Pining for the Wounded Earl (Preview)


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Chapter One

John Parker, the Earl of Morley, had been sitting in the lounging chair of his drawing room for quite some time. How long exactly, he could not fathom, given that he had spent most of it in a mindless trance, staring intently at the hypnotic flames that swayed in the large fireplace before him. It was not the first time he had found himself in such a state, and it likely would not be his last.

It had not been his usual demeanour for enjoying life to the fullest. John was ordinarily an energetic and easily pleased character. The recent death of his brother, Andrew, however, had all but consumed him in the last month. He could hardly say he had tried to forget that dreadful night. He did not seem to have the strength left to do so. Reliving the fateful day over and over in these past weeks, he sat there again that morning and once more slipped back to the loud and bustling tavern they had found themselves frequenting.

The room was hot and smelled of smoke, sweat, and tobacco. Men lined the bar, some busy downing their ale and conversing with their companions if they had one. Others were calling out to the barman to try and attract his attention. Small tables that were scattered about the place were occupied by men and women alike, all seemingly having a good time. There were even two musicians at the large fireplace playing a fiddle and a small bodhran, likely Irish men by the sound of the melody. 

Cackling women competed with the rowdy noise of the men and the music, and John could not have felt more delighted as the atmosphere swirled around him. Andrew and John had finished their first drink, and John threw his arm out to the barman to garner his attention for another.

‘What on earth possessed you to come into this place, John? It is hardly your usual haunt,’ Andrew said, looking warily about him.

John laughed, for he was usually jolly and energetic. He loved life and everything he had experienced so far, and when an opportunity for adventure arose, it was John who dragged Andrew to join him in it. Inheriting their father’s black hair and brown eyes, both brothers were tall and athletic. Yet, while James was energetic and loved to have fun, Andrew had always been a little more serious. 

While John had ventured to such places with friends previously, this was the first time he had brought Andrew with him.

‘That is exactly the point, little brother,’ John grinned. ‘Do you not find that you get bored at times, seeing the same faces in the same places? All their pomp and arrogance would quite drive you mad.’

‘They are not all like that, John.’ Andrew smirked.

‘Oh, I know. And yet sometimes, I do like a change of scenery and being amongst people we never see. Besides, they almost always seem to be having a great time, and dare I say it, more fun than many of the morose older men at those gentlemen’s clubs.’

‘We are staying for another then, I suppose,’ Andrew said, lifting his now empty glass.

‘Indeed, we are. Look around you.’ John gestured around the room. ‘Is this atmosphere not simply invigorating in its base state? No one cares what others are thinking of them. There is none of this need to impress another. Everyone is here to simply have a good time. I like that, Andrew.’

It had been several beers later that they had found themselves at a card table in a back room. Another small bar, if one could call a simple wooden counter such a thing, stood across the far side of the room manned by a fraught young woman, busily trying to keep up with the demands of the men who now filled the room. The gamblers huddled around each table, drinks in one hand and cards in the other. A pile of coin sat messily in the middle.

‘I see you are happy we stayed now.’ John smirked at his brother as he won yet another hand. The third in as many games.

‘You know the way it goes, John. My luck will change soon enough.’

The other men at their table mumbled and nodded in agreement, clearly experienced and long-time gamblers who knew well that Lady Luck did not stay by their side for any length of time.

‘Still,’ John continued, ‘had we not stayed, your purse would not now be a little fatter.’

Andrew laughed and took another swig of his beer before throwing down another card. It had been a moment later when the easy-going atmosphere that swirled about them suddenly changed, and a great ruckus that began at the table next to them caused every man in the room to pay attention. 

‘I saw you!’ One man bellowed, his face red with rage. He was a sour-looking soul—a stocky man with large jowls that wobbled as he spoke. John had noticed his ruddy complexion earlier, and he had little doubt that, like many in the room, it was due to his fondness for drink. The shade of red had deepened greatly, however, with his anger.

