Short stories for the autumn
Several of us have short stories in the new anthology, Loves Me, Loves Me Not. It celebrates 50 years of the Romantic Novelists' Association and includes stories by Nicola Cornick, Amanda Grange, Joanna Maitland and Louise Allen as well as two of our previous guest bloggers, Elizabeth Bailey and Elizabeth Chadwick.
My short story is called Just Desserts. It takes place on a snowy night at an inn, when Wickham and Willoughby meet by chance and discuss their unhappy marriages. There is another gentleman in the shadows, but his experience of marriage is completely different.
Here's an excerpt:
An ill-humoured gentleman in a many-caped greatcoat entered. He removed his coat and threw it over a chair, sending droplets of water flying everywhere. He threw himself down beside the fire, muttering, ‘Women are the very devil.’
‘There is nothing wrong with women,’ said the man in a red coat sourly. ‘It is wives that are the curse.’
‘Ah, there speaks a married man,’ said the newcomer with a wry smile.
‘George Wickham,’ said the man in the red coat, introducing himself.
‘John Willoughby,’ returned the other.
‘At least your wife is rich,’ said Wickham.
‘An heiress,’ said Willoughby, putting one leg over the arm of the chair. ‘Miss Grey, as she was. A great catch. Everyone told me at the time that I was the luckiest of men.’
‘And so you were!’ said Wickham, impressed. ‘I saw her myself, and I would have been glad to marry her. She had fifty thousand pounds, had she not?’
‘Aye; and she has it still, for she will not part with a penny.’
‘No?’ asked Wickham, looking at Willoughby’s expertly tailored new coat and his shining boots.
‘Maybe a little, then,’ admitted Willoughby grudgingly. ‘But only so that I will look well in public and make her friends jealous. When I think of the woman I could have married . . . ’