An Unlikely Rescuer
The English countryside in the full flower of summer rolled by outside the carriage window. It was a veritable explosion of warm, glorious life. Songbirds darted to and fro as they sang their merry songs, and over the steady hoofbeats of the horses came the cheery calls of frogs and the hum of bumblebees dipping in and out of irises and wild roses. Somewhere just on the other side of the shady row of elms that whistled in the gentle breeze, there was a babbling brook running alongside the highway. Overhead the sky was a rich, Pacific blue, dotted with tiny white clouds like cotton bobbing in the firmament.
But despite all the pomp and pageantry of the British summertime that flew by her carriage, Alicia Ramsbury had only one thing on her mind:
Only another few hours until I can be back in my own blessed bed.
“Oh, it is such a jolly day, isn’t it, Miss Alicia?” chirped her maid, Jenny, in that wretchedly good-humoured way of hers.
“Hmm, yes,” Alicia murmured in reply.
Silence passed between them as the yews and hawthorns rushed by in a blur of verdant green. Alicia took in a breath, trying to ignore the smell as much as she could, and breathed it out again. She pushed away the sights and sounds of all that nature, bringing her thoughts again back to pleasanter things.
I hope Mister Wentworth has put clean linens on the bed already, she thought, a faint smile coming to her full, pink lips. I fancy I shall slip into the sheets the moment I walk through the door and then rise for an early supper before retiring right back to bed for the night. She could picture everything just as she had left it not three weeks before: her novel on the nightstand; her full, luxurious pillow fluffed just so; the deliciously warm duvet she could pull up over her ears when—
“But isn’t it just so lovely out this way?” Jenny chirruped again. “I am so pleased that even if we must spend all day in the carriage, at least it should be in such splendid weather. Don’t you think?”
Alicia winced at this interruption. Though she hardly liked to be rude to her doting maid, she preferred to savour her expectations of the end of their journey in hopes of perhaps hastening their pace.
“In fact, I cannot remember the last time we have had a day this warm and l—”
“I said yes, Jenny,” Alicia snapped. Then, before the matron could attempt to infect her with that abominable enthusiasm yet again, Alicia rested her head against the wall of the carriage, closing her eyes and shutting out the view from her mind.
In a polite conversation among civilized society, Alicia would naturally nod her assent that, yes, the countryside has its unique charms. She would mutter something vaguely approving whenever some gentleman would wax rhapsodic about how the hills and fields of Old Blighty really were without parallel anywhere in the world, and would bite her tongue whenever, late into the night, a ball would lapse into a jovial drunken rendition of that song about ‘England’s green and pleasant land’.
But if she were pressed even a little bit, Alicia would loose her tongue and reveal what she secretly believed: the countryside was a terrible place. It lacked all the conveniences that made life worth living, in her estimation, and even putting aside all the dangers that could befall a lady in the out-of-doors—the wolves, bears, rainstorms, and whatever else the Devil saw fit to plague ‘England’s mountains green’—even the mundane pleasures of the countryside held absolutely no appeal for her. The sun burned her delicate skin, the air was full of stinging wasps and foul animal smells, and the grass stained her fine garments.
Worst of all were the people who lived in the country, who had always seemed to Alicia to be the worst sort of yahoos and bumpkins. Privately, she had a suspicion that every intelligent person believed exactly the same way as she, and all carried on about the pleasures of bucolic life merely as an affectation.
No, she told herself for the dozenth time since leaving Missus Miggins’ home in Portsmouth, the countryside was a place to be endured while travelling to more worthwhile places, nothing more. At least until the great men of English society found a way to do away with it entirely.
And endure it I will, thought Alicia. Her head jostling and bumping against the wall of her family’s old carriage was a poor substitute for her beloved bed, but it would have to do for now.
Before Alicia could draw breath, her eyes shot open as the world spun around her in a vortex.
What is happening? she scarcely had time to think.
