Title: A Valet’s Duty
Author Name: H. Lewis-Foster
Publication Date & Length: July 20, 2014 – 29pgs
At the turn of the twentieth century, Henry Simpkins is a valet at Taverslow, the Earl of Wayshaw’s Somerset home. When the Earl’s younger brother, Rafe, arrives from his villa in Italy, Henry is given the task of caring for his mischievous dogs, Pepe and Paolo. As part of his duties, he also goes to Rafe’s room each night to tidy away his clothes.
One night, Rafe tentatively asks Henry to go beyond his valet duties to relieve Rafe’s sexual tensions. Henry enjoys their increasingly intimate encounters, but he’s soon disturbed to find that he feels more for Rafe than mere physical attraction.
Now, Henry faces a difficult decision. Can he remain in the same house as Rafe if his affections are not returned?
This short work was lovely and sensual. Although it was historical erotic romance, there were definitely a few liberties taken regarding the time period. This seemed mostly in order to deliver a happy ending, so it didn’t bother me much. Readers wanting a genuine period piece may be disappointed.
Although there wasn’t a lot of depth, I found it both sweet and steamy, just right for a brief afternoon escape. Very enjoyable.
The next few nights passed in a similar way, with Henry nodding and smiling, and sometimes laughing, when Rafe talked of his life in Umbria. Falling to sleep each night in his narrow bed, Henry found himself dreaming of orange trees and vineyards. Sometimes he even dreamt of Rafe wandering among them in the Mediterranean sun, but on the fourth night when Henry went to Rafe’s room, something had changed.
Rafe seemed on edge as he opened the door, and he sat on the sofa in silence as Henry carried out his tasks.
Henry started to leave, when Rafe spoke at last, an unfamiliar tension in his voice. “Simpkins, could I ask you something?”
“Of course, sir.”
Rafe gazed intently at his fingernails, giving Henry no clue as to what he might ask. His eyes remained lowered as he made his enquiry.
“Simpkins, are you—are you the same kind of man as Oscar Wilde?
H. Lewis-Foster has worked with books, in one form or another, since leaving university. As a keen reader of gay fiction, she decided to have a go at writing herself, and is now the proud author of several short stories and her debut novel. H. has lived in various parts of the UK and currently lives in the north of England. She enjoys city life, especially the theaters and cinemas, and also likes visiting the beautiful villages in the surrounding countryside. In her spare time, H. loves cooking and discovering the many fabulous local food shops. She’s also working on a couple of plays, which she hopes she might see on the stage someday.