Archive for June, 2022

Gray Lace, Part 39


Author’s Note: After watching, no absorbing, hours of The January 6th Committee hearings, I needed to calm down. I scanned Netflix and Prime Video for horror movies. I nearly signed up for a few more expensive and never-to-be-released-from entertainment streams before I remembered my childhood carnival-rides mantra. “Why pay for fear? Why spend money to be afraid? Why would I? It’s free?”

page 72, Joann, Ross and Catherine wait for their friends in a luxury suite of 1908’s Patterson’s Hotel of Charleston, South Carolina.

Joann raised her water glass in a toast, “Sucess comes from living well, laughing often, and loving much.”

“Well said,” Catherine gave her a smile, as she turned to answer the knock on the hall door. She opened the door to a humble Trevor whose eyes were wide as he entered and surveyed the splendid room. Jacob followed him and then shut the door.

“This isn’t our railroad car now, is it?” He gave Catherine a quick hug then walked around the perimeter before stopping to enjoy the city view. “The clerk at the desk sure acted strange.” He turned around and directed his question to Catherine. “How is it he knows my title? He introduced me to the manager, who then offered to take my servants to the docks to retrieve my luggage.”

With his hands in his pockets and the warm smirk on his dimpled face, Catherine wasn’t sure how to go on. He looked adorable. However, she wondered, just where had that man been? “Yes, your footman and valet need to go to the docks and take care of that. They could also buy some needed clothes for you on hotel credit. Your title will cover a list of sins that can be repaid someday soon.”

Jacob walked across the room and pulled Ross by his elbow. “Wish us luck and while we’re gone, please work on that plan some more. Your trust funds won’t jump through those windows all by themselves.” Ross gave Joann an encouraging smile and he shut the door behind them.

“Catherine, I need the outhouse … no, the necessary,” announced Joann.

Catherine pointed to the smaller rooms off to the left. “You should not have to watch for spiders in that outhouse, Joann. In fact, I think you’ll enjoy it.” Joann hurried out, shut the door and Trevor smiled at Catherine as they heard exclamations of surprise. “She’ll like the flushing the best.”

“I was going to guess the toilet paper,” he laughed.

“Now, Mr. Earl, just where did you hurry off to? We can’t have our group disbursing themselves.” She sat in a comfortable stuffed armchair opposite Trevor and tried to stare him into telling her the truth.

“Yes, that was poorly done of me,” he sat and then uncrossed his legs and leaned forward, resting his elbows onto his legs. “I sent a telegram,” he lifted his head, and she watched the wrinkles of turmoil develop across his forehead.

“To whom? The Cranfields?” Her palms began to feel moist. “Surely you didn’t tell them where we are?”

“No, not the Cranfields, although I do need to deal with them soon. I sent a telegram to my two younger brothers, Edward and Charles.”

She rubbed her hands together, then willed them to be calm and steady in her lap. “I suddenly realize how little I about you.” She took in extra air and whispered, “Tell me about your family.”

Trevor smiled and began, “Well, Edward’s the surprisingly shy one and Charles is the party boy.” He stood and started pacing. “They need guidance even under the best of circumstances.”

“How old are they?”

“They’re in their minority, both under twenty-five.”


“My mother died when Charles was born, and father passed several years ago.”

“So, you’re not new to the earl business.”

His shoulders jerked as if he had been hit.

Enough! (for now)

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Gray Lace, Part 38

This author’s update:


Life keeps interrupting, but I managed to complete “Edits II” of my WIP – The Countess of Change. More editing is needed, but a break is needed more. During this break, attention will be paid to this blog, research possible agents and their varied requirements, and then there’s the dreaded Synopsis of The Countess. By the way, that’s a working title. It might end up being The Empire Awakens or some such noble stuff.

Our story here, Gray Lace, my dear sweet novel of 1908 (originally published in 2016) has progressed her characters from the swamps to a suite of hotel rooms in Charleston, SC. They have just arrived, and Catherine is anxious to retrieve her fortune while Ross gives her some advice.

Writing historical mysteries is soothing to me after the events of this month and June is only ten days old.

Page 70 – The Patterson Hotel

The pleased management presented a smooth registration and welcome to the staff of The Earl of Warrenwood. As asked, they climbed the back stairs and searched for the suite of rooms assigned to their master. Ross nervously opened the door and said out loud what they were all thinking. “We should have thought of his luggage. He should be traveling with several trunks and boxes.”

“At least his title covered most of our sins,” Catherine walked around the spacious and comfortably furnished sitting room. “It’s a good thing the manager believed the luggage is still at the docks.”

Joann tried each chair before she settled on the Victorian high back couch. “He’ll have to do a bunch of shopping before he settles in for the night.”

Jacob had been studying the view with his hands behind his back. He turned and suggested that he wait for Trevor in the lobby. “I’ll take the part of his valet and loudly inform him about his lost luggage.” He smoothed out a few wrinkles and straightened his coat. “I have the feeling the management will be eager to help.” He started for the door, “In addition, I doubt we’ll have to pay for anything until we leave.”

His laughter followed him out the door.

Ross drew in his long legs from the comfortable chair and crossed his feet at the ankles. “I’m beginning to really like that man.”

Catherine had been pacing the length of the room and completed several laps before standing still. “We need a plan. This place will only believe us for a few days at the most. ” She walked back to the window facing the street. “My infamous bank is right there. It’s only one block over. I feel like I could reach out and grab my trust fund papers from the safe deposit box.”

“I’ve robbed from an occasional box of groceries, but a bank is beyond my talents, young miss.”

“Ross, you’ve never stolen,” Joann continued her twitching with her hands in her lap. “Maybe, Catherine, we shouldn’t plan anything until all of us are here.”

Catherine knew she was overly anxious, but she glared at her friend anyway. “Don’t you think we can do this? We’ve managed quite well without Mr. Newsome and The Earl before.”

“Slow down,” Ross stood, joined Catherine, and gazed out her window. “Yes, we’ve done well, but that was in the sticks of alligator country. This is the big city and Joann and I are a bit out of our element.” He pointed down to the busy street three floors below. “Look at those folks. Their clothes are all clean, stiff and stylish, I guess, but when you get a chance, look in their eyes. Behind the supposed happiness, there’s greed and all the stresses and worries that brings.”

Enough! (for now)

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