“Mother, will you tell me a story?” little Duncan asked as his mother came into the room to check on him. He’d woken with a sour stomach and a runny nose, no doubt from spending too much time outside with his father the day before, trying to catch every fish in the pond. And then, after they’d all gorged themselves on the bounty, it was no surprise to her that he’d woken ill.
“Of course, my darling. What story would you like to hear?” his mother asked.
“Tell me an exciting story. One with villains and heroes. Something that may be hard to believe,” he replied.
“Well, then. How about I tell you a grand story with all those bits, and more?”
Duncan clapped excitedly and his mother shushed him, encouraging him to lay back down on the goose feather pillows and relax while she sat on the four-poster bed next to him.
“All right, then. Once upon a time, not that long ago, there was a young woman named Caroline and a handsome young man named William…”
Caroline raced across the open pasture on the back of her chestnut mare, the wind whipping her long blonde hair behind her. She moved with the galloping momentum of the horse, thinking that the only time she truly felt free was when she was horseback riding. And though a daughter of an Earl should never be caught riding astride, she dearly did not care in that moment as she raced across her father’s lands to meet the man she’d fallen in love with.
It was quite scandalous, what she’d done. At first, it had been a mild attraction, since he looked very similar to all the other footmen. Tall, sleek blond hair that was cut short but still curled at the ends, and dazzling blue eyes. All the footmen were hired based on not only their ability to serve and listen to orders, but also their attractive qualities. Such was the common practice with the elite lords of society.
But the thing that made William unique was the way he always paid her special attention. While most of the servants in the house tended to ignore the main family unless they were addressed, William always did small things for her. He would bring her flowers, ask her questions about her day, and really listen to her opinion. Unlike her parents and most of the families Caroline dined with, William showed actually interest in her. And that was why it was so easy for her to fall deeply in love with him, even though she was only sixteen and not quite the proper age to marry.
The grove of trees that surrounded a small pond came into view, and Caroline pulled on the reins to slow her horse and guide the mare along the narrow trail that would lead her to their destination. And at the water’s edge stood William, allowing his horse to drink from the pond as though he’d just arrived. She beamed at him as she came to a stop. At the sound of her arrival, William looked her way and smiled brightly as he came near and helped her down from her mare, his strong arms supporting her body as though she weighed nothing.
“Oh, William. It’s so good to be with you,” Caroline said as her walking boots hit the ground and she wrapped her arms around his shoulders. “I wish we didn’t need to hide in secret.”
“I know, my dear,” William said. He looked down at her, his hands still on her lithe hips. “But your father would never allow us to marry. Until I can think of a way to earn his respect and your hand in marriage, it seems we are forced to only meet like this.”
“Sometimes I like to think I could speak reason with my father, that I could convince my parents of my dearest love for you,” Caroline said, running her fingers through William’s golden hair. He might look like the other footmen, but when he smiled at her, it was a look reserved only for her.
“We must be patient.” William rubbed his hands up and down her back of her cotton gown. “After all, you are only sixteen years of age and still have many years before you’d be considered a spinster.”
Caroline chuckled at the thought. She’d rather die than become a spinster. “My parents will expect me to marry one day. I don’t know for how long I could wait for you.”
“I would wait years and years for you, my dearest. My love for you is stronger than time,” William declared, taking Caroline’s voice away. She loved how romantic William could be and knew it was a very rare quality in men.
“Oh, William. Kiss me. Kiss me like you mean everything you’ve just said,” Caroline pleaded, her cheeks flushing red as she thought of giving herself to this man in every sense of the word.
“As you wish,” William said softly as he leaned his head down and captured her luscious red lips in his. Pleasure exploded from that kiss and tingling through Caroline’s body as she held on tightly to William’s shoulders. She pressed her body against his as she allowed him to ravage her mouth with his tongue. Their taste together was something that Caroline would never grow tired of. And as she felt his manhood become stiff and press into her belly, she was pleased with herself to be able to cause such a response in his body. If she wasn’t expected home soon, she’d strip them both down and finally feel what it was like to truly be a woman.