‘You are a liar,’ the accused man defended. Quite the opposite to his accuser, this man was scrawny and thin with a long and crooked nose. ‘I will not be called a cheat. I won that game fair and square,’ he retorted.

Another punter who sat beside the accuser nodded in agreement with the accusation. ‘No, you are cheating. You are a thieving beggar and a liar to boot. Hand over your winnings this minute!’

The back and forth intensified, and soon enough, the men were on their feet, their chairs crashing backwards with the swiftness of their movements. It all seemed to escalate from there. Clearly, the stocky, sour-faced man who had made the first accusation was not alone, for as the argument grew more intense and the atmosphere more dangerous, several men from the surrounding tables, including their own, suddenly jumped up and joined him. 

As his group of men banded together, so did other groups of men, and John quickly realised that there were several alliances in the room. The row now involved most of the men that had been present, and very rapidly, things became physical, for as soon as the first punch was thrown, all hell broke loose. 

Tables and chairs were scattered, glasses were smashed, men were grabbed and punched and fell to the ground. Others tumbled over the chairs and tables. It was a great raucous, and John knew it was very much time they made their departure.

‘Come, Andrew,’ John yelled, trying to make his voice heard over the riot. ‘It is high time we left.’

Andrew nodded vigorously, and both men stood from the table, trying as much as possible to extricate themselves from what was happening. But the room was small and packed with people, and getting out of it was not as easy as it had been getting in. Many of those in the room wanted to take the fight outside, and as though being carried on a wave in a sea of bodies, Andrew and John left with the crowd rather than being able to escape it. 

The backroom exit led out onto a small cobblestone yard at the back of the tavern, not much bigger than the room inside had been. Andrew had searched quickly for their escape route and noted an alley only a few feet away. 

‘Come on, Andrew,’ John called to his brother, who had been following only a few steps behind. 

John pushed his way through the fighting and had made it to the alley, free and clear. Turning back, he noticed that Andrew was almost clear, and with determined effort, had broken free from the great crowd of men still yelling and cursing and throwing punches. 

‘Hurry, Andrew,’ John yelled.

Andrew nodded and was almost out of it when John suddenly saw the stocky man who had started the whole thing coming up behind his brother. The man had his angry eyes on Andrew, and though John called out to try and warn him, he could not reach his brother to stop what he knew was about to happen.

With a look of furious rage, the stocky man reached out and grabbed the shoulder of Andrew’s coat with one hand while raising a threatening fist in the air with another. Catching a grip on Andrew’s clothing, the man spun Andrew around with a great force and brought his fist down into his face, all in one swift movement. Before John could even move from the spot he felt almost planted in, Andrew was propelled backwards, his feet completely lifted off the ground. In another second, his head landed with a sickening thud on the cobblestones behind him.

Even as John reached him after pulling himself from his frozen stupor, a pool of dark red liquid began oozing from his brother’s head across the small stones. Dropping to his knees, John carefully lifted Andrew at the shoulders, resting his head on his thighs. With tears in his eyes and a knowing that ran through every cell of his body, he called out Andrew’s name over and over at the top of his lungs. Yet, Andrew did not answer. John knew as he looked down at his brother’s glazed eyes—eyes that remained open but could not see that his younger brother would never answer him ever again. 

Even in turmoil, John looked up at the man who had thrown the punch with an expression of complete helplessness. The man stood there, still as a statue, as his expression slowly turned from rage to horror as he realised what he had done. His final expression betrayed his panic, and while the stunned astonishment had held him there for another small second, the fear finally took over, and he suddenly darted toward the alley and vanished from John’s sight. John was left there on the cobblestones. The riotous fighting, yelling, and bawling still continuing behind him, as his brother lay there, lifeless in his arms.


‘Captain James Bartley is here to see you, my lord,’ Benton said.

John had not even heard his butler knocking on the drawing room door, and as he now looked over to Benton in a dazed state, it was clear by Benton’s expression of concern that he worried for his master’s well-being. ‘Are you all right, my lord?’ he asked, confirming John’s assumption.

‘I am fine, Benton. Thank you. Please, show in the captain.’

