A Lady’s Lustful Adventures (Preview)

Chapter One

It was a blustery day when James Russell walked slowly into the open market area of the small fishing village by the bay in Devon, but that was nothing unusual. James paused, squinting towards the sea beyond the market. There were crashing waves far out in the ocean. It would be a hard day controlling the boats out there.

He sighed impatiently. He should be out there, with his father and the other team of fishermen they employed. Instead, he was doing annoying errands. Much needed tackle and bait had to be purchased for the four fishing boats his family owned. If he didn’t get what was needed today, the boats would not be able to go out tomorrow. It was that simple.

He kept going, ignoring the wind, as he made his way down the narrow cobblestone street, gazing at the market stalls as he passed. It never changed much. Clover Bay still had all the same stalls as when he was a lad. Most of the stall holders were the same, as well. They called out greetings to him as he passed by.

James stopped briefly and talked to some, before going on. He had a destination in mind and wanted to get these errands over and done with as soon as possible. His leg was playing up again and it was hell walking on cobblestone for any considerable length of time.

The tackle and bait shop his family always used, Timms’ Fishery, was nestled at the bottom of the street. Unlike the stalls, this was a permanent shop, with a dull shop window that always looked like it was in need of a good polish. James grinned to himself. Old Mr Timms was a crusty man who would never think to do something so domestic as polish a window. 

And why should he? James thought, as he entered the shop. Timms’ Fishery wasn’t about alluring customers into the shop with a smart window display. Anyone who came here knew what the store sold already and were likely repeat customers. Locals who just needed fishing supplies and then quickly left. In and out, as Mr Timms would say.

The place was small, so crammed with a variety of fishing paraphernalia—nets, rods, tackle and bait, amongst other things—that it was hard to find a space to walk. James readjusted his walking stick, leaning on his left side, as opposed to his right, as he made his way down the narrow aisle. Sometimes it helped the pain, to redistribute his weight. Not much, and it never lasted, but it was something.

Old Mr Timms was in his usual position behind the counter, puffing away on his pipe. James had known him forever, of course, but the sight of the old man still amused him. Mr Timms was shrivelled, with wiry grey hair that stuck out from his head in a wild manner. He had a face few would likely forget. It was so weathered and wrinkled you could barely see his eyes. They seemed to have been swallowed up by his face entirely.

“Jimmy boy,” said Mr Timms, putting down his pipe, and grinning at him, “ye aren’t on the boats today then, lad?”

James shook his head, wincing slightly, as he lent on his walking stick. “More’s the pity, Mr Timms. I wish I was. But someone has to get the supplies, otherwise we won’t be going out at all tomorrow…”

He was distracted by a small boy who he had just seen darting through the shop. It was Sammy Carew. His father and uncle owned a fishing boat and lived close to his own family home, near the edge of the sea. Sammy was only nine years old, but had already been out at sea for over a year, his school days long forgotten. That was how it was in Clover Bay. There were generations of fishermen here and every new one simply joined the last. A long line of tradition that would probably never end.

“How are you, Sammy?” he asked the boy, who was hovering near some tackle at the end of the aisle, picking up things and putting them down, in that restless way the boy had. “Not on the boat today? Did your pa throw you overboard then?”

Sammy sighed dramatically. “My ma said I couldn’t go out, on account of having been sick last night,” he said slowly. “I told her I was fine but she wouldn’t budge.”

“That’s no good, lad,” said James sympathetically. He well knew what it was like to be left behind while the others headed out to sea. “Still, your ma knows best. Why are you out of the cottage then? I would have thought your ma would be watching over you like a hawk.”

Sammy grinned weakly, scratching his head. Now that the lad had said it, James could see that he did look a trifle ill. His skin was pale and clammy. He should probably be home tucked safely into his bed, not tearing around the market like a vagabond. But then, that was Sammy Carew. He was a good lad but a bit of a tearaway, never minding his mother much, and causing his father many headaches.

“She got busy with the baby,” he said, shrugging. “I was bored. So here I am.”

