Read His Not So Sensible Miss (A Gentleman's Guide to Once Upon a Time - Book 3) Online

Authors: Jane Charles

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His Not So Sensible Miss (A Gentleman's Guide to Once Upon a Time - Book 3)

BOOK: His Not So Sensible Miss (A Gentleman's Guide to Once Upon a Time - Book 3)
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His Not So

Sensible Miss

 

 

By

 

 

Jane Charles

 

 

 

His Not So Sensible Miss

 

By: Jane Charles

 

 

Copyright © 2011 by Jane
Charles

 

Smashwords Edition

 

Cover Design by Jerrica
Knight-Catania

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, locations and events are either a product of the
author’s imagination, fictitious or used fictitiously. Any
resemblance to any event, locale or person, living or dead, is
purely coincidental.

 

This ebook is licensed for your
personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given
away to other people. If you would like to share this book with
another person, please purchase an additional copy for each
recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or
it was not purchased for your use only, then please return and
purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of
this author.

 

 

 

 

Dedicated to

 

My niece, Megan, for her support and
cheering me on

 

Chapter 1

 

County Sussex, England

March, 1813

 

A drop of water fell on
Emily Frasier’s nose.
No! Not
now
. The sky had been overcast for a week,
leaving her world grey and gloomy. Unable to stand being cooped up
in the house one more day, she had taken a chance and gone for a
ride. Who would have believed that as soon as she was far away from
her uncle’s home the sky would decide to open up? Stuck between an
open field and the woods, Emily searched for signs of a
shelter.

Ahead was a well-used
path.
Please, let this lead to some place
dry and protected.
Soothing the agitated
horse, she rode up the hill. Ahead of her was the back of an old,
dilapidated barn and she sighed with relief. The place had
certainly seen better days but that it was the only shelter to be
found and the rain was becoming heavier, who was she to criticize?
Emily rode around to the front and guided her mare into the
structure and slid from the horse’s back. The barn must have been
deserted long ago. Several areas of the roof offered no protection
whatsoever and she needed to be careful where she stood because she
was liable to get just as wet inside as she would out.

Emily removed her drooping, waterlogged
hat and placed in on a small table and began drying the mare with
some old straw piled in the corner. When she was finished, she used
the brush that had been left behind to groom her horse.


I’m sorry, Athena, I can’t
lift the saddle. You’ll have to stay this way until after the storm
and I can get you home.” She walked toward the opening in the barn
to check on the sky and was brought up short. Another horse and
rider was headed right for her. The rider’s head was down against
the wind and rain and Emily ducked out of sight, hoping the man
hadn’t seen her. He must be seeking shelter the same as she had
done. Suddenly anxious, Emily pulled Athena to the back and into
the shadows.

Though she had been in the area a few
weeks, Emily still didn’t know her way around. She didn’t even know
whose land she trespassed on. This man could be anyone and it
wouldn’t be well done to be found alone, hiding. With luck, Athena
would remain quiet and both of them would go unnoticed.

Who was she trying to fool? Her luck
hadn’t been the best today. She’d torn her new stockings while
getting ready for services. At breakfast her cup had tipped,
spilling tea down her gown and staining it terribly. They’d been
late for church because Emily had been forced to change. And now,
this wretched storm.

 

* * *

 

Chadwick Dillon Chambers glanced up
when the first raindrops hit his face.


Bullocks!” He needed to get
away from his mother and had decided to take up residence in his
cottage until the Season began and he returned to London. Being
stuck in the house with her carrying on about his non-marital state
had pushed him over the edge. With the approach of each spring, it
was the same lecture he had listened to for the past five years. At
thirty years of age, he most definitely needed to find a bride this
season, at least in her opinon.

He longed for the peaceful solitude of
his cottage and intended to spend his time putting a new roof on
the barn. He had waited three days for the sky to clear to no
avail, but the roof wasn’t going to fix itself and time was
precious. So he’d thrown caution to the wind and set out of the old
out building.

As he approached the opening, his horse
shied and Dillon urged him on. After sliding from its back, Dillon
pulled him into the barn. The horse neighed and turned his head
toward the back of the barn. Perhaps the brewing storm was making
the animal more skittish than usual. He wasn’t particularly
concerned at the moment. All he wanted to do was remove the saddle
and bridle from the beast, brush him down and get into his cottage
where he could change into dry clothing and sit before a fire. At
least it would be quiet and solitary, with no one harping at him.
He looked forward to the promised seclusion.

After dropping the saddle on the
ground, Dillon turned to pick up the brush he had last left on the
table. But it was missing. In its place was a green hat, wet from
the rain. A lady’s hat, to be exact, in complete ruin. Dillon
straightened and looked around the barn. No wonder his horse had
balked. They weren’t alone.

 

* * *

 

Emily tried to make herself as small as
possible. Perhaps he would think her mare had simply been left.
Heavens, what would she do if the man discovered her. He was a
stranger. A very tall and broad shouldered stranger. The kind of
stranger any decent young lady would fear to be alone
with.

