Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors !
Due to circumstances beyond my control, the release of Almost a Countess, book 2 of my Captivating Countesses series, has been pushed back to August 17. I’m so sorry, but there was no other choice, given the circumstances. I hope you still enjoy the snippets until then.
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 charging him with treason. 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 a unique opportunity presents itself, Finn claims to be Dora’s husband to save her reputation and throw the soldiers off his trail. Now all Finn needs to do is persuade Dora to make the ruse a reality—before the soldiers can find him and carry out the grim penalty for his alleged crime.
Energy shot through Dora’s veins. She sat straighter, her mind calculating what she needed to do to bring the animal to a halt before Gretchen discovered no one was minding the reins and took off across the field at a dead run.
Trying to stem the panic that clogged her throat, Dora made herself let go her grip on the stranger completely, although she compensated by clutching him with her arms to keep him from falling. Afraid to move her head to either side to see the reins, she slid her hands down his arms until her fingers touched his, the ribbons still clutched in his grip.
Gently, she drew the leather straps from his fingers and felt a measure of calm descend on her. To be back in control again, with the reins firmly in her hands, was reassuring. Pulling on them steadily, Dora slowed Gretchen to a trot, then at last to a walk. Breathing easier, she spared a moment’s worry for the man again. Unfortunately, she could do nothing for him until they reached Bromley. Hopefully, he’d only fainted, nothing worse.
And a little more for good measure…
Her friend and sister-in-law, Judith Harper, had sustained a blow to the head that had rendered her insensible for more than four months. Of course, Judith’s wound had knocked her senseless immediately. That was not the case here. However, Dora couldn’t help but wonder if this stranger had lapsed into a stupor from which he wouldn’t recover for days or even months. She could only pray not and keep a steady hand on the reins and get them home quickly.