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 and then collapses into the stream.
The man was heavy as the big rocks that lay around him and her first grip slid free. Frantic, she put both hands under his shoulder and grunted as she tried again. This time her force was so great that he flipped neatly over, his head hitting the mud at the bottom of the stream. Her balance now off, Dora tilted backwards, lost her footing completely and sat down hard in the swiftly flowing water.
Exasperated, she regarded the still figure, clad in a dirty linen shirt, bright red kilt, and black boots. The kilt declared him Scottish without a doubt and common sense said he was also the escaped prisoner. She was in a peck of trouble, no matter what she did, but she jolly well couldn’t let the man drown in her stream. Not when she could easily pull him out–even when he’d already been so much trouble.
Cold water had seeped through all the layers of her riding habit, making her shiver. With some effort, she got to her feet, mentally cursing the unconscious man who slumbered on, oblivious to her wet misery.
And a little more for good measure…
Not only was her backside frigid and damp but her favorite riding habit was undoubtedly ruined as well.
She hauled herself over to the stranger, peering at him to make sure he was still breathing, before grabbing his shoulders again and dragging him out of the water. A surprisingly handsome man, although she supposed a prisoner or thief or whatever he’d been arrested for could be as handsome as a gentleman in a ballroom.
His dripping wet hair was likely a dark auburn when dry, a bit long and shaggy but not unpleasing to the eye. His nose was straight, his chin pointed, his stubbled jaw, though slack now, looked as though it could be quite firm if he wished. His physique was magnificent—through the tears in his shirt she could see his muscles were firm. Indeed, as she was clasping his shoulders at the moment she could attest to their sinewy strength. His legs, on display beneath his kilt, were also well-muscled. By her assessment, he was much more attractive than most of the gentlemen she’d danced with in London last fall.
The most perplexing thing, however, was his apparent youth. Despite the dirt and grime he looked no more than twenty, little older than herself. What could he have done to cause his arrest?