Christmas Awards 2011

Monday, 28 April 2008

A Pressing Engagement



ISBN 978-0-7090-8386-3

It is June 1790.

A young couple have just been married by a vicar, in the village of Bythorne. A marriage attended only by the vicar and his wife. The ring on the young girls finger is a Talisman ring, which has been in the young man’s family for generations. He promises her a gold ring soon but she smiles and tells him that this ring will be all she will ever want and together they set forth on their journey to a new life, unbeknown to either of their families. We hear no more of this young couple for many years.
March 1815.
Jared Talent was pushing his horses hard when suddenly the leader faltered pitching the curricle off balance, cursing beneath his breadth he managed to pull them to a standstill and jumping down examined the leader, who had thrown a shoe. He cursed again; he had only five miles to his destination but now must delay to have the horse shod. Jared knew that the Green Man was but a half-mile away, the ostler there would no doubt attend to the horse immediately for a reward from a member of the area’s most wealthy family. On arrival at the Inn it was proved to be so and Jared went into the inn to wait.
The Inn tap-room was very busy and the coffee room also was full, but spying a place at a table where a young, heavily veiled lady sat alone at her meal, he reluctantly began to move towards her table, then he saw small-unoccupied table and sat there instead. He glanced at the lady but she was so heavily veiled that is was difficult to estimate her age; he looked away as the waiter asked for his order. Jared decided on bread and cheese with a slice or two of beef and a glass of ale. While eating he thought about the message, which had brought him at such speed to be at his Grandfathers side. The old man had been well and healthy when he had left him but two weeks ago, how had a mere cold in the head apparently brought him to his deathbed?
Suddenly a man entered the room and sat down at the table with the young woman, he was a rough looking character but the young woman seemed to sway towards him intimately, which surprised Jared, then she giggled and he realised that she was slightly drunk. When the man pulled her to her feet and began to lead her from the room, Jared was disgusted by her state, especially when she fell against him as she was led from the room.
Once again back in his curricle and bowling along at a good pace he heard a sudden loud noise, he pulled up his horses he was sure that it was a gunshot he had heard. He jumped down from his curricle and saw a slight figure running towards him, there were it appeared, two larger figures in pursuit. Then he realised that it was the young woman from the Inn, seeing her face he was surprised that she was much younger than he had suspected back at the Inn. She was obviously very frightened and desperate, she stared at him and then collapsed at his feet. As he lifted her into the curricle she struggled and kept saying no, no, no. Jared had no option but to take her with him to his Grandfathers home, his opinion of her was pretty low, she was a tart he was sure but even so he could not leave her on the highway.
The next day the young lady, who is Diana st Aubin, awakes in a strange room she is suffering from a severe headache. She is summoned to attend a meeting with Jared Talent; she has very little memory of the previous night and is astounded at his attitude towards her. He is very rude to her and treats her as a low class female, even accusing her of stealing his purse at the Inn. Dianna is furious and demands that he lets her go as she is on the way to meet her young brother, having just arrived in England from France where she teaches in a young ladies seminary. He laughs at her but offers her a good reward and help to find her brother if she agrees to pretend to be betrothed to him for what he believes to be a very short time until his Grandfather dies. Will Dianna agree to this preposterous charade? Does she really have any choice? She has no money and no belongings and is entirely alone in England until she can find her brother.
What is the story behind Dianna’s plight? Is Jared correct in his assumption of her, or is he entirely wrong, where is the young brother? Watch this excellent story unfold, enjoy it’s twists and turns; it will hold your interest through to the very last page. I really enjoyed this regency romance and think it a must for lovers of this genre. I happily award this book 5 red rose. AS.

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