The pain was excruciating. Even the ice-cold wet cloth that Penelope Dupont had wrapped around her forearm was not cold enough to ease off the sting. She couldn’t think of the last time she had felt such pain. Maybe if it had not hurt so much, she might be able to, but all she could think about at that very moment was how little she wanted to remove the wet cloth to look at the damage Lady Clara Vigneault had done to her arm. If she closed her eyes, she could still imagine the moment when the woman had screamed at her that her tea was not hot enough. Penelope could have told her otherwise, especially when the liquid was thrown at her, an entire cup of tea washed over her arm, scolding her so badly that she couldn’t hold back the scream.
Lady Cecily Vigneault, Clara’s mother had been absolutely appalled. However, she was not disgusted by her own daughter’s actions but by Penelope’s own reaction. The late Comte’s wife had bellowed that she was an outrageous fool and demanded that she remove herself from the parlour until she could learn to contain herself. And so, holding back tears and clutching her scolded arm in her other hand, she had fled from the room and scurried down to the kitchen to try and save what was left of her skin.
Having run her arm under fresh, cool water and finding that it was not enough, she had dunked a cloth into the coolest water she could get and laid it on her arm. Now she dare not remove it for fear that her skin would be red raw and blistered, or worse still, utterly burned right off the bone. The mere thought made her sick to her stomach, as did the pain. All she could do was grit her teeth and prop her arm up on the kitchen countertop, where she sat on a stool, trying not to pass out.
That was how the cook found her. Betsy Crane had always been kind to Penelope, though that said little as she was always kind to everyone. Though she was getting on in years with silvered hair that had once been brown and a crook in her neck that made her seem much smaller than she had been in years previous, she moved like lightning the moment she arrived in the kitchen doorway. Had she heard her coming, Penelope might have done a better job of hiding her whimpering. Had she not been in so much pain, she might have even tried to hide the wound entirely. But it was too late, and in reality, there was little that could get past the old cook. Her body was declining, but she still had the sharp eyesight of a hawk, and her ears were just as keen.
“Oh, Penny! Whatever have they done to you this time?” Betsy gasped, crossing the room in an instant and grabbing hold of Penelope’s wrist. Penelope struggled not to flinch at the nickname. Though she was used to the old cook saying it, the only other person who ever used it had been her mother. Although her death had come years earlier, even the smallest of reminders stung, especially when she was in so much pain and so in need of a mother’s touch. Betsy would have to suffice, as she always tried to do, having been close friends with Penelope’s mother while living and working beneath the same roof.
“It … it’s nothing,” Penelope insisted through gritted teeth, though the moment she tried to snatch her hand away to prevent Betsy from lifting the washcloth, she gasped in pain. It felt as if the burn were so bad that it had sucked all the moisture from the washcloth and stuck the material to her skin.
“Let me look now, dear,” Betsy insisted, and before Penelope could protest, the cook gripped her wrist just a little tighter and began to remove the washcloth ever so gently. Even without looking, the old cook’s gasp was enough to tell Penelope just how bad the wound was, not to mention the pain that lanced up her arm the moment the washcloth was moved.
Even so, she asked, “How bad is it?”
“Oh, it’s not bad at all, dear,” Betsy responded, though her clenched tone suggested that she was lying. Penelope’s stomach twisted, and she struggled to keep down what little she’d had for breakfast. “I’ve dealt with plenty of burns in my time. We will have you fixed up in a jiffy. Why don’t you tell me what happened?”
Penelope knew that it didn’t really matter what had happened. She knew the cook was only asking her to distract her while she worked, but she was thankful to the cook who disappeared into the pantry for several moments to collect whatever she needed for her remedy.
When she returned with a pot of honey and several sprigs of herbs, Penelope quivered at the thought of how badly it would hurt before it began to get better.
“Lady Clara decided that her tea was not hot enough,” Penelope stated, turning her head away as the cook opened up the honey pot and smothered a good amount onto her arm. Not that she even tried a sip, Penelope thought, cringing at the pain. Had she not been in so much pain and so fed up with her mistress’s treatment of her, she might have been horrified by the thought of what might have happened had she actually tried to drink it. Even seeing the ruin of her skin out of the corner of her eye had made her feel sick. Just seeing the blistered, bumpy, raw skin reminded her of the ordeal she’d suffered at the hands of her employer’s daughter and the growing number of incidents that seemed to be occurring around her mistress.
