An Improper Derailment: Chapter 3

Chapter three, where Pythagorus is inappropriate…

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“Oh,” Mary paused as she stepped onto the porch.

Immediately in front of the house, making an infernal rattling noise, and coughing up smoke, a carriage, but no horses rumbled noisily in the road.

Charles climbed up onto the device with the joy of a child.

“Pythagorus, this is astounding!” he called out, loudly so he could be heard about the din.

Py smiled and swaggered to stand next to the contraption.

“Isn’t it just? I’ve the only one in Chicago. I swear the future is steam powered. My uncle already made his fortune thanks to the steam engine. I’m going to make mine with the rail-less passenger compartment.”

“I do believe Charles has found another scheme to invest our income in dear sister,” Janey confided to Mary as the two women stood on the walk gaping in wonderment at the machine.

The wheels, six of them, varied in size from small baby pram sized ones in the front to standard horse carriage ones in the middle to extra tall high wheeler sized ones in the back. Between the largest wheels, an oak barrel bound with shiny copper perched, with what appeared to be a wood-burning kitchen stove attached at the back.

Charles reached down and positively pulled Janey up into the riding compartment, which was barely more than a platform with benches. It was a good thing the weather today was lovely. Mary didn’t think riding this rail-less monstrosity looked to be particularly comfortable. She grimaced at the thought of being hauled up as if she were live stock or having to sit upon it in the rain.. Her face twisted into what she expected to be a most unpleasant continence.

Her sister was married and didn’t need to behave with propriety, but Mary was betrothed to whom she could only assume was a man of position. She needed a means of ascending to the riding platform with decorum. She turned back to look up at Janey’s house. As expected a good portion of the household staff were inappropriately gawping at Pythagorus’s toy.

“Would one of you fetch me a step stool?” she asked the gathering crowd of staff members. A disheveled young boy disappeared in a flash.

“Mary, Mary, Mary why not allow me to raise you to lofty heights in my arms?” Pythagorus lowered his lids to give Mary a positively indecent leer.

Had the subtext of his meaning missed her ears, his expression did not.

“Mr. Peterson you go too far!” Mary reached up and slapped him smartly across the cheek.

“Mary, how dare you?” Janey cried out.

Py chuckled and rubbed a gloved hand over the smarting cheek.

Mary thought she heard him mutter, “Clearly I haven’t gone far enough.”

She shot him a withering glare.

Py gave her a charming grin and made a sweeping gesture at his rail-less metal beast. “I simple meant it is of no consequence for me to lift you aboard. I humbly beg your pardon for my play of words.”

“Miss.” The small scullery lad held up a step stool, presenting his discovery to Mary and Pythagorus Peterson.

“Well done me boy, well done. If this isn’t just the very thing, we’ll take it with us so that when we arrive at our lunch the ladies may descend without difficulty.” Pythagorus swept the stool away from the lad and ruffled the boy’s hair.

He placed the step in the road and held out his hand so that Mary could step up and step again, reaching the platform without incident. Py tossed the stool up before leaping to join his party.

“Hold on my compatriots, we are going to be heading off at the daring speed of almost fifteen miles an hour.”

“I say Py how did you manage to calculate that?” Charles asked. He held onto on the side rails, and leaned forward, not unlike a daring passenger standing at the bow of a ship as it crashed into the oncoming waves.

Janey pulled at his sleeve. “Come back from there it’s dangerous Charles.”

“You know Nate Phillips?” Pythagorus called from the rear of his contraption.

“Nate Nate the one we hate?”

“The very one!”

“Good friend of mine went to boarding school together. Horsey type these days.”

“Precisely, I put the old girl to her paces up against one of his trotters. We took one of his known runners and she was able to match speed.” Py boasted.

“Couldn’t you just as easily timed a measured distance?” Mary asked. Setting up a horse race with this carriage thing seemed like so much fluff and nonsense.

“Where is the fun in that?” Pythagorus turned his attention to some dials and nobs. “Hold on, off we go!”

And with a mighty lurch and a bellow of smoke, the rail-less passenger compartment rolled its way slowly northbound toward their dining destination.