Her stomach leaped into her throat with a sudden sense of weightlessness, but before she could even open her mouth to cry out in alarm, her innards slammed back down to the earth. She and Jenny were thrown into a tangle of limbs and shouts and screaming horses and sickening crunching sounds.
“Help!” someone cried—Alicia could not be sure if it was Jenny’s voice or her own.
And then, as suddenly as it had begun, it was all over. She waited for the sounds of an angelic chorus—or barring that, a shooting sensation telling her she had broken a bone. None came. From her position on the floor of the darkened carriage Alicia dared to move a finger, then an arm. Somewhere nearby she heard the panicked cries of horses and a man’s voice attempting to calm them gently.
“Oh, Miss Alicia, what’s happened?” moaned Jenny from amid the cloud of dust that hung in the air between them.
“I don’t know. Are you all right, Jenny?”
“I think so,” she coughed.
Hesitantly, Alicia picked herself up onto her hands and knees, a task made considerably more difficult by the fact that the floor appeared to be tilted at a steep angle.
“Miss Alicia!” came a shaky voice from out the window above her. A worried face appeared at the window beneath a dusty top hat.
“I’m fine, Herbert,” she said in a surprisingly calm voice.
After a short effort that rocked the carriage even more in its precarious position, the door swung open and the face of Herbert Place offered a hand down to her. In a trice, the two women were standing in the cloud of dust that surrounded the carriage.
“What happened?” asked Alicia.
“Damn carriage must’ve hit a rock…or a boulder, more like. ‘Scuse my language, Miss. Are you sure you’re not injured?” asked Herbert, his hands nervously switching between reaching out to Alicia and kneading one another in a frenzy.
“We may be sore on the morrow, but I don’t think we’re hurt,” Alicia answered. She smoothed her dress and looked around. The scenery surrounding them was as empty and bucolic as before, though the green wilderness had gradually given way to fields of ripe wheat and apple trees. Really, all of the substance that had changed, as far as she could tell, was that they had stopped here, wherever “here” happened to be.
“I do hope whatever the problem is won’t take long to fix, Herbert,” Alicia said, shading her eyes with a hand and looking down the road. London was nowhere in sight, unfortunately. “Since none of us is hurt there’s no reason to linger here.”
“Beggin’ your pardon, Miss,” said the old coachman, scratching behind his dirty ear. “But I don’t think we’ll be going anywhere anytime soon.”
“What do you mean?” she snapped. “Surely there’s some way to right the…”
But as her eyes wandered to the wreckage of the carriage, Alicia’s protests died on her tongue. She was hardly an expert in such matters, but the splintered wood that jutted out from under the front of the vehicle and the twisted scraps of metal lying at her feet did not indicate a quick repair was likely. Not only was the whole vehicle tilted terribly to the right side, but the front-right wheel was missing entirely.
Visions of her warm, comfortable bed vanished before her eyes. Alicia bit her lip, hoping to stifle the tide of tears that swelled within her.
“Oh, Lord save us!” Jenny cried, tears coming as easily to the middle-aged woman as smiles.
“What are you going to do now, Herbert?” Herbert muttered to himself, pacing back and forth as the colour drained from his face. The team of horses was still hitched to the remains of the carriage and began to stomp and whinny more nervously with their driver’s distress. “How are you going to get Miss Alicia home now? You can’t bloody well carry her on your shoulders, you daft fool!”
Grace is going to be furious, she thought, swallowing. Her sister had made a point of insisting Alicia be present for some dinner party or other later in the week. Alicia had used this social obligation repeatedly during her visit with Missus Miggins, imagining it would be a convenient way to excuse her quick departure back for London. Now, if it was indeed as grim as Herbert seemed to think it was, there was no way she would be able to keep this appointment.
Hearing the distant cry of an eagle overhead, Alicia was jerked back to her present dilemma. Never mind Grace now! she thought to herself, biting her lip in consternation. That’s the least of our worries. Whatever are we going to do stuck out in the middle of nowhere like this?
