Skip to main content

The Spinster's Christmas - Chapter 6a #Christianfiction #Regency #romance

I’m posting my Regency romance, The Spinster's Christmas, so all my blog readers get a chance to read it! It’s the Prequel novel to my Lady Wynwood’s Spies series.

A Christian Regency romantic suspense

Spinster Miranda Belmoore has become a poor relation in her cousin’s house. She determines to escape a life of drudgery and disdain from her own family members, who are embarrassed by her straightforward speech and unconventional behavior that does not match with proper society. She is beginning to believe what they tell her—that she doesn’t matter to anyone, not even to God.

Former naval captain Gerard Foremont is having difficulty adjusting to life back on land, bitter that his career has been cut short by his severely injured knee. A Christmastide houseparty with the Belmoores reunites him with his childhood friend, Miranda, but he is appalled at the verbal abuse she endures and wants to help her.

The festivities are disrupted when a cloaked intruder attacks Gerard, with Miranda as the only witness. Now the two of them must uncover who wants to harm him and why, before Twelfth Night ends in murder …

All the posted parts are listed here.


Chapter 6a

Gerard pulled his mouth wide in what he hoped looked like a smile and passed Miss Church-Pratton a fir branch.

“Oh, Captain Foremont, are you certain your leg is not paining you?” She gave him a soulful look that brought out the blue of her eyes.

“I am perfectly well, Miss Church-Pratton.” Gerard ignored the ache in his knee.

“I do appreciate your help but I would not wish to cause you further injury.”

He tried to stretch his leg without drawing attention to the action. He seemed to be mostly recovered from the events of this morning in the woods. He moved a little more slowly and he could not climb the ladder to decorate the chandelier, but he was perfectly able to collect greenery and deliver it to the women who arranged it around the house. Unfortunately, Miss Church-Pratton seemed to call upon him quite incessantly for more greens.

“For I must tell you, Captain Foremont,” Miss Church-Pratton said as she wrapped ribbon around a fir bough and strand of ivy, “I was alarmed when I saw you limping so dreadfully as you came into the house.”

He would rather not be reminded of that riotous scene, complete with schoolboys chasing each other around the entrance hall, yelling at the tops of their lungs, and Mrs. Augusta Hathaway shrieking about gypsies attacking children in the woods. Ellie’s cries had turned to sniffles by the time they arrived at the house, but the noise had caused her to start crying again. Gerard had tried to speak to Miranda but hadn’t been able to get close to her.

“It must have been terrible for you.”

Miss Church-Pratton’s fussing over Gerard annoyed him, but he tried to tell himself that she was simply concerned.

“Now, if I had known you would be going greenery hunting rather than with the men hauling in the Yule log, I would have gone with all of you,” Miss Church-Pratton said.

Gerard had been secretly relieved that she had not joined the greenery party this morning. He had suspected that she had no wish to be in the company of all the children.

“Perhaps I could have protected you from that madwoman.” She smiled, dimpling up at him.

Considering the horrible violence that Ellie had been forced to witness, Gerard found Miss Church-Pratton’s comment inappropriate. He looked down at her coldly. “You no longer appear to need assistance, Miss Church-Pratton. I shall help my mother.” He gave her the tiniest of bows, then crossed the room to where his mother was directing a servant on a ladder in hanging the kissing bough directly over the open doorway into the drawing room.

His mother eyed the expression on his face with wariness and a splash of irritation. “I do wish you would stop focusing on your injury quite so much, Gerard. You may not be aware of it, but it casts a pall over the company, which is not very considerate of you.”

He did not feel he deserved his mother’s censure, but she had seen him through the blackest of moods over the past several months, and he knew it had put a strain on her temper. And the truth was that he did indeed feel frustrated with himself, not a novel emotion by any means. He had not been able to chase the lone woman because he had been unable to rise quickly to his feet, and he would not have been able to hobble after her in any event.

