Harlequin Historical October 2021 – Box Set 2 of 2 by Virginia Heath EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Status: Available for Free Download
- Authors: Virginia Heath
- Language: English
- Genre: Holiday Romance
- Format: PDF / EPUB
- Size: 3.3 MB
- Price: Free
How shallow can a man be? Ezra Eldredge asked himself as he plonked
his valise down on the bunk aboard the USS Sullivan, packet steamer bound
for Portsmouth, Great Britain. I know I can live for a few weeks without my
valet. Can’t I?
Mackie usually travelled with him. He was a free Black, paid a fair wage
—always had been—whose Yankee accent was more pronounced than
Mackie had objected to being left behind until Ezra had explained. ‘I
prefer having you with me, but I dare not,’ he’d said that last night before
taking the train to Boston from New Bedford. ‘Here we are in December of
1861, Mackie, at war. Rebel commerce raiders are prowling the oceans.
They would have no qualms about selling you into slavery, if they captured
‘I see, Mr Eldredge,’ was Mackie’s quiet reply as he packed that valise.
‘Will you be taking along Mrs Eldredge?’
Ezra always took Priscilla with him. ‘Not this time.’
Consequently, his valise did not contain the charming miniature of his
late wife, dead these ten years. Priscilla had graced him with her presence
on all business trips, but not this time, and by design.
She probably would have come along, if he hadn’t just endured his thirtyfifth birthday, complete with cake from his employees at the ropewalk, that
wonderful one-thousand-two-hundred-foot-long brick building he had taken
a chance on after his father’s death. ‘A shed is good enough for your
workers,’ he had heard from other merchants. But it wasn’t, not in coastal
New England’s frigid winter damp. He’d taken a chance and prospered as
the best rope twiners and twisters competed to work for him. Soon Eldredge
cables, miles of them, graced the most beautiful clipper ships ever to sail. A
man could be proud of that and he was.
So many candles on his cake—lit, of course, outside, for safety. They had
still been on his mind that evening as he’d readied for bed, then looked
down at Priscilla’s miniature on his night table. For some reason this time
the sight of her twenty-five-year-old loveliness reminded him that she was
always young and now he was not. Thirty-five. Good Lord.
This time, he gazed at her image and thought he detected a little
reproach, a mild scolding, from as generous a lady who ever lived. This
time, she seemed to silently remind him that lonely years had passed, and
what was he doing about it?
The obvious answer was nothing; he had no second wife, no hopeful
heirs. His heart had broken with those two deaths, hers and their son’s born
too soon. In grief, he’d thrown himself into turning New Bedford Ropewalk
and Marine Supply from a small firm into New Bedford’s largest such
emporium. If he wanted to puff up the matter, he doubted there was a better
marine business in all of New England.
He enjoyed success, but who cared? Could it be that Priscilla’s sweet
silence in the miniature was starting to nudge him into action beyond
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