The Lord and The Red Headed Hornet
By GL Robinson
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 231 Pages
Genre: Regency Romance
Amelia and Aurelius are orphaned twins. She's a bossy, fiery red-head. Her handsome brother wants to join the army and fight against Napoleon. But she wants him to become a diplomat. She talks her way into a man's job - as secretary to an aristocrat - hoping he will provide the contacts. But when her boss disappears and her brother joins the army anyway, can the red-headed hornet save them both?
But the gentleman was addressing her. He tipped his hat with his cane and gave her a slight bow.
"Edward Woodbridge, Ma'am, at your service."
If her view of him had instantly assured her of his claim to fashion, his of her did just the opposite. He saw in front of him a woman of above average height, dressed very plainly in a navy-blue pelisse and matching but rather uncompromising bonnet. In fact, bonnet was not really the word, he decided. It was a very plain hat, with neither feather nor flower to relieve its dullness. However, some lucky impulse had persuaded the wearer to turn up the brim across the front, and it was this that saved it. For the turned-up brim revealed the wayward curls of what was obviously a mass of fiery red hair and a pair of nut-brown eyes, eyes that were now regarding him very candidly.
"Amelia Moreton," said the owner of the eyes, moving her reticule and the newspaper into her left hand in order to extend to him the right. He took it and held it for a moment.
"How may I be of service?" asked Mr. Woodbridge, asking himself why on earth he did so. Why didn't he simply leave this female to her business and go on with his own? "You're too susceptible to a pair of brown eyes, my boy," he said sternly to himself. But it was too late.
"Oh, do you think you could?" said Miss Moreton, looking at him earnestly. "I'm looking for the home of the Earl of Ailesbury. Do you happen to know where it is?" She looked down the row of stately townhomes of Albemarle Street that lay before her.
Mr. Woodbridge cursed silently. Now he was sure he should have gone on his way. But he answered politely, "Why yes, it is number 23. Just down here on the right. But I'm afraid you will find the Earl from home."
"Do you know him then?" asked Miss Moreton even more earnestly. " I'm hoping to see him. Is he nice?"
"I do know him well, as a matter of fact," he replied. "As to whether he is nice, it's not really for me to say, though I find him very nice indeed. You see, I am he."
"You!" said Miss Moreton in evident disbelief. "But I thought him a much older man!"
"Perhaps you mean my father. If so, I'm sorry to inform you he died four years ago."
Miss Moreton ignored this sad loss to the Earl's family. "Anyway, you said your name was Woodbridge. Edward Woodbridge. "
"It is. I'm Edward Woodbridge, Earl of Ailesbury, third Baron of Mayne. Perhaps you see why I prefer to simplify it. May I ask why you are looking for me?"
"It's the job, you see," said Miss Moreton, who seemed to have reconciled herself to both his name and his age. "I want to see him… you, I mean, in answer to the advertisement for the job." When he still looked puzzled, she added, "The job of secretary to his… your lordship."
Light dawned on the gentleman in front of her. "But the job of secretary is for a man!"
"It doesn't say that here. Look! It only says His Lordship the Earl of Ailesbury seeks a secretary. The candidate must be well organized and accustomed to working independently. And it gives the address and today's date. There is no mention of gender. I am well organized and I prefer to work independently. If you'd wanted a man, you should have said so." Miss Moreton sounded increasingly indignant. "Anyway, even though I'm not a man, I'm sure I can do it just as well as one. Probably better."
His lordship looked at her for a moment then burst out laughing. "It was my present secretary who wrote the notice for the Times, not I. He is leaving almost immediately for a diplomatic post abroad and I daresay he was a little distrait when he composed it. And I imagine he never considered the possibility of a woman applying for the job. No more did I. But you're right. Why not? You can probably do it as well or better than he." He reached inside his jacket, took out a pocket book, withdrew a card, scribbled a note on it and gave it to her. "Here, he's in the house now. Take this to him and tell him I said to engage you." He tipped his cane to his hat and gave a slight bow. " Good day to you, Miss Moreton. No doubt I shall see you again before long."
He walked jauntily down the street, leaving her standing in astonishment behind him.
I'm a product of a convent boarding school in the south of England in the 1950's and early 60's. You can probably guess I received an old-fashioned education. I learned a great deal about the humanities and practically nothing in the sciences. The only science I remember is the ditty: Miss Cummings (our teacher) was a scientist, alas she is no more, for what she took for H2O (water) was H2SO4 (sulphuric acid). Not bad, eh? Words to live by.
I met my American husband while working in Brussels, then moved with him to Bonn. My first child was born in Brussels and then I had twins in Germany. I never heard the word “Push!” in English! I've lived in the USA for over 40 years. I'm a retired French professor and have seven grandchildren and the same husband I started with.
We’re getting ready to move from upstate New York (a lovely, rural and CHEAP area) to Boston, where two of our kids live. They think we should be near them in our old age(!) But the house prices are four times as much. If I tell you our financial plan is dependent on winning the lottery, you can see why I need to sell A LOT of books!
My writing journey began in July 2018 when my sister, Francine, who I was very close to in spite of living continents apart, died from cancer. When we were in the boarding school all those years ago we used to giggle at Georgette Heyer’s books under the covers after lights-out. The day after her funeral I woke up with a Regency Romance story whole and entire in my head. Having never written fiction before (my previous writings tended to be on such fascinating subjects as the use of the subjunctive in subordinate clauses), in two months I wrote what turned out to be my House of Hale Trilogy. I know she inspired me. I’ve been writing ever since and now have 9 books (soon to be 10) on Amazon. All my books are dedicated to her. She sits on my shoulder as I write.
People ask why I self-publish, and I suppose really it’s because of my age. Initially, I went the usual query route but waited ages but got no traction (why do I always think of dirt bikes when I write that?). I’m in my 70’s and thought if that carried on I could be dead before anything happened, so I decided to self-publish! I'm so glad I did. It was a bit of a learning process but I love the control you have over your books and unless you're a famous author I believe you earn more.
When I’m asked what I read I’m often a bit ashamed to admit I don’t read many novels in my genre, except for Georgette Heyer (still!), who I can quote from memory! But I should give a shout-out to Regency writers Audrey Harrison, who was a mentor for me in the beginning, and Jenny Hambly. They are both good writers and good people!
My recent reads have been A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner, which I think you’d classify as serious literary fiction, but I’ve also enjoyed The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman.
I do like books with a little humour! My own are quite funny, I think!
If there’s one book I think everyone should read it’s To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. The messages about prejudice, both racial and against the handicapped, are more needed now than ever.
My next book, The Lord and the Cat’s Meow, is coming out on 22 May. It stars a cat called Horace. Originally I had planned it for 2022, which is the 200th anniversary of the world’s first Animal Rights Act in England in 1822, but I liked it so much, I couldn’t bear to wait! I’ve never owned a cat but Horace really spoke to me!
I’ve just finished a split time-line novel, beginning in Paris in 1793 and ending in London in 1815. It's a new departure for me, and I enjoyed writing it! It’s called the Lord and the Unwilling Mistress. It will be out towards the end of the year.
And so, dear Reader, I ask you, why do you read? Is it to escape, just to relax or for information? Or for some other reason entirely? How could I help you achieve your goals in my writing? I’d love to hear from you. My readers are an enormous help to me, choosing book covers - I had a horrible one for The Cat’s Meow till a reader set me straight! - and titles. The title of the first of my Trilogy The Earl and the Mud-Covered Maiden was chosen by my readers. Please contact me via my website, where you can also get a free short story and listen to the first chapters of all my novels, plus see pix of me and my sister and grandchildren.
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