Captivating the Countess (work in progress)
NORA HAVERMERE, finally free after the death of her cruel husband, wants only to help young, fallen women. However, her dreams of freedom slip away when, in one final act of spite, the old earl leaves her virtually penniless. Once more, she is at the mercy of men.
Tired of civil war and death, Colonel FARREN CAVANAUGH, comes to England to mend fences with his father’s estranged family and to sort out the mystery of his missing brother and niece.
Nora and Farren find themselves looking for same girl, the link that might heal their broken hearts and forge them into a real family. But Nora’s thirst for freedom drives a wedge between the two lovers and Farren will not compromise. Marriage or nothing. Nora discovers true love is real freedom, but does this knowledge come too late?
“So you will have my body, but not me?”
“You put it too simply.”
“To my mind it is simple. I am in love with you.” There, it was out now. Not so difficult, jumping off a cliff. Why prevaricate? He’d always believed in laying his cards on the table.
“Love?” she stammered. “You’ll pardon me if I question your sentiment.”
The world was tilting. His heart bobbed in his breast trying valiantly to stay above the surge of words that spilled from her mouth.
“You do not love me?”
“I—I love this,” She spread her arms wide to encompass their picnic blanket, the cottage, the surrounding field’s, and him. “But, this is not real. This is a dream and dreams do not last.”
“Why? Why can’t they?”
Her answer was a derisive snort.
“Very well, I grant you, the world will intrude but that is life. That is living. I have no wish to exist in a bubble. I wish to live in the world with you. With you as my wife, with you as the mother of my children.”
“Against ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’?”
“I do not share Hamlet’s depressed view of life. I choose ‘to be’, every time.”
“You do not know the ton.”
“I do not regard the ton. They have nothing to do with you and me.”
“You are so American and so naive.”
“Then, you will not have me?”
“I wish to be free.”
“Free.” He bit down on the inside of his cheek. “Funny, that is what I was hoping to be in marrying you.”