Miss Eliza Cline, a vicar’s sister, has accepted her life as a quiet industrious spinster.Lord Crestwood, the dashing widowed baron, is the rogue from her past.A chance meeting at a Christmas House party presents a second chance for both of them. But Eliza must decide: has the Baron’s unforgivable sin already doomed their love forever?
This is a story about forgiveness.Over the course of a lifetime, a person is faced with millions of choices, some more difficult than others. And sometimes, we make the wrong ones.In a world filled with hard consequences, we need grace.
The Perfect Christmas
Release Date: December 2019
Series: The Perfect Regency
Book Number: 3 in the series
“Do I know you, Miss…?” He was scowling as he raised a monocle to one eye. The creases around his mouth showed the twelve years that had passed. He seemed the same but… different.
“Miss Cline. Miss Eliza Cline,” she prompted. “From Misty Brooke, the Dog and Pudding Pot.” She could tell he was searching his memory, and then… there it was.
The dawn of recollection.
She curtsied in her plain dress with her ugly brown shawl wrapped around her shoulders. As she lifted her head, she was forced to push the spectacles higher upon her nose. She hadn’t needed them until a few years ago. If she thought he looked older, what on earth must he think when he looked at her?
And then she’d gone and reminded him that she’d once been in service. She was not ashamed of it. She might be in an even worse position if not for her brother.
He made a quick bow but then glanced at his daughter when she tugged at his sleeve.
“I don’t want to share a room with a stranger, Papa.” Her eyes slid toward Eliza. “My gratitude, all the same.”
“You are Mr. Fairchild, are you not?” Eliza demanded his attention once again. But of course, he was no longer a mere mister. “We were acquainted some time ago—”
“I am aware.” He cut her off, staring at her with something of a pained expression.
For years, Eliza had wished for the opportunity to rail at him. She’d wanted to demand answers—demand an explanation that could somehow allow her to make sense of it all. With him standing before her now, though, she merely wished to be acknowledged.
“He is not Mr. Fairchild, madam. He is Lord Crestwood.” The young girl informed her as though offended.
“But we are the Fairchilds.” The young man scowled in his sister’s direction. “Father, Miss Cline’s offer provides the best solution,” he added cajolingly.
“Miss Cline.” Lord Crestwood cocked one eyebrow and then the left side of his mouth lifted as though he’d forgotten how to smile. “You may withdraw your kind offer, if you’d like. If you do not, I’m afraid I’m going to take you up on it, on behalf of my most ill-mannered offspring.”
Eliza swallowed hard. He’d smiled at her before, with both corners of his mouth. Oh, what that smile had done to her twelve years ago.
She ought to withdraw the offer. Have as little as possible to do with this man. But she shook her head. The large chamber she’d been given boasted a bed, easily large enough for two, and also a trundle for the maid. Sharing her room, she reminded herself again, was the Christian thing to do.
And Eliza always did the Christian thing, what with being a vicar’s sister, and all…
“I will not withdraw it.” She tightened her lips so as not to respond to his good looks and charm. Lord Crestwood was obviously married—with children—and then a horrific understanding slowly crept into her conscience—much as a snake might slither out from under a rock.
These two young people were his children and were far older than the age of two and ten.
Unease swirled around her brain as the magnitude of these circumstances hit her with more force than the wind and snow would have had she gone dashing outside.
His children who were almost grown, around the age of fifteen and older, she’d guess. Which meant he was married.
Which meant he had been married twelve years ago.
And that meant that not only had she fornicated outside the bonds of matrimony, but she had committed adultery.
She’d lain with a married man!