“Come now,” William said as he broke their passionate kiss, his hands still stroking her back longingly as they both tried to catch their breath. “We mustn’t do anything we might regret later.”
“William, I would never regret giving myself to you,” Caroline declared, almost afraid to admit such a thing because of their current situation.
“I know,” William replied softly, stroking her hair. “I can feel it in your body just as you can feel it in mine. I long to be with you in every sense of the word. But for now, we must be patient and try to control ourselves.”
Caroline giggled as she created space between the two. William turned away for a moment and adjusted his manhood into a more comfortable position.
“Come. Sit with me for a moment longer,” Caroline invited, perched on the edge of the pond and looking out over the water. “How is your father doing?”
William sat next to her on the grass and sighed. “He’s not feeling much better. Sometimes, the cough goes away during the day, but it always returns at night. If it wasn’t for my position in your father’s household, I wouldn’t have the means to take care of him. I pay an older woman to tend to him during the day, to get his medicines from the apothecary. And sometimes I stay awake late in the night just to ensure he’s actually sleeping.”
“I wish there was something more that could be done for your father. If only you could travel to town. There are proper doctors and surgeons there that could help your father,” Caroline insisted. “If my father knew…”
“No, Caroline. Your father would fire me if he thought this sickness could be passed from my father, to me, to one of his family. I know you mean well, but the less your father has any idea that we spend intimate time together, the better it will be for us.”
“I just don’t like this feeling of being unable to do anything. I want to help in so many ways.” Caroline leaned on her knees and rested her head on her folded arms. William rubbed her back, and his hands on her sparked fire to the desire she had for him. She sat up and leaned towards him, placing a soft kiss to his lips.
“One day, William, we will be together. I just know it,” she asserted as she leaned back.
“As do I. I promise that there will come a day when I shall have your hand in marriage, regardless of our situation,” William replied. The way he gazed down into her eyes made her feel like she could give her life over to William and never have to worry about anything ever again.
“Now, my love. You must return home. Your evening ride has already been longer than what your parents would like. And I must return to my father.” William stood and lifted Caroline to her feet. Then, he guided her over to her horse and helped her get situated in the saddle.
“When shall we meet again?” Caroline asked, steering her horse back towards the narrow pass that led through the grove of trees surrounding the pond.
“I shall let you know when the time is best,” William assured her. “Now go. We’ll see each other soon enough.”
Caroline blew him a kiss from where she sat on her mare and then turned forward to urge her mount into a trot. Once they were clear of the trees, she pressed the horse into a full gallop, her heart filled with love for William. She raced back to her father’s stables, knowing she’d be expected for tea shortly.
But all her mind was worried about was the next time she’d find time to be alone with William, and how they ever were to be together forever.
William never liked watching Caroline go. He had watched her from afar for so long that it almost pained him every time he sent her away. Eventually, William pulled himself onto his own mount and headed down the same narrow path. But when the tree line broke, he turned his tan gelding and headed towards his father’s small cottage.
It had been almost three years since he’d started working for the Earl of Venderbock. He knew it had been his attractive features that had landed him the position when he’d spoken to the butler of the house, Mr Westley. He was good enough at following orders, often being the one assigned to the coach when the family was in need of the vehicle because he was the handsomer of all the footmen. The family liked to be seen with only the best, which was why William was selected to accompany the family or be present during dinner parties.
At first, William thought his good looks had been a curse. He had been hired quickly and put to work doing many various jobs where he would be seen. But when he started to develop feelings for the beautiful Caroline, he decided to try his luck and attempt to convey his feelings for her.
At first, he’d started with flirting with her whenever he got a chance. He’d speak to her before he was spoken to, often surprising her that he would be so bold to do so. And in return, he saw how intelligent and witty she could be. She would find all sorts of ways to avoid him or give him unusual commands. But he would always reply with the same words and smirk on his lips, “As you wish.”
Eventually, Caroline gave in to his persistence. His hard work had paid off. When he brought her flowers, she repaid him with a small kiss on his cheek before sending him away. It was hard to sneak Caroline small items of his endearment while they were together in the household. The Earl employed a large staff, and Caroline was very rarely allotted any time alone without having to succumb to the demands of her mother. Nevertheless, William still found time to woo her.
