Title: A Mask Of Beauty
Genre: Historical Romance
Antonia stared at the gown with its low, tight fitting bodice of dark green silk overlaid with cream-colored lace. She wondered once again what had made her choose it for tonight's ball, with all the sorrowful memories it carried in its delicate folds. She nodded at her nursemaid, who bent down with a groan and helped her wriggle into the garment. Holding on to the maid's hand, she steadied herself, her vision going blurry. The gown had been a favorite of Lady Eleanor’s, and sorrow weighed down her limbs at the thought. Antonia sighed. "I am exactly her image." But the knowledge was small comfort.
As her stout nursemaid began lacing her gown with sausage-like fingers, Antonia smoothed out a single wrinkle in the exquisite fabric. She fluffed out the full, draping skirts, carefully releasing the lace covering of her sleeve from its catch on her jeweled rings.
Antonia’s lips pursed slightly. The esteemed Lady Eleanor was in the grave and Antonia wore this exquisite gown in her memory. She would go to the ball in her place tonight. Antonia’s eyes welled up with tears. These she dashed away angrily, trembling with fury and pain, guilt and sorrow. "I killed my mother," she thought. Her throat tightened and she fought to swallow her grief. Suddenly overcome with anger at herself, she chased away these thoughts, lifting her head proudly and blinking back tears which clung to her eyelashes, threatening to spill down her cheeks.