“Ahoy, there!” called a strange voice from down the road. Alicia glanced toward the voice and sighted a rough-looking man a hundred yards off. At first, she paid him no mind, returning to her own fretting.
What are we going to do? she asked herself, fingers clutching her skirt nervously. What happens if we are still here on the open road come nightfall? Or if we are overrun by some wild animal or brigands this far from civilization?
“I say, is everyone all right there?” the voice called again with its odd twang. Alicia felt her hairs stand on end as she realized the man was coming closer to them, and she instinctively grabbed Jenny’s hand and walked them both behind the shattered remains of the carriage.
“Miss Alicia, what—?” Jenny asked quietly before Alicia hissed her into silence.
“We don’t know this man,” she said in a quiet voice. “He could be a…a highwayman, for all we know!”
“A highwayman?” the maid gulped. Against their better judgment, both women turned to peer at the oncoming man from behind the carriage, their eyes wide with fear.
“Y…yessir, thank you, sir, no problem here,” Herbert answered, sensing Alicia’s fear at the approaching individual. Even as he stammered this reply, the horses ceased their nickering and stood silently.
The stranger stopped and folded his arms, looking over every figure in the scene with a careful eye. He ran a calloused hand through his short-cropped, hay-coloured hair, then rubbed it against his clean-shaven cleft chin in thought. He was bareheaded and without a jacket, and the sleeves of his rough white shirt were rolled up to his elbows, exposing muscles that looked to have been built with years of hard labour.
He doesn’t look like a highwayman, Alicia thought, taking in the man’s appearance warily—not that she knew much of such things, apart from the drawings she had seen of the dashing Dick Turpin and his ilk in her books. Indeed, from his shabby attire and the sweat on his brow, she guessed this man was more likely to be a labourer from the nearby fields, despite his almost patrician nose. Still, a simple man could be as dangerous as a robber, she reminded herself, her stomach twisted in knots.
“Well, I don’t mean to argue with you, sir,” the man said in a slow, deliberate voice. His pale blue eyes twinkled with humor, a tiny smile coming to his lips in the middle of his tanned and ruddy face. “But around this part of the country, a carriage missing a wheel is considered rather a big problem.”
The stranger stepped forward, provoking Herbert and both women to start in fear. The man stopped in place, putting both hands up to show he was unarmed. “Forgive me, sir. Ladies,” he said, his smile still patiently plastered across his face. “Laurence Gillingham.”
Alicia felt her jaw drop, the man’s friendly greeting to her taking her completely by surprise. Oddly, rather than fear or offence, her first thought was embarrassment at how silly she must look with her mouth gaping like a codfish. She snapped her mouth shut, fixing a scowl on her face even as her pale cheeks reddened.
Herbert glanced back at Alicia. She shook her head, then nodded it, unclear of what she was conveying even as she tried to puzzle out what she wanted to happen. Her eyes flitted back to the strange man, this Laurence Gillingham, who was now walking in a wide circle, his gaze fixed on the carriage as if in thought.
“Hit a rock, looks like?”
“Think so, Mister…Gillingham, was it?” Herbert replied cautiously, stepping forward to examine what this Laurence was looking at. In the distance, Alicia sighted more people coming down the road, from the same direction Laurence had approached them. She was still frozen to the spot, unsure whether this was a good omen or an ill one.
“Ah, yes. There you have it. See that there? The axle snapped clean in two,” said Laurence, pointing to the broken carriage.
“Oh, yes, yes,” Herbert replied, nodding frantically. “It…ah, it can be repaired, of course…can’t it? Sir?”
“Oh, of course, I’ve no doubt,” said Laurence calmly. Then, in an affectionate voice, he cooed, “I say, here’s a pretty girl, isn’t she?”
