“You will not believe the letter I have just received” Dowager White said as she padded across the carpeted floor of the drawing room. Dowager Statham looked up from her needlepoint as her sister came walking into the room in a hurry. She saw that Bertie was flushed in the face and breathing rather hard as though she had just run from her bedchamber to tell her whatever news she had received.
“Do tell, my dear,” Dowager Statham said as she pulled the thread through the sewing hoop, focusing her eyes on her work instead of the frequent hysterics that her sister often brought to the household.
“It’s a letter from Lord Locke,” Dowager White said as she sat next to her sister on the settee that had been designed with dark mahogany wood and a bright yellow floral design. Much of the furniture in the room had been created in the same fashion, filling the room with bright colours regardless of the time of day or night.
“And what does the Earl want?” Dowager Statham asked as she pushed her bin back down through the fabric. She didn’t want to encourage her sister but figured she could entertain her for a short while.
“He writes of Flynt, addressing him as my dear nephew. He explains that Flynt has lost a healthy sum at the card tables and has even entered into fisting fighting,” Dowager White explained with a quivering voice. “He’s threatening to turn Flynt into the debtor’s prison if he doesn’t refrain from fighting in his gentlemen’s club.”
At the mention of her son, Dowager Statham set her needlework aside and fetched the letter from her sister’s hands. She skimmed over the words, reading the letter as fast as she could. When she saw the sum that Flynt supposedly owed to Lord Locke, her heart constricted in her chest. It was almost a year’s worth of profits from the tenants of the Statham lands.
“Have you told anyone else?” Dowager Statham asked, looking up at her sister as she folded the letter and handed it back to Bertie.
“No. I came straight to you when I had finished reading it in my room,” Dowager White said as she shook her head.
“What about the staff. Could your lady’s maid have heard you?” Dowager Statham pressed.
“No, Lavinia. I made sure to come right downstairs and into the drawing room with you,” Dowager White exclaimed.
“I wonder why Lord Locke didn’t write me directly?” Dowager Statham asked as she stood from the settee, determined to make her son see reason now that she had been made aware of his troubles.
“I do not now, Sister. Perhaps the Earl was afraid that Flynt would find the letter and destroy it?” Dowager White said as she stood to her feet as well, placing the letter firmly in her hands as though appearing to be guarding it with her life.
“That is a good point. And with us having been living together since our husbands passed away many years ago, it isn’t hard to address either one of us a letter. It’s been so long since we’ve been to the Vayle Manor that all our good friends know we remain in Town.” Dowager Statham pulled on her gown, raising the hem of her day dress just enough so that she could walk quickly from the drawing room and through the house.
As she came to the stairs, her sister close on her heels, she placed a hand on the wooden railing to support her as she climbed the stairs with haste. With the afternoon hour fast approaching, Flynt should have risen by now. But with his obsessive need to frequent the clubs and drink himself into a stupor, the boy hadn’t been waking at an appropriate hour ever since his return from the Napoleonic War.
As Dowager Statham made it down the hallway towards the bedchambers, she didn’t even bother with knocking on Flynt’s door. She turned the handle and pushed open the double doors, seeing that the room was encased in darkness from the thick burgundy curtains having been pulled over the windowpanes. The mother smirked as she crossed the room and pulled the curtains open, sending her son sprawling across the bed in a panic to escape the bright sun.
“What in tarnation is going on?” Flynt yelled into his pillow, trying to shield his eyes from the sudden sun. He let out a string of obscenities that he had learned while sailing with the Navy.
“What did you say, dear?” came his mother’s cool and collective voice that almost sounded comforting. Flynt continued to rant, making sure to keep the pillow over his face or his mother would have certainly boxed his ears if she had heard the profanities.
“Why are you in my room, Mother?” Flynt asked as he tossed the pillow aside and squinted through the sunlight. When he noticed his Aunt Bertie, he quickly pulled on the blankets to cover his nakedness.
“Oh, my dear boy,” Aunt Bertie said with a chuckle. “It’s not like I haven’t seen you bare as a babe. I remember the time you ran away from your nurse before being dressed for the day, streaking across the manor laughing as though you had won a derby.”
“Auntie, I don’t want to be reminded of such things,” Flynt said with an audible sigh.
“Then how about I give you something else to remember,” Dowager Statham said as she rounded the bed. She stood with her hands on her hips, staring down at Flynt with narrowed eyes. She had the same blue eyes as Flynt, and sometimes he’d look deeply into her eyes, trying to figure out the solutions to his own problems.
“What would that be, Mother?” Flynt asked as he ran his fingers through his brown hair, supposedly inherited from his father. Though Flynt had been very young when his father suddenly passed away, his mother and aunt often talked about the man as though he was still alive.