James nodded, turning back to Mr Timms. The boy continued his restless trawling of the shop. At that moment, the door opened again. To James’ surprise, a fine lady entered, trailed by an older companion, who was quite obviously a servant, judging by her clothes.

His eyes widened. It was unusual to see any women in Timms’ Fishery but seeing an elegantly dressed young lady step into the shop was perfectly bizarre. No fine ladies ever came into this old fishing shop. Why would they? It hardly sold dainty lace gloves or pretty patterned parasols. The kind of frippery that he assumed occupied the minds of ladies like this one.

He studied her covertly. She was average height, with dark golden hair beneath her bonnet. A simple yet elegant gown, entirely suitable for a day out shopping in the village. A round face with a flawlessly pale complexion, like all those upper class ladies had, unlike the local village women whose visages were as weathered as the men’s from always working outdoors. James would be able to spot a fine lady a mile away by her skin, even if she wasn’t wearing fine clothes that probably cost more than a fisherman earnt in a year.

Parasites, he thought contemptuously. They live off the hard work of us folk and then sneer at us as if we are the scum of the earth.

She was young, probably only a few years younger than him, in her early twenties. Obviously the daughter of one of the landed gentry or nobility who had grand homes dotted around this area. None of them lived in the village, of course. They were all on significant acreage, with a team of servants hovering around them like bees around a honeypot, making their already privileged lives so much better.

Abruptly, he turned away. He had no time for fine ladies and no curiosity as to why one had walked into this shop. He had his errands to complete and he just had to get on with it.

Old Mr Timms was scratching his head as he stared at the lady and her servant companion, as if a wild deer had suddenly pranced into his shop. The lady drifted down an aisle, seemingly vanishing. Mr Timms turned back to James, obviously deciding to deal with this strange occurrence later.

“Will it be the usual then, Jimmy?” he asked slowly. 

James nodded. “Just the same as always, Mr Timms. Thank you.”

The old man heaved himself to his feet, gathering supplies. At that moment, Sammy Carew decided to jump into the front window, hovering precariously as he tried to catch a bluebottle fly buzzing against the glass.

“Get down with ye!” growled Mr Timms, glowering at the boy. “I will only warn ye once…”

Sammy ignored him. He reached his hand higher, jumping at the fly. Suddenly, he lost his balance, toppling forward. James watched in shock as the boy fell against the glass window, shattering it. He fell, almost tumbling onto the street below, looking completely dazed.

“Ye young fool!” roared Mr Timms.

James swivelled, heading towards the door, his heart beating fast. It was times like these—when he needed to move quickly—that he most bitterly resented his leg. Cursing, he reefed open the door, crouching on the street outside next to the boy.

“Sammy,” he said, reaching for him, “have you hurt yourself?”

The boy was clearly in shock, even whiter than he had been before, surrounded by broken glass. James saw that he had a few cuts on his hands, where he had tried to break his fall, but otherwise didn’t seem injured. Which was truly amazing, considering what could have happened. James had been fully expecting the lad would be bleeding profusely and might even be in danger of losing his life.

“I…I am alright I think,” said the boy, shuddering, his eyes wide. “I am sorry…”

James was suddenly conscious that Mr Timms and the lady who had been in the shop were standing next to them. The lady bent down, staring at the boy, taking his hand. James noticed that her eyes were the clearest blue he had ever seen and surrounded by long dark golden lashes. They were also entirely focused on Sammy, watching him carefully.

“You are suffering from shock,” said the lady, in a high, sweet voice. She turned to the shopkeeper. “You must get a blanket. He needs to get warm immediately.”

“I shall do no such thing!” roared Mr Timms, looking affronted. “That lad is lucky I don’t throttle the life out of him!” He took a deep, ragged breath. “Look at my shop! Look at my window! The damage!”

The lady gave him a level stare. “Yes, it is unfortunate. But this boy needs immediate attention. See how he shivers. He must get warm…”

“I do not care about that!” cried Mr Timms, curling his lip. “The lad is fine. I only see a few cuts and no one has ever died of those.”

The lady frowned. “Still, there are other things…”

Suddenly, Mr Timms leaned down, grabbing Sammy by his scruffy collar, and shaking him. The boy went limp, whimpering in fright. James noticed that a crowd was gathering around them now. They were goggle-eyed onlookers who had been drawn to the drama, like moths to a flame.

