Mr Thornton Takes a Wife – Part Four

Chapter 4 – Gathering Clouds

John was horrified at holding Margaret in his arms, injured, bleeding, just like it had been on the day of the riots. His hand was trembling as he reached for her slender wrist. Thank God, he could feel her racing heartbeat and knew she lived. Carefully, he lifted her into his arms and carried her down the deserted street. Fortunately a hansom cab pulled up near the curb and its driver, recognizing him, stopped and jumped down from the driver’s seat.

“Lord! Mr. Thornton, is that you? Can I be of assistance, sir?”

“Yes, help me get this lady to my house! Quickly, man!”

At his house John carried his still unconscious betrothed inside, calling for his  mother. Hannah, immediately on her feet, directed him to one of the guest rooms, and John gently laid Margaret onto the bed.

“Mother, she’s still unconscious! It was a severe blow, she’s been hit by a piece of stone. Mother, she shoved me out of the way and now … Lord! What am I to do? She …”

“John!” Hannah said in her usual, commanding voice, which managed to snap John out of his panic. “Send for Dr. Donaldson. I will care for her. Please, John, be calm, compose yourself.’

“John …”Margaret’s feeble voice made him hurry by her side.

“Hush, sweet love, do not move.” His breath got stuck in his throat as John traced a trembling finger along Margaret’s alabaster cheek.

Hannah, who stood watching near the door, saw Margaret’s hand come up and caress John’s face in an almost reverent manner. In Hannah’s chest, something moved, and once again she saw how deep Margaret’s love for John was.

“I don’t need a doctor, my love,” Margaret said. “A little rest will do me fine.”

“Maybe,” John said hoarsely, “but I’m calling for Dr Donaldson all the same. That’s a nasty wound, sweetheart. Now, you must lie still, darling, whilst we wait for the doctor .”

He brushed her lips with his and stepped back, so that Hannah could clean away the blood from Margaret’s lovely face.


That done, they left Margaret to her rest and returned to the parlour.

“Mother,” John said, his voice still not returned to normal, “she has to stay here, she can’t go to Fanny. I’m not letting her out of my sight after what happened tonight. I can’t shake the feeling that there was something weird about that incident.”

“Yes, “ Hannah replied, “you’re right, she mustn’t go to Fanny’s. But I’m not sure about your assumption of some misdoing, we’ll have to look deeper into the matter. Don’t worry about the tittle-tattle, John, nobody will raise the propriety issue when they know I’m to be her chaperone.”

John smiled and took his mother into his arms. Hannah savoured the moment for a while and then briskly pulled herself free.

“Now”, she said, “what exactly happened out there? Tell me everything.”

John let himself down on the settee and rubbed a hand over his face before telling the story. He was far too pale, thought Hannah, he looked drained as if he hadn’t slept for days. Just telling the story seemed to drain him even more of his energy.

She was relieved when Jane announced the arrival of Dr Donaldson. As she left to greet the doctor, Hannah saw John leaning against the settee’s back in a gesture of pure exhaustion. It pulled at the very strings of her heart.

After the doctor had left, Hannah told her son that there was no cause for concern. Margaret’s wound was only a minor one, a graze. The doctor had given her some laudanum to make her sleep.

The sound of the doorbell suddenly startled them both and a few moments later Jane entered.

“Mrs Thornton, ma’am, here’s Mr Latimer and Miss Latimer to see you.”

Hannah rose to shake hands with the banker and his daughter. John did the same.

“Thornton, Mrs Thornton. I hope we are not causing any inconvenience by visiting at this advanced hour. My daughter and I wanted to be the first in offering our sincere congratulations, Thornton, as I understand that you are to be married?”

“Thank you,” John replied, although he was puzzled as to how the banker already knew this.

Ann Latimer, looking very smart in a dove grey pelisse over a dark blue skirt, offered her small hand to John and curtsied while she looked straight into his face with big brown doe eyes.

“Congratulations, Mr Thornton, on your upcoming marriage. If I may be so bold, I’d like to ask if Miss Hale would consider me as one of her bridesmaids? I know she hasn’t any family in Milton and I would be honoured to help.”

