That Potent Alchemy — full steam ahead!

Now that She Whom I Love is off to the proofreader (ugh) I finally have a few free moments to crack back in to That Potent Alchemy. Can I say, first, how excited I am that Mosaic Stock is open now? (and they’ll be doing period shoots — ahhhhhh!) Just in time to maybe, somehow, find a decent cover for this one. The realm of choice in 19th-century Black couples is… probably not quite zero, but incredibly minimal. Hopefully this is the beginning of change.

In the meantime, have an unedited snippet from That Potent Alchemy. Isaac, stage crew at the Surrey Theater in London, the summer of 1811, sees Grace for the first time.

Isaac was only just throwing the latches on the brass-cornered box when the actors began to wander in to the hall. A few of them, he recognized. Red-haired Lucy, who believed more strongly in astrology than most men believed in the Church of England; Frederick with his pompous airs covering the attacks of nerves he suffered before every performance night; young Thomas who collected saucy broadsheets and woodcut prints and saved them all in a scrapbook.

And there among them, someone new. Isaac set his tool chest down in the wings, where he—and it—would be well out of the way, and watched for a moment more.

She was dark, that was the first thing he noticed. Darker than he was, the creamy color of the petticoat she wore set in contrast against the rose-warm heat of her brown skin. Some of her hair curled down around her face, the careful-set spirals of modern fashion, the rest held back in bands that kept it close to her head.

She wore no rings on her fingers, no wedding band. That didn’t necessarily mean anything, but his eyes went there nevertheless, lingering only a little too long on the elegant curl of her fingers, the graceful movements of her arm, the poise with which she held her head high and surveyed her world.

Her figure was slim, trim and neat, and if she wore stays beneath her costume they did little to nothing to enhance her bust.

She held herself like a dancer, and when she moved, she moved like a queen.