“Ye shall pay for this!” roared Mr Timms, shaking him again, as if the boy were a sack. “Ye shall be in servitude to me for the rest of your natural life, ye mucky lad!”

James struggled to get to his feet. “Mr Timms…”

But the lady was there before him, staring the old shopkeeper in the eye, with a raised chin. 

“Put him down,” she said in an icy voice. “Immediately. I demand it.”

“Ye cannot tell me what to do,” sneered Mr Timms. “Who are ye, anyway, and why were you in my shop? I’ll not listen to the likes of you, with your airs and graces.” He paused, eyeing her furiously. “It is my shop and he must pay for the damage he has done…”

“I believe it was an accident,” said the lady crisply. “He did not intend to do it. He is only a young boy and they can be boisterous.” She paused. “And he clearly cannot pay for the damage. It is ludicrous to ask it of him.”

Sammy had started bawling loudly. Mr Timms glared at him but didn’t loosen his hold on the boy. 

“Well, someone must pay!” cried Mr Timms, wild-eyed. “Do ye think I am made of money?”

The lady’s face tightened. Quickly, she reached into her beaded reticule, extracting some notes. James’ eyes widened. He couldn’t see how much it actually was, but it was probably more than he had held in his hand in a very long time. Mr Timms looked shocked as well. 

“Here is enough to pay for it,” said the lady, frowning at him. “Now, unhand the boy, and let me tend to him!”

Mr Timms nodded slowly. He let go of Sammy, letting him fall to the ground, pocketing the notes. The lady squatted down, lifting the boy up and spiriting him down the street. Her servant companion scurried after her.

James sighed heavily, following them, as quickly as he could. Sammy was in shock, and he wouldn’t know how to respond at all to this fine lady acting like a nurse towards him. He was honour bound to step in and take care of the lad, make sure he got home safely.

The lady took Sammy into a lane, off the street. To his amazement, she removed her fine shawl, covering him with it. The boy continued to cry softly. 

“There, there,” said the lady, wrapping the shawl tighter around his bony shoulders. “You will be fine. Just take some deep breaths.”

Sammy nodded, doing as she said. His crying petered out to a sniffle. James stepped towards them.

“I know the lad,” he said slowly. “I can get him home safely.”

The lady looked up at him quickly. She frowned slightly. Her eyebrows were the same dark gold as her hair and her eyelashes. He also noticed she had a small, faded scar just above them, in the shape of a crescent moon. It was the only flaw on an otherwise unblemished face. The face of a fine lady indeed.

“You were in the shop,” she said slowly, in an almost curious voice. “You came to his aid.”

James nodded. “Yes, I was.”

The lady turned back to the boy, who had quietened down. She reached into her reticule, extracting a toffee, then handed it to him. Sammy’s eyes lit up. He popped it into his mouth, chewing loudly.

“Thank you, lady,” he said, between chews. “And thank you for your help. I am Sammy.”

The lady smiled, her cheeks dimpling prettily. “You are welcome, Sammy. My name is Eliza. Are you feeling quite well now?” She ran an eye over him. “Your shivers have stopped at least. And you are not so pale and clammy. They are all good signs.”

James watched the boy. The lady was right. Colour had returned to his cheeks and his eyes were brighter. Sammy swallowed the toffee, taking off the shawl and handing it back to her.

“Can I go now?” he asked.

“Sammy,” said James, shaking his head. “You need to go straight home to your ma. None of this would have happened if you had stayed there in the first place, like you should have. Do you understand?”

Sammy nodded quickly. The next minute, he scurried down the lane, as if nothing had happened to him at all. The lady smiled indulgently, turning back to him.

“How do you know him?” she asked, raising her eyebrows.

“He lives in my area,” said James, giving her a level stare. “He is the son of a fisherman. I know his parents well.”

She nodded, staring at him, her blue eyes travelling over his face carefully. 

“I am being rude,” she said suddenly. “It is the shock of what just occurred. My name is Lady Eliza Beaumont. And you are?”

