A few weeks ago, I started this Character Interview Blog Hop with Governor Jameson Foster, the hero in my trilogy, IMMORAL VIRTUE. My thanks to Gwendolyn Petrarch for wrapping up that part of the hop last week by interviewing her hero, Gabriel, the wise-ass vampire detective from her series MASQUERADE. You can find her Blog Hop Interview here, from when she guest-posted on this blog.
This week, I’m happy to start the round of heroine interviews with another character from my IMMORAL VIRTUE trilogy. She is Mercy Paine, twin to Hannah Paine, and while she’s not the leading lady in any of the books in the IMMORAL VIRTUE trilogy, she’s definitely a heroine in her own right.
I’m a tad intimidated to meet Mercy in person. She’s given me specific instructions on how to find her, and further instructions to keep these details to myself. It seems, in this time when accusations of witchcraft are plentiful to a terrifying fault, a woman accused can never be too careful. “Once accused, always suspected.” Those were Mercy’s words to me.
I’m pleased to finally come upon her small cottage. It’s nestled deep within the woods, near a lovely stream… but I fear I cannot share more of its charm with you and still keep her hideaway secret.
I call to her and she beckons me enter. She has a rather sultry voice. It holds a slight rasp, as would a voice first used in the wee hours of a quiet morning. I enter as invited, and immediately cover my eyes and apologize, not meaning to interrupt her bath.
Is the sight of me so hideous you cannot bear to look?
There is a smile in her voice, though the question posed makes me wonder if she has ever seen herself as I see her now. She is lovely. Great cat-like eyes, a slender nose. Lips I am sure no man can resist. Her shoulders are wet, her flesh glistening in the candlelight…
I take a breath to respond and she easily interrupts me.
Do shut the door. I fear I chill quite readily.
I apologize again, shut the door and wonder where to sit, where to look. I choose to remain standing and to look at my notepad as I begin.
Thank you, Mercy, for letting me come to see you…
Silence answers so I glance up to find her smiling coyly at me, her head lowered, her eyes looking up at mine, a small seductive curve to her lips. I clear my throat, finding my heterosexual self quite intrigued by her.
Before we start, is there anything you would like to tell us about yourself?
I fear I am more used to hearing talk about me than speaking about myself. Yet, I will answer what you ask.
Well… I will start off with the most difficult and go from there…
She does not blink, merely waits, and so I ask my first question.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear… I would fear most to be parted from my sister, thus leaving her alone in this world.
When they took me to the pillory that night, the night they called me, “devil’s whore”, I did not fear for myself but for my dear Hannah.
She visited me, after the sun kissed the horizon. Worried for me was she, though I convinced her to leave, to go where she might be safe. Not in our village where passions of the wrong sort ruled. Passions such as resentment and vengeance.
For a time, she was gone, and I worried no more, enjoying what some called, “punishment”.
She laughs softly, wistfully, then tips her head back and lets her bathwater drip from her fingertips down her neck and between her enviably full breasts. She sighs, and it’s a most enticing sound, as though it were not her wet fingers but a lover’s tongue bathing her flesh. She sinks further into the water, nestling back against the tub, the rest of her now submerged.
True my treatment could have been worse, but there, bent over and exposed for all while I was bound in the pillory, unable to shield myself… many jeered, some were too shamed too look upon me… and yet others visited me as both sun and moon slept.
She sat up, then. Slowly. She seemed to do everything at a measured pace. Move. Speak. Blink…
In truth, I say there are pleasures to be had if only you see them as such.
All pleasure faded when my sister returned, however, for I thought only of her and how she would fare if positioned as I. And then they released me from the pillory. True I was sore for several days, but I did not bend to their will… and so I was taken again, and her along with me, both of us called, “witch”.
We were together, at least, though bound with the other accused. In the forest, we were, for hours, wearing only our shifts and slippers as we awaited the governor’s examination. ’Twas a frightful time for the others… but I did not find it so.
Her smile is wickedly contagious, and I feel… almost sinful as I smile with her.
Our governor is quite handsome… and most familiar with the pleasures of punishment.
She rises from her bath, slowly, gracefully as though comfortable baring herself so openly to a stranger. She is ravishing. Her body one I could only dream of having… I find it hard to look away but know I must.
Have you told anyone about this fear?
It has been only us, myself and Hannah, for many years, so any who do not know this fear already, need not know now.
I look at her again and she is clothed, though barely, in a lovely white dress that clings to her wet body.
Tell me about one person who made a positive difference in your life.
Ah… that would be our ever-stern and serious watchman, Giles Scott. He showed me patience and affection. So many men… I have wanted them all, and have enjoyed my time with each – learning from them, teaching them, leaving marks on their bodies to remind them of our time together. They are not marks like those of the beast… nay… but they are marks no one would suspect as from a lover. Slight wounds, lustful bruises… no scratching or biting to rouse the suspicions of frigid wives or nosy neighbors. Though the scratches and welts on my own body pleased me, reminded me of the passion, of when no one mattered to someone as much as I mattered in those few moments…
But Giles… he did not harm, did not mark or beat, even when I begged. Oh, nay. He tortured me another way. With tenderness.
Her sigh is wistful, sweet, and I wonder if she realizes she uttered it.
His was a tenderness which made me crave as no other… I tried to return that to him, for it seemed to be his desire, but desire was not his to be had…
Of all the men with whom I have shared pleasure, ’tis Giles who roused me most.
She fluffs her damp hair, it cascades in waves over her shoulders. Looks so soft in her graceful hands…
Where do you go when you need time to yourself?
I go where none would expect me to be… where I can pray… for though I cannot resist temptation of flesh – yea, some would say I do not try – I fear a great punishment for such lust… which is that I might one night be marked by one whose soul has turned to darkness. They say a witch cannot help but to mark an innocent such as I.
I smile, but she does not and I fear she meant no humor. She reaches for her cloak, but I have other questions so I ask the next as she dons it.
Do you have a secret? And if you do, why do you feel the need to keep it secret?
I cry. I laugh. I feel sorrow, pain, joy and love. I do not hide it, yet there are but few who would believe me capable of such emotions so I do believe it to be the greatest secret of all.
One by one, she snuffs the candles, and I follow her to the door. She opens it, and we step outside together.
I have just two more questions…
She lifts her gaze to mine. Smiles softly and neither invites nor refuses, and I fall into step beside her, heading toward the stream.
What one action from your past are you most ashamed of? What one action from your past are you most proud of?
I am most proud to be who I was born to be, and I am most ashamed for having once denied it.
With that easy, teasing smile of hers, she turns away and slowly disappears into the fog.
I would love to follow Mercy since she has left me rather intrigued. Somehow, I think she knows this… and likes the idea. I hope you found yourself intrigued by her as well. If so, you can read more of her story in the Immoral Virtue trilogy. The Mark (Immoral Virtue, 1) and The Accused (Immoral Virtue, 2) and both are available now for eReaders and in paperback. The Watchman (Immoral Virtue, 3) will be available soon.
To meet another leading lady during this blog hop, check in with LYNNE CANNON as she introduces you to Francesca Bousquet, leading lady and editorial aide extraordinaire from Book 1 of her Humor/Mystery series, FRANNIE BUCKETS. You can find the interview HERE on Lynne’s Little-Loose-Cannon blog.
Meet the Heroes from:
**All images on this page purchased from depositphotos.com.