A Bachelor She Loves to Hate (Preview)

Chapter One

Outside of the windows of the humble home in Wroxham, near Norwich, the rain came down in sheets. Tabitha Addison sat in her father’s favourite chair – or, she supposed, what used to be her father’s favourite chair – and stared out the window into the inky blackness of the stormy night. She could not think straight, so much so that in fact she was thinking of nothing at all. Her eyes focused on the blurry reflection that she could only barely make out of herself, and she did not recognize the young woman who was staring back at her. Tabitha’s vibrant red hair stuck out at odd angles, and her eyes appeared sunken in her face. Her mouth hung limply, looking as if it might fall right off of her face at any moment. 

She had finally managed to stop crying; a fact that she was rather proud of. It had been three days since her uncle, Edward, had burst through the door to tell her that her parents had died in a carriage accident. It had not been her parents’ fault; one of their wheels came loose while they were rounding a corner, and the horse lost control. They had unfortunately been passing by the Yorkside Gorge when it happened. Now Tabitha would never be able to look at that Gorge without wanting to hurl herself into it and join her parents. 

Her mother, Catherine, had been her best friend. The two understood each other in a way that she knew no one else would ever again. Catherine Addison had come from a family with a small amount of money, and so she had supplemented the family’s income with her dressmaking. Tabitha may never have had a lot of money, but she always had beautiful dresses that her mother would craft for her out of whatever fabric she could find.

Tabitha and her father, Rupert, had not got along as smoothly as she and her mother, but they had always loved and respected each other. Rupert Addison’s family was quite poor, and so he had become a shoemaker to supplement the family’s income. Tabitha thought back to the last night that she and her father had spent together when her mother had gone visiting. They had played whist for three hours or more, laughing at each other’s terrible skills and poor attempts at trying to cheat each other. 

A clap of thunder startled Tabitha and left her shaking. The smallest things had been scaring her recently, and Tabitha found them hard to get past. She had spent a great deal of time in this small house by herself when her parents had gone out to parties and events and whatnot, but now that she was well and truly alone for the foreseeable future, the place seemed unwelcoming. 

To make matters worse, the lawyer who had been handling her parents’ estate had only left about half an hour ago. “I’m terribly sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Ms Addison,” he had said as he sat across from her at their small dining room table. Tabitha had not responded and instead picked at the wood that was gradually chipping on her side of the table. “I really wish that I did not have to sell this house, but as your parents had such extensive debts that need paying off …” The lawyer had raised his hands as if to say ‘there is nothing more that I can do’, but he said no more on that subject. “Is there anywhere that you could stay while you get yourself on your feet?”

Tabitha looked past the lawyer to the needlepoint that hung on the wall just behind him. It read, “Home is wherever we are, as long as I am with you.” Tabitha felt tears beginning to well up in her eyes once more, but she banished them, for she did not want to seem weak in front of the lawyer.

“I am perfectly capable of discovering my own lodgings, thank you,” Tabitha said curtly. She finally looked at the lawyer, who looked slightly stunned by Tabitha’s response. 

“Yes, of course,” he responded, “I just thought that a single young woman such as yourself might …”

“Be unable to care for herself?” Tabitha finished for him, very annoyed.

The lawyer’s eyes widened. “No, no, I certainly was not saying that, I only … I was worried … oh, never mind,” he finally settled on. “If you say you can take care of yourself, then I shall tend to my job and get the house sale in order. I shall also have to take any funds that you can part with in an attempt to get rid of your parents’ …”

The lawyer stopped speaking when he saw Tabitha brusquely get up from her chair and storm out of the room. “Ms Addison!” he called after her, but Tabitha did not answer him, as she knew when she returned, she would not have to say anything to explain her absence. 

She went into her parents’ room and stared at the bookshelf. She scanned through the titles, with everything ranging from Birds of Prey of the English Countryside to The Lord and His Mistress. She was looking for a particular book, one that she had been told as a child never to touch unless an emergency came about. She figured that this was as much of an emergency as she’d ever be in, and so when her eyes fell upon The Addison Family History, she pulled it from the shelf. She sat on the bed and opened the book quickly. The pages had been whittled out in the centre, and all of the family’s savings lay in the middle of the book. Tabitha grabbed the money and stomped back to the dining table.