“Your aunt has just received a letter from Lord Locke. He has detailed the extent of our debts, as well as the fact that you’ve been fist fighting,” Dowager Statham said, her voice rising in tone as though she was severely put off. “Now what do you have to say for yourself?”
“What would you like me to say?” Flynt said as he leaned over the bed and picked up a cup of water that he quickly drained. The sunlight was making his head pound, no doubt from the extensive consumption he’d partaken of the night before.
“How about you start with what really happened last night?” Dowager Statham said.
“Mother, please. I don’t really remember all of what happened last night. I have but a foggy memory of it all,” Flynt said as he lay back down in bed and tried to pull the covers up over his head. However, his mother was faster than him and tugged them off completely, causing him to whip around to shield himself with a pillow.
“This is unacceptable, Flynt. I didn’t send you off to be a part of the militia just for you to return home and begin your poor habits once more. Drinking. Gambling. And God knows what else.”
Flynt was starting to worry that if his mother continued to rant and rave like she was, especially with his bedchamber doors still opened, the staff would certainly become privy to their conversation. Furthermore, if his mother knew of the female companion he kept, even a particular young lady that was supposed to be courted by another, he was certain she would refrain from letting him out of the house ever again.
“Mother, you can’t accuse me of doing anything that other lords often partake of as well,” Flynt said as he managed to sit up and look at his mother directly, all sense of modesty now forgotten.
“Flynt, you are not like other lords. You have a full inheritance coming your way when I pass away. You need to learn to be more responsible now, or you’ll ruin us all. From now on, your aunt and I are not going to shield you from the consequences of your actions. You are responsible for the debt you owe, and you better find a way to repay it all,” Dowager Statham huffed before turning on her heels and marching out of the room. Dowager White stuck up her nose at Flynt as she followed after her sister.
Flynt sighed heavily as he slowly made his way out of bed and closed the doors to his bedchamber. He found his clothes from the night before on the floor and pulled on his long underwear before rummaging around in his wardrobe for something suitable to wear. Having never been accustomed to dressing his rank, he pulled on a normal pair of trousers and a white muslin shirt. At the water basin, he dunked his face in the water and then ran the water through his brown hair as he brought his head back up.
Spending the last three years either at sea or abroad with the militia had certainly changed Flynt from the person he used to be before his mother made him sign the papers to enlist. Before, the only thing he had really worried about was avoiding his mother’s attempt at marriage. The pressure had been unbearable, sending him to the gentlemen’s clubs to avoid her arranged dinner parties at the house.
At first, Flynt had considered serving his country as the perfect way to escape his mother. He’d serve his three years, return a hero, and never have to worry about his mother, and sometimes aunt, bothering him to do anything. But being in the militia had not been anything close to what Flynt had expected. He’d served with some great men during his time. However, he’d seen plenty of friends die in the action of battle as well.
Shaking his head to try to displace the memories that constantly seemed to swarm his mind, Flynt managed to find a pair of clean stockings to slip on before pulling on his boots. This morning routine had been similar to when he’d been sailing at sea or waking up in a small camp. He knew these habits would be hard to break, especially when his mother expected him to utilize his valet for everything. Being almost thirty-years-old, he didn’t feel as though he should rely on others for his most basic needs.
Flynt left his room, heading down to the kitchen to find something to eat before he headed out for the day. A walk through the local park would surely do his head some good as it continued to pound. He smiled at Cook as he entered the kitchen and started picking at the block of cheese that sat on the counter.
“Now hear you this, Master Flynt. If you want me to prepare you a meal, I will. But I don’t like you picking at food like that. It needs to be cut properly,” the older woman said as she pointed her butcher’s knife at Flynt. His smile only deepened as he leaned against the counter and folded his arms. She was in the middle of butchering a pig, no doubt for another dinner party his mother had planned for him.
“Come now, Mrs Denton. I will do no harm,” he said with his signature smile, knowing how his lopsided grin caused women to become weak in the knees.
“Enough of that scandalous behaviour,” Mrs Denton said before chuckling loudly. “I am twice your age and no longer fall for the sweet smiles of males.”
“You can’t fault me for trying,” he said, as he picked another chunk of cheese out of the block. Cook sighed in defeat as she placed a small cheese knife on the counter and slid it towards him. He winked at her as he picked it up and sliced proper pieces of cheese from the block, eating them there as he stood in the kitchen instead of sitting down in the dining room and relying on others to serve him.
“Thank you, Cook. I can always rely on you,” Flynt said when he was done eating.
“Behave yourself, Master Flynt,” Mrs Denton called after him as he made his way out of the servants’ door on the side of the townhouse, intent on slipping away from the house for a few hours to allow his mother and aunt the opportunity to settle down from their tizzy.