James stared at her without smiling. “My name is James Russell…milady.”

He deliberately put a contemptuous twist on the last word. He despised all the lofty titles these nobles insisted they be called and the scraping and bowing they expected of the common folk. He wasn’t going to grovel to her.

He knew she had heard the tone in his voice, by the way her eyebrows raised a fraction. But she didn’t react. Instead, she kept looking at him curiously. 

“You are a local fisherman, Mr Russell?” she asked, raising her chin.

He nodded, wincing slightly, as he leaned on his walking stick. “That I am. And proud of it.”

Her eyes flickered towards his walking stick and his leg. “You have much pain,” she said slowly. “I can tell. Tell me, do you use Mr Bickford’s healing ointment to relieve it?”

James gaped at her. He wasn’t used to anyone acknowledging his leg so explicitly. Most people lowered their eyes to it, coughed, and looked embarrassed. But then, most locals in Clover Bay knew what had happened to him. They knew not to bring it up.

A sudden, furious anger swept over him. How dare she stand there, asking him such a personal question, and staring at him as if she was perfectly entitled to an answer! This was one of the many reasons he despised the gentry and nobility. They were so self-entitled and oblivious to how they came across to those lower than them.

“Never heard of it,” he said stiffly, staring just beyond her shoulder. “I am going back to old Timms’ shop. He will need a hand to clean up that mess.” He paused, struggling with his anger. “Thank you for helping the lad and giving the money for the damage. Good day to you.”

He turned quickly away, struggling with his walking stick for a moment, before he righted himself. He didn’t look back at her. He didn’t need to. He knew that she would be gazing after him, with that particular look of pity on her face. He didn’t need to see it. It was all the same to him and none of it helped. In fact, it made it all a whole lot worse.

Old Timms was muttering to himself, sweeping up the broken glass, when he returned. He raised his eyebrows at James.

“If you don’t tell Joe Carew what his lad did here today, I will,” he barked. “That toffee lady may have given the money to replace this, but that lad is a tearaway. He should get his hide tanned for this.”

James nodded. “Never fear, I will let Joe know. But I don’t think Sammy meant it, Mr Timms. He is full of mischief but never means harm.”

Mr Timms muttered under his breath, sweeping the glass. James gazed down the street. The lady and her companion were slowly walking along, browsing at the stalls. Then she suddenly walked into the old apothecary shop at the end of the street, disappearing inside.

James contemplated her. She was very strange for a grand lady, indeed. The way she had instantly jumped to help Sammy was not typical for ladies or gentlemen of her class at all. Usually, if something like that happened, they would ignore it entirely, pretending it had nothing to do with them, disdaining to even acknowledge it. 

He frowned, trying to figure it out. What had she even been doing in old Timms’ shop anyway? In the drama of what happened, he never found out. And now she had gone into the apothecary shop, which he didn’t think ladies of her class were fond of, either. 

He shrugged to himself. What did it matter if that lady was eccentric? She had nothing to do with him and his life, and never would. He turned back to the old shopkeeper. If he didn’t give him a hand, he would never get what he came here for and the day would be wasted entirely. It had already gone in an entirely different direction to what he had expected. But he could still try to salvage it.

He walked into the shop, grabbing another broom, pushing the incident with Sammy Carew and the strange lady firmly out of his mind.

Chapter Two

Lady Eliza Beaumont walked to the end of the greenhouse, before stopping and staring at a plant. It was called arnica, and usually only grew in the mountains of Europe. She knew that it had a very good reputation for helping deep pain in muscles and joints.

She carefully picked off a few flowers and leaves, placing them in the wicker basket on her arm. Arnica could be ground down and made into an ointment or tincture and then applied to the pain. She kept walking, staring at other plants that could be used for this purpose. Ginger. Willow bark. She catalogued them all carefully, trying to think what would work well.

She smiled faintly. She truly had no idea why she was taking the time to do this for the tall, black-haired fisherman she had so talked with so briefly today. He had been rather abrupt and cold when she had mentioned his obvious distress with his leg. But as soon as she and Mrs Taylor had returned to Basingstoke Manor she had been thinking about him and what might relieve his pain. Before she knew it, she had picked up her basket and was in the greenhouse, lost within the plants. One of her favourite places in the whole world.