When she got back in front of the lawyer, she slammed the money down upon the table. “This should help somewhat,” she said, furious. She stared the lawyer in the eyes as she removed her hand from the top of the pile of money and returned to her seat. 

The lawyer looked at the money, and when he saw how little there actually was, he looked at Tabitha sadly. “It will make a small dent in your family’s debts, thank you, Ms Addison,” he said. With that, he gathered up his papers and bid Tabitha farewell.

Now, as Tabitha readjusted herself in her father’s chair so that she could hug her knees to her chest, she began to worry. She had tried to appear confident before the lawyer because she did not want their conversation to go on for any longer than it had to. She regretted giving all their money to the lawyer, as Tabitha was now left without a cent. At the young age of nineteen, she had only just begun developing her sewing skills, and so she knew that she could not make a good income as her mother had. And she had never got the knack of her father’s shoemaking, no matter how many times he had tried to show her. 

Tabitha looked around the small living room, dining room, and kitchen of their house. There were a few things in each area that she figured she could sell. Her father’s shoemaking equipment would probably get her a bit of money if she could find the right buyer, her mother’s sewing supplies would certainly be sought after by some of the local ladies, and some of the family’s furniture had to be worth something. But as Tabitha looked around more, she realized that no matter how much she sold of her family’s things, it was never going to be enough to pay off their debts.

Tabitha slowly got up from the chair and went into her bedroom. It was the smallest room in the house, barely big enough for her bed, desk, chair, and chest. She went over to the chest and opened it, looking upon the treasured books that she kept in there. She thought that if it came down to it, she could sell these books, but it would absolutely break her heart. These were all the books that her parents had given her, and laying her hand on each one, she very nearly broke down again.

When she had looked at all of the books, she closed the chest with a sharp bang!  That noise was followed so closely by another flash of lightning and clap of thunder that Tabitha felt as though she had caused them. 

Tabitha walked over to her desk and opened the tiny, simple jewellery box that she kept on display. Her mother had given it to her for her tenth birthday, and even though it was very plain and unspectacular, Tabitha treasured it as though it were the most expensive item that she owned.

When she opened it, only three pieces of jewellery lay inside of it. One was a gold chain that she had inherited from her maternal grandmother, one was a comically large piece of costume jewelry that her father had haphazardly made for her as a little girl for dress up, and the last was Tabitha’s most treasured piece of all: her silver star that hung on a matching silver chain.

When her mother had given it to her when she turned sixteen, she had said, “All I ever wanted to be in this life was a mother. When I married your father, I wished upon every single star in the sky that we would be blessed with a child as soon as possible. You came along soon after that, and ever since then, I have trusted in the powers of wishing upon a star.”

Her mother had smiled and tucked one of Tabitha’s curly red hairs behind her ears and smiled at her. Tabitha had enveloped her mother in a hug, and when they broke apart, Tabitha promised her, “I shall keep this for the rest of my life, and when all else is failing me, I shall wish upon it, and my hope shall return to me!”

As Tabitha held the silver star in her hand, she supposed that now was exactly the time when all else was failing her. She clasped her fingers around the tiny piece of jewellery and walked over to the window. When she stood in front of it, the rain had let up slightly, and she could very faintly see a few stars glowing in the sky. When Tabitha found what she thought was the brightest one, she closed her eyes and whispered to herself, “Please, oh, please tell me what to do from here. How do I go on? Where will I live? How will I make money? There are a great many things that I can do on my own … but I may require a bit of help with getting started from here.”

As soon as the words were out of Tabitha’s mouth, she heard three sharp knocks on her front door. Her eyes burst open, and she froze. Who can that possibly be this late at night? she asked herself. No one that I can think of. Perhaps it was just the wind; I shall wait and see if it does it again. 

Tabitha waited with bated breath, and when no further sound came, she let out a sigh of relief. But just as soon as she had relaxed, the knock came again. Tabitha’s heart began beating faster as she walked out of her room and stared at the front door. She willed herself to take steps towards it, and when she stood in front of it, she reached out a shaking hand to grab the handle. Taking a deep breath, she pulled the door open.

Standing in front of her was a man drenched from head to toe. She could not make out even what he was wearing, for it was so dark outside. 

“Good evening, Ms Addison,” the man said from beneath his sodden riding cap. “Might I come in so that I do not become any wetter than I already am? I am an old friend of your mother’s.”

