Georgiana Reid pinned the last of her caramel blonde curls and pinched at her cheeks, hoping to remember to do so throughout the night if she wanted maintain a natural blush upon her face.
She had forgotten at the previous ball and, as it was the height of London’s season, she would need to keep up appearances at all times if she wanted to find a good husband.
Humming to herself, Georgiana thought about dancing with the Baron of Ayre. He had acted interested in her of late and it would be wonderful to marry a man with a title, even if he was only a baron and not an earl or a duke.
Certainly, she did not have much care for him in return, but that hardly mattered. It would be an advantageous marriage and that was the important part.
Georgiana was quite in awe of the grandeur of her newest gown. The gentle, silvery blue sheen was quite the thing and she was convinced that it would get her well noticed. Even if Evie Grace was present at the ball, which was certainly probable.
Her lips puckered at the thought of Evie, but Georgiana ignored it. The last thing she needed was to get distracted by the dread of seeing Evie with her piggish nose and the haughty, breathy laugh.
She sighed, annoyed by the tedium of getting ready on her own, being enslaved to her own thoughts.
Where was Rachel?
Georgiana had not seen her handmaid in hours and was frustrated that Rachel would not check in with her. There was a ball that evening, certainly Rachel understood how important it was that she assist Georgiana.
She made her way down the stairs, as ready as she could possibly be on her own. When she entered the drawing room, her mother gasped.
“My goodness! If it isn’t my own little queen,” she said.
Georgiana shook her head and rolled her blue eyes in false humility.
“Oh, Mother, you do not mean that. Anyway, I can hardly get ready on my own entirely. Have you seen Rachel anywhere? I need her assistance,” she said.
Her mother’s smile faltered.
“No, I have not. Has she gone somewhere? Good heavens, what will your father say?” she asked, tsking at the idea of the house help being elsewhere when they were in need.
Although they were not nobility, nor did they have any blood or lineage about which to brag openly, the Reid family was wealthy, and they paid their household staff accordingly.
“I have not seen her, but that hardly means she has vanished, only that she is not coming to me. Perhaps one of the others will be able to tell me where she is at,” Georgiana said.
“I thought she was one of the reliable ones. Too bad she is behaving just like all the others,” her mother said.
But Georgiana did not take her mother’s words to heart. After all, her mother was rather accustomed to complaints regarding the household staff, particularly when she felt that they were failing entirely in their duties.
Rachel, however, had become a good friend to Georgiana. Despite all efforts her mother had made to foster a distance between the family and the staff, Georgiana had so few friends outside of the house and had gravitated toward Rachel who was just a year older than she.
Rachel had agreed that it would be unwise to tout their friendship. Mrs. Reid might not approve of her staying to work at the house if there was a close friendship between the girls. With her mother’s complaint, Georgiana felt certain that they had been successful in refraining from sharing their friendship too deeply.
“I suppose I ought to try and find a maid to assist me,” Georgiana sighed.
“Come here, let me help you for a moment. I still need to finish getting ready, but I can help with that terrible mess of hair you have there,” she said, positioning Georgiana in front of a mirror and getting to work.
Georgiana winced. She had worked so hard to make her hair look presentable. She had not known there was anything objectionable about what she had done.
As her mother went to work on it, she starting talking about all of the rules Georgiana must follow for the evening.
“And, of course, you must dance only with the very best of men. There is no use in attracting anyone who is not wealthy or titled. Simply behave yourself and do all you can to attract those worthy of your attentions,” her mother said.
“Yes, Mother,” Georgiana said, nodding. She knew what was required of her and she would perform her duties as admirably as she was able.
“If a handsome man should come to you and you do not know anything of his breeding, you must find out quickly. There is no point in ending up with a man that you do not truly like, but you must also weed out those who would do nothing for our family,” she said.
“Certainly, Mother. I shall do my duties as best I can,” Georgiana said.
“That’s my girl. You will make me proud, I am certain. And the Baron of Ayre will not be able to resist you, but you have made him no commitment,” her mother said.
“I know that, Mother. If a better prospect is found, I shall follow it,” Georgiana said, straightening her shoulders. She disliked speaking about men in this way, but she would do so in order to appease her mother.
