?”

Aiden stepped away from her, teasing her with his distance, and she slid off the desk and onto the floor. She had had enough for one day.

“I never had any interest in the sons of miners,” she said, taking a deep breath and heading towards the door.  He didn’t follow. He was letting  her walk out on him because he knew if he allowed her this small freedom, she would come back to him. Women were remarkably easy to manipulate.

He picked up his coat from the floor and pulled it back onto his body. “No, I imagine the target at which you aim has much deeper pockets.”

“It’s not that,” she admitted, indulging in a self-satisfying smile before throwing him the most sultry gaze she could muster.

“My target will shoot back.”

Fletcher reminds his master how perceptive he is:

Fletcher removed the silver case from Aiden’s pocket and went to work refilling it. “Sleep isn’t what you desire, sir,” he said without looking at him, concentrating on aligning the cigarettes perfectly in their bed of silver.

Too exhausted to argue with the old man, Aiden sighed, flicking some ash off into the tray. “What is it that I desire, Fletcher?”

Fletcher handed the case back to the tall man sprawled out on the leather chair and regarded him with a reprimanding stare. “Something you refuse to admit that you want.”

“Oh fuck off!” Aiden snapped, standing and crossing the room. He was through here.

But the old manservant remained calm. “I know you better than you know yourself and you know it’s true. The longer you hold on to an imaginary hatred, the more difficult your life will become.”

“My life would be a great deal more difficult if I took the bitch as a lover, believe me.”

Fletcher’s brows rose. “Is that what you want?”

“It’s what you seem to assume I want,” Aiden replied, his lip curled in the sarcastic petulance he still hadn’t lost.

“And would it be truly Earth shattering if you did?”

Aiden eventually gives in (a little):

“I want something that wasn’t meant for me,” he admitted, running his hand over the silken comforter.

Annoyed with his cryptic speech and unusually vague attitude, Luke spun in her seat and went back to penning her letter. “You can stay in here if you want,” she offered, “and we can talk when I’m done.”

He took up her invitation and hoisted himself up onto the bed, slightly disappointed when she didn’t turn around to reprimand him or shout indecencies at his suggestive behavior. She was scribbling away, jotting down anecdotes that would never be sent, and humming a cute tune to herself.

She wasn’t dressed for bed; it was just past noon after all, but he thought she ought to be. He was prepared to sleep until spring, perhaps even summer, and in his fatigue, couldn’t see how anyone else was fit to move on with their day.

With his head propped up by his open palm, Aiden watched her for several minutes, and when he could feel the return of Fletcher’s eyes on him from the open door, he gave in.

“I want you,” he whispered.

Luke didn’t hear him, and he was glad. Confessing such a horrendous thing was both liberating and crushing. He had always chosen his women according to how well they would perform for him, how attractive they were, and their willingness to play his way. He had never singled out a woman based on a personal want.

Wentworth had asked him if she would be trouble, and he had dismissed her with ease. As it turned out, Luke Avery was not so dismissible and if he wasn’t careful, she would cause quite a bit of trouble. Trouble was something he never welcomed.

But Fletcher had been right. Letting go of himself and accepting what he knew to be true had been freeing. Through living a life of lies and deception, having one thing that he was able to hold truth in, even for this short period of time, made him feel a little less alone.

—-

I’m super stoked about hitting this point because now things are going to start rolling down a slipper slope at an incredible speed. Lots of action, betrayals, gunfights, fistfights, throes of passion, and Wentworth drinking his never emptying cup of tea and making inappropriate jokes at Aiden.

Thanks for sticking around, everyone! I appreciate all the support! ❤

Book of Luke completion progress: 51%

The Noble Project completion progress: 12%


Mondays are for Music: Track 08

I’m excited about today’s music post because the piece actually belongs to a scene that I just wrote the other day! And because  of my total lack of participation on this blog (for good reason. I’m getting a lot of work done!), I’ll share it with you. 🙂

By the time he entered the room, ribbons, bows, and wrappings littered the floor. Wentworth had said he bought gifts for both him and Luke. He failed to mention showering Luke with gifts. Everywhere Aiden looked there were female accessories and trinkets. Boots, stockings, hats, gloves, a red cloak lined with the fur of an arctic fox, a diamond brooch, and an array of soaps and perfumes all scattered across the settee she had abandoned as she opted for a seat on the floor.