 

©2018 Lulu M Sylvian

 

Join us next month when Mary asks, “Who is that man?”

Catch up from the beginning with Chapter 1

Need a refresher on last month and why did Mary change her gown?

An Improper Derailment: Chapter 2

Chapter two, in which we learn that Grandfather has ruined everything…

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Mary stood and clasped her hands together. “Have Henrietta prepare my puce gown. Janey, you win. I shall be the one to change, green is now too festive for me to wear. Charles, would you be so kind as to write Mr. Peterson and cancel our luncheon? It is no longer appropriate for me to accept his invitation.”

“Good God girl, what has transpired for such drastic actions?” Charles blustered about the sitting room.

“Maybe we could still accompany Mr. Peterson, and explain to Grandfather?” Janey pleaded. At least she understood the predicament their grandfather had put Mary in.

Mary bit her knuckles and faced out the front window. “How can I?” She faced her sister and brother-in-law in the room so quickly her skirts twisted, and twirled one direction and then back in the opposite direction. Mary grabbed a fist of the acidic green skirts to keep the fabric from further movement.

“Janey, show him.” Mary nodded at the crumpled telegraph her sister now held.

Janey held up her hand with the paper to her husband. “Oh, Charles it is simply horrid.”

Charles took the paper. His eyes scanned over the message more than once. “I guess congratulations are in order,” he chuckled with egotistic mirth.

“Oh Charles, how could you?” Janey collapsed against the arm of the couch.

Mary swept from the room and climbed the stairs to her chambers.

Grandfather had secured and accepted a proposal for marriage from a wealthy man in San Francisco. She didn’t even know the man’s name. All Grandfather’s missive said was that she needed to return to San Francisco immediately, a husband has been located for her.

A husband.

Husband.

She shivered. He was probably one of Grandfather’s cronies, old and fat, and slobbery. He wouldn’t have mustaches as handsome as the young Mr. Peterson.

Mary stood numbly as Henrietta changed the festive green dress for the more simple day dress with a smaller, understated bustle.

She descended back to the main floor of the house only to stop in her tracks. She had distinctly remembered requesting that Charles cancel with Mr. Peterson. There had been plenty of time to jot down a note and have it sent out in the post. But here was Mr. Peterson handing over his walking stick and hat.

“Miss Mary, you look well.” His smile was hidden under his waxed and style mustache.

Mary gathered her senses about her and extended her hand in greeting as she continued down the stairs. She had not intended on making an entrance, and yet, here she was, making an entrance.

“Mr. Peterson, I’m caught off guard. Did not Charles send you a note explaining our situation in this morning’s post?”

Pythagorus Peterson pulled Mary into his sphere of space and tucked her hand into the crook of his arm. He stepped toward the parlor.

He held up a folded, yet still sealed, envelope. “This came just as I was stepping out to attend you here. I must confess I have yet to read it. Since I have traveled all the way here why don’t you tell me what this says? Whatever the news I would much rather hear it from your delightful lips.”

A sob escaped Mary’s throat. She turned to hide her face against his arm. “Mr. Peterson you are too bold. You make presumptions.” She pulled away and ran to hide behind the sitting couch, unaware that she posed in the sunlight framed but the front drapes.

Janey stood and reached for Mr. Peterson. “Oh, we have had distressing news, Mr. Peterson. We have only now been made aware that Mary had been betrothed and must return to San Francisco.”

“You see it would be inappropriate for me to dine with you this afternoon,” Mary cried into her handkerchief.

“Nonsense, we are old friends, and we are allowed to dine together. I will hear none of this. Charles would you, your lovely wife, and her delightful sister, please join me for lunch today? The arrangements have all been made, and I am starving. And my dear Mary, now that we have been downgraded to merely friends I insist you call me Py.” He smiled brightly at them all.

Mary blinked tears from her eyes, he was charm itself. She would miss his company once she returned to the bay area.

“Janey you are too lovely in my favorite color not to insist that Charles bring you out this lovely day.” Pythagorus extended his hand to her and pulled her to her feet. He wrapped Janey’s hand around his arm and patted it.

