Annis reached for a pastry, hoping that it would be cherry filling. Their cook had had a field day this morning, and had baked up a storm. Most of the pastries featured different fruit fillings, and now it was anyone’s guess which filling they would get as their cook had not bothered to give different markings for each flavour. Cook has probably had another quarrel with her beaux, and now this is the result of that. Annis had come to understand that whenever there was too much of a certain thing, it meant that their cook had had a lover’s spat.
She stared at the pastry thoughtfully, wondering if she had picked up the right one. I have already had plum and apple. I do hope this is cherry. Her cupid-bowed lips closed over the flaky pastry, delicately biting one corner of the confectionery. Pulling back, she dabbed at her mouth as she waited for what would eventually ooze out of the crumbly casing like slow-moving magma.
“Annis!” her mother scolded. “Do you mean to bite into all the pastries until you find the one you are looking for?”
Annis grimaced when a blackberry filling erupted from the hole she had made. Wrong again!
“Mother, I cannot help it if Cook did not specify which pastries have which filling. I have no desire to eat any more apple, pear, plum, and now blackberry. ‘Tis as though she is using up all the fruit preserves of the previous year.”
Besides, I would much rather spend my time sorting through pastries than listening to your yawn-worthy conversation with Lucilla. Of course, she did not say this to her mother, or she might have earned herself a harsh reprimand or perhaps a steely glare sharp enough to have her wither away in the chair she was perched upon.
“Oh, Annis,” her mother sighed. “If you insist on filling your mouth with pastries, then you might grow as round as your cousin Constance.”
Her mother and sister both chuckled at the thought, leaving Annis bristling with indignation. She rather liked her cousin and did not take lightly to people finding amusement at her expense.
“Cousin Constance is perfectly plump, and if she were such an object of ridicule, then the Duke of Waldorf would not be pursuing her.”
Her mother and sister’s laughter abruptly died, their lips thinning into a perfectly straight line. Considering the fact that they were a family of women with generous lips, it was an impressive feat in her eyes. She bit the inside of her cheek, focusing on the blackberry filling. ‘Tis not entirely undesirable, unlike the dagger-like stares pointed at me. She gave an unladylike lick of the oozing contents, tapping her palette with the tip of her tongue. I rather like the tartness, but I am certain that my mouth shall bear its colour. Surprised that they were still quiet, Annis gave her sister and mother a side glance, almost smiling at their pinched faces.
“Annis, the Duke is near twice her age,” Lucilla declared with all the confidence of a woman about to win an argument. However, her sister’s attempt at a debate was no match for Annis’ prowess in winning every argument presented to her.
“Dear Lucilla, His Grace is a man in his prime, one whom many young women have pursued. A dashingly handsome man who is as rich as Croesus and utterly devoted to making Constance his beloved wife – need I go on? I would say that she has done very well for herself. Very well. I daresay that not many women can boast such an achievement, yes? After all, the goal of all eligible women is to marry a wealthy man, and if he be handsome, then you are fortunate indeed. Need I remind you that Cousin Constance has captured a Duke’s heart, and she has not yet had a Season?”
She let this sink in, taking a larger bite of her blackberry pastry, followed by a generous sip of milky tea.
“Well,” her mother started. “Considering that her father hasn’t a dowry for her, and neither a penny to afford her a Season, I would say that she is fortunate indeed. Let us hope that the Duke’s obsession is not a case of wanton behaviour on her part.”
“Mother!” Annis gasped.
Her mother only raised her eyebrows. “Do not pretend that you did not think the same thing, Annis.”
“No! I have not considered such a beastly thing of our Constance. She is painfully shy and can hardly string two sentences together when in the company of strangers. And, pray, tell me, when did this conversation become about Constance’s character? If I did not know any better, I would think you jealous of her, Mother.”
“Jealous?” her mother choked. “Certainly not! Goodness me! Next, you will say that I wish to look like that dumpling of a girl.”