“This is a bit unnecessary,” Aiden announced as he stepped over a pile of curled ribbon, “I much prefer to travel lightly.”

“You’re just a killjoy,” said Wentworth, handing his partner a gift wrapped in black paper.

Aiden turned the package in his hands a few times, uncomfortable with the anticipation displayed in the two seated on the floor.With a shrug he released the box of its packaging and upon reveal, shook his head, laughing.

“I thought I might save us some time,” Wentworth mused.

“Thanks,” Aiden replied, admiring the box, containing exactly two hundred bullets specifically designed for his pistols, “I do hate making the trip to stock up.”

“It’s my turn!” Luke exclaimed, pulling out the gift she had purchased for him. Aiden raised a brow and Wentworth pointed to his new emerald stickpin, showing it off proudly.

She stood, and with two hands and a hopeful smile, presented Aiden with his present, wrapped carefully in the exact shade of red that matched her gown and the inside of his collar (he was wearing that coat today, she noticed). He took it from her gently, never removing his gaze from hers, the image of her sleeping on the floor burned into his memory.

Nodding, he opened it, and when he pulled the riding gloves out from the paper, his breath caught and he nearly felt his heart stop.

Useless.

That was what his father had deemed him. A child with a stutter could be silenced, but a boy who feared horses could not learn to ride and would be of no use to him at all. He would never inherit the dukedom if he didn’t learn his place.

Gabrielle was screaming. He could hear her voice through the thick wood doors that was their father’s study. She yelled and pulled fits, demanding the man be less cruel, but in the end, the truth was that she was not his mother and held no power over his upbringing.

Sinking against the wall, seven year old Aiden sighed and frowned at the carpet. He shouldn’t be alive. Everyone would be much happier if he hadn’t ever been born.

“They’re having it out again, are they?”

Aiden looked up to see the elegant structure of his brother-in-law looking curiously at the doors.

“What’s he on about this time? Surely he knows by now that your speech is nothing to be frowned upon.”

“H-h-hors-horses.”

Micah St. Lawrence, the only man (save Fletcher) to ever look upon Aiden as a human being and a respectable member of society, frowned at this. “Horses? Have you let them go?”

When Aiden shook his head, his black hair falling over his eyes, Micah sighed. “I see. You are still fearful of them.”

The boy looked up at him, hurt reflecting in his eyes, and frustration visible on the lines of his brow. With a gentle smile, Micah crouched down to his level and with a smile, withdrew a pair of riding gloves. They were camel in colour, to match all of his earthy, yet bright attire.

“Do you see these?” he asked, not expecting a response from Aiden. He had learned to keep his questions rhetorical for the most part. “These just arrived today from the glover. There was a bit of an accident at the tannery, in which a wizard spilled a pot of magic dust over all the leather.”

Aiden perked up, his eyes becoming curious and filled with wonder. Did wizards exist? He had never seen one.

“The dust, so I was told, was meant to ease fear. The tanner intended to use it on the saddles, to keep horses from becoming too skittish, but alas, it fell all over the wrong leather.”

He took one of Aiden’s small hands and slid one of the oversized gloves onto it. “I will teach you to ride, and with these, I promise you will not be afraid.

“Let Gabrielle and your father have words. We shall visit the stables and pat my horse.”

With both hands lost inside of his new gloves, Aiden nodded and, walking closely beside the man he wished so dearly to be his father, anticipated proving himself worthy of inheritance.

“Do you like them, Mr. Finnegan?”

Aiden blinked, returning to the present and looking down at his gift. The backs had been embossed with his initials, just as his saddle was.

“You’re a busy man,” Luke went on, “and I noticed that you haven’t taken the time to purchase yourself new gloves, as badly as you need them.”

