At just eleven years old, Miss Helena Ashby was enamoured with the great hunt. The privilege of being surrounded by so many fanciful people was an honour she and her father could rarely afford.
Though he’d earned his knighthood fair and square, there were still many within high society who turned their noses up at the mere mention of them.
Determined to make the most of it, Helena drank in every detail of the magnificently strong horses, the frills upon the ladies’ surcoats, the rich colours worn by the men of the gentry. Each one of them was dressed from head to toe in fine silk and cotton garments, decorated with gold buttons and brooches. Even their leather boots spoke of their unbelievable wealth as they shone in the sunshine after a fresh polishing.
Though the hunt had not yet begun, the excitement was palpable as the ladies and gentlemen gathered among their steeds, ready to begin. Both young and old, dressed in their finest riding attire, mingled with one another, discussing which gentleman was expected to vanquish the first fox. Standing a little way off, Helena could just make out the name of the front runner.
Lord Edwin Martin-Atkins, although a boy of only sixteen, was rumoured to be among the finest of horsemen and everyone expected that he might be the first to make his mark upon the hunt.
Though Helena had not yet met him personally, she could just about pick him out from the crowd. He was the talk of all the young ladies with his handsome good looks and wealthy standing.
Although an adolescent, the ground they stood upon belonged to him by right of inheritance and he seemed comfortable with the knowledge of that. He held himself with such grace that Helena could almost believe he was older than his years.
He was a proud young man of athletic build with a lavish mop of dark hair and facial hair that had already begun to grow thickly upon his chiselled jawline. A fact that was enviable amongst several other young men in the group.
Many of the young females within the group swanned around him as he and his male companion, Sir Joshua Makepeace, inspected their horses for a final time. The grand grey stallion beside him was just as dashing as his owner and some would say the finest hunting horse around.
“Daughter?” Sir Randal Ashby, Helena’s father, had been preparing his horse behind her. The great black stallion, a mark of his knighthood due to his exceptional work as a shipping merchant, stood proudly beside him as he turned his attention upon her. The horse let out a huff of breath from its nostrils, as though displeased to have its owner’s attention stolen.
Helena had been so intent upon the people around her that his husky voice caused her heart to skip a beat. And when she turned to look at him, she found his expression a deep smile that said he had been watching her for some time.
“I do not feel like riding today,” he explained to her. “Perhaps you might ride instead?”
Though she knew her father was always in the mood for riding, she did not question him for she had always dreamt of being able to ride among the hunt. She’d often read about it in her books, so much so that when she closed her eyes, she could picture it.
“Oh, Father, do you really mean it?” Helena asked as excitement flared within her.
Several of the noblemen and women around them cast a glance in their direction as Helena threw her arms around her father’s neck. A young girl, still learning her airs and graces, she did not remember that such shows of admiration were frowned upon.
Though now a wealthy man, her father had not been so generous as to supply her with her own horse. In fact, she had never owned her own, instead sitting upon her father’s whenever he allowed. Of late that had not been very often for he was always busy with business or attending high society events.
“I believe that Midnight would be honoured for you to ride him today,” her father insisted, and he ushered her forwards to help her up, and Helena noticed with amusement that her father had already furnished the horse with a side-saddle.
The power of the horse radiated beneath her even as the other riders began to mount their horses.
The knowledge that the hunt would soon begin was spreading like wildfire throughout the crowd.
“Now, remember,” her father spoke gently to her even as he stroked the stallion’s powerful neck, “don’t do anything to spook him and he will take good care of you.”
“Of course not, Father,” Helena insisted, for she had learnt long ago not to spook a horse. She remembered the first time he’d allowed her to ride her mother’s old mare. She’d dug her heels into the beast’s flanks so hard that she’d been catapulted off. Whenever she thought back to it, she still felt a twinge of pain in her spine.
“Riders at the ready!” the hunt’s foreman called to the crowd, and several of them nodded.