Captain James Bartley strode into the drawing room when Benton opened the door a little wider. Evidently having heard the interaction between John and Benton, he entered with an uneasy frown lining his brow.

‘Can I get you anything else, my lord?’ Benton asked.

‘Yes, some tea, I think, Benton. Thank you.’ John nodded.

‘Very good, my lord.’

James did not speak for a moment and instead, walked across the room and lowered himself in a chair that sat opposite to John, keeping his concerned expression on John the entire time. Once upon a time, John would have joked and told his closest friend to give over with such anxiousness. However, these days, John could not care less about anything.

‘You are worrying me, my dear friend,’ James began after another moment. ‘I sent a note that I was coming to see you. Did you receive it?’

John absently looked up toward the mantle where several missives sat all unopened. James followed John’s gaze and then nodded knowingly. 

‘I see.’ James sighed. ‘This cannot carry on, John. It has been a month already. Will you not join me even for a ride out in the carriage? We need not get out and you do not need to speak to anyone. Yet, I do feel getting out of this house or even that chair….’ James gestured to the chair that John had practically commandeered this past month, ‘would do you a world of good.’

‘I do not want to leave this house or this chair,’ John replied quietly. ‘Why should I go out and enjoy the fresh air when my brother will never get such an opportunity again?’

‘I know Andrew would not see it that way,’ James replied carefully.

‘Andrew cannot see it any way any longer, James. He is dead!’ John choked out.

James sighed heavily but did not appear upset or offended at his friend’s words. They had been companions for too many years for James not to understand John’s heavy grief. In fact, it was only James who dared to come and see him these days, for all those who had visited since Andrew’s death had simply not known what else to do or say when John had been incapable of holding a conversation. 

‘I do know that, John,’ he replied quietly. ‘But Andrew’s death was not your fault. You cannot keep blaming yourself in such a way, punishing yourself as though this was your doing. You are sitting there, looking like the shell of the man I once knew. You look dishevelled, your once handsome face looks as though it has not seen a razor in some time, and your hair could do with a trim.’

‘I do not care about my personal appearance, James,’ John replied. ‘I only care about avenging my brother’s death. Yet—even I know that is a stupid desire and one I am likely not going to take on anytime soon. I have done enough damage both to myself and my mother, without making it any worse.’

‘It was not you who did the damage, John. You know full well who—’ 

‘It was I who decided to go drinking in a tavern in a less reputable part of London,’ John cut in. ‘So busy drinking in the atmosphere of men and women of the lower class, most of whom are harmful creatures, I did not consider the danger in which I was putting either myself or Andrew. We ought never to have been there.’

‘Dreadful things happen every day in London. You need not have been in such a place for a bad thing to happen,’ James reasoned.

‘Yet I was. And more so, it was by my suggestion. Andrew would still be here if I had decided to go to White’s or some other place. I was not there for him when he needed me, James. I looked back, but I could not…I could not reach him in time,’ John replied, emotion choking him as he spoke.

‘Would you not at least return to Devon, John?’ James said kindly. ‘I am certain both you and your mother would benefit from each other’s comfort. Perhaps it would be better for you to be surrounded by people you know in your own family home.’

‘I cannot.’ John shook his head vehemently. ‘I am in no state to offer my mother comfort, and besides, I cannot look at her. The guilt I am already tormented with almost overwhelms me. It was difficult enough at the funeral. If I must see her suffering with her own grief every day as I saw her suffering coming up to, and at the funeral, I do believe I might….’ John did not finish, yet he had no doubt that James knew well what he meant.

‘You tell me you are suffering with guilt, and yet, I cannot reconcile your reasons. You were not the man who struck Andrew. This Arnold character did.’

‘Andrew would never have….’

‘I will not listen to that reasoning any longer, John,’ James said firmly. ‘You are wallowing in this mire of guilt. Guilt that does not belong to you. You did everything you could to get your brother out of a dangerous situation. There is only one person to blame in these circumstances, and it is not you!’ James stated.