In reality, Georgiana was quite comfortable searching amongst the other men that she would be meeting that evening. She understood that any man she married would have to live up to a certain pedigree, but if she could find one she liked better than the Baron of Ayre, she would not hesitate to pursue the match.
“Is William coming this evening? The Darby girl likes him, you know,” Georgiana said.
Her mother pursed her lips in the mirror’s reflection.
“Your brother has dreadful taste, I fear. But yes, he is coming,” she said.
When her mother was finished with her hair, Georgiana was determined to go in search of Rachel once more, needing her maid’s help to change into her ball gown.
She made her way to the servant’s quarters and knocked on the door of Mrs. Buckley, the housekeeper.
“Miss Georgiana?” she asked, wide-eyed with surprise.
“Forgive the intrusion, Mrs. Buckley, but have you seen Rachel?” she asked.
“No, ma’am, I have not. Not since…” she paused in thought. “I suppose it would have been just after breakfast. But since then? Not a word.”
“Have you gone in search of her?” Georgiana asked.
“I did not think there was a reason to. She and I have different duties so I assumed our paths simply had not crossed and hardly gave it a thought. Why? Is something the matter, Miss Georgiana?” she asked, concern flooding her face.
“I am not sure. I have not seen her since she helped me dress this morning. It would have been before breakfast as well. But I need her assistance now and she is nowhere to be found. I can’t think where she might be,” she said.
“Have you checked her room?” Mrs. Buckley asked.
Georgiana looked embarrassed.
“I did not. That was probably foolish of me not to do. It is just that she is always by my side when I need her and I cannot imagine she would be hiding out,” she said.
“It is easily remedied. Come,” Mrs. Buckley said, leading Georgiana down the hall to Rachel’s room.
After knocking twice and calling Rachel’s name, there was still no answer. Mrs. Buckley opened the door and Rachel was not within.
Some of her things were in a mild disarray, scattered in two or three piles, as if quickly glanced through and left to sit there. But there was not a great mess and it did not appear as though any harm had befallen Rachel in her room.
“Is she not very tidy in her own space?” Georgiana asked.
“I have always known her to be quite orderly,” Mrs. Buckley said, worried.
“I see…” Georgiana said.
“Come, we may ask Sarah,” Mrs. Buckley suggested.
They made their way to the other maid’s room and knocked. Sarah answered, appearing somewhat groggy, as though she had been resting.
“Forgive me, Mrs. Buckley. As the family is going out this evening, I thought to rest before making dinner for you, me, and Rachel,” she said.
“No reason to apologize, Addie. Have you seen Rachel? That is what concerns us at present,” Mrs. Buckley said.
Sarah’s face instantly grew alert and curious.
“Rachel? Is she missing? What do you mean?” she asked.
“We are not certain, but Miss Reid and I have not seen her since breakfast. Did you see her at all today? Do you recall if she came to get her lunch in the kitchen at any point?” Mrs. Buckley asked.
Realization dawned upon Sarah.
“No, indeed, she did not. I had assumed that she was simply busy or delayed. But I did not leave the kitchen for most of the day and I didn’t see her even once,” she said.
Mrs. Buckley looked at Georgiana, who was growing more and more alarmed by the moment.
It was one thing to need her maid for assistance in getting ready for the evening, but quite another to learn that her friend appeared to be missing. She couldn’t bear to think what might have happened or where Rachel had gone in such a hurry so as not to tell anyone.
“Miss Reid, do you think something has happened to her?” Mrs. Buckley asked.
“I am not sure, Mrs. Buckley. But we shall find out,” she promised.
No longer did the ball seem important and no longer was Georgiana concerned about the Baron of Ayre.
She just wanted to find Rachel.
Hamish was staring at the far corner of the office with intensely brown eyes, barely paying attention.
He was bothered. He couldn’t believe that the horrible string of murders had actually taken place on his beloved streets. Certainly, it was not uncommon in London on the whole, but in his precinct?
In his division, it was far more common that a pearl or ruby necklace would be stolen by a maid, or perhaps that a wealthy landowner might have a dispute with a tenant. But certainly not murder.
