“She has been rather busy,” Barney Somerville commented. As a vicar, he felt it incumbent on him to be fair, anxious though he was to know how his story turned out. “She has retired, left her old house, spent months house-hunting, moved into her new house, and is now renovating.”
Lady Ruth Winderfield was prowling impatiently along the spaces between the lines in her manuscript. “That’s easy for you to say, Reverend. You and Theo are first on her list. She has to have you done by early next month.” She bit back what she was going to say next, but the Marquis of Aldridge guessed her complaint.
“You and Val were about to enjoy your first kiss, were you not? And now it has been months. But take heart. She must finish your story before it is my turn.” His smirk turned wry at the edges. “I’ve waited years,” he murmured, almost too low to be heard. For the moment his heart was in the hazel eyes that lingered on the lady he loved. Saint Charlotte, they called her. She had rejected him several times, and how his author was going to resolve this was beyond him.
Otto had been sitting hunched over a tankard of ale, but he looked up at Aldridge’s complaint. “At least you are sure your story will be written one day,” he pointed out. “She doesn’t think she’ll have time for mine. And I read the original at school. It did not turn out well.”
Barney clapped the big dark-skinned man on one rugged shoulder. “She specialises in happy endings, my friend,” he pointed out.
Theo looked up from the game of cards she was playing with Otto’s wife, Desiree. “Why don’t we write a letter?” she suggested. “A summary of our concerns. A manifesto, if you will. We could send it through the Teatime Tattler. I know she reads that.”
Aldridge twirled his empty glass between his fingers. “Dear Jude, your characters are revolting?” he suggested.
“Set aside time to write us now, or we leave.” Otto’s blunt suggestion fell into a brief silence, which Val broke, speaking as Theo’s pen flew across the page at his dictation.
“Dear author, please remember your characters. We are yearning to get out of your head and onto our pages.”
Dear characters and readers. I have missed you all. I’m trying to carve out some time to write each day, and hope to catch up soon. Love you all.