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BEFORE SHE BECAME A LADY
Genre: Historical Romance with Suspense
Publication Date: July 30, 2016
Laurel Collingsworth, seventeen and deeply in love, expects to marry her hero and live in wedded bliss forever after. Instead, with the ink barely dry on the marriage lines, Lord Robert Laningham is called away to Spain and the war. With a heavy heart, she sends her husband off with a kiss and a prayer for his safe return.
Now alone in her new role of Lady Laningham, she faces a series of terrifying events, shadowy intruders, missing jewelry, and mysterious footfalls in the night. Added to her alarms, she must fight her hostile sister-in-law for the reigns of her husband’s establishment.
When Lord Robert Laningham returns, can she convince him danger stalks the halls of the ancient mansion? In his wounded state, will he listen or must she protect her child, her recovering husband, and her household by herself?
After dark fell, Laurel rarely used the main stairs if she could avoid it. Even now, she could picture the culprit making his way down the front steps. She straightened her shoulders and slowly descended towards the lower regions of the house.
She entered the kitchen and found the warmth inviting. The faint odor of onions and garlic lingered in the large room, and a gooseberry pie sat in the center of the table. Holding her candle high, she debated. The pie appeared tasty, but she had a desire for pickles. She skirted around the scrubbed table to enter the still-room off the scullery. Raiding the shelves, she collected a crock of pickles and a wedge of cheese.
When she carried her treasures back into the kitchen, a puff of wind rattled against the door, not fully shut. The wind hadn’t pushed the door open, but she noticed it wasn’t on the latch either. Tentatively, she pushed the door closed and clicked the lock into place. Tomorrow she must remind Stokes of his duty to secure all the windows and doors in the establishment. After discovering an unlocked door, her appetite faded. She quickly laid the cheese aside and carried the pickles with her.
The soft ticking of the longcase clock, the darkness of the hall with the flickering of her candle to displace the gloom, and her own shadow kept her company on her way back to her chamber. The faint glow cast by the banked coals in the library grate filtered into the hall from the door left slightly ajar. A shadow crawled out of the crack between the door and the frame piercing the opposite wall before slithering back into the room. Her heart slammed into her ribs. Someone was in the library stealthily moving around. She pinched out the flame on her candle and the smell of candlewax rose up in her face. Her throat closed and she froze in place. Could she make it to the servant’s quarters to raise the alarm?
She whisked around to retrace her steps, but the library door slammed against the wall and the stomp of heavy boots sounded behind her. She broke into a run, reaching the stairs, but in her flight, she dropped the crock filled with pickles. The crockery shattered against the steps and the lid rolled into the darkness rattling to a stop on the stone floor below. The smell of pickle juice exploded in the stairwell a moment before a hard shove sent her downward. She screamed and tumbled forward, spiraling into oblivion.
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About Wareeze Woodson
I am a native of Texas and still live in this great state. I write period romance tangled with suspense. I married my high school sweetheart, years and years ago. We raised four children and have eight grandchildren, and grandchildren are Grand. At the moment, all my children and my grandchildren live within seventy miles of our home, lots of visits. My husband and I still love each other after all these years the stuff romance is made of, Happy Ever After!
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