Chapter Two

Tabitha stared at the man for another moment and then stepped aside slowly and allowed him to come in. He nodded his head in appreciation and then stepped inside the front hallway. He removed his riding hat, and Tabitha was finally able to see his face. He was a middle-aged man, probably fifteen years older than Tabitha. He had a fine beard upon his face, and it was the same dark brown as his curly mop atop his head. He had piercing blue eyes beneath his hair, and even though he was noticeably no longer a young man, he was still rather handsome. He had a broad nose and wide lips, but they were balanced out by his even eyebrows and his chiseled jaw. 

When he looked upon Tabitha, a strange look came across the man’s face. Tabitha could not recognize it, and it was gone as quickly as it had arrived. He then looked around the main room and began removing his soaking overcoat.  When he had, he held it out, as if expecting Tabitha to take it. When she did not, he looked at her hard and said, “Well? Are you going to hang up my coat, or am I going to have to do it myself?”

Tabitha raised an eyebrow at the man but gingerly took his coat. Her hands were instantly covered in water, and after hanging the coat upon the hook by the door, she wiped her hands upon her dress. When she looked up, she discovered that the man was looking upon her, this time in shock. 

“Is something the matter, sir?” she asked him.

The man’s attention seemed to be focused on her skirt. “How could you so recklessly wipe your hands upon your dress? Are you so poor that you do not own a rag that could have sufficed instead of your gown?” he asked, gesturing to her dress. 

Tabitha stared at him blankly. “Are we so …” she began in disbelief. Then she crossed her arms in front of her chest and said, “What does it matter to you where I wipe my hands? This is my dress, you are standing in my house, and I don’t know who you are! How dare you be so rude to me!” she cried defiantly.

A sly smile spread across the man’s face, and it made Tabitha’s blood boil. “Just like your mother …” the man whispered under his breath.

“What did you say? Did you mention my …” Tabitha tried to ask him, but the man had no interest in listening to what she had to say. 

“While I accept your contradiction to what I said,” the man replied haughtily, “I must correct you. To the best of my understanding, this is no longer your house, as your parents were deeply in debt. I also understand, if what I have heard is true, that you currently have no income and hardly a cent to your name. You shall soon have nowhere to live, as you have no family that you can rely on. Am I correct?”

Tabitha’s nostrils flared. She looked down at the ground and tried her best not to make eye contact with the man. She fidgeted uncomfortably on her feet and pushed her thumbs against her forefingers, a habit that she did when anxious. “You are not incorrect,” Tabitha admitted hesitantly.”

She could hear the man chuckle. The top right corner of her lip began twitching, for she was beginning to loathe this visitor. “Then perhaps I could help you,” came the man’s voice. “Won’t you have a seat so that I might propose a solution to your problems?”

Tabitha jerked her head up towards the man. “Are you inviting me to sit down in my own house?!” she cried angrily. 

The man just shook his head and smiled. He gestured to the sitting room chairs, and Tabitha angrily stormed over to one and took a seat. She tilted her head down but kept looking up at the man from beneath her bushy eyebrows. He kept placing his hands upon his attire, testing to see if it was still wet. Despite having had an overcoat on, Tabitha could tell that his clothes were very damp. It gave her some pleasure to know that this rude man was uncomfortable in his attire as they spoke.  The man first went to the couch, but the look on his face told Tabitha that he did not think that it would be good enough for him. He then looked upon her father’s chair that she had been sitting in by the window and looked slightly more impressed by it than the couch. 

Finally, he looked at her mother’s chair, which was the finest seat in the sitting room. It was made of a fine wood, but Tabitha could never remember which one it was. The seat was made of black horsehair, and Catherine had painstakingly embroidered flowers of all colours and varieties onto it. The man looked down at it, and a satisfied smile crept across his face. He made direct eye contact with Tabitha as he flicked out his coattails and sat upon the finest chair in the room with his wet clothes. Tabitha could feel her anger towards him burning like a fire inside of her.

When the man had made himself comfortable in the chair, he began his explanation. “My name is Oliver Penderghast,” he instructed Tabitha, smoothing out his coat with his hands. “I was an acquaintance of your mother.”

