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Monday Puzzler > Monday Puzzler - October 1st

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message 1: by Phoenix77 (new)

Phoenix77 | 345 comments “Heroine?”

“Go. Away.”

Oh, yes, she was furious.

“Are you well?” He needed to know for certain. “Are you–?”

“I’ve never been better.”

He let another wave of relief wash over him before speaking again. “Will you open the door, please?”

“Absolutely not.”

“I’ve come to apologize.”

“How noble of you.”

“You don’t have to let me in. Just… open it a crack–“


“Then listen. Just listen.” He placed the flat of his hand against the door and spoke through the wood. “I want to be responsible for you.”

“Oh, go to the devil–“

“Wait. Let me finish, please.” When she didn’t protest, he closed his eyes and spoke from the heart. “I want to take care of you. I always will. You could turn away from me now. You could bar me from your home. You could marry another man and excise me from your life completely. But I will always want to take care of you. I will always want to see to it you are happy… because I will always love you.”

His confession was met with a silence. Hero couldn’t hear a whisper of sound coming through the door. He opened his eyes and dropped his hand. Had she stopped listening? Had she already made up her mind to believe nothing he said? Had she snuck out the window?

“Heroine?… Are you there?”

His answer came in the form of the soft click of the lock as it slid free and the creaking of hinges as Heroine opened the door. She’d been just on the other side of the wood, he realized, and he took a small step back to give her a little space. She’d been listening and was willing to hear more– both very good signs.

Her countenance was less encouraging. Her amber eyes held an ocean of skepticism, and the way she stood in the doorway, ready to bolt back inside, told him she was far from throwing herself back in his arms. But she’d been listening, and now she’d opened the door. It was enough to light a small flame of hope.

“You love me,” she said, wariness evident in every word.

“Yes.” He had to ball his free hand into a fist to keep from reaching for her. “I know I’ve given you little cause to believe—“

“You love me? She pressed. “The woman you met in Scotland? The woman who wears trousers on occasion and sometimes–?

“I know who you are. I know you better than I know the back of my own hand. I know you can’t dance. I know you prefer custard to fruit. I know you learned to swear by visiting a prison and lost a sixpence to a boy so you could teach him to read. I know I hurt you by speaking of responsibility and duty.” He bent his head in an effort to catch her eye. It was vital she understood, and believed, what he said next. “You are not a burden, Heroine. You will never be a burden. I’ve no excuse for so disregarding your feelings by speaking so callously, except… Except I am so deeply in love with you, and it–“

“Do you want to be?”

“In love with you?” He straightened, took a chance, and reached for her hand. The flame grew a little brighter when she didn’t pull away. “Yes. It terrifies me. The idea of children terrifies me. The thought that something might happen to you, that I might let something happen to you, absolutely terrifies me, and always will.” He gave her hand a gentle squeeze. “I wouldn’t be rid of that fear for any price. Because to lose it would be to lose you, and the possibility of our children. I… I want it– you and children and every moment of fear and happiness that comes with being in love. I want it. All of it.”

The skepticism was fading. He could see the hurt and wariness retreating from her features.

“You love me,” she repeated, and this time, she said it with confidence and the first hints of a smile.

“Yes.” He pulled her closer slowly, until the front of her gown brushed against him. “Yes. With everything I am. If you believe nothing else I’ve said–“

“I believe you.”

“You do?” Hope was no longer a small flame now; it was a blinding light that burned away the vestiges of fear and doubt. “And that you could never be a burden? And that I’m sorry? I’m so sorry Heroine. You’ve done all the work, had all the courage. I’ve been a blind and selfish–“

“I certainly believe that.” Her smile grew. “All of it.”

All of it. The good and the bad. He could no more fathom the extent of his good fortune than he could stop himself from asking for more. “I know I’ve done little to earn it, but I had hoped… Coming here, I had very much hoped that despite my blunderings, you might be willing to consider, at some point… bearing a similar responsibility?”

“That is a perfectly absurd way to ask if I love you.”

“I know.”

“It suits you.” She slid her hand free to reach up and cup his face. “Yes. I love you.”

message 2: by Kasey (new)

Kasey | 560 comments Mod
It sounds familiar, but I can't place it.

message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan (SusaninAZ) | 754 comments No idea. I like the setup: slightly clumsy, wary Heroine and bumbling absurd Hero. These are often done in contemporaries but not so often in Historicals.

message 4: by Monica (new)

Monica | 548 comments Mod
I agree, it does sound familiar, but I can't place it either. Hmmm...

message 5: by Dls (new)

Dls | 1743 comments Mod
I know I haven't read it . Sounds good. (Sounds like early 20th c? )

message 6: by Irisheyes (new)

Irisheyes | 802 comments I haven't read it, but it's very sweet. Can't wait to find out.

message 7: by Phoenix77 (new)

Phoenix77 | 345 comments The book was Nearly a Lady by Alissa Johnson. I figured this was a great week to feature her as her new title released today.

message 8: by Janga (new)

Janga | 1070 comments Mod
Sorry I missed this yesterday. This is not just a new book but also a new author for me.

message 9: by Monica (new)

Monica | 548 comments Mod
Nope, I haven't read it!

message 10: by Manda (new)

Manda Collins (Manda_Collins) | 1661 comments Mod
She's someone I've been meaning to read but haven't yet. Thanks for the reminder.:)

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