“You remember how to ride?” Sir Randal asked, a hint of concern in his voice.
“Yes, Father, I remember.” Helena nodded and gripped hold of the reins as her father helped her to slip one foot into the stirrup.
Sitting side-saddle had never been all that comfortable, but looking out at the other women upon their horses, Helena was quietly determined to do a good job. She would not be made fun of today. Her life depended upon it.
She hooked the back of her knee around the notch at the front of the saddle and removed a scrap of lint from her skirt, even as her father stepped back to admire her upon his horse.
“You look magnificent.” he complimented with a loving smile, and Helena’s cheeks began to blush. She was all too aware of the more experienced riders who shot concerned glances her way, as though they could sense the weakness in her position. She remembered how her mother had once called noblemen and women bloodhounds, for they could smell weakness a mile away.
All too soon the hunting horn blasted. The dogs began to howl as they hurried off towards the ravine at the edge of the estate. Spooked by all the noise, Midnight set off at break-neck speed, leaving Sir Randal to watch in dismay as his daughter was carried off into the sea of other horses and people.
“Whoa, Midnight! Be calm!” Helena pleaded with the horse, but all she could do was cling onto the saddle as her foot slipped from the stirrup. Terrible panic clotted in her stomach as she realised much too late that she was not ready to ride in the hunt.
Uneased by the horse’s sudden speed, Helena’s knuckles turned bone-white upon the saddle as she tried desperately to hold on.
“Oh, Midnight, please!” she gasped, her voice rising a little higher than a lady’s ought. No doubt the rest of the hunt had noticed her misfortune by now, and she would be the laughing stock of the day.
The world whizzed past with every stamp of the horse’s hooves, and Helena became more and more panicked. The closer to the ravine they became, the more she realised she was in serious trouble. One misstep and the horse might stumble and throw her off.
She could only imagine what might happen if she was thrown from the saddle. Awful accidents had occurred from horseback, and Helena couldn’t help but think of them as she found herself growing ever closer to her own. She thought of the son of one of her father’s ship workers and how he’d broken his spine falling from his horse. He had never recovered, and the family were grief-stricken to this very day.
It had begun to dawn upon her that the only way to stop was to throw herself from the horse when she suddenly felt an arm wrap around her waist.
Her slender body came away from the saddle all too easily, and yet she did not find herself thrown in the dirt but instead sat upon the lap of her rescuer.
Even as Midnight sped off in ignorance of her disappearance, Helena found the horse beneath her slowing to a halt. The warm, muscular body behind her was sturdy in stature and stone-strong. She could never have guessed who it might be.
“Miss Helena, are you well?” An unfamiliar voice hit her ear and when she glanced over her shoulder, she found herself face-to-face with the man of the hour.
The blue-brown eyes that gazed back at her bounced with both amusement and concern in equal measure, although he did not berate her misfortune.
So frightened upon the sudden change within Midnight, Helena hadn’t noticed him riding up beside her, and the speed with which he had plucked her from the saddle caused her head to spin.
“I am well,” Helena insisted, “thanks to you, Lord Edwin.”
He did not seem shocked at her knowledge of him, comfortable in the fact that almost everybody knew his name.
Even as others harried around them, Lord Edwin Martin-Atkins swung down from the saddle and reached up to help Helena down. His strong hands remained beneath her arms for only a moment before he released her, though her skin continued to tingle with his touch long after.
Still shaking from the trauma of her near accident, Helena struggled to remain on her feet before him, bowing her head in quiet respect. She wracked her brain for something to say, but nothing would come to her and so she simply remained there, blushing.
“Those darned horns can be quite frightening for horses new to the hunt,” Lord Edwin smiled down at her, “Do not be disheartened.”
“Perhaps it was my own fault, my lord,” Helena insisted. Though she did not look up she could feel his powerful gaze upon her. “It was not my place to ride among the hunt.”
She had always known that she would never be any good, but she had dreamt of if so often.
