Skip to main content

The Spinster's Christmas - Chapter 10a #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 10a

December 26th

The day after the attack, Gerard awoke early in the morning to stabbing pain in his entire leg. His knee had swelled as large as the Christmas pudding, and the throbbing had kept him from falling asleep.

He had never been a docile patient, but injury had always made him feel like a baited bear, and inclined to roar just as loudly. Such was his peevish temper when his father’s valet, Maddox, entered his bedroom earlier than usual. Gerard should have been grateful he had come, but the agony in his knee had somehow traveled up his body into a headache raging against the backs of his eyeballs.

“What do you want?” he demanded.

“I have a poultice, sir, sent by Miss Miranda.”

“Well, you can take it away,” he said perversely. He ought to do something to alleviate the pain in his knee, yet at the same time he wanted to be left alone to suffer in silence.

“I believe she rose early this morning to make this for you, sir,” Maddox said, unimpressed by his master’s ill temper.

“Oh, very well.”

The valet folded back the sheets and gently rolled up his nightclothes to expose his knee. The cool air seemed to make the injured limb hiss. Then Maddox retrieved the cloth-wrapped bundle he’d brought into the room and laid it on Gerard’s bare skin.

“Maddox, that's an icicle!” he roared. “I thought poultices were warm.”

“It's what Miss Miranda gave to me, sir.”

It was uncomfortable, and it did nothing to improve his mood, although his knee felt slightly better after Maddox removed the poultice.

“Shall I fetch breakfast for you, sir?”

“No. I refuse to remain swaddled in bedclothes all day.”

The valet did not quite roll his eyes at him, but his expression clearly indicated his master’s son deserved a good spanking. “Very good, sir.”

However, when he attempted to walk from his bed to the dressing table, he only barely made it to the chair in front of the fireplace before collapsing, his knee throbbing and sweat running in rivulets down his face. The realization that his cane was no longer sufficient to support him made him want to fling it across the room, except for the fact that he didn't want to have to crawl to reclaim it in order to get back into bed.

“Perhaps if you would return to bed, sir?”

“Leave me alone, Maddox,” he barked.

However, at that moment came a gentle knock at the door behind him. He heard it open, and then Miranda’s voice said, “These are for your master, Maddox. I found them in the nursery attics.” The door had closed by the time Gerard twisted around to see what she’d brought.

Maddox held a pair of crutches. A more cowardly retainer would have acted with more caution, but Maddox bore the crutches aloft like a gift presented to the king.

Gerard was about to tell him where he could fling them, but bit his tongue. He exhaled long and low, then said, “Bring them here.” How had Miranda guessed the cane would no longer suffice?

The crutches were a trifle short, but they had been carved with wide stumps, no doubt to allow them to be used with ease out of doors. He ought to be grateful for Miranda's thoughtfulness, but they were a bitter reminder that he had cast crutches aside for his cane weeks ago, but must now take them up again.

Dressing was more of an ordeal than he anticipated, and he resentfully stumped out of his bedroom, determined not to remain cooped up despite his injury.

Miranda was in the hallway with Ellie. Waiting for him.

“Randa said you would not stay in bed,” Ellie said to him. “Let's play jack-straws.”

“I did not come out of my room to play jack-straws,” he replied grumpily.

“You came out of your room to test your new crutches,” Miranda said, calm and cheerful. “Let us walk with Gerard, Ellie.”

And of course he lasted no farther than the drawing room, where the women had gathered with embroidery and knitting while the men were out shooting. They erupted in cries of dismay and fluttered about as he sank onto a settee, cosseting him as if he were a babe.

“You shouldn’t be up and about,” Mrs. Hathaway scolded him.

“To think those men would attack you in the garden, of all places,” another woman said.

“They might have invaded the house and murdered us all in our beds.”

“They were more likely after the silver. Probably aided by an unscrupulous servant.”

“Well, Cecil has at least instructed the servants to be more vigilant in guarding the house.”

“Do sit here, Captain Foremont. Here is a cushion for your foot.” Miss Church-Pratton indicated the seat next to her.