Oliver paused, expecting Tabitha to recognize his name or his relation to her mother. When Tabitha said and did nothing, Oliver continued, “We met a few times when you were younger, perhaps when you were thirteen or fourteen.” When Tabitha continued to stare blankly at him, Oliver said, “I brought your mother that contraption that she had been seeking for her sewing if you recall?”

Tabitha looked towards the corner of the room, where her mother kept her sewing equipment. At the very bottom of the pile, underneath a mountain of small pieces of fabric, there was some sort of a hand-cranked machine that her mother had used from time to time on especially recalcitrant pieces. Catherine had sought after one for a long time, and Tabitha did vaguely recall a strange man coming to the door one morning and dropping one off for her. 

What had been especially memorable about that instance was that the strange man had not asked for monetary compensation for the device. Tabitha very clearly remembered her mother running to their room to try to scrounge a few dollars together to reimburse the man, but when she returned, he had disappeared before she could give him anything for it. 

“He’s an odd one, that fellow is,” her father had said at the time. “He only shows up once in a blue moon to give you something that you’ve desired for some time, and then never requires any payment for it,” he had said, addressing his wife. “Why is he so peculiar?”

Her mother had just continued looking at the machine in awe, shaking her head. “I may never understand him,” she had said, “but I am very grateful to him. He has provided us with many fine items over the years that we could have never afforded otherwise.”

Rupert had rolled his eyes. “He has provided you with many fine items over the years,” he had corrected his wife. “And while that is kind of him, he might do better not to focus his attention solely on you. What would the neighbours think if they were to suddenly find out that a strange man was bringing you gifts?”

Catherine had placed the device upon the dining room table and come to wrap her arms around Rupert’s mid-section. “My darling,” she had responded, placing her chin upon her husband’s shoulder, “you care far too much about what everyone else thinks. You know that Oliver is harmless, and so that should be enough to reassure you that his gifts are nothing more than gifts.”

Tabitha remembered watching her parents with curiosity. It was true; her father did care a great deal about societal expectations and appearances. He often went out of his way to ensure that the family appeared to have a good deal more money than they did, and occasionally he took it too far. His desire to appeal to those who truly could not have cared less about him or his family was a big reason why the Addisons were in so much debt.

Tabitha shook her head, trying to rid herself of such a clear, enticing memory. It made her heart ache for her parents, and she downright refused to appear weak in front of Oliver. And so, Tabitha stared straight back at Oliver and said, “Yes. I remember that, now that you mention it. Thank you for the kindness that you showed to my mother.”

Oliver looked momentarily surprised by the gratitude that Tabitha was showing towards him. He had not been expecting that, and stunningly, it was not what he wanted. Oliver preferred contrary women, women who were strong-willed and unafraid of putting him in his place.

 Sometimes, Oliver was provocative simply because he enjoyed seeing the effect that it had on the woman that he desired. Other days he truly did feel like being challenging because he thought he had to, for that was what he had become known for. If he had been a mild-mannered man all his life, then perhaps it would be different. But because he had been this way for so long, it was what people came to expect from him. 

“Fine.” Oliver acknowledged Tabitha’s thanks unhappily. “I have come to offer you a position in my household, as I know that you have no prospects. I shall consider this my last favour to your mother, as I am not enthusiastic about offering this to you, but I do feel that I should.”

Oliver slowly looked up at Tabitha and once again saw her temper flaring. It ignited something inside of him, and if he had been a cat, he would have started purring. Tabitha’s steely green eyes seemed to set alight when he finished speaking, and he found himself falling harder and harder for this passionate young woman. He knew that the feeling was not mutual, but he would take great pleasure in changing that.

“How dare you,” Tabitha almost growled. “You come into my family’s home, insult my way of handling myself, treat me as your servant, ruin my mother’s fine chair with your wetness, tell me that I have no prospects, and then offer me a position, which you say you take no delight in doing? What sort of man are you?!”

Tabitha slammed her fist against the arm of her chair when she said her last word, and she noticed that Oliver jolted. Good, she thought, I hope that he becomes more frightened of me as we speak. Which shan’t be for much longer. 

Oliver curled his fingers around the ends of the chair’s arms. He leaned forwards and glared at Tabitha with malice in his eyes. “Do not speak to me like that, Ms Addison,” Oliver growled back at her. “I am here offering you a position out of the kindness of my heart and do not deserve to be disrespected in such a way. If you repeat anything like that again, I shall take my leave of you immediately, and you will be left here all alone to fend for yourself. How does that sound?” 