As William rode across the Earl’s lands to a small cottage on the other side of the village, he thought about his actions and what they would all amount to. He couldn’t deny his love for Caroline; it had only grown stronger with time. He wasn’t sure what would come of it, if anything. The thought of her one day marrying someone else caused his innards to hurt. But he knew that Caroline would only grow more beautiful in the coming years and would no doubt enthral other lords that would be more appealing in her father’s eyes. William knew that he had to do something to gain Caroline’s hand in marriage, but with his father so ill, he had no idea how to do it.
After settling his horse in their small manger, William went inside the cottage and was soon greeted by Grendel, the widow who looked after her father. “How is he doing?” William asked as he shrugged off his coat and placed it on the hook by the door.
“He’s doing well today. He was moving about this morning and ate a hardy lunch. Now, he is resting,” Grendel explained. “Are you hungry?”
“I’ll take a small bite of cheese and bread. I’m needed back at the Earl’s manor for a dinner party this evening.”
“Would you like me to stay later?” Grendel asked as she fixed William a small plate of food.
“No, that won’t be necessary. I don’t like the idea of you walking home at night,” William said. She gestured towards him as though it was of no consequence, but even though the spring nights had grown warmer, he didn’t want to risk something happening to her on the dark roads.
As William sat and looked around his father’s cottage, he saw so many memories of his childhood. His mother playing with him by the fire on a winter’s night, the stones of the cottage seeming to radiate with the heat. Chestnuts roasted near the embers and they played with wooden figures while they waited for their special treat to be done. His father would come in from the cold, happily displaying the meat he’d been able to capture that day. He was the village’s best hunters and had often been commissioned to help with local hunts or even lead them for all the lords in the neighbourhood.
But when his mother had died of a terrible cold, his father seemed to lose all the life in him. He hunted less, and made less money. Therefore, when William was old enough, he went to work. And when his father had captured a winter cold, William had been terrified he to lose his father, as well. But now, his father seemed plagued with a cough that never got better nor got any worse.
“I’d best be off, Grendel. Thank you again for all that you do,” William said as he stood from the dining table and set his plate in the dry sink. He’d take care of the dishes later. “I have to get back to the manor and dress for the dinner party.”
“I know it’s work, but try to have fun, William. You must fill your soul of good tidings and not worry so much about filling your pockets with coins.”
“I will do my best,” William offered as he left the cottage, making sure the door was securely shut behind him. The other families in the village knew his father was sick because he was heavily relied on to provide local meat to the village’s butcher. It made William nervous leaving him alone with Grendel. She wasn’t much protection against thieves or robbers. Not that they had much to offer such men.
William saddled up his gelding once more and head back towards the Earl’s manor. He took the back way as he approached the grand house, following the trail only for servants. There was a separate stable, separate entrance, and private men’s quarters for all the footmen. He went the way he’d gone for the last three years and quickly collected his uniform from the wardrobe before he found his assigned room and changed. Though he rarely used the room, he still kept it clean and tidy, leaving his non-working clothes folded on the bed for when he’d return later, change, and head home once more.
The moment he stepped out into the hallway and locked the door behind him, Mr Westley was walking by in a hurry. “Come along, William,” he said over his shoulder. “We must prepare for the guests.”
William didn’t respond but simply trailed after the butler, trusting the man to lead him in the right direction. He soon followed the older man into the common room for the servants. There, meals were served, and the servants of the household were able to gather for important meetings to understand the daily happenings of the household.
“Now that we are all assembled,” Mrs Franklin, the housekeeper, said once Mr Westley and William had entered the common room, “Lady Goldman is hosting a dinner party this evening with many families traveling in from town. Seems like it’s their way of enjoying the Season.”
William chuckled with the other servants at the comment, knowing how much the elite families loved to enjoy the Season to flaunt their wealth and status for all to see.
“Guests shall be arriving within the hour. Footmen are needed at the courtyard to help the guests inside and lead them to the drawing room. William, that means you.”