“I expect you to tell me everything you know about Mary’s fiancé, do fill me in.” He guided Janey from the room.

Mary stared at Charles with wide eyes. It looked as if they were headed to lunch at the Palmer House after all, and she was wearing puce.

 

@2018 Lulu M Sylvian

Catch up on last month’s installment, find out why Mary is wearing Puce.

Next month will Py get his cake and eat it too?

Happy Publishing Birthday to ME!

This time last year my published work of fiction was released!

Twelve Strippers of Christmas coming October 2017

The Twelve Strippers of Christmas was the result of an epic challenge, and being the slightly competitive person that I was, I stepped in it.

Most authors will tell you, they are tempted by the “Oh shiny” prospect of the next story, another idea in the middle of a deadline. Two years ago my distractions kept coming in the form of male strippers. They were dancing in, and flexing muscles and demanding my attention.

I described this problem to a few writer friends, and the solution to write short stories to “get these guys out of your hair” was proposed. Which somehow led to a discussion of when to release for holiday novels, which led to:

“If anyone can write a bunch of Christmas strippers
it’s going to be you.”

How could I not prove her right?

Want to know more about the stories in The Twelve Strippers? Click here to find out more, and for all the buy links!

Complete is here!

Happy Book Birthday

As far as Bobby is aware, he is the only one of his kind—a true lone wolf. He fills his days with running his bar, and his nights with emotionless encounters. After all, hooking up with him, the self-proclaimed town man-whore, is as easy as crashing into his buggy in the grocery store. Everything changes when he sees an angel.

When new math teacher Ramona moves to town, Bobby sees a glow around her and is convinced she’s the angel he can finally trust with what he really is. He just has to get her to trust him first…

Ramona is no angel; she’s run away from a relationship gone bad in the big city, to a small town where football is king. The last thing she needs or wants is the town playboy pursuing her. She doesn’t want a man. Doesn’t need one. Her focus is on making sure the star quarterback passes high school math. Her plans fly out the window when Bobby makes an oddball request.

Bobby finally finds a way to be with her—convincing her she can teach him how to be friends with a woman—he’s put himself in the worst position. He has Ramona, but not the way he wants. She’s learning to trust him, but his reputation is holding her back. Can Bobby trust her with the secret he’s managed to keep his whole life? Or will his past put Ramona in danger?

NOW AVAILABLE!

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An Improper Derailment: Chapter 1

Chapter one, where Mary receives bad news…

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Mary sat, perfectly poised. The crumpled telegram in her fist, and the white knuckles rimmed with red, strained skin were the only clues to her anger.

If the message had been delivered an hour earlier she would have taken to her bed, at least for a few days, maybe longer. But she had already endured the ritual torture of being laced in and dressed. Besides, if she took to her bed now she would miss lunch with Mr. Peterson, a cousin to the Washington Porter. Mr. Chicago fruit himself. Her grandfather should be pleased she was making such prudent and profitable connections.

Janey at least was thrilled that Mr. Peterson began calling on her younger sister. They had a constant delivery of fresh fruits, thanks to the Porter family connection. She told Mary this at every turn.

“Was Mr. Peterson to be expected today? Do you think he will bring us some oranges? Would it be rude of me to ask if he could get us grapes? They ship wine don’t they?”

She always asked Mary with a mischievous wistful air, but she never once spoke of fruit or wine to Mr. Peterson directly.

Mary breathed through her nose slowly. She had to calm her nerves or she would do herself a grievance. This corset was laced a bit too tightly. That was for the benefit of her lunch companion. He had stated he was taking them to the Palmer House, and then a stroll afterward.

Janey and her husband Charles would accompany them to lunch. And then the chaperones would ever so discreetly walk a distance behind them during their stroll so they could discuss matters privately.

Mary anticipated a declaration of some form this afternoon. A request to speak to her grandfather, maybe even an actual proposal, after all, Mr. Peterson was a bit daring when it came to the rules of proper society. He had already insisted that Mary refer to him by his nickname Py. She couldn’t even bring herself to call him by his given name of Pythagoras.

