First Page: An Inconvenient Affair (Historical)
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Pen stretched languorously and looked down at the sleeping man next to her. She sighed. Poor Anthony was getting rather monotonous. All he wanted to do now was talk about his book, and he expected her to be impressed by this. He called her cold when she wasn’t, and said his next book would be about her. As though she cared. There was enough gossip about her already; his little book wouldn’t make any difference.
He was a terrible writer, anyway.
She slipped out of the bed and gathered up her clothes. She went to the bathroom and locked the door to wash and dress, carefully fixing her hair and make-up. Looking around the bathroom, she realised she was tired of these Bohemian types who lived in poky little bedsits and expected to be applauded for it. It was time to move onto something – someone – new. Lady Stephens’ bash next week should have a nice selection. It would be like picking a new sweet out of a box of chocolates.
When she was ready she quietly stepped back into the bedroom, plucking her handbag, coat and hat from the chair they were disarranged on. She ducked out, pulling her shoes on in the stairwell, and made her way to her car, a man in a shabby suit rushing in front of her on his way to the Tube, holding his hat onto his messy hair. She huffed in annoyance then tossed her bag in the passenger seat and climbed in, speeding off to her home and husband.
Pen felt him glance at her again, the handsome young waiter carrying a tray of champagne flutes. He was tall, very tall, and lean. His face was all sharp planes, angular, with an aquiline nose and topped with thick dark hair. She signalled him over with a flirtatious look. When he had strolled over she took one of the flutes and sipped, gazing at him over the top of the glass from under her lashes. He stared back intensely with fierce forest-green eyes, a smirk playing about his mouth.
Abruptly, Pen turned her back on him and sighed to herself. It was simply too bad that he was practically a servant. To sleep with him would be simply too, too déclassé. She needed someone of her kind. She wasn’t one of those women who had to sleep with footmen while her husband had the maids. Those people were disgusting, taking advantage like that. She might not have any morals, but she had standards. She was nothing like her mother.
She looked around, trying to find someone suitable to spend the night with, since she was fairly certain her husband would be off warming someone else’s bed tonight. She never slept alone if she could help it. And she usually could. But she kept coming back to that damned waiter. There was something about him that made her blood fizz and her breathing shallow. Perhaps just for one night…
Her thoughts were interrupted by a clammy hand grasping her arm. She instinctively flinched away, but then she saw who it was. Lady Stephens. Oh dear. She would have to smooth this over without giving the woman ideas.
She smiled in a conciliatory way at her, and the uncertain expression on Lady Stephens face melted away, replaced by a vulgar eagerness.
“My dear Penelope!” she boomed. Pen winced – for one thing, she hated her given name, and for another, Lady Stephens had no right to use it.
“Lady Stephens,” she said depressingly, hoping the woman would get the hint.
“And how are you enjoying my little “do”?”