Friday, 7 February 2020

A Merchant's Daughter by Arabella Sheen EXCERPT 1





A Merchant’s Daughter

Arabella Sheen


A merchant’s daughter and a destitute nobleman. Can a marriage of convenience solve their problems?
Miss Emma Brentry is happy with life, but she feels the time has come to marry. Her father, a wealthy glass merchant, has expectations of grandchildren, and Emma doesn’t wish to disappoint him. Reluctantly, and somewhat halfheartedly, she begins the search for a husband.
Mr. Aaron Trent, a gentleman of noble birth, returns to England fresh from the Napoleonic war with a scar and limp to prove it. During his absence, his estate, Windhurst Hall, has been pledged by his cousin at the gaming tables. He is now in search of the necessary funds with which to buy back his home.
Traveling to Bath, Emma finds herself stranded on the road and is compelled to stay the night at The Stag and Hounds posting inn. She encounters Aaron, an attentive, handsome stranger, who offers her some much-needed assistance. Instant attraction is felt by both, and as dusk falls, Emma makes Aaron an offer he finds difficult to refuse.
With his pride standing in the way, can Aaron stay true to his principles, or will he, with reckless, passionate abandonment, succumb to Emma’s powers of persuasion?

Content Warning: contains explicit, sensual love scenes 


Excerpt 1...
Chapter 1
Miss Emma Brentry stood before the wooden door of The Stag and Hounds posting inn. The door itself was shut, but with a bright yellow stagecoach positioned in the inn’s courtyard and the loud noise of chattering voices emanating from the open, latticed windows, it was obvious the place was open for business and full with passing travelers.
Straightening her crumpled pelisse and adjusting her bonnet, Emma took a steadying breath, mentally bracing herself for what was to come. Never before had she entered a public tavern alone, but her situation was desperate and called for urgent action.
She was more than a little troubled. A young, genteel woman unaccompanied and on the open road was deemed outrageous, but entering a travelers’ inn without an escort was considered by some to be a far worse offense.
There was no doubt in Emma’s mind that should her father discover what she was about to do, his blistering wrath would descend upon her head, and his forgiveness would be hard to come by. But she had to chance his anger. Stranded near Corston, and with no immediate means of reaching Bath, she was desperately in need of assistance, and entering the inn seemed her only option.
That afternoon, Emma had been traveling the Bath Road. Having paid a visit to her younger sister in Bristol, she was returning to her father’s house in Bath and had almost reached her destination when her journey had been abruptly halted. A wheel on the barouche carriage had snapped, and with the spokes broken, she found herself to be at an impasse.
Unable to travel further, Emma had left her coachman to tend the horses, and she had retraced her steps until The Stag and Hounds had been reached.
The stagecoach standing before the inn was loaded down with heavy baggage, and by the steamy heat emitted from the horses’ flanks and nostrils, it was clear the vehicle had only recently arrived. Ostlers were busy tightening tack and bridles, and an air of frantic chaos permeated the cobblestoned courtyard.
Squaring her shoulders, Emma lifted the old, worn, iron latch on the door and boldly pushed it open. She entered. The noise overwhelmed her. Voices were raised and the incessant shouts for service from impatient travelers was almost deafening. The musky smell of smoke from the roaring log fire, along with the stench of stale alcohol that permeated the air, hit her.
Looking around, Emma tried to discern who amongst these hapless, disheveled persons could be the landlord, but it was difficult to tell. Having come in from the brightness of the sunlight outside, the darkness of the tavern’s interior hindered her search. Everyone looked more or less the same, and all the passengers appeared to be travel-stained and weary.
Emma bit down nervously on her bottom lip.
“What can I do for you, my good lady?” A short, thickset man approached. As he did so, he wiped his hands on his work-soiled apron.
“I am looking for the innkeeper,” she explained. A note of desperation trembled in her voice. She wasn’t used to rubbing shoulders with so many persons at once. The nearest she came to such a tight squeeze was generally when she attended the theatre or a gala ball of an evening, in Bath.
“You’ve found him.” A wide, near-toothless grin appeared, followed by a wink. “Can I get you something to eat or drink before the stage departs, miss?”
“No, thank you. Nothing for me. And I am not with the stage. I’m traveling with my own carriage, only we have lost a wheel and we are now at a standstill. Two spokes have snapped, and we dare not go any further. I wonder, can you give directions to a wheelwright?”
The innkeeper couldn’t know how much it had hurt her pride to admit she no longer had control of her life. Fiercely independent, and with a dislike of being reliant upon others, Emma was now seeking help. It went against the grain.
“Are you sure you don’t want something to drink?”
Emma hesitated. She was thirsty, but she didn’t want to linger too long inside the inn and draw attention to herself. It seemed impolite to refuse, but she knew that the sooner she left the tavern, the less likelihood someone would discover she had erred beyond the bounds of respectability.
“Umm…all right. Yes, please. A glass of lemonade would be very nice. But about the wheelwright…”
“I’m afraid you won’t have much luck finding a wheelwright in these parts, young miss. You’re just outside Corston, and our nearest wheelwright is in Saltford.”
“Saltford? But Saltford is miles away. Surely there is someone in this village who can mend my carriage wheel.” She was anxious at the thought no one might be found to fix the carriage, and she would be stuck in Corston.
The innkeeper reached for a tray on the counter. Collecting several empty ale tankards from a table, he placed them on the tray he held in his hand and shook his head solemnly.
“There ain’t anyone hereabouts with skills to mend a wheelbarrow, let alone a big thing like a carriage. We ain’t got a smithy either.”
“Then what am I to do?” Emma kept her voice steady. 
  