It was never like this when her father was alive, Penelope thought, her heart aching at the thought of the late Comte, the current Comte’s elder brother, and Lady Clara’s father. He would never have stood for such mistreatment of his staff. Yet he was gone, and so was Penelope’s mother, so she had nobody to protect her from the likes of Lady Clara and Lady Cecily. All she had was Betsy Crane, who could do little to protect her and only nurse the regular wounds she received at the hands of her now employer’s sister-in-law and niece.
“That girl has become insufferable since her father passed,” Betsy muttered with a shake of her head. Penelope sucked in breath when the cook started to press sprigs of herb into the honey she had already laid thickly on her arm. Penelope instinctively glanced over the older woman’s head towards the kitchen doorway. The last thing either of them needed was for someone to overhear either of them talking about the house’s residents. Life at maison de ville lilas had been torturous enough since the old Comte’s death without drawing any more attention to themselves. Penelope thought that Betsy was lucky. Being the cook, she didn’t often leave the safety of the kitchen, and even when she did, she never came directly before the house residents. So long as she cooked everything just perfectly, she was safe from ridicule or harm. In fact, if Penelope thought about it hard enough, she might realise that she suffered the worst of the treatment from the ladies.
“You won’t get in trouble for using this stuff, will you?” Penelope asked, wincing more from the thought of what might happen than the fact that Betsy was still working on her arm. In fact, the wound had begun to go numb. Penelope wasn’t entirely sure whether that was a good thing or not, but at that very moment, it certainly felt like one. Betsy looked up at her with a brilliant smile and rolled her eyes, remaining silent for several moments before she finally responded.
“In order for anyone to find out, they would have to be able to do inventory, and since I do not allow another living soul into my pantry, I highly doubt that is ever going to happen,” the old cook purred with delight. The kitchen, its pantry, and everything surrounding the feeding of the house residents was Betsy’s domain. Down in the kitchens, she was the queen of the house, at least until one of the ladies of the house graced them with their presence, and in all of Penelope’s nineteen years of life under the same roof, she had only ever known Lady Cecily to risk life below the house a handful of times. The windowless rooms and lack of air might well make the place cold and claustrophobic at times, but they were a godsend when it came to getting away from the ladies.
As if she saw the unconvinced, slightly nervous look on Penelope’s face, Betsy reached up and cupped her cheek with the palm of her hand, holding her sticky fingers out at an angle to avoid getting any of the mixture of honey and herbs on her face. “Don’t worry so. You are safe down here with me.”
Penelope’s heart swelled and twisted at her words, and she had to fight tears all over again. It was such a motherly thing to say, such an affectionate thing, that Penelope felt herself wishing all over again that it was her mother and not Betsy standing before her. Struggling to swallow past the sudden lump in her throat, Penelope choked out the words, “Thank you.”
“Don’t thank me just yet.” Betsy shook her head and removed her hand from Penelope’s face. She glanced around for the next space to put the honey pot before she added, “We still have to bandage this, and I imagine from how pale you’ve gone, it’s going to hurt quite a bit.”
The cook disappeared all over again and returned with a wad of clean cloth bandages in her hands. With a smile, she said, “This should be more than enough. We’ll have you all sorted soon.”
That was a relief to Penelope because she still had several chores to complete before the day was over, and she was certain that even with an injury of such magnitude, she would have further orders besides. It will be even more sore in the morning, she thought, cringing when Betsy placed the first end of one bandage on her arm and held it down with her hand while she began to wrap with the other. Bile rose in the back of Penelope’s throat as she pinched her nose against the pain in an attempt to stop herself from bringing up her breakfast.
“You should try to rest as much as you can,” Betsy insisted as she worked, “It’ll help you heal a lot quicker and maybe even reduce the chance of scarring.”
Even with her thumb and forefinger pressed to the bridge of her nose, holding her breath against the pain, Penelope could give the cook a frustrated and pointed look that reminded them both there was little time for rest and recovery in this household, not when the ladies insisted everything be perfect at all times. And I am so far from perfect it is untrue, Penelope thought grimly, stacking up the tumbled bricks of her life, thinking how things seemed to be going from bad to worse to terrible. Not only had she lost both her parents, but she had also lost the Comte, the only noble who had ever shown her a single ounce of kindness. Since his death, Lady Cecily and Lady Clara had gone from being despondent to just plain cruel, though this wound was at the top of the list when it came to severity.