“Thank you, Miss Ann, that is very good of you. I’ll ask Margaret to consider your kind offer.”

She gave him a shy little smile, and John thought it extremely sweet of her to offer assistance to his beloved Margaret.

“Now, Thornton, I’d like a word with you in private if that is possible?” Latimer asked.

Wondering about what private matters the banker could possibly have to discuss with him, John showed him into his study. When they were seated, Latimer cleared his throat.

“Thornton, what’s this rumour about you starting up the Mill again?”

“It is more than a rumour,” John answered, unable to conceal the pride in his voice. “I’m absolutely determined to make the machines work again on Monday next week.”

“Have you found new funds then? It will take quite a lot of money to be manufacturing again.”

“I don’t know if this is any of your business, Latimer,” John said, a ring of anger in his voice and a steel glint in his eyes.

“Well, I’m sure I meant no offence, Thornton,’” Latimer replied in a conciliatory tone, “but would you allow me to offer my services, should you be in need of them? After all, we did conduct some fair business in the past, did we not?”

John was now livid. He had been forced to look for another banker recently, because this man had so much as thrown him out of his offices when Marlborough Mills went bankrupt. The cheek to be asking for his business again.

“Mr. Latimer,” he bit off in a voice that could have frozen lava, “should I be in need of your services, I will inform you. For now all my needs have been met with. I bid you good day, sir, my time is precious!”

He preceded Latimer into the parlour where the man collected his startled daughter, and the two of them were shown out by Jane.

“Mother”, mused John, “I wonder what those two were up to. She wants to be Margaret’s bridesmaid and he wants to be my banker again!”

No, he was not entirely sure as to what the real purpose of this visit had been.





Mr Thornton Takes a Wife – Part Three

Chapter 3 – Renewing old acquaintances

Meanwhile at the Thornton house, a much needed cup of tea had been served.

Now that his mind was at rest about his mother’s attitude towards Margaret, John raised an important issue.

“You cannot stay in this house, Margaret. I’m sure, Mother, that you agree with me in this?”

Hannah nodded, her stern face more concerned than Margaret had ever known.

“Yes, Margaret, John is right. It would not do for you to stay in John’s house while the two of you are still unmarried. You also have no relatives in Milton. Perhaps it would be a good idea to stay in a hotel until the wedding?”

“No!” John exclaimed. “No, mother, it would be far better if Margaret could stay with the Watsons until our wedding day. That way all proprieties are met with.”

Margaret said nothing to that although she was sure Fanny Watson would not welcome her wholeheartedly into her home. She had never been able to build up a friendship with the flighty Fanny, who did nothing to hide her dislike of Margaret. John was right, though, and it warmed her heart that he was taking such good care of her.

The two of them set off for Fanny’s house which was located at the outskirts of Milton in a new and pleasant residential area. Fanny Watson received them in her parlour. Margaret noticed that the walls were covered in light shaded papers which made the room pleasant and cosy.

”So, John”, Fanny all but smirked. “What brings you here? I didn’t know you were back from your trip. And Miss Hale, accompanying you, no less! Why are you in Milton when you have the good fortune of living in London, unlike some of us?”

John eyed his sister in a way that betrayed his irritation on her sneering tone of voice. Yet, he kept his own voice unruffled and cool.

“Miss Hale has agreed to become my wife, Fanny. We’re hoping to be wed in a fortnight and Margaret cannot properly stay that long in our house without being married to me. That is why I wanted to ask you if she could stay here for the duration of our betrothal.”

Immediately, Margaret, on seeing Fanny’s face, understood that she’d already known about her brother’s wedding. Yet, Fanny’s words belied that impression.

“Oh, my goodness! Well, this is a surprise, I’m sure. Congratulations, Miss Hale, you’ve achieved what you wished for since the first day you came to Milton! Mama always said you’d set your cap for John.”

This time John couldn’t contain himself. “Fanny, have you no shame! Apologize to Miss Hale at once. I will not tolerate any rudeness towards my future wife.”

He emphasised his words by drawing Margaret close, an act that caused Fanny to gasp with surprise.

Margaret ‘s heart surged with joy at John’s affectionate embrace and she suddenly felt extremely happy. It dawned to her that John must love her fervently to show his feelings so openly for Fanny to see. That realization made her feel warm and a bit confused at what she was feeling. Never had she experienced this.