Lucilla giggled behind her hand, her eyes alight with mirth. “Mama, you are rounder in the middle than you used to be. Any more of Cook’s pastries and you just might join the ranks of the Pudgy Platoon!”
The Pudgy Platoon was a collective name for any woman of their social circle who had passed the point of pleasant plumpness and entered the realm of the grossly overweight. This included anyone from the debutantes to those getting on in years. Lucilla and their mother had thought it amusing to create such a group for those unfortunate enough to fall into the category. Since its conception, a few other women had been added to the rank of administration, adding names to the Platoon whenever it suited them. It rankled Annis to know that people were looking to find humour at the expense of others, behaving as though they were far superior to their rounder counterparts. She knew how it felt to be in a position of ridicule, but it had not been due to her dress size. No, it had been something with far more dire consequences.
At her youngest daughter’s comment, Annis’ mother put down the pastry she had been nibbling on and proceeded to suck in her belly while she lounged on a chaise lounge.
“I resent that comment, Lucilla. I am simply a bit bloated, and a quick herbal concoction should remedy this bulge overnight.”
The two women continued to discuss the perfect remedies for certain ailments, particularly of the beauty sort. Annis shook her head, taking care not to make it too obvious. What a pair her mother and sister made! She loved them dearly, but their antics and mumble jumble were enough to drive any sane man up the wall.
Annis observed how her sister eyed the pastries, seeing how desperately she wanted one. Instead of reaching for one, Lucilla pulled at the manipulated curls framing her face, tucking some back into the piled hair atop her head. I applaud her willpower; I certainly would not have been able to deny myself the joy of eating a pastry.
“Well, Mama, I have kept away from these confectioneries for the specific reason of looking perfect for my Season début,” said Lucilla. “I must fit into the dresses I mean to wear for the balls, garden parties, horse-riding parties, walks in the park, and whatever other events I shall be so fortunate to be invited to! I cannot afford to mar my form for a few sweet treats.”
“Wonderful,” Annis muttered. “The more for me.”
She refilled her teacup before settling back into her chair, wondering if it would be rude to take out the book she was hiding behind the scatter cushion and read while they discussed the upcoming London Season. The two women had discussed nothing else for several months, each talking a single subject to death. And I have been the unfortunate hearer of it all.
“Right you are, Lucilla,” her mother commented. “Your father has paid a fair sum of money to have Miss Frampton make your dresses, and in record timing as well.”
If not for the many changes to the dresses, there would have been no sudden scramble to complete them in an unreasonable period. Her sister had changed her mind a dozen times, swapping colours, choosing different embellishments, picking one material over another. Annis was just glad that the dresses were nearly done, and she would not need to go for her sister’s final fitting as she had promised Constance a walk through the field to speak of her growing affection for the Duke.
“I am terribly excited, Mama!” Lucilla exclaimed. “Soon, we shall be in London, rubbing shoulders with the elite of London society. I wish to be the talk of the town, the one that every girl wishes they were. I am certain that I shall find the perfect suitor and be married well before the Season is over.”
“That is the right attitude to have, my dear,” their mother commented, reaching for another pastry. “Find me the perfect son-in-law, preferably one with a title, or at least a good family with enough wealth to make up for their lack of a title.”
As they continued to speak about what constituted the perfect suitor, Annis could not help remembering her own Season. She had been just as excited about her début, finding joy in receiving invitations to many balls, horse riding parties, lunches at grand houses, as well as the lavish dinners hosted by prominent members of London society. As one of the few who had become the ton’s favourite, she had been the woman that most mamas had decided would be fortunate enough to find a suitor and be courted early on in the Season. They had not been wrong, but how I wish they had been. A well-chiselled face swam up to her current recollections, bringing her mood down several notches. No, I shall not think of him! He is my past, and there he shall stay. She forcefully pushed the handsome man’s face away, hating that he could invoke such strong feelings within her, emotions that were better left buried. I do not want to be reminded of this old heartbreak. I am far wiser and older than I used to be; he no longer has the right to enter my mind. As the memory wrestled for her attention, Annis used every effort within her to focus on her sister and mother’s conversation, going so far as to lean towards them. Just as well she did, or she might not have heard her mother’s devastating statement.
