by Fran Connor
Genre: Historical Romance
Victorian England with its hypocritical mores, a poor orphan girl elevated to High Society where she learns how to be a 'Lady', a handsome and wealthy love interest and a dastardly baddie combine to make this Romatic Thriller a page turner that you won't put down. The road up from the gutter is long; the way back may be quicker unless Victoria can outwit her Nemesis and overcome her jealousy.
Richard stood behind Victoria and put his arms around her to hold the gun in both his hands. ‘Now take the weapon from me, carefully.’
She transferred it into her own hands and held it tight in a two-handed grip. Richard adjusted her hands so she held it firmly but not too tightly. She could feel his breath on her neck. A few butterflies cavorted around inside her. Since their encounter in the field was disturbed by the gypsies, they had not spent any time together, alone. He guided her hands until she was looking down the five-inch barrel. Hitting the bucket was the last thing on her mind. Being engulfed in his strong arms was all she wanted.
‘Now squeeze the trigger, gently.’
She eased back the trigger until suddenly a deafening bang went off and the gun kicked upwards in her hands. The noise made her ears ring. ‘Did I hit it?’
‘Well, you hit the manure about three feet to the right of the bucket.’
Richard still had his arms around Victoria. He guided her hands back to the shooting position. Carefully she squeezed the trigger and then closed her eyes just before the bang.
‘How was that?’
‘Two feet above. You closed your eyes. Keep them open!’
Her third shot tore into the manure just below the bucket; the fourth and fifth hit the target. Richard clipped five more bullets from his pocket with one hand while keeping the other arm around Victoria. She leant back against him. She knew it was not a gun barrel she could feel pressing against her. It sent a tingle of excitement down her spine. He wants me and I want him. To hell with convention.
Now with two arms back around her, Richard reloaded the pistol and put it back into her hands. She lowered it to her side and turned in his arms to face him. She slipped her free arm around his waist.
‘Richard, we cannot go on ignoring what we both feel.’
‘I agree, absolutely. I know it is wrong for us to be together until I am no longer married. But I do not want to wait any longer. We must be very careful to protect your reputation. I confess, Victoria, I have fallen in love with you.’
‘I love you too, Richard.’ Thank goodness, his halo has slipped!
He pulled her to him. Gently their lips met.
Victoria felt a wave of joy surge through her body. At last! At last!
The sound of horses’ hooves and the metal rims of carriage wheels on the stable-yard cobblestones made them quickly separate.
‘Bonnie and your mother are back.’
‘Damn! Sorry!’ said Richard, taking the pistol from her hand. He slipped the gun into his jacket pocket.
‘We need to talk,’ said Victoria.
‘I know. Could you come to my room before dinner this evening? I have something crucial that I need to tell you about Peggy.’
‘Yes. I wish you were coming away with us. I will miss you terribly.’
‘And I you.’
And then a shot of guilt ran through her. ‘But Richard, you are married. I am not sure . . . I know you are going to divorce but . . .’ And then the memory of that kiss and what she felt took over. ‘Yes, Richard. Yes, I will be there. Please do not be shocked. I do not want to wait for the divorce. It is so far in the future.’
‘I will explain everything this evening. You will understand.’
Victoria’s head was in a spin from the kiss. She hardly took in a word that Bonnie said or took notice of the results of their London shopping trip to buy clothes for the holiday, even though there was a stunning white dress for her in the bundle.
Fran Connor is British and lives in SW France with his wonderful wife Viv, their dog Molly and chickens. He claims he's living in that area for the lifestyle and weather which he says helps an author's creative juices. It may just be an excuse to drink wine and lounge in the sun. He writes novels, nine published so far with two more coming out soon.
In addition to novels, he also writes screenplays.
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