Nellie dressed with extra care in her new black evening gown. The design was the latest style, sleeveless and slightly off the shoulder. The bodice was the most daring she’d ever worn. She kept pulling it up, but her cleavage was still on display.
She checked herself in the full-length cheval mirror in her bedroom.
“Beautiful,” Blake’s deep baritone sounded behind her.
She jumped, her heart pounded. “Blake. You startled me.”
“I knocked but you were concentrating so hard on tugging up your neckline, you didn’t hear me.”
She nodded. “Don’t you think it’s a bit low?”
“Not compared to what I’m used to. It’s a very attractive dress, and you’ll be the envy of all the other wives. Here,” he handed her a long, skinny jewelry box. “I think they’ll look spectacular with that frock.”
She opened the case and saw one large emerald pendant, the size of a robin’s egg on a delicate gold chain and two matching ear bobs.
“Oh, Blake, they’re lovely, but I can’t accept such an extravagant gift.”
Excerpt from Nellie by Cynthia Woolf