But this telegram changed everything.

“Mary I do believe—” Janey stopped abruptly as she swept into the parlor. “Well, this won’t do. We both can’t wear green.” She coughed delicately into a handkerchief. “You need to go put on that lavender dress.”

Mary did not suppress the glare she gave her sister. If anyone should change it was Janey. She looked dreadful in green. Almost as if she too took on a verdigris pallor emphasized by her color choice.

Charles languidly strolled in after his wife. “I say, that telegraph was inconveniently early.”

Mary wanted to scoff at his complaint as if he were the one to open the door and shoo the poor boy away. At the time Charles was barely awake and in a dressing gown.

“What telegraph?” All thoughts of almost matching dresses gone from Janey’s head in a blink.

The longer Mary stayed in Chicago, the longer she realized how well matched those two were. Selfish to the core. Charles may be self-centered, but he was ridiculously wealthy, and that’s why grandfather allowed Mary to visit for so long.

Grandfather was a forty-niner, and he struck gold. But everything for him became about hitting the next vein of wealth. Mary knew he was living off the remaining dust of his fortune, and he expected his granddaughters to keep him elevated in the financial ranks.

The easiest and only way for this to happen was for them to marry wealthy. Mary was ahead of the game. A match with the Porter family, even a cousin of the Porter family should make the man happy. But he was an interfering bastard.

Mary felt her eye widen and her cheeks flush with the rude thought.

With as deep of a breath as she could manage, she handed the crumpled paper over to her sister.

Janey stumbled as her knees weakened.

Charles led his wife to the settee next to Mary.

Janey gave Mary a look of pained pity.

“I guess lunch is canceled then?”

 

@2018 Lulu M Sylvian

Find out what the telegraph says next month…

Longing Release day! Happy Book Birthday!

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Longing, Legatum 4

Lucy has a dangerous past, one she thought she left behind. She abandoned every element of it except for one, her best friend Shane. Now the life she has created is shattering, and Lucy finds herself clinging to Shane for support.

Shane hates everything about his past and prefers to live as if certain events never occurred. Except for one, meeting Lucy. He can’t let Lucy go, he can’t have her either.

A chain of events puts Shane in Lucy’s presence in time to be there for her while her marriage falls apart and as her troubling past weaves its way back into her life. In order to have a future with him, she goes in search of closure, only to discover her past holds more deceptive secrets than she ever imagined.

 

Now available

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Complete, now available for pre-sale

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Complete, Legatum Book 5

As far as Bobby is aware, he is the only one of his kind—a true lone wolf. He fills his days with running his bar, and his nights with emotionless encounters. After all, hooking up with him, the self-proclaimed town man-whore, is as easy as crashing into his buggy in the grocery store. Everything changes when he sees an angel.

When new math teacher Ramona moves to town, Bobby sees a glow around her and is convinced she’s the angel he can finally trust with what he really is. He just has to get her to trust him first…

Ramona is no angel; she’s run away from a relationship gone bad in the big city, to a small town where football is king. The last thing she needs or wants is the town playboy pursuing her. She doesn’t want a man. Doesn’t need one. Her focus is on making sure the star quarterback passes high school math. Her plans fly out the window when Bobby makes an oddball request.

Bobby finally finds a way to be with her—convincing her she can teach him how to be friends with a woman—he’s put himself in the worst position. He has Ramona, but not the way he wants. She’s learning to trust him, but his reputation is holding her back. Can Bobby trust her with the secret he’s managed to keep his whole life? Or will his past put Ramona in danger?

now available

Available now for 99 cent pre-sale!

AMAZON – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G758JRH?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420
KOBO – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/complete-10
NOOK – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/complete-lulu-m-sylvian/1129241045?ean=2940161586372
IBOOKS – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/complete/id1422558244?mt=11
GOOGLE – https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Lulu_M_Sylvian_Complete?id=q1tnDwAAQBAJ

Complete: WIP-IT Wednesday

A pre-edited sneak peak at the 5th Legatum book.

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“Homework?” He asked, resting on the opposite bench for a moment.