It still hurt to think of all the others. The time that Cecily had ‘dropped’ the soap bar out of the bath right as she passed carrying her lady’s old laundry as she bathed. She had slipped and sprained her ankle. That had been almost six months ago, and it still pained her slightly to this day after a long day on her feet.
Then there were the times when Lady Cecily had insisted she hadn’t done her chores correctly, and as punishment, she was to be hit across her palms with the heaviest of books in the library, not only that, but the lady had forced the butler to carry out the sentence so that she would not break a sweat. Penelope’s eyes had filled with tears during that undertaking, watching the lady laugh out of the corner of her eye, seeing how she became blurry the more her eyes watered but still being able to see the cruel amusement that spread across her face, the smug satisfaction at watching her be punished.
Finally, there were all the times that Clara had thrown things at her. She had felt everything from books to hairbrushes and now china, though this was the first time there had actually been anything in the cups at the time. At first, it had been discreet, the knocking of a cup here and nudging one there, most times with Penelope able to catch it before any serious damage was done. Each time Clara’s mother would grow increasingly frustrated, choosing to blame the maid even when it was clear from the way she glanced at her daughter that she had seen exactly what had truly happened.
Where will it all end? Penelope asked herself, but her stomach clenched at the answer. With the rate at which the cruelty was accelerating, she couldn’t imagine it would be too long before one of the ladies did something irreparable to her. She would be maimed too badly to go about her duties or even worse, she might be killed. Lady Clara had already attempted to push her down the stairs. At least, she imagined that was what the lady had been attempting when Penelope had dropped the entire laundry contents in her arms and managed just in time to grab the banister before her foot could reach the top step. The dropping of the laundry had got her another beating, but that was preferable to breaking her neck in a fall down the stairs.
The hard lump in Penelope’s throat grew further as she came to the realisation, I cannot stay here any longer or I shall be killed.
But how could she leave the only home she had ever known? How could she leave Betsy and the other servants to put up with Lady Cecily and Lady Clara without her? How could she survive on her own?
“Are you alright?” Betsy asked, and Penelope’s vision unblurred so suddenly that she quickly realised she had been staring into the kitchen’s open space. So lost in thought, she hadn’t even noticed the moment when Betsy finished bandaging her arm or the few moments the cook had been watching her, staring at her with growing concern. “You have grown awfully pale.”
Penelope shook her head and responded, “No, I am not alright, but I shall be.”
It was a vow she made not only to the cook but to herself even as she thought, I have no idea where I shall go or what I shall do to survive, but anywhere is better than here.
The smell of mud and blood, of sweat and bodies packed together like sardines, had become quite the norm for Anthony Grafton. Back home in London, he was little more than a gentleman, but out here, he mattered; out here, he was a high officer of the Royal British Army, and his life mattered. And so the smells no longer bothered him. Nor did the sounds of squeaking rats and carrions flying high overhead whenever they believed there was fresh meat ripe for the picking. Even the screams of injured and dying men affected him far less than they once had done.
Standing over the table in his room, marking out strategies on his map and getting stuck into his work was his favourite place. And that was exactly where the messenger found him. He was working by candlelight because the sun had gone down hours earlier, not that even the sun could penetrate the thick canvas that covered his quarters. He rarely slept in the hard wooden framed, straw mattress cot at the far end of the tent. Most of the time, he would be found with his head dropped onto the map, ink smudged on his forehead, and drool running down from the corner of his lip due to his sheer desire to make sure he had thought out every possible strategy for defeating the Spanish. Napoleon Bonaparte would rue the day he ever began this war, especially if Anthony had anything to say about it.
But it seemed that the missive the messenger carried had a different fate in mind for him.
“What is it?” Anthony snapped grouchily. He instantly regretted it the moment he saw the startled look on the young boy’s face. He couldn’t have been more than fifteen. Far too young to be on the frontlines and yet here he was, offering a piece of crinkled paper to the officer. “Sorry. Ignore me. I’ve had little sleep. What do you have for me?”
“An important note, milord,” the boy insisted, bowing with the letter held prostrate in front of him. Anthony flinched at the title the young boy called him by, but he had long since given up trying to tell the younger soldiers that he was no lord; he was merely a higher officer who had worked hard to get to where he was now. It would do him no good to waste his breath explaining it to this soldier. The two would likely never meet again, and Anthony would rather not think of the poor lad’s fate in the war. So many good young men had already perished.
