Skip to main content

The Spinster's Christmas - Chapter 18 #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 18

Gerard made his way blindly down the corridors. He knew Miranda could not have meant the callous words she had flung at him. She was not indifferent to him. She had given herself away with that kiss.

She would have refused him in order to keep him safe. The thought warmed through the cold that had seeped into his limbs. So she must have lied to him.

If she had lied, she was uncomfortably good at it. She had looked him in the eye to tell him she did not love him.

Why would she refuse him? He could offer her everything she did not have. He could protect her.

Unless, he realized bitterly, she truly did doubt his broken body’s ability to protect her from anything.

No, he knew she had lied to him about that, too.

He knew where he wanted to go. He made his way deeper into the bowels of the house, searching out the older section. The carpets were older, smelling of long winters, and wall-hangings flanked the corridors like medieval squires.

At last he stood before the wooden door to the family chapel. It was strangely shorter and narrower than he remembered, but the wood was still deeply grained, darkened with age and woodsmoke, studded with iron.

He pushed open the door, which gave a mighty creak. Colored light from the narrow stained-glass window over the altar dazzled his eyes, and it took him a moment to adjust to the darkness of the interior. Four pillars stood at attention, spreading outward at the top into the delicately vaulted ceiling. The wooden pews seemed almost crushed into the rest of the floor space since it was not a pretentiously grand chapel, being small and only modestly airy.

And near the front, Lady Wynwood turned to look at him. As soon as he saw her, he knew he needed her, even though he had not been able to articulate it to himself. He had come here to find her.

She rose and came to him, taking his hands in hers. “My dear boy, come and sit.”

He sat with her in the front pew, resting his crutches against it. But now that he was here, he could not speak. The quiet of the chapel seeped into his bones, but instead of calming him, it only made him feel more helpless and vulnerable.

Lady Wynwood let him sit for several minutes before she spoke. “Won’t you unburden yourself to me?”

“There is too much. It has shown me that I am less of a man because of it.”

“Surely not, Gerard.”

“What purpose has this served?” He gripped his knee, and pain shot down his leg. “Was I too proud? Was I in need of humbling? Did I do something that required judgement?”

“The Lord does not punish in that way.”

“But He allowed this to happen.” And therein lay the root of his problems. Because of his injury, he had not been able to protect Miranda as he would have had he been whole. He squeezed harder, sending pain spiking up his thigh.

Lady Wynwood gave him a frank look. “We think that there is a reason for everything. But the truth is that there are many reasons for everything.” She laid her hand over his, smoothing the taut knuckles. “Your knee has brought you home to your parents, to a new chapter in your life.”

Miranda had said much the same. “But this is not the chapter I wanted. Not so soon. I want to know why God has done this to me.”

Her face had become drawn, and there was a hollowness and a horror behind her eyes that he had never seen before. “That is a trail that doubles back upon itself, and then doubles again.”

He shot to his feet and limped to the altar. Dust coated the brocade cloth covering it.

“For me,” she said from behind him, “anger is not a fire. It has been like drowning, a constant thrashing about, a constant questioning, ‘Why me?’ until it utterly exhausts me.”

Perhaps she was right. He had lived with this bitterness for so many months that now he didn't know how to live without it, how to release this tightness in his soul.

“What would you suggest I do?” His voice was harsh. “Pray? Give alms to the poor?”

“Be still,” she said simply.

He turned to look at her. She had a calmness of expression that reminded him of Miranda, but the weight of her gaze spoke of past pain, of hard lessons learned.

He swung back to the altar, his fingers wrinkling the cloth. “Since coming ashore, I have not been able to be still. I had more rest when I was on board ship, in the midst of a war.”

“War has not followed you home, Gerard. There are different ways to fight the battles on land.”

“What use is God when He takes away a man’s career and leaves his body broken? What use is God if He cannot save the poor and the helpless? No one else sees her. No one else cares for her except …”

The echo of his words shouted in the small chapel rang through the silence between them. It was blasphemous of him to say such things, but they came clawing up from the bitter gall in his heart.

A rustle of cloth, then Lady Wynwood was beside him, her hand on his again. “God sees her.”

He shook his head wordlessly. How could he know that?