A heavy silence doused the room with the intensity of his words. If any other person had said such a thing, John may well have retaliated. Yet, James had seen more death than most. On the battlefield, he had watched as the souls of his men seeped out of them at his very feet. If there was anyone who understood death and the overwhelming emotion it brought with it, James could clearly claim that merit. 

Knowing each other from university, they had connected quickly and became firm friends, trusting each other with their desires for the future and the secrets they told no other. When James had come home after the war, however, he had not returned unscathed. For while he had gotten away with scrapes and bruises, but the real damage had been done much deeper in his soul. He seemed older and wiser and far more serious. He had left for France still a boy, at least in maturity, but he had returned as a man.

Eventually, James let out a heavy breath. ‘What word is there of Arnold with regards to the magistrates?’

‘It would appear it is my word against Mr Arnold’s, even though he is a crooked wine merchant, neck-deep in illegal activities, and well-known to be involved in a ruthless gang in London,’ John replied bitterly. ‘It is likely that those people who were with him in the tavern on that day were all part of such a gang, though I have not yet discovered that information. I have sent men looking for Arnold but so far, to no avail.’

‘And there is no other who can verify what occurred?’ James asked.

‘With all the fighting and chaos, I was the only one who saw what happened. Even if I was not, it is highly unlikely any other would speak against the man with that kind of connections. I, on the other hand, do not fear such recompense. Still, justice cannot be served if I cannot find him.’

‘Then, I too will send word out. I have many contacts in London, John. I promise you, I will be thorough in my search.’

‘I appreciate your support, James, but I cannot ask you to put such effort into something that is not your battle to fight.’

‘You did not ask me. I offered,’ James said pointedly. ‘Besides, I have been involved in many battles that were not mine. Another for my closest friend will hardly pain me.’


When James finally left, and John had spent some time thinking on his friend’s words, John’s thoughts eventually returned to thinking about Andrew, as they had done for most of the last few weeks. There had been three years between them, and only being on the cusp of reaching four and twenty, Andrew had hardly experienced life. 

Desiring his life to be planned out, Andrew had spoken of travel around England and then perhaps Europe. He joked of how he might meet a beautiful French maiden to bring home to their mother, and when wed, they could make her happy by making her a grandmother. John had laughed at Andrew’s excitement and such planning ahead. He had relayed to him several times that there was no rush—that he had all the time in the world to do all the things he desired. At the time, John had truly believed that.

Andrew would now never experience travel or marriage or the joy of having children as he had so greatly desired. He would not experience the luxury of his nobility and all the joy that life may have brought him. His life had been cut short, far too short, and now, John was left to continue on without him. But how could he carry on living a life that his brother would never experience? How could he find joy in anything any longer when the memory of his brother’s dreams would always be so firmly etched into his mind?

The answer was simple. He could not. He would not. If Andrew could not enjoy such a life, then neither would he. Though John could hardly bear to wake up in the morning, he could not put his mother through the death of another son, yet he did not deserve to enjoy his life of luxury and nobility either. It was not possible to bring Andrew back, no matter how much he wished for it. Yet, John could choose to live a different life, a life of penance and humility. 

No one need know who he really was if he moved about the country as a traveller. Instead of an existence plagued with guilt for the very living of it, John could spend the rest of his days as a commoner. It was still existing, but his would now be a life he more deserved after the pain he had caused. Perhaps, he could even relinquish his title altogether.

Chapter Two

Harriet Winchester, the Dowager Viscountess Sidmouth, allowed the tussled curls of her brown hair to fall down the sides of her face as she dropped her head into her hands in despair. Her elbows rested on her writing desk, which was now littered with bill after bill, and after having scoured through them for nearly half of the morning, her eyes were dry and tired, and her head had begun to throb.

It had only been three weeks since Harriet had come out of her year of mourning, yet that year had been eventful enough. Of course, the news of her husband’s death had quite devastated her. She had fallen in love with Henry Winchester so very easily, for he had been a kind and gentle man, treating her with tenderness. They had married nearly a year after they met, and when they had settled in their country manor in Chelmsford, Harriet had been happy. Her only regret had been that her mother, having passed away when Harriet was only nine years old, was sadly not able to be by Harriet’s side to support her and join in her happiness. 

