Peter loved Kate with all his being, but that didn't mean he'd tolerate an ultimatum from her.Welcome to another offering for Frisky Friday, where we hope you're getting as excited about the weekend as we are.
My submission for this week is from my 5th book, Acting Lessons.
He was a strict and demanding college professor turned professional director who excelled at giving acting lessons. She was his shy and uncertain former student who became a professional actress under his tutelage. They fell in love, married, and won two Tony Awards before tragedy struck and a simple kiss ripped them apart.
After a six month separation, Peter Thorton decides to take matters into his own hands by making his famous wife, Kate, an offer she wouldn't refuse. Plainly put, he wants her back and he intends to do whatever is necessary to achieve his goal, even if it means giving his stubborn, willful leading lady a daily reminder over his knee that she promised to obey him.
In this scene, which occurs at the beginning of Chapter Four, Peter Thorton is attempting to get his wife ready for a trip to a college camp ground in upper New York, where they will appear together in a summer stock production of "Kiss Me Kate." Kate has agreed to help Peter teach the drama students who have auditioned and been selected personally by him for the course he is teaching. Though Kate isn't sure she can trust Peter with her heart again, since she believes he's been unfaithful to her, she's never stopped loving him. And despite having Domestic Discipline originally play a part in their marriage, their last two years together had them living like polite strangers sharing the same house.
Now, however, they are temporarily reconciled and Kate has agreed to appear with Peter in a college summer stock production of Kiss Me Kate. She only hopes she isn't making a huge mistake. The place looked like it was made up of log cabins, and Kate does not like camping. However, when she tells Peter she wants him to honor their contract and let her have her own place, he is not the least bit happy about it.
Peter withdrew the papers from his pocket and checked the cabin number his staff had assigned her. Cabin twenty-three. Waiting for her to catch up, he stuffed the documents back. He wanted to see her face for this.
By the time she reached him, she was panting. He opened his mouth to tease her about being out of shape, when he remembered her knee and guilt flowed through him. "You okay?" he asked, reaching for her elbow, but she jerked away from his grasp.
"I'm fine. Thank you for your belated concern."
Asshole, he berated himself. "Kate, you don't have to stay here. I have--"
"Just show me the cabin, please."
With a shrug, Peter opened the screen door and put a firm hand on Kate's arm to assist her up the two steps. When she tried to pull away again, he tightened his hold. "Careful of the stairs, Kate." She glared, but stopped struggling and let him help her.
Though Kate was a good actress, the moment she stepPped into the ten-by-ten-foot cabin she did nothing to mask her dismay. Since the camp catered primarily to students, the cabins were bare bones and basic. Against the far wall sat twin, cot-like metal bed frames with bare, thin mattresses rolled up like bales of barbed wire on top. Between the beds stood a small roughly-hewn table, and at the end of each bed lay an empty army-type footlocker to serve as dressers in case Kate didn't want to live out of her luggage. For hanging clothes, a row of pegs lined up on both sides of the door, which also happened to be the only solid wall in the cabin. Half of the other three walls were taken up by screen windows, which, if privacy was desired, could be covered by the green rolled-up duck cloth shades hanging above them. As additional protection, heavy, collapsible awnings had been stretched along the outside for inclement weather. No heat, no air conditioning outside of the cross breeze through the windows, and no electricity.
Kate snapped her gaping mouth shut and glowered at him. "Is this your idea of a joke?"
"Why? Daniel Boone had better accommodations than this."
"The students don't seem to mind. However, as I was about to say, before you cut me off, you don't have to stay here."
"You know what? Going to a hotel would be an even better solution."
"No, it wouldn't. First, there's no hotel close enough to the camp to make accommodations feasible, and second, staying at a hotel would make it much harder to establish a rapport with the students."
She scrunched her nose as if she wanted to argue the point, but gave a small sigh of resignation. "Is your place much better?"
"My place is for a highly paid staff member. So, yes. I'd say it's a great deal better."
Though Kate is putting on a good face, the sight of the camp where they'll be performing fills her with dread. Her idea of roughing it is staying at a three star hotel, and from what she's already seen, her cabin should be condemned as inhabitable.
Thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoyed this brief excerpt and wish you and yours a very Frisky Friday.