Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors !
Sadly, it has not been a happy month for my family. Our pets have had a rough time this month, losing our bunny, Daphne, and medical issues with two of our cats and my older daughter’s dog. Now, this past Friday, our beloved cat, Marmalade, crossed the Rainbow Bridge. We adopted her 18 years ago, so she was about 19 years old. She’d been in bad health for about a year and a half, and managed to injure herself Friday morning, sustaining a bad laceration just above her tail. When the vet tried to stitch it, her skin was so frail it wouldn’t hold sutures. They also discovered a bleeding problem that could not be controlled, so in the end we had to let her go. She was my daughter’s cat, and unfortunately she now lives in Chicago. But she was able to see her via FaceTime and say goodbye. Rest in Peace, Marmalade. I’ll bet you’re in the Great Outback enjoying chasing voles once more.
Today is the final day for snippets from my novella, Heart of Hope, part of my Handful of Hearts series, that released about a year ago. It is Bertie Symmonds and Lady Letitia Stowe’s story, so now onward to the snippets!
Wallflower Lady Letitia Stowe is determined to dance with no one at Lady Hamilton’s ball unless she knows the gentleman. When just such a man appears in the form of Albert Symmons, Letitia is suddenly eager to dance with him…until she discovers their set is the scandalous waltz. Letitia begs off and instead they talk together, each confessing a weakness. Inspired to help one another, they make a pact: she will instruct him in dancing, and he will do likewise for her in horseback riding. Their frequent meetings grow into true affection and respect; however, Letitia discovers her brother has another match in mind for her.
Can Letitia and Bertie come up with a way to change her brother’s mind or will they need to take more drastic measures to secure a “happily ever after”?
I’m skipping to the end of the chapter as Bertie gives it another try to secure a dance from Lady Letitia. Enjoy!
“Lady Letitia, I am certain you’re fit to drop right now,” he cut his gaze at her partner, who seemed annoyed at the intrusion, “but might I ask you for the supper dance? I believe there will be sufficient time for you to recover, should you need to.”
“I say, Symmons, that sounds awfully like a disparagement of my abilities as a partner.” Kettering’s peevish voice grated on Bertie’s ears. On Lady Letitia’s as well, he hoped.
Despite his wish to shove his fist in Kettering’s face, Bertie had no desire to cause a scene. “N’tall, my lord. The lady hasn’t danced much this evening. Naturally, her first dance would be an exertion for her.”
And a little more for good measure…
The lady’s eyes, which had been dull and lifeless, brightened a trifle. “You are perfectly correct, thank you, Mr. Symmons.” Pausing, Lady Letitia peered at him, seeming to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of accepting him. Her aunt would surely wish her to dance with more than one partner tonight. That, at least, was in his favor. “I would be delighted to give you the supper dance.”
Bertie grinned from ear to ear, although why her acceptance was suddenly so important, he couldn’t say. Perhaps because he believed if Kettering had asked for it, she would have said no. Perhaps because he experienced a sudden need to protect Lady Letitia from louts like Kettering, who thought only of themselves and nothing of their partner. “Thank you, my lady. I will look forward to it.”
“Excuse us, Symmons.” Kettering had taken the lady’s arm again. “I really must return my partner to Lady Romley.”
If only there were some means to spirit her away from his lordship and escort her back to her aunt himself.
Lady Letitia sent a pleading look to Bertie and that was all it took. “As I am to be her next partner, Kettering, allow me to accompany the lady. That way you can secure your next partner as well.” He held his arm out to Lady Letitia, who disengaged from his lordship quick as a wink and linked her arm with his.
Kettering sent Bertie a chilling glare then bowed to Lady Letitia. “It was such a pleasure to have you as my partner, my lady. I hope you will allow me the opportunity to partner you again. Soon.” With an abrupt turn, he strode toward the card room.
“Thank you, Mr. Symmons.” Lady Letitia smiled up at him.
“My pleasure entirely, my lady.” Bertie smiled, utterly satisfied with Kettering’s huff. “Now let me take you back to your aunt. Don’t want her sending your brother after you.” Lord Kettering was one thing. The Earl of Haversham, however, was beyond Bertie. “I’d like to survive long enough to dance with you.”
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Warriors here. There are some fantastic snippets to be read.
Next week I’ll go into Christmas mode with snippets from my newest Christmas novella, The Christmas Pact, available this coming Monday in the 2022 Christmas anthology, Nine Ladies Dancing.
Heart of Hope is available on Amazon , Smashwords , B & N, Apple, and Kobo.
The Handful of Hearts series