I’ve been loving all the thoughtful comments on my Love & Protectiveness post. I blogged about the topic on History Hoydens as well this week. Isobel Carr commented, “It’s a fine line issue. I think PEOPLE (male and female) have a natural impulse to try and protect those they love. If the “hero” is willing to accept this from the “heroine”, and his own protection doesn’t simply come down to sidelining the heroine as though she were a child, then I think it can work either way.”

I’ve been working on the copy edits for Imperial Scandal, and in light of Isobel’s comment a particular exchange between Charles/Malcolm and Mélanie/Suzanne, shortly before the battle of Waterloo, jumped out at me.

“How long?” she asked, keeping her voice level. After all, she had known for months that this day would come.
“A few days at most, I should think.” His fingers tightened over her own. “Sweetheart, if you want to go to Antwerp–“
She jerked her hands from his clasp. “Don’t you dare suggest I run away.”
“I’m not. But your hands are like ice.”
She hugged her arms over her chest. “War is about to break out. I’m worried about our friends. I’m worried about my husband.”
“I’m not going to be anywhere near the fighting.”
“Liar.” Screams echoed in her ears. Blood glistened on the cobblestones before her eyes. “I’ve already gone through one war with you, don’t forget.”
His gaze moved over her face. “I can’t, Mel.”
“Can’t what?”
“Promise to stay here in Brussels with you.”
She swallowed. She’d made her choices a long time ago. She would have to live with them. “I wouldn’t ask that of you. Any more than you’d ask it of me.”
“Well then.” He touched her arm. “This is nothing we haven’t been through before.”
For a moment she was sitting beside a camp bed where her wounded husband lay a few months into their oddly begun marriage, holding Malcolm’s hand and staring at his ashen face, wondering if she’d ever have the chance to speak to him again. But even then– “It was different,” she said, her voice rough. “We weren’t– We didn’t– We mean more to each other now. We have more to lose.”

Later, during the hell of the battle, Charles/Malcolm has this exchange with Geoffrey Blackwell in the midst of a British infantry square filled with wounded men:

Blackwell cast a glance round the square. “I’d give a lot to have Suzanne here.”
“So would I. ” Charles shook his head. “Odd. A man should want to protect his wife from this.”
“Not a man who knows his wife as well as you do.”

Do you think protectiveness cuts both ways for heroes and heroines?

I’ve just posted a new Fraser Correspondence letter from Geoffrey Blackwell to Lady Frances asking for Aline’s hand in marriage. It was a challenge to get into Geoffrey’s head to write what could not but be a difficult letter. Let me know what you think.