Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Midnight Sisters: Meet the Gentlemen

Twelve noblewomen, two smitten gardeners, and one angry father.
In the Midnight Sisters: Meet the Ladies series, we learned about each of the twelve noblewomen featured in Midnight Sisters. But what about the men? They're just as important as the women they love and fiercely protect. Today Jonas, Braden, and Lord Bromhurst take the spotlight to reveal their secrets. Who's in love, who's a horrible poet, and who is still mourning love lost? Read to find out!
* * *
Philip growled at the plant before him.

“Is there something particularly irritating about that rose bush, sir?” I asked.

He let out a hmph, shoved his bangs out of his eyes, and turned his glare on me. “Women.”

I squinted at him. “Women, sir?”

“Yes,” he growled out, stabbing violently at the rose bush with a trowel.

“Anything specific you’d like to impart on the subject?” When I’d first come to his estate, I wouldn’t have dreamed of baiting my master in this way. But I knew the plants would take the brunt of his ill humor.

“A good woman is worth her weight in gold, Jonas.” He pushed his bangs out of his eyes again. “But she will probably never let you forget it.” He jabbed at the plant again. “And neither will her sister.”

I nodded slowly and turned my attention back to weeding. “Enlightening, sir.”

“Two weeks and you’ll be off on a new adventure, Jonas.” He didn’t look up from his work. “Mind you keep your head down and don’t flirt.”

I thought of the new position he’d procured for me in a household so much more grand than his own. “The Earl of Bromhurst’s daughters are said to be very beautiful.”

“Each more beautiful than the last. More reason to keep your nose clean,” he grumbled. “Who needs a hoity toity noblewoman in his life?”

A grin tugged at my lips. “Even if she’s very, very beautiful?”

He scoffed. “Find yourself a willing milkmaid, Jonas.” A sardonic gleam burned in his eye. “And watch out for bossy kitchen wenches.”
* * *
I wadded up another sheet of paper and tossed it on the growing pile. It just wasn’t right. She was the most perfect woman I’d ever laid eyes on. I couldn’t offer her something less than perfect. 

I began again:

Fairest Lady,
With skin is of purest snow,
Hair of burnished gold,
Whose eyes the brighter glow,
Within such mysteries hold.
If I could let you know
Your hand in mine enfold . . .

Told? Bold? Show? Flow? Blech. I tore the paper down the middle and crumbled it like all the rest.

“Braden!” the voice boomed behind me. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Gregor glared at me from the doorway. I found few things intimidating, but that eyebrow inching upward was certainly one of them.

“Um . . .” I fished for a plausible lie. Another plausible lie. “Just writing my mother, sir.”

He growled. “You should know better than to waste paper, boy. We’re given a strict allowance.” He motioned to the pile of discarded sheets. “That is coming out of your wages.”

I nodded in agreement. “Yes, sir.”

“Clean up this mess and report to your post.”

“Of course, sir.” I offered up what I hoped was an innocent smile. His footsteps retreated and I turned my attention back to penning the perfect love note.

Hours later, I signed my name at the bottom. If she didn’t favor me, I was signing my own dismissal letter. What else could I do? I folded up the single sheet and scrawled her name on the front.

* * *
Lord Bromhurst
Twelve empty beds. At midnight. 

I ran a hand through my hair, wishing I could rip it out by the roots. Katherine’s patient face flitted through my mind. My heart panged, at war with the anger coursing through my veins. She would have had the answer. Katherine would have known what to do with twelve unruly daughters.

“Why did you have to leave me?” I whispered. It was the question that had plagued me for over a decade. I would never know the answer. And day by day, our daughters were becoming more and more willful. The empty beds, all perfectly made with crisp corners and plump pillows, mocked me. Innocent, proper, and completely disconcerting at the same time.

“Your Lordship?” one of the menservants called tentatively from the doorway.

I cocked an eyebrow. “Yes?”

I could tell he wanted to shuffle his feet under my glare but he held himself erect all the same. “What would you like us to do?” 

What would you have done, Katherine? I sent the silent plea heavenward. As usual, the heavens remained silent. I would have to manage on my own. A sigh gushed out of me. “Alert the staff. My daughters are missing. They must be found at once.”

“At once, My Lord.” He offered a small bow before turning to leave.

“And when I find them . . .” My hands clenched at my side. Anger solidified in the pit of my stomach like a rock.

The servant turned back. “Pardon me, My Lord? What was that?”

“Nothing,” I grumbled.
* * *
Author's Secrets: Jonas's scene occurs during the finals scenes of Becoming Beauty. As I prepared Becoming Beauty for publishing, I was already chapters into the first draft of Midnight Sisters. Since Jonas was a gardener, it seemed fitting that he should have a place in Becoming Beauty's rose garden. So yes, you can find a teenage Jonas Selkirk in Becoming Beauty's finale.

Read more about the twelve sisters in the Midnight Sisters: Meet the Ladies series:

Meet the Sisters I (Ariela, Brisella, Canela)
Meet the Sisters II (Daniela, Estella and Frizella)
Meet the Sisters III (Gisella, Hayla, Isella, and Janela)
Meet the Sisters IV (Krisela and Larela)

For the full story, order your own copy of Midnight Sisters or Becoming Beauty on Amazon. Contact me directly if you'd like a signed novel. (FYI a special discount will be offered for anyone ordering both novels through me.)

Happy summer reading! Thanks for dropping by! 

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