Suddenly, the door opened. Eliza looked up, smiling slowly. It was her very best friend in the whole world, Miss Lavinia Stanton, looking as pretty as a picture in a gown as blue as a duck’s egg, with a matching bonnet. Her dark hair was hanging in perfect ringlets around her face. Eliza put down her basket, rushing towards her friend.

“Dearest,” she said warmly, “I did not have any idea you were thinking about calling here today! To what do I owe the pleasure?”

Lavinia laughed merrily. “I do not need an excuse to call upon my very best friend in the world, do I? We were passing by in the carriage and Mama was not adverse to the thought of a cup of tea with Lady Beaumont.”

Eliza sighed. “Are the mothers gossiping over tea and cake already?”

“Of course they are,” said Lavinia, rolling her eyes. “I was grateful when your mother told me that you were here. It meant that we could speak alone without them listening in and telling us when and where to find the district’s most eligible bachelors.”

“Their usual talk,” sighed Eliza irritably. “They are obsessed. But then we have always known that, have we not?”

Lavinia pursed her lips. “Our dear mamas are no different to any of the others. And most young ladies are more than eager to go along with them.” She paused. “We are the different ones, Eliza. We are the ones who do not obsess about marriage and future homes and children. You do know that, do you not?”

Eliza shrugged nonchalantly. She had never cared about such things and had luckily found a kindred spirit in Lavinia. She was more interested in books and education. More specifically, she was interested in herbs and treatments for medicinal application. That was what a lot of the plants in the greenhouse were for. Her dear father, the Earl of Beaumont, had indulged her as if she had been asking for extra gowns, ordering plants from all over the world, then promptly forgot all about it.

It had taken her a long time to realise that she could never train as a medical physician. When she had been young it was all that she could think about it. And then one day she had mentioned it to her governess, almost casually. Miss Evans had laughed for a long time. Eliza had stared at her, puzzled.

“Why are you laughing?” she had asked, feeling hurt.

The governess had stared at her almost pityingly. “My dear Eliza, no woman can be a physician. No woman at all, and certainly not one of your class. You are the daughter of an earl.” She paused. “Any woman with an interest or capacity in healing from the lower classes can become a wise woman or a healer in herbs, but that is all.”

Eliza had been crushed. It had simply never occurred to her that she couldn’t do exactly what she wanted with her life. It had taken her a long time to get over it. And, even now, it still rankled that she could not train to become a physician. Her interest in medicine had never waned. And so, she indulged it, poring over books on herbs and treatments in the library, subscribing to medical journals, and making tinctures, ointments and teas from the plants in this greenhouse.

Her parents indulged her, thinking her slightly eccentric, but not taking her passion seriously. Eliza believed they thought it no different to her playing with dolls when she had been a child. It was just something to keep her occupied. The serious business for them was keeping her social card full and looking for eligible gentlemen on her behalf.

“Of course, I know it,” said Eliza slowly, feeling pained. “And we humour them, as much as they humour us. It has always been the way of it.”

Lavinia sighed heavily. “Yes. And our dear mothers have their heads together as we speak, planning on what gowns we shall wear for the upcoming Fernsby ball.” She paused. “You have not forgotten about that, have you, Eliza? It is this coming Saturday night and we are being forced to go.”

Eliza pursed her lips in displeasure. She had forgotten all about it. Balls and high society soirees with the families in the district were unpleasant, but she endured them, to pacify her parents. It was her way of making sure they left her to her own devices the rest of the time. All she had to do was smile prettily and dance with a few gentlemen, after all. 

“So be it,” she said, shrugging her shoulders. “We shall go to the ball, as we always do, and grit our teeth even if it is insufferable.” She paused. “Shall we walk around the greenhouse? I have something far more interesting to talk about.”

Lavinia smiled, nodding. They started walking. Eliza took her dear friend’s arm.

“Mrs Taylor escorted me to Clover Bay this morning,” she said slowly. “There was quite an incident. A small boy fell through a shop window. I went to his aid, of course.”

