Environs of Paris, France

January, 1793

“Mon amour,” Mademoiselle Colette Marceau whispered beseechingly, “please don’t make me wait any longer. Show yourself.”  She huffed, faint clouds of breath pirouetting in the silent frigid air like the buoyant trim of a young ballerina’s tutu. The sprawling Marceau estate boasted of twelve grand fireplaces, thirteen if one counted the kitchen, yet the cinders in the room’s hearth had grown cold – unattended and unobserved by Colette. Fire, of a different sort, was on her mind.

And so my story “To Trust Temptation” begins.

I’ve had a fascination with all things French for a long time.  But who can blame me?  My earliest memories are of relatives, friends, strangers singing (in their French/New Jersey accents) “Michele, ma belle…”  I suppose there are worst words to be called than “belle”, worst songs with names…like Lola.

Naturally, the setting of my WIP is Paris, France during the beginning of the Reign of Terror. A terribly complex and chaotic period when men like Robespierre, Marat, and Danton vied for power; ironically, they imprisoned and executed King Louis XVI for nepotism and absolute rule (which in my humble opinion, the aspired to achieve to a certain degree).

Jacques-Louis David is one of my favorite artists.  I had a chance to view an extensive exhibit in Paris years ago and to my joy, “The Death of Marat” was included.  An interesting (and horrible) person.  A doctor, a “scientist”, and the newspaperman responsible for printing the names of accused nobles to be sent to Mlle. Guillotine, Marat had an incurable skin disease so much of his time was spent in a bathtub.

A few years prior to the revolution, Marat was rejected by the Academy of Sciences; the study he chose to present for admission was on mesmerism (yes, similar to hypnosis).  He was scoffed at and spurned.

Great fodder for a novel!

“To Trust Temptation” is an historical suspense with an espionage twist.  Colette Marceau is a well-respected scientist passionate about one thing; sulfur.  Ryan is a British spy on a hopeless mission to end the revolution or at least, to stop it from spreading ideas to England.  Dressed as a sans-culotte and using the name Justin Corbel, he is thoroughly ensconced within his role as revolutionary.  And then there is Marat and his skin ailment. A scientist, a spy/revolutionary, and the man responsible for thousands of deaths.

Can you imagine the possibilities?  Does my muse…amuse? I hope so!

“To Trust Temptation” is the second in a series called “The Passionate Provocateurs”.