“God sees you,” she said. “I do not know why you were injured, but I do know He can heal you.”

The idea seeped into his mind like water into the bilges of a ship. He could be restored. “How would He do that?”

“I do not know. Perhaps in ways we cannot understand. But I have felt that healing. Miranda’s calmness—the way that she calms you—that is like the peace of God that can heal you.”

But without Miranda, he was not calm. He was still angry, and frustrated, and bitter, his own unholy trinity. How could he possibly be healed?

But if God was all powerful, then would He not see Gerard? Would He not reach him?

Lady Wynwood grasped his shoulders to turn him to face her. “Do you want to battle this for years on end?”

“No,” he said, with more certainty than he had thought he possessed.

“Dear Gerard.” She touched his cheek. “Even if you do not trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, I do. I know that one day, with His peace, you will once again be happy.”

He had no reply for her. He did not feel much different from when he had entered the chapel. Perhaps he had expected too much. His talk with her had not changed today, and today was what pained him.

Lady Wynwood walked back down the aisle and left the chapel. Gerard remained, hands still gripping the altar, still without answers, still without an idea of what he could do.

***

Sign up for Camy's newsletter

* indicates required

Buy The Spinster’s Christmas ebook!
Kindle
iBooks
Kobo
Nook
Smashwords
Google Play

Comments

Popular Posts

What are you crafting today?

I always have multiple knitting projects, and over Christmas I started a new one. I’m working on developing a pattern for the arm-warmers (called muffatees or manchettes in Regency and Victorian England) that are mentioned a few times in Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 4: Betrayer and Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 5: Prisoner . My character, Phoebe, has a rather deadly pointy thing hidden in hers. :) The pattern is based off of antique knitting books which are scanned by Archive.org. (You can download .pdfs of the books, which I think is really rather cool.) The book the pattern is from was published after the Regency era, but I’m reasonably sure the pattern was in use in the Regency, just passed down by word of mouth. Are you crafting anything today?

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

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

Camille Elliot's January newsletter

My Camille Elliot (Christian Regency Romantic Suspense) newsletter went out last week, but in case you missed it, the link is below. In my newsletter this month, I posted a link to a special extra scene from Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 4: Betrayer , information about an experiment with my current Facebook group, and the date for an upcoming sale on Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 2: Berserker . I also mentioned a sweet Traditional Regency Romance that I’m reading. Click here to read my Camille Elliot newsletter for January.

Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 2: Berserker is now on sale!

For seven days, from January 30th until February 5th, book 2 in the Lady Wynwood’s Spies series is only 99 cents. If you haven’t gotten it yet, be sure to snatch it up while it’s at this sale price. Here’s the back cover description: A Christian Historical Adventure set in Regency England with romance and a supernatural twist Part two in an epic-length serial novel A dire situation Mr. Solomon Drydale and his team are reeling. After only a single act of mayhem by underworld lord Apothecary Jack, one of their group is down and another is missing. An urgent plea Desperate, Sol acts on his forbidden knowledge of an agent for the Crown who is known only to the highest levels of government— le petit prince , master of disguises. He defies his superiors and asks the Prince for help. A hazardous hunt Now, the team must learn to work with a new member to save one of their own. But time is running out before Jack finds him and breaks him—and puts all of their lives at risk.

Lady Wynwood's Spies 4 vignette - Lady Stoude

This is a really random scene I wrote that occurs in Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 4: Betrayer right after chapter 23, after Keriah returns home and before Phoebe comes to pick her up later that night. The team has finished making all preparations for the trade for Michael at Vauxhall Gardens. *** “Oh! I have no wish to go to the ball tonight!” Lady Stoude stood in the open doorway to the drawing room of her husband’s townhouse, hands on hips, with a disgruntled expression that looked faintly like a drowned cat. Her husband, Jeremy, Lord Stoude, glanced up at her from where he was leaning against the mantle of the fireplace, drinking something amber-colored and peaty-smelling. He merely gave her a mild, inquiring look. “Why not, my dear?” “I have just heard from my maid, who heard from Mrs. Butterworth’s maid, who heard from Miss Farrimond’s maid, that Miss Farrimond will not attend the ball tonight, because an unfortunate accident with hair dye caused her to now sport a gia