“Thank you, soldier,” he said simply and took the letter from the boy.
He wasn’t sure what made him feel shivers down his spine and a clawing in his gut, but the moment he held that piece of paper, something in the air changed. A silence utterly unnerving seemed to fall upon the tent. Even though the noise of the army remained all around him, Anthony’s ears were suddenly deaf to it. Holding his breath, he unfolded the letter and began to read.
Confusion turned to surprise, and surprise turned to sheer astonishment the further he read.
“I don’t believe it,” he gasped, not entirely meaning to have spoken the words out loud.
“Milord?” the common boy who remained at his side, waiting like a loyal dog to take any further message required of him, raised an eyebrow, though he quickly dipped his head again with his hands clasped behind his back as though he realised he had spoken out of turn.
“This letter says … it says I am to be a duke,” Anthony gulped, feeling as though he needed to say the words out loud to truly understand them.
“Milord!” The boy before him clipped his heels together and saluted as if in congratulations.
“A distant uncle, a Neil Grafton, has passed away,” Anthony explained, though he was still talking to himself more than the soldier, trying to make sense of all the letter contained. “He was the Duke of Chatham and has no living sons or brothers, no other relatives to take the title. I am to be a duke.”
Others might have rejoiced at the news but not Anthony. All he could feel was dismay the moment he saw the words, ‘you must return to England immediately.’
Though he was loathed to do so, Anthony Grafton did as instructed. He took the necessary leave, offering his post to another officer before hopping onto a ship back to London. After the sweltering and heavy Spanish climate, the sun beating down on them almost every day, London was a cold and dreary place, a place that Anthony would rather have not seen. Yet he was there, and he had business to attend to, and so without bothering to find a place to stay, he headed directly for the solicitor’s office that had been addressed on the letter he had received on the frontlines.
He had been in the bald-headed, spectacled solicitor’s office little more than a minute before he said, “Mr Patterson, we are both very busy men, so I shall not trouble you any more than I need to. If you would be so kind as to give me any paperwork to sign and any other information I shall need so that I might return to Spain post haste.”
The solicitor’s mouth practically fell open, the elder man looking almost as if his heart might give out at Anthony’s sheer lack of excitement towards the fact he had practically been handed life upon a silver platter.
“My Lord, I am afraid that you shall not be able to return to the frontlines,” Mr Patterson said firmly, though he was shaking and blinking as if he were scared to tell his client the truth. His lips quivered, and he stammered, “There are very serious matters to attend to regarding your new estates, and the dukedom requires your presence here in England.”
“Then perhaps it ought to go to someone else,” Anthony replied bluntly. He stood in the office, having refused a seat due to his rising irritation at having been pulled away from his post, and he could feel the terror pulsing through the solicitor, the same reaction he got from many men that he met. Having been an officer for a long time and having hardened himself to become the bravest, most reputable soldier possible, Anthony could not allow himself to soften, even for a moment. He could not blame the solicitor for his fear. Anthony Grafton was a large and imposing man at the best of times, but at that current moment, he had been dragged far from what he loved. He had travelled day and night by ship, fighting sea sickness and arrived in London on what might have been the rainiest of all rainy days. He was in no mood for the back and forth of this conversation.
“Sir, I do not believe you understand the seriousness of your situation,” the solicitor insisted, and Anthony saw how the man swallowed past a lump in his throat before continuing, “I am well aware of your situation, Your Grace.”
Anthony stiffened immediately.
“Call me Anthony,” he ordered. The solicitor looked quite befuddled, raising an eyebrow.
“Are you certain, Your Grace?”
Anthony nodded with a gruff grunt and shoved his hands into the pockets of his official army breeches to stop the other man from seeing they had tightened into fists. The last thing he wanted was for the man to feel threatened, even if he was ready and rearing for a fight after all he had been through over the last few days. Having been stuck on a supplies ship because it was the only one leaving port the day he had needed one, he had travelled the long way home, stopping at several ports before finally arriving in London. It had been a long and arduous journey, and yet Anthony could think of nothing more than returning to the ship and heading back to Spain, back to his tent and his maps and his strategies, not sitting in this office or even a grand manor house and running an estate he had no desire to even lay eyes upon.
