So there I was, barefoot and cross-legged on the floor, laptop propped on a low table in front of a big window, fingers poised to pounce on the keyboard to write this blog, sunlight from a brilliantly clear, cool autumn day feeling delicious between my shoulder blades‑‑when I felt a tickling sensation on my ankle.
In my experience, sudden tickling sensations in the ankle area are generally caused by cat whiskers. I figured my cat was sniffing me in preparation for hopping up to walk across my keyboard, which makes me yell, which he thinks is hilarious, so I glanced down.
A teeny, tiny spider had reached the summit of my anklebone and was charting a rapid course up my pant leg.
As far as I’m concerned, this is the wrong direction for a spider to be going. For its own good I blew it off course with one mighty gust.
It landed a few inches away from my foot, sat motionless for a moment, either indignant or stunned, then zipped off across the room on some sort of spidery business, no worse for wear.
I figured it was a sign of some sort, as I’d planned to write about the critters in Like No Other Lover. Our hero Miles Redmond is a renowned explorer, a naturalist who’s braved tropical fevers and cannibals and all manner of privations in order to satisfy his thirst for discovery. He appreciates animals‑he can’t imagine life without them‑but his specialty is entomology (insects) and in many ways they’re the metaphorical language means through which he and Cynthia come to know and respect and understand each other, and in some ways symbolic of how they ultimately fall in love: he first notices her at a ball because the color of her skirt, out of the corner of his eye, reminds him of Morpho retenor Helena, an exquisite, iridescent blue tropical butterfly. A spider has taken up residence in the corner of Cynthia’s guest room at the Redmond house, and (once Miles explains the spider is harmless and that they make splendid housekeepers) the spider (she names it Susan), because a symbol, a talisman for Cynthia of the simultaneous fragility and strength and resiliency of her own life circumstances. Miles gives Cynthia the best and most indirect compliment of her life by comparing her to a spider (which might have appalled a lot of other women); and then he impulsively surprises her (and himself) by giving her a kitten, a compulsion he scarcely understands‑he just knows for some reason he needs to give her something. It turns out to be pure instinct on his part; it’s the best gift she’s ever received. In so doing, he both manages to remind her that she’s alone, and ensures that she is not.
So anyway, it was a kick to use animals as a means to illustrate aspects of Miles and Cynthia’s characters and the course of their relationship, because I'm an animal lover, and animals are such a big part of my life‑whether they're crawling up my leg or sleeping on my head, which is what my cat, like Cynthia’s kitten, occasionally does.
What about you guys? How do you feel about spiders‑charitably, or do they freak you out a little, or some combination thereof? :) How many animals and what kind of animals do you have in your life? Do any of them sleep on your head at night??
Julie will be giving away a copy of "The Perils of Pleasure", too, as a prize! Just leave a comment and email addy!
Like No Other Lover
Second book in the Pennyroyal Green series!
Now or Never . . .
It's the last chance for Cynthia Brightly, the ton's most bewitching belle. Driven out of London by a secret scandal, she must find a grand husband at the Redmonds' house party before word of her downfall spreads all over England. Unfortunately, someone at Pennyroyal Green is already privy to the whispers of broken engagements and dueling lovers: Miles Redmond, renowned explorer and—thanks to his brother's disappearance—heir to the family's enormous fortune.
Miles set his sights on Cynthia once, at a time when the ambitious beauty thought herself too good for a second son. But now he's the heir apparent, relishing in his control. He strikes a bargain with her: he'll keep Cynthia's steamy secrets and help her find a husband among the guests—in exchange for a single kiss.
What could be the harm in a simple kiss? Cynthia is about to discover that it's enough to unleash fierce passion-and that Miles Redmond is most certainly like no other lover in the world.