John’s sister finally agreed to take Margaret in, and the couple left to run their other, most urgent errands.


They visited the town hall next and asked for a marriage license to be issued. Any marriage had to be officially announced for two weeks before it could be sealed. Next they went to the chapel where the Thornton family usually attended mass and asked the vicar to publish the banns for their wedding on Saturday three weeks from then.

From there they headed for the office of Mr. Matthew Fairbanks, John’s solicitor.

Margaret had decided that the half of her money was to be reserved for the restart of Marlborough Mills. John was impatient to get the factory operative again so that as less time as possible was wasted. Too many families depended upon the successful running of the Mill.

A marriage contract was also drawn up, stipulating that Margaret would still be in control of the other half of her fortune after their marriage. This was a very unusual stipulation, for a husband took automatic and legal control of his wife’s money as soon as the marriage was celebrated.

Nevertheless, John wished it so because there was still the possibility of the Mill going bankrupt again and then Margaret’s money would have vanished. Margaret was grateful for her betrothal’s good sense and deep affection towards her.

Dusk had settled in when they left the solicitor’s office and set out for their last visit of the day, the Higgins’s house. Nicholas and his daughter Mary were overjoyed and very surprised to see them. They were stunned when they heard about the impending marriage.

“Oh Miss!’ Mary exclaimed. “I am so happy for you! Marrying Mr. Thornton, it is like a dream come true!”

“Mary, please, call me Margaret. After all this time surely we’ve become friends, haven’t we? I have several plans for social improvement I want to carry out and I hope you’ll help me with them?”

“Yes, of course, Margaret. Tell me what you want me to do and I’ll be ready for it.”

Then, however, Margaret was being taken into Nicholas’s huge embrace.

“Margaret, dear Margaret, I’m so happy that you’ve come back to Milton and to stay also. That is very good news, indeed.”

He released her and, with a mischievous smile on his rugged face, stated. “Mind you, you’re going to have a though job with this fellow here. He’s as hard as they come, although his bark is worse than his bite”’

John burst out laughing so suddenly and so full of mirth that Margaret once again felt a surge of sheer happiness. It was such a rare thing to see John laughing so spontaneously. God knew he’d had his share of misfortune in life. She made herself a solemn vow, then and there to try and make her John happy for the rest of his life.

The two men agreed on seeing each other the next day to begin with the preparations for the Mill’s upstart.

John and Margaret left and started to climb the steep alley from where Nicholas’s house sat towards the broader street at the top. It was now completely dark, and they had to feel their way for there were no street lights in these poor areas of town. As they emerged from the alley, a noise caused Margaret to look upwards. Her heart stopped! A huge piece of stone came crashing down and it was all she could do to push John out of its way. For Margaret, it was too late … some smaller piece grazed her head.

John, who had been thrown onto the pavement, scrambled on hands and knees to his beloved Margaret.

“Margaret! Oh God! Margaret, talk to me, please! Love, sweet love, please, say something!”

Margaret, however, lay still and without response in his trembling embrace, bleeding from a gash at the side of her head.




Mr Thornton Takes a Wife – Part Two

Chapter Two – You Do Not Seem Worthy to Me

“Mother!” choked John, his voice giving way with shock.

Margaret witnessed the acute distress on John’s pale face and felt deeply sorry for him. It was imperative for their future relationship’s sake that she and Mrs. Thornton would go on well together.  John needed a home where he could be at ease after the long day’s work at the factory.

Hence she stepped forward and took Mrs. Thornton’s hands in hers.

Hannah startled but did not pull away as she was all too aware of her son’s avid gaze on her.

“Mrs. Thornton,” Margaret pleaded, in a soft subdued voice, “I know I am not the woman you had in mind for John, but I’m asking you for your blessing upon our union. I have long befooled myself in my feelings for him but now I cannot deny any longer that I love him dearly, Mrs. Thornton. I love him with all my heart, and he loves me. Please, Mrs. Thornton, allow me to be your ally in making John happy as he fully deserves after all he has been through.”

