Book Excerpt

Dear Readers, I’m sad to say that I will not be circulating copies of this rewritten manuscript or the original manuscript. Also, a note to my readers from 2007, my manuscripts Night Flower and the The Runaway Courtesan are very different stories. The only similarity is that I’ve reused the character names and the concept of the heroine being a prostitute.

NIGHT FLOWER

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Chapter One [Partial]

I had waited half a year to step out of the brothel.

As the scoundrel unbolted the door, I kept my gaze lowered to my hands, which were pasty white; skin that had forgotten the warmth of the sun. Then I heard it. The sound of creaking, the door opening at last. I looked up and squinted against the bright square of light.

“Get you gone, go, go!” he growled. “You don’t got all day!”

Clutching my hands, I stepped outside, where loud noises and a gust of cold air greeted me. Madame’s little helper hurried out and attached herself to my skirt, to keep my in tow. But I barely noticed her as I walked down the street, through the marketplace crowded with street-sellers and women with their baskets. I was transfixed by the city beyond that stretched far and disappeared into a fog so thick. What existed behind it?

Women at the brothel had told me that outside the town was a heathland so wide and open you’d feel like a grain of sand. And further away, acres of ancient woodland and high chalk cliffs overlooked the English Channel. Their stories were like a fairy tale to me, comforting, yet at times unbearable. The truth was, Madame would never let me venture far enough to peer over the town walls.

“We’re here,” came a small voice behind me. “Madame said no dawdling.”

We had walked quickly and had arrived too soon before the ale-house. Barely enough time to look around. I glanced at the girl past my shoulder, and she tried to hold my gaze as well, but couldn’t. “Madame says a great deal of things.” I tried to buy time, a few more moments under the open sky. “Will you listen to all her orders?”

“You know I must…”

“Why?”

She continued to avoid my gaze. One day, she would become like me: a whore locked up in the house for months, let out only for a few sips of air. She would look back to this day and regret not having whispered to me, Run.

“She said no dawdling.” The girl kicked the ground. “And you know I’m not good at lying. If the mistress asks me later—”

“Very well. We mustn’t dawdle.” I tugged at my bodice. “Wait here.”

I strode into the dimly-lit establishment, where walls surrounded me. There was work to do. Rubbing my palms against my skirt, I searched the crowd for a lone man to join. Once, not too long ago, men would come searching for me at the house. Then a rumor had spread—that Madame harbored infected women—and business had been hard to come by ever since.

I continued to search until a prickling sensation told me I was being watched. Glancing sideways, I saw a group of militia officers. One of them gestured and called out, “Here, my sweet!” I pretended not to have heard. I had learned to steer clear of men when they were in packs.

Wandering further into the ale-house, I thought I’d lost their attention. Then a hand shot out from the crowd and caught me by the wrist. It was a goddamned officer. He dragged me into a circle of a dozen uniformed men, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if there were a dozen more elsewhere in the ale-house.

The town of Aldershot was called a ‘military playground’ for a reason. The army training camp was only a few miles away from town, situated along the Black Moor stretch. When officers weren’t training, they would seek us out. We were their play-things.

One officer asked me, “To whom do you belong?”

“Madame Lemiercier,” I answered, noting his bright hazel eyes.

All the men replied with a knowing murmur, “Ah, Lemiercier!”

Hazel-eyes asked, “You must know Louise? She’s one of Lemiercier’s.”

“I do, sir. We are friends.”

Over his shoulder, he told his fellow men, “That Louise – she is a creature of loveliness!” His eyes sharpened as he turned to me. “And what is your name?”

A string of answers ran through my mind. My name was Nightflower. Dollymop. Harlot. But I gave him the name that was inscribed into the Register of Prostitutes, kept by the Metropolitan Police. “Amanda,” I replied.

“How many years have you been in service?”

“Four years, sir,” I answered. Four years that felt like ten.

“Four years,” he repeated, then exchanged a sidelong glance with his fellow-men. There was a cruel glint in his eyes – a look often seen on men determined to chaff a girl into tears. “Four years, gentlemen. She’s a diseased piece of mutton, she is.”

My smile remained screwed to my lips as the men snorted. “I’m clean,” I assured them, “that’s why Madame keeps me—”

“That is what they all say. Even the back-alley whores.” Hazel-eyes leaned even closer to me. “Are you worth more than a back-alley whore? Tell us, how much are you worth?”

“One pound, sir,” I replied matter-of-factly. “And at the House there are many handsome ladies to—”

A bark of laughter sliced through my words. “One pound did she say? She’s less than horseflesh!”

Hazel-eyes muttered, “And yet women and horses are one and the same; both give us a good ride, and both need to be whipped.”

The officers clapped their knees and broke into another fit of laughter, hard enough that the brass buttons on their waistcoats looked ready to fly off.

