Do you enjoy traditional Regency romance?
I love all Regency romance stories, but traditional, clean Regencies are my favorites. I hope you’ll enjoy this latest quick read.
Here’s an except from When She’s A Merry Widow.
Summer, Follyjohn Manor, England, 1817
Everyone in Follyjohn knew that the great house, Moreton Stirling, was haunted. However it seemed that the house’s new owner, Lady Ridley-Hunter, didn’t care.
“It’s a known fact that it’s haunted,” Mr. Wright, Follyjohn’s vicar, told Lady Hollet when he called at Follyjohn Manor for tea. “She won’t be able to hire any servants — surely Lady Ridley-Hunter must know that no one will work there. No matter how much she offers.”
“She has servants. They’re all servants from London,” Dora Douglas informed them. Dora was a widow, with a small estate near Follyjohn.
When Lady Hollet and the vicar both stared at her she giggled, pleased to know something they didn’t. “I sent my dairy man to the house to see whether they needed milk and cheese. He says the house is packed with servants. He said they’re like ants, running around the grounds and the garden. And,” she said somewhat mournfully, “they don’t need milk. They’ve brought over a small herd from one of her father’s estates.”
“Very wealthy,” the vicar said, with satisfaction. “I must call on her. I’m sure she’ll be pleased to contribute to the fund for the new church roof.”
“You can’t call. Her ladyship’s not arrived yet,” Dora said.
“My dear,” Lady Hollet glared at Dora. She wanted to shake her. The woman never shared everything she knew at once, you had to drag news from her.
Dora giggled again. “She’s with her youngest sister, welcoming a nephew into the world — my man asked when they expected her. He said the cook’s assistant told him that she’d arrive when she arrived, and that he was to mind his own business. My man was very put out.”
“I’m surprised the servants stayed — they didn’t see anything in the house?” The vicar asked. “My bishop confirms that it’s haunted. He said he stayed there one night years ago, and would never stay again.”
After her guests left, Lady Hollet went to the writing desk in her small sitting room, and pulled out bundles of letters. Someone had mentioned Lady Ridley-Hunter, but who? It would have to be a couple of years previously, at least. Shortly before the lady married the her late husband. Or perhaps it was later — after he was killed in a carriage accident. Such sadness; he had died just two months after the wedding.
She found the letter, from an old friend, now dead. Filled with gossip, the letter ran over ten pages. Finally she found a mention of recently-widowed Lady Ridley-Hunter.
Strange doings in town, Arabella dearest. One hears such things about Priscilla, Lady Ridley-Hunter — a veritable diamond in her season last year. Whispers only, about her husband’s death — all very unpleasant, and I fear that we shall hear more. I always said that beauty is a curse!
Although she checked every letter from that date until her friend’s death, she found no more mentions of Lady Ridley-Hunter.
Last Hollet put the letters away, and shivered.
That horrid great house, Moreton Stirling, was haunted. Early in her marriage, she had attended a ball there. The London guests stayed in the house; a grand house party.
No one knew what happened at the ball, but after the guests had left, the family did too. The house was closed. There were no more house parties at Moreton Stirling.
The house stayed closed for 40 years.
When She’s A Merry Widow is available now
When She’s A Merry Widow — enjoy.
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