“Yes, Mrs Franklin,” William replied with a swift nod.
“Refreshments will be served, followed by dinner, followed by dancing and more refreshments. ‘Tis the same old, same old, so I don’t feel I need to repeat myself,” Mrs Franklin said with a sigh. William smirked, knowing how much Lord and Lady Goldman loved to host dinner parties. But William also understood that as the household’s favourite footmen, he’d be expected to be present for every part of the evening. He mentally prepared himself for a very long and exhausting night.
Caroline stood in her mother’s dressing room, waiting for her to ready so they could go down together. It had been her mother’s idea that they attend all social functions in this manner. It made Caroline feel dreadfully bored, because her mother always took her time readying and she was eager to go down and become lost in the drawing room amongst so many. Her parents would become distracted by who was in attendance, and she would be free to wander without needing to talk to anyone. She disliked these social functions immensely and thought the only good thing that would come of it is that she’d be able to see William and find ways to somehow become close to him throughout the evening.
“What has your thoughts so preoccupied?” Lady Goldman asked, causing Caroline to look up at her mother and see her eyes through the looking glass. She was seated in front of it as her lady’s maid fixed her hair into gorgeous curls.
“I was only thinking of this evening,” Caroline said as she forced a smile onto her face. “We will get to dine with several families that we don’t often get to see.”
“That is true,” Lady Goldman said with a chuckle. “Lord Canton, the Earl of Humdinck’s son, will be dining with us as well.” Caroline looked away from her mother’s reflection then, her heart pounding at the mention of the older man. Her parents had mentioned Lord Canton several times in the past as a possible match for her. She’d had no idea that he would be in attendance that evening. Did that mean something particular that she was unaware of?
“I’m looking forward to speaking with Miss Madeline and Miss Tera. They are wonderful young ladies my age that I do enjoy speaking with,” Caroline said, wanting to push the conversation away from Lord Canton.
“Yes, they are amiable enough ladies. But compared to you, they will not likely receive any offers. Your beauty surpasses most, and yet you are still so young. I dare say that you shall be married before you are sixteen.” Lady Goldman smiled happily at herself in the mirror, and Caroline was thankful because her mother couldn’t see the scowl on her face at the idea of marrying anyone but William.
It was a relief when her mother was finally ready. Together, they departed her dressing room in elegant gowns made of rich silk. Caroline liked the feeling of her new gown, a dark sapphire colour that brought out the blue in her eyes. Her mother was dressed in a lavender-coloured gown that made her dark brown hair seem lighter. Caroline had inherited her father’s features, and it made her wonder if it ever bothered her mother that her daughter looked more like him than her.
As Caroline walked down the hallway in her house slippers, she could hear the dinner guests talking below. She held onto her gown and raised it a bit so she could walk easily down the polished wooden stairs, their colour a dark mahogany. The one thing about her home that was true from room to room that it was smartly designed. The first-level floors were cut from marble and polished to a point that she could see her reflection. Candles illuminated the house from chandeliers, candelabras, and even wall scants. The house glowed with candlelight as though it was midday instead of evening when the sun was mostly departed below the horizon.
“It sounds like splendour in there,” Lady Goldman said with excitement, her pace hurrying. Caroline didn’t try to keep up and instead took her time, not as eager as her mother to interact with others. As they neared, footmen stood at the ready outside the door with platters of refreshments. She spotted William in the line but did not smile at him or look at him for longer than what would be appropriate. If she did, it would be too obvious, and the servants would all chatter about her attachment.
As Caroline walked past him, she mentally wished him all of her love. She longed to be in his arms once more, pressing her mouth against his luscious lips. But for now, she would guard her heart against any other man in the drawing room and hope the evening would pass with a quickness.
It didn’t take William long to discover why Lord and Lady Goldman had hosted this dinner party. As he served refreshments to all the lords and ladies, a kind smile always on his lips, he saw Caroline sitting amongst the throng with her mother by her side. Her father was with the other married gentlemen in the room, while the eligible gentlemen seemed to swarm Caroline like she was a fine piece of cooked venison. It made William sick to his stomach since he knew Caroline was only sixteen. All these gentlemen were much older, and very repulsive in comparison.