Added to his frustration was a strong dose of guilt. He had been horrified that Ellie had been injured simply because she had been standing too close when the woman had swung the branch at him.

“No, to the right,” his mother said to the servant, who obediently moved the kissing bough to his right. “No, the other right.” She indicated her own right side. “Miranda, is it centred?”

Miranda had been tying greens into a long garland to drape over the bannister, but she rose to stand in front of the open doorway, her head tilted to the side. “Perhaps a little to the right …”

Miranda appeared to be her usual calm self, although paler. A half hour after returning to the house, Gerard had climbed the stairs to see Ellie in the nursery, and Miranda had been there after finally coaxing the little girl to sleep. Miranda had not looked as though her nerves were frayed or that she were likely to take to her bed, which was what Gerard’s mother had done for an hour after he returned. Miranda had insisted that the blow to her head had merely caused her a slight headache.

She had changed her dress, as had they all, for dinner. Her dark blue gown made her skin even whiter, her hair glossy like a raven’s feathers. When he first saw her, she looked so lovely that he hadn’t been able to speak for a moment. Luckily, she hadn’t been looking at him, and then all the guests had begun the task of decorating the house with the greenery.

“Are you well?” he asked her.

“A slight headache.”

He could see the pain in the lines across her forehead, alongside her mouth and eyes. He would have wanted to look at the base of her neck, hidden by the folds of her shawl, if it had not been so improper for him to do so. “Has the doctor seen you?”

“No, but one of the maids has seen to my injury.”

“One of the maids? Cecil did not call for Dr. Morgan for you or for Ellie?”

“Betty, the maid, is very skilled in healing,” she said in a calm voice that alleviated his outrage. “Her mother is the local midwife, and the tenants call upon her when they cannot summon Dr. Morgan. I admit that I would trust Betty more than Dr. Morgan, since he often comes to the house smelling of wine.”

He determined not to summon Dr. Morgan if his knee grew worse, and to do all he could to prevent the man from coming near Miranda or Ellie. “How is Ellie?”


Buy The Spinster’s Christmas ebook!
Google Play


Popular Posts

Michael’s Scarf knitting pattern

Michael’s Gray and Brown Scarf I had just written a scene in Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 5: Prisoner where my character Michael gives the heroine a very significant scarf. When looking for a stitch pattern, I found the one used in “#31 Comfort either for a Lady or Gentleman” in The Lady's Assistant , volume 2 , published in 1842 by Mrs. Jane Gaugain, pages 125-126 (click on the link to view and/or download the free PDF of the digitally scanned book). When I did test swatches, it turned out to be a pretty eyelet pattern that looks like branches or vines winding upward. I tried the pattern as a parallelogram scarf and discovered that the pattern has a changeable orientation, looking vertical or diagonal depending on how you looked at it. So I decided to use this pattern, knitted as a parallelogram, as Michael’s scarf. I decided to use a smaller needle and add a slip stitch in the pattern to make the eyelets a bit more close and less lacy. When paired with a brown an

Grace Livingston Hill romances free to read online

I wanted to update my old post on Grace Livingston Hill romances because now there are tons more options for you to be able to read her books for free online! I’m a huge Grace Livingston Hill fan. Granted, not all her books resonate with me, but there are a few that I absolutely love, like The Enchanted Barn and Crimson Roses . And the best part is that she wrote over 100 books and I haven’t yet read them all! When I have time, I like to dive into a new GLH novel. I like the fact that most of them are romances, and I especially appreciate that they all have strong Christian themes. Occasionally the Christian content is a little heavy-handed for my taste, but it’s so interesting to see what the Christian faith was like in the early part of the 20th century. These books are often Cinderella-type stories or A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett) type stories, which I love. And the best part is that they’re all set in the early 1900s, so the time period is absolutely fasci

Lady Wynwood’s Spies book 1 in Amazon Prime Free Reads

Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer in Amazon Prime Free Reads My book was chosen to be included in Amazon Prime Free Reads. If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll be able to borrow my book for free. Now’s the chance to read Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer if you haven’t yet! Read Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer free on Amazon

