Enraptured by a Flaming Lady (Preview)


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Chapter One

Cecilia half-listened to the head maid of Brickworth Castle. It was far more interesting to think about how it had only been a short time since she had been known as a Cecilia Beaumont of Westerleigh. One moment she had been regarded by staff as a Lady, the next she had been under disguise and known only as Caroline.

“And here is the kitchen,” Margaret gestured to the obvious room where white and cleanliness dominated the space. Cecilia’s eyes were particularly drawn to the little streaks of sky blue that lined everything from the cabinets to the tea cups that sat ready for duty behind spotless glass. “Here you will find that everything is ready at a moment’s notice.”

The two of them stood in the room where a cook used a knife to quickly chop something that must have been for breakfast. The sun had just entered the sky over the town of Cortelyou and Margaret gave Caroline a glance.

“I know, it may seem like one of the biggest kitchens that you have ever laid eyes on. But once you get an understanding of where things go, it becomes a simple task.” She let out a chuckle. When the Duke asks for something to quench his thirst, I actually run things down in my head as I am walking the corridors before I even get to the kitchen. This way when I get here, I know exactly what we have and where to find it easily.”

Caroline had seen bigger kitchens as the one in Westerleigh had been almost twice the size of the one they stood in. But what did Margaret know? She figured that Caroline had been from Cortelyou her whole life. She may have even thought that she lived in poverty before coming to work at the castle.

“That is that.” Margaret continued. “You will get acquainted with the kitchen more once you are assigned there.” She looked up in thought. “This area is best learned by doing. It took me weeks to get into a routine. We shall head over to the ballroom.”

Caroline did not want to ask too many questions out of fear of looking half-witted, but she also figured that asking questions would make her appear rightfully clueless to castle life. Aside from that, she did have a genuine question.

As they walked down the long hallway from the kitchen, they made a few turns where the hallway they needed to cross had been filled with giant windows overlooking the garden. On the other side of the hallway, paintings lined the walls. Unlike Westerleigh Castle where mostly all of the paintings held old historic pictures that represented the Beaumont’s long storied past, the ones that decorated Cortelyou castle depicted mostly scenery. From waterfalls, to snowy mountains, they were images that Caroline had not seen in real life.

As big and beautiful the land had been through the windows they passed, it did not feel accessible to her in the slightest. Caroline had become shackles for Cecilia, yet at the same time, it had been her escape.

“What could there be do learn in the ballroom area? I presume that the space is untouched entirely when there are no scheduled events to take place.” Caroline said, using the question to distract herself.

Margaret did not answer her until they arrived at the intimidating room that had so many chandeliers, they hung from the ceiling like a quiet shimmering army. The sheer magnitude of the ballroom made Caroline forget everything else in the moment. It was the first thing that had trumped her castle back home.

“My dear, I am sure you are taken back by the glamour that is the Cortelyou castle ballroom. Here there have been Kings, Queens…history.” Margaret spoke with a pride that Caroline had not heard in many voices throughout her lifetime. “Something that is this prestigious, a room with this much heart, needs to be cleaned daily. That is not of my own idealistic passions, but that rule comes from the top. It is not only I who respects the tenure of this great room.” She stood there a moment, letting her eyes get lost. Then said, “Let’s get to work.”

Margaret had then showed Caroline what needed to be checked on daily in order to keep the room shimmering in the way that it was. It had been the most work that Caroline had ever heard of, especially for something that needed to be done daily. She thought back to her own castle’s staff and wondered if the Duke had run such a tight ship as well. It bothered Caroline to think that her own royal lifestyle may have led to an ignorance of class. Sure, she knew that there was a pecking order and those at the bottom tended to work harder for less, but to what extent, it seemed Caroline was just finding out.

“Well, that is enough of that. I think you have this area down.” Margaret said after glancing out the window. It was as if she could tell time solely based on the position of the sun. “You must now go wake up lady Edith. You do remember where her bedchambers are correct?”

Caroline traveled the route in her mind, down the hallway they came, one left, up the stairs, and the first door on the right. “Yes, I remember.”