William tried not to stare at Caroline for too long throughout the evening. But when he did look, he saw the permanent smile plastered onto her lips that didn’t quite reach her eyes. He could tell that she was putting on a show for these men, but in reality, she wasn’t loving the attention. In fact, he knew personally just how much she disliked social gatherings and being the centre of attention, even though her mother often craved it.
“Aren’t you a handsome devil?” came a young lady’s voice.
He looked over to see a woman approaching him. He lowered the silver serving tray towards her and smiled kindly.
“Thank you.” She took one of the small tarts and popped it into her mouth, never taking her eyes off of him. William was used to such flirting from the women that often came to the manor to attend such dinner parties. He’d been given all sorts of offers in the past but had remained loyal to the Earl.
When she was finished, he turned from her and continued on through the room till he was summoned to serve others. All the while, he remained cordial to all and kept eye on Caroline. How he wished to steal her away from everything she disliked and provide her with the life she desired. A simpler way of life, she had explained to him. One where she could focus on what she wanted most in life, which was to someday have a large family. Since they were both without any other sibling, they both desired this same thing.
“William, will you return to the kitchen and replenish this tray?” asked Marcus, one of the other footmen. He seemed to be concerned about something, by the way his eyebrows were furrowed together and sweat beaded his forehead.
“What’s wrong?” William asked in a soothing voice.
“I dearly need to use the privy,” Marcus explained. William sighed as he took the man’s tray and followed him quietly from the room through the servant’s door. As soon as they were free of the room, Marcus took off down the servant’s hallway while William hurried to gather another silver tray.
“Hey there, William!” Cook called as he came into the kitchen. “You don’t usually make runs.”
“Yes, I know. Marcus needed a hand so I’m here to take back another to the drawing room,” William explained.
“Well, don’t be gone for long,” Cook encouraged. “Everyone knows you’re the favourite footmen.”
She chuckled as she returned to the stove. Her many assistants bustled around the kitchen and William made sure to stay out of their way. They were all busy preparing the seven-course meal, and the last thing William wanted to do was disturb the flow of the kitchen.
As William carried the full tray back to the drawing room, he took a deep breath. He was grateful for the well-paying staff position, and he often laughed at the idea that his good looks did so well for him. But the one thing that was really starting to aggravate him were these dinner parties, where Caroline’s parents placed so many eligible men before her. William decided that tonight he’d have to think up a plan, or he could very well lose the love of his life.
Caroline knew she should be grateful. She was in a lovely drawing room with plush green carpets, elegant floral paper covering the walls, and the latest designed furniture from France. She sat comfortably on a settee with her mother as she chatted happily with all the gentlemen that had positioned themselves around them. She smiled and talked with them all, especially when she was specifically addressed. But on the inside, she hated having all this attention on her. She knew these men were only trying to convince her that they were the best in the room, the most desirable option.
Sitting in the chair next to her was Lord Canton himself. He was an older man, perhaps even her father’s age, with hair the colour of coal. He was smartly dressed in a fine dinner jacket, black with black embroidery. His clothes, the cuffs on his muslin shirt, the shine on his boots—this was all a testament to his wealth, and soon to be even greater wealth when his father passed the earldom to him. Lord Canton had a smile for Caroline every time she looked his way, but the look did little for her.
“Lady Goldman, when do you think you and your family will come to town for a Season?” Lord Canton asked. Caroline watched him carefully, wondering what the question would imply. It seemed to be the only thing that really kept her focus during a social gathering. She loved to figure out what a person meant by their statements, what underlying motive they might have. After all, the elite always had a motive for everything they did.
“Well, my daughter is but sixteen. Perhaps in a year or two she will be better prepared for a Season,” Lady Goldman replied with a bright smile.
“It’s hard to imagine that Miss Goldman is so young,” Lord Canton said as he looked towards her, a smirk on his lips. “She is a vision of beauty and has such a good disposition.”