ひとり寿司第28章パート1

「ひとり寿司」をブログに連載します! ひとり寿司 寿司シリーズの第一作 キャミー・タング 西島美幸 訳 スポーツ狂のレックス・坂井 —— いとこのマリコが数ヶ月後に結婚することにより、「いとこの中で一番年上の独身女性」という内輪の肩書を「勝ち取る」ことについては、あまり気にしていない。コントロールフリークの祖母を無視するのは容易だ —— しかし、祖母は最終通告を出した —— マリコの結婚式までにデート相手を見つけなければ、無慈悲な祖母は、レックスがコーチをしている女子バレーボールチームへの資金供給を切ると言う。 ダグアウトにいる選手全員とデートに出かけるほど絶望的なわけではない。レックスは、バイブルスタディで読んだ「エペソの手紙」をもとに「最高の男性」の条件の厳しいリストを作った。バレーボールではいつも勝つ —— ゲームを有利に進めれば、必ず成功するはずだ。 そのとき兄は、クリスチャンではなく、アスリートでもなく、一見何の魅力もないエイデンを彼女に引き合わせる。 エイデンは、クリスチャンではないという理由で離れていったトリッシュという女の子から受けた痛手から立ち直ろうとしている。そして、レックスが(1)彼に全く興味がないこと、(2)クリスチャンであること、(3)トリッシュのいとこであることを知る。あの狂った家族とまた付き合うのはごめんだ。まして、偽善的なクリスチャンの女の子など、お断り。彼はマゾヒストじゃない。 レックスは時間がなくなってきた。いくら頑張っても、いい人は現れない。それに、どこへ行ってもエイデンに遭遇する。あのリストはどんどん長くなっていくばかり —— 過去に掲載済みのストーリーのリンクはこちらです。 *** 28 「ねえビーナス、お願い」装具をもっとしっかり脚に巻きつけようともがきながら、レックスは肩で携帯を持とうとした。 「ごめん、すごく仕事が忙しいの。トリッシュに行ってもらうように電話したから」 「トリッシュ? いつから彼女が私のお気に入りになったの?」立ち上がり、段ボール箱の間を通って、トイレにたどり着いた。 「ジェン、今週末は出かけてるの——ほんと、都合がいいわよね。だから、トリッシュかマリコのどっちかなのよ」 (うわっ)「分かった。何時に来てくれるの?」 「あの子

Cleo’s Drawstring Purse knitting pattern w/ @KnitPicks CotLin

Kari Trumbo is one of the twelve authors participating with me in the Christian Contemporary Romance anthology, Save the Date , which releases September 15. Kari’s novella in the anthology is titled January Hope . In celebration, I wrote a knitting pattern for the lace drawstring purse used by Kari’s heroine, Cleo! (In case you missed it, here are the links for my interview with Kari part 1 and part 2 . Tomorrow I’ll post an excerpt of one of Kari’s other books, Better Than First .) This is a pretty and practical little bag used by the heroine Cleo in Kari Trumbo’s novella, January Hope . Knit in a cotton/linen blend yarn, it’s just large enough for a cell phone and a small wallet. In the book, Cleo’s bag was a coral shade, but the bag I knit here is a chocolate brown color. The lace pattern is the Double Rose Leaf stitch pattern originally published on page 195 in The Lady's Assistant, volume 2 by Mrs. Jane Gaugain, published in 1847. ( You can download a scanned .pdf

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

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year! This year is the Year of the Rabbit. The Chinese zodiac is split into 12 animals, and their years are 12 years apart. My mom was born in the Year of the Rabbit, so you could calculate her age if you wanted to. :) My humorous Christian romantic suspense serial novel, Year of the Dog , is a reference to the Chinese zodiac because the heroine is a dog trainer. It’s a prequel to my Warubozu Spa Chronicles series, which is set in my birth state of Hawaii. Here’s the book description: Year of the Dog serial novel by Camy Tang Marisol Mutou, a professional dog trainer, is having a bad year. While renovating her new dog kenneling and training facility, she needs to move in with her disapproving family, who have always made her feel inadequate—according to them, a job requiring her to be covered in dog hair and slobber is an embarrassment to the family. She convinces her ex-boyfriend to take her dog for a few months … but discovers that his brother is the irat