Something shifted in Hannah’s heart and mind. Suddenly she realized that Margaret had spoken the truth.  Margaret deeply loved her beloved son, it was in her eyes.  Hannah looked at John and saw the sorrow on his face. No, she thought, she would not add another one to it. She looked Miss Hale straight into the face and spoke quietly.

“I promised your dying mother I would guide you, although it was against my nature to do so. You did not take it lightly, when I tried to warn you about your conduct at the train station.”

Margaret couldn’t help herself and vehemently reacted. “I have apologized to you for that!”

“Yes, you have!” Hannah continued in a more friendly voice. “However, the fact is that we do not go on well together and never have. We are too similar in character and temperament. But, Margaret, for John’s sake we will join forces and get to know each other better. You have my blessing, child, make my son happy, that is all I wish for.”

John gasped with relief. He gathered both Margaret and his mother into his arms, embarrassing them but then, he didn’t care, he was too happy.



Fanny Watson’s fury exploded in that one word, frightening Jane by the vehemence of it.

Jane had left the Thornton’s house after she heard what had been said in the parlour. She hurried to Miss Fanny’s house as quickly as she could to inform her of Mr. Thornton’s impending marriage to Miss Hale.

“Yes, Miss Fanny, it is true! I’ve heard it all, and your Mama has given her blessing to their union.”

Fanny gave an unladylike snort.

“Ha! She would, wouldn’t she? She always preferred John over me and she condones everything he ever does!”

Her cornflower blue eyes narrowed while she was playing with the big diamond ring on her finger, a sure sign that she was brooding over something.

After a while she smiled a wicked little smile and took Jane’s limp hand in hers.

“Jane, you have done well. You must continue as you do now and tell me everything that’s going on in the house. I will reward you well. For now, I want you to do something for me.”

She went to the pretty little French escritoire in the parlour corner and sat down. Swiftly she scribbled down a few lines on a piece of paper, folded and sealed it. She gave it to Jane and said in an urgent voice.

“Take this to the house of Mr. Latimer, the banker, but make sure you give it to Miss Latimer in person. She must give her answer in return and you have to bring it to me right away.”




Mr Thornton Takes a Wife – Part One

Recap before you start reading

At the end of the four-part series, John Thornton and his Margaret have just met in a train station halfway between London and Manchester after a long absence. John and Margaret have kissed, and the long-standing estrangement between them is finally over. They are both heading for Milton where they will marry.






Chapter One – Coming Home With Me

As the train pulled away from the platform, John Thornton sat dreamily watching Margaret.

He still couldn’t believe his luck! Finally they had found each other after all the misery theyhad been through!

“Margaret …” His voice sounded hoarse and unsteady but she turned to him, smiling shyly.

“John,” she whispered. “Oh, John, what will the future bring now? I feel like everything has just been turned upside down.”

He couldn’t help himself but he had to take her in his arms and kiss her. A little too abruptly, it seemed, as he felt he had startled her and was about to let go of her.

Margaret suddenly held on to him and returned his kiss so ardently that John’s heart leapt with pleasure. He had secretly hoped for her to return his own passion but had never expected her to do so with so much vehemence.

“Margaret,” he asked, when they pulled apart, “why have you not informed me of what happened to your brother?” It was a question that had tortured him long enough now.

“You know about Frederic? How?”

“Higgins,” John grinned. “The day I closed the mill, he very casually told me who the gentleman at the station was. Remember I saw you hugging him and – oh my Margaret, I was so envious of that stranger. I longed to know why you were hiding him from me, and Hoggins told me. I daresay he took great pleasure in doing so.”

“Nicholas? Have you two finally formed a more civil relationship then?”

“Margaret, Higgins and I are friends now, I was extremely sorry that I had to turn him down when the mill closed. I’m worried because I don’t think he already found other work.”

Margaret chuckled. “Don’t worry about Nicholas, John, he’ll find whatever he needs, he’s very smart and can put his hands on everything.”

John smiled. She was right, of course. Higgins would find his way. Another worrying thought came up, however.

“We must talk, darling,” he urged. “We have several problems to solve and we must do it right away. You have no family in Milton, and as long as we’re not man and wife, you need lodgings.”

