I thought I might give people a peek at one of my WIPs, which will be either an erotica or a romantica, and is not titled yet. I’ve decided to stay in the time frame of Revolutionary France (since people who know me know that I am obsessed with this period, as well as the Henry VIII period), and my heroine is a broke barmaid, Mariette, who is about to lose her flat and be put out onto the streets of Paris. Will someone or something save her before this happens?
This is the opening scene. Granted, it’s nothing much yet, but you’ll get the idea, at least!
When the gentleman left, Mariette felt exhausted. She never thought that as a bar maid, she would have to resort to giving favors in the back room for an extra franc or two. Unfortunately, with a revolution boiling and nearly out of control, she had little choice when it came to keeping the roof over her head. Everyone was scampering for a franc. Everyone was desperate. She was nothing special.
Mariette used her palms to push her skirts down, then held up a tarnished spoon to check her reflection and fix her hair. The sausage curls had fallen and frizzed, and the paint on her lips smeared onto her cheeks. “This is shameful.” With her thumb, she cleaned her face then tried to pin her hair back so it didn’t look so disgraceful.
Silence filled the front of the house. Not many patrons came to La Fleur anymore, not since the organized mobs began to form. Sometimes, the crowds would filter in to enjoy a drink together, but it wasn’t often, as they had better things to do, plans to carry out. A revolution to empower.
Mariette wanted little to do with it. She worried more about keeping a roof over her head than if the king or queen stayed in power or not. She worried about where she would get her next meal, or if there would even be a tavern for her to work at tomorrow. It kept her up at night, made the circles under her eyes darker. Made her thinner and more delicate.
She pushed the door open and stepped into the permanent haze of cigarette smoke that filled the room. The patron that she had just serviced ordered her a drink on the house, tipping his head in her direction. “For you, mademoiselle.”
Mariette smiled prettily enough, trying her best not to let it falter. Usually, she would decline such a gesture, but this time, she wanted something to wash the taste of him from her mouth. “Merci.” With a tilt of her head, she emptied the glass. Whiskey. It was just what she needed.
The tender of the bar did not look twice at Mariette. His name was Jean, and he was aged almost twice over than she. Whatever she had decided to do to earn her keep, Jean ignored it politely. He knew it wasn’t his place to comment, seeing as though he sold illegal goods, like poppy seeds, from the back door. Unlike Mariette, Jean had other mouths to feed.