Monday, December 5, 2011
"The Vicar’s Virgin" Blurb:
The Reverend Mr. Ridley needs a wife so he focuses his attentions on Georgina Arnott, a sensible, intelligent, yet attractive woman.
On their wedding night he’s relieved to discover she enjoys the pleasures of the bed, and, after a slow start, their evenings are full of passion and joy for both of them.
Unfortunately, when she takes an interest in his parish, it seems to involve filling his house with noisy people tramping muddy boots through the hallways, and filling his kitchen with dirty children.
He loves his wife. But can this marriage work?
The deep baritone voice rumbled, bringing her back to the present with a start. “Mr. Ridley.” She placed her hand on his arm as he led her to the supper room. No one had ever said her name quite that way before. Chills of excitement ran up and down her spine, before she pulled herself together to smile at him as he held her chair.
After he brought her a plate of food, he said, “I wondered if you had been named for your father, but Mama told me your parents were James and Elizabeth, not George or even Georgiana. May I offer you my sincere condolences? You must miss them very much.”
Georgina was surprised. In the three seasons she’d been out, no dinner partner had even started a conversation like this. In fact, most of the young men talked about themselves, their own activities, and possibly their importance or wealth or connections. Since he was a man of the cloth, she’d even been prepared for him to speak of the stories in the Bible, or of God. But not her name. And to offer his sympathy as well. That was certainly a different approach. His attention was on her, not their surroundings, and he appeared to be genuinely interested and awaiting her reply.
“Thank you. It was a great shock, but it was three years ago. I’d come out and just had my first season. Simeon came down from Oxford and none of us came to Town the following Season. Simeon concentrated on taking over the property. Fortunately Papa had trained him in land management. Simeon became the head of our family, Amos went to Oxford, normal life resumed. Now it’s time to prepare Sapphira for her season. Since we have not entertained as much as my parents used to, we thought it better to let her try her wings in the Little Season. Her beauty is sure to attract both unsuitable men as well as those who are worthy of her. This gives her the opportunity to…” She hesitated.
“Get to know the Ton?” he suggested.
“Yes,” she smiled. “It’s good for Amos to get a little Town bronze too before he makes his formal bow at Court when the Season begins.”
“I agree. It’s different for a man, but there are always those who take advantage of greenhorns so attending his sisters now will help him gain the necessary confidence.”
They smiled at each other for a moment and Georgina couldn’t help but notice what a wonderful smile the Vicar had. He smiled with his entire face not just his lips. His eyes lit up with little lines forming beside them, his whole face coming alive with enjoyment.
“I was named for Saint Barnabas. And you?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I never answered that part of your question. I was born on the twelfth of August, King George’s birthday, and was named for him. And Sapphira is not named for the family eye color, but because it is the Greek word for beautiful. As soon as they saw her golden hair my parents knew she’d inherited Grandmama’s coloring and would be beautiful. Deborah has it too.”
“Deborah is your younger sister?”
“Yes, she’s nine and full of mischief like the twins. Sapphira has a sweet and gentle nature.”
“Ah the twins. Whatever did they do to have the cook chasing them with the carving knife?”
Laughing, Georgina told him, “Joel and Micah had balanced my great-grandmother’s solid silver salver over the pantry door with a pail of water on top of it. When Millie, the maid, opened the door to put the second-best china away, she was drenched with the cold water and dropped the china.”
He grinned. “They sound like mischievous young boys indeed. As a child I would never have upset the cook, who used to spoil me with freshly baked honey cakes and slices of candied peel.”
“I don’t believe they realized it would upset her. They’d planned the victim to be the butler, Soames, but he was opening the door to you at the time. Grandmama took it very well. All she said was, ‘I never did like the pattern on that china.’ Fortunately the boys will be going to Eton in January. I just hope we don’t lose too many of our staff between now and then!” she replied.
They chatted happily about all sorts of things. Georgina looked up and was quite astonished to find the tables emptying out as people returned to the ballroom.
“Oh my! I must return to Grandmama.” She’d been enjoying her time so much with him. Inside she felt all warm and happy when he smiled at her with his wonderful big grin.
Buy link: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/the-vicars-virgin-by-berengaria-brown/
Book 2, "Almost a Virgin" is coming soon.
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