A Merchant’s Daughter
Copyright © 2019, Arabella Sheen
ISBN: 9781949300468
Publisher: Beachwalk Press, Inc.
Electronic Publication: August 2019
Editor: Pamela Tyner
Cover: Fantasia Frog Designs

eBooks are not transferable. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously. 



About Arabella Sheen



Arabella Sheen is a British author of contemporary romance and likes nothing more than the challenge of starting a new novel with fresh ideas and inspiring characters.
One of the many things Arabella loves to do is to read. And when she’s not researching or writing about romance, she is either on her allotment sowing and planting with the seasons or she is curled on the sofa with a book, while pandering to the demands of her attention-seeking cat.
Having lived and worked in the Netherlands as a theatre nurse for nearly twenty years, she now lives in the south-west of England with her family.
Arabella hopes her readers have as much pleasure from her romance stories as she has in writing them.

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BOOK BLURB:
A merchant’s daughter and a destitute nobleman. Can a marriage of convenience solve their problems?
Miss Emma Brentry is happy with life, but she feels the time has come to marry. Her father, a wealthy glass merchant, has expectations of grandchildren, and Emma doesn’t wish to disappoint him. Reluctantly, and somewhat halfheartedly, she begins the search for a husband.
Mr. Aaron Trent, a gentleman of noble birth, returns to England fresh from the Napoleonic war with a scar and limp to prove it. During his absence, his estate, Windhurst Hall, has been pledged by his cousin at the gaming tables. He is now in search of the necessary funds with which to buy back his home.
Traveling to Bath, Emma finds herself stranded on the road and is compelled to stay the night at The Stag and Hounds posting inn. She encounters Aaron, an attentive, handsome stranger, who offers her some much-needed assistance. Instant attraction is felt by both, and as dusk falls, Emma makes Aaron an offer he finds difficult to refuse.
With his pride standing in the way, can Aaron stay true to his principles, or will he, with reckless, passionate abandonment, succumb to Emma’s powers of persuasion?

Content Warning: contains explicit, sensual love scenes 

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Arabella Sheen  http://arabellasheen.co.uk 

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