So far Emily had only seen him from
behind and noted the dark curly hair cut to just the nape of his
neck. Then he turned and the other side of him was just as
intimidating. His chest was broad and Emily scooted back further
into the shadows. She couldn’t tell what color his eyes were, but
they must have been as dark as his hair. His face was unusually
tanned. Did the stranger spend an inordinate amount of time out of
doors?


I’m glad to see I wasn’t
the only one foolish enough to trust the sky.” The stranger smiled
toward the back of the barn where Emily stood, her wet hat dangling
from his fingertips.

Drat. She forgot to take her hat, just
further evidence that her day was not going well. “I don’t believe
I like being called a fool.” She stepped forward.

The man bowed. “My apologies. I can
understand how one would believe this to be a perfect day for
riding.” Was he mocking her?

Emily walked into the opening at the
front of the barn. “Very well, you do have a point. But, how was I
to know that after days of this monotonous weather it would start
to rain when I finally chanced an outing?”

He laughed. “I agree completely, which
is how I was caught as well. I’d hoped to patch this roof
today.”

As the words left his mouth, a leak
developed directly over Emily and water streamed over her head.
Emily chuckled and stepped to the side. “I believe you have a good
deal of work ahead of you.”

The man stood, hands on hips and looked
up at the roof. “Perhaps I should just tear the entire structure
down and start all over.”


Oh, I don’t believe that is
necessary, but perhaps a new roof is in order.”


No bother.” He shrugged.
“It’s why I’m here in the first place.”

Emily studied him. He seemed like a
friendly, non-threatening man, but could she really trust him? Of
course, she didn’t really have a choice at the moment and perhaps
today’s diversion would prove promising after all, as long as she
didn’t tell her aunt and uncle of this meeting.

 

* * *

 

She had no idea who he was, nor did he
know her. Dillon couldn’t remember the last time that had happened.
It was a refreshing experience. He could already guess she believed
him to be a common tradesperson or laborer, which he could hardly
blame her given his old worn pants, stained shirt and muddy boots.
And, he wasn’t about to enlighten her. “If not, there is work in
the cottage needing my attention.”


I didn’t notice a cottage.”
She started for the opening to the barn.


It’s on the other side of
the barn.” He led her to the door opposite from where she
stood.

He loved this place. A two story, stone
cottage with ivy growing up the back and around the windows and
doors. The small kitchen garden with plants still dormant waited
for the warmth of spring outside the back door. At least the plants
would welcome this rain.


Will the owner mind that I
have waited the storm out in his barn?”


No, he would not.” She
could appear in his barn anytime she liked. Now that she had moved
toward the door, he could see her more clearly and he very much
liked what he saw. She wasn’t a very tall woman. In fact, the top
of her head barely came to his chin. Her hair was a dark brown and
her eyes were the color of brandy. Her rounded face reminded him of
a cherub with rosy bowed lips. If the fullness of her face was any
indication, then her body was probably shapely and softly rounded
as well. Especially in the areas he most enjoyed such plumpness.
Dillon was very curious as to what her dark cloak hid.


I don’t recall seeing you
in the area before. I’m Dillon.” He intentionally left off his last
name. Few knew him as Dillon in these parts as his mother insisted
on calling him by his christened name, Chadwick.


Emily,” she returned with a
smile.

How nice that they had only first names
between them. It stripped away the walls erected by society where a
title determined who you were and how important. Standing in a
leaking barn as Dillon with a lovely young woman named Emily was
more than a little refreshing.

As more leaks opened above them, there
were few places left to stand. The wind also picked up and Dillon
suspected this storm would continue for a time before blowing
itself out. They couldn’t stay here because it wasn’t exactly
offering any decent shelter. Nor did he trust the roof to remain if
the wind became fierce. “I suggest, Miss Emily that we retreat to
the cottage where we will be better protected from the
elements.”

She took a step back. “I’m not sure
that would be wise. Why don’t you go inside and I will stay here
with my mare.”

Dillon turned toward the horse. “Would
you like some assistance in removing the saddle?”

Emily looked grateful. “Yes, please. I
can’t manage it on my own.”

Dillon was happy to be of service and
had the mare comfortable in no time. It was prime horseflesh, which
made him wonder who Emily was and how she could afford such a fine
animal. The saddle was made of some of the finest leather he had
ever seen. She may believe him to be a common laborer but she was
far from a common, country girl.


I can’t leave you in the
barn alone and I have no desire to stay in here with the roof
leaking over my head.”


I don’t know the owner and
it wouldn’t be right to intrude.”


The owner will not mind. On
that you have my word.”

Emily chewed on a fingernail and Dillon
could only guess at what she was thinking. “However, he would mind
if I let you stand out here in the rain and you became
ill.”

She looked up at him, worry marred her
brow and she bit her lower lip. “Is he at home?”


No, but I have a key so I
can work on the roof and I will be staying here.”


Are you certain he won’t
mind?”


I promise.” He placed his
hand over his heart. “You have my word that I will behave honorably
toward you.”

BOOK: His Not So Sensible Miss (A Gentleman's Guide to Once Upon a Time - Book 3)
10.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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