From the erotic pen of Viveka Portman comes the latest instalment in the sexiest set of diaries you have ever read…
When Miss Martha Swan enters the fine home of
Lord and Lady Stanton to become a governess, she is full of lofty
ideals. Yet something is amiss in the hallowed halls of Stanton:
whispers, laughter, and something darker and more wicked
echoes from behind closed doors, and Martha is determined to find out
soon discovers that all is not what it seems in this stately home. The
lord and lady have secrets - lustful, carnal, shameful secrets that
could spell ruination
for all. Martha wants to be appalled, but she finds herself intrigued,
and when her long time friend Mr Jonathan Reeves comes to visit, Martha
conceives a daring plan to assuage her curiosity.
Thing are not so simple however, as neither Martha
nor Jonathan have the money to marry. Nothing can come from this
relationship - nothing but the experience of ecstasy.
In such a
situation, what is a curious governess
Meet Miss Martha Swan, a curious governess with a very light step...
I like to think I have a good eye for the finer things, and had paused before marvellous marble statue of Achilles battling the Amazon Penthesilea. As a woman who wishes for independence, I have a place in my heart for the Greek heroic tales of Penthesilea and her sisters. Such strong women, with lives cut so brutally short by the men so eager to dominate them. Was the fate of the Amazons not echoed countless times after, even today? Were not men still forcing women to submit to them, whether it be their daughters or their wives? Were not countless ladies, many of my own peers in fact, pushed into arranged marriages to serve men and bear children? I knew the truth of it even if others seemed blind.
I stared at the marble Penthesilea, her beautiful face contorted in eternal agony by a futile battle. Her breast had fallen from her dress, as she collapsed before Achilles beaten but defiant. I glanced up at Achille’s face, so stern, enraged.
Was every woman a Penthesilea, Hippolyta or Melanippe?
As I pondered this profound notion I heard a most peculiar sound.
A giggle, a grunt and sounds of whispers. I frowned, the very skin my arms prickled beneath my shawl. I stood still once more, looking from the agonised face of Penthesilea down the corridor towards the sound’s origin.
More grunting - undeniably masculine grunting.
A gentle feminine cry.
Something tightened in my belly at the sound. I found myself abandoning the statue of the suffering Amazon and begin to walk down the corridor.
I confess my interest in the epic battles of the statues and the delights of the magnificent portraits that decorated the walls had all but diminished. I felt a peculiar sense of urgency lead me forwards towards the mysterious and strangely exciting sounds.
The character of Miss Martha Swan is one of my favourites in the Regency Diaries. She desperately wants to be an intellectual and independent woman, but in her naive attempts to be that paragon, she ends up sexually frustrated, disillusioned and terribly lonely.
Martha's story is one of self-discovery and acceptance, and was an utter pleasure to write. Her studies of Mrs Hester Chapone became my studies and I'm grateful to have enriched my knowledge on the righteous Georgian beliefs because of it.
I hope my readers enjoy this one as much as I have!
Eleven amazing Erotic Romance Writers including myself, have been working together to produce Escape Publishing's new and exciting series, Secret Confessions: Sydney Housewives.
NOW AVAILABLE IN PRINT!
Emma, is my first foray into writing Contemporary Erotic Romance.
Each book focuses on the life and loves of one Sydney socialite housewife and you won't believe what happens behind closed doors in these wealthy households.
money, a gorgeous pro-surfer husband, healthy son, and a new house
overlooking the ocean – it looks like Emma Ross has it all, but inside
she’s torn apart by insecurities and her failure to have another child.
She knows that she’s putting her relationship in jeopardy, so to make up
for their difficulties, Emma gives Rosco carte blanche in the bedroom.
But is explosive sex enough to save a marriage that is falling apart
from the inside?
Comments on EMMA:
On the surface of it all, Emma’s life is one that anyone would envy, however it only takes a moment to realise that underneath the veneer, she struggles with issues that face many women. I understood her, and how her insecurities about her marriage and infertility have led her to become who she has. Viveka has given Emma’s actions and reactions to situations throughout the story a real air of truth.