“Of course, Annis shall accompany you as your escort. She has attended a Season once before and knows the ins and outs of protocol, propriety, and such, and can introduce you to those that shall help you make a grand impression on the ton.”
Had her mother lost her mind? Accompany Lucilla? Terror descended upon Annis, circling in her belly like a hot rock. Oh, no, no, no! This cannot be! Had her mother already forgotten what had happened during that fateful Season?
“Mother, do you really wish to throw me to the wolves? Surely you know that I cannot escort Lucilla!”
“Nonsense, Annis! Why ever not? Two years have passed since that incident, and I ask that you remember that you are the older sister. It is your duty to look after your sister during her Season.”
Annis put her teacup and saucer away from her, the cup rattling as she set it down. Goodness, I am trembling like a shivering mutt. What do I say to make Mother change her mind? She cannot truly expect me to accompany Lucilla! That is far too much a responsibility considering the circumstances.
“Mother, please, there are dozens of cousins, spinster-aunts, and mature acquaintances that would be happy to take on this responsibility. I beg of you, do not put me in this position.”
Annis was short of going to her knees before her mother, but she knew that the matriarch did not like excessive displays of emotion unless it was of the comical sort.
“Lay aside the theatrics and put your pride in your pocket, Annis! We have allowed you ample time to dwell upon the unfortunate event, and now it is high time that you come to terms with our present situation. Your sister is to enter into her first Season, and you shall escort her. I have already made the arrangements for you and Lucilla to stay with your aunt and uncle. They are more than happy to have you both.”
Annis bit on her lower lip, forcing the composure she did not feel. “I did not have a sibling as an escort for my Season, Mother. I do not see why I should be forced upon to do so for Lucilla. Please, I do not mean to disrespect you, but I cannot comprehend your reasoning behind this decision. If it is all the same to you, I would much rather remain here in the countryside than go into London for such a frivolous reason!”
Lucilla sharply glanced at her, spilling some of her tea onto her dress. She emitted a cry of dismay, furiously brushing away at the excess liquid.
“Annis! You have made me spill tea on my favourite day dress!”
Irritation rose up quickly, but Annis squashed it down. It seemed that everything was about Lucilla these days, and while she understood the excitement surrounding her sister’s début into London society, Annis could not understand why they had to drag her into it.
“I am sorry, Lucilla, but I did not push your hand; you spilt the tea alone. You know that I have only spoken the truth, and I would have thought that my own sister would stand by my side and understand why I have said what I said. I am sorry, but I cannot accompany you to London, I cannot.”
“But you are my sister! If not you, then who else?” Lucilla demanded. “Would you have me become the laughing stock of the ton so early on?”
Annis looked heavenward, shaking her head. “Lord, am I the only person qualified for the position? Why do they taunt me in this manner?”
“Speaking to the good Lord shall not further your cause to ignore me, Annis! Nor does it excuse your selfish behaviour!”
Annis glanced at her sister, a sharp retort on the tip of her tongue when their mother let out a piercing whistle. Their mother was the only woman that she knew of who could emit such a sharp whistle capable of stopping any man in his tracks. With their attention firmly on her, the older woman let out a frustrated sigh, straightening on the chaise lounge.
“You girls will be the death of me one day with all your squabbling. What is the point of turning my parlour into an impromptu fighting ring? I shall not have it; I tell you.”
She and her sister looked down, but Annis noticed the fiery looks that Lucilla sent her from the corner of her eyes. Goodness me! She has become increasingly intolerable with all this mania of the Season. I am confident that I was not as waspish as she currently is. Usually, her sister had a sweet but excitable disposition that seldom rubbed her the wrong way, but the recent months had had Lucilla turn into a crazed woman when things did not go precisely her way.