“Oh, Helena! My dear daughter. Are you hurt?” Sir Randal hurried forth through the crowd of horses who had begun to turn their attention back to the hunt. The little girl who has almost broken her neck trying to be like them was of little consequence.
“No, Father. I am quite well.” Helena finally looked up as her father examined her closely. “Thanks to Lord Edwin.”
She gestured to her rescuer and again felt her cheeks brim with heat.
“Kind sir, you have my thanks.” Sir Randal hurried to grip Lord Edwin’s hand firmly in gratitude. “I am at a loss for how to show my gratitude.”
Lord Edwin simply gripped her father’s hand and smiled.
“Please, calm yourself, good sir,” Lord Edwin insisted. “It is reward enough that Miss Helena is well.”
His words caused Helena to swoon much like all the other young ladies had been doing all morning. She found herself admiring the sharp planes of Lord Edwin’s face as he assured her father that all was well.
For the first time, Helena was able to see why many of the other young ladies fawned over Lord Edwin. He was not only handsome and well-dressed, but he was also kind. He had been the only one within the hunting party to come to her rescue while others simply looked on and spoke in hushed tones. She knew her misfortune would be talked about for days to come, but when faced with a young man like Lord Edwin, she found she didn’t much care.
“Miss Helena, perhaps if your father would allow, you might join us when we retire for lunch?” Lord Edwin asked and Helena was more shocked than ever. It had already been an honour to be allowed to witness the hunt. But to be asked to accompany Lord Edwin during lunch was something Helena had never even dreamed of.
Their rocky position with high society had always left Helena on the outskirts of every event.
“I do believe that accompanying you for lunch is the least my daughter might do to thank you for rescuing her, Lord Edwin,” Sir Randal responded for her, as she was much too shocked. Her cheeks blushed wildly as she simply nodded, hoping that he would not notice.
A fondness for the young gentleman she’d never really thought about before began to develop within her, and she couldn’t help but smile at the thought of spending more time with him.
“Until then.” Lord Edwin gave a low bow and smiled politely before returning to his horse.
It wasn’t until he removed himself that Helena noticed that several other participants of the hunt had hung back to watch their exchange.
The breeze carried with it the voice of one of the onlookers. “A man who buys his knighthood has no business here.”
It was a spiteful comment, the likes of which she should have been used to by now.
Helena’s stomach clenched at the words and she quickly averted her gaze from the direction from which it had come, for she did not want them to know that she had overheard.
Her father had worked his way up through trade and many of the nobles did not believe that he belonged. It was a fact that Helena had to put up with and try to ignore if she was ever to fit in with these people, although she feared they might never allow her to. The backs of many of the nobles were always turned to her whenever they got the chance, and she did not miss the snide way they conversed with her father either.
“Are you going to be all right?” Sir Randal asked his daughter as though he had not heard the words. Perhaps, too, he had chosen to simply ignore them.
“Yes father,” Helena assured him. She did not want him to see how much the disdain of the other nobles still affected her.
“Good, as I have some business I must attend to.” Sir Randal smiled and kissed her upon the forehead as he always did. Another thing that several of the nobles were likely to mutter about.
Helena watched as her father wandered over to a group of three gentlemen. The exchange between her father and the closest gentleman began the wagging of chins all over again as he produced several notes from his pocket.
Helena felt her heart sink when she heard the mention of gambling from somewhere among the crowd.
She couldn’t help but notice the way that several ladies and gentlemen shook their heads with disapproval. She couldn’t understand what her father was thinking, making so blatant a show of his darker habits. No doubt the gentleman he handed the money to was just as displeased to have his dirty laundry aired in such a public setting. The disgust was clear on his face as he forced the money back into Sir Randal’s pocket and whispered something into his ear.
Fitting in with the nobility would be much harder if her father forgot the airs and graces with which they were accustomed. A show of gambling was not polite in many settings, especially this one.