“Then why don’t you tell me my situation, Mr Patterson, because I am truly at a loss of how I came to be here,” Anthony admitted. He was one step away from beginning to tap his foot with impatience. The farce of having to come all this way just to turn down a dukedom angered him even more than the thought that everyone believed he ought to be excited about the damned thing.
“You are an officer in the Royal British Army and have worked your way up from foot soldier to high officer. Your father was a solicitor like myself and your mother … well …” the solicitor paused at the pointed, warning glare Anthony gave him. He gulped again and cleared his throat with a cough before continuing. “You have two younger sisters who would benefit greatly from this opportunity. Have I missed anything, Your … Anthony?”
“All you have said is correct,” Anthony responded even as he cringed at the words, because deep down, he was well aware just how true they were. Elizabeth and Emily were the only family he had left, the only family who truly mattered. Everything he had ever done, he had done for them, but how could he possibly give up all the hard work he had put into being the best the army had to offer?
“Your Grace?” Mr Patterson said sharply, clearing his throat awkwardly again before he added, “Anthony, did you hear me?”
This time Anthony cleared his own throat. He had been so invested in his thoughts, thinking of what he wanted versus what was best for his sisters that he hadn’t heard a word from the solicitor’s lips.
“Sorry, Mr Patterson, you were saying?”
“I was saying, My Lord, there are ways around these things,” Mr Patterson explained. “You may not be able to return to the frontlines, but as a duke, you are certain to be able to find other ways to help your country. As a duke you would be well connected …”
The solicitor’s meaning was clear. Anthony had heard plenty of the spies that roamed all areas of the globe, living in plain sight as commoners and noblemen alike, finding ways into the cracks of society to get vital information for king and country.
“It may be the best of both worlds, so to speak,” Mr Patterson added quickly, as though he saw the thoughtful yet undecided expression on Anthony’s face.
“If I were to reject this dukedom?” Anthony asked, almost losing himself in thought once more.
“Then it would not be offered a second time, My Lord,” Mr Patterson explained. “It would be lost forever though I do not know where it would end up. There were no further relatives to contact, and so it might well be liquidated, which would not be beneficial for all those who have lived beneath the duke. His servants would be jobless. The tenants of his land might well be thrown off …”
“Alright, alright,” Anthony insisted, removing his hand from his pocket to hold it up to stop the solicitor from talking. The longer he remained in the office, the more he realised there was no getting out of it, and the more he realised the solicitor was right. Elizabeth and Emily shall make advantageous marriages if I am to become a duke, he thought grimly even though the idea was abhorrent to him. They shall never need for anything once I am gone.
Little did Anthony know that the estate of the Duke of Chatham was in ruins. Though the manor house in the country was a lavish and elegant place from outside, Mr Patterson had failed to announce on meeting that the late Duke of Chatham had been a vain and frivolous man leaving little to nothing in the coffers and debts piled up to Anthony’s ears.
Arriving at Keddleston Abbey, the home of the Duke of Chatham, some days after signing the paperwork and learning all he had set himself up for, was even harder when seeing the pure joy on the faces of his two younger siblings. How they adored the place the moment they laid eyes upon it, chattering about how much fun they would have as the younger sisters of a duke, how they would have the finest gowns and go to the most elegant balls, how they would marry dukes and earls themselves and how they would never want for anything. Little did they know that if their big brother didn’t figure something out fast, they would lose everything they had now and even more besides.
There were many options open to him, or so Mr Patterson assured him, though the most convenient was also the most loathesome. Mr Patterson, true to his profession, was a most diabolical man, and to keep his client happy and his own pockets lined, he had come up with a plan to see that Anthony and his sisters remained on their high pedestal.
“It would be a most advantageous match, Your Grace,” Mr Patterson insisted as the pair sat in what had quickly become Anthony’s study. The room was one of the three libraries in Keddleston Abbey. It was the smallest and most modest of the libraries, and it suited Anthony well in order to block out the more lavish rooms in the house from his memory, blocking out all that he had taken on in the name of his family. The entire place sickened him, as did the thought of how the previous duke had lived with no thought for anyone else or what might come afterwards. Only his sisters’ smiling faces got him through the endless, mind-numbing boredom of being duke.
“Is there nobody else?” Anthony asked the solicitor, looking over the letter in his hand once more that the man had brought with him from his office, a letter from Pierre Vigneault, the Comte St Clair that proffered his niece in matrimony.
