AT A RECENT ROMANCE WRITERS' MEETING WE WATCHED HORSES BEING GROOMED AND DRESSED IN THEIR REGALIA TO PULL A BUGGY. WE THEN HAD TO WRITE FOR TEN MINUTES AND INCLUDE A HORSE IN THE PIECE.
HERE IS MY PIECE -I THINK IT MAKES A GREAT BEGINNING FOR A NOVEL. WHAT DO YOU THINK?
The chilling mist of the evening seeped into her bones. It evaded her ermine collar, frosting her neck and forming dew-drops on her eye lashes.
Beside her, the horse pawed the ground, impatient with their shared inactivity. She leaned against the gelding, absorbing its warmth. Deep in her pocket she found an apple quarter and holding her hand flat she fed the horse. Its soft lips nuzzled her coat, seeking more and tightening her grip on the bridle she turned her head away from its steaming nostrils. Her cold hands reminded her she’d forgotten to wear gloves. The initial appeal of an afternoon assignation, away from prying eyes, now seemed a silly, childish notion, made without grown-up consideration.
A movement in the shadows, by twittering bird, caused her to start and frightened her horse. The bridle jingled and the horse mouthed the bit, the only sound now in the still, cold air.
Was any man worth this wait? If Archie didn’t arrive shortly she’d ride home, taking the bridle path this time, around the lake. The smooth surface would be safer in the diminishing light, than chancing her horse breaking a leg from a misplaced hoof in a rabbit hole.
Tired of waiting she mounted. The saddle, damp from the fine rain, slipped under her wool coat. She leaned forward, clicked her tongue, pressed her heels into the horse’s flanks urging the animal to move. He responded, breaking into a trot. She lowered her head to his neck to duck under the tree branches until the open space was reached. Once clear a firmer command had the horse move into a canter and she headed along the bridle path at pace.
Never had home been so inviting, a roaring fire and a good meal – and never had a man been so infuriating as Archie St. John. His dark eyes held promises of love, his kisses spoke of suppressed lust, and his words soothed her mind like a honeyed balm. Perhaps her responses had been too forward? Mr. St. John would find her unavailable when he next came to call, his hunting stallion calling to her mares, his hounds baying across her fields.
Did she need a husband or a lover? Having had the first, perhaps the second would now be the better choice.