“The man should be ashamed of himself,” she overheard one of the ladies hiss. “Exchanging money in public like that. He may as well wear a gambler’s sign around his neck.”
Helena felt the eyes of the nobility switch from her father to her and back again before they continued to speak in more hushed tones.
She couldn’t help but wonder why gambling was such a problem when gossip seemed to fly about so easily. Perhaps her young mind was too innocent to understand.
Embarrassment reddened her face further and it was then that Helena decided it was better to find a place to hide until the hunt was finished. At least then she might be able to have a better time of things at the luncheon.
The shade of the stable wall was where she found comfort. The warm smell of horsehair and straw eased her shattered nerves as she sat upon a pile of boxes left behind by the stablehands.
A nail sticking from the wood snagged her clothes and she quickly adjusted her position to get more comfortable.
She rested against the wall with her eyes closed and prayed that the day would soon be over so that she might return to the relative safety of their home in the small village of Shere.
It wasn’t until she heard the sound of somebody clearing their throat that she realised she must have dozed off. The sound almost caused her to jump out of her skin.
Her eyes fluttered open to find that the sun had moved clear across the sky. She must have been there for hours before being disturbed. No doubt her face had been reddened by the sun and she could only imagine how dishevelled she must look.
“Lord Edwin!” she gasped as she hurried to stand and brush off the dust from her riding clothes. While she hadn’t expected to be riding, she still wanted to look the part.
“I’m sorry, Miss Helena, I did not mean to surprise you.” Lord Edwin smirked as though he was pleased by the embarrassed flush of her cheeks.
“I…I wasn’t aware that the hunt had returned,” she admitted. She could hear now the sounds of voices and movement coming from around the corner of the stables as men and women returned their horses to the stablehands.
“I can see that.” Lord Edwin’s face remained a picture of amusement. “Why are you hiding back here?”
“I fear it is because I am embarrassed,” Helena admitted and stroked a stray stand of mousy brown hair from her face. She could only hope she looked less disoriented than she felt. The last thing she wanted was for him to believe she was simply a messy little girl.
“Miss Helena, what happened with your horse might have happened to anyone,” Lord Edwin assured her. She was instantly relieved that he believed it was her incident with the horse that concerned her. She did not wish to bring up her father’s fragile position within society again. No doubt he would not understand even if she had. He had been born into wealth and was not so likely to understand her rocky position.
She was even more relieved at his kindness. There were many others within the group who might have simply chosen to berate and humiliate her for what had happened.
“You are right,” she admitted quickly with a sweetened smile. It was better for him to believe it was only the incident that weighed on her mind.
“Perhaps we can forget all about it and you can join us for the picnic I mentioned earlier today?” Lord Edwin suggested with a wry smile. He was even more handsome when he smiled. The upturned corners of his lips caused the sharpness of his cheeks to show further and created shadows in all the right places.
Helena’s heart skipped a beat as she realised he had remembered his invitation. At first, she had believed it to be just simple courtesy that had led him to extend a hand to her. Most were all too willing to make an invitation when they didn’t believe she would accept. That was possibly another reason why they treated her so badly. They believed that if they berated her enough, they might get away without her company when they were forced to give her an invitation out of mere courtesy.
Now she believed he truly wished for her company and it made all the difference in the world. For the first time in a long time, she no longer felt as though she was at the bottom of the food chain. She could almost imagine that she belonged.
“I would be glad to, Lord Edwin,” she responded with a small curtsy, which awarded her another brilliant smile. Her heart fluttered at his handsomeness and she blushed all the more.
When he offered her the crook of his elbow, Helena decided it would be impolite to decline and simply slipped her hand into his waiting arm. The muscle she found there was strong and sturdy, much like his torso had been when he had rescued her from the back of her father’s horse.
