TITLE: Blood Rose Rebellion
GENRE: YA Historical Fantasy
Brief context: 15-year-old Anna meets with one of her sister's suitors on the night of her sister's debut, in an alternate Victorian England.
The stone bench at the centre of the herb garden was empty when I arrived. The darkness of the garden crept up my arms, settled under my heart. Freddy had not come.
A strong gust of wind brought with it the scent of roses, carried from the ballroom, and I shivered. Perhaps Freddy was having difficulty getting away, or negotiating the garden in the darkness. I would wait. I would trust him.
I heard a footstep crunch on the tiny gravel in a walkway behind me. My heart thumped against my breastbone, but I reminded myself that I was screened from whomever it was by a carefully shaped hedge. No one—save Freddy—would discover me here.
A fresh gust plucked at my hair and sleeves, and my nose filled with his scent (tobacco and cinnamon). I turned to him with a glad cry.
Freddy smiled, taking one of my hands in his. His hands were warm. He rubbed my cool fingers between his. “ I was held up by Lady Dorchester.”
I smiled down at our joined fingers. Lady Dorchester had three daughters, each more homely than the last.
Freddy cupped my cheek with one hand, rubbing his thumb along the curve of my cheek, across my lips. His light touch left a powerful tingling in its wake.
I was absurdly aware of how close his mouth was to mine, of the fluttering of my pulse in my throat, of the cold stars overhead. Every impression seemed sharp and distinct.
I closed my eyes, waiting.
Freddy bent his head and laid a kiss like a prayer on my mouth.