Serena Cunningham did not trust Dominic Westcroft, since she was almost certain he had brutally slaughtered her sister, his first wife, in a fit of jealous rage, and she was out to prove he was the cold-blooded killer she believed him to be. All she needed was the opportunity.
Length: Mid Novel
Word Count: 72,114
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, February 2008
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
September, 1888 - Ravenswood Manor – England
As she stepped out of the shiny, black brougham, Serena Cunningham’s buttoned-leather shoe had barely touched the cobbled pavement when she instinctively glanced upwards. The stone gargoyles perched high on the turrets of the immense manor house appeared to glare down at her, their mouths stretched open in demonic grins.
She suspected her perception of evilness was more a figment of her own imaginings than the sculptor’s intent, but the rationalization gave her little comfort given the task she’d set for herself. She noticed the other women seemed more impressed by the size of the manor than its gothic architecture, but then she suspected their girlish romantic illusions protected them from the realities they now faced. Serena had no such illusions. She’d lost them on the night her parents died, ten years ago.
Her older sister had preceded their demise by two years, but Serena remembered that particular night most clearly since she relived it nightly in her dreams. Her parents had been devastated by their daughter’s tragic death, as was she, but at seven even simple things often took on exaggerated proportions.
Serena’s parents did what they could to shield her, while they lived, but when they died her sheltered existence abruptly ended. Her mother’s sister consented to take Serena in, but as she already had a daughter near Serena’s age, she wasn’t all that eager to take on the added responsibility. However, for a substantial portion of Serena’s inheritance, she would do her filial duty.
But money, like all things material, did not last forever. And with Serena’s aunt and uncle, the money lasted only a little more than five years. Three years after that, her aunt and uncle were nearly destitute. And that was why Serena and her cousin Allison found themselves, along with seven other young women, entering the manor of the man Serena had come to loathe. The man, whom society feared too much to ever openly condemn or confront, yet did not hesitate to insult behind his back. The man whose name her own parents had refused to speak aloud without crossing themselves. The man who now offered a thousand pounds for a new bride, only twelve years after he’d brutally murdered his first. Dominic Westcroft.