On the untimely demise of her parents, Miss Cassandra Whitney endures abject poverty raising her siblings. She faces further torment as her landlord, the odious Baron Scudder, threatens her with eviction, if she refuses to assent to his offer of marriage to her younger sister Belle. As Cassandra fights to save her family, she inherits a titled estate and a ruin of a castle.
News of Casandra’s inheritance travels fast, reaching the highest circles in the ton. The Dowager Duchess of Taunton immediately sees her as a worthy match for her son Maximillian the 6th Duke of Taunton a renowned rakehell. The dowager also plans to take control over the castle which would be a prestigious venue for her many balls and hunting weekends. However, neither Cassandra nor Maximillian has any desire to wed. The Duke is more than inclined to enjoy his various mistresses without the entanglement of matrimony; besides his time is mainly caught up with horses, gaming and his club. What with her siblings, the estate and a ruin of a castle to renovate Cassandra could not possibly entertain the idea of courtship.
Both did not anticipate the manipulative powers of the dowager who slyly arranges a meeting between them.
On seeing Cassandra, Max is suitably impressed with her wit and ironic humour. Already tiring of one of his mistresses, she would be a welcome replacement. Although charmed with his handsome looks and seductive overtures, Cassandra puts him firmly in his place.
Can Cassandra resist the devilish overtures of the Duke and the devious ploys of the dowager?
He controlled his irritation; he was known to be a rogue; however, his scheming mother was unaware of his proclivities, treating him like some prize stud ready to be snapped up by the nearest filly. He took a deep breath, as she turned to him, her eyes narrowing. ‘Dearest boy, the Countess of Rucrofts Castle is quite a catch. I call you a boy, but you are getting on in years now.'
She was particularly close to her eldest child, as she lost two boys and a girl after him, none of them surviving their first year. She became almost paranoid, blaming all and sundry for their deaths, indeed she went so far as to blame the wet nurse. Upon inspection, she found the woman’s hands to be begrimed and fleas running freely through her skirts. Upon the chief nanny protesting that it would not harm the babe, the dowager dismissed her on the spot along with the wet nurse; two nurse maids soon followed. For some obscure reason the duchess took up, what was the latest fad, of washing not only the face and hands, but the entire body, including the unmentionable parts. Her poor servants were faced with washing their bodies once a day, and even rinsing their hair at least once a month.
Very few of the population followed such a severe regime. In fact, tis still considered by many to be a most unhealthy fad exposing the bather to some devastating sickness. However, for the dowager, cleanliness in the nursery was imposed de rigueur, and woe betide any servant found with a speck of dirt upon their person. This was a hard rule, as few servants were innocent of the odd flea or two. The worse of her obsessions was her insistence on teeth being pulled if they were turning black.
There was many a toothless servant
‘Max, you need a wife. I insist you attend to your duty as the Duke and head of this bloodline.’
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About the author:
My main loves are writing, painting and singing. I began work as a PA but to my joy was spotted by an agent in London and had an exciting career as a singer, meeting and singing with some wonderful people. Singing meant a lot of travelling both in the UK and abroad. At one time, I toured Germany and Turkey singing for the American troops, which was a fantastic experience. But then, my husband and I wanted a family, so I said good-bye to the singing career, although I did the occasional gig. Having children is such a precious time, and I would say to anyone, treasure it, it goes so quickly and before you know it, you’re waving them off to Uni or pursuing their own dreams and their own homes.
I have always had a deep interest in psychology for various reasons, and especially the area of neurosis arising from abuse. Later, I was to study how we could use our body, mind and spirit to relieve pain and overcome some life-threatening diseases. One important thing here is, I always told my patients to continue with medical treatment along with the complementary and spiritual methods, for I believe medical research and medication is also a gift from God, Spirit or the Universe, as each of us wishes to name it.
I have loved writing from a child and during the years of study, research and treating some wonderful people, whom I called my friends, I would write at night, mainly short stories, and reams of poetry. I wanted to learn how to write self-help books for my clients, so I took creative writing courses at university, which led to writing a novel. So self-help novels turned to fiction but even so, I hope the novels help the reader through their own challenges, as the characters experience love, loss, passion, jealousy, illness, joy and conflict, even the threat of death.