A Secret Engagement
Edmund Caruthers, London barrister and gentleman, defies his father and his class to represent the poor. With few paying customers, he struggles financially. He’s frustrated his betrothed won’t set a date to marry him.
Dolly Wycliffe dreams of becoming a famous milliner. She loves Edmund, but the life of a society matron isn’t for her. Edmund’s family and friends remind her that a girl who makes hats can’t become the wife of a distinguished barrister.
When a woman is found murdered in fashionable Mayfair, their two worlds collide. The victim is a shop girl and Dolly enlists Edmund’s help to find the killer. Edmund keeps a friend’s involvement a secret and Dolly realizes the toffs have rules they’re unwilling to break.
Is their love enough to overcome the obstacles ahead? Will marrying be a decision they’ll both come to regret?
He held a knife with a six-inch blade.
He took a step closer. “Well?”
“That should be obvious,” she said. “I’ve come for my friend, Mr. Caruthers.”
“He ain’t here.”
“Then who is yelling in your coal bin?”
He glanced at the steps leading down to the bin. “None of your business.”
Dolly raised her chin, her nose, her entire body with a degree of haughtiness and disdain that rivaled the highest of the high-born. “I demand you to release him. At once!”
The man sneered. Of course she feared him but he wouldn’t guess how much. It was a performance of a lifetime.
“Go on with you,” he said, “before I lose my temper.”
“Let me advise you the constable in on his way. In fact, he should be here any minute.”
The man looked over her shoulder and shook his head. He raised the knife he’d been sharpening. His arm was a thick as a post.
She had only one thing to protect herself. She drew out her hatpin.
He laughed. “You’ll not get far with the likes of that.”
“We’ll see, won’t we?”
Doubtless he’d never been challenged by a woman. A deep sorrow squeezed her heart. Miriam had not known her own strengths and value at the hands of this bully. She hadn’t stood a chance.
“You killed your wife, didn’t you?” She hadn’t come for a confession. Such things were better left to the authorities. She couldn’t resist poking at this beast, even though it was a dangerous thing to do.
“You’re a feisty wench, ain’t ya?”
“You didn’t answer my question.”
His upper lip curled into a horrible grimace. “I don’t answer to the likes of you.”
She couldn’t fathom why he found anger and brutality the way to express his frustration. Nor why he’d used it against the person who presumably loved him the most.
“Time you learned who your superiors are,” he