Tabitha glowered at Oliver but did not say anything. She decided that even if this man was as atrocious as he seemed, she needed to hear him out, or she would be left in dire straits.

 Chapter Three

“I have come here to offer you a position as the housekeeper of my estate. My old housekeeper recently retired, and I am in rather desperate need of a new one. Do you have any experience with managing a household?” Oliver asked Tabitha

“I do not,” Tabitha replied truthfully.

Oliver sighed. “That will be a slight impediment then. I need someone who is calm, competent, efficient, and unafraid of hard work. I hold an uncommon position and need someone who can keep up with the unusual lifestyle that I lead. I have found that many people are unaccustomed to how I live my life, and so this position would not be for the faint of heart,” he explained, picking up one of Catherine’s delicate clay frogs that she had sculpted many years ago and examining it.

“Please do not touch that,” Tabitha snapped.

Oliver looked over at her, unimpressed, and then slowly returned the frog to its position on the side table. “Do you feel that you might be well suited to this position, now that I have described some of it to you?” he asked her.

“I have all of the aforementioned qualities,” Tabitha confirmed, “but I am certain that I can find a better position for myself than the one in your household.” She clasped her hands together on her lap, straightened her back and looked Oliver dead in the eyes. She might have had to listen to his proposition and rein in her hatred for him because he was an acquaintance of her mother’s, but she did not have to accept him. Suddenly, she realized something. “You never explained how you knew my mother. What was your relationship with her?”

Tabitha seemed to have hit upon the right question because Oliver suddenly seemed … flustered. “If she did not tell you that, then it is not for me to disclose it to you,” Oliver evaded. 

“There were a great many things that my mother did not tell me,” Tabitha retorted, “but that does not mean that I don’t deserve to know them. If you would like me to consider your position and your offer, then you must tell me how you became acquainted with my mother.”

Oliver continued to look like he did not know what to say. “As I said, if you continue to speak to me like that, then I shall not …” He tried to repeat himself, but Tabitha did not allow him to.

“That is fine then,” Tabitha said, standing up and straightening out the skirt of her dress. “You obviously do not want to talk to me, and I have made it quite clear that I do not wish to talk to you, and so you may take your leave of me. I am certain that I can find some other employment, and I do not require your assistance. Thank you for your visit; I shall fetch you your coat.”

Before Oliver could say anything, Tabitha had launched herself across the room and had his overcoat in her hand. She held it out to him as he turned around to stare at her. Tabitha continued holding out the coat as Oliver looked at her, slack jawed. 

When Oliver finally saw that Tabitha was not going to be swayed by him, he rose from the chair. He was furious that his methods that had worked on Tabitha’s type before had failed him. He was no longer feeling such a burning desire for her, for she had, in a sense, outwitted him. However, there was another feeling that Oliver could sense coming over him. It was one that he had not felt since his late wife, Violet, had passed away, and it concerned him. Could he really be feeling such strong feelings towards this young woman who was being so outwardly unkind to him?

As Oliver slowly made his way over to Tabitha, he took one last chance to get a long look at her. She may have looked rather bedraggled, but that was to be expected. He remembered that after Violet died, he did not leave his room for at least a month. When he emerged, he looked like death warmed over. He sympathized with Tabitha’s state and looked past her haphazard exterior. 

Behind that, he could see that she was truly a beautiful young woman. She was quite tall and almost came up to his chin, which was unusual for any woman. She had gorgeous red hair, and despite the dark room, he could tell that she had a few freckles that dotted across the top of her nose. She had almond-shaped eyes, a nose that was larger than it should have been, but was not unpleasant, and lips that, when she brought them together, created a perfect bow.

The dress that she wore was obviously not of high quality, but many small details had been added to it that made Oliver think that it had been crafted with great care and love. He imagined that Catherine had made it for her, of course, and the thought that he was gazing upon another one of Catherine’s immaculate pieces brought him a great deal of joy. 

When Oliver realized that he could not continue to stare at Tabitha without raising suspicion, he looked to his overcoat and grabbed it. As he struggled to put it on, Tabitha seemed very amused. She was delighted that the man who had been so rude to her now had to put on a drenched coat. She thought of him being cold and miserable all the way home and could not have dreamed up a more perfect punishment for his foulness. 