Sure, he had solved the crime. He had gotten his men. But that did not replace the lives of those who had been lost. It did not undo the fact that his streets had been subject to violence.
Hamish sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose, squinting his eyes in grief. He felt hopeless that three men had been willing to go in on it together, to work with one another to bring about the destruction.
And all for a bit of coin.
“What’s got you down? You just solved the worst case we’ve seen in years,” John said, coming to sit across the desk from him, his cheerful demeanour a pang in Hamish’s chest.
He didn’t want to think of it like that. He wanted it to remain a burden so that he could always see it for the horror it had been.
“I cannot help but be distraught,” Hamish said, looking at the testimony he had just written.
John came over to sit beside him, his own smile fading on Hamish’s behalf.
“I know it was difficult. We aren’t hardened to it like some of the others, the constables and detectives in other precincts. But we have to be strong because no one else is going to overcome this for us,” John said.
“I know,” he replied, forlorn.
What did any of it matter? This had not been his chosen occupation. Although he was now a detective, he had not planned for this.
“Chin up, Hamish. We can’t let our Inspector Brock be beaten down by the harsh world. You can be stronger through this,” John said.
“I know it, John. But I was not born to this work as you were. I know that you are a man who always wanted to be a constable and then a detective. But I did not fight for this work. I did not ever plan to end up here,” Hamish said.
“Begging your pardon, but how did you end up here?” John asked.
“I had nowhere else to go. My mother and father passed away when I was just seventeen. Tuberculosis. I heard that the department was needing young men to take up arms in the streets, to become constables. It seemed like my only option,” he confessed.
“And you ended up rising in the ranks, becoming our greatest inspector,” John said, his voice making it sound like a noble undertaking, although Hamish believed that it was anything but.
“I dare not make such a claim,” Hamish said.
“Perhaps not, but I do, Hamish. And I know that your mother and father would be very proud of you if they were here to see you,” John said.
He still missed them sometimes. Although it had been a number of years, Hamish often thought about his mother and father. They had been such wonderful parents.
They had raised him well, with love and affection. He had never lacked for kindness at their hands. He had never lacked for the haggis, neeps, and tatties his Scottish mother insisted on making or the complaints of his very English father who hated anything that came from a sheep.
But all of that had come to an end. When the tuberculosis got them, Hamish had to simply accept that they were gone and they were not coming back.
“Well, it hardly matters now. My mother and father have been gone a good while and I am simply doing the best that I am able to get along without them,” Hamish said.
“And you are doing a mighty fine job of running these streets. Now, your men wish to celebrate the victory that took place here today. Will you deny them that?” John asked.
“I would never deny my men their victory, although I do not feel it as such in my bones,” he replied.
“I suppose that’s better than nothing,” John said, standing and looking happy enough.
Hamish sighed and tried to put on his best face as well. He was feeling down and nothing was going to change that, but at least he could rally his men and cheer them on for the efforts they put into the case.
They walked out from his office into the greater space that made up the entryway of the station. The men cheered for him, encouraging him as their leader, the Great Inspector of London.
“All right, men, you may be calm. I did very little,” he said.
“You did a great amount, Inspector Brock. What would we do without you as our leader?” Constable Clisby asked.
“We wouldn’t have found the culprits if you had not thought to check the man’s accounts,” Constable Murray said.
“Gentlemen, I could not have succeeded in my work had I not the likes of each and every one of you working, doing your part. It is to each of you that I owe the credit,” he said.
The men erupted with a cheer again, each one taking pride in his work, a pride that Hamish wanted to find again.
“A drink, Inspector?” Constable Clisby offered him.
“Thank you, not just now, Constable. I do still have work to be done,” Hamish said.
“Well, then, you know we will have it for you whenever you’re ready, Inspector,” he said.
Hamish allowed the celebration to ensue. He did his best to take part, to not allow himself to be overcome by what had happened, but to rejoice in the knowledge that they had caught those responsible.
As the evening progressed, John returned to his side.
“I know that you feel such pain, but you do not need to suffer,” he said.
“I never claimed to feel pain,” Hamish said.
“All right, then. Pain may not be the word for it. But you do have a burden, do you not?” John asked.
“Yes, perhaps that much is true,” he said.