After an approval-based nod from Margaret, Caroline was on her way, and that brief moment of solitude made her feel like Cecilia again. Being alone had become her worst enemy as her mind never failed in returning to the reason why she had fled her home and founded a new identity.
As she rounded the staircase and approached Lady Edith’s door, she fought off the memories and gave it a knock. Caroline needed to be present once more.

Chapter Two

Benedict Ayles wolfed down his breakfast, a trait his father had instilled in him at a young age. The duties of the castle and love making were the only two things that were permitted to be done in a thorough manner. Everything else in life needed to be done in haste as they were of lesser importance. In his thirty-first year of life, his athletic build had become used to eating like that anyway. It was second nature. He liked to play a game with himself while eating. Benedict would pretend that there was a war looming outside the castle and required his commands, therefore he would eat as fast as possible to tend to them.

The sun had just begun to hit the spot in the dining room where Benedict knew it was right about time to start the day. He had sat there staring at his crumb filled plate for a moment and felt a sense of dread. The duties of Cortelyou castle for the day were ripe in his mind, that was not the issue. The issue was that he knew everything that would happen in his day ahead. There was no sense of unpredictability. There was nothing of excitement to look forward to. Usually, much like eating his food fast, that was not an issue; just a routine to get used to. But on that day, it bored him.

Before he could even adjust in his seat from a stuffed belly, one of the maids took his plate from him and left the room. Aside from the guard hovering by the door, it was just him in the dining room, and unlike most days, he felt that.

He could not help but to let out a small sigh and shut his eyes for a few seconds to try and get his head in better shape. Benedict had experienced the dull sensation of boredom before where a lack of desire to complete the day filled him. Buthe had found that clearing his head and pushing through like again, a commander on the battle field helped to negate those feelings. When you likened things to war, those things seemed easier to deal with.

To break his moment of thought, his mother strode in and wore a look that conveyed she was feeling quite the opposite of Benedict. There was a mission within her, he could tell. That meant that her would most likely be inquired to take care of something as he was in charge of most of the castle. After his father died, he had been tasked with the duty of overseeing the Ayles estate. All the family’s finances and wealth would fall under his jurisdiction and that was what he had expected. But over time he had realized that without intention, he would take up a lot of other castle related duties as well. His mother tended to take advantage of that.

“A fine morning to you.” She said, then standing at one of the chairs on the side of the long table Benedict had planned to leave. She held the top of the chair with her slightly wrinkled slender fingers. “How was your breakfast this morning?”

“Mother, I appreciate the kind words but I have been in this world long enough to realize when kind words are just filler to get to the real point. What is the issue?”

She pursed her lips and then it was as if her lips moved faster than the words leaving her mouth. “We must find Edith a husband. It has been keeping me up at night and I can no longer put it off. Your sister is of the age.”

Benedict pushed his chair back to give him some space to spread out and pursed his own lips hard together. “Is it that Edith is of age, or you are still under the stubborn belief that your age is closing in on death? How many times must I remind you that you have plenty of years left with us in this world mother.

His mother stood at her chair without a word. She had become so hard headed since Benedict’s father had died that whatever she believed, there was never any changing it. It was a trait that Benedict never wanted to have for himself. He took great pride in not only understanding that he needed to be flexible in what he believed in, but he also needed to be flexible when it came to people. People deserved kindness, sympathy, and everything in between. When it came to his interactions with people, no matter what mood he was in, it was the one time where he didn’t liken an activity to war.

“As someone who brought you into this world, I do not want to hear your wisdom on when I will be leaving it. We are not guaranteed time. Men make clocks in order to create that illusion, but it is only that. Therefore, we must broach the task of find your sister a qualified suitor.”

Benedict knew that the day would come one day, but it still turned his stomach the same way it did the first time he had become made aware of marriage and that his sister would one day enter into a courtship as such. She was still his sister after all. But duty was not something that bent the knee to feelings.

“We shall get to that then. The sooner that we take care of that business that less I have to think about it.”

His mother shook her head and took a seat beside him. “Oh, do I sense a bit of dread in your voice? Don’t tell me that you are bothered by the notion of your sister entering into marriage.”

