Story Snip from Larksong: Chapter 30 (!) and a New Release!

Post #1466 on this blog!

It'll soon be time for another retrospective, if I can get one together.

I celebrated at 500 posts and 900 posts, and my theme for the Blogging from A to Z April challenge in 2017 was reaching 1000 posts!

Nearly 500 posts since then; I wonder how long it would take to collate them all by theme...
I think if I had two full days and nothing else to do, I could get them all together for this year's A to Z. Ah well, maybe next year!

New book!

One Small Piece Of Darkness by Ryan Bevan

Murder in a small town.

Two teens are reported missing in the town of Mercy, Ontario. It's up to Sergeant Ross to solve the crime, but the case is quickly confounded by a series of murders that follow.

The once quiet town of Mercy is met with its first possible serial killer. And caught in the middle is a young reporter, a maligned suspect, and two clueless toilet cleaners that find themselves guilty until proven innocent.

Who is the real killer? No one is beyond suspicion.

Available now!

For today, a sweet but interrupted Larksong snip!

Larksong is set in Montreal, July 1914.

  • In chapter 1, Alice arrived at the family cottage to take care of her grandmother's aviary, following her grandmother's funeral, only to find that her parents had already leased the cottage to another family for the summer. The only way she could have one more summer in her favourite place was to surreptitiously take on the role of governess to the two young girls...
  • In chapter 2, we met George, laid up at the hospital with a broken leg. Instead of joining his friends on a Grand Tour of Europe, he's being sent off to recuperate at a rented cottage in the country...
  • In chapters 3 and 4, we returned to Alice's point of view, and saw her bonding with George's younger sisters. Then she got a surprise -- George was arriving at the cottage that very day! We saw a hint that Alice finds George attractive and interesting -- but also unbearably rude.
  • In chapters 5 to 10, they had their first argument, then argued once more, but the stakes were higher: war is on the horizon. Then George attempted a rapprochement. Alice had some feelings stirring... During their first evening together, they began to suss each other out over a card game, and they reached a détente of sorts before going their separate ways for the night.
  • In chapters 11 and 12, we started the next morning in George's point of view, with his dawning realization of his attraction to Alice. Yet this realization did not lead to greater friendliness.
  • In chapter 13 (which I mistakenly also labelled as 12!), a new complication arose, in the form of the arrival of Albert, George's younger, and rather rude, brother. Meanwhile, George was busy with inappropriate (as he thinks) thoughts of Alice. (I skipped a scene where Alice takes the girls down to the lake and needs to pretend with a neighbour, Mrs Chase, that she is not a governess, but simply helping out with the girls. Then, while Alice is distracted, trying to spin her web of half-truths and discussing the threat of war on the horizon, Lucy gets up on a rickety boat tied up at the dock and fell off into the water.)
  • In chapter 14, on returning from the lake, Alice and the girls overheard an argument that ended with this outburst from George to his brother Albert: "I don't need your tales of self-pity. The question is, what are you going to do about it, now that you've f***ed it all up?"
  • In chapters 15 to 19, we witnessed the fallout from the argument, then shared a moment between Alice and George in the garden. Alice left George and resumed her governess role, and decided not to join the brothers that evening in the parlour. Then, early the next morning, Alice went out, only to find George rowing on the lake, and joined him.
  • In chapter 20, following their early morning idyll, we finally had a true rapprochement. Alice, making up her mind in an instant, called out to George's sisters: "We're going on an expedition with your brother." (I skipped the rest of chapter 20, in which we take a trip through the woods with Alice, George, and his sisters. There are friendly chats, the girls sign their brother's cast, and George begins work on a sketch of Alice. When they return home, the girls help Alice feed the birds in the aviary and clean it in preparation for the arrival of Mr Palmer, a prospective buyer visiting from Boston. Mr Palmer says he will make his decision on purchasing the aviary and return the next day. Throughout the day, there are hints of the gathering storms of war.)
  • In chapters 21 and 22, as Alice saw Mr Palmer off at the gate, a new complication emerged, in the arrival of Albert's friends from university. Alice and George came close to admitting their attraction, but then George unwittingly insulted the birds and the aviary and Alice's affection for her grandmother's pets.
  • In chapter 23, following omitted scenes (a bit of George's reflections on Alice, and his feelings for her (as well as memories of unfavourable reactions from his parents about his hobby of sketching and painting); at the end, he decides that it might be a lark to try to lure Pixie away from his brother. He proceeds to do just that before dinner as she plays up her role of nurse and guides George through some exercises in the front parlour. This leads to an arm wrestling match between all the boys, involving both wagers for a few coins--and kisses for the winner from Pixie. That evening, they all gather in the front parlour, and agree to attend the ball and bonfire at the Hatley Manor hotel the next night. George catches Albert and Pixie canoodling in the kitchen, but decides he's in no position to say anything because he was ready to embrace Alice the governess), the next day, the crowd slept in, all except Alice, who took her charges into the village to watch a magic lantern show. On their return, George decided to show them his secret--the full extent of his artistry. It was revealed that Eleanor is also a budding artist, and the siblings agreed to continue to develop their talent and to hide it from their disapproving parents.
  • In chapters 24 and 25, the girls returned to the house, and Alice and George, alone in the enclosed garden, sat side by side on the bench... They kissed, and Alice revealed her true identity to George. They talked, perhaps all too briefly, about what they would do with their newfound feelings.
  • In chapter 26, George watches her with Mr Palmer (who's returned to inspect the aviary and agree on its purchase) and thinks about how he's actually looking forward to the big party at the fancy hotel that night, now that he'll have Alice on his arm. I've skipped this bit, and a bit where they discuss Alice's attachment to the cottage and the birds, as well as the fact that Alice isn't really a governess and what they might have to tell his family, if anything. Also a part where, seated side-by-side and hand-in-hand on the porch, they talk of George's hopes and plans for his future career, in despite of his father. Then she asked him if he meant to return to England, but Albert interrupted.
  • In chapter 27 and 28, in the evening, they all made their way to the banquet and dance at Hatley Manor. Alice juggled her governess duties with advances from Albert--and affairs of the heart (I've left out a bit of conversation with other partygoers from the village and the interlude when Elsie arrives to pick up the girls)
  • In chapter 29, and now in chapter 30, Alice and George returned to the house together (I've left out the bit of their conversation about Albert and his friends, and their journey to the house, with George in his chair--but his crutches have been lost), and they grow closer than ever before...