Lavinia’s eyes widened. “Oh, that is shocking! Was the poor thing injured?”

“He was very lucky indeed,” said Eliza slowly. “He was shocked, and had a few cuts, but otherwise unhurt. The shopkeeper was yelling at him, saying he must pay for the damages. I gave him money and took the poor child away, where he recovered quickly.”

“Thank the Lord,” said Lavinia, frowning. “That would have been very dramatic. What shop were you in?”

Eliza smiled slowly. “A fishing shop. I have never even stepped foot in there before. But I suddenly had the compulsion that perhaps Papa and I might go to the lake and have a try at fishing. I was intending to buy two rods.” She laughed. “I never did, of course. The accident happened and that was the end of that.”

“Fishing?” Lavinia looked dumbfounded. “I know how peculiar you are, Eliza, but sometimes even you surprise me! You have never been fishing in your life. You do not know the first thing about it.”

Eliza shrugged. “So? That does not mean I cannot try or learn. But it was just a whim, anyway. I doubt I shall try to procure fishing rods again.” She paused, gazing sideways at her friend. “There was rather a striking man in the shop, who helped with the boy afterwards. A local fisherman. He walked with a rather pronounced limp and was aided by a walking stick.”

Lavinia nodded. “I see. I think I know where this is going. Was your mind furiously racing, trying to work out the extent of his injury, and how you could aid him?”

Eliza smiled with delight. “Just so, dearest. He was clearly in a great deal of pain, but trying to control it. I think it is an old injury, that he has learnt to live with.” She paused. “I did ask him about it, but he took offence and walked off. I cannot work it out. I was only trying to help, after all.”

Lavinia laughed. “My dear, you are too direct! You probably bamboozled the poor man and made him alarmed as to why a lady of your class was asking about his leg. It is not the done thing, you know. Not at all.”

Eliza sighed heavily. This was an area that confused her. Why should anyone take offence that she was trying to help them, regardless of her class? The world was a strange and confusing place, full of odd rules and regulations. She didn’t care if she was the daughter of an earl or the daughter of a baker. It was all the same to her. She just wanted to live her life the way she wanted to.

And yet, people expected her to play the lady of the manor. Most lower class folk, especially in the village, were deferential to the point of madness. Then there were the ones who were mildly hostile. She had sensed it in that young man today. She frowned. What had been his name again? That’s right. James Russell.

She pictured him again in her mind. Tall, but stooping slightly, because of his limp. He had black hair, as black as a raven’s wing, curling down the nape of his neck. A brooding presence and watchful brown eyes. He was young—probably only a few years older than she was—but he seemed to have an old air about him. As if he had seen and suffered a lot in his years.

She had sensed that about him immediately. It was strange, but part of her interest in and affinity for medicine made her acutely susceptible to people’s internal moods and feelings. As if she could sense what was beneath the surface. James Russell had suffered and he had suffered a lot. She sensed it might have something to do with that leg of his, as well.

She was burning to find out. The healer within her was on fire.

“Perhaps,” she said, frowning, “at any rate, I decided to put together a tincture together, which I think might aid his pain…”

“I thought you said that he walked off,” interrupted Lavinia, obviously having difficulty keeping up. “Why would you be preparing a tincture for a man who does not want it and whom you will probably never see again?”

“That is a very good question,” said Eliza, in a thoughtful voice. “I am wondering that myself. And yet, I am compelled to do it.” She frowned. “I suppose the best way to describe it is I feel as if I do not have a choice. If someone needs my help I must offer it. And this man needs my help, Lavinia. I just know he does.”

Lavinia laughed. “You are a wonder, dearest.”

“Am I?” Eliza’s frown deepened. “It is just the way I am. Anyway, I am preparing a tincture. Just a small amount. I am going to carry it around with me when I am out, in case I see him again, and offer it to him. That is what I have decided.”

“Then that is what you must do,” said Lavinia, her lips curling in amusement.

