Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors !
This week I’m continuing my current WIP, Almost a Countess , book 2 of my new series, Captivating Countesses.
Exiled to a lonely estate in north Yorkshire, Dora Harper finds life satisfying, if appallingly routine—until an escaped Scottish prisoner begs for her help. Despite her misgivings, Dora takes him in, feeds and clothes him, and is amazed at his transformation into a very handsome, virile gentleman, who claims he is an earl. No matter who he really is, his very presence in her house could ruin her reputation for good. Trouble is, Dora might not mind that at all.
Phineas “Finn” MacDonald, the Earl of Aberfoyle, is on the run from a troop of soldiers bent on hauling him to London to be transported for a criminal act. Dora’s miraculous appearance is a godsend for him, in more ways than one. The pretty young English woman is kind, compassionate, and willing to help him in his attempt to seek justice and evade the troop that is quickly closing in on him.
With their close proximity over several days, Finn’s desire to escape wanes, even as thoughts of Dora fill his mind. So when Dora suggests she pose as his wife to throw the soldiers off Finn’s trail, Finn wonders if he can persuade her to make the ruse a reality—before the army finds him and banishes him from Britain forever.
We’re starting this week where we left off last week. Dora is out riding and has been told British soldiers are roaming the countryside searching for an escaped prisoner. Dora is reflecting on her folly of riding out alone. Dora has just come upon a man lying hidden in the creek bed. He asks for her help.
With a gasp, Dora hauled back on the reins so hard Gretchen reared up, her hooves dancing in the air before the man’s face.
“Whoa, easy.” He put his hand up to ward off the horse, but otherwise looked unafraid. He rose to his knees, then tried to stand and as he did so, he lurched to the right, gave a strangled cry, and toppled back down the embankment.
When he did not reappear, Dora urged the skittish horse forward; she leaned over Grethen’s shoulder, peering at the stream.
The stranger lay prone, his face in the gently flowing stream, not moving.
“Dear God.” Dora unhooked her knee from the sidesaddle’s pommel and slid to the ground. Keeping hold of the reins, she ran to the edge of the embankment, but the man still had not moved. Lord, had he drowned that quickly?
And a little more for good measure…
Reluctantly she dropped the reins—hopefully Gretchen wouldn’t stray far—then looked for a place not too steep to climb down. It would do neither of them any good if she broke her leg in the tangled weeds coming to his rescue.
She glanced toward him again. “Sir? Are you all right?”
“Bloody hell.” It had been her brother’s favorite oath, at least the one she heard most often and she now relished saying it whenever she could. But only when she was alone.
Picking a likely place, she slithered down the overgrown bank, and ran to the man, slipping precariously on the stones that lined the streambed. Splashing toward him she prayed she wasn’t too late. His face was right down in the water, but turned to the side, so at least his nose allowed him to breathe. She slid to a stop next to him, grasped his shoulder, and heaved.