The Reclusive Aristocrat – Part Twenty-One

Chapter Ten (continued) Rowena had the distinct impression that this wedding day of hers was as unreal as a fairy tale, and each moment, she expected to come awake and discover it had all been a dream. It had all been perfect, for sure. The ceremony of their wedding, the modest presents of the people when they had congratulated her, the small wedding breakfast with some of the people that had come on Christmas Eve, seven days ago. Her husband, the earl, tall and magnificent, who had spoken his vows in a voice that shook the eaves of the church. … Read more

The Reclusive Aristocrat – Part Twenty

Chapter Ten (continued) The luncheon on Christmas Day had gone by in the same enjoyable and amiable atmosphere, with their own staff as guests now. Afterwards, there had been a meeting with Mr Septimus Middlebridge, Alex’ solicitor. Rowena had been surprised by yet another cheerful acknowledgment of her marriage to Alex. Everybody seemed in complete agreement about the fifth earl of Ketteridge uniting himself to a woman of no means. A woman spoiled by another man’s touch, and carrying so blatant a proof of it. “Miss Drake,” Mr Middlebridge had said in a suave voice, “you will be pleased to … Read more

The Reclusive Aristocrat – Part Nineteen

Chapter Ten Ketteridge House, Leicestershire, England, December 24th, 1815   A few days passed in a flurry of activities, which left Rowena no time to reflect upon the hasty marriage she was about to commit to. After the proposal he foisted so unexpectedly on her, Alex, who was becoming more skilled at horse riding once again, had departed to Leicester with Porter. He wanted to secure the license and speak with his solicitor post haste. Rowena and Meg had continued making the preparations, first to compose presents for the tenants, and secondly to arrange the wedding. They worked alongside the … Read more

The Reclusive Aristocrat – Part Eighteen

Chapter Nine (continued) She heard the words as they penetrated the haze of desire. They did not make any sense, surely. It must be her ever-returning search for safety and love that made her fantasize about Alex, wishing he had said the words aloud. She would not let go of him just yet, the warmth of him soothing her nerves, and making her feel so calm. Then he went and broke the enchantment by taking her by the shoulders to put her before him. “Rowena, did you even hear what I said?” Now he was looking straight into her eyes, … Read more

The Reclusive Aristocrat – Part Seventeen

Chapter Nine Ketteridge House, Leicestershire, England, December 20th, 1815   Rowena saw nothing of the earl over the days that followed her disturbing interlude in his chambers. It had left her with a profound feeling of bewilderment, and also, one of profound misery. What had he meant with his flirting? And more importantly, why had he let go of her, so suddenly? Had she displeased him with her obvious dismissal? She had to dismiss his advances, had she not? He could not have meant them as being serious. He was an earl, a member of the nobility, and she a … Read more

The Reclusive Aristocrat – Part Sixteen

Chapter Eight (continued) Ketteridge House, Leicestershire, England, December 14th, 1815 Shortly after luncheon, Alex and Porter rode into the village of Ketteridge. Alex was to visit his friend Richard Orme in his surgery, so that the doctor could examine Alex’ eyes in a more adequate way. The surgery was established in a large Georgian house opposite St Crispin’s Church. Richard had set up house there, instead of at his father’s manor, which was too far away from the village for his patients to seek him out. “Come in, Alex,” Richard said, when the men entered his examining room. “Please, sit … Read more

The Reclusive Aristocrat – Part Fifteen

Chapter Eight Ketteridge House, Leicestershire, England, December 14th, 1815   He had not succeeded in much courting, Alex mused, as he let his blurred gaze move around the breakfast table. Not for the first time did he realise that he could see the people at his table quite more clearly than ever before. John Wallis’ hair was a fading red and still quite abundant. His face looked strong and angular though not very much lined, but as Alex could not discern the colour of John’s eyes, he knew his vision was not sharp enough to make out the finer details. … Read more