While her father had approved of the wedding, given that Harriet had begged him to let her marry Henry, Baron Harris certainly had not approved of Henry himself. In her father’s eyes, his son-in-law had simply not been aggressive or wise enough in his dealings. Nor had he the connections her father would have preferred. In a way, it had been her father’s fault that Henry had gone to war at all. The baron had climbed the ranks to Lieutenant General when he served in India, a decorated man and highly thought of amongst the hierarchy of both his peers and much further afield. Henry had to make great efforts to impress him, and Harriet was certain at the time, that Henry had only decided to serve in France to try and gain her father’s approval, for all the good that had done him.

A month after she had received the devastating news, Harriet began receiving letters from people she had never heard of, and given the grief she was already suffering, what she read only perturbed her further. They were neither pleasant letters nor expressions of sympathy but demands for payment of monies due. It had not taken Harriet long to realise that she was in trouble.

‘Oh, Mrs Pennington!’ Harriet cried one morning after receiving yet another promissory note several months after Henry’s death. ‘What on earth are we to do?’

Mrs Pennington, a gentle but firm widow, had been Harriet’s governess for many years when she was a child. When Harriet, having married and recently moved into the manor Henry had bought for them, had heard that she was looking for work, she immediately hired Mrs Pennington as her housekeeper. What could be better than having a woman who had known Harriet for such a length of time, who had been there through good times and bad, particularly at the death of her mother, as the person who would oversee the running of the household? 

Once more, Mrs Pennington had been a great comfort to Harriet when the news of Henry’s death arrived at the door, and since then, had been invaluable in both her wisdom and rationality.

‘You are going to have to do something, my lady,’ Mrs Pennington had said with a sad expression. ‘I understand you are still grieving, and this sudden discovery of your late husband’s secret life has hardly made it any easier. Yet your husband’s gambling still needs to be dealt with completely. It will do no good to bury your head in the sand, for all these demands will still be here when you lift it again.’

Harriet had nodded in agreement, and between them, they had spent hours going through the finances. Harriet was quite devastated to discover that Henry had all but eaten through his inheritance with his gambling habit, and it did not take long before the small amount of savings they had garnered was gone too. He had even used some of her dowry. 

When she had faced the problem head-on, and the reality of her situation became apparent, Harriet had wondered if Henry’s decision to fight for his country had been less of a patriotic decision and more of a need to escape. He had been extended credit with far too many people, and clearly, given his title and perhaps the fact that he was married to a baron’s daughter, especially such a well-known and decorated one, it had given him more leverage.

Over the following months, further demands for payments were made and slowly, Harriet had made more and more difficult decisions to ensure she did not end up in debtors’ prison herself. She had started by selling much of the beautiful furniture she had purchased for their new home, and room by room, more items were sacrificed to pay for her late husband’s vice. When all but what was necessary to keep had been sold, Harriet had been forced to look to other avenues, and soon enough, the horses were sold, as well as the large carriage, which she replaced with a smaller one.

Over several more months, each creditor had finally been paid off, and yet, when it was all over, Harriet had hardly been relieved. While she was receiving a regular income from the tenants on Henry’s land, it was hardly enough to cover the wages of all the staff that remained, and one by one, Harriet had to let many of her servants go. The gardener, stable hands, footmen, and the maids, had all been brought into the drawing room to see her as Harriet had relayed to them the bad news.

‘I am so dreadfully sorry, Garner,’ Harriet had said as the gardener stood before her with his hat in his hands. ‘I so wish that things were different, but unfortunately, I simply cannot afford to pay you any longer. I know well all the work you have done and that you have been my handyman as well as tending the garden these past few years. Yet, it is not fair that I do not give you an opportunity to find work that will put bread on your table.’

