Skip to main content

The Spinster's Christmas - Chapter 19a #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 19a

Ellie was missing.

Miranda had walked back from the Lower Gardens with her and the other children, and there had been much bustling about as they shed their cloaks, scarves, caps, and mittens. The nursery smelled strongly—and not very pleasantly—of wet wool, freshened only in the corners where pine boughs were tucked.

Dinner for the children was earlier than usual today because of the New Year’s Eve dinner party. The kitchen simply could not prepare the food for all the children and the grand party at the same time. But when it was time to eat, Ellie was nowhere to be found.

Miranda spent twenty minutes searching the nursery wing, in every closet and corner. She had begun to feel real concern when Jean, the under-maid, came up to her in the deserted hallway. “Miss, I found Miss Ellie.”

Miranda had not seen Jean since the incident in the family wing two days ago, and her appearance now with Ellie missing made Miranda’s breath freeze in her throat. “Where is she?”

“If you’ll follow me, miss.”

“I wouldn’t follow you if you promised the way to Paradise.”

Jean surprised her by stepping close to her, enough that Miranda could see the hard lines along her mouth and eyes. In a low voice, she said, “You’ll come with me if you want to see Ellie again.”

“If you’ve hurt her, you’ll see what I’m capable of,” Miranda said in a dark voice.

That startled Jean, and she blinked her pale eyes twice, thrice. Then they narrowed. “If you don’t come with me, she’ll be hurt badly.”

Miranda set her jaw, then noticed Jean was wearing a cloak. “Are we going outside? Let me get my cloak.” Jean looked as though she would object simply to be contrary, but Miranda added, “I will come quietly if you let me get my cloak.”

Jean came into the bedroom with her as she retrieved her wool cloak, and did not object when she also snatched up her bonnet and Gerard’s black and red scarf. Miranda then followed Jean down the stairs.

Michael would be helping with the preparations for the dinner party. Would they pass the dining room or the kitchens? Could she catch his eye?

But they descended to the family wing and then took the back stairs to the gardens. They saw no other servants, for they were all helping guests in their bedrooms or preparing for the dinner.

They turned toward the south end of the estate, but they did not cross the lawn, instead skirting the edge of the forest. Gerard’s bedroom window faced in the opposite direction. He would never see her.

The wind had risen, and it cut through her thin cloak like ice daggers. But her heart felt even more frozen. Was despair always so cold?

After taking a short trail through a narrow strip of woods, they came upon a dirt road used by the tenant farmers. An old traveling coach sat fifty yards away, driven by one of the men who had attacked them in the garden and at the skating party. It was the taller one, who had injured Gerard.

The coach opened and the round-faced man who had tried to take Miranda stepped out. He nodded to someone inside, and then Miranda saw Harriet.

She exited the vehicle gracefully. She had deep lines in her hard face, but her hair, visible under her bonnet, was still thick and beautiful, a rich brown color. Her eyes glittered when she spotted Miranda, but she didn’t smile.

“Randa!” Ellie’s voice carried to her on the wind.

“Ellie!” She hurried forward, and now saw Ellie sitting in a corner of the coach, looking small and very cold. She had her cloak, but no mittens or cap.

Miranda had no need to say anything to Harriet. The woman helped Ellie to the ground, shoving her roughly toward Jean. She also tossed the maid a leather pouch that clinked. “My thanks, Jean.” Harriet’s voice was low and rough, but would sound sultry to most men.

She issued no orders to Miranda, but simply turned her blue gaze upon her and waited.

Harriet’s silence was strangely frightening. Miranda climbed into the coach, and Harriet and the man followed. In a moment they were in motion, leaving Wintrell Hall far behind.

“I thought you were dead,” Miranda said to Harriet.

“You probably wished I was.” Idly, Harriet fingered the embroidered edge of her traveling cloak. While the material was not rich, it was of good quality, as were her gloves and bonnet trimmed in velvet ribbon. She had apparently not died a sickly prostitute, as the gossip had hinted, but had perhaps found some patron. She had the means to pay Jean, and probably these men, and to rent this traveling coach.

“Where are you taking me?”

“London.” Harriet stifled a yawn.

“You’re taking me to London to kill me?”

Miranda finally had Harriet’s full attention. “Kill you? No. I haven’t spent all this time and money to find you simply to kill you. I’ll toss you into the same neighborhood where I was stranded after you had me sacked without a reference.”

“You didn’t deserve a reference,” Miranda snapped.

“I didn’t deserve anything that happened to me,” Harriet hissed. “But you will.”

“Why—”

“Hold your tongue or I shall have Todge cut it out for you.” Harriet nodded to the man across from them. He gave Miranda a narrow gaze from eyes that were still slightly swollen from where she’d thrust her fingers into them, three days ago.

They traveled in silence for a mile. Miranda saw the forested area on either side of the road and knew they were about to leave Belmoore lands.

She knew exactly when they had to slow down because of the potholes in the public road.

She leaned down as if removing a stone from her shoe, grabbed two handfuls of dirt and straw from the floor of the coach, and flung them in Todge’s eyes. Then she grabbed at the door latch and flung herself from the moving coach.

***

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