Duels & Deceptions by Cindy Anstey | Excerpt + Giveaway
“I have here a letter of introduction. I was expecting to give it to your uncle, Mr. Kemble.” Glancing at the gate again where Uncle Arthur had disappeared, the young gentleman hesitated a moment and then continued. “But I think in these circumstances, I had best give it to you directly.”
“Indeed?” Lydia was flummoxed. This was highly irregular; all delicacy dictated that she… that she… Bother! The situation was such that she had no precedent on which to lean. She was quite at a loss.
“From Mr. Alfred Lynch.”
Lydia’s hand went out instantly, but she slowed it just enough to take the letter with great dignity and solemn interest. “Mr. Lynch of Bath? My solicitor?”
“One and the same.”
The letter was not long and took mere seconds to peruse. “You are Mr. Newton? Mr. Robert Newton? Mr. Lynch’s clerk?”
Mr. Newton leaned forward, looking down at the paper as if he were going to read it upside down. “Clerk? Is that what he calls me?”
Edging back, Lydia instinctively pulled the letter to her bodice. “Are you not his clerk?”
“Well, I am. But he offered me an apprenticeship just last week. Though, I will admit he did not state exactly when it was to begin. Still, he might have referred to me as an apprentice-in-waiting.”
“A somewhat unwieldy title.”
“True enough. Though, it’s more likely that he forgot.”
“Seems unlikely. The man’s mind is as sharp as a tack.”
“Been a while since you’ve seen him?”
“At my father’s funeral, three years ago. Not that long.”
“Yes, well… a lot can happen in three years.”
Lydia thought about how much her life had changed and reluctantly agreed—though silently. “Mr. Lynch’s letter does not explain why you are here to visit us.”
“No, it does not.”
Lydia waited for him to continue but he didn’t seem disposed to enlighten her. “So, why have you come all the way from Bath to Roseberry Hall, Mr. Newton?”
“Bath isn’t all that far. It only took me a couple of hours.” He glanced over at his gig and shrugged. “Would have been faster on horseback, but Mr. Lynch did insist. Thought it looked better. More official.”
Lydia heart skipped a beat and she swallowed with a little difficulty. “Do you need to look official?”
“In some eyes, yes, I would say so.”
“You aren’t being very clear, Mr. Newton. Rather cryptic.”
“Mr. Lynch said you were clever.” And so it was, that Lydia stood on the side of the Spelding Road just outside her own gates observing that the day had grown chilly and that the splash of Grose River was rather boisterous, in a less than charming manner. Had she been of the right disposition, she might have snapped at Mr. Newton for his uninformative conversation. She was now overburdened with thoughts of tardiness and broken wheels while her solicitors’ emissary thought nothing of being mysterious.
Duels and Deception
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: April 11, 2017
Genres: YA Historical, Romance
Miss Lydia Whitfield, heiress to the family fortune, has her future entirely planned out. She will run the family estate until she marries the man of her late father’s choosing, and then she will spend the rest of her days as a devoted wife. Confident in those arrangements, Lydia has tasked her young law clerk, Mr. Robert Newton, to begin drawing up the marriage contracts. Everything is going according to plan.Until Lydia—and Robert along with her—is kidnapped. Someone is after her fortune and won’t hesitate to destroy her reputation to get it. With Robert’s help, Lydia strives to keep her family’s good name intact and expose whoever is behind the devious plot. But as their investigation delves deeper and their affections for each other grow, Lydia starts to wonder whether her carefully planned future is in fact what she truly wants…
Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.
She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.
Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel.