ADAM LOVEDAY REISSUE
First published 1999 ADAM LOVEDAY was the first of a historical drama series starting in 1786 about the Loveday cousins. This year sees the publication of the ninth book about this wild-blooded family. When another reprint was needed the cover was also updated in line with the current look of the series. Hailed as a sweeping family drama, although the series follows the family’s lives chronologically, each book must stand on its own and each story has its own element of romance.
Extract from Adam Loveday introducing the fortune-huntress Meriel who brings passion and upheaval to the family.
Halfway across the square a male voice called her name from the direction of the lych-gate. Meriel’s heart leapt and she ran towards the church. It was Adam. A figure detached itself from the shadows but as the moonlight fell on the man’s face disappointment smote her.
‘St John, why are you hiding in the churchyard?’ The twins’ voices were similar enough to have confused her.
‘Waiting for a chance to see you, my pretty.’ His tone was low and coaxing. ‘I have a gift for you. Something elegant to match your beauty.’
Meriel was intrigued. She had no money of her own and her father was miserly. St John held up his hand and from his fingers dangled a pair of scarlet stockings. Meriel’s eyes widened with delight. She had never possessed anything so fine and was determined to have them.
Even so, she was wary of his intentions. ‘I could not accept such a gift.’ Her manner was coquettish and her voice heavy with reluctance. ‘It would be immodest.’
How so, when they are given as a token of the esteem in which I hold you?’
She still hesitated and, knowing of the rivalry between St John and Adam, she did not want St John bragging to the brother she preferred. ‘Then why do you not come openly to the inn? Do you think my affections can be bought?’ She allowed her anger to show. ‘I have a regard for my reputation, even if you do not, sir.’
Meriel’s reputation was important to her. She had no intention of remaining in this remote fishing village all her life. She would never end up a drudge like her mother. She wanted a life surrounded by every comfort: jewels, velvets, a grand house and a host of servants. She dismissed the limitations of her birth. She had wit and beauty. This last year she had come to know how men lusted after her. So far she had kept herself pure. Her maidenhead was her greatest treasure. It would be bartered for a wedding band and then only to a man who could provide her with the life she craved. She had faith that Adam Loveday would carve his own wealth and destiny. Unfortunately, it could take him several years.
‘How sadly you wrong me. I have the greatest admiration for you.’ St John hid his irritation at her prevarication. He had sought her out in secret wishing to avoid a confrontation with her ready-fisted brothers. Perversely, her manner whetted his appetite to conquer her and win her from Adam. For that triumph he was prepared to be patient.
His expression was contrite. ‘I had no wish to offend. The purchase was made on impulse. Now what am I to do with these?’ He laid the stockings on the seat beside the lych-gate. ‘They are of no use to me. Perhaps some passing maid will take a fancy to them and think fortune has smiled on her. I bid you goodnight, Mistress Sawle.’
He bowed and took her hand to lift it to his lips. Meriel snatched it back and walked away, her head titled at a haughty angle. When she heard St John ride away she ran back to the lych-gate and retrieved the stockings.
Her mind was busy calculating. Adam had always been her favourite but St John was the one who would inherit the family estate. This autumn held a world of possibilities for her. And she was a woman determined to make the most of them.
Reviews: ‘The whole spectrum of society is present in this fast-moving and exciting story. It also reflects the author’s understanding of the social and economic factors that drove the lives of people at this time.’ Historical Novels Review
‘For anyone who loves a sweeping Cornish drama, the Loveday books are a shining example of their genre.’ Western Morning News
ADAM LOVEDAY is reissued by Headline on 7 February