Hearts Adrift – Part Eighteen

Chapter Eighteen   “Thank you, Mr Waldham,” Richard de Briers said to his steward. “That will conclude our meeting for today. I trust you will inform me when the works will start on the northwest meadows. We need to drain them as soon as possible before the autumn rains start.” “Certainly, sir; you may depend on me,” the short, middle-aged steward replied. He bowed and left Richard’s library carrying the ledgers they had been studying together. Richard rose and went to stand at the window overlooking the vast lawn in front of the house. It was his favourite spot, when … Read more

Hearts Adrift – Part Fifteen

Chapter Fifteen   When the cotillion ended, Richard led Blanche to a seat. He then bid her leave to go and see to his many other guests, whom he had been neglecting somewhat. She graciously released him and turned to a girl whom she knew from childhood but had not seen since. Richard hastened after his niece – he had forgotten all else, after he noticed the paleness of her face when she left the dance floor. But where was Manon? Standing in the doorway to the entrance hall, he scanned the crowd gathered there, which was easy because of … Read more

Hearts Adrift – Part Fourteen

Chapter Fourteen   On the first Thursday of July, a sumptuous ball was given by Richard de Briers, Baronet Bearsham, in his townhouse, to present his niece, Miss Manon Favier to the Brighton society. Standing near the large, high ballroom windows, Richard was watching the line of dancers that occupied the floor in an intricate country dance. All the dancers were part of Brighton’s ton, and the coastal town’s society was rapidly increasing, due to the Prince Regent’s presence. There was, of course, his best friend, Lucian Blackthorne, Viscount Rossiter, who was at present leading Manon between the lines. There … Read more

Hearts Adrift – Part Thirteen

Chapter Thirteen   Manon followed her uncle downstairs to the large library, where a cluster of comfortable chairs was gathered around a low table. He gestured towards one of the chairs and turned to Pritchard, who had opened the door for them. “Bring us some coffee, Pritchard.” “Very well, sir.” The butler bowed and went off. “Why is he addressing you thus? Are you not a nobleman? Should he not call you ‘my lord’, instead?” Manon asked, drawing her brows together over a question that had been on her mind for several days. Richard smiled and shook his head. “I … Read more

Hearts Adrift – Part Twelve

Chapter Twelve   The ride to Brighton was to take six hours, necessitating a stop in Hastings for luncheon. The Saxon and Norman Inn, near Hastings Castle, served a decent shepherd’s pie and boasted an appreciable amber-coloured ale by the name of “Coxcomb”. Lucian Blackthorne, Viscount Rossiter requested the private parlour for his party. During the meal, Richard kept himself in the background, responding only when a direct question was addressed to him, glad that his friend Lucian was not drawing him into the conversation. Lucian started lecturing about the famous Battle of Hastings in 1066 and the subsequent conquering … Read more

Hearts Adrift – Part Eleven

Chapter Eleven   Manon woke when Bessy knocked and entered the room with a tray of tea and toast. “Sir Lucian’s compliments, miss; and would you join the gentlemen in the breakfast room when you are dressed?” the girl said in a cheerful voice. “Thank you, Bessy,” Manon answered, glancing surreptitiously around the room. She was lying naked under her covers, and she was terrified the maid would find out. He was not here. Understanding why did nothing to dampen down the wave of burning grief that washed over her as disappointment struck. He had left her after he lifted … Read more

Hearts Adrift – Part Ten

Chapter Ten   Manon’s proposition made perfect sense. Richard’s logical mind acknowledged Manon’s words, and his foolish heart welcomed them, of course. It was true that he loved her, and he knew beyond all doubt that she loved him back. Despite the fact that he knew they could never be husband and wife, Richard was overwhelmed by true, unmitigated happiness, because his Manon loved him. His Manon? Yes, it was the undeniable truth. She was Lily’s daughter, and Lily had been the light of his life. Manon, so like Lily, had come to fill the hole in his heart that … Read more