Alicia felt her head spin as her relief at his first words turned to outrage at his next. She turned to look at Jenny as if to confirm her ears did not deceive her, but the maid had quietly retreated to sit and fan herself beneath the shade of a nearby tree. What insolence! I cannot believe how brazen this man would speak of—
But once again she found herself rendered speechless as she saw that Laurence had directed this compliment to one of the chestnut mares tied to the carriage. He came close to the beast, speaking softly to it and scratching it behind the ear. As he did so, a calm came over the horse, and its anxious whinnies were replaced with a more contented sound. Alicia attempted to hang onto her outrage at this strange man but felt it slip through her fingers, replaced by a strange fascination at his behaviour.
“So, sir, I, ah…” Herbert stammered, coming behind Laurence with his hat in hand. “You say you can repair our carriage?”
“Oh, no, by no means,” the man said calmly.
He gave the horse another solid pat on the neck, then slowly turned and spoke directly to Alicia. “I said it can be repaired. But not by me. I’m afraid I’m not much for this kind of trade. Nor is anyone else in this area, I’m afraid. You’ll have to see a professional.”
“And where might we find a professional, Mister Gillingham?” Alicia asked in a voice she hoped sounded braver than it felt.
At these words, Laurence looked into her eyes for the first time, and once again Alicia felt her breath catch in her throat. The man’s eyes were so clear and blue, like the surface of a frozen pond, and his gaze was powerful enough that it felt he was stripping her naked…yet somehow the effect was not as unsettling as that. It was disarming, yes, but intimate, even affectionate.
That said, the effect of this examination was beguiling enough that it took Alicia a moment to notice that she had not heard the man’s answer to her question.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?” she asked dumbly.
He gave a queer smile at this, his patience still unbroken even as a few other field workers walked up to inspect the carriage wreck. “I said there should be a man who can fix your carriage for you in Wiltshire.”
“And…how far is that?”
“Oh, not far, not far,” said Laurence, his fellows nodding amiably around him. “Forty or fifty miles away, I reckon. Shouldn’t take your man more than a few days to get there and back.”
It took every ounce of strength she had not to faint at this pronouncement. Lord save us indeed!
A Surprising Introduction
“A few days!” exclaimed Alicia and Herbert at the same moment.
“And there is no nearer town?” asked Herbert. “Nowhere else we might get our carriage repaired, or another horse or…or something?”
The handful of men and women who now surrounded them murmured their confirmation of this prediction.
“But he…I can’t…what would Jenny and I…?” Alicia found herself babbling, her heart tightening in her chest. She pictured herself and Jenny, holding one another close on the dark road as they were surrounded by all manner of terrible danger. All the perils of the countryside began looming over her once more.
Laurence squinted and looked off into the distance in thought, running a hand through his shock of yellow hair. Alicia could only look on, oddly captivated by the sight—whoever this Laurence Gillingham fellow was, she could not shake the thought that she had misjudged him somehow. His physique and his rough-spun clothing suggested he was little more than a common labourer, yet his gentility and his intelligent manner of speaking belied that conclusion.
At last, he sighed with an air of resolution falling upon his shoulders before he fixed her once more with that powerful blue gaze.
“I know it may not be proper, Miss, but I’d like to offer you and the other lady a room in my house. For a few nights, at least, while you wait for your man to get your carriage fixed or get a new one.”
Alicia scoffed, feeling on secure footing for the first time in what felt like ages. “Out of the question,” she said breathlessly. “Absolutely not. I could not possibly accept.”
She gave the man another quick up-and-down, confirming her initial opinion of him as a bore. Then she felt a pang of guilt, seeing his face fall at her words. The man does seem a simple country sort. He must really have no idea how unacceptable a proposition this is.
“Sir, I truly appreciate your offer,” said Alicia in a gentler tone. “But you are a stranger, and we are two unwed women. No matter your intentions—which I’m sure are innocent,” she added, unsure of why she was so sure of this point, “it would be disgraceful for us to be known to have stayed at your house. Surely there must be some other solution.”