“Our apologies, Mother,” Annis finally said. “We did not mean to empty our spleens in such an uncomely fashion.”
“And uncomely it was!” her mother retorted. “Goodness! Had anyone else seen you two bickering like fisher wives, they might have questioned your upbringing, and I shall not have anyone look at me askew!”
Lucilla did not seem to grasp the entirety of their mother’s temper as she spoke out of turn.
“Mama, I assure you that I have done nothing wrong here! ’Tis Annis who has–”
Their mother held her hand up. “Lucilla, I know very well what has happened as I am right here– you need not explain anything to me. I suggest you run along to your bedchamber, change your dress, and give the soiled one to the laundry maids before the stain sets in.”
Alarm set in Lucilla’s face. “Stain? Oh my, I must remove it! I would hate to ruin this dress when I have only worn it but twice.”
Their argument momentarily forgotten, Annis watched her sister run out of the room, calling out for one of the servants to assist her. While Annis was glad to no longer need to continue such a futile argument with Lucilla, she still needed to address the impending issue with her mother. She knew that the older woman was waiting for her to turn to her, but she was loathed to do so. I would much rather stare at the door than Mother. However, a conversation was inevitable. With an inward sigh, Annis angled her body until she faced her mother, but she took her time meeting the woman’s eyes. I know that I shall see her ire and disappointment, but she must have known that I would have protested to these arrangements!
“Annis, look at me.”
She did so, surprised to see gentleness in the hazel eyes that Annis and her sister had inherited.
“Annis,” her mother began. “Do you not think it time to move on, dear?”
She sighed. “’Tis not as easy as you say, Mother. I know that a great deal of time has passed, but my heart and memories feel as though everything happened just yesterday.”
The humiliation, the pain, the misery, and the heartbreak. If time heals all wounds, I clearly need to be given more time.
“Do you still carry a tendre for him, dear?”
Annis closed her eyes at the question. It was one that she regularly asked herself, and while her mind rebelled against the idea that she felt anything for him, her heart was not so ready to accept the lie. However, she could not speak of the war taking place within her. It would be unwise to speak of what is in my heart, it may just alarm Mother. She opened her eyes, keeping her gaze steady while her heart beat wildly in her chest.
“No, I do not.”
Her mother tilted her head, frowning. “Then whatever could it be, dear? Why are you adamant that you will not attend the Season? There is nothing holding you back.”
“I do not wish to be the laughing stock of London.”
This was partly true, but the reason that carried more weight sat upon her heart like a millstone around her neck. Annis watched her mother shift on the chaise lounge, patting the space next to her.
“Come, dear, sit beside me.”
Annis obeyed the gently given order, dusting a few scattered crumbs from the seat before sitting down. Her mother stretched to take both her hands into her own, resting them on her lap.
“I think that you have made a mountain out of a molehill, my child. It has been two years, and you are well aware of the short attention span of the ton. They are always looking for the next scandal, and many must have occurred since. This incident that you have held onto must only be a distant memory for some people. I am certain that most have forgotten about it by now.”
Annis strongly doubted that, but she said nothing contrary to her mother’s words. It is facile for others to speak lightly of something so life-changing, but I am not so quick to set it aside. Even if people had forgotten about the incident, she had not, and that was where the problem lay.
“I hear what you are saying, Mother, but I cannot bring myself to attend the very same places I did during my own Season. There are far too memories to afflict me.”
Her mother squeezed her hands. “Listen, Annis, I know that you shall have a lovely time if only you would allow yourself – I feel it in my bones, dear! Did you not enjoy yourself during your own Season? You wrote such wonderful letters to your father and me! Besides, many things have changed since then, and I am certain that if you set aside these mournful thoughts, you might find a suitor who shall court you and make you forget all that you endured.”
Find another suitor? Oh, how she doubted that. Mother only wishes me to go that I may escort Lucilla. I know that no matter what I say, she will not listen. There was only one option left to her.
“Very well. I shall make preparations to leave with Lucilla. When are we expected to depart for London?”