Following suit, I laughed along. But from the corner of my eye, I surveyed the ale-house for other men, losing patience with my present company. A gentleman was drinking alone a few paces away. I moved to stand, but Hazel-eyes reached out, catching a strand of my brown hair.

“How unjust life is, that a girl like you is worth a mere pound,” he said, caressing the lock of my hair between his fingers. “What was your name again?”

I suppressed an exasperated sigh. “Amanda. Sir.”

“I’ll wager,” he said, turning to look at his companions, still holding my hair as though it were a leash, “that she can’t even spell her name.”

“Pshaw, my man, of course she can spell her name,” one of them remarked in a tone of exaggerated kindness. “It’s the one word these women know how to read and write. Or at least, the first letter of it.”

After more laughter, the officers made a bet in which they swore they wouldn’t let me leave until I learned the alphabet.

“Each time you err,” an officer declared, “we shall smack your bare arse!”

I pouted, forcing myself to play along. “But it would take me all night to learn. There are – Lord, how many letters are there in the alphabet? Too many for me to memorize, I’d say…”

And as I ran through all the reasons why I would take all night to learn, I did not tell them I had read all of Barbauld’s Hymns in Prose for Children when I was ten. I had shivered with awe at the words that celebrated children as the seed of a great oak tree. I had thought I would one day heave through the earth, through the darkness of Mama’s yelling and Papa’s gambling, and burst forth into a mighty oak tree. But my life had turned out differently: sometimes seeds, buried too deep, died before they could find light.

 

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[End of Partial Chapter One]

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56 responses to “Book Excerpt

  1. Gina

    I thought the last part was very fitting, and a pretty scene, of the girl running away in that warm-colored room. I like the music, too.

    My first thought or question, though, was: What is a viscount? 😄 I know a rake is some sort of sexual man, right? A seducer…?

    I think the way each image is cut so short goes very well with the beat of the music.

    Like

    • junebugger

      A viscount is a member of the British peerage, ranking above a baron and below an earl. So, you’ve probably heard of Dukes, right? They’re part of the same system.

      Like

  2. omg that was amazing! It was perfectly done; very dramatic, and the music was perfect! Only constructive criticism… from the text you made it sound as if the Viscount and the Rake were in love. I don’t feel that’s accurate, given the title of the book.

    Like

    • Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed the trailer! And thanks for the critique. I see what you mean, about the Viscount and the Rake issue. I’ll keep that in mind if I ever remake the video (which I hope to do as soon as I find time!!!)

      Like

  3. Pingback: The Nutcase Updating Blog at 4am « June's Blog

  4. June, this chapter leaves me wanting more. I’m soooo curious now.

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  5. Pingback: Pop a bottle of Champagne for me! « June H.

  6. Pingback: The Book Trailer « Tottering Thoughts

  7. Hey June! I want to read the rest! This made me curious!

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  8. when you need a beta-reader… 😉

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  9. I was RIVETED! This is exactly my kind of novel. Can’t wait for it to hit the stores 🙂

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  10. Pingback: The Tragic Case of the Jaded Romance Novelist « June H.

  11. I really enjoyed reading this! Such a great first chapter.

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  12. Love the trailer, June!! I lacked the time last night to take a good peek. Really vivid scenery weaved here! The hero reminds me of Rochester. Love it!

    And the chapter ends on a gripping note!

    You’ve got me all revved up to love the Regency era now. Nice! 😀

    – Corra

    the victorian heroine

    Like

  13. I got here by clicking on a blog, and then clicking on a blog, on which you’d made a comment. And I’m so glad I did. I loved the sample chapter. This is exactly my type of book (Georgette Heyer is probably my favorite author). In fact, I have two favorite types of books: Period romance, and young adult fantasy. I kind of combined two to write my first novel. Good luck. I hope this gets published so I can read the whole thing.

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    • I’m so glad that you enjoyed my story! I love heyers myself…..my favourite book of hers is the Devils cub 🙂 ooh period romance and a YA fantasy crossover. I suppose this would be the popular steam-punk genre. Anyway, thank for dropping by!

      Like

  14. My goodness, this is fantastic. 🙂

    Like

  15. Loved the way it is written, June. I felt intrigued into reading the whole piece until I realised I was through it! Now, I’d love to read more, why, of course. 🙂

    I was especially interested in the setting–1811, carriages, titles to men, and the mesmerising England which always has so many stories to tell.

    Thanks for sharing the excerpt. I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

    -BrownEyed

    Like

  16. Emarie

    I found this after seeing your video for “The Runaway Courtesan” on YouTube. Your writing style certainly pulled me into your story! Do you send interested readers full manuscripts? lol I hope you get published soon so I can read your entire novel!

    Like

  17. Kat

    I also found this after seeing your trailer on YouTube. I’m glad that you’re working on having it published but I’ve had trouble searching for a synopsis of your story. Can you tell me what it’s about, as your excerpt is extremely enticing. And what’s the news on publication?