“None quite so advantageous, Your Grace,” Mr Patterson insisted. “She comes from a very wealthy family, and from what I have heard, she is quite pretty.”
The solicitor at least had the decency to blush at his final comment.
“She is French,” Anthony pointed out grimly. “French women are known for their beauty.” Among less savoury things, he added silently.
Anthony thought for a moment of remaining silent and then decided against it, pointing out, “Need I remind you, Mr Patterson, I have been interrupted during our fight with the French to come and take care of this farce?”
“Yes, though the St Clairs have a long English lineage, also, Your Grace,” Mr Patterson added, and from the way his foot tapped, Anthony could tell that the solicitor’s frustration was growing. “This is the third such letter I have received from the Comte, and I fear he shall not send another, though the man is quite adamant of this marriage. I, for one, believe you should seriously consider it. The Comte offers a considerable dowry.”
“I am not a man interested in money!” Anthony boomed automatically, and the solicitor shied away. The moment the words left his lips, Anthony pursed them, biting the side of his tongue to stop himself from saying more. I should not blame the poor man for the hand I have been dealt, he reminded himself, yet he couldn’t stop himself from blaming him. After all, it always seemed to be the solicitors who brought bad news, just as his father always had. Had he not been so frustrated, he might have apologised to Patterson, but although he knew the man was only trying to help, he couldn’t deny the fact that every option he suggested was one that Anthony would never choose for himself but only for the good of his family.
Am I always to suffer for the happiness of others? he wondered.
“With all due respect, Your Grace, you must make an exception here.”
Anthony closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. The headache that had begun at the backs of his eyes and spread up into his temples was enough to tell him that his solicitor was right. Since his return to England, he had suffered far more sleepless nights than during his time on the frontlines in Spain.
“Do what you must,” Anthony snarled through gritted teeth, throwing the letter in his hand back in the solicitor’s direction. “But if the girl is ugly, I shall hold you personally responsible.”
It was all Anthony could think to say to keep hold of his sanity. Marriage had been the absolute last thing on his mind all these years. In fact, he had hoped never to marry at all after the terrible situation of his mother abandoning them with their father for another man when he had been little more than a boy.
“As you wish, Your Grace.” Mr Patterson nodded. Having got what he came for, the man hurried to his feet and began to rush from the room. Elizabeth and Emily shall be pleased, Anthony thought grimly, remembering just how excitable they became at the mention of marriage of any kind. Little did they know that this dukedom had cursed them all. Anthony alone shouldered that burden; only he knew that his extensive savings and military wages were a drop in the ocean when it came to the debts owed on the estate that now belonged solely to him.
“Mr Patterson,” Anthony said, stopping the man at the door. The moment the solicitor turned back to look at him, he stared pointedly at the man and growled, unable to hold his tongue due to his frustration. “Know that you have damned me and both of my sisters.”
“Setting a Maid’s Heart on Fire” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
After her kind master’s passing Penelope Dupont’s life turns into ashes. Working as a maid for his abusive widow is a real nightmare, but things turn worse when a despicable Comte violently intrudes her world. Desperate to escape this tormenting life, she runs away using her younger mistress’ identity, but she soon finds herself tangled in another torment, named lust… Trying to escape her past, she runs into a seductive Duke who thinks Penelope is the French bride he is expecting.
What will happen when Penelope’s sinful secret is divulged?
Anthony Grafton sees his life changing in the glimpse of an eye. After his uncle’s death, he is forced to inherit the title of the Duke of Chattham’s for the sake of his sisters. Leaving behind his high-ranked position in the Army, he is stunned to learn that the dukedom is badly in debt, and the only way to fix it is to marry the Comte’s wealthy niece. Yet, when he meets the tempting Penelope, marriage becomes the most reckless adventure of all.
He was not looking for passionate love, but what will he do when it finds him?
Penelope and Anthony’s lives intertwine under the most unlikely circumstances. Once they taste each other’s sinful kiss they will be unable to tame their growing feelings. Lost in a sea of doubts, guilt, and scandal, can love be won from disaster? As their past appears to haunt them, once again, will they find the strength to fight against the cunning schemes or will their forbidden love be just a candle in the wind?
“Setting a Maid’s Heart on Fire” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.
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Hello there, my dearest readers! I hope you enjoyed this little treat! I will be waiting for your comments here. Thank you 😊