Thursday, 6 August 2015
Tangled Love:Extract:Early 18thc. Historical Fiction
Tangled Love by Rosemary Morris was short listed for the best romantic e-book at The Festival of Romance, Bedford U.K in 2013
Extract from Chapter One
London - 1702
Chesney rapped his cane on the front door of Lady Ware’s London mansion. Sister of his late father’s friend he did not know her well. He wondered why she had summoned him.
‘Lord Chesney?’ Bennet, Lady Ware’s middle-aged butler, queried his lined
face both respectful.
Chesney inclined his head.
‘This way, my lord. You are expected.’ Bennet led him up the stairs to a beautifully appointed parlour on the first floor where he announced him to Lady Ware.
Chesney raised his voice above the barks of six King Charles Cavalier spaniels. ‘Your servant, Lady Ware.’
Lady Ware waved a hand at her little dogs. ‘Be quiet.’ Her ladyship inclined her head to him. ‘My lord, I am pleased to see you?’
Full glass in his hand, Chesney sat.
‘My lord, I shall come straight to the point. I summoned you to propose your marriage to my niece, Richelda Shaw. In all honesty, I assure you it would be to your advantage.’
While she waited for his reply, the petite lady patted her silvery hair with one hand. With her other hand she fluttered her fan which she peeped over girlishly.
‘You flatter me, Madam,’ he drawled.
Lady Ware’s dainty shrug released her cloying perfume of lavender mingled with roses and vanilla. She snapped her fan shut then tapped his arm with it. ‘You are mistaken. I do not flatter you. I offer you and my niece a solution. Your fathers followed King James to France. You are gossiped about. People eye you as distrustfully as I think my niece will be eyed when I bring her to London.’
‘Are you not gossiped about, Lady Ware? After all, your late brother, the earl’s conversion to the Church of Rome must place you and your family under government scrutiny. For my part, I thank God my father remained true to The Anglican Church.’
Lady Ware shuddered. ‘Do not mention that matter to me, my lord. I vow I had no sympathy with my brother when he became a Papist. All I can do is thank God he was not tried as a traitor and his head is not displayed at the Tower of London.’
Chesney shifted his position, smothering a yawn behind his hand before he made a cautious reply. ‘I am neither a Jacobite nor a Papist. I apologize for mentioning the matter of your brother’s conversion.’
‘Some more wine, Viscount?’
He shook his head, leaning back to deliberately present a picture of a man completely at his ease.
Lady Ware arched her eyebrows. She sipped her wine. ‘All London knows I am a wealthy woman.’ She blinked the sheen of tears from her eyes. ‘My lord, ’tis cruel not only to suffer widowhood thrice but to also lose my only child.’
Acknowledging her grief, he bowed his head. ‘My condolences, Madam.’
‘Thank you.’ She dabbed her eyes with a black handkerchief. ‘My poor daughter’s death is my niece’s gain. If Richelda is obedient, she will inherit all my property.’
Her ladyship rested her head against the back of her chair. She opened her fan and plied it restlessly while she scrutinized him.
‘What do you think of my proposal, my lord?’
Chesney sat straighter. She had not minced her words. He smiled with his usual forthrightness. ‘As yet I have neither put myself on the matrimonial market nor made my fortune and title available to any lady who wishes to marry me.’
‘I hear you purchased Field House.’ She tapped her fan on the arm of her chair.
‘Yes, I did,’ he replied in a neutral tone.
‘Well, sir, I shall speak bluntly. My niece’s lands are adjacent to yours.
Through marriage, you would double your estate by acquiring my niece’s mansion, Bellemont House and all the land around it. As for my niece, she would become mistress of Field House, my childhood home.
He inclined his head curious now as to what the old lady’s motive was. Ah, did she want him to marry her niece because she had a sentimental attachment to his estate?
Undeterred by his silence, Lady Ware continued. ‘I know your circumstances. Though you have no close relative, you are saddled with a clutch of distant relations who anticipate your help to advance in the world.’
Devil take it, she was correct. His family looked to him for patronage. They expected him to marry well and produce an heir. Confound it, not one of them had regained their positions, lands or fortunes after the first King
Charles’s execution. Fortunately, his grandfather’s marriage to a French heiress saved he himself from poverty.
Her ladyship’s Roman nose twitched. Her thin lips curved in a predatory smile. ‘You will consider the match?’
Reluctant to say anything she might interpret as his agreement to marry Lady Richelda, he nodded. ‘I will do no more than consider it.’
‘Good, I shall not press you further.’ She hesitated with her fan mid-air, only to flutter it agitatedly. ‘I prefer you not to tell anyone my niece is my heiress. When she comes to town, I do not want a flock of fortune hunters to approach her.’
‘On my honour, I will not mention it to anyone. By the way, when will Lady Richelda arrive?’
He stood. Each of the small dogs wagged their tails, stirred and yapped for attention round his ankles. Deep in thought he ignored them. Although no thought of imminent marriage had entered his head when he arrived, he might change his mind after meeting her ladyship’s niece. It was time he married and if she proved pleasant enough, maybe -.
Lady Ware clapped her hands. ‘My poppets like you and, believe me, my lord, they are good judges of character.’
Chesney restrained an incipient chuckle at his sudden notion of her ladyship’s dogs tricked out in wigs and gowns to judge him. ‘I am complimented by their approval, my lady.’ He bowed and kissed her bejewelled hand. ‘As for your niece, only providence knows if she and I are suited.’
With a rustle of silk mourning Lady Ware rose. ‘I believe you and Lady Richelda are well matched.’
Tangled Love is available from: MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon Kindle, Nook, Omlit, Bookstrand Mainstream, Kobo and elsewhere.
To view the book trailer, read the first three chapters and reviews please visit. www.rosemarymorris.co.uk