“What you need is a wife, a family. That will bring you your happiness, your fulfilment. What we saw these past days, that is not the London that we know. Do not let it colour your love of this city. And do not think that just because you lost your parents some years ago, you shall never have a family again,” John said.
“A wife? Family? You mean children,” Hamish said.
“Yes, Hamish. A wife and children. Think of it! You would have the family that you crave. Not that they would replace your mother and father, but it would be something new,” John said.
“I fear that having a family would only concern me further. If such a thing as this can sweep the streets of London, is anywhere safe? Would I not only have to live with even greater concern for those that I love if I were to have a family?” Hamish asked.
“You cannot think of it like that, Hamish. You can only look to what is best for you and your future. Honestly, when I see the man that you are, I can only wonder at how fortunate a wife would be to have you for her husband, or children to have you for their father. You may not see it, but I do,” John said.
“You see it because it is what you want,” Hamish said.
“Want and have. My wife, our children, they are what spur me onward, what motivate me and bring me joy. You should have the fortune of knowing that love and affection,” John said, urging him.
But Hamish would not be pacified. Not when he had seen so much strife of late. Not when he had been witness to the difficulties of life.
Could he bear to have children and then leave them orphans as he had been left? Could he risk that they should be struck down as a family had just been? And when he looked at the very nature of London, he was patrolling some of the safest streets there were. If, even here, villainy could come calling, was anyone safe?
“You’re brooding again,” John said.
“You notice too much, Sergeant Miller,” he said, calling John by his title to point out his skill in the workforce. John was quite a skilled investigator and he had superb observational skills.
It was inconvenient in that moment.
Nevertheless, Hamish did make a decision. He would be determined. He would look on the positive end of things.
“All right, John. You do make a fair point that I must be glad we have managed to capture the men responsible for this terrible crime. I concede that I shall celebrate with you and the others, that I shall be glad for our progress in seeing justice done,” he said.
“Very well, Hamish. The men will be glad for it. I do believe that we need more cheer around here, in light of what has taken place. No one is happy that it occurred, but we do want to see the better of it,” John said.
“And we shall. These men will be an example and no one is going to have the audacity to commit such a crime on our streets again,” he said.
“Indeed,” John said. “And about the other matter?”
“Other matter?” Hamish asked.
“The other about which we were just speaking,” he said.
“Oh. You mean regarding the possibility of my marrying and having a family?” he asked.
“Yes, that,” John said.
“Well, for the moment, let us not dwell on it. I cannot think that it shall come to pass any time soon. Even if I did wish for it as you do, there is, at present, no young lady to whom I might wish to be joined in matrimony,” he said.
“None at all?” John asked, appearing surprised.
“I fear not. It has been a very long time since I met any young ladies and even longer since I have met one who captures my interest,” Hamish said.
“And if you did wish to find a wife, what sort of woman would she be?” John asked.
Hamish considered it. He had not thought about it in quite a long time, having devoted himself instead to his work.
“I suppose she would be quite intellectual. A deep thinker. A reader and concerned with the betterment of herself and others. Someone genuine and intentional about her time,” Hamish said.
“Those are all very good qualities,” John said.
“Yes, I think as much. But this is London, after all. The vast majority of young women are frivolous, concerned only with balls and marrying men of renown and wealth and all that. I do not think I could tolerate such a woman,” Hamish said.
“They are not all like that. I would not be able to bear such a woman either. My Leah is certainly the only sort of woman I could ever love. She is so quiet and tender, devout to our children, encourages me all the time. The very essence of a perfect bride,” John said.
Hamish, as well, valued the sort of woman that Leah was. Although he hoped for a wife who had a few more interests and activity in her than John’s wife, he appreciated her calm and gentle nature.
But he had never really known a woman quite like that and he would not settle for anyone he did not respect in the most absolute of ways.
“It is a shame you cannot meet more women in this role you are in. Why don’t you attend some of the balls?” John asked.
“I have just told you why. The sort of ladies I might meet there are all interested in dancing and gowns and marrying nobility. I cannot abide such a thing,” he reiterated.
“I suppose that’s right enough. But I do hope, nonetheless, that you find a good woman,” John said.
