Monday, 10 June 2013

A Most Unusual Goveness

New title - out now.
I'm pleased to tell you my ninth book is now available on Amazon. This was written for D C Thomson and entitled 'A Dangerous Deception'. Two further novellas will be going up soon and a third box set next month.
Here is an extract -hope you enjoy it. This is a favourite of mine.
Chapter One
Cassandra had always known her name was unlucky and now she was sure of it. This morning her uncle had issued her with an ultimatum, she was to marry her cousin Peregrine or he would not be answerable for the consequences. Cassandra knew what this meant, her uncle, Sir James Digby, would not dare to incarcerate her in her room on bread and water, not after the last time he'd attempted it and she'd almost starved to death and still wouldn't capitulate. However, she knew that between them her aunt and uncle would make poor Perry's life a misery.
He was a dear boy, she loved him as a cousin, but if he had ever had two consecutive sensible thoughts, she would eat the cherries on her best bonnet. No – not even to save Perry would she be brow beaten into marriage with him.
She had no alternative. She would have to remove herself from Upton Manor. She had already formulated a plan for when this eventuality arose. The pressure on her to agree to become betrothed to Peregrine had been growing these past few months and now there was scarcely nine months to her majority, this was intensifying. Sir John was determined to get hold of her inheritance one way or the other.
Her companion, and governess, Ann Roberts had been summarily dismissed a year ago, but had found a small cottage in the village to rent. Cassie intended to buy a small estate as soon as she was one and twenty and then reside there with Ann, who had become, during the five years they had been together, her best friend and mentor.
She had no intention of getting married; she had been obliged to watch this institution destroy her parents' happiness. When they had both caught the fever and died whilst travelling abroad her mother had only been with her father because she had had no choice. They had been kind and supportive parents but had had made each other miserable. They had fallen in love, it was not an arranged marriage, but still it had been a disaster.
She had no intention of involving herself in such a union; as a wealthy heiress she would be courted for her money. Her intelligence and high spirits would be considered a necessary evil. A love match was also out of the question - look what it had done to her parents?
Quickly she donned her cloak and stout walking boots, then snatching up her oldest bonnet, a warm muffler and gloves she headed for the back stairs. The servants were on her side, and would not report her exit from the side door unless asked a direct question about her whereabouts.
A blast of cold November air whipped her cloak around her as she hurried, head down, through the park and out of the side gate which was the shortest route to the village. When she arrived thirty minutes later she was much warmer than when she had left. Her aunt did not allow her to have a fire in her chambers at Upton Manor.
She was almost blown down the short path that led to the front door of Ann's cottage. Cassie knocked loudly. Molly, Ann's sole servant, a young girl from the village, appeared, mob cap awry. The girl bobbed a curtsy and smiled.
'Come in, Miss Forsythe, Miss Robert's in the parlour and there's a nice fire burning, I can tell you. Shall you be staying for luncheon, miss?'
Cassie removed her cloak and other things and passed them to Molly. 'I expect so, for I shall get nothing if I go back.'
Ann Roberts, a woman with an unremarkable face but a neat figure and a pair of fine blue eyes, was in her thirtieth year. She had been with Cassie, first as governess and then as companion, until being obliged to leave her position. 'Come in, my dear Cassie, I didn't expect you today as the weather is so inclement. But you're most welcome indeed. I am sad company, I'm afraid, as I'm suffering from a severe head cold.' This last remark was punctuated by a series of sneezes and coughs.
'I had to come, Ann, it has happened as we expected.  I have to get away and am hoping we can now put the scheme into action.'
'I have been studying the advertisements in The Times this past week, my dear, and I think I have exactly the position for you. Look, one Jonathan Anderson Esquire, requires a governess - companion for his nine year old daughter. They live somewhere outside Ipswich, which I am reliably informed by the vicar, is in a county in the east of the country, called Suffolk. I'm sure you would be quite safe there for the next nine months.'
'Excellent. All I have to do is place the correct name at the start of the letter and sign the bottom. It will be a strange experience for me, being you. I only hope I have learnt enough these past years to bring the deception off successfully.'
'I'm certain no-one will suspect that you're not who your references say you are, my love. The dresses, and other things that you will need for your new life, are also ready. All I have to do is post the application this afternoon.'
'What if Mr Anderson rejects me? Or demands an interview? It would be impossible for me to get away from Upton to attend one. It will be difficult enough to do it once, but twice – never.'
Ann patted Cassie's hand. 'Don't fret so, my love. You will not be expected to travel all that way. My papers are impeccable – he would be mad not to snap you up. I'm certain not many well qualified governesses would wish to work so far away from Town.'
'I pray that you're correct. How long will it be, do you think, before we hear?'
'A week, perhaps a little longer. Can you endure for that long, my dear?'
Cassie sighed. 'I have no choice. Perhaps if I appear to be weakening in my resolve it will be bearable.'

'In that case, Cassandra, you must forget all about your problems and look forward to your future.'

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