I have a special treat for you today! Check out this excerpt of Venomous, a short story written by Fiona Paul! If you haven’t read any of it yet, you can backtrack through the blogs hosting segments of the story (see below for links). Be sure to follow the rest of the blogs; there will be a new excerpt posted every day!
A Secrets of the Eternal Rose short story
By Fiona Paul
The year is 1600 and the streets of Venice, Italy are ripe with intrigue and danger. In this introduction to the world of Venom, eighteen-year-old Mariabella has recently elevated herself from the rank of common prostitute to the status of courtesan, a respected high-class escort for those men in Venetian society who can afford them. Mariabella steps out to attend a party on the arm of her powerful new patron, certain that the night will be filled with glamour, secrets, and adventure.
If you missed the last part of the story, check it out on Cover Analysis.
“Sometimes I think my father will never have the money for a proper wedding,” she says. The folds of her lavender skirt sink low on the ground as her body deflates slightly.
“Don’t fret, my goddess,” the boy says. “In my mind, we are already married.” He reaches out to tuck a tendril of dark hair back from her face.
She brightens at his touch. “In your mind I bet we’re doing all sorts of things,” she says playfully. He bends down to murmur something in her ear and her mouth twists into a smile. “Yes, we could, couldn’t we?”
Wind whips strands of dark hair around her face as the boy rests his hands on her waist and bends down to kiss her. She rises to meet his embrace, her gloves hands threading together behind his neck. I shouldn’t stare, but I do. There’s something so graceful about the way their bodies move together.
I duck behind the fountain as they break apart and turn toward the front of the palazzo. Sharp peals of laughter float through the air as their silhouettes gradually fade. It makes me think of bird song and flute music and other sounds of sheer joy.
It has been a long time since I laughed like that. A few months ago, I was entertaining a traveling bard who always seemed more interested in singing to me than kissing me. I thought it was an odd waste of his money, but his songs always started out normal and then got sillier and siller until I couldn’t help but giggle—and then laugh, and then laugh until I snorted. He even gifted me a lute and persuaded me to accompany him in his act a couple of times.
It was fun, and I was happy during my time with him. But eventually he had to move on to another city. It’s for the best. If he returned it’d be one more man I’d want to see against Joseph’s wishes.
For the next part of the story, visit Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf tomorrow 10/18. [http://laurenscrammedbookshelf.blogspot.com]