From upcoming Christmas Regency release: The Toymaker
The neat row of dolls regarding him from his work bench reminded Phillip of the debutantes lining the walls at the last ball he’d attended… four, no five years earlier. Of course, those young ladies had been wearing fashionable white or washed-out blush-colored gowns in delicate silks and lace. He stepped back and considered his own line of debutantes, rather liking the bolder colors Monique had used for their dresses — emerald green, apple red, sapphire, amethyst. They looked a bit forlorn, a little like some of the ladies who were never asked for a dance. Maybe he should consider creating a line of men to go with them.
Silly! What young girl would want to play with a doll fashioned like a boy? He shook his head at his momentary flight of fancy and picked up a palm-sized slice of wood, already smoothed with a garnet file. The French finish would take quite some time, since each coat of shellac would need to dry thoroughly before the next could be applied. The rubbing pad of soft gray wool had already been dampened with oil. Phillip picked it up and dipped it into the basin of shellac. Next, with gentle wiping movements, he applied a thin coat of the finish to the block of wood.
As he worked, his mind drifted back a few days… to Madame Duroche’s shop and the lovely but conservative young woman he’d managed to irritate with his choice of color. A smile lifted his lips and a chuckle escaped. Angry as a cat that had been doused with water, that one had been. A deep rose blush had colored her cheeks and her eyes had flashed just before she’d narrowed a blue-eyed glare on him. Phillip suspected only her need to maintain a sense of decorum in the presence of her grandmother had allowed her to hold her tongue.
But he’d been right. Her ire had heightened her color so she had not longer been pale and wraithlike. Such a complexion would wear well with the rich purples of the velvet Monique had offered. He had no idea why apparently she was having a difficult time of it, getting noticed by suitors, but wearing the amethyst would gain her some much deserved attention from young men of noble origins.
His hand slipped, marring the surface of the block of wood he held. Cursing under his breath, Phillip adjusted his hold on the block and drew the cloth pad over the piece of oak until the surface was once again flawless. He set the block onto the wooden rack to dry and picked up the next to repeat the process.
**Due to unforeseen family circumstances on the part of both Kim Bowman and myself, the sequel to A Lot Like A Lady has been delayed but we ARE hard at work on bringing you Annabella’s story. Please accept our apologies for the wait!
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