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Mistakes happen, to be sure. Rarely are those mistakes as unfortunate as the one made by Nathanael, Viscount Fotherby, when he abducted the now Lady Merton to save his friend from marriage. Nate has been trying to make amends ever since, leaving behind his self-centered ways to fulfill his duties—and that includes finding a wife of his own. One woman sparks his interest above all others—a lady he helped when she was rescuing a child. Alas, there is a devilish complication . . .
Miss Henrietta Stern, Lady Merton’s younger sister, is intrigued by the stranger who comes to her aid—until she learns his identity. Nate’s stunt could have ruined her sister’s reputation, and her family may never forgive him. With beauty, connections, and a sizeable dowry, Henrietta has plenty of admirers. Yet no other suitor quickens her pulse quite like Nate does. Her heart insists that the gentleman has changed for the better. But can a renowned scoundrel possibly prove himself to be the perfect husband?
Read an Excerpt
“Miss, what should we do?” the messenger, a young boy named Toby they had hired for messages and odd jobs, asked Miss Henrietta Stern.
“Where is Mrs. Perriman?” She and her sister, Dotty, Marchioness of Merton, had assisted in the rescue of many children and infants during the time Henrietta had been in Town for her first Season. However, due to her sister’s pregnancy, they had asked Mrs. Perriman, the widow and daughter of army officers, who ran their charity, the Phoenix House, to perform the rescues. Normally Henrietta would not have hesitated, but she had never gone alone before.
“She’s out on another call, and I don’t know when she’ll be back.” The lad bounced from one foot to the other, clearly distraught. “The boy who brought the message said the baby’s mam died and the babe was poorly.”
There was only one thing to do. “I shall go.” Henrietta had read the short, barely literate note stating the sender had a baby they were willing to sell. “We’ll need to have a wet nurse brought here.”
“Miss Henrietta.” Parkin, her brother-in-law’s butler’s eyes rounded. “Neither her ladyship nor his lordship would approve.”
“It’s not as if I am going to St Giles or worse. It is still light and will be for the next hour. If we do not rescue this child now, it may die.” The butler’s stern countenance did not change. “I’ll take Cullen with me.” He was the largest of all Merton’s tall footmen. Henrietta suspected the man had been a soldier at one time, as many of the footmen were. “I shall be perfectly safe.” She would also take the Manton pistol that had been made for her.
“You will need a groom as well,” the butler said.
Henrietta stifled a sigh of relief. Parkin was not happy about this, but he would not stop her. “Yes, of course. Thank you.”
By the time she had changed into a sturdy, dark-blue wool serge gown she’d had made by the modiste at home, donned a plain bonnet, tucked her pistol in the pocket she’d had sewn into her mantle, and taken the coins needed from the strongbox kept for the purpose, the unmarked town coach was waiting in the street. “The address is just down from the Whitechapel workhouse. We must hurry. I do wish to be there and gone before it is dark.”
“Yes, miss.” The footman, now dressed in regular clothing, closed the coach door behind her, and the coach dipped as he climbed on the back.
The journey would take about a half hour, and the sun was already lower in the sky than she would have liked. Still, the chance to save another child was worth the risk, and she had three servants with her. Granted, two would remain with the coach. Still, Cullen would be enough to keep her safe.
A large traveling coach almost blocked the street, but they slid past the vehicle and pulled up on the other side of the road. It was still light enough, but the sun was sinking by the minute. The narrow street and tall buildings did not help.
The coachman opened the hatch in the roof. “The street we want is just ahead on the left.”
The footman opened the door and helped her out. “I’ll stay a bit behind you just in case they’re up to no good.”
About the Author:
She is married to her wonderful husband of almost fourty years. They have a son and two beautiful granddaughters, a Great Dane named Lilibet, and a cat named Winnie. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true lived on sailboat for three years. After cruising the Caribbean and North America, she completed a transatlantic crossing from St. Martin to Southern Europe. She’s currently living in Germany, happily writing while her husband is back at work, recovering from retirement. She expects to be back on the boat in 2022.
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