To Metta Lieb and Laurie Sampson, good friends and readers
It takes a birthday to bring out the worst in a woman, Susan Hampton decided as she propped herself up on one elbow and watched the maid of all work ration out the morning coal.
He picked up the metronome still on the breakfast table, and set it in slow motion. 'Susan we live in a new age, and industrial age, one where a Jew can run a company without fear of windows broken, or business ruined by rumor or bigotry.' He moved the weight down and the pendulum swung faster. ' It is a modern age; consider yourself a pioneer in it, you and your bailiff. What else is there to explain?'
Joel Steinman is right, she reflected. This is an age of industry, and everything must change, except that I did not believe that the changes would have to begin with me.
'For heroes,' she whispered as she raised up and put the medal around Lady Bushnell's neck. 'For heroes,'
Miss Susan Hampton was a lady born and bred. She never imagined that she would have to make her own way in the world. But that was before her feckless father gamed away the family estate. That was before her odious aunt turned her into an unpaid servant. Now Susan had fled that tyranny–only to wonder if she had leapt out of the frying pan into the fire.
In a remote country manor, Susan took the post of companion to the Dowager Lady Bushnell, whose fiery temper made a dragon seem sweet. But even more dangerous was the dowager’s boldly handsome bailiff, David Wiggins, whose blood was red, not blue, and who was everything a man could be except a gentleman. Desperately, Susan told herself that he was totally unsuitable as her suitor–even as this infuriatingly irresistible man awoke her as a woman and made her forget she was a lady…