The Living and the Dead UK – June 28

 

The series is set in the English countryside in 1888, and centers on Nathan Appleby, a gentleman farmer who is obsessed with proving the existence of the afterlife. Appleby investigates hauntings, paranormal happenings, and ghostly visitations, encouraged by the Society for Psychical Research. Soon his interest in the occult poses a threat to his family, his livelihood and his sanity.

•Colin Morgan plays Nathan Appleby (2016 – present) (6Eps.)
•Charlotte Spencer plays Charlotte Appleby (2016 – present) (6Eps.)

01 01×01 28/Jun/2016 Episode 1
02 01×02 05/Jul/2016 Episode 2
03 01×03 12/Jul/2016 Episode 3
04 01×04 19/Jul/2016 Episode 4
05 01×05 26/Jul/2016 Episode 5
06 01×06 02/Aug/2016 Episode 6

1 :01×02 – Episode 2
Jun/28/2016
It is Somerset 1894 and after a pioneering Victorian psychologist brings his vivacious young wife to live on his family’s estate, he is confronted by one disturbing case after another.
2 :01×02 – Episode 2
Jul/05/2016

After a young boy is disturbed by some terrifying visions, Nathan attempts to do everything he can to protect him. Nathan has been having visions of this own though and he could be on the edge of madness.
3 :01×03 – Episode 3
Jul/12/2016
The farm and its future are under threat and Nathan and Charlotte attempt to save their crops and expose the dark secrets of a disturbed young man before he can do even more damage.

John Thornton’s Unfolding Dream – 32

Chapter 20

Warning: Rated R

Unfolding Dream scrollJohn insisted that Margaret stay on the cot, and he would see to each of their personal washings. Margaret enjoyed seeing John walk back and forth. She studied his tall, lean body with all his chest muscles heavily defined under his nice light body hair. She remembered how lying against his naked chest hair, tickled her nose. He had a nice round-dimpled buttocks. She wondered if he knew that. Moreover, of course, the feast for the eyes was the thin dark line of hair that ran from his navel to that patch of curly black hair unsuccessfully hiding his endearing manhood. Having to live with breasts was difficult enough, but she could not imagine having to live with all that . . . that . . . God’s gift to womanhood and preservation of the species. She still thought it all looked complicated. She did not have anything that changed sizes like he did . . . and just how did that come about. She only seemed to see the long and the short of it and wondered what happened in between while she was being kissed passionately.

“Margaret . . . Margaret, soon you can see me naked all you want, but I think you’d better stop staring and put your underclothes on,” John laughed.

Oh dear heavens, he caught her looking. Margaret’s face turned crimson, and she put her hands over her face not believing that happened. She must have been staring and deep in thought.

“Do I pass muster, Miss Hale?” John asked, still laughing at Margaret’s embarrassment.

“I am sorry. I wasn’t looking. I was deep in thought, and you turned my way, I think,” Margaret lied.

Almost in hysterics now, John said, “Yes, I noticed how your eyes followed me. I actually took steps in both directions to see what you were looking at. I love you, my naive, passionate woman.”

“I do not want to talk about it,” Margaret said, turning and hiding her face in the pillow.

John sat on the cot edge and rolled her over trying to assuage the shame she seemed to have developed. “Margaret, your reaction is completely normal. Women are rarely exposed to the male anatomy. It’s only natural what you do, and I love you doing it. You will understand when I do the same, will you not?”

“Yes, but you’re experienced!” Margaret said with a half pout. I think I must look like every other woman you have been with. I can bring you nothing special.”

John grabbed her and pulled her face to his as tightly as he could and still breathe. A very long sensuous kiss ensued. “Margaret, you bring me everything, do you not understand that? You bring me much more than I have a right to hope for. You give your perfect and beautiful body to me. You give me your passion and your desire for me. And you give me your love. And what you give, I want. I want it badly. I want it forever. Do not ever . . . ever think that somewhere some other woman may be lurking in my mind or that I compare you to others. There is nothing more I could want in life, except for you at my side. I would love to have children from you if God sees a way to grant us that, but you are the jewel in my crown. You sustain me! Can you not see that?” John asked, frowning into her eyes and almost shaking her shoulders – willing her to feel his near painful love for her. “I am sorry. I was carried away. Just do not ever say that you do not bring anything special to me, again. If you only knew!” John walked to the fire, and pulled their undergarments off the rope and handed Margaret hers.