“Can’t I stay in your house, John, after all I will be living there after our marriage?” Margaret felt a sudden warmth rise up at the thought of marrying this extraordinary man. John saw the fine rosy blush infusing her cheeks and gently squeezed her hand.

“No, sweetheart, that would me most improper,” he sighed. “My mother would never allow such a thing.”

Margaret suddenly blanched when she thought of Hannah Thornton and their meeting in the empty hall of the Mill, early that same morning. How Mrs. Thornton had pulled away when Margaret had wanted to comfort her about her fears onJohn’s whereabouts.

“Your mother … oh, John! Your mother hates me. What will she say when she hears of our betrothal?”

John took Margaret’s hands in his and looked straight into her eyes.

“Sweet Margaret of mine, my mother is not an easy person to deal with, I know that, but she is also concerned about me and she knows I could never be happy without you. My mother loves me deeply, Margaret, she will come to love you, too, in time. Don’t tell me you’re afraid of her because I would not believe you. Never you, my intrepid courageous Margaret.”

Margaret raised his hands to her lips and shyly kissed them just as she had done on the platform bench. It sent shivers of pleasure down his spine.

“No,” Margaret replied. “I’m not afraid but I’m not inclined to quarrel with her over you, John. The last thing I want is for you having to choose between me and Mrs. Thornton.”

“It will never come to that,” he said, feeling far less certain than he showed. John Thornton did indeed worry about what his mother would say.

Hannah Thornton had always been too protective over him, and there had been times when he’d been really annoyed about it. John knew very well that his mother had never liked Margaret, yet for his sake, she would try getting on with his bride-to-be. That didn’t mean he foresaw no skirmishes between them, as they both were strong-willed women.

So, when they alighted from the hansom cab, that brought them from Outward Milton Station to Marlborough Mills, John braced himself for what was to come. When they entered the Mill yard, they both looked up to the parlour window. Hannah’s tall thin frame in black bombazine was standing behind the window pane. Motionless and rigid, her stern face was staring down at them, and Margaret felt a shiver of apprehension running down her spine.

She was, however, ready to face John’s mother. Her love for John would sustain her.

They entered the house and Jane, the maid, came rushing in to take their coats. The slight fair girl was staring at Margaret with open mouth.

“M… Miss Margaret! What … did Mrs. Thornton know you were coming?”

John frowned at her impertinent tone. “Jane, I’m sure that is not your concern. Take our coats and bring us some tea in the parlour immediately,” he barked in a cold, clipped voice.

Jane curtsied, her face flushed with embarrassment. “Yes, Mr. Thornton, sir!” She fled from the hall.

Margaret, too, was embarrassed. She was to be Jane’s employer in a few weeks, it did not bode well if the girl didn’t like her from the start.

They climbed the stairs hand in hand and entered the parlour where Mrs. Thornton was still standing by the window. She spun around to face them, but her dark, smouldering eyes only gazed at Margaret.

“So, Miss Hale, come to take over my son now as you did with his life’s work? I will not allow it, I will not release my son into your greedy Southern hands!”




Mr Thornton Takes a Wife

Once in a while, we are touched by something so deeply that it becomes a constant source of joy.

When we need to have our spirits lift, there it is; we just have to revisit our source, and the joy is back.


The 2004 BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South provides that kind a joy to me. The novel’s plot is brilliant, but Sandy Welsh’s script gives it a contemporary ring so that the characters become even more alive. Brian Percival’s direction is magnificent and gives the viewer a thorough understanding of the nineteenth century workers’ struggle. Martin Phipps’ lovely music touches our hearts.


Of course, the actors’ performances are outstanding. All British actors and actresses just have that je-ne-sais-quoi that makes them so lovable. Yet Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage show us a chemistry that shines through the whole film like a beacon of love and hope.

That is why I want to pay tribute to this wonderfull story by writing my own fan fiction. I hope you will bring you the same joy as it did me.

Thank you for reading me.

Luce Fleming


Margaret Hale, a parson’s daughter, is brought up as a middle-class and well-read young lady in Helstone, Hampshire in the rural South of England. Her father uproots the family and moves to Milton, Lancashire in the North. She is thrown in the middle of the industrial revolution. Everything shocks her; the dirt, the factory smoke, the noise and the gruffness of the people.