Laurence looked off into the distant sky once more, then turned to his neighbours in puzzlement. From their indistinct muttering, they seemed to have no such alternatives
“Is there not some nearby inn, perhaps?” asked Jenny from her spot beneath the tree.
“Or another carriage that may be lent to us?” said Alicia.
They were met by the crowd of country people with naught but stony silence.
“Even…even another horse?” Alicia asked, but swallowed the sound of her words in trepidation of their plight. Just as well, she would later reflect, as neither Jenny nor she was able to ride, so far as she knew.
Her vision was clouded by a wellspring of tears, and she felt her legs tremble dangerously beneath her. What will become of us? Alicia wondered, struggling to stay upright.
Then a clear, feminine voice came chiming up from amid the throng. “Under the circumstances, Miss, staying at the Gillingham residence is without a doubt the best course. For your bodily safety as well as your reputation.”
Alicia’s ears perked up, detecting a more familiar manner of speaking. Her eyes fell upon a well-dressed woman not much older than her—though still sun-kissed from time spent in the sun, it appeared—who stepped forward and lifted the corners of her skirts in a delicate curtsy.
“Mary-Anne Stanhope,” the woman said, her yellow hair pinned up attractively beneath a broad sun hat.
Alicia smiled with surprise. The name was a familiar one in her circle; she had heard Grace batting about the name of the Stanhope family for as long as she could remember. “Alicia Ramsbury,” she answered, giving a curtsy of her own. “But—surely you are not Missus Stanhope, wife of Edward Stanhope? Of Boothby Lane, in Whitehall?”
“I have that pleasure,” said Mary-Anne with a smile. Then the smile twisted at the corner of her mouth, her eyebrow arching. “Well, whether or not it is a pleasure is a matter for another time—for now, I can confirm that whatever it is, it is mine.”
Blinking, Alicia was unsure what to make of this development. She was most unaccustomed to such rapid changes in her fortune, and the Stanhopes were as old and well-regarded a family as one could ever meet. She may as well have run across a turbaned king of India as Missus Edward Stanhope in this backward English field.
Forgetting her tact amid all the confusion, she stammered, “But you—but the Stanhope house is in London, not far from my own. What are you doing here, of all places, amid these common labourers?”
Mary-Anne stepped forward and took Alicia’s arm, and before the stunned young woman could protest, the two were walking slowly away from the ruined carriage. “I know this part of the countryside—we call it Dunwood, as that is the nearest village—may not look like much, Miss Ramsbury, but…well, everyone has to come from somewhere. And this is where I came from before marrying my more-or-less dear husband Edward.”
Alicia gasped as she stopped in her tracks, suddenly casting her gaze about at the onlookers. She covered her mouth in shame with her free hand. “Oh, Missus Stanhope, I do apologize, I didn’t mean to offend you or—or your countrymen. I just—”
Reaching forward a gloved hand to pat Alicia’s own, Mary-Anne shushed her good-naturedly. “Not at all. There is a reason I left this place, after all, just as there is a reason I come back from time to time. And what lucky happenstance that I should happen to be back here for the summer, paying a visit to the most upstanding, reputable pillar of our tiny community.”
Hardly daring to let herself believe the woman’s words, Alicia blinked away tears of relief. It was then that she realized Mary-Anne had led them more or less in a circle, and standing silently before them with folded arms and a curious smile was the same golden-haired man called Laurence who had made such an improper proposal. Mary-Anne rested her hand on the man’s sweat-stained shirt with great familiarity.
“Oh!” Alicia blurted. “Is this…?”
“I know my brother may have the appearance of a lout,” said the woman, giving Laurence an affectionate pinch on the arm, “but he is indeed a most established and respectable member of our community. Despite his best efforts.”
Laurence rubbed his arm with a glum expression, provoking Mary-Anne to giggle. He spoke in a slow, deep voice that made Alicia feel there was a cannonball rolling around inside her stomach, somehow.
