The Rake and the Bishop’s Daughter
by Julia Donner
GENRE: Regency Romance
Society’s beloved wastrel, Sir Harry Collyns, pushes his popularity past the point of acceptability when he poses for a statue that creates a social uproar. People line up for blocks to see Handsome Harry in the nude, sculpted by a female artist! Bored with the fuss and scandal, Harry hitches up his fastest team, heads for the country, and a near fatal curricle accident. When the bandages are removed from his head days later, he discovers the angel-voiced widow who’d cared for him is neither elderly nor as mild as her tone, but a straight-laced do-gooder unimpressed with his flamboyant past and dashing good looks. Head-battered and heading for a broken heart, he falls into love with Widow Olivia St. Clair, who might be the one woman in England that Harry can’t charm into loving him back.
THE BOOK WILL BE $0.99 DURING THE TOUR
Villagers came to watch the unconscious stranger gently transferred from the verge onto a door and carried down the tree-shaded lane to the stone cottage at its end. Then came the awkwardness of lifting the wounded man off the door and carrying him up the staircase to a bedchamber on the first floor. Fanny had thrown an old blanket over the coverlet, then in a businesslike manner, evicted the too curious onlookers.
Olivia washed her hands in a bowl of water provided by Mrs. Hoskins, who hovered in the bedchamber doorway, gripping her hands at her waist.
“Oh, Mrs. St. Clair, don’t you think he should have been taken to the inn?”
“I wasn’t sure he would make it that far. He’s lost so much blood.” She undid and lifted the edge of the makeshift compress she had awkwardly tied in place with cut pieces of reins. “Thank heavens! The bleeding has slowed to a seep.”
“I know you help out Dr. Wentworth and all, but should you be taking care of this stranger?”
Olivia didn’t want to be unkind but did intend to be firm. “Mrs. Hoskins, stranger or not, this man is in need. It is our duty to help.”
Mrs. Hoskins left, muttering as she went down the stairs and back to the kitchen. Grumble, she did, but she would also start a sustaining broth and whatever else she thought would be nourishing for an invalid.
Olivia exhaled a deep sigh and carefully peeled back the compress. The larger laceration still seeped but the smaller two on the other side of his face had slowed to almost nothing. Very soon, the larger wound would start to swell to the point where it could not be stitched. She went out to the hallway and searched the linen cupboard for clean cloths. She dipped the cloths in cool water and draped his head. He never moved and stayed that way while she fetched her sewing basket.
There were no bell pulls on the upper floor, so she called for Fanny, who came bounding up the steps, skirts flopping and brown hairs escaping from her cap.
“Yes, Mrs. Olivia?”
“I’m sorry to have to ask you to do this, but I’m going to need your help to hold his head still. And we’ll have to tie down our injured guest while I stitch up his wounds. We can’t wait for Dr. Wentworth.”
Fanny snorted and shook her head. “No use waitin’ on him. Heard he was in his cups at the inn. Wouldn’t want a drunk sticking a needle in my face.”
Olivia didn’t say it, but she wholeheartedly agreed. After getting the man’s wrists bound and the cords tied to the bed slats, Olivia rinsed her hands and threaded her best silk through her thinnest needle.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Julia Donner (aka M.L.Rigdon) grew up in historic Galena, IL, USA, and spent most of her time in the museum of her aunt, who encouraged her interest in history and understood the need to cherish a dream. She started writing in secret in her teens and never stopped, merging it with her mother's encouragement to study theater and music, which led to performing in the Midwest, California and as far away as Austria.
Donner never forgot what it was like to write alone as a girl and is a happy member of Summit City Scribes. Concern for the failing educational system led her to develop Your Futures in Ink, a panel of local and regional authors, who go into to schools to encourage students and answer questions about writing.
THE TIGRESSE AND THE RAVEN, first book in the regency Friendship Series, is an RWA contest finalist. The ninth book in the series, A ROGUE FOR MISS PRIM and the tenth, AN AMERICAN FOR AGNES, are available now. A LAIRD’S PROMISE will be released by Spring 2018.
M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)
Follow on Twitter @RigdonML
THE BOOK WILL BE $0.99 DURING THE TOUR
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