The New Year is almost upon us, and how appropriate that I have another story to offer you from the northern climes where this day is known as Hogmanay. (A most wretched name for a holiday, is it not?)
Some time ago I shared last year’s scandalous report of a Duke from the northern climes who married his housekeeper!
Suffice to say that, in the normal course of things, the Lady (for as it turned out, she was always a Lady) has done her duty, and the Duke has assured the succession of the title with a healthy male sprout.
Ah, but there is more, revealed to the Teatime Tattler by a gentleman guest of the Duke and Duchess, a direct witness. (Though, as he was in his cups when the story was revealed, we may not be entirely certain of the veracity of all the details.) However, the principle facts I have verified from a source close to an outstanding member of the London medical community.
As it happened, the Duke insisted his Duchess be attended by a physician, and it seems that only a particular doctor would do, a man of humble origins, a recent graduate of Edinburgh’s medical college, who needs must hurried north from his new practice in our fair capital–for who doesn’t obey a Duke’s command?!
Dear Reader, this promising young man had hoped for fame and fortune, and dare I say, romance in London, but instead was called north only to find…
Here is where the details become a trifle uncertain. I won’t say more, except to tell you that the young doctor’s story includes a trap laid by a wealthy heiress (rumored to be the doctor’s former amour), a loathsome nabob, fortune-hunting noblemen, rowdy peasants, and a surprise bequest.
Will our young hero find his wished-for fame, fortune and romance in the Highlands? Your intrepid reporter will endeavor to find out for you!
The Nabob’s Designing Daughter
Book 4, The Upstart Christmas Brides
A wealthy nabob’s daughter has designs on a handsome young doctor, but not the romantic sort, despite the one kiss he stole from her ages ago. The poor crofters she’s been tending behind her father’s back need more than a rich miss’s potions, they need a real doctor. And fortunately, she has the leverage to provide one.
Ripped from his prestigious London practice to deliver a Highland duke’s heir, a young doctor finds there are more snares awaiting than a risky birth, including a surprise—and worthless—bequest. There’s also his best friend’s cousin, who’s blossomed from mousey to heart-stirringly beautiful, with enough wiles to convince an ambitious man that his heart belongs in the Highlands.
They handed over their outer garments and entered a grand room, the fireplace at one end almost the size of the bedchamber he’d shared with his father’s man-of-all-work. Stag heads lined the walls, along with ancient weapons and tapestries. In the far corner, near the blazing fire, a woman rose from her chair, and hurried toward them, the man with her rising and following.
Attractive and dark-haired, she was heavy with child, but rosy-cheeked and smiling. Other than an awkward gait—to be expected—she moved swiftly and caught Mrs. MacDonal, in an embrace.
Introductions were made. Andrew MacDonal, Duke of Kinmarty was a well-formed man of about thirty, he would guess, his wife not quite that age, yet older than one might expect of a duke’s wife bearing his first child. Most noblemen married young women, anxious for as many years as required to produce a male heir.
“So, you’re the physician.” The duke scanned him from head to toe and back up again. “You might wish to know that my lady—”
“No, Andrew.” The duchess touched her husband’s arm. “Dr. Robillard has only just arrived. There is no urgency. We must let him rest before we get down to business.”
Her calm demeanor put him at ease. Demme, but he was nervous, and that wouldn’t do. “Your grace, if it is your time, I am ready now.”
The duke sent her a smug look. “You see, Fil. We men of action are always ready.”
Minny or Fil. What was the duchess’s Christian name?
The duke nodded to him, as if they were equals, and his confidence rose. “If there’s something you wish to tell me about your condition, your grace,” Errol said, “I’d most assuredly like to hear it.”
“Are you having false labor, Minnie?” Mrs. MacDonal appeared beside him and handed him a glass of whisky. “The Kinmarty brew. Quite good, and it will settle your nerves for the night ahead, if it is indeed Minnie’s time.”
“Enough talk of my upcoming ordeal. Edme, Dr. Robillard, we welcome you to our Yuletide celebration. Andrew and I grew up in England and at least where Christmas is concerned, we’ve brought our English ways.” She smiled. “Come the New Year, we’ll celebrate Hogmanay the Scottish way. Now, you must refresh yourself, Doctor Robillard. Come closer to the fire.” She nudged her cousin aside and led Errol to the hearth, whispering. “My husband is apprehensive.”
“And you, Duchess?”
“No.” She shivered. “Or, yes, in fact. My first, and at the advanced age of eight and twenty.”
Nerves were normal, but it wouldn’t do to encourage them. “You will do well, your grace.”
The great door knocker pounded again, and they both looked toward the hall. “More visitors have arrived.” She smiled up at him, and he saw the strain around her eyes.
“Are you in pain?”
“As my cousin said, it is likely false labor,” she whispered. “It comes and goes.”
“When did it start?”
“A few days ago, I had a spell.”
“Now I have a bit of a backache. Please. Sit. I’ll go greet our next arrivals.”
He set down his untouched glass, reached for her hand and placed it over his arm. “I’ll escort you. And after greeting the new arrivals, perhaps you will retire, and I might examine you?”
She laughed. “Men of action, indeed.”
A large, well-tailored, but otherwise lumpy man with white hair and a ruddy complexion entered. The girl next to him wore an equally stylish blue gown that brought out the peaches and cream of her perfect complexion. Errol’s heart stuttered.
Ann Strachney was here, looking as elegant as some of the ladies he’d seen shopping on Bond Street.
He straightened his spine. Why the devil was his heart racing? He’d had more than his share of women, but his heart only raced in the laboratory, or the clinic, or over a particularly well-researched journal article. Never over a girl, and certainly not over a lass who’d asked him for scientific studies and then never answered his letter. True, he’d been glad for the excuse to dispense with the promise to write, but the snub had still rankled.
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About the Author
Award winning and USA Today bestselling author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but prefers the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California, where she shares a midcentury home with a spunky, blond rescued terrier and a good-natured rescued chihuahua. She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. Though hard at work on her next series of romantic adventures, she loves to hear from readers!
Find her at:
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alina-K.-Field/e/B00DZHWOKY
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