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Reluctant Press Novelette Cover

Gregory Simmons inherits an ancient Norman Keep and the title of Earl of Penbroke from his late uncle. Soon, Gregory and his sister, Fern, enter the Gothic world of an ancient castle in the mists of the Northern English Moors. They hear tales of the ghostly Lady Demaris looking for her lost dowry and a fortune in jewels. What happens to poor Gregory when he discovers that wearing Lady Demaris’ clothes might be the key to treasure and a Nineteenth Century murder?

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    “Well, it’s a start. Let’s get you into this corset.”

    “Corset? I can’t...”

    “Greg, this dress isn’t going to close if you’re not properly corsetted. Besides it will hold the falsies. Turn around.”

    For some reason I didn’t put up much of a fight. She tugged and hauled on the strings of that fiendish corset. When she was done she turned me around.

    “There. Oh my, things are taking on a different form.”

    “Can’t breathe.”

    “Breathe with your chest. That’s it. Makes you much more interesting too.”

    I noted that unlike the wasp waist I expected the corset was comfortable at the hipline and rear, quite flat in the front to a high bustline, and more slimming from the hips to the underarms. No hourglass shape, but clearly female.

    I was soon wearing short little white stockings to the knees held up with garters. The high white soft kid leather shoes had to be fastened on by using a shoe button hook, of all things. Then came a camisole like corset cover.

    She handed me a slightly rounded cushion with a circle of lace on top and two sort of heavy ribbons with buttons on the end of one.

    “Where do I wear this? Around my neck?”

    “No silly, it’s a bustle pad. Not a very big one. It appears that in the early 80’s the ladies wore little or no bustle, unlike before and after. Just enough to lift up the train of her skirts. But, with your flat rear a little padding will help.”

    “That doesn’t answer my question.”

    “You wear it on your rear, my dear.”


    “Here.” She stuck the object in question on top of my rear and buttoned the two ribbon-like things in front.

    I looked around at my bustle dubiously. “Can we leave off the caboose?”

    “No, or your dresses will drag behind. They’re made to cover a woman’s rear end.”