Wentworth chimed in then. “Perhaps you would like to take Miss Avery for a ride down the lane.”

Still off balance, Aiden merely hummed in agreement. “Of course,” he said, “I’ll be right down.”

He left the room, dazed, and when he stumbled slowly into his chambers, he rested his back against the door. He took a few breaths to calm himself, clutching the new gloves with white knuckles.

When his thoughts returned to him, he reached over to his wardrobe and pulled out the gloves he had worn for over twenty years. It was with these gloves that he had found his confidence and learned to ride. There had been no wizard, he learned that later on and Micah was even better a man than he was given credit for. He had faith in Aiden when no one did. He shared Gabrielle’s pride in him, and saw past his handicaps, knowing that beneath the stuttering and the fearful fits, he was still just a boy who needed love and tenderness like any other.

Steeling his nerves, Aiden brought the gloves over to the corner and, pulling out one of the miniatures, placed the image of Micah inside of them. It was time to move on.

“I won’t forget you,” he whispered, a promise more to himself than anyone.

Fletcher watched from the doorway, and when Aiden turned, he nodded in silent approval.

The Book of Luke completion progress: 42%

The Noble Project completion progress: 10%


Mondays are for Music: Track 07

One thing that is important to know about Aiden is that he lives on Memory Lane. He is fueled by thoughts of his past, even though he swears up and down that he is unaffected by events prior to the present. But that is because he is a liar. He spends most, if not all of his time alone thinking on the years that have gone by, how they could have gone differently, and why they caused him to be what he is.

So today, I’ll give you a little bit of memory music and, since I haven’t in a while, a little scene to go with. I don’t have an exact place for this moment yet, but it will find its way.

A Message for the Queen (Remembering Marietta) from the film 300.

It reminded him of her. Of course it did. Everything reminded him of her. Aiden pushed his fingers into his hair and stared out into the night. It was cold outside and there was a steady breeze up on the roof that brought a chill to his bones, but still he sat there almost unmoving.

It had been ten years to the day tonight. Had he been a better man he would have been married for ten years tonight. He would have had a son. He’d be six.

Aiden had no desire for children and it was easy to say he didn’t even like them, but like every man, he had pride, and a part of upholding said pride is to bear a son. Children weren’t children for long (he certainly wasn’t) so for the short while that he had to deal with the screaming brat didn’t seem too bad in comparison to the glory that his son would carry on in his name.

Marietta wouldn’t have made a good mother. She wasn’t loving or tender towards children. She didn’t have any desire to destroy her perfect figure or to soil her hands with the dirty work of caring for a baby, but that was what nurses and governesses were for.

That would be it. One child. One son. Their life would have forever consisted of glittering balls, silks, feasts, flashing lights and the whirling, dizzying lifestyle of those most fortunate. He would have provided all of that for her. If there were anything that she ever felt a need for, she would have it. She was his sun, his center, his hope. She had been the only person that ever showed how much she truly cared, that she was honest and good to him, for him, that she was his forever, that she’d never leave like the others had.

But she lied.

So here he was, ten years later on the rooftop of a hidden house, still wondering why. He had it all. He did it all. Why would she leave him? It had been an entire decade and still he wanted to know. He couldn’t live without knowing. Not knowing is what had driven him to become what he was. Aiden Finnegan, The Black Duke. The Black Duke wasn’t a duke at all, but a man who once had the entire world at his disposal. Now he was left with nothing of his own. Now everything came with strings.

He remembered her face. He remembered the way she smiled at him and the way her bottom lip pulled down when she was worried. He remembered seeing her angry. There was something about her when she was angry that he found himself unable to resist. Marietta didn’t have hurricane like fits or large sweeping rants. She was quiet and icy, malicious and cruel. If ever there were a woman who used her position to gain advantage over her enemies, it was Marietta Grace.

But even as similar to Aiden as she was, that wasn’t the reason he loved her. Aiden loved Marietta because in his lowest of lows, she had been there to pick him up, to hold him and whisper her ever gentle, ‘I won’t leave you.’: the mantra that he clung to.

