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writer :
Mischa KK Bagley
The Ecstasy of the Panther Woman
Historical Fantasy/Paranormal Romance, London, GB
+44 (0)7909 865 412 (mobile)

After she endured his kiss she locked herself in the storage cupboard downstairs behind the coatroom, and crouching in the dark with her head in her hands, she thought about love and death.

It wasn’t that she didn’t like him. He was charming, in his way. The military life had been kind to him, in that it spared him the ravages of war, while bestowing upon him a uniform of gallantry and distinction, attributes much admired in late nineteenth-century London. That he was shortly to go to war in itself was a blessing and a curse. On the one hand it would enforce a separation without connivance on her part. But should war bring him decoration then it would elevate further his eligibility among his supporters, and her resistance to marriage would become unsustainable. That is, if he survived.

His death in action however would be the blessing she prayed for. For it would give her license to unite with the man whose clear grey eyes and mocking smile lured her like a narcotic. But the reality of her infatuation did not match her passion. He doesn’t even see me, she told herself. I am nothing to him.

Her anxieties were all the more distressing because she had no childhood. From this flowed the logic that her emotional life had not found its fruition in her maturity. She had grown into young womanhood under the patronage of another creature. She existed in a sort of separateness, shadowed in sadness and loneliness, convinced her differences were incompatible across the range, particularly with one for whom satisfaction could be found in a uniform. For the hundredth time she saw her suitor as he might be, as if by imagining the outcome she achieved the result. She saw him displayed in an open coffin, his hands crossed like damp wings on his chest. She would place her bouquet on his military tunic as he lay in repose, her roses all-of-a-piece with his garden of medals, resting her fingertips on his lips under his blonde moustaches, conveying to observers for the sake of appearances that she was yoked to her betrothed even in death.

Then, and only then, would she find freedom.

And yet she had been sufficiently moved once to consider him. She remembered the occasion of his proposal. It occurred on a bridge overlooking the railway tracks at Farringdon. The carts and carriages of horse-drawn traffic clattered across the span to and from the square mile of London’s nearby financial district, drivers shouting to their horses, the horses clopping and snorting in the heavy air. His words reached her over the commotion as she peered down at the steam locomotives huffing beneath the bridge.

“There comes a time in a man’s life when the dreams of his youth coincide with the hopes of his manhood. We’re blessed in this modern age to distinguish ourselves from our ancient forbears, in that our unions are for a lifetime. I’ve heard from Bernard Shayle Trevelyan that in this we have our counterparts in nature. Swans, I’m told, mate for life.”

Her features appeared from the billowing smoke as if emerging from a mirror, engaging him with a direct and unyielding gaze. “So do wolves.”

He gave a small smile, dismissing her response as a curiosity. He placed his hands on her shoulders. “Elysia, my treasure. Even in these clamorous surroundings I hear my heart beating loud in my chest. It’s only but a whisper of my love for you. I would be the most honoured man in all of England if you’d consent to become my wife. Just one little nod of your head will suffice. Will you become a swan?”

Her eyebrows lifted at their inner ends as she searched his face. Her words were barely audible. “I just want to go home to Surrey . . . ”

She shuddered at the recollection as she crouched in the dark behind the coatroom. Raising her head, her eyes rolled upward as though in thrall to a vision, and she whispered with urgency her response to the question she had been debating within herself all along: “I choose death.”

years experience: 10

This writer is looking for an agent
Writing, Fiction writing
General fiction, Mystery, Romance, Suspense/thriller, Fantasy/science fiction
New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon of the fantasy Outlander series called Mischa's writing "unique in premise, strikingly phrased, well executed", and "enjoyable to read".