He deepened the kiss, crushing his mouth to hers and, unbelievably, it felt so right, the urgency and need together. She goaded him for more, her hands on the back of his head, half-afraid he might pull away at finding her so forward. Instead, he met her with kiss after kiss, now lingering, now pushing hard.

Some sound escaped her, halfway between a sigh and a caught breath, and he groaned quietly into her mouth, as he softened the kiss, a palm to the curve of her cheek. By degrees, he drew his mouth away, but touched his forehead to hers. "You make me lose myself," he said hoarsely. "Only I can't––I can't move the way I'd like to."

She understood what he wasn't saying: his leg pained him. She was overheated, even with her mink tossed aside, but couldn't bear to create space between them or tear herself away, not even to help him shift position.

"How would you like to move?" she asked instead, as he rested his cheek alongside hers. She took the liberty of tracing his jaw with a finger, across the beginnings of his stubble.

His laugh rumbled against her chest. "Shall I tell you, sweetheart?"

He drew back a bare inch to look into her eyes. His gaze had darkened to indigo, and the lantern and banked fire behind gilded his profile, coppery glints sparking off stray strands of hair.

"Please." She couldn't say more, breathless with the anticipation of hearing his true feelings.

"I should like to swing you onto my lap," he began, sliding his hand down to her knee. Thrills of heat shot through her from the spot, as his fingers began to describe a slow circle. "I can't decide if I'd first pull the pins from your hair, find out how long it is, or––this." He brought both hands to the back of her dress and pried open the top three buttons. The silk spilled halfway down her shoulders and his hands came around, palms flush upon her exposed skin, thumbs grazing the swell of her chest.

Her breath caught once more at the need that spiked through her body at his caress. How strong the urge was, to tear apart his shirt, push herself up against him, taste that sweetness once more as his mouth plundered hers.

She'd not once felt such abandon towards anyone else. George had been weaving a spell on her from the first moment she'd laid eyes on him. He must be aware of the effect he had on her, surely. Yet rather than calculating, he seemed just as lost and needful as she.

He might be in pain, and she didn't want to exacerbate it, and certainly she'd already gone well past the bounds of propriety. And yet––she could not let go.

Reaching up, she drew the pins from her hair, collecting them in her palm, and the waves tumbled past her shoulders, hiding the very skin he'd uncovered.

George's gaze, dark and hooded, travelled down to her waist and back up, and he slowly wound a finger round a lock, up from her lap to her chest, then let it fall, unravelling.

"How is it we've never met before?" he murmured. "How could we never have attended a single occasion together? I'd have noticed you across any room, Alice, sweetheart."

"Do you attend many parties? There was the salon at–– Of course not, you'd have been–– My apologies. Now I'm acting as vapid as the folk you were criticising earlier."

"Don't say that. You couldn't act like that if you tried."

He buried his hands in her hair and brought his forehead to hers once more. "I'd like to know about you, too." His lips met hers, tender, asking, and she parted her mouth for him in answer, silk slipping further down her shoulders.

"I can't," he breathed, with an entirely different sort of groan.

She drew back, running her hands down his chest, feeling the swell of his muscles beneath his shirt, then rose, hitching her gown back up over her shoulders. "I'll move a chair, it might help if you rest your foot on that."

"I just want the damned thing off," he growled, shifting about on the sofa by raising himself on his hands. "There's still the drive back in that rattletrap of James'." He grimaced.

"When?" she asked right away, pausing with her hands on the nearest straight-backed chair.

"Why?" he countered with a grin, as if relieved that she should be concerned about parting. "Aren't you coming with us when we go?"

"Yes, don't say you're leaving, Miss Alice," Albert drawled from the doorway.

Which new book would you recommend?


Hi Deniz - wonderful ... but then of course as one would expect 'Albert' ... great story telling - love it - each 'chapter' or 'snippet' ... cheers and Happy Easter - Hilary
Deniz Bevan said…
Oh, thank you so much! Happy Easter <3
debi o'neille said…
I think I was on Hilary Melton-Butcher's blog and saw a comment to her from you, so I decided to check your blog out. I'm doing the A-Z. Anyway, once I got here, I noticed you were posting a novel in snippets. I started to go back, and back, and back, hoping to find snippet one. I'm just not good at reading a book when I started the middle or near the end or anywhere not the beginning. Could you send me the link to the beginning of this novel? I'd love to read it snip by snip. Great idea.
Deniz Bevan said…
Oh, wow, thank you, debi, I'm so glad you're intrigued! <3
First snip was back in July!