‘Please, my lady. You have done the best you can do,’ the kindly man had said softly. ‘Do not think that it has not been noticed what you sacrificed first. You could have let us all go and kept your pretty things. You did not. We are all grateful that you have kept us on as long as you did. I am just so sorry for all your troubles, my lady.’

Graciously, Garner had left the drawing room having refrained from saying what was likely on all the servants’ minds, for Mrs Pennington had kept Harriet in the loop as to the atmosphere of the house as things had become progressively worse.

‘They know full well that it is not your fault, my lady,’ Mrs Pennington had told her. ‘There is blame to be placed, yet it is not at your feet that they are placing it.’

‘You mean Henry?’ Harriet had pressed.

‘None of them would speak out of turn, my lady.’

‘I would not care if they did, Mrs Pennington.’ Harriet had sighed. ‘All of them are right. My late husband has left me nothing but grief and bad debts and no matter how much I loved him, I cannot deny how very angry I have been with him over these last months. His selfishness has caused me no end of trouble, and while I ought to have spent this year grieving for his loss, instead, I have been at my wit’s end.’


Harriet now sat at her writing desk feeling utterly exhausted. There were no more tears, for she did not think she had any left to shed. Those she had cried for Henry were long gone, and any she had shed afterwards were for the dire situation she now found herself in. Over the last year, her life had been stripped bare, and she had been left to run a household on skeletal staff with little income.

There was a knock on the study door, but she did not answer, for Mrs Pennington opened it without a reply as she always did. Balancing a tray precariously as she entered, the China teacups rattled with the movement as Mrs Pennington crossed the room, having closed the door behind her.

‘Now,’ she said, placing the tray on a low table. ‘I thought you might need a strong cup of tea.’

Harriet turned and sighed heavily. ‘Thank you, Mrs Pennington. I do not know what I would have done without you over this last year.’

When Mrs Pennington had first come to work for Harriet, she had been a little plumper, her short greying hair framing a much rounder face. Harriet could not know if it was the near-continuous stress of what they had dealt with, or the fact that she had been loaded with more duties and found herself run off her feet given the lack of staff, that the weight had slowly fell from her body, but now, Mrs Pennington was more slender than Harriet ever remembered.

‘I am only glad I was here to help you, my lady. The idea that you would have been left to cope with all of this on your own, does not bear thinking about. I have only done my duty.’

‘No, Mrs Pennington, you have done far more than that. Looking after the household is a big enough responsibility and the only one you were employed to do. Without your help and guidance and continued support, I do believe I might have given up entirely. In fact,’ Harriet said with a sigh, glancing back at the papers still sitting at her elbow, ‘I perhaps may still do so.’

‘Nonsense,’ Mrs Pennington said firmly. ‘You have not given up yet, and I do believe the worst is over. Yes, we are struggling now, but I have faith that our fortunes will yet turn.’

‘You are the only one who believes such, Mrs Pennington. Without Garner, the house is falling down around our ears, and we only have Cook, Miller, and Lumley left to help you to take care of the house.’

‘Well, Miller and Lumley are hardworking maids and do a very good job. Cook is as faithful as always. As for repairs—we will simply do what we have had to do in the past. Hire a worker to come in and fix the most important things.’

‘I can just about pay you and the rest of the staff, Mrs Pennington. I can hardly afford a handyman for the repairs. If needs must, I will be forced to use what is left of my dowry….’

‘Please, my lady,’ Mrs Pennington implored. ‘The month is almost up. There will be payments coming in from the tenants soon. I do think it best for you to leave your dowry well enough alone until it is absolutely necessary.’

‘I do think we may have passed that point, Mrs Pennington. Oh, what am I to do?’ Harriet sighed. ‘This was not how my life was meant to be. I was supposed to be happily married to a wonderful husband who would come back from the war so we could start a family. None of that will now come to pass.’

‘Do not talk in such a way, my lady. You are still a young and beautiful woman. You are only five and twenty. Your life has hardly begun. There is plenty of time to find another husband.’

‘And put myself back in a position of wondering if I can trust the man?’ Harriet retorted.