She allowed him to lead her around the side of the stables, through the yard and out into the meadow, where several other parties had begun to congregate. Just as they had when they had been waiting for the hunt to begin, they kept to small groups, gossiping and laughing as though they had not a care in the world.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Miss Helena Ashby,” Lord Edwin announced as they stopped beside the closest group. Several of the young nobility turned their heads to acknowledge her while one of the young women, who sat upon a checked red blanket, waved her over with a smile.
“Miss Helena! Do come and sit over here!” she insisted politely.
The girl who spoke could have been no more than two years older than Helena and yet she seemed much more womanly, both in dress and manner. The expensive material of her embroidered hunting jacket was glossy, and the buttons shone in the late afternoon sunshine. Her dark hair was piled on top of her head and fastened with a ruby red ribbon.
“Miss Helena, this is my cousin Lady Claire Littleton,” Lord Edwin explained as he helped her down onto the picnic blanket beside the beautiful brunette. She was the very image of grace and beauty that Helena imagined of all high society’s women.
“It is a pleasure to meet you, my lady.” Helena smiled shyly and gave a respectful bow of her head.
“Oh, please, do just call me Lady Claire,” the girl smirked back at her. Helena still had a difficult time remembering her courtesies when it came to titles, for most of the people she’d come into contact with before her father’s knighthood had been commoners who were pleased to be called by their first name, or Mr, Mrs and Miss.
“And this is Sir Joshua Makepeace,” Lord Edwin added, gesturing at the young gentleman beside Lady Claire.
He was as fine a looking man as Lord Edwin himself, although his hair was a shade darker and his eyes more stern. There was a danger about him, though not unkind, that told Helena she should remain wary of him.
“Pleasure to meet you, Miss Helena.” Sir Joshua gave a gracious bow of his head and offered her his hand. From the moment he first opened his mouth, Helena was just old enough to know that he was what her father called a charmer.
Not wishing to be impolite, Helena reached out to take hold of his hand, shocked when he placed his lips upon the back of her knuckles. Yet another signal that her first impression had been the right one.
“Now Sir Joshua, do not charm the poor girl!” Lady Claire scolded. “You’ve caused her to blush.”
“And I do believe she is all the prettier for it,” Sir Joshua smirked as he released Helena’s hand to allow it to fall back to her side.
Sir Joshua was a young man definitely worthy of keeping an eye on.
“Do not mind him,” Lady Claire insisted. “Sir Joshua and Lord Edwin are as bad as each other when it comes to pretty ladies.”
“I resent that accusation, Lady Claire,” Sir Joshua feigned innocence. “Lord Edwin is far worse than I.”
As he spoke, the sound of chattering and footsteps sounded behind them.
“Ahh, here come the other ladies,” Lord Edwin mused.
Helena turned just in time to see two young ladies walking towards them. Both were dressed in a similar fashion to Lady Claire, with shining buttons and hair pinned up with bejewelled clips.
“Lady Susan! Lady Winifred! Do come and meet Miss Helena,” Lady Claire insisted as they drew nearer.
Both young ladies looked disinterested, but nevertheless, they came to sit upon the blanket.
“Miss Helena this is Lady Susan Tompkins.” Lady Claire introduced the first woman, who was a pretty, fair-haired girl with an ivory complexion. When she smiled her teeth were the whitest that Helena had ever seen, standing out against her rosebud lips.
“Pleased to meet you,” Miss Helena greeted her kindly.
“Likewise.” Lady Susan’s nose wrinkled slightly as she spoke. Clearly, she was not as pleased as the others to have Helena in their company.
“And Lady Winifred Yarmouth. I do believe that you are distantly related to Miss Helena on your mother’s side?” Lady Claire acknowledged the second girl, whose mousy brown hair was pinned so tightly that not a stray strand could be seen.
“I do believe you are right,” Lady Winifred agreed, although she did not seem pleased by the acknowledgement.
Helena had already known this, taking great care to learn her relationship among those in high society after her father had told her that it might one day aid her in finding a good husband.