“Perhaps, one day, I shall. Until then, this is my lot. Until then, I must focus my time and my energies only on finding the ruffians who wish to harm our city. And, when I find them, ensuring that they never harm another soul again,” Hamish said.
He meant it. He would not see another man killed or woman hurt. If a case was brought to him in which he might be able to stop it, if he was ever able to prevent even the smallest crime, he would do it.
And, if he did fall in love, it would be with a woman who stood by his side every step of the way.
Georgiana opened her eyes, feeling a thick coating on her tongue. She put it down to just another remnant of the previous evening’s frivolity.
Groaning and trying to wake herself to the world, she thought about the ball and all that had taken place. She thought about her dance with the Baron of Ayre and also the fortuitous turn of events in which Lord Remy, Viscount of Brompton, had also asked her to dance.
An earl, he was not. But a viscount? At least it was one step higher. If she would not find a man who truly interested her, that was at least something.
But, like the Baron of Ayre, Lord Remy was perfectly uninteresting.
Georgiana sat up in the bed and glanced toward the windows. A thin sliver of light shone through her heavy drapes and she could tell that the day was already under way. She began to wonder where her tea was.
Only moments later, there was a knock at the door.
“Come in,” Georgiana called.
The door opened and Mrs. Buckley entered the room.
“Good morning, Miss,” she said.
“And good morning to you,” she replied, somewhat less than enthused.
“Did you have a nice evening, Miss Reid?” she asked.
“I did, indeed. But, Mrs. Buckley, I am surprised to see you. Tell me, did Rachel never return last evening?” she asked, curious.
Before she had left for the ball, Georgiana had been terribly anxious. Her mother had simply told her to relax and wait. She had insisted that Rachel would surely return later in the evening from whatever duties had kept her away.
But now, in the moment of asking her question, Georgiana saw the look in Mrs. Buckley’s eyes. She did not return Georgiana’s eye contact, but kept her eyes trained on the tea as she took in and subsequently released a deep breath, making no comment on the whereabouts of Rachel.
“Mrs. Buckley?” Georgiana asked in a tone that was…unpleasant. She would not have anyone hiding the facts from her.
Mrs. Buckley turned to her and clenched her jaw for a moment before answering.
“Miss Reid, I apologize. I know not what to say. Miss Smithfield, our dear Rachel, she never did return in the night. I thought that she would. I was sure of it. But she never came. There is no reason for it that I can think of. I can only assume that something must have happened to her,” Mrs. Buckley said, her voice teetering on panic.
“Oh, Mrs. Buckley!” exclaimed Georgiana.
“Forgive me, Miss. I know that I must look like a blubbering fool, but I do care a great deal for that girl. I cannot bear to think what might have come to pass that would be keeping her away. It worries me. It causes me to fear for her very life,” Mrs. Buckley said, handing Georgiana the tea.
“Surely nothing so horrid could have happened, Mrs. Buckley. Come now, have we had a look in her room? Thoroughly, I mean. Not simply the quick care we took previously, but a proper looking to,” Georgiana suggested.
“I am not sure what more we need to be looking at,” Mrs. Buckley said.
“Well, what all is there in the room? Has she removed anything? Are her clothes present or missing? We must learn whether she was forcibly removed or left of her own accord,” Georgiana said.
“I shall do my best to investigate, Miss Reid,” Mrs. Buckley promised.
With that, Mrs. Buckley left the room and Georgiana finished drinking the tea before she stood up and went to her wardrobe to dress herself without assistance.
Before long, she was ready, although she crossed her hands over her stomach, insecure that she had not quite dressed as well as she might have, and made her way down the stairs and to the dining room where her mother, father, and brother already awaited.
“Ah! There she is. You would have been proud of her, Father, had you been at the ball,” William said.
“Is that so? I hear that you had quite an array of gentlemen interested in dancing with you,” her father said.
“Not so grand, Father,” Georgiana replied.
“She is being modest. There were, indeed, a number of men interested in dancing with her. Of course, our girl is wise and chose only those worthy of her time,” her mother remarked, snidely.
“I suppose that is as it ought to be,” her father said.