They kept walking in companionable silence. Eliza thought of the man, striding off, in his furious state. The anger had been simmering beneath the surface as soon as he had addressed her. She still wasn’t sure whether he had just taken an instant dislike to her or whether it went deeper than that. It might be a class thing.

A sudden instinct swept over her. Whatever he was angry about, it was linked to his injured leg, and to his suffering. It was all interconnected. Perhaps his leg was just the outward manifestation of it all.

                                                                                  ***

James stood on the edge of the bay, watching the boats return. He often did this when he wasn’t out there fishing with them. And if he was honest with himself, the days when he wasn’t out on the boat were becoming more and more. 

He thought of the last physician who had attended his leg. A quack, in his opinion, who had pontificated about treatments and then offered exactly nothing.

“Rest,” the man had boomed at him. “You need to rest it as much as possible. Try not to walk on it too long. And try not to sit so that it gets cramped, either.”

James had just stared at him, nonplussed. He wasn’t supposed to walk, and he wasn’t supposed to sit. What could he do, then? Lay in bed for the entire day?

In the end, he hadn’t even asked the quack. None of them helped anyway. Not from the first surgeon who had put his shattered leg back together, in a cold army tent, while he listened to the last screams of men dying around him. He guessed at least that surgeon had did his best with the little he had. Perhaps he might even have been in danger of losing the leg. He had never asked.

The boats had moored. James watched his father and his best friend, Daniel Wynn, climb out along with the others. But suddenly, he wasn’t on this beautiful stretch of beach, hearing the sound of the waves hiss against the shore. Suddenly, all he could hear was the sound of muskets firing. The smell of blood. And he was back there again, as if he had never left…

                                                                       ***

It was the Emperor Napoleon’s last stand. James had been sent, along with thousands of other fresh faced young men, to stop the mad emperor’s hostile takeover of Europe. And in Belgium, on that fateful day at Waterloo, it had happened. But it had come at a heavy cost.

Daniel had been by his side, as they had marched into battle. James didn’t remember much of it anymore, or not the fine details, at any rate. It was mainly sense memories and flashes. Intense and disturbing.

The British army had been assembled, waiting, for days. Lead by the Duke of Wellington, it had been a large conglomerate of British, Belgian, Dutch and German troops. The Emperor’s mistake was waiting too long to attack. More British troops arrived.

It had been a bloodbath, of course. James knew that his side was victorious, and the emperor was defeated. He supposed it had gone as well as it could. But watching his comrades die around him or suffer horrendous injuries, did not feel like victory to him. It had felt hollow indeed.

He had almost escaped unscathed. And then, he had made a final dash, musket raised, towards one of Napoleon’s soldiers. The soldier fired at him. He could still feel the agonising heat and pain as the musket ball hit his left leg, before he collapsed in the mud. He was passing in and out of consciousness, acutely aware that he was bleeding profusely.

The sky had been a dull, leaden grey as he had gazed up into it, thinking he was about to breathe his last. His very last day on earth. He slowly closed his eyes. But the next time he opened them, he had not been in that field. He had been on a stretcher in an army tent. A man wearing a blood soaked apron was working furiously on his leg. And then he had passed out again.

When next he had awoken, it was the dead of night. All was dark. The only sound was low moans and muffled cries from those around him in the tent. He knew he was lucky to have survived. But in his heart, a flame of bitterness had been lit, against Wellington and all the other high class commanders who sacrificed young men for their wars. The upper-classes, who always led, while the lower classes were cannon fodder.

He had never walked properly again. 

When he had stepped off that ship and onto England’s shores, he knew that the future was bleak for him. He felt as if he had left his heart and soul on that mud near Waterloo. In one part of him, he was glad to be home. He wanted to see his father again. Daniel had survived intact, and was by his side. It had to be enough. He didn’t have any aspirations, beyond walking into his cottage and seeing the sea and the fishing boats again. And perhaps, he never would.

                                                                       ***

The fishermen were walking towards him now, carrying the nets. James saw that it had been a moderately good haul today. His father, Peter, sat down with a sigh next to him. The next moment Daniel appeared, grinning.

“Look at you,” said his friend. “Not quite as windblown as us. It was very blustery out there today.”