“I’m afraid our family home isn’t much, Miss Ramsbury, especially for a London gentlewoman like yourself. But my sister is staying with us as well, and if the lapse in humility may be excused, my family’s reputation with our neighbours is beyond reproach. We’ve a large house, if an old one, and a small staff, so you should be perfectly comfortable. And I suppose we’re as close to a pillar of the community in these parts as anyone is.”
The throng of labourers around them nodded and mumbled their assent at this proclamation, some swains slapping Laurence on the back in camaraderie. Though I suppose I cannot assume any of them are the crude field hands I have taken them for, Alicia thought with a wry grimace. For all I know they could all be secret landed knights or dauphins in exile.
Once again she found her eye roving over the solid frame of this Laurence Gillingham. Where before she eyed him with curiosity, now she sought any clue to confirm or refute what she was being told. Is he really some sort of important individual out here in the wilderness? A man of means, a man to be trusted? Because he looks like…
In truth, Laurence looked nothing like anyone she had ever seen before. His loose-low-cut shirt hugged all manner of muscles Alicia was unfamiliar with, and his legs were strong and sleek like a horse’s. He did not seem to be that much older than she, but he so little resembled her male peers in London society—who varied somewhat in their personal qualities but tended to be thin, pale, and rheumatic—that he may as well be a different species entirely. For a moment something about him looked familiar to Alicia, but then she realized with a blush that his form resembled not a person she knew but a particular Grecian statue of a nude athlete.
“But of course, no one can make this decision for you. By all means, seek a different answer to your predicament if you would prefer,” said Mary-Anne, snapping Alicia out of her reverie. “My brother’s invitation is an honest one, and the best and safest solution I can imagine, but it is yours to refuse.”
“Mine?” Alicia yelped. She blinked, suddenly putting together the gravity of everything she had been told. “I don’t…I’m not…”
No one rushed to finish her sentence or make her decision for her. Instead, all eyes busied themselves looking over the wreck of the carriage, save the handful of men who began walking back to their work in the fields. Laurence’s striking blue eyes stayed fixed on Alicia, prompting her to look away, flustered.
They are all waiting for me to decide if we shall stay or not, she said to herself dumbly. What on earth is the right thing to do in this situation?
Alicia felt she had been caught in a whirlwind. For all her complaints to the contrary—to her teachers, to her sister Grace, to her parents before they had passed on—she was entirely unused to having to make such important decisions about her own fate. While she had never made a secret of her whims and simple desires, determining where and how she would take care of herself in this frightening situation was a terrifying prospect.
She looked askance at Jenny, then at Herbert, who seemed to be even more baffled than she was herself. “What should I do?” Alicia asked in a quiet voice, her eyes widening with unease.
Stepping close and keeping her voice deferentially quiet, Jenny said softly, “It’s for you to decide, Miss Alicia. Do what you feel is right.”
But what if I don’t have any clue what is right?
Drawing in a deep, shaky breath, Alicia looked around herself, desperately seeking some perspective or wisdom she had overlooked. Though the land here was more cultivated than she had realized, with farmland stretching off to the horizon, a gust of wind and the cry of a buzzard overhead confirmed that she was still in the wilderness. A cloud passing across the sun momentarily shrouded their bend in the road in shadows, the orange sun marching ever closer to the horizon. Alicia shivered as she imagined what Dunwood would be like in the open once night fell. Staying in place was no choice at all.
The longer she struggled with this decision, the more faint she felt herself grow, whether from the difficulty of her quandary or from the heat of the summer sun. Seeing Jenny and Herbert look to her with growing nervousness, she knew a decision must be made.
Her mind returned the same objections to Mister Gillingham’s proposal, over and over: it might be unsafe, it would be a social disaster, Grace would so furiously disapprove. The latter two Alicia pushed from her mind; she had been long enough among the ton to know there was no living one’s life in a way that avoided being talked about, and her dear sister would always find something to grouse about.
