30 July 2011

Excerpt: "Surely they cannot deny him, under the circumstances?"

As an underage heiress in Deception, Aurora would have had to obtain permission to marry the man of her choice. With Levi's reputation for gambling, the trustees of Aurora's fortune would have been reluctant to approve the union. In the following excerpt (chapter eight of Deception), Aurora explains very briefly that the decision to marry him would not be solely hers.

   Aurora wept miserably in the arms of her dearest friend. Miss Ellison just patted her on the back, telling her everything would come out right in the end.
  “I am sure he will do the honorable thing and offer marriage, my dear. He is a gentleman, after all.”
  “That is no comfort,” she muttered into Miss Ellison's shoulder.
   Aurora was in love with Lord Greville. He desired her only and now he would have to marry her. She wouldn’t do it, she swore fiercely. She wouldn’t ruin his life by chaining him to a woman that he couldn’t possibly love. She would bear the scandal alone and try to make a life for herself in spite of the persecution she was sure to have to endure because of it all.
   She couldn’t marry him, anyway. If he discovered the extent of her deception, he would come to hate her and that she simply could not bear.
  Lady Connor sat on her other side and took her hand. “Do not despair, my dear,” she said very softly. Her own violet eyes glimmered with sympathetic tears. “He will do the honorable thing, I am sure of it.”
   Verena had meant her words to be comforting. It was a complete shock when her friend erupted from her seat with a growl of frustrated rage.
  “Why does everyone believe a simple wedding ceremony will solve everything? Besides, I doubt I could get permission to marry a gambling wastrel such as Levi Greville!” She started pacing, her angry steps taking her from the settee to the fireplace and back.
   Verena glanced from Aurora to Miss Ellison, her brow knit with confusion. “Permission? Are you not in place as a sort of guardian?” she asked the latter.
  “Indeed I am,” the older woman assured her. “However, the trustees would want more than just my word that Lord Greville is a suitable match. His reputation for gambling is a decided mark in his disfavor.”
  Verena shared a significant look with her husband, who inserted calmly, “Surely they cannot deny him, under the circumstances?”
   Aurora stopped before the fireplace, throwing over her shoulder, “Oh, they'll let me marry him, as I am old enough to decide for myself. They just won't*...never mind.” Her shoulders tensed as she turned around to face her friends. “None of that matters. I will not marry him.”
   Closing her eyes, Aurora forced herself to calm. Her anger was accomplishing nothing. When she had her emotions under control, she continued.
  “I am so sorry. This is not your problem,” she told the small group as one. “I have to take responsibility for my actions and as much as I would like to simply pretend none of this has happened, I can't. I cannot marry Lord Greville even if he does do the honorable thing and asks me. I simply can't do that to him.”
   She smiled sadly at the idea of how wonderful her future could be with Levi’s love to warm her and carry her through the difficult life that she had created for herself. If only she had never met the handsome earl. “If only I did not love him so very much,” she whispered.

*What Aurora had been about to say is that her money would not be signed over to her husband, if the trustees of her inheritance felt it imprudent to do so. At this point in the story, however, her friends still believe her to be quite penniless.

Content © 2011 Laura J Miller. All rights reserved. 


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