Pallet beds are a staple in my historical romances, especially since I tend to write about the underclass. Pallet beds have existed since ancient times and were even used by soldiers in World War Two. My historical romances are set in the middle to late 19th century. Slaves often slept on pallets and a Civil War soldier was lucky to have one.
A pallet is a small makeshift bed. Often these beds were made of straw and when need be the straw could be refilled with fresh material. You might not think sleeping on straw would be comfortable, but it is when compared with sleeping on the hard ground. A simple sack, called a tick, is all that most mattress covers have ever been. Pallets were often used in lofts, especially by children, and could be quickly made if a guest arrived and another bed was needed.
I’ve recently bought a house and I am looking into country décor. I find it interesting that pallet beds are making a comeback. Not the old fashioned kind, these rustic looking beds are made of upcycled shipping pallets. If you are curious on how to make a bed out of shipping pallets here is a tutorial complete with pictures: http://www.99pallets.com/pallet-beds/twin-pallet-bed-instructions/.
Now back to pallet beds in 1869…
Here is an excerpt from Midnight Kiss:
He pointed up the ladder. “There is a pallet up there and plenty of quilts. I hope you will be comfortable.”
“I’m sure I will be.”
“If you need anything just let me know.”
“Thank you, sir.” What I need is a break from being around you. The house seemed to shrink by the minute. There would be no ignoring him, and she could only avoid him in her loft.
She climbed the ladder to her new room. Resting on her knees, she surveyed the tight space. She ran her hand across one of the several thick quilts covering the loft’s wood floor. Had Caroline made them? She worked her way to the pallet and sat, stretching out her legs. There was just enough room for one person to sleep.
She took off her shoes and had slipped her dress off her shoulders when she heard footsteps on the ladder. Mr. Seever’s head showed in the loft. She held her breath and wrapped her arms around her breasts covering her chemise.
“I didn’t mean to startle you, ma’am. You forgot your bundle.” He handed her the gunnysack.
Heat rose in April’s cheeks. Mr. Seever’s green eyes burned. He looked like he wanted to peel her hands away so he could get a better look, and April almost wished he would.
“I’m sorry I don’t have a bed for you.”
“I’m used to a pallet.”
Mr. Seever smiled and April’s body thrummed. “Good night, ma’am,” he said and headed back down the ladder.
April sighed. It was nice of him to remember her belongings.
She changed into her nightgown and brushed her hair. With each stroke through her long tresses she concentrated on her employer. Mr. Seever was nothing like the other men she had worked for. She couldn’t let down her guard. Instead of merely cheating her out of her pay he could cheat her out of her heart.
Unjustly accused of stealing, nanny April Windmire is turned out on the streets without pay. With no place to go and no friends, she stows away on a Mississippi River steamboat. Her hopes to hide through the journey to St. Louis are dashed when a handsome white officer finds her. But instead of turning her in, he takes her to his private quarters where she fights her growing attraction to a man she cannot have.
Matt Seever’s wife died four year ago, leaving him alone with two small mulatto children. But his job as an officer on the Queen Bee isn’t family friendly. He knows he needs a new wife, but no southern white woman will marry him. When April lands in his lap, his prayers are answered. Or are they? April’s not the trusting type and racial prejudice runs deep in post-Civil War Missouri. Just when Matt convinces April he loves her, his new family becomes a target and there’s no backing down from this fight.
Together, April and Matt must brave heinous race prejudice crimes to find an enduring love.
Haley Whitehall lives in Washington State where she enjoys all four seasons and the surrounding wildlife. She writes historical fiction and historical romance set in the 19th century U.S. When she is not researching or writing, she plays with her cats, watches the Western and History Channels, and goes antiquing. She is hoping to build a time machine so she can go in search of her prince charming. A good book, a cup of coffee, and a view of the mountains make her happy. Visit Haley’s website at http://haleywhitehall.com.
Where to find Haley Whitehall:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Haley-Whitehall/e/B0078EO6CE/