When he had put it on, he did not take another look at Tabitha, instead brushing past her and slamming the door behind him. When she was certain that he would not be returning, she smiled to herself and walked back over to her father’s chair by the window. She had just sat down and was beginning to drift into thought when shouting from outside disturbed her. 

Tabitha looked towards the door as the shouting continued. Because she could not make out what the people were saying, she decided to go over and press her ear against the door. She crossed the room quickly and did just that. She still could not make out what the voices were saying, but they were certainly both men’s voices. Could Mr Penderghast have got into an argument with someone in the street? Tabitha wondered to herself. But when she could not think of anyone who would have been going down the road this late at night, she banished the thought.

Suddenly, the yelling stopped. Tabitha drew her ear away from the door, took a step back, and then the next moment, there were three soft knocks on the door. She jolted a little when they came, but quickly pulled the door open to see what the commotion had been.

She had thought that it might have been Oliver coming back to apologize to her and beg for forgiveness, but it was not. Instead, a young man, not much older than she, was standing there smiling at her. He wore the attire of a valet and had a pleasant air about him, far more pleasant than Oliver. 

“Good evening, Ms Addison,” the young man said warmly. “I am very sorry to be troubling you so late, but I am Mr Penderghast’s valet. I wanted to apologize on behalf of my employer and attempt to explain some of his behaviour. Might I come in?”

Tabitha stared at the young man, stunned for a moment. But then her thoughts caught up to her, and she nodded and stepped aside so that he could enter.

 

“Thank you most kindly,” he said as he stepped through the door. “Do you have someplace that I might hang my coat and hat? I do not wish to tread all of this water into your lovely home.”

“Certainly, that’s very considerate of you,” Tabitha said, impressed. She pointed towards the hooks, and the young man put his outdoor attire upon them. Oliver’s valet seemed to be everything that his employer was not, and Tabitha was very pleased with that. 

“Would you like to take a seat?” Tabitha offered, pulling out a chair at the dining room table.

“Very much so,” the valet said, sitting down. Tabitha took the seat across from him and clasped her hands together upon the tabletop. “My name is Thomas Gastonbury,” he introduced himself. “I’ve worked for Mr Penderghast for many years … even though I may not look old enough to be employed myself.”

Tabitha chuckled, and then Thomas continued, “While I have become quite accustomed to the strange manner in which Mr Penderghast composes himself, I know from experience that when you first meet him, he can come off as unkind, uncaring, or even downright rude. Did you have that experience of him?”

Tabitha nodded hesitantly. “Mr. Penderghast’s behaviour put me off from the start. Do you know why he came to visit me tonight?”

“He did give me a few details about your … situation,” Thomas responded. Then, he looked at her and said very seriously, “I also wanted to say that I am terribly sorry to hear about the passing of your parents, Ms Addison.”

This was the first time that anyone had offered Tabitha any condolences for her parents, and it caught her off guard. What made it more difficult was that it seemed to be such a sincere wish. Tabitha immediately felt tears stinging in her eyes but did not allow them to get any further than that. 

“Thank you very much,” Tabitha said quietly. She made herself look away from Thomas so that he would not see her tears, and it seemed to work, as he continued a moment later. 

“Mr Penderghast did not reveal to me any private details of your situation, of course, but he did tell me about the position that he was going to offer you. And because I can personally speak to the wonderful working conditions of the Penderghast household, I felt it pertinent to come and speak with you. I wanted to recommend that you accept the position,” Thomas said plainly.

Tabitha blinked at him. “How can such a vile man have excellent working conditions in his household?”  

Thomas chuckled. “That was exactly what I asked myself when I first accepted this position. I thought that I would be simply miserable working under him, but in reality, he is an outstanding employer. I cannot recommend him highly enough,” he informed her.

Tabitha looked away from Thomas. Could what he was saying really be true? Could Oliver really be as wonderful a boss as Thomas was promising he was? Tabitha couldn’t possibly imagine how. He had entered her house acting as though he owned the place and then treated her as though she was an object that he could mould however he wished. Although Thomas did seem to be a trustworthy young man, and if he was sure of it, then Oliver couldn’t be all that bad.