“A week from today,” her mother answered brightly. “I also took the liberty of having some dresses made for you as well. Miss Frampton used the measurements from your last fitting.”
I see that Mother thought of everything. She must have been planning this for some time but did not inform me of it until it was too late to do anything about it. Had she known earlier that her Mother would foist this responsibility onto her, Annis would have made means to foil her mother’s plans, but with just a week until their departure, it was impossible. I shall have to cancel my walk with Constance.
“Very well. May I retire to my bedchamber? I have some letters to send before I leave for London.”
“Of course, dear. I shall take my noon nap that I may be fresh for dinner. Do ensure that your sister is not fretting over her dress? You know how she can be.”
“I shall look in on her on my way.”
Annis took her leave of her mother, taking two pastries on the way out. As she tore at the golden square, she imagined herself chewing on the words she wished to have communicated to her mother, but had not been able to. Above all, a young woman had to respect her mother and give her due no matter the circumstance. It did not matter how terribly wrong the mother was, disobedience was out of the question. And now I must speak with Lucilla! Annis had had no intention of speaking with Lucilla for some time for she was still vexed with her sister, but since she had given her word to her mother, she could not ignore her sister as she wished to. Her silent treatment would not have lasted for long, perhaps an hour or so, as she could never remain angry with her sister for too long, but Annis felt that Lucilla needed to be put in her place, and her silence would have done precisely that.
As she made her way upstairs, Annis reasoned with her pride, telling it to calm itself for the time being. I do not need any more on my plate. Between her painful memories of the past, her mother’s ambush, and Lucilla’s behaviour, Annis had been given more than her fair share of challenges, and it did not look as though her life would become any easier. Not when I have to travel to the one place I would rather never see again.
Annis peeked into her sister’s room, surprised to see no one inside. Where on earth is she? Could she still be speaking with the laundry maids? Well, her mother could not say that she did not look in on her sister. Perhaps I shall have a moment to myself before needing to speak to or pacify anyone. Annis carried on to her room, coming to an abrupt stop at the door when she saw her sister cross-legged upon her bed.
“Annis, I have been waiting for you,” her sister said.
“I see that.”
“Oh, do not be that way, Annis! I am very sorry for speaking as I did to you. I came here to seek your forgiveness.”
Well, that has undoubtedly taken the wind out of my sails. “Then, I shall take this opportunity to apologise as well.”
Their father had taught them that it took a good person to apologise, and even a greater man to accept the apology. Speaking of which, what did her father have to say about this plan to have her escort Lucilla? Had he not been as upset about the ending of her own Season? Papa, you were the one who said that I would never have to face such humiliation again, but come a week, and I shall be sent back to London. Had her mother informed him of her plans? It was highly likely as her mother made no decisions without a final word from her husband. Annis felt betrayed, and it sat like a lump in her throat.
Lucilla suddenly leapt off the bed, shaking her head as she came towards her.
“Oh, no, no, Annis! ’Tis I who should be ashamed of myself.” Lucilla took her hands in hers. “I did not mean to speak so harshly with you, Annis. It was never my intention to upset you – you do know that? I think that I have become rather crazed by the idea of making my Season a success that I did not stop to think of how you would feel concerning the ending of your own Season.”
All the irritation that Annis had felt for her sister left her as swiftly as it had come, leaving only affection behind. She may drive me up the wall, but she is still my sweet little sister. Annis drew a hand away from her sister’s, using it to gently cup her sister’s chin.
“I understand, Lucilla. Sometimes we say things that we do not mean out of anger.”
Her sister grinned as she embraced her, holding her tightly. “I knew that you would! You are the only one that understands me completely, Annis. You know my hopes, my dreams, and all of my secrets – there is none other that I trust but you. I need my sister by my side, or I fear that I will make a fool of myself. Please, Annis, would you come with me?”
“Yes, I have already told Mother that I shall do so.”