John Thornton, owner of Marlborough Mills, fills her with contempt because he is harsh and severe for his workers. Yet, there is also an attraction between the two of them.

Thornton falls in love and proposes marriage, but Margaret rejects him because of his harsh treatment of his workers. Instead she forms friendships amongst the workers and tries to improve their lives by supporting them as much as she can. Especially Betsy Higgins who suffers from a fatal disease, becomes her best friend.

Over time, Margaret will change her opinion of Thornton when his attitude towards the workers changes. But it’s only when he has lost his business to bankruptcy,  that Margaret allows herself to open her heart to him.

The Jane Austen Festival

In England, in splendid Somerset, there is a town of two-thousand years.

An ancient Celtic settlement worshipping the healing spring of the goddess Sulis developed into a Roman camp and town. Aquae Sulis was renowned for its baths built on top of the miraculous spring.

And when the Romans left England, the town was called … Bath.


Romantic novelist Jane Austen stayed in Bath many times. Her novel ‘Persuasion’ is set in the beautiful Georgian town, and although its fame as a fashionable place of meeting was already fading, it was still a very agreeable setting for the country girl Jane Austen was.


Bath worships Jane and her beautiful novels in an annual festival in September, with lectures, readings, guided tours, and more. There is the parade through Bath’s posh streets, the Royal Crescent and the Circus. There are the costumed balls in the exquisite Pump Room in the Roman Baths. Ten days of revering England’s most famous romance writer, author to the most beautiful love story ever written, Pride and Prejudice.

During these ten days, Bath becomes Jane’s town, once again.


We were part of the celebrations in September 2018, my husband and I.

My first thought upon entering the Assembly Rooms for our first country dancing class was that I should have done this earlier, when I was much, much younger. Those energetic dance steps were designed for people not much older than twenty, and I am a senior citizen, so ..

It was, however, tremendous fun.

My husband, bless him, guided me through all the intricate movements. To my surprise, he was very good at memorizing them, whereas I forgot many turns or did the wrong turns. Think of Mr Collins in the 1995 Pride & Prejudice adaptations, and you will know what I mean.


So all Austen lovers should experience this, I think.

If you feel up to it, you have to become a member of the Jane Austen Festival, a friend, for £25 a year.

The rest you will find on the beautiful website.


The Reclusive Aristocrat – Part Sixty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Crestwell Abbey, Cumberland, April 17th, 1816

Rowena laid both of her hands on his beloved face. “Alex, I love you so much. I now know that what I felt for Johnston was not love at all, only infatuation. You are my true and only love, Alex, my strong, handsome husband.”

Alex had only one question. “What can you have seen in me to have you love me, Rowie?”

She had only one answer. “I have seen you, my love. You, the man with the very large heart filled to the brim with love and commitment for everything and everyone that needs his help.”

Rowena swallowed as tenderness threatened to close her throat. “Alex, my love, when you rescued me from a cold and certain death, when I felt your strong arms around me, when I came to rest against your warm, strong chest, I knew I had come home at last. I needed someone to give me back my purpose in life. I was lost and you made me find myself again. But … as I discovered soon enough, you needed rescuing, too. You were lost when you were forced to end your life as a soldier, so lost that you retired here and shut out the world.”

“That is so true, my darling. I lost all hope after Waterloo, but having you here restored my interest in the rest of my life. Thank you for rescuing me, my love.”

“No, Alex, thank God for giving us the chance to rescue each other.”

She threw her arms around him and fiercely kissed him.

And he kissed her back with all his love singing in his heart.  And, of course, exchanging heated kisses was not enough.

Rowena shivered when Alex drew her to her feet, turned her around, and began unbuttoning her gown. Kissing his way down her exposed back, he let his hands glide to her front and lifted the gown away from her. Good Lord! Rowena gasped in anticipation when he skimmed the top of her corset with his thumbs until her nipples were hard inside the stiff material. The blood was pounding in her ears as he started undoing her laces. She arched her back and lifted her arms to permit him to remove her corset. Thrilling sparks were swirling through her breasts and abdomen, all the way down to her core. She felt hot and wet there, pulsing in need for him. A low moan escaped her when he drew her shift over her head, then he scooped her up to lay her on their bed. The only items of clothing that remained were her drawers and stockings. Her drawers were wet with desire, and she put a hand against her core, gasping when a spear of desire ran through her.