She could tell that she had injured him deeply with that comment. For the first time ever, he looked upset. She could only hope to match the love for him that he had for her. How was one to judge? She loved him with her entire being. There was nothing about him that she desired that he do or do differently. He wanted her. He pleasured her beyond belief. He was gentle and caring. He was perfect. Margaret hoped one day that she could make him understand the depth of her feelings as he seemed easily moved to say. The one unhappy thought that was starting to rear its ugly head was the fact that if she gave John her entire being, be everything she could be for him – would it be enough? Was she his vision?

Margaret sat quietly looking out to the sea, after donning her garments, wondering how she would disappoint Kindle. He had started out the way that John had – just as loving and kind and a gentleman to the core. She was confused because twice John had referred to the fact that she did not know all there was about Kindle and Margaret felt John feared that. Did John fear for her or for himself? Both, she imagined. Margaret had noticed that he seemed to be from wealth, and that was all that she thought could bother John. He presumably was not anywhere near Kindle’s level of wealth and Kindle seemed very powerful in whatever military role he held. Margaret needed to allay John’s fears that wealth and position meant nothing to her. She wanted a warm home with real people around, as she had that night at his home for dinner. If everyone in Milton was like John, Nicholas and his wife, and Megan and her husband that was all she needed or desired.

“Margaret, again, I am sorry. Are you thinking about my outburst? You seem far away.” John asked feeling guilty of his insistence that she understand how much he loved her.

“John, a woman could not be more honored with the words you spoke from your heart. I have never felt so alive. I want to always be there when you reach for me. You have totally changed my life. Everything has moved along remarkably fast. A month ago, I was a young lady looking for adventure and romance, eager to spread my wings. Today, I am a woman in the throes of the deepest feelings, passion, lust, desire and, yes, love. I do not know myself anymore. Where have I gone? When will I touch ground? Who am I now? I look back at myself and see a fresh face just out of finishing school, draped in pretty clothes, dancing with all the men at the balls . . . and I loved that. But I love you more.” Margaret stood and started pacing, finally standing in front of the window looking at the sun rising over the ocean’s horizon. “I guess I was mulling over what my life will be like in the coming weeks and months, especially with you so far away. I am not afraid; do not misunderstand. I am going to be encumbered emotionally until everything is resolved in my mind. Above all, I need to be honest with everyone, especially myself. I know these words much crush you as they do me. If I hadn’t told you and Kindle at the beginning that I would be equally honest with both of you and try to know you both better, I would go home with you right now. I must see this through.”

John could hardly believe what he was hearing. It was a severe blow to his confidence of the outcome, which had slithered in unawares. It was his own fault that as time went on he completely lost track of the fact of her very first words. He strolled over to her at the window. Standing at her back watching the waves crest on shore, with his chin on her head, arms wrapped around her, he spoke his most difficult words he would ever say to her.

“As much as I want to steal you away from what is to come, it would be wrong. Wrong for you. Yes, you were very honest and straightforward about both Brampton and myself. Maybe it was the nature of the visions, maybe the folklore book that said my visions meant we were a mated pair for life but whatever reason, I, John Thornton fell in love with one Margaret Hale. Always feeling the short time I had with you, I pressed my suit much faster than a gentleman should. When we part soon, and you return to London, I want you to have full knowledge of my deepest love for you and to know the passion that we can share for a lifetime. I have asked you to marry me and asked that you not make a decision yet. I wish I did not understand, but I do. No matter what you decide, you will always be the only woman in my life. I will never search for another. I will not settle for anyone else. With all that said and with the love I have for you, you are the one whose happiness means the most, even if it is not with me. Please know that should you prefer Mr. Brampton, I will not do anything rash. I will live on. My work will become my first love, again. In the event you find yourself with our child, please come back to me. Nevertheless, I will see you right if you choose not to and Kindle is agreeable to raising another man’s child. And just so you know, since I love you more than life itself, I would love to have another one of you. I would love to have our daughter first.”

John turned her around and kissed her gently, and Margaret threw her arms around his neck and unexpectedly slid her tongue into his mouth exploring his sweetness. While holding him, she walked backward, beckoning him back to the cot. John stopped and lifted her into his arms and softly rested her on the small bed.

“John, I want to feel forever. That deep feminine part of me yearns for your strength and lust.”

John could not disrobe his and her few items fast enough.

When he felt the pulse of her release nearing and watched her body bow up to him, he gazed directly into her beautiful blue eyes before she closed them. He watched as she ran her fingers through his hair and slid her heels against his back as she cried out his name. Nothing in the world was more beautiful than Margaret in the throes of her release. This was a memory he would carry his whole life. Hearing her call for him, hearing his name on her lips at the precipice of their climax were sweetest words she had ever spoken. John spilled his life into her. He had shared with her all he could. Would it be enough?

