The Lamplighter's Love
Mary has trained for years to become the next Lamplighter of London. When her chance comes, however, she realizes the massive difference engines of the Lampworkers’ guild would be a cold substitute indeed for the passion she’s begun to explore with the current Lamplighter, Nicholas.
Though fate, it seems, is determined to separate them. A rival threatens to upset all Mary’s hopes and dreams within the guild, and with her newfound love.
Through intrigue and deception, bitter contention and scorching erotic discovery, Mary and Nicholas find new ways to get what they need as they create a future together.
A 2013 EPIC Award Finalist
Excerpt from The Lamplighter's Love
Copyright © Delphine Dryden, 2011. All Rights Reserved.
“Lamplighters are too well known by the guild rank and file to kill us all off, is the problem, but we know too much to risk our disgruntlement. And so the Crown appeases us this way. They have for the past sixty years or so. But what none of us ever get back, Mary, is the one truly important thing we’ve lost, and that is time.”
“Time? But you’re only twenty-nine, that’s not so old.”
“Old enough,” he snorted. “But it isn’t a question of starting a bit late, Mary. It’s all that I’ve missed during that time. I’ve spent most of the past ten years in this room. One hour off at noon and six each day, seven hours of rest and sleep just upstairs. Do you know I was your age, nineteen, the last time I saw the sun? The last time I shared a meal with my family. The last time…”
She waited for him to resume, but instead of words she felt a touch, featherlight against her knee. Through the heavy work skirt she felt it, and then a firmer tug on the fabric.
“Sir? Nicholas? What…what are you doing?”
“The guild leaders are old fools, Mary. They think they can change human nature by simply ignoring it. And they think if they appoint a young woman as Lamplighter, she won’t give them half the trouble of a man. Because if she’s been sheltered enough, she simply won’t know what she’s missing. But I don’t think that’s right. Or fair. You should know what you’re agreeing to give up. Amberherst already does, God knows.”
“Nicholas,” she repeated, now breathlessly, “what are you doing?”
She knew what he was doing. He was unbuttoning the front placket of her practical skirt, the better to sweep it aside. And now he was pushing her thin petticoat out of the way to look at her nearly bare legs. And now he was pushing his body between her knees, parting them and finishing the destruction of her modesty as the gusset in her drawers spread open.
She jerked at the restraints on her wrists, feeling for the first time in years a sense of claustrophobia in the confines of the Chair. But with her hands as good as shackled, and her head boxed in by the mirrored framework, she could not escape.
Nor was she quite sure she wanted to.