Meggy Campeau waits nervously to be ushered into the presence of the Duchess of Haverford. Since she arrived in London days ago, she has been overwhelmed by titled ladies. She knows she belongs in a cabin along the lakes in Canada, not in this room full of priceless antiques. She fidgets with the dress she has borrowed from the Countess of Chadbourn. Rand’s sister. Who insists on being called Catherine. Meggy will never get used to it.
The door opens on silent hinges and the duchess herself sweeps in. “Catherine! It is wonderful to see you as always. Miss Campeau, welcome. Or do you prefer to be called Mrs. Blair?”
Meggy feels her cheeks heat. She looks at the wall to the left of the duchess’s ear and tries to formulate an answer.
“Perhaps I should call you simply Meggy. Would that make you more comfortable?”
The duchess’s smile certainly helps Meggy calm down. She nods. “Thank you, Your Grace.”
The arrival of the teacart gives Meggy a brief moment to collect herself. All too soon the duchess looks at her over a dainty porcelain cup and asks, “How is that scamp Randy doing? I understand he has been somewhat overwrought.”
Catherine raises a brow at Meggy, urging her to answer.
“Rand worries for my children, Your Grace. I don’t mind admitting they are in danger at their father’s hands.”
The duchess nods, knowingly. “Well done of him. From what I’ve been able to ascertain, they need his protection. You do, too.”
Meggy stiffens her spine. “I can take care of myself, Your Grace.”
“But not your children?”
Meggy crumples. Tears threaten. The duchess is at her side in a moment, a reassuring arm on her shoulder. “My dear, we all need help eventually. There is no shame in taking it. You have Rand.”
Meggy’s head bobs up, but the duchess waves her protest away. “You do have him, if you want him, you know, but that is a matter for another time. First you must allow all of us help you deal with your vile husband and the criminals that surround him.”
The duchess smiles. “Well, perhaps not directly. Sudbury, Chadbourn, and Rand’s darling cousin Charles have things well in hand. Should you need us, however, the Grenford family stands ready to help. ” She pours another cup and her face takes on an impish expression. “After all, Rand is well on his way to enriching me even further with this timber enterprise. I’m grateful he let me invest.”
With that, the duchess and Catherine turn the conversation to mutual friends, the weather, and the theater season, leaving Meggy to contemplate what she just heard. She sits back and lets the feeling of security sink in. I’m not alone, and my children will be safe.
The Renegade Wife
Betrayed by his cousin and the woman he loved, Rand Wheatly fled England, his dreams of a loving family shattered. He clings to his solitude in an isolated cabin in Upper Canada. Returning from a business trip to find a widow and two children squatting in his house, he flies into a rage. He wants her gone, but her children are sick and injured, and his heart is not as hard as he likes to pretend.
Meggy Blair harbors a secret, and she’ll do whatever it takes to keep her children safe. She’d hopes to hide with her Ojibwa grandmother, if she can find the woman and her people. She doesn’t expect to find shelter with a quiet, solitary man, a man who lowers his defensive walls enough to let Meggy and her children in.
Their idyllic interlude is shattered when Meggy’s brutal husband appears to claim his children. She isn’t a widow, but a wife, a woman who betrayed the man she was supposed to love, just as Rand’s sweetheart betrayed him. He soon discovers why Meggy is on the run, but time is running out. To save them all, Rand must return and face his demons.
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First in a new series: Children of Empire
Raised with all the privilege of the English aristocracy, forged on the edges of the British Empire, men and woman of the early Victorian age seek their own destiny and make their mark on history. The heroes and heroines of Caroline’s Dangerous Series overcame challenges even after their happy ending. Their children seek their own happiness in distant lands in Children of Empire.