Hearts Adrift – Part Twenty-Four

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Chapter Twenty-Four

 

Manon carefully retracted the sheet just a few inches. Richard was lying on his back, and now she would be able to examine his ribcage more thoroughly for broken bones. Her skilful hands gently probed, looking for damage. As she had already assumed, there were no real fractures. Because Richard’s ribs had sustained considerable bruising, she decided to apply a firm bandage. He would have to keep himself immobile for at least a week.

But first and foremost, Manon wanted her uncle to be properly groomed, so she asked Bright to perform this task, and then retreated from the table. When the valet was finished, Manon covered Richard’s badly bruised chest with the poultice Mrs Briskley brought up from the kitchen. She tried to cover as much surface as she could, which was no easy task, given the broad expanse of Richard’s manly chest. With the help of the two footmen, who carefully lifted the master from the table surface, Bright and Manon applied a sturdy bandage around Richard’s torso.

Meanwhile, the maids and Thornton had replaced the soiled mattress and sheets with clean ones. The patient had not been washed for the entire time he had been in bed. Three whole days without proper care; it was unfathomable.

Richard stirred when Tobias and Zackary lifted him from the table and laid him onto his bed. He groaned when his body touched the mattress. Manon was instantly at his side, eager to hear a word from his lips.

Mrs Briskley dabbed her eyes in sudden emotion. “My word, Miss Manon! This is the first time in two days that the master has given a sign of life. We feared he would remain in a coma and never wake up again.”

Manon put a hand to her uncle’s cheek, gently caressing it.

“Be still, Uncle. I have tended to your injuries, and you will recover, provided that you keep to your bed for the next few days.”

“Manon…”

Richard’s voice was hoarse and his eyes sought hers. She could not keep herself from running the back of her hand over his cheek. Pain contorted his features, causing Manon’s heart to ache with compassion.

“Shhh…” was all she could utter, tears in her eyes.

He nodded, then breathed, “So you have come, my precious?” He closed his eyes, and she knew he trusted her with his life.

She was calm again, Manon knew. She was a healer and she had managed to make her uncle come awake.

“I will give you a drink that will make you sleep,” Manon said, feeling his brow with the back of her hand. “You do not seem overly feverish yet, but that could change later. It is vital that you do not move your body, if possible. You must also not refrain from breathing in a normal, deep way, Uncle. I know it hurts to breathe, but nevertheless, you must endeavour to do it properly.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” Richard murmured, but his voice was weakening, so Manon quickly administered him the drink. It was made from an extract of the seedpods of “sleeping poppies”, or Papaver Somniferum, which Manon’s father used to brew in his apothecary shop. Papa had done many experiments to obtain the right dose of poppy extract that would ensure the potion was effective but not lethal. Papa used to mix it with alcohol and sweeten it with honey so that the potion would be pleasant to swallow. Manon had the recipe yet had never concocted the brew on her own, so she was glad that she had managed to stuff Papa’s supply in her medicine bag. The plunderers in Paris had not found Papa’s medicines, stashed in a hidden niche in the cellar.

Richard was asleep almost instantly. Manon turned to the staff and gave orders to clean everything away.

“Pru, would you sit with Sir Richard for a couple of hours?” Manon asked, and of course, Pru agreed.

“What do you want me to do, Manon?”

“I need you to watch him, that is all. If his fever starts to rise, you must call me. Try to prevent him from moving abruptly. If he wakes, he will attempt to change position. You must help him to do that carefully and slowly so that he does not damage his body any further.”

“Understood,” Pru said in a firm tone and took up a seat near the bed.

Manon consulted the little ormolu clock on Richard’s nightstand. It read nine in the evening. How long this day had been, Manon mused, and she realised it could have been the day when she had lost her uncle as a result of his injuries. She could still lose him, she knew, if he developed a fever. It could only be hoped that he was strong enough to overcome his injuries.

“Mrs Briskley, could you take Miss Butterworth’s place at eleven o’ clock? I will go to my brother now as I promised him that I would.”

“I will come,” Mrs Briskley promised, looking at Manon with sudden tears in her eyes. “Miss Manon, thank you for tending to the master. We were all worried about his health, and…”

Manon squeezed the woman’s hand in comfort.

“It was a labour of love, Mrs Briskley. I want my uncle to fully recover and as soon as possible.”

