Letter posted from Cheltenham, England, to Morristown, New Jersey, 1832 leaked to The Teatime Tattler
My darling Earnestine,
We arrived in Bristol Wednesday, two days behind schedule, much the worse for weather, and happy to be back on solid ground. My darling Howard’s brother sent a carriage to convey us from the harbor, and we couldn’t leave swiftly enough for my nerves I tell you. If England has a less salubrious port than this one, I don’t want to encounter it. Nefarious appearing individuals lurked along the docks and at every corner where seedy and disreputable establishments abounded. One has heard frightening stories of civil unrest about the place as well, but we saw nothing of that sort. Once quit of the place, England’s green hills unfolded in front of us and I was able to put my fears aside.
The voyage proved as tedious as I anticipated. Howard devoted himself to cards in the common room leaving my Ellie and I to our own devices. Not far into the journey a new acquaintance alleviated our boredom—thank goodness.
Mrs. Gordon Melrose, the sister-in-law of an actual baronet, regaled us with tales of society and the sites of London, whetting our appetite for the capital I can tell you. She also enlightened us about one of our more mysterious fellow passengers.
Ellie pointed the man out almost as soon as we embarked from New York. The girl does have an eye for a fine specimen of manhood! Tall and lean with thick auburn hair, he had the air of one of those frontier types young girls find so romantic, yet he dressed like a gentleman. Oddly, he carried a three-legged cat. We rarely saw him without the beast. When Howard complained to the captain about the presence of a feline, he was told that having a predator to keep vermin from the hold was in fact good luck. Ellie pronounced it adorable, though I could not see how a deformed cat could hunt.
In any case our mystery man proved to have more to his credit than good looks. Mr. Melrose informed us that Randolph Wheatly—the man’s name so she said—possesses important connections. His sister, the Countess of Chadbourn holds sway in the highest reaches of society, and is a friend of two Duchesses no less. Think of it Earnestine, a countess! (That is the wife of an earl in case you aren’t as fully informed as we are).
I thought it prudent to encourage Ellie’s interest in the man, but the girl was profoundly disappointed by his curt refusal of any social overtures. Quite reclusive, he moped in solitude and scowled at all who approached, as if his troubles weighed him down. Ellie of course found his brooding good looks irresistibly attractive, poor girl. When we docked he moved rapidly off the ship and disappeared into the unsavory streets of Bristol, as though the horrid place had been his final destination, something I cannot believe.
Oh well. Perhaps we will encounter him in London. Perhaps he’ll introduce us to his sister, the countess. Think of it Earnestine!
Your loving sister,
About the Book
Rand has good reason to brood on the voyage and to hurray away. He has a people to rescue, and family conflict to face.
Two hearts betrayed by love…
Desperate and afraid, Meggy Blair will do whatever it takes to protect her children. She’d hoped to find sanctuary from her abusive husband with her Ojibwa grandmother, but can’t locate her. When her children fall ill, she finds shelter in an isolated cabin in Upper Canada. But when the owner unexpectedly returns, he’s furious to find squatters disrupting his self-imposed solitude.
Reclusive businessman Rand Wheatly had good reason to put an ocean between himself and the family that deceived him. He just wants the intrusive woman gone, yet it isn’t long before Meggy and the children start breaking down the defensive walls he’s built. His heart isn’t as hard as he thought. But their fragile interlude is shattered when Meggy’s husband appears to claim his children, threatening to have Rand jailed.
The only way for Meggy to protect Rand is to leave him. When her husband takes her and the children to England, Meggy discovers he’s far more than an abuser; what he’s involved in endangers all their lives. To rescue the woman who has stolen his heart, Rand must follow her and do what he swore he’d never do: reconcile with his aristocratic family and finally uncover the truth behind all the lies. But time is running out for them all.
About the Author
Award winning author of historical romance usually set in the Regency and Victorian eras, Caroline Warfield reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the world. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.
Amazon Author http://www.amazon.com/Caroline-Warfield/e/B00N9PZZZS/
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