Last week I brought you a sneak peek at the first chapter of Lady Griffith’s Second Chance! Today I bring you the entirety of Chapter Two! I hope you enjoy this special look!
(And you can pre-order the book here, if you find you can’t wait for these little teases.)
“Oh, Mama! I was so glad to have you there!”
Regan patted Katharine’s hand and kept her eyes pinned to the trees that bent low over the pond. Beneath their branches, Jack and Maria batted a shuttlecock between them, their arms swinging with the force of an all-out war.
“And I was happy to be there with you,” Regan said, casting a benevolent smile towards her daughter. “But you still need to tell me about the part of the dinner I missed.”
She tilted her face upwards, allowing the sunlight to warm her cheeks and forehead. She squinted at the brightness of the day, while clouds like dandelion fluff floated from one horizon to the other, drawing shadows on the lawn. She’d abandoned her bonnet some time before and the heat from the sun prickled at the part in her hair, no doubt already turning her exposed skin to a warm pinkish hue. But it was summer, and the rain had finally ceased, and the shrieks and laughter of her younger children filled the air around her.
They followed the same routine every morning after a ball, or assembly, or even a small dinner party accompanied by a game or three of cards. After breakfast and the children’s lessons, Katharine would regale her mother with the previous evening’s entertainments. No detail was ever spared, from the unbearable press of bodies in a ballroom to the quality of a Miss Simpson’s performance on the pianoforte. The only difference this time was that Regan had been there as well.
Regan felt her heel slip on the ground and looked down at her hem, the edges bearing three inches of mud and moisture on the darkened fabric. Two days of rain after a particularly wet spring had turned the ground into a sodden, squelching mess. She frowned at the stains, though half her gowns bore the evidence of too much time spent out of doors as she traipsed around the grounds with her children.
Her thoughts went to her gown from the previous night, stained beyond repair with half a glass of red wine. Those thoughts, of course, leading her to memories of a young man named Thomas, whom she had stumbled into head-first in a lonely hallway. A man who had presented himself as all too forward for his own good. A man who had taken to flirting with her within the first moments of their meeting, and before they had been formally introduced. A man she had done everything within her power to respectfully ignore for the remainder of the evening.
It had not been difficult. Between Thomas’s late arrival and the ruination of her gown and an incident of Mr. Boyd knocking into a table and breaking one of his wife’s most treasured figurines, avoiding an introduction had taken no great skill. But Regan had caught herself glancing at him occasionally—more than occasionally—from the other side of the room, from her place with the other older ladies, the widows, the mothers with children grown. Where she belonged, and not lusting after gentlemen far beyond the circle her age and situation in life described around her.