Georgiana looked around and smiled at Sarah when she came to serve them their breakfast.
“Sarah, no news?” Georgiana asked.
But Sarah simply shook her head, looking embarrassed when Georgiana’s mother and father looked at her with curiosity.
“Rachel,” Georgiana explained. “She has not yet returned.”
She noted the way William looked up with a mild concern, but, after a pause, he returned to his dining and said nothing on the matter.
“You needn’t worry,” her mother said.
“What is this? Rachel? Has something happened?” her father asked.
Georgiana exhaled as a wave of relief wash over her. At last, someone was willing to ask about what had taken place.
“Yes, Father. She is missing. We do not know what has happened. She is simply gone. Since yesterday at this same time,” Georgiana explained.
Her father’s brows drew together and he looked at her mother who barely even acknowledged the issue with him.
“How is it that I was not made aware of this?” he asked.
Her mother looked at him with apology.
“It is nothing, Gregory. A maid has departed. It happens each and every day. You know how their lot is,” she said, Sarah sinking into the shadows with her words.
“Mother…” Georgiana said, knowing she could not openly scold her mother but hoping to alert her to how rude her words were.
But her mother simply brushed it away.
“Anyway, she probably ran off with the newspaper boy or some other. We may find a new maid,” she said.
William coughed, but did not interject his thoughts, although Georgiana wished that he would.
“I suppose you are correct, my dear. It could be anything that has taken her from us,” Georgiana’s father said.
“No, Father, it could not,” she said, speaking up. She would not allow anyone to ignore the matter at hand.
“Georgiana, what is it? Can you not imagine that a young lady might wish to run off and marry rather than be a maid?” he asked.
“There is no evidence that she has done such a thing. She would have told me. She had no gentleman in her life,” Georgiana said.
Her father smiled at her in a condescending way.
“My dear, we cannot expect that the household staff is going to tell us everything,” he said.
“But…but Rachel would have,” Georgiana said, determined.
“Rachael would have no reason to do so,” he retorted, stressing that Georgiana ought not to be so friendly with the staff and be so familiar with them.
“Father, please. She could be in trouble. May we not go and speak with the police? To find out what has happened to her?” Georgiana asked.
Her father scoffed.
“The police?” he asked.
“Yes, Father. Why wouldn’t we? It is clear that something is amiss. She has vanished,” Georgiana said, desperate.
“My dear, your mother is probably right about the reasons for her disappearance. I am sure she has simply discovered a gentleman in whom she has an interest,” her father said.
Georgiana was growing frustrated. She could not understand why her family didn’t seem to care about the fact that Rachel was missing. She understood that Rachel was simply a maid and men and women like her mother and father were unconcerned with staff for any reason other than receiving the care and attention that they paid for.
And yet, Georgiana knew Rachel, like Sarah and Mrs. Buckley, to be a flesh and blood woman. She knew that her life had value, that she mattered. She understood that even maids and housekeepers had feelings, hopes, and dreams beyond simply pouring tea and dusting fireplaces.
“Father, please, we must look into this. It is very important. We cannot simply ignore what has taken place here. What if Rachel’s family comes to us and asks after her whereabouts? What will you say to them? She is their daughter, just as I am yours. Would they not deserve to know that we have made an effort to search for her?” Georgiana asked, invoking the fact that she, too, was a daughter in the hopes that it would cause her father to consider it more clearly.
She watched his face shift and realized that her strategy was working.
“I suppose you do have a fine point at that,” he said.
“Yes, Father. We must do something,” she said.
“Gregory, are you going to allow our daughter to manipulate you in this way? What she is speaking of, it makes very little sense. Rachel is fine, I am certain,” her mother said, shrugging as if it was not an issue in the least.
But her father continued to eye her with an understanding.
“I think, Elizabeth, that Georgiana is right. We should look into this. And if, as we may believe, there is nothing to be found in the end, she will be calm and understand that not everything has to be a cause for drama,” he said, raising an eyebrow at Georgiana as if to warn her that she had better not press the matter if there was nothing discovered.
“Yes, Father. So long as we make an effort to look for her, I shall not push if we learn that she did simply run off,” Georgiana said, certain that there was more to it than that.