 

Their exchange was interrupted by the door to the room being thrown open so vehemently that it banged against the wall. Her Ladyship the Dowager Baronetess of Bearsham strode into the room, taking in the mess not yet cleared away by the maids. All movement stopped, except for the curtsies of the women. Every single occupant in the room seemed to be waiting for a blow to fall. Were they all afraid of this tall, dark-haired woman? That was what Manon asked herself. Or were they merely reassessing their strategy for dealing with her? To be prepared for whatever whim this woman would choose to display? Manon squared her shoulders as if preparing for battle. It certainly felt like that to her.

Mildred de Briers’ vivid blue gaze travelled over Manon, whose white apron was stained with the marks of her nursing actions and whose bright red locks were coming down from their pins. Manon was acutely aware of her dishevelment, and uncomfortable with it, but she stood and curtsied to the dowager with what she hoped was a respectful attitude.

“You must be the French niece,” the dowager said, in a stern voice devoid of all warmth.

“I am, indeed, my lady. My name is Manon Favier.”

“As you can see, my son is indisposed. I suggest that you return to the Brighton townhouse and return when he is better.”

Manon swallowed a snappish reply. Animosity radiated from the dowager like a wave, and Manon had to fight to maintain her composure. This woman, she realized, was haughty, and strove to fulfil her every whim, even if others were hurt in the process.

“It was agreed between my uncle and me that I should visit his ancestral home, this month,” Manon replied. “I found my uncle ill and uncared for. The ministrations ordered by the physician were not what I would desire for the injuries my uncle suffered. My medical training came to proper use in tending to them. My uncle is asleep now, so I would suggest that we continue this conversation elsewhere.”

With that, she swept out of the room, leaving the dowager to follow.

 

Mildred de Briers felt rage well up in her throat like bile. The mortification of being set down by this chit in front of the servants was unbearable. She rushed after Manon, who had reached the corridor and was now walking to the staircase. Mrs Briskley hastily closed the bedchamber door to avoid her master being woken by the eventual raucousness.

“Miss Favier!”the dowager barked after Manon, her fury rising even more when she saw that Manon was descending the stairs as if she were purposely not listening to her. Even now, the impertinent girl did not stop and turn. To the right of the hall, Mildred saw Jeremy coming out of the drawing room. He intercepted Manon at the bottom of the stairs and addressed her.

“Miss Favier, please. Would you be so kind as to step into this room? Her Ladyship and I would like to speak with you.”

“Certainly, my lord,” Manon answered, a smile on her lips. “I hope you will forgive me my dishevelled attire. I have been tending to my uncle’s injuries.”

The viscount’s eyes widened with surprise, and something else that strongly resembled admiration. His mouth curved in a smile while he shook his head.

“A doctor was summoned to take care of that. Surely, it is not your task to do so. You are Sir Richard’s niece.”

“Forgive me if I disagree, my lord. I am a trained apothecary and I tended to the sick and wounded, back in Paris, where I grew up.”

“You don’t say,” the viscount marvelled in a flippant voice, but his gaze travelled towards the dowager as if to challenge her.

All three of them entered the drawing room. The dowager lowered herself onto a sofa, gesturing toward a seat opposite from her and at the other side of the low table. Manon sat down as primly as she could do so given her less-than-prim attire.

“What exactly did you say you did to my son, niece?” the dowager asked, and for an instant, Manon was of the opinion that she was not talking about the physical aspect of the matter. She quickly dismissed the thought – the dowager could not possibly know about the mutual attraction between Manon and her uncle.

“I have made certain, my lady, that he keeps immobile,” Manon answered politely. “It appears that the doctor failed to do that. I find that unthinkable, since my uncle is suffering from several bruised ribs. You should seek someone better experienced in the future. My uncle had a rather severe fall, which in turn resulted in a serious concussion. A week of absolute rest will cure that, so I will ensure that my uncle shall be properly cared for. ”

Again and clearly, there was an exchange of glances between the dowager and the viscount. There was a bond between them, Manon realised, a strong bond. Were they perhaps lovers?

She stood and said in a determined voice, “The evening has come, my lady, and it has been a long day. I would like to change my clothes, have a bite of supper, and speak with my brother. Could arrangements be made for my companion, Miss Butterworth? I have also brought my maid, because I had no notion of how long we would stay at Bearsham Manor. It depends on how quickly my uncle recovers. Goodnight, my lady.”

Manon had almost reached the door when the dowager’s voice sounded again.

“So my son will recover, then?”