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SEX ON THE SQUABS

As the coach forced its slow way through London traffic, Amelia relaxed into the cushioned depths of the seat. Her parents had owned a dear pony cart in Paris, left behind when they fled. In England, they could not afford even that small luxury. Occasionally Amelia took a hired jarvey, and the seat at best smelled—unpleasant.

This coach smelled of Hugh, of his vetiver and orange. The smell began a chain of associations. Her first sight of him in the doorway of her shop. His height. His deep voice. His handkerchief. And, in the café, the teapot he lifted with a large, masculine hand.

Into her musing came that gloved hand. Carefully, not looking at her but into the middle distance, Hugh took hers. Neither the impersonal squeeze before a pro forma hand kiss, nor the clasp of long acquaintance. Just a gentle press and a slow encirclement. His big fist, with her much smaller one in it, rested on the seat between them. His thumb rubbed across hers almost as an afterthought.

If you read the above and surmised that it’s the start of a torrid lovemaking scene inside a carriage, you surmised rightly. “Sex on the squabs,” I call such scenes. This particular one takes place in my Regency romance novelette, The Chelsea Milliner.

Sex on the squabs is so common in Regency romance that it qualifies as a convention, if not a trope. Considering the compressed size and poor springs of most Regency carriages, I’ve got to admire the determination of the participants. The photo I’ve attached to this blog post is of the interior of an actual artifact Regency Era carriage. They could be quite luxurious, if you had the readies to make them so, and as this coach apparently was. Even in its tattered and faded condition, you can appreciate the velvet and brocade upholstery (on seats and walls), the tufted ceiling, the fine fittings (possibly silver.) Windows had leather curtains to keep out the weather, and often cloth draperies inside, as well. Even so, on a very cold day in January, passengers were grateful for the heated bricks (wrapped, for their feet) supplied by servants, and the traveling rugs (blankets, really) that staved off hypothermia on the way to Almack’s for a spot of dancing.

I don’t read a lot of contemporary romance, but I’m assuming that sex on the squabs has a descendant in sex on the back seat of a car. You have to admit, the modern day version lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. Maybe it will acquire the appeal of its fourth great-grandparent someday. Futurians, zipping around via teleport, will swoon when they read (or maybe take a book pill) about lovers rocking with passion in the elegantly furnished interior of a Toyota RAV.


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