Hal Waterman's calling on the newly widowed Elizabeth Lowery is the caring act of a gentleman. And with her household in turmoil and a young son to support, she is certainly grateful for his help. Hal finds Elizabeth even more lovely than when they first met, but knows that she will only ever see him as a kind and often taciturn friend.Elizabeth finds comfort and companionship in Hal's caring of her. But then a tantalizing desire starts to simmer. His reassuring strength and presence have become so very attractive...so alluring....
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1 . Sweet story and so easy to read
Posted September 27, 2010 by Lena , Honolulu, HIThis was a sweet story, very enjoyable and so easy to read. It took me about one sitting to finish and i did not feel that my time was wasted. Sometimes i find that certain stories work for me more then others, as is the same for most people. This one worked for me and had me from page one to the last.
June 30, 2008
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Excerpt from A Most Unconventional Match by Julia Justiss
Seven years later
Elizabeth Wellingford Lowery stood in her studio, brush in hand as she focused on the play of light across the flower in the vase on her worktable.
If she blocked out everything but the change of hues painted across the flower's surface by the ebb and flow of the clouds in the sky outside her window, she might be able to keep out of consciousness for a little longer the bitter awareness that her life had crumbled into pieces.
She should be able to concentrate. She always painted this time of the morning, while the northern light remained steady, often becoming so absorbed in her work she forgot to stop for nuncheon.
How often had Everitt had to knock at that door and come in to collect her? Her heart squeezed in another spasm of grief as she recalled how he'd approach her, a teasing smile on his careworn face as he coaxed her to put down her brush and join him and their son David for a light mid-day meal.
She needed sustenance lest she slip away, as ethereal as the angel she appeared to be, he'd tell her, giving a loving tug to whichever strand of golden hair had escaped from the careless chignon into which she always twisted it.
But he was the one who had slipped away unexpectedly, taking her secure world with him.
She didn't want to leave her studio, didn't want to emerge into the tangle of duties beyond that door where she would have to face how much everything had changed. Even after a month, it was still too much to deal with, losing the kindest man who'd ever lived, who'd cared for her as if she were a precious object too fine and delicate for life on earth. Amelia Lowery, his elderly cousin who'd run their household with great efficiency, had been so incapacitated by the shock of Everitt's death that, despite her own dismay and grief, Elizabeth had insisted the older woman give up her work and rest, and was therefore compelled to supervise tasks she'd never before had to oversee. To add to all of that, her entire family had gone on a long-delayed Grand Tour of the Continent barely a week before Everitt's untimely death.
Aside from Amelia, Everitt had no other close relations, so, with her own family out of reach, she'd had no one to turn to, no one to help her bear the agony and the crushing responsibility. The only thing that made life endurable was being able to escape for a few hours every morning into this haven where she might blank from her mind all but the task of capturing with her brush the shape and substance and hue of the subject on her worktable.
Leaving David confined upstairs with his nurse. Her chest tightened again with grief and guilt. He was suffering too, her precious son, missing the papa who had doted on him as lovingly as he had doted on her. How could she help him when she couldn't even help herself?
Tears welled in her eyes. Angrily she dashed them. Enough! She must pull herself out of this mire of grief and self-pity.
Some day soon she would do better, she promised herself. She'd wake to a new day without the constant, crushing weight of sadness on her chest. But for now, she would fix her mind only on the pure intensity of the hue in the flower before her.
A soft rap sounded at the door. For an instant, her spirits soared before the realisation settled like a rock in her gut. It couldn't be Everitt. It would never again be Everitt.
She took a deep breath as Sands, her butler, bowed himself in. 'Sorry to disturb you, madam, but...well, 'tis nearly a month since the beginning of the quarter and none of the staff have yet been paid. I've tried to stifle their grumbling, knowing how overset you've been, but it would be best if you would take care of compensating them.'
Elizabeth stared at Sands as if he'd been speaking in tongues. 'Compensating them?' she echoed blankly.
'Normally the staff are paid at the start of every quarter,' he explained patiently. 'From a cache of coins the master kept in the locked chest in the bookroom.'
Naturally the servants would be wanting their money. But she'd had no idea about quarter day, nor had she the faintest notion what amounts were owed to the various members of her household.
Where could she find such information?
'Madam?' Sands prompted, recalling her attention. 'I suppose I could go and ask Miss Amelia--'
'No, you were right to come to me,' Elizabeth interrupted. 'Miss Lowery must have absolute rest, the physician said, if she is to recover from her attack. Of course everyone must be paid. Thank you for bringing the matter to my attention.'
His task accomplished, the butler turned to leave. 'Oh, Sands!' she recalled him. 'Are there...any coins in the master's chest at present?'
'I have no idea, ma'am.'
'Very well. And...do you know where my husband kept the key?'
'I believe it is in the top-right drawer of his desk, Mrs Lowery.'
'The...the amount of each person's salary,' she continued, painfully embarrassed by her ignorance.