Well, sort of.
You know how The Ashford Affair is meant to be non-Pink and stand alone and all of those fun things? It is– for the most part. With one notable exception: Vaughn. Or rather, the spawn of Vaughn. (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist the way it rhymed.)
In 1926, a particularly decadent set of young aristocrats gathered in Kenya, too wild for London, spouse-swapping, drug-taking, thrill-seeking. They experimented with aviation, explored the wilds, hunted big game and other peoples’ spouses. What better place to find a great-great grandson of Mary and Vaughn? He has all of Mary’s looks, Vaughn’s wit, and the cynicism of both.
But I’ll leave my character, Bea, to describe him for you:
“Well.” Val leaned back, stretching his arms out above his head. “Aren’t we a little cat this morning. What’s put your claws in a clamp?”
He looked feline himself, all boneless grace, with the measureless self-satisfaction afforded by knowing his ancestors had been dining off gold plate when others had still been scratching about in the dirt: the Honorable Theophilius Vaughn, the despair of an ancient line. According to his frustrated family, he had both the morals of a cat and all of its nine lives.
Val called it hypocritical of them. “We’ve been sinning for centuries and profiting from it, too,” he liked to say. “It’s the world that’s changed, not us. Why should we bow to their bourgeois morality?” It wasn’t just lip-service. He lived down to his creed. As far as Bea could tell, he got away with it because he was so bloody good-looking. She should know. She’d been playing that game for years.
The difference, of course, was that he was a man. He didn’t need to marry to secure his place; he didn’t have to ruin his figure having babies. No one called him passé at twenty-seven. He could tell the world to go to hell and live as he liked, and everyone loved him for it, professing shock at his excesses in tones of horrified admiration that were more a compliment than a condemnation. Everyone had a story about Val. Many of them were even true.
A fallen angel, that was what he was. Lucifer, in human form, as beautiful as an old statue and about a million times more carnal. He had the black hair and brilliant blue eyes of the Vaughns and something more besides, a restless carelessness that bordered on cruelty. It was all maddeningly attractive.
Most of the time.
Val is the one outpost of Pink to have invaded The Ashford Affair— and I can’t say I’m totally surprised. Those Vaughns do get around.
I’ll have more about Val, including some outtakes, for you soon.
If you didn’t catch the first chapter of The Ashford Affair in a previous Teaser Tuesday, you can find it here.