The Secret Diary of Lady Catherine BexleyBy: Viveka Portman
In the vein of Portia Da Costa and Charlotte Featherstone, Regency England gets just a bit raunchy in this novella about a gently-raised lady who wants to feel like a woman…
“I have never seen fit in my life to divulge my secrets in a diary, yet now, after today’s proceedings, I do…”
Lady Catherine Bexley is new to marriage and the marriage bed, but surely there must be more to it than this? Her husband is proper and perfunctory — treating her with careful respect but leaving her aching for more.
When she witnesses a gentleman disciplining a maid at a house party, the ache explodes into ravenous desire. She finds herself no longer willing to wait for her husband’s stiff and passionless attentions — and soon develops a naughty plan to finally get what she wants.
I’d like to acknowledge and thank Escape Publishing for giving Lady Catherine Bexley an opportunity to shine, and also Shona Husk for reading the draft and believing in it.
To all the lovers of regency romance — enjoy.
Thursday 24 June 1813
I have never seen fit in my life to divulge my secrets in a diary, yet now, after today’s proceedings, I do. You see, today was my wedding day, and the things that have happened have set a fire within me. I fear I am becoming wanton. It has been hours since my husband has left my rooms, yet still, sleep evades me. Explicit thoughts run merry through my mind and I am in deep need of respite.
It is, therefore, my most fervent hope that in purging my thoughts in this diary, I may at length, find the path to purity of thought once again.
Allow me to explain. Tonight, unsurprisingly, was the first time my husband has come upon me — yet even recalling the act causes an ache deep betwixt my thighs; and despite bathing, a dampness still soaks through my undergarments. Am I craven? Am I cursed with unchaste thoughts? I fear so.
Earlier this eve, I lay waiting in my bed, excitement and fear running through me. At nineteen, I have seen what a male dog does to a bitch, and once happened upon a stallion and mare. To my shame, I enjoy watching the mating. A filthy habit, but a habit none the less. On our first marital ride from Saint Mary’s Church to Bexley’s Hall, I glimpsed a dog with its bitch. The dog was pale yellow and shaggy haired, the other black and lean. In the full glory of sunlight, that male dog pummelled wildly into the bitch, and I stared as it did. A pleasing, but unsettling sensation grew between my legs. I realised then that my husband was watching me. Those cool eyes flickered from me to the dogs. I couldn’t help but wonder, would my Lord husband take me like a dog takes a bitch? Forgive me, but I hoped so, as it did look thrilling.
It was late this eve, when all formalities were done, the door to my rooms creaked open and my husband finally entered to take his conjugal rights.
As ever, he remained aloof and distant. ‘Good evening, my lady,’ he spoke.
‘Good evening, my lord,’ I whispered back, my breath catching in my chest. I wore only the white silk slip given to me by my mother for this very purpose. I sat up, allowing the blanket to fall and expose its neckline low upon my breast. Yet my lord did not gaze on me as I had expected.
I feel I must clarify: I had not met my husband prior to our wedding. My father had organised our union some months prior. Marriage is a duty, I realise, and one can only hope that affection and mutual understanding will develop in time. I do, however, know of my husband’s impressive reputation. He is the very model of masculine propriety, and though many years my senior, he is a handsome and honourable man.
‘Do you know what will happen within the marriage bed?’ he asked, his voice still soft.
My breath caught again, and I couldn’t answer.
He continued, ‘We shall consummate our marriage this night.’ His tone was solemn. ‘In this act I shall plant my seed within your womb and by the grace of God, sire a son upon you.’
‘Yes,’ I breathed. Sweat began to bead between the mounds of my bosom. I would discover the secrets of the marriage bed. The notion thrilled me and scared me in equal measure.
Whether my husband took my deep inhalation for fear, I can only suppose, as his voice became even gentler, and he began to instruct me as a governess may instruct a simple child.
‘Remove the blanket and lift your skirts,’ he said, still standing before my bed.
With a hand that trembled only slightly I pulled back the covers. My nightdress had already ridden up over my knees and I wrestled with it a little higher then stopped, believing it to be sufficient.
‘I’ll need it higher than that,’ he said gently. His hand loosened the knot in the belt of his dressing gown and it fell open. He was naked. I had never seen a naked man until that moment. My husband’s body was truly fine of form, well kept for his age of forty-eight. My gaze slunk lower down the plains of his chest, smattered with dark hair, down his stomach to the thing that jutted eagerly from betwixt his thighs. Such a thing I have never seen. It seemed eager for me, frighteningly so. The dogs I had seen had small pink things, nothing like what my husband possessed in his breeches. His was thick and rigid. Was he was going to put it in me? I confess I felt great fear then. My hands froze on my nightdress.