Who is Miss Gemma Smith No one wishes to know more than the orphaned Gemma herself. One day, a fateful letter sends her to London where she meets former naval officer Matthew Fallon--who is searching for the sister he lost. So far apart in other ways, the two are soon drawn together by their desperate quests for their lost loved ones--and the blossoming of undeniable passion.
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June 23, 2005
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Excerpt from Vision in Blue by Nicole Byrd
No doubt about it, money had its uses. Miss Louisa Crookshank straightened the seam of her new navy blue traveling costume and smiled, careful not to appear smug. She was known in some circles as "the Comely Miss Crookshank," and she knew that appearing satisfied with one's self did not generally serve to enhance one's natural beauty.
But the fact remained, being in possession of a comfortable fortune made all the difference. Since she had achieved her one and twentieth birthday during the final days of winter, she was at last in possession of the fortune she had inherited from her father. True, her uncle Charles still nominally controlled her funds, but her uncle was a dear, and it usually took little effort to coax him into agreement with her latest scheme. Which was how she came to be sitting in her own elegant, newly purchased chaise, on the way to her most cherished goal: London.
At long last!
She had tried last year to have a proper London Season, a coming-out long delayed by the sad fact of her father's death and the resulting year of mourning, then by other family concerns. But when she had arrived in London, nothing had gone according to plan. Remembering the disasters that had brought her brief sojourn in the capital to such an abrupt and unhappy end, Louisa shuddered. But this year, it would be different, this year '
The carriage jolted to a stop. Louisa clutched the seat to avoid being thrown onto the floor. On the other side of the carriage, Miss Pomshack, her hired but very respectable companion, had been dozing. Now, the older lady jerked awake and gave a small shriek. "What is it, Miss Louisa Are we attacked by brigands "
"Of course not," Louisa retorted, trying to make out a familiar form through the rain-streaked window, but torrents of liquid obscured her view. She pushed open the door just a little, ignoring the wet gusts that dampened her skirt and the draft of cold air that swept through the carriage. Miss Pomshack screeched again and pulled her shawl closer about her thin shoulders, but Louisa persisted. In a moment, she had found him.
Her fianc ' , Sir Lucas Englewood, curly brown hair plastered to his head ' the wind must have knocked off his hat again ' rode his steed closer to the carriage. He had insisted on riding, and although Louisa had invited him sweetly inside the chaise when the first drops began to fall, he had scoffed at her suggestion. "A little rain never hurt a fellow," he had said gaily.
He didn't look so happy now. "It's no use, Louisa," he told her. "The rain isn't letting up, and the road's turning to soup. The team can barely pull the carriage. There's a decent-looking inn just ahead. We're going to have to stop and wait for the weather to improve."
Louisa bit back a protest. She had so wanted to end the day with her long-awaited arrival in London. But, gazing at the sheets of rain that cloaked any view of the countryside, she nodded reluctantly and shut the door.