Miss Ada Taylor was in her bedchamber, brushing her dark brown hair while she sat in front of the looking glass when she heard Dowager Statham’s voice rise above that of her own light singing. She lowered her hands and turned towards her door, as though she could see through into the hallway. Instead, she could only listen as Dowager Statham chastised her son once more.
It had only been a month since Lord Statham had returned to his family’s townhouse from serving with the militia abroad. She didn’t know much of the man besides what his mother talked about him. And it seemed the man had many troubles. With the sound of Dowager Statham’s voice, Ada reasoned that the Earl was in trouble once more.
Already predicting her employer’s next move, Ada rose from the vanity and finished pressing her walking gown. She changed from her day gown to one more suitable for leaving the townhouse and appearing amongst society. When shopping, you just never knew who you might run into.
After coming to be Dowager Statham and White’s companion while Lord Statham was away, she had become rather close to the two older ladies, as well as their patterns when they were upset. Dowager Statham liked to go out and shop while Dowager White preferred to work in the garden to settle her nerves. Therefore, Ada had plenty of things suitable for a lady of her station. And she had plenty of experience pruning roses so that they flourished each spring and late summer.
“Ada dear,” came the sound of Dowager Statham’s voice as she wracked her knuckles on her door. “We’re going out.”
Ada quickly opened her bedchamber door, a bonnet already on her head to shield her eyes from the afternoon sun. “I’m all ready,” Ada said with a happy smile.
“Punctual as ever, Miss Ada. Come along then,” Dowager Statham said with a pleased smile before turning and heading down the hallway. With her purse and parasol in hand, she followed after the two widows as they descended the stairs, their chins held up high. At the foyer, they were giving their gloves and walking shoes while their lady’s maids assisted them. Though a companion, Ada hadn’t been given a maid of her own and instead did her best to take care of herself and appear as her employer would have her be.
Once outside, they all stepped up into the waiting carriage. The two women sat together while Ada sat across from them, focusing her attention on the views outside the carriage window. She knew her place within this trio and would remain silent until asked to speak up or give her opinion.
“Oh, Bertie. Whatever am I to do about the boy? He’s certainly crossed the line this time,” Dowager Statham complained as the carriage began to roll down the cobblestones of Town.
“What is there to do at this point?” Dowager White replied. “The whole point of paying his commission so he could join the militia as a lord was to help him become a gentleman.”
“This last month has proven to me that the militia did nothing for him but allow him to become even wilder. He doesn’t allow his valet to tend to him, and every day he comes down from his bedchamber past noon and looks rather unkempt.”
Ada thought about the few times she had witnessed Lord Statham since his return from abroad. First, he spent many days in his bedchamber as he recovered from the seasickness. Then, he didn’t wake till later in the day, only to spend his nights out of the townhouse when his mother tried hard to get him to attend her many social functions. What little Ada had seen of the Earl was that he was muscular, compared to the soft looks of most gentlemen. And he also had the most mesmerizing blue eyes. He was the type of wild explorer Ada had often fantasised about when she thought of her perfect husband.
More than anything, Ada wanted to marry and live a happy life with someone she could fall in love with. She wanted to start a family and have as many children as she could. Then, she and her husband would be doting parents, and he would entertain their children with his stories of adventure of when he was a youth. Ada smiled at the thought as she half-listened to the widows complain to one another.
“If only his father hadn’t passed away so early in life. He lacks male guidance, despite the best masters of the arts that I could afford for him. He’s always had this wild streak in him that even war didn’t seem to tame,” Dowager Statham rambled.
“My dear, I’m afraid it has only made it worse. At least back then, he didn’t succumb to so much strong drink,” Dowager White said, opening her wooden fan and airing herself. Any time Dowager White became flustered, she would become very hot. Ada reached into her purse and withdrew the small bottle of peppermint oil she kept for the woman. She handed it to Dowager White, who used a few drops on her wrists and neck. Handing it back, she thanked her readily.
“I am quite at a loss of what should be done about Flynt. I can’t simply allow him to ruin himself. Ada, my dear. What do you think?”
Ada turned her eyes towards her employer, surprised by the question. She opened her mouth to speak, but the image of Lord Statham rising in her mind’s eye only caused her to blush and become quite tongue-tied.
“Forgive me, Dowager Statham. I couldn’t possibly have an appropriate answer. I am neither a wife nor a mother,” Ada eventually mustered to say.
“But surely you have noticed his unrealistic behaviour this past month and have formed some sort of opinion of him,” Dowager Statham pressed.
