A Traditional Regency Romance
Can Miss Georgina Morton surrender her independence and accept the Duke’s love?
Miss Georgina Morton, at the age of four-and-twenty, with a modest annual income of four hundred pounds, believes she has no need of a husband and can manage quite nicely without one. Yet within a matter of weeks, she’s betrothed to Giles Glentworth, the Sixth Duke of Westbury, and bound for Regency London.
Set in rural Wiltshire and elegant, fast-paced London...a runaway ward, a shooting at midnight, and a visit to fashionable Almack’s, are only a few of the adventures Georgina enjoys while falling for the Corinthian charms of the Duke.
Chapter One Excerpt 2….continued.
It wasn’t often that such a smartly dressed person of obvious means arrived in Avebury. And although she was reluctant to become involved in a problem that wasn’t hers, being of a caring nature, she decided she could not ignore the fact that this young person seemed genuinely distressed and in need of assistance.
“I’m supposed to be travelling to Marlborough and from there to London,” he said. “That preposterous coachman misunderstood the matter and claimed my fare was paid only to this point and no farther. It wasn’t my fault. Truly it wasn’t. But he has thrown me from the stagecoach, and I’ve no idea where I am.”
“You are in Avebury, sir,” Georgina said.
“Avebury? But I was to change at Marlborough, not Avebury.”
“Was your fare paid only to here?”
“I don’t know. I expect so. But that’s beside the point.”
“Well, it appears the coachman didn’t agree with you. I’m sure he expected to be paid for his trouble. He couldn’t allow you to travel on the stagecoach for nothing, could he? That would be unreasonable, would it not?”
Georgina looked about her, searching for signs of assistance, but there were none. No one was in sight. The hostlers at the inn had disappeared, and it was just her and the young man to be seen. For a brief moment, Georgina wondered if she could ignore the youth’s plight and walk on. But she couldn’t.
“I explained to the coachman that I must reach London urgently and that he will be paid on the nose and in full upon arrival. But he was unwilling to understand. He laughed at me and said the coach wasn’t bound for London. Once he reached Marlborough, he was to travel south to the Port of Plymouth. This is truly awful…”
At a loss to know how to help, Georgina said, “If this is the case, then it is indeed awful.”
“He said if I wished to travel on his bone-rattler, I should cough up the necessary, and only then could I board the stage.”
“He did. But I could not pay him. At least I can’t pay. Not until I reach London. And as you can see, the coach has now gone.”
“Yes. It has.”
The young man ran his hand beneath his nose, and Georgina thought she heard him give a loud, woeful sniff.
“The thing is, when I reach London, I mean to ask my Great Aunt to advance me a few shillings from next quarter’s pin money. Until then, unfortunately, I’m without funds.”
Stepping nearer, Georgina decided her impression that something was amiss was indeed correct. This young person, dressed strangely in gentleman’s clothing, could not be the whippersnapper she had first supposed him to be. And taking a closer look, she concluded that he…was in fact a she…and was possibly fresh from the schoolroom, with tell-tell marks of girlish tears on her face to prove it.
Georgina thought the girl was of too tender an age to be allowed abroad without an escort. And by the manner in which she spoke, it was apparent she came from a good home and was well educated. There was also an air of refined gentility about her, revealing a distinct sense of quality and breeding. Georgina suspected there was more to this mystery than one would first suppose.
From the noticeable lack of luggage, there being only a couple of carpet bags to be seen, Georgina thought there was definitely a story that needed to be told.
The young girl began worriedly wringing her hands together. “I’m in the middle of nowhere, and I’ve no idea how to reach London by nightfall. I shall be extremely grateful if you can offer some suggestions on what must be done, madam. I wonder if you can help.”
Georgina was unsure what course of action should be taken. The next stagecoach passing through Avebury wasn’t due until the next day, and the idea of walking to Marlborough was unthinkable. Like the young girl, she too was at a standstill.
“I should hate to find myself in such a position as you seem to be. I’m sure I don’t know how best you may proceed, sir!” she said. Then seeing a look of disappointment appear on the girl’s face, Georgina took pity. “The only suggestion I can offer is to tell you that my father may be of some assistance in this matter. He gives excellent counsel at the most desperate of times. Let me make myself known to you. My name is Georgina Morton, and I live but a few miles yonder with my Papa at Rose Hill House. It’s situated across those fields. Near that clump of trees.” Pointing over the fields, Georgina drew attention to a large cluster of sycamores not too distant. “I’m in no doubt that once we arrive, a solution to your troubles will be found, and the world will not seem so gloomy. I’m also certain you must be famished and would perhaps like some lunch.”
“In all honesty, Miss Morton, the chance of a glass of lemonade would not come amiss.” The young girl smiled her gratitude. “I left home early this morning, and have had nothing to eat or drink since. I’ve never travelled by stagecoach, and didn’t realise that I ought to have brought some food with me. It has been terrible. We were all squashed inside the coach together and the heat was almost enough to make me swoon. That is, if gentlemen were given to swooning.”
The girl had hurriedly corrected herself.
“To be truthful, sir, I believe you not to be a gentleman at all,” said Georgina.
Georgina was determined to get to the bottom of this. If she could gain the girl’s trust and ensure all was revealed, then perhaps things might become clear.
When the girl realised her disguise had been uncovered, a blush of discomfort spread across her cheeks. “Is it so obvious that I’m not a man? I had hoped to fool everyone I met on my journey. My worry is that someone will discover who I am and return me to Bath before I reach my destination.”
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Any names or characters have no existence outside the imagination of the
author or are used fictitiously, and actual events are purely coincidental.
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Copyright © 2019 by – Arabella Sheen
Published by priceplacebooks
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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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