Love Letters From A Lord Tessa Dare
Love Letters From A Lord Tessa Dare – Violet is a quiet girl. He speaks six languages, but rarely raises his voice. Gentlemen will not knock on her door.
Until the night of the Spindle Cove Christmas Ball, when a mysterious stranger crashes into the ballroom and falls at Violet’s feet. He is wet, cold, bleeding and speaking in an unfamiliar language.
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He has one night to unravel the mystery of this dangerously handsome crook. Is he a smuggler? A fugitive? Enemy intelligence? He needs answers at sunrise, but the captive prefers seduction to confession.
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In December 1813, the officers’ bomb had a devastating effect on Spindle Cove’s economy. Because the village was mostly women, some goods became scarce.
Because there were only four in any ballroom, and here at Spindle Cove there were so many ladies attracted to them.
When he arrived, he announced his position. The cozy hallway of the Summerfield grand hall, cozying up to a glass of mulled wine, lightly scented with hanging basil bouquets.
“Why are you hiding in the corner, Violet?” Kate Taylor walked over and took her hand. Funny and intelligent, Keith was Cove’s resident music teacher. “It’s Christmas. You must dance.”
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Violet shrugged. Superficially, she didn’t fit the wallflower mold. She was a young lady of a fine family, with a generous dowry, and she was quite honest by candlelight, if not a legendary beauty. His musical and pictorial achievements were nothing to boast of, but he spoke six modern languages and could read several dead languages. He wasn’t clumsy, yellow, or lip-smacking.
“Let’s find you a partner,” Kate tugged on his wrist. “This dress of yours would look great over a red military coat.”
“Let him be, Miss Taylor.” Sally Bright joined them. “You know he’s unusual. Because he’s leaving us tomorrow.”
Her parents had finally lost patience with Violet’s long absence. They wanted to see their youngest daughter live and decided that next season would be the season. Tomorrow the family carriage arrives and Violet is forced to pack all her belongings and return to London. To his family’s townhouse. It was very scary and painful next to him.
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Violet frantically ran her gloved hands over the emerald silk. “My parents want me to be home with my family for Christmas.”
“Well, that’s nice, isn’t it?” said Sally. “We glowers spend Christmas hoping our father won’t come. That old blackguard is like hell. He’s got a nasty way of coming in the winter.”
The two properties of the Bright family all had stunning white and blonde hair and ran the village’s Everything Store. Sally manned the booth, cheerfully dealing with both the merchandise and the gossip. The eldest, Errol, brought goods from other towns. The twins, Rufus and Finn, stocked the place, while the anguished mother looked after her youngest children. Their father was almost absent, and from what Violet gathered, not at all.
“But Violet, if you’re going to go tomorrow, you have to dance tonight,” said Kate. “We have to
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He gestured to the other side of the hall. There the assembled soldiers of Spindle Cove stood in a line, as if it were their noble duty to shore up the walls. They wore crab-red coats, snow-white breeches, gold braid, and brass buttons, matching the expression of awkwardness.
Kate shook her head. “We’ve been waiting months for this ball and they’re going to stand like poles and stare at us?”
“I don’t know.” Kate sighed. “Romantic, maybe? Don’t you ever dream that a dark, mysterious, handsome gentleman will suddenly notice you in a crowded ballroom? And he’ll walk across the room to you, ask you to dance, and fall madly in love with you forever?”
The dream that Kate told about happened to her once. In a similar environment, almost a year ago. The man she had adored for years finally noticed her. He locked gazes across the crowded room with her, then carved through the crowd to take her hand.
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“There are happy endings,” Kate said. “You only have to look at Lord and Lady Rickliffe for the evidence.”
“The way he touches the small of her back is so romantic. And the look in his eyes…” Kate sighed sadly. “He is loyal to her. Suzanne is the personification of happiness.”
“Maybe,” Kate said. “But what if luck has nothing to do with it? This is Spindle Cove. Who says we have to wait for men? Maybe we should stop hoping to be noticed and start noticing ourselves.”
All Violet noticed was a scream. A startled scream pierced the crowded ballroom, freezing everyone in place.
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Other guests pressed to the edge of the ballroom, revealing something Violet couldn’t see. A series of gates opened to the garden.
The soldiers reached for the swords hanging at their sides. Violet would have been more relaxed if she hadn’t known that these blades were decorative blades, better suited for slicing soft cheeses than going through intruders.
As master of the house, lord and commander, Lord Rickliffe stepped forward. “Who are you?” he demanded. “What do you want?”
But one thing became clear immediately. The man was not from Spindle Cove. It was a small village, and all the inhabitants knew each other by sight, if not by name. This intruder was a stranger to all of them.
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The men now drew their swords and some of them ran forward. Corporal Thorne looked fully prepared to skewer this man.
But the attacker did not pose a threat for a long time. Before any of the soldiers could reach him, he fell.
He clings to her skirt and tangles as he slides to the floor. As the man’s head met the parquet, a long streak of blood ran down his watered silk.
Violet knelt down. He didn’t have much of a choice. He placed his gloved hand around his assailant’s neck and felt for a pulse. Her satin-covered fingertips turned bright red. And it’s shaking.
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“You can’t tell me you didn’t notice. Just look at those cheekbones. That strong jaw. That nose is pathetic, but those lips are for sin. He’s like a fallen angel, isn’t he?”
Violet removed her soiled gloves and pressed her bare hands to the man’s frozen, dirt-streaked face. He moaned and gripped her skirt tightly.
Sally gave him a sly look. “Whoever he is, he seems to be closer to Lady Winterbottom.”
Violet’s face heated up. He never knew how to play ball, but that situation was completely absent from the moral book. When a man stumbles across Latin and falls at the feet of a lady, should she comfort him? It seemed the only decent thing.
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Then he offered comfort to a wounded man who had made the same mistake before and allowed himself to be given too much. He spent the last year making up for this mistake.
“Excuse me. Let me through.” Mrs. Rickliffe Susanna made her way through the crowd and knelt beside the man. “I need to find the source of his bleeding.”
“He’s the one who needs help,” Suzanne replied. “No delay. He was frozen. And he has a nasty gash on his head, see?
Suzanne let out a small gasp and raised her hands to shoulder height. “Good. Please do it quickly.”
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“Thorn, look at the shoes. I’ll pick the pocket.” Lord Rycliffe patted the man’s chest and waist, rummaging through the pocket of his plain navy blue jacket. “Nothing.”
“Can I do my job now?” Suzanne asked. When her husband nodded, she motioned to the pedestrian. “Bring blankets and bandages immediately.” He turned to the ladies. “Kate, can you bring my tools from the hospital room? Sally, bring me a glass of mulled wine.” After removing his gloves, he placed his bare hand on the wounded man’s leg. “Like ice,” he muttered, winking. “Hot bricks, please,” he raised his head and called to the servants.
Thorn plucked a piece of Irish moss from the man’s shoe. “It’s sea water. He must have washed up in the Cove.”
“Oh dear. But how did it get here if it washed up in the Cove?”
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The stranger began to shake violently. The words spilled from his bruised lips. He muttered a continuous stream of words in a foreign language.
He never learned Romani. Through trial and error, he discovers that one of the women speaks a little Italian and they translate back and forth — with lots of hand gestures and pantomime added to the mix. It wasn’t a fancy translation, but it worked in the end and was enough to help a frightened mother and her feverish baby.
For that, Violet put her emotions aside and focused on the man’s words. “It’s … a sort of Celtic accent from the sounds of things. Not my specialty. Maybe he’s Welsh?”
He held up his hand to beg for silence. Maybe because he wanted to stop even her heartbeat