“Only that he is a troubled soul, ma’am. He seems to have many issues that he tries to drown with strong drink,” Ada said, trying to be honest. It was rarely that the two asked her opinion, and often Ada was simply around to support them in whatever outing they had chose. But for the most part, Ada was neither addressed nor noticed. Compared to how she had been raised, it was a far cry from normalcy. But, considering everything, she found that she enjoyed her life with the two widows.
Ada raised her eyes from her hands to notice that Dowager White was observing her closely. At first, Ada simply smiled at her to hopefully off-put the tension in the carriage. But the more they looked at one another, the more Ada started to worry that Dowager White was somehow uncomfortable all of a sudden.
“Lavinia, darling. Why don’t you encourage Flynt to marry? If he was properly married, he could take his inheritance and settle down with a nice girl. I’m sure a bit of romance would be what the young man needs. He just needs an outlet for all his wildness,” Dowager White said with a bright smile, turning to look at her sister.
“Come now; we’ve already tried that, remember? Before we made the decision about the militia, I would take him to every ball and dinner party I could receive an invitation to.
“And now? After the way he’s been acting. I hardly doubt that any woman would accept a bloke like him,” Dowager Statham said with a deep sigh.
“The Season has just begun, Lavinia. There is still hope for him. The only chore will be to convince him to start attending social functions so he can meet a nice young lady that can steer him in the right direction,” Dowager White offered.
“Oh, I just don’t know anymore,” Dowager Statham said as she looked out the window, seeming to be hopeless.
Once the carriage came to a stop, Dowager Statham stepped down from the carriage first because her husband had been an earl, Dowager White’s a viscount. Ada brought up the rear as they stepped across the pavement towards Dowager Statham’s favourite hat shop. The rest of the afternoon was spent looking over the newest hats and ribbons that could be used to improve upon the designs.
Shopping had been one of Dowager Statham’s favourite pastimes when she was not feeling well or perhaps stressed over her son. Since his return, she had frequented the establishment at least once a week. Sometimes they would even venture down the road to the seamstress to take a look at the latest fabrics and learn what the young ladies were wearing to balls that Season. These were all things to distract Dowager Statham from the troubles that remained at home. Ada was a faithful lady’s companion and always made sure the widows enjoyed themselves and remained within their own budgets.
When they had finished with their purchases, the ladies climbed back into the waiting carriage, talking excitedly about the things they had seen and the beautiful ribbons that would flatter their gowns for this social gathering or that. For being widows, Dowager Statham and Dowager White were rather social figures in their society. Therefore, they liked always to be made aware of the latest fashions so they could fit into modern times even though they were older in life.
“Miss Ada, what wonderful company you do keep,” Dowager Statham said, a smile coming to her lips as they travelled back to the townhouse. “I look forward to the concert tomorrow evening to see the tenor singer you admire so much.”
“I am sure you’ll be the beau of the audience with the wonderful ribbons you have purchased today,” Ada replied with a matching smile. It did her good to see her employer in a happier mood. And at the mention of the concert that the widows had surprised her with, she couldn’t help feeling excited about attending. Her employer had always been very benevolent, and therefore she couldn’t complain about her current situation.
Upon returning to the townhouse, the widow’s lady’s maids came to take their purchases up to their rooms. Ada made her way into the drawing room, planning to treat the sisters to a small performance of her own. She dearly loved to sing and was convinced that was why Dowager Statham had hired her originally. As Ada thought about coming to live with the two sisters three years ago, she knew in her heart that she should be grateful for every moment compared to what she had been forced to live in the past.
“A Bewitching Lord of Her Own “ is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
Ada Taylor has learned the hard way how to take care of herself. She was dreaming of marrying for love, but her father passed away before she found her perfect match, and she was left penniless. Ada had to make her own way, and became a lady’s companion to Mrs. Statham and Mrs. White. But little did she know that she would meet a very scandalous man who would set her heart on fire. Will the passionate Ada manage to find the love of her dreams after all?
Lord Flynt Statham’s mother and aunt have had enough of his bad reputation. His behaviour has been detestable ever since his return home from the Napoleonic Wars. In order to keep his inheritance, they force him to marry a lady’s companion, hoping that her pure heart will make him a better man. Even though he has no interest in finding a wife, when he sees Ada he knows what he must do. Will this wicked man be tamed by the fiery Ada, or will their torrid personalities clash?
Just when Flynt starts to truly care about his captivating wife, his troubled past comes looking for him, in the form of his “first” wife. But what will happen when he cannot recall ever marrying this woman? Even though Flynt says that she is an impostor, Ada feels devastated and betrayed by his lies. Will he ever convince her that he is a changed man, or will their delirious lust be vanished forever?
“A Bewitching Lord of Her Own” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.