“That is very kind of you to say,” Lady Goldman spoke. This was one of the things Caroline hated most—how everyone would talk around her about her, but never to her. She was respected hardly more than a horse being sold at auction.
Caroline looked across the room as the gentlemen talked around her, addressing her mother more than she. Caroline spotted the other young ladies sitting together, most of them leaning towards one another as they whispered. She saw their eyes on her and she wondered what they thought of her. Did they envy her, or were they all displeased that she was getting all the attention while they were forced to sit alone? Caroline would give anything to be sitting with them and allowing one of them to choose who would be best to be subjugated to these men’s practically pawing eyes. They saw only her beauty and nothing more.
Only once did Caroline dare to find William in the crowd. As their eyes locked, her heartbeat seemed to still for that one moment. She wanted to rise to her feet and flee with William, despite how scandalous it would be or how furious her parents would become. She wanted to be happy and with the man she loved.
Caroline watched as one of the ladies, the wife of a viscount if she remembered correctly, approached William and broke their eye contact. William smiled down at the woman as he served her, like he was trained to do. After all, he was only serving in the drawing room because he was the favourite footman. But Caroline noted the way the woman batted her eyelashes at William and appeared to be flirting with him. Joy soared in her chest as William eventually turned away from her to serve another, as though unaffected by the advancement. She truly knew that William was in love with her and would have eyes for no one else.
Eventually, dinner was served, and Caroline got a break from all of the attention. She enjoyed the short walk from the drawing room to the dining room as she followed after her parents. But when she went to sit down next to her mother, her father suggested she sit across instead.
“Lord Canton wishes to sit next to you for the meal,” Lord Goldman explained. Caroline stared at him for a moment but eventually moved to the other side of the table. There, she would be pinned down by her father on the right as he sat at the head of the table, and Lord Canton on the left. She thought it was the most intolerable way to dine, since one of her close acquaintances had sat down on the other side and she did dearly wish to sit next to her and enjoy a bit of female conversation with someone closer to her own age.
“How have you been enjoying your evening?” Lord Canton asked as he took to the seat to her right. The idea that he was going to bother her with conversation all evening didn’t settle well with Caroline.
“It’s been a pleasant evening,” she replied as others came into the room and were seated. And the moment they were all sat, the footmen came forward to serve the first course. Caroline looked over her shoulder and saw that William had taken the position of serving her that evening. She felt delighted to have him close to her that night and could dearly use his strength in getting through the rest of the evening.
“You know, you don’t have to lie to me,” Lord Canton said, leaning in close and speaking rather softly.
“Whatever do you mean?” Caroline asked in the same tone as she picked up her spoon and began to prepare herself a sip of the bone broth with lentils.
“I can see the way you smile, how it’s forced. You do not love all the attention that has been bestowed upon you,” he said, his voice sounding amused. Caroline considered his words for a moment and wondered if she should respond at all.
“I believe the other young ladies present deserve some of the attention from the eligible gentlemen,” Caroline reasoned.
“I agree with you. You must feel so overwhelmed by it all,” Lord Canton replied between sips of soup.
“On the contrary, I am not overwhelmed. Instead, I find it all rather boring,” Caroline admitted, wondering just how bold she could be with this man.
“Then, Miss Goldman, what would you prefer to be doing, if not talking, dining, and dancing with others of your status?”
“I love to read and draw,” Caroline explained. “I could spend hours doing both.”
“My, my, what a choice. I would dear say that I would find those activities very boring,” Lord Canton replied. His remarks satisfied her, because her goal was to show him that she wasn’t a good choice for a wife.
“It’s either that or horseback riding. I do love to ride,” Caroline added in a cheerful voice.
“Really? A young lady of your status rides?” he asked, seeming surprised.
“Oh, yes. I try to take a morning ride on every fine day. It’s such wonderful exercise.” Caroline very well knew that it was unladylike for an Earl’s daughter to ride a horse on her own, and she was hoping with each spoken word that she would discourage the older man from pursuing her in the future.
