Behind The Scenes…The Mistress of Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble

From the beginning, I knew The Mistress of Pennington’s would be the first in an ongoing series and when Aria Fiction offered me a four-book deal based on the first book, I was thrilled that a publisher believed a ‘female empowerment’ theme could easily run to four books.

So, which of the many scenes that make up The Mistress of Pennington’s have a story behind them? There are so many, but I decided to go with this one. Enjoy!

Elizabeth continued her sure-footed journey to her father’s closed office door. Tonight, he would listen to her. Tonight, he would not provoke her self-doubt. She was worth more than her singular role as head of the ladies’ department. She wanted to shake up the men’s department, too and inject a renewed energy into the toy department. To her mind, both current department heads had become stuck in their ways, in much the same vein as her father. If Pennington’s had any chance of remaining the consumers’ number one choice of where to shop, the store had to move with the times and the demands of the people,
Inhaling a strengthening breath, she lifted her hand and knocked on the door.
Gripping the handle, Elizabeth entered the monster’s lair.
Her father sat behind his huge walnut desk, his silver-haired head bowed over some papers, his usual early evening whisky within hand’s reach.
Elizabeth crossed the plush sapphire-blue carpet and sat in one of the two chairs in front of his desk. ‘Good evening, Papa.’
He raised his steely gaze to hers. ‘Elizabeth. Did we not agree to meet at six thirty? I’m still finishing off a few things.’
‘We did, but I was hoping…’ She briefly closed her eyes and straightened her spine. ‘I want to speak to you about some new id—’
‘Not again.’ Her father slapped his pen to his desk and glared. ‘My decision still stands. You made the trip to London and Selfridges against my wishes. Now you return with a plethora of new-fangled ideas. I will not stand for you—’
‘Using my imagination?’ Elizabeth glared, frustration sparking her rare interruption. ‘Wanting to make more of myself than just being your daughter?’
He leaned back, the anger in his eyes cooling to malice. ‘You are my daughter, Elizabeth. Lord knows, I wish you were my son, but there we have it. I have a daughter. A single daughter.’
‘As you so often like to remind me.’ Elizabeth ignored the tell-tale increase of her pulse. She would not falter. ‘I want to push forward in the world. Prove to you and myself that I wasn’t destined to spend my days overseeing the ladies’ department while waiting for a rich gentleman to whisk me off my feet. I want—’
‘More than I’m prepared to give you.’
‘America is leading the way in retail and department stores. Their success is well ahead of Britain. We’d be foolish to stand by and allow that to continue without challenge.’
He huffed a laugh. ‘And what would you know of America? You barely move from the house to the store. You refuse invitations to balls and soirees. You turn your back on potential suitors as though each of them is beneath you.’
‘I do no such thing.’
‘No?’ He arched an eyebrow and put his forearms on the desk. ‘Then when did you last attend any kind of social event? What is it you are so afraid of, my dear? Do you think a man might advance on you? Make you think about more than how you wish you could bury your father and take everything he’s built. Is that it?’
Heat rose in Elizabeth’s cheeks as her father’s glare bore into her soul, making her tremble. Damn him and how inferior he could make her feel with a single look. Damn him for how he continually made her aware of her female status.

This is part of the opening scene of The Mistress of Pennington’s and it was the first scene that came to me fully formed and ready to be written. Now only does it encompass Elizabeth’s frustration, but shows a lot about her character and the character of her father, Edward Pennington. Edward is an integral part of the entire story and his life and development are equally as important as those of his daughter and the hero, Joseph Carter.

The scene kick starts Elizabeth’s determination and desire to make changes at the store and push herself forward as the rightful heiress of Bath’s premier department store. Little does she know, that her answer to making her desires possible comes with the arrival of another man in her life…a man like no other.

I hope you enjoyed the scene and it’s tempted you to buy the book! Happy reading J

Rachel x

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