Mrs Pennington had now poured the tea and gestured for Harriet to leave her desk and sit in the soft comfort of a lounging chair. Mrs Pennington continued, as Harriet did as she bid and moved across the room.

‘One terrible experience does not mean every experience afterwards will be the same, my lady. Not all men are deceitful.’

‘Truly, I cannot even think of it, Mrs Pennington. I could not imagine finding another husband who might lie or deceive me. And yet, I may have little choice. I love this house so much, but clearly, I have been backed into a corner. Either sell the house and move into a smaller dwelling that is within my budget or marry again. The problem is, I do not wish to do either.’

Mrs Pennington did not reply to that comment. Perhaps it was because she did not know what to say, or maybe it was some other reason. Either way, she stood a little way to the side and turned to look at Harriet.

‘Can I get you anything else while you take a small rest, my lady? Perhaps something to eat?’

‘No, thank you, Mrs Pennington.’ Harriet shook her head. ‘It will soon be time for lunch, and if I am honest, I hardly have the stomach for that.’

‘Well, we cannot have you getting ill, my lady,’ Mrs Pennington said with a firm tone, but a kind smile. ‘While I have witnessed the huge amount of pressure you have been under, I would not be so presumptuous to say that I know how you feel. I can, however, speak of what I have witnessed. You have a resilient spirit that few I know could match, and yet you need to take care of yourself. Even if you do not feel particularly hungry, you must at least try to eat something.’

‘You are right, Mrs Pennington, and I will. It is just that my appetite has been lost this last little while.’

‘I am well aware, for I have noticed your portions getting considerably smaller. It is not good for you, my lady. If nothing else can motivate you, think of the cost of having a physician come out to see to you.’ Mrs Pennington nodded with her eyebrows raised to press her point home.

Mrs Pennington turned and left the study, closing the door behind her. Once more, the room was silent, and Harriet was left with the lingering thought of not being able to afford to be ill. It was quite a ludicrous idea and yet, a poignant one given her circumstances.

A little earlier in the day, Mrs Pennington had suggested Harriet might want to go and speak to her father about her troubles. He had recently returned from several months in France, and no doubt he would have heard the gossip, for bad news travelled as quickly in Chelmsford as it did in London. He had sent her a missive, asking her to come and see him, and perhaps it was some kind of olive branch.

They had fought just before he had left for France, and both being as stubborn as the other, had not made amends before he travelled. Perhaps it was time Harriet swallowed her pride and did go and see her father. If nothing else, she ought to make peace with him. He was her only living relative, after all.

“Pining for the Wounded Earl” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

Dowager Viscountess Sidmouth, Harriet Winchester, is mourning her husband, who left her in a financial bind. While her country manor is falling apart, Harriet offers a work-for-stay arrangement to John, a young traveller. Little did she know that within a short space of time, she would find herself hopelessly in love with him. Her life will soon take a strange turn though, when in a life-changing moment, she finds out that John had deceived her all along…

Can Harriet forgive him for his lies after all the heartache she has been through?

John Parker, the Earl of Morley, is riddled with guilt when his brother is killed. No longer believing he deserves to have a noble life, John commits to becoming a commoner, in search of work. However, while working for the Dowager Viscountess Sidmouth, he slowly realises that Harriet may be the only one to complete his life. Nevertheless, dangers arise on the road – but none as difficult as the trial his heart is going through.

Will he be able to convince her that his deception was for good reason or will he eternally regret not being honest from the very start?

Harriet and John have both suffered and with their damaged souls, they find comfort in each other’s enlightening love. When the truth is revealed though, Harriet and John’s romance is brutally challenged and that is not the only hardship that awaits them. Will their tender bond be irreversibly broken or will two hearts that have connected, find a way to grow even closer than before?

“Pining for the Wounded Earl” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.

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3 thoughts on “Pining for the Wounded Earl (Preview)”

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, dear Philip. I truly appreciate it!

      So glad you enjoyed the story! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

      Thank you again and have a lovely day!

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