When the old Earl of Clarion leaves a will with bequests for all his children, legitimate and not, listing each and their mothers by name, he complicated the lives of many in the village of Ashmead. One of them grew believing he was the innkeeper’s son. He is the first of The Ashmead Heirs.
The Wayward Son—coming in July
Here’s a taste of it—and check out this cover!
Lucy rose to her feet, walked calmly to the foyer, and parted the curtains to see a stranger riding up to the house. She removed her musket from behind the potted palm at the foot of the stairs, before returning to her surveillance out the window. “Cilla, kindly inform Agnes that we have another unwanted visitor,” she said without turning. The girl bounded up the stairs.
The rider paused in front of the steps and peered up at the house, examining it slowly from right to left as if counting the windows.
This one’s a cut above the rest of them. Arrogant, though. He probably wants to come in and count the silver.
She opened the front door and stepped out onto the porch, musket resting in the crook of her left arm. “May I help you?”
The rider jerked upright, brows rising, eyes riveted on the weapon she carried. The color struck her first; his deep green eyes hit a chord deep inside. The intelligence in them and the sense that he weighed her and found her wanting pushed all other thoughts aside.
He likely expected a butler or a footman. She had neither, and she knew how she appeared, a plainly-dressed woman, past the first bloom of youth, straight backed if tiny, standing her ground to address a total stranger. With a musket. Don’t forget the gun. He could make what he wanted of that.
She watched him steadily, and judged his mount a first-rate animal. The man himself projected strength with a military bearing and an air of confidence. Yes, a cut above, this one.
“Is the gentleman of the house in?”
That’s a first. They usually know better.
His deep voice rumbled through her, and an unfamiliar feminine awareness uncurled deep inside. She shook it off.
“He is otherwise engaged,” she answered, wise enough not to advertise that she lived alone. “Kindly state your business,” she added curtly, taking courage from the sound of Agnes coming out behind her. The rider looked from one to the other, and Lucy studied his eyes. Eyes the color of David’s. Caulfield eyes. Her heart sank.
He removed his hat, watching the musket warily. Auburn. Dear God, he has Caulfield hair!
“I’m sorry if I disturbed you, ma’am. I once lived near here, and I thought…” He tapped the hat against one muscular thigh.
This one is too damned attractive for my peace of mind, Lucy thought absently.
The man spoke again. “Perhaps I should introduce myself. I’m Major Sir Robert Benson, formerly of Ashmead on Afon, currently residing in London. I meant no harm.”
All hope fled. The heir had come to claim her home.
Note: excerpts from works in progress have not yet been edited, will likely undergo change, and may not even make it into the final work!