“I could see,” said James, smiling slightly. “A good haul, nonetheless.”

His father nodded, looking weary. “It was good. How did you go in town today? Did you get what we needed?”

James nodded. “It’s all ready.” He paused. “It was quite a drama at old Timms’ shop, though. Young Sammy Carew went through his shop window. Old Timms set up a caterwauling, demanding payment from the lad.” He paused. “Sammy was unhurt, thank the Lord, just shaken. And this strange lady insisted on helping him, even giving Timms the money for the damages.”

Both men laughed, scratching their heads in wonder.

His father turned to him. “I’ve been thinking, lad,” he said slowly. “It is probably better if you stop coming out with us on the boat. You are more use here, keeping the books and doing the orders. All that business side, which I have no head for. It would be a grand help. What do you think?”

James’ heart sank. He knew this had been coming for a while now. It was getting more and more obvious to everyone that his leg couldn’t take being cramped on the boat. When he returned, it was so stiff and sore he could barely walk upon it. And his father was the one who suffered the most from it. James would be irritable and snappy and it wasn’t a pleasant home to be in.

He knew it was true that someone needed to take care of the business. They had recently bought two new boats and were seeking to expand the business even more. His father had no head for it, as he said. James was good with figures. It made sense, in so many ways. With a proper team, the Russell’s would soon be the most successful fishermen in Clover Bay.

But it still hurt. He had always loved going out on the boat. The freedom of being out at sea, along with the tranquillity, was like balm to his troubled soul. It was only on the water that he felt his heart lift slightly. He was simply in the moment, watching the waves and the sky. He was amongst family and friends. It was a small amount of peace, and his troubles were always there when he got back to land, but still, it existed.

James sighed heavily. It was the most sensible decision all round. With a pang in his heart, he turned to his father, who was watching his face carefully.

“I think that sounds like the best way forward,” he said slowly. “For all of us. Russell’s fishing business will soon be the talk of the entire Devon coast.”

Daniel laughed, clapping him on the back. “It already is, my friend. Come on, let’s get this haul where it needs to go. And then we can have a quiet ale.”

They got up, walking away. James’ heart twisted again. Life would never be the same. He just had to accept it and move on. It was as simple as that.



“A Lady’s Lustful Adventures” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

The alluring Lady Eliza Beaumont is unconventional, never wants to marry, and spurns all other aspects of high society as well. Her dream is to practice her herbal medicine in order to help those in need. While Eliza is trying to relieve the tempting war veteran’s pain from an old leg wound, she will slowly find herself too weak to ease the flame of desire that will start burning her heart.

Will Eliza dare to taste the forbidden fruit of lust?

The brooding fisherman James Russell is a completely changed man, after everything he has seen during the last Napoleonic war. Therefore, when he meets the spirited, unconventional Lady Eliza, who so inexplicably wants to help him, he doesn’t trust her at all… Yet, the scandalous young Lady will soon win his trust, leaving him unable to tame his forbidden feelings for her.

If only James’ flaming romance could heal his troubled heart…

Even though destiny brings Eliza and James together, they can never be together, as they are worlds apart. However, their sinful romance grows and so does the grip of the society they both despise. Will they manage to overcome nobility and trauma for a chance of true, flaming love, or will their tempting affair be destined to fail due to the cruel aristocracy?

“A Lady’s Lustful Adventures” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.

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11 thoughts on “A Lady’s Lustful Adventures (Preview)”

      1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, dear Austin. 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. This is a very good read so far and cannot wait until the book is available so I can read the adventures of James and Eliza

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, dear Cheryl. 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!

  2. I enjoyed what I read so far & am drawn to James. Very curious to discover how & if Eliza can help James.
    Also interested in learning more about each of their friends.
    I did notice errors in at least one sentence in Chapter 1. A word was in the sentence twice, didn’t make sense. The word was together.
    No clue which website applies.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, dear Mary. 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!

  3. I already love this story. I has so much potential. From James and Eliza to Sammy, there is going to be a lot of activity and I can’t wait to see where it goes. I can’t wait to see Eliza knock James off his high horse and see how he deals with it.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, dear Christy. 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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