Lucy's Gamble Excerpt


Chapter One

“… And so, I now believe that the person I believed you to be is no more than a disappointing illusion..."

Lady Lucy Anne Beatrice Willeton smiled as the words flowed from the nib of her quill. The script was elegant, even and elaborate – just as it always was. No hint of the disdain she felt showed within the neatness of the lettering. Pity a film of moisture clouded her eyes, making it hard for her to appreciate it.

Mid-sentence she hesitated and lifted her quill from the page. Perhaps she was being a bit harsh, no matter that it was true. It was a pity she’d spent the better part of a year thinking that the façade Spencer Elliston presented to the world was deeper than the layer of sprinkled chocolate topping her morning drink. Resignedly, she lay down the quill, picked up the paper and read it, before she crumpled it up and threw it into the fire.  Then she picked up the cup, waiting beside her and raised it to her mouth. After sitting there beside her for so long, it was luke-warm, perfect to take a long deep, satisfying sip.

No matter how much she didn’t want to admit it, the only way to do this properly was face to face. Somehow she’d close her eyes to being swayed by his too fetching by far, dark looks and inform him briskly that their engagement was over. Finished. Fait Accompli. 

The man should’ve been a pirate.  Hah, too late.   There was no room in their family for another one. Thanks to Meredith’s endeavours, they already had one. She'd happily thrown her lot in with black-hearted Nathaniel Woodward, Earl of Headingly, who had proved to be nothing like his reputation had whispered.

Only Lucy had been the one to discover that her fiancé, who had the reputation of an angel, was in truth a blackguard. Even if he was a duke. Her mother was in raptures at the prospect of having two daughters in the family with the title duchess.

The Duchess ranks, she figured, were now as common as daffodils on the ground. Lucy laughed. Her mother would probably try to line up a prince for the last remaining Woodward daughter to snare, if she had the chance. Her ambitions were now boundless.   She considered herself the consulting expert in advancing a girl’s standing by marrying well.  She was not going to take the news well, when Lucy told her what she was going to do.

 She had been as gullible as any, only not any more.  No. Now the new Lucy was about to turn her back on the future that her parents had planned for her. She was going to take the first steps towards a future of her own making. Her own design.

She picked up the next piece of parchment. Never mind that the man was as handsome as sin and as shallow as the pane of glass in her window. 

Luckily she’d just been saved from a lifetime of disillusionment. She should be grateful; she should be exuberant that she’d found out just in time what he was really like.

Her world was now full of sharp, blues, greens and harsh reds. And that was fine with her. No soft hues or pastel shades for her.  No murky waters to wallow in.  She stood and walked to the window, pity exuberance wasn’t what she was feeling.