Lady Winifred said, “So Miss Helena, do tell us, for we would love to know. What are your hobbies? I, myself, am much interested in jewellery making.” She lifted her wrist to show a finely made silver bracelet.
“Not that you could tell with that hideous necklace she wears around her neck,” Lady Susan jibed, but the look that passed between them told Helena there was no animosity.
The necklace itself was an ornate locket that looked as though it may have been passed down through generations of the lady’s family.
“I could not say that I am as interesting as that, but I do find much comfort in reading,” Helena admitted, and the look that passed between her company told her that had been the last thing they’d expected.
“You like to read?” Lady Claire asked, surprised.
“Yes. My father often complains that I spend far too much time with my nose in a book,” Helena smiled.
She could feel Lord Edwin watching her with curiosity, yet it was Lady Claire who continued to speak. “Well good for you!” she insisted. “You should be proud to have learnt how to read. I, myself, find reading too often to be very dull and would much rather have a servant do it for me.”
Helena felt the high praise of her comment and did not believe that the lady had meant any disrespect.
In fact, Lady Claire seemed quite interested in her hobbies of reading and they talked on it for much of the afternoon, while Lady Susan and Lady Winifred discussed the latest fashions from France.
Lord Edwin and Sir Joshua seemed to have the hunt on their minds and entered into their own conversation, though Helena couldn’t help but glance over several times to find him watching her with interest. Each time she found herself blushing a deeper shade of red.
It wasn’t until the picnic had been picked apart and the conversation had begun to dwindle that the group began to make their way back towards the manor.
Sir Joshua quickly took the arms of Lady Susan and Lady Winifred, in order to keep his hands free of the picnic basket, which Lord Edwin picked up before offering his elbow to Miss Helena.
“Would you do me the honour of allowing me to escort you back to the manor before you depart?” Lord Edwin asked, even as Lady Claire began to wander after the others with no great speed.
“The pleasure would be all mine,” Helena replied in an attempt to sound grown-up. She cared what he thought of her and the last thing she wanted was for him to think she was a little girl.
Lord Edwin smiled as she took hold of his arm and the two walked casually behind the others. Helena was pleased with their slow speed, which suggested Lord Edwin was in no hurry to see her depart. In fact, it was rather pleasant to simply be within his company and gaze around at the beauty of the estate. Wildflowers were growing on either side of the lane and whenever she glanced upwards, she found birds gliding overhead.
Though they were silent it was not an awkward silence as Helena had expected it to be.
She allowed it to stretch out until they passed by the stables and continued up the lane to the manor house. “Lord Edwin, please allow me to thank you again for rescuing me today. I do not know what accident might have befallen me had you not acted so quickly.”
She took a moment to remember how it had felt to be swept up into his arms and onto his lap. Though it had been a bumpy ride, it had not been entirely unpleasant with the warm spicy scent of him washing over her.
“Do not thank me,” Lord Edwin shook his head, and his glossy dark brown curls glinted in the early evening sunshine. “I could not call myself a gentleman if I refused to help those in need.”
Helena was utterly taken by him then. His kindness seemed to know no bounds and when he smiled his entire face lit up. He was certainly a charmer, much like his friend Sir Joshua.
“But still, I must thank you all the same,” Helena insisted, looking at him from beneath her dark lashes. “You may well have saved my life.”
Lord Edwin paused at the very edge of the manor house yard and dropped the picnic basket beside him.
Helena was surprised at the way he gripped hold of her hands and knelt down so that they came to eye level. For one girlish moment, Helena imagined that she was a young woman about to receive the question that all young ladies dreamt of, although she knew she was far too young and he too noble for such things.
“Miss Helena, you were very brave today,” he insisted with a smile that said he was proud of her. “I can think of far worse things that might have happened had you panicked. Your poise and graciousness were a sight to behold. You conducted yourself very well.”
The praise he bestowed upon her was great indeed, after so long grown accustomed to the way that most looked down on her.