The Gentleman Thief in Free Historical Fiction Bookfunnel promo

My book The Gentlemen Thief (writing as Camille Elliot) is in this Free Historical Fiction promo. Every book in the promo is FREE when you sign up for the author’s email newsletter. Check out the promo and all the great FREE historical fiction ebooks! You might find a new favorite author! Free Historical Fiction promo

The Wedding Kimono in the Clean Romance Books promo

My book The Wedding Kimono (writing as Camy Tang) is in this Clean Romance books Bookfunnel promo. Every book in the promo is FREE when you sign up for the author’s email newsletter. Check out the promo and all the great FREE clean romance ebooks! You might find a new favorite author! Clean Romance Books Bookfunnel promo

Hosea 14:2

Lord Jesus, Thank You that we can freely come directly to You and pray to You. Thank You that You died for our sins on the cross and we can be forgiven. “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” We praise and thank You, Lord, for how wonderful You are. We lift our hearts to You in praise today. Amen 主イエスよ、私たちが自由にあなたに直接近づき、あなたに祈ることができることを感謝します。あなたが十字架で私たちの罪のために死んでくださり、私たちが赦されることを感謝します。「私たちのすべての罪を赦し、私たちを慈しみ深く受け入れてください。」主よ、あなたがどんなに素晴らしい方であるかを賛美し、感謝します。私たちは今日、賛美のうちにあなたに心を捧げます。 アーメン

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Tabi socks, part deux

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.25.2008 (If you're on Ravelry, friend me! I'm camytang.) I made tabi socks again! (At the bottom of the pattern is the calculation for the toe split if you're not using the same weight yarn that I did for this pattern (fingering). I also give an example from when I used worsted weight yarn with this pattern.) I used Opal yarn, Petticoat colorway. It’s a finer yarn than my last pair of tabi socks, so I altered the pattern a bit. Okay, so here’s my first foray into giving a knitting pattern. Camy’s top-down Tabi Socks I’m assuming you already know the basics of knitting socks. If you’re a beginner, here are some great tutorials: Socks 101 How to Knit Socks The Sock Knitter’s Companion A video of turning the heel Sock Knitting Tips Yarn: I have used both fingering weight and worsted weight yarn with this pattern. You just change the number of cast on stitches according to your gauge and the circumference of your ankle. Th

Marketing Information Form, part two

Captain’s Log, Stardate 05.26.2006 Blog book giveaway: My Monday book giveaway is A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND by Kristin Billerbeck . My Thursday book giveaway is LIFE INTERRUPTED by Tricia Goyer . You can still enter both giveaways. Just post a comment on each of those blog posts. On Monday, I'll draw the winner for A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND and post the title for another book I'm giving away. Stay tuned. Continued from Marketing Information Form, part one : More stuff they want to know about my book: Other covers: What styles, fonts, colors? This is one area I didn’t really think about, but I listed the few covers that I thought conveyed the sort of atmosphere I wanted for my book: WHAT A GIRL WANTS by Kristin Billerbeck . The cartoon design is fresh, cute, clean. SASSY CINDERELLA AND THE VALIANT VIGILANTE by Sharon Dunn . This book, more than the other Ruby Taylor books, conveyed Ruby’s character—her vibrant red hair, bohemian dress, sassy post-modern attitude. THE TROUBLE WITH LACY B

September and October Christian Fiction new releases

The Lone Rice Ball releases next month in a Christian Contemporary Romance multi-author box set, Once Upon a Starry Night: A Very Merry Christmas Romance Collection . It's included in this promo with other Christian Fiction new releases for September and October. You can preorder it for only $2.99, and the price will go up on the release date in October. If you prefer to read it on Kindle Unlimited, sign up for my newsletter so you can hear when it’s available to read in KU. Check out the Sept/Oct Christian Fiction new releases