Lucilla pulled away, sliding her hands into those of Annis. “Truly? Oh, Annis! I just know that the crowd will be different this year, and you will have the opportunity to forget that horrible period in your life. We shall make memories together, and everything will be perfect! I just know it!”
Lucilla hugged her again, holding her tightly around the waist. Annis smiled against her sister’s hair, but there was some sadness to it. I wish that I shared my sister’s optimistic view of what lies ahead for me, but there is no guarantee of the perfect Season. I once had the same enthusiasm, but that died along with my hopes and dreams. However, I shall muster up the courage and face whatever may come my way with a smile on my face, and I shall do it all for Lucilla’s sake. As for Annis, only a bleak future awaited her.
“Do you think that Aunt Corisande will allow us to entertain a few people in their home?” Lucilla asked. “I remember that they had a rather large townhouse.”
And here I thought that she had finally fallen asleep! Annis once again pulled herself from her light slumber to answer what was likely her sister’s hundredth question since leaving their home. They were on their last leg of the journey having stopped at an inn along the way to get some rest. She gave a little snort. Rest? I no longer know what that is. Lucilla had kept her awake for most of the night with her excitement of what lay ahead, but when she had finally fallen asleep, Annis had found herself unable to do so. Fear had become her companion, and would not take its leave of her until she had evidence that her stay in London would not prove disastrous for her. She had thought to catch a few winks on their way to the city, but Lucilla had not ceased to pepper her with questions about what to expect once they reached the place. Annis yawned, not bothering to cover her mouth.
“Aunt Corisande loves to host dinner parties and such. I am certain that she will welcome a few guests into her home.”
“I hoped that you would say that! ’Tis been ever so long since we visited their London home. Well, of course, it was on account of the incident, but I am glad that we have put all that behind us and have moved onward and forward. Aunt Corisande is a bit of a chatterbox, isn’t she? The complete opposite of Uncle Denis who hardly says a word unless spoken to. He is a friendly sort of man, though, and you cannot help liking him even when he is quiet. He has that jolly sort of round face that I feel all uncles should have. Do you think that Uncle Denis might have an objection to entertaining in his home? I would hate to impose on his generosity of giving us a roof over our heads during my Season. ’Tis much better to live with family than with strangers, I think. What do you think, Annis?”
Annis did not want to tell her sister what she truly thought of her mindless chatter and thereby putting a damper on their trip. Although doing so would give me some time to sleep! Goodness! How she talks on and on! She stifled another yawn, rubbing her eyes as she prepared her answer. Just what part of that hubble bubble was she meant to answer? Something about Uncle Denis, I think. Or was it about Aunt Corisande? Oh, dear, I fear that part of my brain has fallen asleep. Lucilla leaned forward, waving her hand in her face. Annis lightly slapped her sister’s hand away.
“I have not suddenly become blind, Lucilla.”
Shaking her head, Lucilla sat back. “Dear me, Annis. I have never known you to take so much time to answer a simple question. And why are you constantly yawning? Did you not get much sleep? I, on the other hand, feel quite refreshed! Although this air does seem different from the countryside. Seems more cloying almost, or perhaps I am imagining it.”
At the rate her sister was talking, Annis would not get a word in. Not that I am particularly concerned. This journey had become far more tedious than what she had expected. I want to get off this carriage and onto a comfortable bed.
“Oh, when shall we reach London?” Annis muttered.
She had never been more welcoming of the fact that London lay a few miles ahead of them. I hope that Aunt Corisande will allow me to rest just a while before dinner. Annis needed a fully awake brain before she could take on the role of escort to her sister and shoved into balls and parties. She could already see that it would be a challenging position as her sister’s enthusiasm had increased tenfold, seldom leaving a moment’s peace. Annis could hardly keep up with her mumble jumble, and neither did she wish to.
