in Whispered Beginnings, a Clever Fiction anthology
A Regency miss attends a masquerade the night before her wedding, seeking adventure.
Eliza's Epiphany in...
Immerse yourself in the fictional world of clever writers rising up to meet the challenge, prompted with three simple words: New, Whisper, Spring. This anthology contains stories that flow across many genres: Fantasy, Romance, Mystery, and more; all intertwined with a basic theme that whispers sweetly of new beginnings.
Clever Fiction is a free short story prompt site. Every week (or two) a new prompt is posted. Submitting is free, reading is free, but the learning is priceless! Everyone's welcome to join in. Visit www.cleverfiction.com for details.
Whispered Beginnings includes my Regency short story Eliza's Epiphany. It is only available in this anthology.
An Excerpt. . . .
The night before her wedding, Miss Eliza Whitney had an epiphany.
Masquerade balls were scandalous, her friend Melody told her in an excited whisper. That was where she could have her little rebellion, where she could experience a taste of life without the stifling glare of her mother, Melody's mother, and the other dragons of Society.
They'd gone to all the trouble of securing costumes—swearing their maids to silence in order to accomplish the task without their mothers discovering their activities—giggling like schoolgirls over the intricacy, the stitches, the beaded bodices, and how they would charm every gentleman there. Eliza's shepherdess costume fell slightly off her shoulders, revealing a generous amount of bosom. The heavenly creation showed far more skin than her mother would ever allow, but that didn't matter. With her little beaded mask she was unrecognizable.
Or so Melody assured her.
Then Melody grew scared, deciding not to attend with Eliza. Bribing her maid to accompany her instead proved no hardship but some of the evening's excitement palled without her friend's vivacious presence at her side.
Despite missing her friend, Eliza soon found herself caught up in the excitement of a ball wherein she could behave with complete abandon. She could dance, gossip, and flirt to her heart's content, never worrying about flirting too much or being thought fast. No one could know who she was, no one could know Miss Eliza Whitney was the shepherdess with the beaded mask.
And then she saw him. A tall, broad-shouldered highwayman with fair hair and a ready smile for the lady with whom he danced. He was the very instrument of her rebellion, the very man she could use to see what life could have offered her had she not been betrothed from childhood. Her smile widened as she made her way across the ballroom, intent on making his acquaintance.
...continued in Whispered Beginnings, a Clever Fiction Writers Anthology.