“You are full of delightful surprises, Miss Goldman,” he replied, causing Caroline to feel let down that her plan hadn’t been working. She tried instead to focus on the meal, the conversation her parents were having, and how close in proximity she was to William at any given time. These things gave her mind something to do while she waited for the dinner to come to an end. She did her best to speak with Lord Canton when she was spoken to, but she didn’t try to encourage the conversation, either.
Once the dinner was over, Caroline was finally allowed to return to the drawing room with the other ladies while the men went to the parlour to enjoy their evening port. Caroline sighed with relief to be away from Lord Canton, and she genuinely smiled as she went into the drawing room and sat down next to Miss Tera.
“A moment to yourself, I see,” Miss Tera said as they clasped hands for a moment. They sat together on the far side of the room with the other young ladies, the older and married women congregating around the fireplace and piano.
“I simply thought this was just another dinner party with my parents’ friends from the ton. I was completely surprised by all the eligible gentlemen in attendance. I regret not paying better attention to my parents’ conversations these last few days,” Caroline admitted.
“You usually are so wickedly smart, Miss Caroline. What has caught your attention?” Miss Tera asked. Caroline smiled at her friend but didn’t dare share even a hint of the truth—that she was madly in love with a footman.
“I imagine more romance in my life,” she said instead. “I don’t want to meet a man like a business arrangement. I want to enjoy parties without being pressured to be courted. I’d much rather dance with you than any of the men present.” This caused Miss Tera to laugh heartily, causing the other young ladies to look their way. Caroline shushed her friend, not wanting to cause a scene.
“How fantastically hilarious would that be if all the ladies decided to dance with one another, forcing the men to either choose male partners or not dance at all,” she said once her mirth had subsided.
“I think it would be splendid, and more enjoyable than what will be expected of us. Sometimes, I feel like a horse in a parade, admired for my beauty but nothing more when I attend these types of social gatherings. The older I become, the more society demands of me.”
“But would you have it any other way? Imagine being born common and not having ever luxury of life. I would much rather marry a nobleman and have all the comforts and protection I need then have to work every day for the rest of my life.”
Caroline thought about this. Had she been born common, she’d be able to marry William much easier. In fact, they would have been a perfect match. If she’d been born a farm girl, marrying a footman would have been a huge improvement for her life.
“Well, it is hard to imagine,” Caroline replied, knowing it was the right thing to say.
They talked for a time, of other matches that could be made tonight between the young ladies and the gentlemen. Caroline found that it was fun to play matchmaker. But as she and Miss Tera looked about the room and made romantic guesses, all she wanted to do was look at William and wish for the opportunity to be with him. She’d happily accept his offer of marriage and they’d be together forever. If only it were that simple.
After a time, the men returned to the drawing room. The ball room would have no doubt been prepared at the present time. Dread filled Caroline as the gentlemen returned, because she knew that soon she’d be portioned to dance and that it would be terribly rude if she did deny any one person. With three sets planned for the evening, she knew that the night was only just beginning.
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There is nothing sweeter and more passionate than youthful love. But when Caroline’s father discovers that she has fallen in love with a footman, he will forbid them from seeing each other ever again. When her plan to run away fails miserably, she’s left with nothing. But being a rather young and rebellious woman, she doesn’t want to compromise with what is socially expected of her. When her childhood love finally returns, will she defy her father’s will and make her own path following her heart?
Years ago, William had no other option than to leave Caroline forever, being intimidated by Lord Canton. When he comes back home, regretful for his action but, at the same time, wealthy and with a great reputation, he is ready to propose and revive their flaming childhood love. Surprisingly enough, even after so many years, the tantalizing passion between them is still undeniable. But there’s another man in her life now, Charles, who’s willing to fight for her heart. Will the whims of fate ever allow him to spend his life with the love of his life, or is he doomed to long for her forever?
Caroline and Wiliam must overcome bitter lies and vengeful actions that ruined their passionate youthful affair. As they come closer together, Caroline will have to decide between the scandalous act of breaking off her engagement with Lord Canton or accepting her fate. But the undeniable desire between them is stronger than they could ever imagine. Can an affair from the past turn into a strong and passionate love that will last forever?
“A Lady’s Passion Knows No Distance” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.