“She is my sister, the girl that I have grown up protecting, looking after, whatever else. She is not some castle dog that we play with when we are bored. Of course, I feel certain things towards that notion. Butduty comes before everything else.

There was a long pause. His mother wore a look that only a mother could wear. It was as though she was appreciating her son and who he had become but at the same time, he could sense that she was about to made him feel rather uncomfortable.

“I would also love to see my son take a wife before I leave this world as well you know.”
Benedict rolled his eyes.

“Do not do that with your eyes towards your mother. There is a vast number of women out there in Cortelyou that are ready to bare children for a Duke. Your father married old and as happy as we all were, he had always confessed to me that he wished he had taken me as his wife at an earlier age so that we could have enjoyed life together with less wrinkles in our skin.”

Benedict was forced to think about not only his age but the loneliness that he felt from time to time. In all truth, it was probably loneliness that brought him down after breakfast. He was missing a big element of affection but more importantly love.

Despite agreeing with his mother deep down, he could not help but recall all the times that he did try and make an attempt at love. They had been honest attempts because he never had a reason to ever be something he wasn’t with anyone. But because of his kindness, status is society and everything in between, he had been used more than once. He had been hurt more than once. And that led him to not trust. That led him to carry around a burden like nothing he had ever felt in his life. To say that it shaped his existence in some ways was an understatement.

“But I will not burden you with that matter right now. We must focus on your sister.” His mother said, catching herself in the act of making her son feel uncomfortable. She also had to have known how much hurt Benedict had felt at the perils of chasing love.

“You are right. And I shall get started on that.” Benedict rose from his seat and kissed his mother on his cheek. The day’s duties awaited him as he made his way toward Edith’s room. He would need to find his sister a suitor, that was more important than what he felt or what he had gone through. There was no time for pity during war.

“Enraptured by a Flaming Lady” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

The enthralling Cecilia Beaumont was always one to follow the rules, but when the rules betray her, she is forced to make her own risky ones. Growing up, her dream was to marry the man she loved most, but fate had other plans for her. With a despicable man persisting to marry her against her will, Cecilia is forced to forge a new identity, in another town. However, things get more complicated when she begins to fall for Benedict Ayles, the alluring Duke she works for. Can she keep her identity a secret and remain humble as her position demands or will her heart overpower her logic and surrender to the most tantalising affair of all?

Benedict’s admirable quest for love did not bring any results throughout his thrilling life, so he decided to enjoy a bachelor’s sinful life. However, his efforts to stay away from further fiery romances will end in vain when he meets the new seductive maid, who will awaken his lustful instincts. Finding himself falling for her, he battles with the dilemma of duty versus passion. With his family and his status on one hand, and his enticing love on the other, Benedict is torn in two. Will he manage to stay on his desired path or will he bend to the whims of a forbidden and most captivating love?

Benedict and Cecilia share a flaming affection that keeps pulling them close, regardless of their differences and the shadow of the restraining rules. Yet, the secrets between them, along with the dictating social norms, are drifting them apart. Nevertheless, the more they try to fight temptation, the more they fall into all kinds of forbidden pleasure. The potential exposure of their scandalous affair though, could lead to Cecilia losing everything and Benedict ruining his family reputation forever. Will their smouldering passion overcome all the obstacles or will they be forced to face the consequences of their actions?

“Enraptured by a Flaming Lady” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.

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Grab my new series, "Lustful Lords and Ladies", and get 2 FREE novels as a gift! Have a look here!

7 thoughts on “Enraptured by a Flaming Lady (Preview)”

    1. Interesting beginning that draws the reader into “the rest of the story” Looking forward to enjoying it soon.

      1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, dear Jeanette. I truly appreciate it!

        So glad you enjoyed the story! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

        Thank you again and have a lovely day!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, my dear Manisha. I truly appreciate it!

      So glad you enjoyed the story! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

      Thank you again and have a lovely day!

  1. The lady is in for a rude awakening working as a maid. The realities of the serving class and distance between classes give her a lot of thought and plans for her future. Look forward to reading this book.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, my dear Brenda. I truly appreciate it!

      So glad you enjoyed the story! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

      Thank you again and have a lovely day!

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