The beating of her heart skipped then as he gave her hands a gentle squeeze, and she found herself longing that he might never let go.
“We really ought to be going inside,” Helena said, although she wished that she might be able to spend a little more time with him.
“You are right. We wouldn’t want the ladies to begin gossiping.” The corner of Lord Edwin’s mouth twitched upwards with amusement and Helena couldn’t stop the girlish giggle that passed between her smiling lips.
Lord Edwin pushed himself to his feet and dusted off his breeches before picking up the basket and allowing her to take his elbow once again.
“I must admit that when my father said we were to join the hunt I never imagined it would be in a place like this,” Helena said as they wandered into the yard. “Do you live here?”
She marvelled at the grand manor house with its fine architecture and climbing ivy. The lead-patterned windows seemed as large as doorways overlooking the yard and the fields beyond.
“Yes, I am quite privileged to live in such a place. I will miss it.”
“Miss it?” Helena grew concerned then, “Why would you miss it, my lord?”
“I must travel to Eton college soon, and soon after take the Grand Tour around Europe.” Lord Edwin explained and his face grew dark with grief. It was clear that he had a great love for the place he called home. Though Helena could not quite understand how such a large place could be considered a home, she could see why he would miss it. The entire estate was beautiful, like something out of one of her books.
Helena’s heart sunk deep into her stomach, for she had hoped to be able to spend more time getting to know him and his kindness. It was a great loss to know that it might be a long time before she would see him again.
“Will you be gone long?” she asked, hoping he would not sense her distress.
“A good few years I should think,” Lord Edwin admitted, and Helena’s heart sank again. This time it gave her quite the stomach-ache. She had spent so long trying to fit in. Lord Edwin might have been the bridge to close the gap, and here he was about to depart.
“Won’t you be homesick?” Helena asked.
“I fear I shall,” Lord Edwin nodded. “Though it shall feel all the better when I return after completing my education.”
“I imagine it will be a grand adventure.” Helena could not keep the longing from her voice. Her love for reading had left her with a taste for education that would never be satisfied because of her gender.
“Perhaps I shall bring you back a book from my travels so that you might one day read it for me,” Lord Edwin suggested and Helena delighted in the thought.
Not only would she love to see which book he brought her, but the thought that he wanted to see her again in the future made her heart swell.
“I would very much like that,” she responded joyfully, and resigned herself to the fact that she would have to wait an age to see it fulfilled.
She would hold that afternoon as one of her best for a very long time to come.
“A Wallflower’s Darling Lord” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
Miss Helena Ashby, daughter to a trade merchant, has found herself thrown in at the deep end of society. When her father is sent to the debtor’s prison, leaving her penniless, Helena, shy, down to earth and completely unprepared, must battle the gossip that surrounds her name, and fit in a world where everyone looks askance at her. When she finds occupation as a lady’s companion, destiny brings her to the man who will be haunting her dreams every night. But external forces will not let her find happiness next to him all too easy. Will Helena find her way to be with the man she hopelessly loves despite all odds, or her plans for the future will go up in smoke?
Lord Edwin Martin-Atkins has always feared that he will be driven off course if he cannot find a proper woman to hold him down. When his unsuspected affections are laid upon a woman whose life has been one scandal after another, he is determined to rescue her from ruin, if he ever wants to find real happiness in life. But the road is full of obstacles, as the woman he has fallen in love with is the companion of the malicious lady he unwillingly courts. Will he manage to avoid a union that will make his life an eternal torture? Will Edwin help the only woman he has ever loved to escape her tragic fate and share the rest of her life with him?
Helena and Edwin are most enchanted by each other from the moment they meet. But when Helena’s jealous and malicious lady makes every effort to disgrace her and drive her away from Edwin, everything seems to go downhill. Could the two soulmates find a way to make their two worlds one in such a dire situation? Will their love survive the pitfalls threatening to destroy it?
“A Wallflower’s Darling Lord” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.