Even as a child she had understood him. She knew to tread delicately around his sour being and never did she consider speaking out of line. She sat before him, stitching lace or practicing her handwriting while she listened to him. Sometimes he wouldn’t say anything at all and neither would she. Simply being in the same room as her gave him peace of mind.

Marietta never challenged him. Aiden’s word was absolute and she knew it. She never whined, complained of even pouted unless the soft change in facial expression was carried out with intent to seduce him. She knew her place (naked, beneath him) and never thought to test it.

As a younger man, Aiden had been cocky. He wasn’t stupid. but he had been too self absorbed in his misery, and confident in his power to realize that there were bigger things going on than his fame and fortune.

Poor bastard. 😦


Alphabet Soup: Twice Brewed

Oops! I forgot about Alphabet soup last week. That’s because Mr. Frenchie and I were in the kitchen having a hobby night. 🙂 (we make candles! It’s super fun!) Tonight I will give you two letters and we’ll see if I can come up with any clever alliterations. We’ll see.

E is for excitement[!]

There is a lot of energy in this series and it comes at us from all angles. Between Aiden’s evasive maneuvers when it comes to Cale, and the exasperating eagerness of Miss Avery to allow her new world to engulf her, our hero and heroine are responsible for a great deal of it. It doesn’t help much that they find themselves entangled in a series of rather bizarre eventsenraging Aiden, and even bringing forth Wentworth’s ever elusive inner demons. Envy becomes a key point in our story, frequently threatening the very existence of all three. Once at ease, they now sleep with one eye open, preparing for the next bloody encounter.

On the other side of the land, empathy for Isabella Avery ensnares our good king and he returns to being the epitome of hopeless romantic, all the while entertaining Philip’s desires for returning his daughter safely. He becomes riddled with euphoria for his newfound paramour, but quickly learns the effects his love has on his bride, enabling a cruel and bitter end.

F is for Fletcher

With his ever present frown and furrowed brows, Aiden’s valet is a lot more fun than I imagined. He has served the Finnegan family for more than four decades, and his age is nearly twice the years he has attended them. Though he is often frosty and rigid in his ways, he has a fondness for Luke, who intendeds to fix Aiden. His appearance is that of a frail old man, though he is anything but. Deducing liars is his forte, (a great asset to his master, who is often too busy to deal with peons), but should a fight ensue, he is well trained in firearms, possessing a finesse much like Aiden’s and enabling him to fend for himself and the freight that they are moving should the situation call for it.

Fletcher does not take kindly to fools, and he counts Wentworth among such beings. He has little use for fanciful adornments and flamboyant clothing, but when one tends to the person that is Aiden Finnegan, this is expected. He is one of the few people alive that knows all of Aiden’s frightening past and faces it head on when his master can not. He is loyal to a fault, but does facilitate Luke’s efforts because he honestly believes that Aiden does deserve a fraction of happiness, even when the rest of the world disagrees.


Mondays are For Music: Track 06

I know I didn’t get around to Alphabet Soup on Saturday night, so to make up for that, I’ll do two letters this coming Saturday. 🙂
The track we have for today is from my favorite anime series Wolf’s Rain. Again, like everything else I love, the score is just phenomenal.

This piece, My Little Flower (re-named A Bath) is a gentle piece, delicate and romantic, set to Aiden & Luke’s first kiss. Now, just because this scene happens to be soft and tender, let’s not lose ourselves and think they will have a healthy relationship in any way.

They will, however, have times when they are at peace with themselves and with each other, giving way to scenes with very little bloodshed and scathing words. This happens to be one of them. 🙂


What Does November Mean to You?

It’s the first of the month, which means rent is due, you’ll have another shot at earning employee of the month, retail workers need to be on their best behavior for the new secret shopper (“new month, new shop!” Boy am I glad to be done hearing that one), and you’ll want to stay as far away from Wal Mart as humanly possible.