“Yep, grading. I was hoping a change of scenery and some food would make this easier.” She rubbed the back of her neck.

“That sounds like it’s not working.”

“It’s not. I don’t know.” She rested her cheek in her palm, elbow resting on the table. She stared at the papers. “The students need an algebra brick upside their heads and I need a bubble bath.”

“The thing that always helped me with math, was context.” Bobby leaned back looking at the other customers, seeing if he was needed. He was. “I’ll be back.” He stood and left.

Ramona was still staring at the papers, she hadn’t moved when he returned with her french fries.

She popped a hot fry in her mouth, and chewed.

“As I was saying, context. I could care less about watermelons, but when Brad helped me he always put it into terms of the shop. How many cars how many parts, how to know what to order next. Have you tried that yet?”

“I need to. They were talking about that at my last school. How to prepare for the zombie apocalypse, food storage and stuff. How many cans of peaches to survive the first winter. How fast your gun shoots, how many bullets you need. That’s not a bad idea actually. I’m going to have to go over all of this again, why not. Thanks Bobby.” She popped another fry into her mouth, and smiled. “I’m going to need a burger for while I grade the rest of this.”

“BLT burger or you looking to branch out?”

“I’m going to live dangerously, can you add cheese to that?”

Bobby chuckled, “You are living dangerously.”

Ramona picked up the next paper in front of her. Teaching math with zombies, might actually work. She just hoped it wouldn’t get her into trouble with Principal Grover. He seemed to like to keep a tight reign on standards and how lessons were presented. The homework assignments seemed to get worse and worse as she continued grading.

Bobby arrived with her hamburger. “You’re still looking stressed.” He put the sandwich down in front of her, then reached behind her and began kneading her shoulders. Ramona felt like melting. Bobby’s hands were large and warm. His strong fingers dug into the tense muscles supporting her neck. “Your neck is like a rock.”

Ramona suppressed a groan, the massage felt so good. She felt like all of her muscles turned to jello. Bobby did know how to touch, okay this wasn’t the touch her friends seemed to seek out, but she would take it. “You need to go home and soak in a hot tub, that will help.” His thumbs continued to press circles next to her spine. Ramona could barely think.

“Ahh, I don’t have a tub, just a walk in shower. It sucks.”

Bobby continued working his hands over her shoulders.

“I think you missed your calling. You would make a killing as a masseuse.” Ramona almost purred.

His hands stopped, he patted Ramona on the shoulder. “I have a tub you can borrow.”

“What? Really? I don’t want to impose, but oh my God really?”

“Yeah, be right back.”

Ramona sat stunned. Bobby had a tub, and he was going to let her use it. Oh no, he’s hitting on me, wait Bobby never does that, he doesn’t need to. Her thoughts raced from the joy of a tub, to being worried if it was a come-on, and if she really wanted to be another notch on his belt or not. He was good looking, and nice, and that massage had felt so good. She wouldn’t mind a full body rub down. All the tension he had managed to work out of her neck returned. She shook her head, stop over thinking girl. She focused on eating her hamburger.

“Okay,” he was back. “I have an outdoor tub.”

“A hot tub?” Oh, that would be perfect she thought.

“No, just a tub. A really big tub. It has its own hot water heater, so it could be a hot tub, but no bubbles. I’m here all night, so if you wanted you could go over an use it.”

“Are you serious?” Ramona’s eyes were large saucers as she eagerly looked at Bobby. A tub! A bath!

“Yeah,” he chuckled. “Look my dogs will be out, but they won’t bother you. Just tell them to shut up, use their names so they think they know you.” He picked up the pencil she had been marking papers with, tore off a sheet from his order book, and scribbled down his address.

“I’m out on east 2280, dented white mailbox just past a red cattle gate. Una is the big brown hound, Deuce looks like a white pit, Tre is the gray mutt. They are all bark. Like I said, use their names tell them to shut up, and they will calm down. Tre might jump a bit, but they’re harmless.”

Ramona took the scribbled address. “Your dogs are named one-two-three?”

“And the cat is Cat.”