We’re closing in on a month away from pre-orders, and the reviews have started coming in! I am so excited — She whom I Love is sitting at 5 stars on Goodreads right now, and I couldn’t be happier! If you’re looking for a review copy, do let me know. SWIL is currently up on Netgalley, for those who have access there, and I have some ARCs that need to find good homes.
In the meantime, to whet your appetite a little have an excerpt! In this scene, Sarah (Sophie) is visiting Marguerite, and struggling with the feelings her best friend has inadvertently dredged up from deep within… (mildly explicit language, pining, apparently unrequited F/F lust).
It should have been odd, Sarah mused, lying there on Meg’s bed, her oldest and dearest friend curled up in her arms. Their conversation, such as it had been, had died away after her latest vain attempt at guiding Meg to better choices. And yet here they lay, curled up against each other as they had when they were children.
But they were neither of them children any longer.
Meg had blossomed first of the pair of them, drawing eyes and compliments in the street from the moment her bosom had begun to grow. No girl in the world loved the attention more; taking to the stage to be the center of everyone’s regard had been the only natural choice. And she was only more beautiful now, as an adult, her long legs curving into plump thighs, her waist so little that she seemed half drowned by the high-bodiced dresses that were all the rage, a creamy golden hue to her skin that, while not fashionable white and pink, turned her coal-black hair and coral lips into splashes of dramatic contrast.
Dramatic contrast indeed. Everything about Meg is a dramatic contrast, never mind her pretty breasts and—
Sarah banished the thought with a flash of guilt. Dalliances with some of the giddy demimondaines she knew were one thing, but this was Meg. For the honor of their friendship, she could think no such heady things. Remember Liliane’s long legs, rather, Jeremiah’s broad hands, or Katerina’s biting kisses instead.
Meg sighed softly, half asleep, and curled her hand against Sarah’s hip. Her bottom lip jutted out, a perfect plump promise, and something untoward burned hot in the middle of Sarah’s chest.
Sarah was no retiring virgin—she knew full well what it meant to desire and be desired. And there were always men and women whose desires tended towards the lesser-trodden paths. She had found bliss in a woman’s kiss before; it was safer by far than the powerful, terrifyingly thrilling love of men. But this?
Meg felt wondrously right in her arms, a delicious swell of firm curves. Her slow, deep breaths made her chest rise, so that if she tilted her head at the right angle Sarah could see the dark pink edge of her nipple pressed against the soft linen and lace of her shift—
To look, to think about such things, when Meg had no earthly idea—it was a betrayal, and one Sarah would never forgive herself for if she took advantage.
If she knew, Meg would never feel safe with her again.
If she knew what? What, precisely, am I contemplating doing?
Kissing Meg was out of the question. She had always behaved toward Sarah more as a sister than a lover, and so Sarah should do the same—not betray their friendship by trying to make it become something more. Lying here, on the crumpled bedclothes illuminated only by the dim light of a single flickering candle end, the soft scent of orange blossoms and soap lingering in the air, with Meg warm and lithe, their legs intertwined and breasts pressed against one another’s…it was all too much, all at once.
The hour was late; Sarah had to be home. She wanted nothing more in the world than to slide back in beside Meg, press kisses against her eyelids until she awakened.
She could suckle at Meg’s pert nipples, caress and tease them to hardness with her tongue and the edges of her teeth. Meg’s small and perfect breasts would fit in the palms of Sarah’s hands, her golden skin and the roundness of her belly crying out for Sarah’s lips, her teeth. She would suck pink weals into Meg’s skin, bite at the curve of her hipbone, then spread Meg’s cunny lips and slide her tongue along the sweet pink folds of skin. Meg would writhe under her, buck and cry out, clench tight around Sarah’s fingers deep inside.
All this bounty, here in Sarah’s arms, delicious and warm and sweet. All she had to do was declare herself.
And then what? Even if she could possibly love me in return, if we are caught, we will be turned in to Bedlam. Or worse, to the stocks, like those poor men last year.
Sarah tipped her head, pressing a single (soft, tender, chaste) kiss to the top of Meg’s head, and she slipped her arm out from beneath Meg’s shoulders. The cool air struck her like a blow when she sat up, and Sarah shivered, despite the heat pooling low in her belly. She tied on her bonnet and her cape, turning only when she heard a small noise. Meg had rolled over, now entirely asleep, sprawling loose-limbed and vital across the plain white sheets. Sarah stepped quietly to the bedside and drew the coverlet up over Meg, to keep her warm.
“Good night, dearest,” Sarah whispered softly. She wanted to kiss her.
She turned and left instead, being sure to latch the door.