The Shadows of Love ( Miss Peterson & The Colonel)
I'm posting the blurb and an extract and hope you enjoy them. The book is till available if you want to read the rest.
However when a series of dramatic events throw them together and both their lives are endangered they are forced to reconsider their first impressions.
Will Simon be able to compromise his duty to put King and country first in order to save Lydia's life? Can she give up her independence and become a soldier's wife?
'It's not your fault, Martha, I think we must have broken an axle, I sincerely hope the horses are unharmed.' With some difficulty she extricated herself and stood up. 'At least we are both in one piece. If I balance on the edge of the seat I believe I might manage to open the door.' She attempted the maneuver and the coach rocked alarmingly.
'Please don't do that, Miss Peterson, you'll likely have us right over.'
'Why doesn't Sam come to our aid? I believe he might have taken a tumble from the box and be lying injured in the road. As Billy went ahead to order refreshments at the White Queen, there's no one to tend our coachman. I must get out.'
This time her struggles sent the coach crashing right over. Her world turned upside down, her legs and arms became entangled with Martha's and it was several minutes before she was able to get both of them upright. The doors were now the floor and ceiling, the squabs pointing into the air. The sound of her precious horses panicking meant she had no option. If she did not get out and release them from the harness they would likely break a leg.
Suddenly Martha screamed and pointed downwards, Lydia saw water seeping in through the door that now acted as the floor. They must have turned over into the ditch that ran alongside of the road. 'Hold on to something, Martha, I must climb out this instant. I think if I could step on your knee I might reach the door handle somehow.'
Her smart travelling ensemble was ruined, the hem already saturated with muddy water, her spencer in no better case. Her lovely new bonnet was hanging in disarray around her neck, her sister had been most insistent that she dressed in her best to meet the colonel as the much longed for visitor was to arrive today as well. She was not going to impress anyone now.
The whinnying and stamping from the team had stopped. Was this a good or bad sign? Before she had time to consider the door above her head was slammed back and a gentleman appeared in the space. It was impossible to see his features clearly, but from his voice he was obviously well-to-do.
'Why couldn't you stay still, ladies? You have turned a minor accident into a major disaster. I have released your horses and attended to your coachman, however now that you've managed to tip the carriage right over there is nothing I can do to get you out without assistance. You must stay in here.'
The incredibly rude gentleman vanished as suddenly as he'd appeared leaving Lydia standing up to her boot tops in freezing water. 'Come back here this instant, sir, you cannot abandon us in here.'
He slammed his fist against the carriage and shouted back. 'I cannot right the vehicle unaided, neither can I pull you out through the door. You will come to no harm, the ditch is shallow, I shall be back as soon as I can.'
Then he was gone, only the sound of hoof beats echoing in the cold winter air to keep her company. This was no gentleman, he had callously left her and Martha without making a serious attempt to rescue them. He could be gone hours, what about poor Sam unconscious on the side of the road? She would not remain incarcerated here a moment longer.
'Martha, let me stand on your knee. If you brace yourself against the seat I'm certain I can scramble out.'
'It's a good thing you're not a short as me, miss, I'd not reach even if I tried.' With her maid to use as a stool she grasped the edges of the open door. 'Martha, give me a push, I think I can do it then.' Her feet were grasped firmly and she was rising steadily, throwing herself forward she tipped headlong through the door and slithered, skirts and petticoats flying, down the side to land with a thud in the road.