Magic of Moonlight, The
Miss Charlotte Purcell considered the old gypsy’s prediction about marrying a handsome nobleman nothing but nonsense, but a waltz in the moonlight and a forbidden kiss lead Charlotte and Lord Knollton on the path to love, passion, and mortal danger.
Length: Full Novel
Word Count: 90,871
Genre: Regency Historical Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, January 2015
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.
All at once, the clop of horses’ hooves and the crack of a whip added their sounds to the spatter of rain. Turning, she observed a team of draft horses pulling a private coach toward her. Charlotte moved off the road onto the wet turf as the conveyance, silhouetted in the waning light, drew closer, its lamps glowing softly in the gloom. Likely, the coachman hoped to arrive at the inn before the roads turned to mud and the wheels of the vehicle bogged down in a rut. Thunder boomed louder this time, but instead of increasing speed, the carriage slowed and came to a stop a few feet from where she stood.
Charlotte looked up at the coachman and his companion. Their thick leather coats and wide-brimmed hats protected them from the lashing rain.
The door opened and a man stepped out into the deluge. Charlotte immediately recognized Lord Knollton. For one unguarded moment, joy warmed her heart. She quickly remembered his inappropriate advances and the shame they could have caused her.
“Miss Purcell.” He touched the brim of his high-crowned hat and nodded in a debonair manner. “May I offer you a ride?”
How did he have the nerve to suggest such a thing after the way he had taken advantage of her last night? “Thank you, my lord, but I’m quite capable of walking to the next town. Besides, my wet clothes will damage your coach’s fine upholstery.” She certainly would not give him the opportunity to ruin her and her chances to succeed in Edinburgh.
“But the town is at least three miles away. In the next quarter hour, it will be so dark you will not be able to see your hand in front of your face. You could tumble into a ditch and break a bone, if you don’t catch your death from this downpour first.”
Already sodden, her coat dragged like the weight of a millstone. Worse, the holes in her boots had allowed the frigid rain to numb her toes. His offer was tempting—almost too tempting—because Charlotte had never felt so cold in her life. Nevertheless, she decided to soldier on and take her chances.
When night fell, she would find her way through the darkness by using the candlelit windows and the street lanterns of the distant town as beacons to guide her. As for falling, she would proceed with caution.
“I shall be fine, my lord.” She tried to sound as firm in her refusal as was politely possible.
“I have better things to do at the moment then to stand in the rain and argue, Miss Purcell.”
“Doubtless, you do, so since I have already declined your offer, I bid you adieu.”
“Stop being an obstinate female and get in the coach this instant,” he snarled, stepping closer to her.
She retreated. “No! I need not take orders from you. You are neither my father nor my employer, my lord.”
“I know Lord Faringdon has turned you out, Miss Purcell. You haven’t a person in the world, and you are at considerable risk on this road with no one to protect you.”
She stifled a gasp. This man knew she was totally vulnerable, and he could take advantage of her with impunity. Yet she refused to show him her fear. “You’re mistaken, my lord. I’m on my way to a friend’s house. Even if I weren’t, I cannot accept your offer, for I have no way to repay your kindness,” she said, as the rain continued to pummel them.
“Do you expect compensation for every service you render, Miss Purcell?”
“No, but I have observed that some people want their good deeds rewarded with certain favors.”
“I prefer to discuss the matter inside the coach.”
“But I do not, so if you will excuse me, I shall be on my way and I’ll leave you to continue on yours.”