This is a short excerpt from the beginning of the book (which can be bought here: Amazon UK or Amazon USA as well as other places).
Mary had been in service to the Raslo family all her life, her mother having also been in their employ. It had been a number of years since her own mother had passed on but Mary continued to remain loyal to the Raslo family through the ups and downs of family life. She had enjoyed a happy childhood growing up within the house and had now blossomed into a beautiful young woman.
In the last six months the feel of the house had shifted with the unexpected death of David Ralso, William his son had become introverted over that time and Mary found herself dealing with him when none of the other staff could.
Standing in his study she took a deep breath and watched him attempt to work whilst she waited to be dismissed.
“Will that be all Sir?”
She watched as he distractedly attempted to fill in some paperwork. Though Mary knew it was the same paperwork that had been on his desk for the past week and from the look of it he wasn’t really filling it in more just reading the same passage over and over again. Watching him she felt a pang of pity for the weight that had suddenly been placed upon his shoulders. He hadn’t been like the others who tended to make it obvious she was their servant, he had very often been found down in the kitchens, and always talked to the staff as if they were real people.
Since the only other young people in the house had been some of the kitchen staff, like Mary herself William had spent a large amount of time down in the kitchens playing games and hiding from his governess with them. As he had grown up a respectful distance had developed but he had always had a kind word to be said and was firm but fair making him very much liked amongst the staff. He was sometimes even guilty of playing the odd prank or two, and was never seen without a smile on his face.
Now however that was all gone. His father’s sudden death quite visibly weighed on his thoughts. In the months that had followed he had become thinner and drawn, never a smile on his face instead being replaced by a constant scowl. His quiet demeanour had vanished and now the majority of the staff did anything they could to stay out of his way.
When he didn’t reply Mary coughed a little trying to get his attention. His eyes flew from the page, face twisted in anger.
“What is it Perkins?” He snapped his face reddening as he stared at her with startling slate grey eyes.
“I was wondering if you needed anything else sir?” She kept her voice soft and calming though she looked at him directly. She wasn’t afraid of him, for all intents and purposes they had grown up together the only difference was that he had money and she didn’t.
“No, of course not, if I had wanted something I would have asked for it. Now get out!” he shouted vehemently at her but before she curtseyed she caught the look of something she didn’t recognise in his eyes and he blushed almost as if he was embarrassed. Brushing it off as simply nothing she bobbed and backed away.
“Yes of course Sir, I’ll be downstairs if you require anything else.”
Slipping out of the door before he had chance to reply she shut the door and leaned back on it closing her eyes briefly. Grief could do many things to a person but she had never imagined it would change someone as much as it had changed William. She wished there was something she could do but she hadn’t the faintest idea what if anything could be done.
“Sleeping on the job?” A voice to her left made her jump as did the hand that quickly ran up her thigh.