And somehow, her safety with Mister Gillingham seemed beyond question. Having a proper English society woman staying in the same house would naturally be a guarantee of our security, she mused. She carefully regarded the man himself as he helped Herbert unhitch the pair of horses from their broken harness. His biceps bulged with effort as she watched him lift the heavy wooden shaft from the ground.
Yes, Alicia thought, swallowing. I am sure I do not have anything to fear from Mister Gillingham.
Every eye looked back to her once again with expectation. Alicia realized that she had in fact made her decision, and had said it aloud.
Clearing her throat, she steeled herself and looked up into Laurence’s eyes. “Thank you, Mister Gillingham. Jenny and I are very grateful for your offer of lodging, and we will accept your hospitality until Mister Place can return with a repaired carriage as soon as—”
She stopped, suppressing a gasp as Laurence’s mouth broke open into the widest, toothiest smile she had ever seen. The man’s face was already glowing with health, and now with this expression of boyish enthusiasm, he seemed to shine like the sun.
Then another change came over the man. With a natural poise and grace, he directed the other nearby men, “Well, what are all of you waiting around for? Nothing more to see here, you’d best be off before you waste the whole day’s sunlight.”
As the crowd dispersed, grumbling as they returned to their labours, Laurence moved to help Herbert prepare for his departure and move Alicia’s little baggage to the back of the other horse.
“You won’t regret this, Miss Ramsbury,” said Mary-Anne, taking Alicia’s arm once more. “I have no doubt you will look on this meeting as one of the happiest accidents that could befall you.”
“I…am certain you are right,” Alicia answered with as much confidence as she could muster.
“I’ll be back as soon as I can, Miss,” said Herbert, swinging himself up onto the back of one of the chestnut mares. There was a small sack with a few simple supplies attached to the back of the saddle. “Shouldn’t be more than a day or two.”
“That’s good,” Alicia said, reaching a hand out as though to bestow protection upon her family’s stalwart driver.
The man’s grey eyes looked down to her with concern, his jaw set in resolve. “I swear, Miss. I’ll get you home safe, no matter what.”
“I know, Herbert. Thank you.”
He shot a look at Laurence that surprised Alicia with its fierceness. Then, with a curt nod, he lashed the reins and was cantering off down the road. It was only a moment before the cloud of dust he had kicked up dissipated, leaving Alicia truly alone in this strange, unfamiliar place.
Hurry back, Herbert, she thought, trying to suppress a feeling of dread from rising up in her throat. I cannot be rid of this place and back to my bed soon enough.
“A Fiery Lady’s Accidental Affair” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
Alone in the world with her only relative being a patronizing sister, Alicia Ramsbury feels trapped in London’s high society. Even though this is her safe, familiar environment, a part of her is missing. While she is desperately trying to find herself in a place far away from home, she ends up in distress, when her carriage is violently wrecked. Thankfully a vigorous man appears to rescue her and she instantly knows that accepting the seductive stranger’s offer for temporary hospitality is her only option. However, little did she know that the most passionate and fulfilling chapter of her life was about to begin…
Laurence Gillingham has always been a fierce young man, known for his love for the countryside and his roots. Being a farmer and having spent all his life close to nature, he appreciates rural living more than anything else. Will his peaceful and isolated life change after hosting the high-society lady that fate threw in his arms? Laurence will soon realize how much the world of London high-society collides with his rural retreat… Could Alison be the woman that will finally stimulate the mind and hidden desires of the distant Laurence?
When Laurence and Alicia come closer than they could ever imagine, they realise they may have found their missing halves in each other. However, they are struggling to leave their prejudice behind and they soon find themselves torn between love and social status. Alicia should now decide whether she is willing to sacrifice all she has held dear for a lifetime of incomparable bliss and lust. Is love enough to keep these two passionate lovers together against all odds? Do they have the courage to overcome themselves and surrender to their deepest desires?
“A Fiery Lady’s Accidental Affair” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.