Book One (Wealth & Privilege)
Boy meets girl, falls in love at first sight. Oops, she's already married. Bad planning. She becomes a friend and a muse, helps him find his voice. He knows that no one gets to capture their own muse, but he can dream, can't he...?
Irritating his mother wasn’t specifically Thomas’ favorite hobby. She did, however, seem to excel at providing him with opportunities to do so. He didn’t have to try very hard. His very existence was an obvious irritant to her. It wasn’t because of who he was – Thomas knew perfectly well it was all about what he wasn’t.
He wasn’t everything his older brother Benjamin had been; quick and clever and charming and talkative. The entire Baldwin family – especially his mother, Eugenia Baldwin, aspiring family matriarch and his most verbal critic – admitted that Thomas was the much more handsome of the two. Then everyone shrugged. Pretty is as pretty does.
Thomas had to agree on that point. He gladly would have traded his bright blue eyes and much-admired dark hair for the ability to know what to say to people.
He stood at the entrance to the ballroom in his parents’ house, surrounded by giggling girls all wishing him a happy birthday with their dance cards not-so-subtly dangling from their wrists. Trying to smile, he offered his hand to accept the little pencils and sign the blasted things.
Book Two (Brains & Beauty)
Girl meets boy, falls in love at first sight. Kind of unfortunate for a married woman. He becomes her best friend, the only man in her life that she can really count on. She wishes there could be more to it. There can't be, but she can dream, can't she...?
There was grunting, and the sound of wood groaning, and then a wet thump as they lifted and threw something. Regina could tell that there was a little more room behind her shoulder blades. There was more grunting and dragging and thumping. Then she heard them both groan.
“What’s going on back there? Have I been cut off at the waist?” she asked. Not being able to see what was wrong, or the progress they were having, was making her anxious.
“The next layer is completely wedged in. We can’t do this without tools,” Isaac told her.
Both men hurried away from her, making her worry for their safety. She had also found their company reassuring. What if neither one of them was able to find her again?
That’s when she saw the flickering orange glow in the distance. “No.”
Yes. It didn’t seem possible – but in the midst of water floating below, and pouring from above, something had caught on fire.
Regina started listing in her head all the accelerants that might be contained in a single drygoods store: tar, pitch, turpentine, kerosene. How many homes used all of them? How many gas lines were ruptured all over the city? How many wood stoves were knocked into them? There was no way this heap would NOT be set on fire.
And here she was, stuck, in the middle of it. No doubt about it, she was about to die in the same town in which she was born. It was a shame, really. She had such high aspirations.
Jeanette Watts is a dance instructor and performer of many different kinds of dance, a costumer, a former television producer, and a big softie who can't learn to say no when people need help with their festivals. It makes it really difficult for her to get time to write.