But it isn’t just the first of the month. It’s November! And everyone knows that November is marathon month. Why they picked November I’ll never know. Why not March? Nothing exciting ever happens in March.

So what does this mean for you?

National Novel Writing Month

Perhaps you are a NaNo-er. You’ve spent all of October drafting outlines, researching worlds and scouring babynames.com for the perfect name to fit the characters in your new novel. Now it’s go-time! Take advantage of your sick days, drain yourself of your vacation days (the new year is almost upon us anyway) and get those words on paper, or processor.

As I’ve previously stated, I won’t be participating this year, but I support everyone who is! Are you? I’d love to hear about your new novel. If you’re tracking your process in a blog, leave me the link and I’ll be sure to keep tabs on you and whip you into shape every now and then. 🙂

Movember!

Maybe you’re a gent. Maybe you’re a Mo Bro. If so, good for you! Movember is most definitely appropriately placed on the calendar, giving the men of the world a month to not only raise awareness for prostate cancer and other illnesses that target males, but to make up for all the pink they wore in October in support of Breast Cancer awareness.

Movember is one month where us ladies not fond of the mustaches our men grow (Mr. Frenchie’s beard is much nicer than his mustache), can put aside our distaste and sit there and say, “yeah honey! You grow that mustache!”

Movember is not to be confused with No Shave November. Movember is for your mustaches only! Be sure to click the logo above for information, statistics, and how to get involved. Documenting your ‘mo? Link me! I want to see them. 😀

This is what I look like when I don’t shave for a week.

NO SHAVE NOVEMBER! This is something we can all participate in! No Shave November is more about laziness and fun. And growing the greatest beard. While Noshember itself does not raise awareness for one specific cause, Noshemberers themselves are active in gathering funds and gathering fellow do good-ers.

I want to joke that I’ll toss my razor aside for the month and let my legs fluff out (It’s jeans and sweater tight weather! Who would know?), but Mr. Frenchie would undoubtedly come in and argue that it would be no different than any other month. 😦 That said, I’ll probably end up participating by accident. (Honestly, I spend most of the hot water dreaming up new scenes for The Noble Project.)

Are you forgoing shaving? Link me! I want to see beards and furry legs! I’ll even get a giggle out of your armpits ladies, when you look like something out of Jack Dawson’s sketchbook! 😀 Just please don’t document anything naughty. :3

I live for this guy

For me, November 1st means a lot of different things. First, a new month of word count, as depicted above. Seriously, I love that app. I’m hoping to exceed that 10k this month like I have for the past 3 (October finished with over 18k wohoo!) so I can keep myself ahead of schedule, start editing, and giving the first draft to other sets of eyes to point out my horrific typos and contradictions.

Secondly, it’s the month of… THANKSGIVING! Which means I will be at Target & JoAnn Fabrics at least twice a week gathering cute Turkey decor for my home. Additionally, I will be scouring various locations for clearance Halloween merch. It is also the month of Black Friday which is something I am not sure I am participating in or not. The Christmas gifts I’m giving are mostly handmade, so aside from Merlo & Mr. Frenchie, I don’t have much shopping to do.

Third, I’ve got to make and send out invitations to our annual Christmas Party! That’s always a fun time, but I don’t even have ideas yet.

Also, it’s the month of Aiden’s birthday! It’s Nov. 7th, and if he were around today, he would be turning Two Hundred Fifty-Seven. The absolute epitome of miserable old man. In his world, he’ll be Twenty-Nine, though when TNP begins, his birthday has already passed because Luke is already freaking out about  her excitement for Christmas. I don’t think he could handle the attention she would shower him with if she were to be with them to celebrate his birthday.

Maybe next year, for the big 3-0 haha

In honor of marathon month, I’m going to leave you all with a wallpaper I made up for The Noble Project because working on it felt like a marathon. I really enjoy digital painting, even if I haven’t quite grasped it (in school I avoided all of my 2-D classes. Therein lies the problem), but every now and then I break out the tablet and play around in photoshop to improve my skills.

Enjoy! Click for downloadable size. Resolution 1280×800

That smirk is trouble.