“It’s his knee that’s bothering him, not his foot, you ninny,” said Lady Skinnerton acidly.

Miranda, the wretch, stood to one side and watched him, smiling faintly at his chagrin. It was as though she could read his mind—he'd rather have played jack-straws with Ellie. She had known he wouldn’t have the strength in his knee to make it to any other room in the house. Then she and Ellie left him to the tender ministrations of Miss Church-Pratton and Mrs. Hathaway.


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

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

CWO – Girly girls

Captain’s Log, Stardate 09.12.2006 Blog book giveaway: My Thursday book giveaway is A FAMILY FOREVER by Brenda Coulter . My Monday book giveaway is JADE by Marilynn Griffith . You can still enter both giveaways. Just post a comment on each of those blog posts. On Thursday, I'll draw the winner for A FAMILY FOREVER and post the title for another book I'm giving away. Check out Christian Women Online (click on the button above) to see what other women are blogging about this quote. "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one!'" ~ C.S. Lewis ~ I am NOT a girly-girl. I prefer jeans and pants over skirts (a remnant of having my skirt lifted in middle school—traumatic, I tell you). I rarely wear makeup. I prefer sports bras over the lacy ones, or the underwire ones, or even the “boost your bust a cup size” wonder ones. I was also never a jock in school (think pudgy and slow). I was a brainiac, with

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

Keriah's Narrow Crescent Scarf

In my series Lady Wynwood’s Spies, my character Keriah is more emotional than her friend Phoebe, and so when writing about her in Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 6: Martyr , naturally I described her scarf as having more lively colors than the greens and blues that Phoebe favors. I didn’t really have a particular yarn colorway in mind when I wrote the scene, but when looking through my stash to knit her scarf, I found the Carnival colorway in Knit Picks Chroma Twist Fingering, and it was absolutely perfect for her. Chroma Twist Fingering is discontinued, but you could knit this in Chroma Fingering or any other color-transitional yarn. In the Regency era, a tri-color 3-ply yarn like Chroma Twist Fingering would probably not have been sold in shops, but it also may not have been completely unheard of. It is made by simply dying the wool rather than the finished yarn, and then the dyed wool would be split into 3 parts and each part spun into a single ply, before all three plies

We Is Friends

Captain’s Log, Supplemental Blog book giveaway: To enter, go to the blog links below and post a comment there. My Monday book giveaway is Heart of the Amazon by Margaret Daley My Thursday book giveaway is She’s All That by Kristin Billerbeck . You can still enter both giveaways. On Monday, I'll draw the winner for the Heart of the Amazon and post the title for another book I'm giving away. Win an iPod Nano! Exclusively for my newsletter YahooGroup subscribers, I have a huge contest running until January 31st! Get more info on my contest page ! I got this hilarious picture from my good friend Pamela James . This made me crack up, maybe because I’m not terribly fuzzy and warm and this is as close as I’ll get. TMI: Bible in 90 Days: day 41. Okay, you can shoot me if you want, but I think Proverbs is a lot of repetition. It’s not bad repetition. I mean, it’s all valuable wisdom and all. And I’m sure the deliberate change in wording of the same concepts has some deep theolog

Grace Livingston Hill romances free on Google Books

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

Fall Into Sweet Clean Christian Romance Bookfunnel promo

Volumes 1, 2, and 3 in my Lady Wynwood’s Spies series are in this promo featuring Christian romance novels! Check out the promo and all the great Christian romance ebooks! You might find a new favorite author!

September newsletter and new novel title

Captain's Log, Stardate 09.02.2008 I just sent out my September newsletter , which is chock full of new news about my Sushi series and info about my huge website contest ! If you haven’t entered yet, what are you waiting for? In addition, I have a newsletter giveaway where I’m giving away two full sets of my Sushi series! You’ll need to read my September newsletter to find out how to enter. (I explained the differences between my website contests, my newsletter contests, and my blog contests here.) Another big piece of news is that I now have a title for my romantic suspense novel coming out next year from Steeple Hill: Deadly Intent Doesn’t it sound deliciously sinister?

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