Author's Note: Since both are my favorite genres: Romance and Historical fiction, I have decided to do both prompts in one post. Therefore, this is an excerpt from a short story I am working on, I have written, re-written it several times and still can't seem to get it the way I want. So, I am asking for a critique. Tell me anything you want, no matter how it sounds, I can take it. I need all the help I can get.
(This is Part One and Part One only)
.....Hot coals burned in the grate, a deafening crackling in the cool night air, as Prudence lay totally bare in the porcelain tub. Horace, the faithful family footman had brought up many glorious pails of hot water, for her nightly ritual while she had been out riding the hills behind her beloved home. The warmth seeped into her bones giving her a much needed clearing of her muscles as well as her mind.
.....Since her coming out ball, the routs, promenades around the park, the endless mundane chatter, had pushed her beyond the bounds of her physical and emotional limits. Those interminable hours smiling, laughing, dancing, acting as if she cared about the eligible bachelors out looking for their next conquest, or worst of all, wives.
.....All of it, had seemed to amount to nothing in the grand scheme of things, when her mother Mary and her father Percy had sat her down after six months of these nightmare outings to inform her of her impending marriage, to a man who lived not far from their own estate.
.....Her father had placed the settlement documents along a side table, angling them where she could plainly see, expecting her to actually read the papers, as if she actually counted in the final decision.
.....The man she'd been given to had been none other than Julius Trowbridge, Duke of St. James. From what she had gleaned from her friends out in the ton, the man had wealth, devilishly good looks, and did not like taking no for an answer. Not taking no for an answer, explained so much when her father informed her that the Duke would be taking not only her, but a vast amount of her family property to the east, land he had wanted for years.
.....Even though she always had a bit of a grand respect for her father, this deal he had made gave her feeling of distaste. It seemed that no matter how rich a man was, he always wanted more, needed more to fulfill his greedy needs. Her father neither had riches, nor could he be considered poor, so in the end, the deal would benefit both gentlemen.
.....How could her father be so cruel as to not at least ask of her feelings in such a matter? He had always been such a jovial, fair man, yet in this, he had only considered his own gain, when the crops the Duke planned to have planted yielding great returns. She knew in her heart, that despite the profit sharing, that in this, the awful Duke would probably take the most amount of the money, while giving their family the tiniest bit.
.....Water sluiced down her body as she rose from the tub, grabbing a towel from a nearby bench. Toweling off as quickly as possible, she sprinted across the cold floor to grab the dressing gown from the low marble bench, passing over her curls, as she tiptoed to the four poster bed
.....As the cool, rose sheets covered her from shoulders to toes, she sighed with disappointment. Thoughts of what she would rather be doing instead of getting married crawled through her mind, wonderful dreams of walking along sandy beaches, her hands held out to the wind with childish glee.
.....Another life long wish of being alone, of having servants of her own, no one to answer to about anything, no man telling her what to do, fortified her heart, gave her a smile of comfort as she finally drifted off to sleep.