Alex heard it and felt a hot, satisfying stab of masculine pride. She wanted him as much as he wanted her, but he was not going to rush things, not now. Positioning himself at the foot of the bed, he stretched out his arms.

“Come, my love. Uncover me, please.” He had used his most throaty voice, and it had not been hard to do that. His wife rose to her knees and came toward him. Slowly, she began unbuttoning his coat, touching her breasts as she did so. Holy Christ, but she had learned a thing or two in their marriage! When his coat was off, she started with his waistcoat, stroking her belly with slow movements, leaving him so aroused he had to draw on his control as best as he could. Minx! Dear, sexy minx …

When Rowena reached for his shirt buttons, she was so thoroughly aroused that she almost hurt down there. It was an immense relief to be able to let her hands roam over his broad chest, smooth velvet over granite. Oh, how splendid he was! Her next task was to free him from his trousers and cradle his engorged manhood. She heard his gasp of pleasure when she took his balls into her hands, massaging and stroking them softly.

“Christ, Rowie … stop or I swear I will come into your hands …”

“Oh, but we cannot permit that, can we, my love?” She retreated to the head of the bed and lay down on her back. “Let us do away with all these interfering items of clothing, my lover”, she purred and began stripping off her drawers.

Alex swallowed as he toed off his shoes, then pulled off his stockings. Rowena was doing the same in a slow, languorous way that brought saliva to his parched mouth. He was naked when she finally spread her legs, exposing herself to him. In seconds, he was on top of her, entering her with one swift thrust. She came immediately and hard, crying out in delight, and he followed her, roaring in extasy, when his seed gushed into her. So far for proceeding slowly, he winced. But oh, how delicious this had been.

Spent and exhausted, Alex turned onto his side, taking Rowena with him. They snuggled spoon-wise under the covers, and he buried his nose into her glorious dark hair. “Rowie, I love you so much … I love you, love you, love you …”

Rowena chuckled and turned toward him, never leaving the cocoon of his arms. “And I love you, Alex. Very, very much.”

She paused, kissed his stubble-strewn chin and sighed. “When I first spoke to you in the library, I was actually relieved that you could not see me. I am sorry, Alex, but there it is. When you offered me your hand because you deemed it unwise that I should stand overlong in my condition, but … do you remember that moment, dearest?”

“Yes,” Alec said hoarsely, “oh, yes. You took my hand, and a jolt of awareness shot up my entire arm. Christ, Rowie, it scared me out of my wits.”

“I had the same experience, my love. I was instantly attracted to you and scolding myself for my silly reaction. I would scold myself many times after until I realized I was in love with you.”

“Oh, and when was that, my beauty?”

“Oh, no, it is your turn now, my lord! I have bared my heart enough to you!”

Her laugh tinkled so happily that Alex felt a distinctive tug at his heart. “I think you know very well when exactly you captured my heart, love.” His voice almost broke as he remembered the moment.

“No,” she whispered, “please, tell me.”

Alex kissed the top of her little pert nose, marvelling that she had to ask. “Do you remember when I asked you if you would allow me to feel you with my fingers?”

A rosy hue flushed her entire face, causing him to be aroused once more. She was so beautiful, so innocent and spontaneous, his dear little wife.

“That was rather clever of me, was it not? Although, at the time, I got what I deserved, my love. I fell deeply in love with the feel of your lovely face. God, Rowie, you do not know how fiercely I wanted to kiss you then and there.”

“So it was love at the first feel, was it?” she whispered, caressing his beloved face with a gentle hand.

“It was …,” he croaked, laying his hand over hers.

They fell silent for a while, just enjoying being together. Being in love with each other.

Then Rowena whispered the words he so longed to hear.

“Let us go home, dearest. To Ketteridge House …”

The End


Dear Reader,

I hope you’ve enjoyed my story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please let me know what you think about Rowena’s and Alex’ story. Post a review on this site or e-mail me on Thank you for reading me.