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- Riches to Rags
- Fish Out of Water
- Disgraced Family
As the youngest son of a duke, Edward Wentworth is neither the heir nor the spare, leaving him feeling restless and uncertain. He decides to forge his own path by embarking on a journey to the newly formed United States that will change his life forever. But when he stumbles upon a beautiful Irish woman being sold into indenture, he knows that he cannot turn a blind eye to her plight.
Where Anna Walsh once had family, pride, safety, and love, she now is only left with an insurmountable debt and a bleak future as a loathsome Englishman's mistress. There is only one chance at escape—indentured servitude. But when a handsome man pays the large sum and then offers her freedom, she cannot help but be suspicious of his motives.
As Anna and Edward navigate their way through the challenges of their journey, will they be able to set aside their biases and allow their love to flourish? Or will their past beliefs keep them from finding true happiness?
Intro. Into Chapter One
Intro. Into Chapter One
June 1785 -Leicestershire, England
A duke’s opinion was always right. At least in the eyes of a
duke. But that was not how Edward Wentworth saw it. Edward sighed and scrubbed
a hand over his face. If only this one time his father could see things from Edward’s point of view. But it did not seem his wish was to come true.
“Must you do this, son?” Concern wrinkled the brow of
Charles Wentworth, the Seventh Duke of Shearsby.
“I see few other options, Father. The church and the army hold no
appeal. There is nothing for me.” Edward shifted his feet.
“You believe leaving your family and friends—the only people who care for you—is your only option?” His father grumbled. “You are not the first younger son to question his place in society, yet few of them took such drastic
measures. Why not take a grand tour? Perhaps then you will discover what you
think you are missing.”
Edward clenched his hands at his side. How many times must
he offer the same argument? “America has many more opportunities. With my
inheritance, I will buy a sizable estate and grow it into something great.
Something that is mine.” He looked at his father with pleading eyes. Why could he not understand? “I have the chance to make something of myself, not simply muddle through life as just the younger son of the Duke of Shearsby.” Edward turned and hefted his last trunk to the footman waiting atop the carriage.
“Many would kill to hold such a title." He held his son's gaze for a moment, but seeing no change, he continued with a sigh. "But you know nothing about making something of yourself. I do not see how you can succeed.”
Edward flinched. He knew his father did not believe him capable, but hearing the words aloud stung.
His father grunted. “While I understand your desire for
adventure, I still cannot approve of your decision. Your mother has done nothing but grumble and stew since you informed us of your plans. She knows some harm will befall you on the way.” He ran a hand down his chin, as if stroking a beard that had long since been shaven. “Have you considered how long the journey
will last? Life aboard a ship for weeks on end is taxing. And what about when you arrive? I’ve heard the colonies are a wild and uncivilized place. I dare say you shall be robbed before you even leave the docks. Or at the very least will have squandered all your money. Then what shall you do? Come running back to Morley with your hand out?” The duke looked at Edward as if he had just made the winning argument.
“It is not the colonies, Father. It is the United States of America. And New York and Philadelphia are just as civilized as London.”
His father harrumphed. “I cannot imagine that to be true.”
Edward looked heavenward, willing all the patience he had
forward. “America may not be as staid as our society, but that is its appeal for me. I am tired of English society and all its supposed propriety.” Edward
sighed. “I wish for someone to find me interesting, not my father title.”
Edward had hoped in time his parents would come to terms with his decision. Heaven only knew they had tried to dissuade him, but he had hoped, when this day came, they would accept the decision and support him. Although, now that he thought on it, he had been näive to believe it could happen.
He scratched at his eyebrow. He had not made this plan willy-nilly. He had thought long and hard, weighing the benefits and the
disadvantages. While there were several of the latter, Edward knew this would be best for his future. He would miss his family, and some would surely miss
him, but how was this different from joining the military? “I cannot see that the navy or army would be any safer than America, Father.” Edward moved toward
the carriage, trying to put an end to this discussion.
“Can you not at least wait until your brothers return?” his
Edward shook his head. “My brothers knew I was leaving today and chose to go hunting anyway. I will not postpone my plans because they aren’t here.” Edward’s chest tightened. There was little to say about his brothers. Indeed, they had factored heavily into his decision to move to America. Not only did James and Andrew care little about what Edward did, but they would surely welcome his departure. Their only regret would be that they no longer
had someone to taunt and abuse.
Even his sister Lydia would likely not miss him. She was much too
busy preparing for her come out next Season. His youngest sister, Rachel, was the one who had given him pause. She was still young and sweet. But it was
surely better that Edward was not around to watch her change, as she undoubtedly would. Had not Lydia been sweet years ago?
“I’ve made my decision, Father, and that is final.”
His father cast a glance at Harland, Edward’s lifelong valet, as if asking the man to use his influence to put a stop to this. Edward glanced over his shoulder at the older man waiting next to the carriage step.
Harland simply shrugged.
Edward turned back to his father. “Perhaps when I am settled, you
and mother could come for a visit?” Edward hated the longing in his voice.
His father raised a brow but did not answer. That was my
answer, was it not?
He dipped his head in farewell, trying to remove any look of
disappointment from his face. He paused, should his father wish to embrace him. But when it became awkwardly obvious it would not happen, he climbed the steps of the carriage, lingering a little longer before he must step inside and shut
out his former life for good.
His father reached out and Edward quickly grasped his hand. Why did it feel like a tenuous string holding him to his family? He wanted this. But if he did, why was he so reluctant to let go?
Almost immediately, his father pulled his hand away and stepped back. Edward looked down at a paper sitting in his palm. That was the reason
for the sudden outpouring of…love?
“What is this?” Edward unfolded the paper and read the list of
“When you find yourself in a spot, reach out to one of them. They will see you are returned safely to England.”
Edward’s hand fisted around the paper. He had not even left the
estate and already his father had him returning with his tail between his legs.
He thrust his hand forward. “I thank you for your offer, but I shall not be needing this.”
His father made no effort to take the paper, so Edward let it
fall to the pebbled lane and swung up into the doorway. He gave one last look at Morley Park, the home he had known all this life. “I will send word once I
arrive in Liverpool…” He looked to his father, but the man had already made his way back to the staircase.
“Do not write asking for more money. I have given you all I will
give.” Charles Wentworth yelled without even turning his head toward the carriage. That was all the farewell he was to receive? It was just as well. Edward settled himself onto the seat as Harland stepped into the carriage.
The valet shoved his hand into his pocket and looked up.
“What was that you put in your pocket?”
Harland flicked his eyes to the window but did not readily
“It was the list of names, was it not?”
Harland shrugged. “It cannot hurt to have them—just in case of an
“We will not need it.” Edward huffed. He hoped Harland believed the obstinance was true because Edward surely did not feel it.
As the carriage swayed down the lane, Edward had the urge to look back but he refrained. His ties to home had been severed. If he ever returned to Morley Park, his father would see it as a failure. For the first time in his
life, Edward realized he was truly on his own.