It is as plain as day to see the intensity of Emma and Rosco’s relationship, and the deep love and attraction that they share. Rosco understands that his wife is suffering, and he gives her the space to work through it – without abandoning her to the problems or forcing her into a situation she can’t handle. The strain that the treatments and endless travel has put on their relationship isn’t ignored, and it manifests itself in some really intense moments.
The intimate moments between Emma and Rosco reflect their relationship, and all their frustrations and emotions boil over into some really freaking hot sexytimes.
I loved how the resolution came, and I am super-glad that Viveka avoided making it all saccharine-sweet.
Eight from eight, and the hits just keep on coming. It’s time to work through the Viveka Portman backlist now, I think!
“There is one fact I cannot hide nor deny. I have born my husband no sons…”
Lord Jacob Fielding suffers a traumatic injury denying him more
children, it devastates both his present and his future. He and his wife
Jane have only daughters, and the brother
in line to inherit his title and lands is a disgusting reprobate, a man
who should never have power over anyone.
desperation, Lord Fielding formulates a wicked plan. He invites his
distant cousin Matthew to come and share their home...and possibly more.
Jane is shocked, but cannot deny
her curiousity. She loves her husband, their situation is
desperate, and Matthew is a kind, gentle, attractive man. But what can
this situation bring, but tension and jealousy?
and libidos run high as the Fielding men search for a way to satisfy
the need for an heir, their own lusts, and, most importantly, the
desires of Lady Jane, before time
I was utterly plagued with doubts. So much so that I went to my sideboard and poured myself a glass of wine from the decanter there, to try and still my nerves. Hours seemed to pass, or perhaps it was minutes, but I returned to the bed. I lay there, staring at the candles as they flickered in unseen and unfelt drafts. It seemed an age of anxious waiting until the door to my rooms creaked, and a shadowy figure entered.
‘Matthew?’ I whispered, for at this distance I could not tell the difference between him and my own husband.
‘Yes,’ came his deep response.
‘Oh.’ I sat up in the bed, peering through the darkness beyond the candlelight. He was still dressed for dinner, though his jacket had been removed.
My heart beat traitorously loud; I was certain he must hear it. He stepped closer, and within a moment his face was illuminated by the candle. My breath caught in my throat - he was so similar to Jacob but so different as well. His jaw was sharply angled and his eyes shadowed by his brow.
We were completely silent. What could I say?
It seemed that we stayed hesitating for an age before he moved even closer to the bed, like a horse shy of its master.
‘Shall I assist in the removal of your boots?’ I asked.
Matthew looked startled, and licked his lower lip. ‘Ah, no, I am quite capable, my thanks.’ He sank down onto the side of the bed, and I watched curiously as his large hands unlaced his boots and his stockinged feet touched the hard floors.
‘Are you…’ I began weakly, ‘able to do this? For I shall not blame you if you are not.’
The Private Affairs of Lady Jane Fielding is the 3rd tale in 'The Regency Diary' series.
"Why does Lady Cecelia Stanton stay with her husband?"
VP: There are a number of reasons why a woman in Cecelia's position would remain with a philandering husband.
Prior to the development of the Married Women's Property Act 1884 - a woman and her all her incumbent property were transferred into the ownership of her husband upon her marriage. Thus if she chose to leave, she would have no finance with which she could support herself - unless she could find a benefactor willing to accept the social stain a divorced woman would place on them. For this to occur Cecelia would have to reduce herself to beg for assistance, a situation that would be highly distasteful for any woman in her social class. For many women it was preferable to tolerate their husbands infidelities and weaknesses than suffer the disgrace of divorce and resultant dependence on another, or the other alternative, poverty.
"Lord Stanton is such a cad and manwhore... were there really men like him? And women willing to put up with men like that?"