    Like

    • Hey! I posted up a brief summary of this story at the top of this excerpt. Should have done this sooner!

      News on publication…nothing much happening right now. I was revising for one agent but then I couldn’t get this story to fit into the Inspirational romance market (too sensual). So while she asked me for another revision I decided I needed some time away from this story–as TRC needs to go through a major upheaval. Not because it’s too sensual, but the story in general needs more work. In other words, this story is on the backburner while I work on book 2

      Thanks for dropping by!

      Like

  18. Cathy

    I just wanted to say I’m so glad that I stumbled upon this blog. I was a huge fan of your writing when you posted the Runaway Courtesan on Fictionpress (in fact, I think I helped you with some small edits >.<). I like that you included the timeline on the publishing process for the novel. I can't wait until it ends up published! Wishing you the best!!

    Like

    • Your comment made my day! I’m overjoyed that you remember my story 😀 And I do remember a reader helping me out with grammar and stuff. Yah, the timeline, one day in the far future (because the rewriting of this story will take a while) I’ll be able to add in the line that TRC received representation! Until then…….keep your fingers crossed! Thank you thank you so much for dropping by!

      Like

  19. I just watched your trailer again and realized how awesome it was 😄 Yay for the Tudors! And I LOVED the scenes you chose!

    Like

  20. This is beautiful, I heard about this before on youtube and then I googled and and it seems you have made quite a name for yourself. 😉 It’s great, wonderful and makes me wish it was a movie or a tv series or SOMETHING!

    Like

    • hahaha oh man i’d die of joy if ever anything i wrote was turned into a tv series. like…DIE of joy!! It must feel so surreal for any writer to see their words turned into something visual. Thanks for dropping by : D

      Like

  21. How does an inexperienced twice published wrtier (for whatever that is worth) go about getting to the next step. So far I my publishing costs are nothing, but by the same token I’ve not made enough money on sales to take my wife out to dinner at a good restuarant. I read about writers who did this and did that and so far all I get is; please don’t email me again. I have researched the subject of my writings for 40 years and I don’t take too kindly to being told not to contact anyone or “sorry, we don’t deal in that kind of work.” I am 76 years old and don’t have that much time left. Any help or advice anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated.

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  22. I hadn’t seen the book trailer you made before – AWESOME! I have read this excerpt before and now glancing through it again I SOOOOO want to read the whole thing – Such good writing – Well done!

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  23. How can I read the rest. Very, very interested and hope you will make it available for people to read rather than wait indefinitely.

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    • hey! so so sorry for the late response. School has been sucking the life out of me. I’m still in the proccess of rewriting everything, so I don’t have a completed copy to share anymore. But! when I do and if you’re still interested, I will definately consider the idea of somehow sharing my work privately with a few readers. Thanks for dropping by! I’m really honored to know that my story intrigued you : D

      Like

  24. maryam

    I read ur story up until he orders her to leave his and threw her the hankie… I really liked how it was going. Even if u change it, I hope the older version will be available to us ;(

    Like

    • hey! sorry for the late response. And thanks for letting me know that you’d still be interested in reading the older version. That is something I’ll definitely consider…

      Like

  25. samantha

    June, I’ve been searching for TRC for an hour! I read it a few years ago with a friend (instead of studying for English haha) and then I never got to finish it. I’ve been trying to find it ever since and after a bit of made googling I’ve finally found this amazing blog! I can’t wait for it to be published! Do you still have the original draft that you uploaded on FictionPress? If so, would it be possible for you to send it because I am dying to find out how it ends! It’ll alleviate some of the pain of waiting for your final copy to be published. Let me know!

    Like

    • Thank you so much for your comment. I’m going to consider uploading the rewritten but very-close-to-original draft of TRC onto fictionpress. If I do decide to post it up, I’ll send you an email with the link. But first I’m going to do a poll on my FB to figure out what to do lol.

      Like

  26. Sarah

    Any updates?

    Like

    • hey thanks for checking up on TRC 🙂

      because of the heavy school workload I haven’t been able to spend a lot of time on TRC’s major rewriting process. But since I’ll be graduating from uni in two months, I’ll probably start working towards publication pretty soon. As of now, however, this story is sorta in a hiatus.

      Like

  27. I wouldn’t worry too much about the naked butt, dear. 😉 Anywho, anyhow, great trailer !! Very fitting for the segment you showcase here! 😀 Love it!

    Like

  28. Grace

    Hey June! I remember reading The Runaway Courtesan a long time ago and I miss your work on Fiction Press. I can’t wait for you to get it published. 🙂 All the best in that! I really look forward to getting the email telling me i can actually purchase a physical copy.

    Like

    • Aw, thank you for your comment! It’s so encouraging to know that my story is still remembered – even after so many years! It’s readers like you that keep me working on TRC. You will definitely be emailed when the publication day arrives : )

      Like

  29. When is this going to be published? I’d love to read more!

    Like

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