“Very well. To the constables we go,” he said, sighing. “You know that I believe this is foolishly done, my dear. But as you are passionate about it, I can see no other choice.”
“Yes, Father, I understand. Nevertheless, I must insist. We have to go to the constable and tell them that she has vanished. I shall not sit idly by while she is missing,” Georgiana said.
Her father said nothing, but sighed, as he often did when he was simply humouring her. After he had finished his breakfast, he looked at Georgiana and gave a nod.
“Are you ready to depart?” he asked.
“Yes, Father. Give me just a moment to fetch my gloves,” she replied, rushing from the table and up to her room.
She grasped her white lace gloves, delicate and fine as they were. They had been a gift when she entered society. Still, she considered them one of her prized possessions as they had been exquisitely designed and fit her fingers snugly.
Georgiana made her way back down the stairs where her father was adjusting his hat on his head.
“All right, then. Shall we depart?” he asked.
“Yes, Father. Thank you for listening to me. I know that something is amiss. We cannot allow our dear Rachel to suffer alone as we simply move on with our lives. Thank you for heeding my concern,” she said, truly grateful that he had given into her demands.
Her father gave her a blank stare for only a moment.
“You, my dear, are incapable of letting a matter rest. What did you expect? You know that I often have no choice but to give into your insistence,” he said.
Georgiana winced, understanding that this was not a compliment. However, if no one was going to listen to her, if no one was willing to be concerned for Rachel, she had to be the voice of reason, she had to be the one who would make them concede.
At last, Georgiana and her father climbed into the coach, ready to depart. She was eager, determined that they would manage to find the truth, however simple or complex it may be.
“Are you quite certain that this is how you wish to spend your day, my dear? Chasing after a wayward maid?” her father asked once they were making their way through the streets.
“What else am I to do, Father? Sit and wait at home and make pretty little squares of cross-stitching?” she asked.
“I rather thought you may wait for the Baron of Ayre to come and visit, as I am sure that he will,” he said.
Georgiana shook her head, hardly caring about that in such a moment.
They arrived at the police precinct and Georgiana could hardly bear propriety as she followed behind her father, rather desperate as she was to charge ahead and demand action.
Nevertheless, her father waltzed in and smiled at the constables.
A rather fine looking gentleman, outfitted not as a constable, but in very respectable clothing, stood nearby and looked up at Georgiana and her father.
“May I help you, sir?” he asked.
Her father looked to Georgiana and raised an eyebrow as if to make her speak her concern. She swallowed and emboldened herself.
“Yes. We wish to speak with someone about my maid who has vanished. Someone in charge, who will make every effort,” she said.
The fire-haired man flicked observant brown eyes between Georgiana and her father before giving a firm nod.
“As you wish, miss. I am Inspector Hamish Brock. Now, tell me what it is that has happened.”
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When Georgiana Reid’s maid goes missing, questions abound as to her whereabouts. The only problem is that nobody seems to care. Desperate to learn the truth of her disappearance, Georgiana enlists the help of Inspector Hamish Brock to find Rachel and bring her back home. But as they work together, her heart starts to beat a little bit faster every time he is around. Soon Georgiana realises that she may have to make a choice between her family and the Inspector she has come to care for. Will Georgiana manage to find her maid -and dear friend- before it’s too late, or will she be drawn to the wild aura of the handsome inspector that stole her heart?
For Hamish Brock, leading a precinct in a wealthy area of London is a wonderful job, but it does not stop him from wanting more in life. A caring wife and a big family is his dream, but luck has not been on his side so far. When he is called to examine the facts of a very mysterious case, we would never expect that the request would come from the most charming young Lady in town. But after a peculiar turn of events, he finds himself investigating the very woman he has started to care for. Finding himself in a dilemma of revealing the truth or losing the woman of his dreams, will he be brave enough to make the right decision?
As they struggle to unravel the mystery of who wanted Rachel gone, Hamish and Georgiana end up in a situation more hazardous than any story their imagination could conjure. Personalities collide and compromise seems unreachable, as their two worlds can never be one. As they work together for a common cause, will they finally find peace in each other’s arms or is there too much that stands between them?
“Secrets of a Fair Lady” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.