And besides, what other options did Tabitha have? She had some distant relatives that she thought might be able to assist her, but even if they did, none of them would have been able to provide her with as illustrious a position as this. She did, however, have some friends in town, who she knew would jump at the chance to help her … although she wasn’t sure how they could, as they were poorer than her.

“I will need some time to consider the offer,” Tabitha said decidedly.

Thomas nodded at her, looking impressed. “That is a very sound decision. I shall leave his calling card with you, and he said that the most time he would be willing to give you to consider this option would be two weeks … does that suit you?” he asked.

“That would work very well, thank you, Mr. Gastonbury,” Tabitha said.

Thomas looked at her strangely. “Your politeness is very kind,” he said, “but please, call me Thomas.”

Tabitha smiled warmly at him. “All right then,” she replied. “Thomas, it is then. I shall call on Mr. Penderghast in two weeks’ time.”

“Thank you for reconsidering his offer, Ms. Addison. I do hope that you accept it, for I would very much enjoy working with you,” he said kindly.

“That is very sweet of you,” Tabitha responded. “I would enjoy working with you too, but for now, you must really be heading home, for the storm feels as though it is about to pick up again!”

Thomas looked to the window just in time to see a bright flash of lightning and watch as the rain started to come down harder once again. “Oh no, you are right. I shall take my leave of you now, then. Thank you for your hospitality, and have a good evening,” he said as he stood up. 

Tabitha rose with him and walked him over to the door. As Thomas was putting on his coat, Tabitha whispered to him, “And you’re certain that Mr. Penderghast didn’t put you up to this? You really and truly feel that he is a fair employer?”

Thomas looked at her with a cocked eyebrow. “Ms. Addison,” he said plainly, “as I hope you shall come to discover, I am a man with strong values and morals. If Mr. Penderghast was not as good an employer as I professed him to be, I would have left his employment years ago, for I know my worth.” He winked at Tabitha and then added, “I do hope we shall see each other again soon, Ms. Addison.”

Thomas put on his hat and left through the front door. As it closed behind him, his last words to her resonated in Tabitha’s ears. I do hope that we shall meet again as well, Thomas, she thought, but I am going to do everything in my power to ensure that I never have to lay eyes on Oliver again.


“A Bachelor She Loves to Hate” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

When Tabitha Addison’s parents are killed in a sudden accident, leaving her with nothing but a broken heart and a sea of debts, she must take her life into her own hands. The single bright spot in her desperation comes in the form of a mysterious man who shows up at her door one dark, stormy night and offers her the housekeeper position at his estate. With most of her fortune gone, and bankruptcy hanging over her head, she has to act fast and accept his help. However, upon arriving at his estate, she will realise it is full of dark secrets. While trying hopelessly to bring them to light, an inexplicable desire for her seductive employer will grow in Tabitha’s heart. Will she be able to discover Oliver’s secrets without upsetting their blossoming affair?

Oliver Penderghast has been a bachelor ever since his wife died. Being a vigorous man, who loves to travel all around the continent, he has been named the Spymaster by the very King. Trapped between his hurtful past and lonely future, he is constantly trying to find balance in his turbulent life. When the newly hired housekeeper discovers an abandoned wing in his mysterious estate and hidden passageways that allow people to slip in and out of rooms undetected, hints of a past life come to light… When deep buried secrets come to surface, he must decide if it is worth risking it all for the most attractive Lady in town. Trouble is, once he’s tasted her fiery passion, he wants it all…Can he defy everything to be with the woman who conquered his heart and mind?

The past always has a way of raising its ugly head and bringing havoc and heartache upon the unsuspecting… Will Oliver manage to fall for Tabitha as madly as she has for him? Or will the skeletons in Oliver’s closet overpower the undeniable love and passion that could have grown between them?

“A Bachelor She Loves to Hate” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.

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14 thoughts on “A Bachelor She Loves to Hate (Preview)”

    1. I thoroughly enjoyed your preview of A Bachelor She Loves to Hate (Preview). With these two explosive personalities I look forward to seeing their relationship grow.

  1. The book full of suspense, spies, intrigue and love was really a treat. It was hard to put it down even for a short while. The characters are so vivid, I felt them near. I would have liked to know more about Guinivere, but may be you can write a book of her own. The little details contained in this book hint towrds an intriguing plot. You did it again Emily, thank you

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