VP: Yes and Yes. In my research I read extensively about a gentleman named James Boswell, who wrote 33 years of diaries. His diaries describe his multiple affairs with whores, mistresses and actresses - but also go into extensive detail about his love for his wife. Boswell, like the fictional Stanton cared deeply for his wife, but was, at least during periods of their marriage quite the libertine. You can buy a copy of Boswell's London Journals HERE.
Boswell's wife, on several occasions reproached her philandering husband for his actions, but always forgave him. No one truly knows Mrs Boswell's reasons for doing so - but one can assume it was much for the reasons suggested above.
There was a massive sexual dichotomy during Georgian and Regency times. The upper-classes were surprisingly sexually permissive for the gentlemen, but not so for the women. In some cases it was even expected that the gentleman may seek his sexual pleasures elsewhere, and in these cases there was often an agreement between the husband and wife. In Boswell's case, his wife's only stipulation was that he did not love those other women - and in this regard, he was fairly faithful.
"Can a wet nurse - really lactate for seven years - like Nancy?"
VP: Of course. A woman can lactate for as long as there is stimulation to the milk ducts of her breasts. Additionally, milk production can be re-stimulated through sucking/expressing or herbal remedies.There are cases in which certain families retained the same wet nurse for over twenty-years. I read somewhere (but cannot find evidence of it) that the oldest living wet-nurse was actually an octogenarian. So Nancy's tenure of seven years as a wet-nurse (surprising though it may be today) was a fairly common occurrence right up until the Victorian era.
Wet nurses were paid substantially more than maids and a good milk producing wet-nurse was a commodity that a family would like to keep. Most wet nurses were either married women with offspring of their own who were looking for extra money, or young women who'd got pregnant and needed to support themselves.
"Did doctors really think it was bad to have sex whilst you were pregnant in Regency times?"
VP: This depends of the physician, but was not an uncommon belief during this era. Though research into human biology was gathering momentum during this time, old beliefs still carried through. Many believed that sex during pregnancy could cause bad humours in the child, stimulate miscarriage, distress the baby, and pollute the womb. In the case of Cecelia and William Stanton, their physician was likely to know about William's sexually promiscuous lifestyle - and warned against intercourse during pregnancy to prevent William transferring a venereal disease to his wife and child.
"How did Lord Stanton never get a venereal disease / sexually transmitted infection?"
Just because Cecelia doesn't know of any venereal disease, it does not mean William never caught one. The tale is told from her point of view in a diary, and therefore the reader (and Cecelia herself) is not privy to what happened in London. One can assume he did not catch anything, or perhaps consider the length of his absences as time to recover from bouts of venereal disease.
The most common venereal disease during this time was in fact gonorrhoea - a bacterial infection also known as the 'clap'. Most women with this condition are unaware of it, believing symptoms to be a urinary tract infection. Similarly some men have few symptoms, but most have a discharge from the penis, burning upon urination and sometimes swollen testes. Gonorrhoea made its first appearance into English historical texts sometime in 1611. Initially, it was treated most commonly by mercury being ingested or injected up the male urethra. Later in the 19th Century, silver nitrate was used as well as powders from foreign trees. Treatment was expensive, and the length of time it took to recover varied.
In the historical diaries of James Boswell, he speaks of suffering over twenty bouts of gonorrhoea - usually as a result of using lower class prostitutes. On each and every occasion he suffered the infection, Boswell refrained from relations with his wife to ensure he was fully recovered before returning to her. One would hope that other promiscuous husbands of the time would do the same. Thus, if Lord Stanton had caught gonorrhoea it is most likely he too would remain absent from his wife until it was safe to rejoin her.
Additionally, condoms were available during this time for prophylactic use, and in Cecelia's diary, she questions him about their use as a contraceptive - and wishes him to procure some for their own use.
There were naturally other venereal diseases around this time, but none quite so prevalent as gonorrhoea. Interestingly syphilis - which would eventually kill the sufferer - was less rampant during the 18th and 19th centuries than previously and less of a concern to the promiscuous members of society.
If you have any other book related questions you'd like to find out the answers to, leave comment and I'll respond.