A few seconds ticked by before she realised that something was missing. Wait a moment, I do not hear her speaking. She glanced at her sister, seeing her watching the outside world. Annis looked up to the heavens, offering her thanks. Yes! She has grown silent at last. I had best catch my much needed forty winks before Lucilla realises that our carriage is quiet and thinks to fill it with chatter. Annis slid a little lower in her seat, adjusted the throw on her legs, and slightly turned her head to lean her cheek against the velvety upholstery. Oh, how heavenly. I shall never take my sleep for granted again.
“Annis!” her sister shouted out.
Annis came to with a jerk, looking wildly about the enclosed space. “What is it? What has happened?”
Expecting their carriage to be overturned, or perhaps another carriage near them to have hit them, her brow creased when she could see nothing of the sort amiss. Has a wheel come off? No, they were still rolling along at the same speed, and everything seemed as it were before she had dozed off. Confused, Annis looked at her sister, seeing the young woman’s dancing eyes and a hand covering her mouth. Pursing her lips, Annis narrowed her eyes. My heart has nearly escaped my chest, but she appears to find something amusing about it all.
“Lucilla, why did you call me like that? And pray, tell, what is so amusing?”
Her sister lowered her hand, a wide grin on her face. “My, what a fright you look, Annis! I wish that you could see yourself!”
At that, Lucilla burst out laughing, bending at the waist. Annis was not impressed, not at all.
“How on earth do you expect me to react when you have screamed my name at the top of your lungs in such an enclosed space? Have you lost your mind?”
Lucilla bit her lip, but it did not do much to stop the giggling. “I am sorry, Annis. I became so excited when I saw a board written London that I called your name for you to see it.”
Annis took in a sharp breath, her body growing still. “London?”
“Yes! I can hardly wait, Annis!”
I certainly can. “All right, but do not call me in that manner again, particularly when I am asleep.”
“Oh, I am sorry, Annis. I did not mean to frighten you, but you must admit that if you were to see yourself, you would also laugh.”
“Your hair is sticking up because you slept near the open window; your cheeks are quite flushed, and I daresay that you drooled on the seat!”
Annis quickly looked to where she had rested her head, seeing a tiny damp spot. Colouring, she attempted to smooth out her hair, not meeting her sister’s eyes.
“How many miles until we reach London?”
Lucilla was still smiling, but she was wise enough not to harp on about the drool.
“I did not take notice, I was only interested in the fact that we were close to London.”
Whether it was their nearness to the city or her annoyance at being awakened in such a disturbing fashion, Annis could not help the bite in her words.
“So much drama for such a little thing! Do let me sleep, Lucilla, and when you venture to wake me up, do not scream my name. Better yet, do not attempt to wake me up; I shall do so myself when I feel the pace of the carriage slow down.”
She turned away from her sister, shutting her eyes tightly, but she was unable to sleep. Unwanted memories were replaying in her head over and over again, building up the tension she felt within her. One particular thought had her reaching for her fingers to gnaw on her nails. What if I were to see him again?
“A Grand Season to Remember” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
After a disastrous London Season that left her with a broken heart, Annis decided to retreat to the countryside, leaving all her painful memories behind. When two years later, though, she is forced to accompany her younger sister to her first Season, hurtful memories and fears that she has been trying to repress, will begin to resurface. As if her life was not already a tragedy in the making, the very man who broke her heart appears out of nowhere, once again turning her life upside down. Will Annis be able to heal the wounds of her past and give love a second chance, or will she never be able to trust a man again?
All these years Oliver could not take his mind off of Annis, even though she ran away from him without any explanation. The fateful moment he meets her again, he knows deep inside that she is the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with, and decides to do whatever it takes to win her back. Will he ever find the reason why Annis abandoned him and threw the opportunity of a happy life by his side? How far will he go to convince her that his life has no meaning if she is not in it?
When a third person tries to put obstacles in their path, Annis and Oliver must prove that nothing can keep them apart. Even though their love is still alive, rife misunderstandings still prevent them from leaving the bad memories behind and start a new chapter in their life. Will their love be strong enough to survive it all, or the events of the past will never stop haunting them?
“A Grand Season to Remember” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.