A Murderous Marriage (A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery)
by Alyssa Maxwell
About the Book
A Murderous Marriage (A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery)
4th in Series
Kensington (January 29, 2019)
Hardcover: 304 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07CWDMR33
Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, are preparing for a wedding, but it may not be the happy occasion everyone hopes for . . .
Since the Great War, some family fortunes have suffered, including those of the Renshaws. Despite being the granddaughter of an earl, Julia Renshaw is under pressure to marry for money—and has settled for Gilbert Townsend, a viscount and a wealthy industrialist. He is decades older than Julia, and it’s clear to her sister Phoebe—and to Eva, who has been like a surrogate mother to the girls—that this is not a love match. Nevertheless, the wedding takes place—and in a hurry.
At the reception aboard the groom’s yacht, there appears to be tension between Gil and several guests: his best man, a fellow veteran of the Boer War; his grouchy spinster sister; and his current heir, a nervous young cousin named Ernest. The bride is also less than pleased when she discovers that her honeymoon will be more crowded than expected—with Gil’s pretty secretary, among others, coming along.
That very night, Julia pounds on her sister’s door, brandishing a bandaged hand and reporting a hot-tempered outburst on her new husband’s part. Julia is feeling doubt and regret about her hasty decision, but returns to the boat. Then the next morning, before the yacht can depart the harbor, Gil’s body is found in the water below—and Phoebe and Eva must discover who pushed him over . . . before the Renshaws’ social standing is irreparably stained by Julia’s arrest for his murder . . .
“Eva overheard something earlier that makes me worry for Julia’s safety.” She related what Eva had told her. “Could these stem from Gil’s time in Ireland?”
“Perhaps. Or it could be any number of things. Gil is a businessman and an industrialist, and such men make enemies, unfortunately.”
Phoebe darted a look at Owen’s fine features. “Have you?”
He smiled. “Don’t worry. There’s been nothing I can’thandle.”
“Owen . . .”
He put a finger to her lips. “Remember, I’m a fair man, and I neither take advantage of those who work for me nor renege on my financial obligations to those I do business with.”
Admiration filled her, and gratitude that such a man had entered her life. Someday, she thought, she and Owen might marry and build a life together. Most women would call her a fool for postponing that day, but before she became any man’s wife, she wanted to become self-sufficient in her own right. Would Julia ever aspire to a similar goal?
She didn’t think so. “I just wish . . .” She shook her head. Wishing would change nothing. Just as pleading with Julia to reconsider her decision to marry Gil had changed nothing.
Owen brought them to a halt, and they stood facing each other beneath the umbrella. His fingertips grazed her cheek. “I wish I didn’t have to leave tonight.”
“You need to get back to Yorkshire. You have a business to oversee and your own problems to contend with. Labor union demands can’t simply be dismissed. You’ll have to deal with them. Our family matters will work themselves out.”
“I know they will. It’s just that . . . I don’t know . . . Something doesn’t feel quite right.”
She smiled ruefully. “Is it any wonder? This marriage isn’t right. But what’s done is done. Besides, despite recent history, we have no reason to think the past will repeat itself. Surely no one can be that unlucky.”
She spoke of the three incidents in the past year that had involved murder—one at Foxwood Hall, another at the Haverleigh School for Young Ladies, and, finally, at her cousin Regina’s home of High Head Lodge. With an ironic smile, Owen held her hand with his free one and drew her closer to him beneath the umbrella. Phoebe darted a glance around the park and the esplanade, hoping they would not be observed, then realized she didn’t care. She raised her lips to his and parted them for his kiss. A sense of calm and contentment flowed through her, and when he lifted his face away, she smiled.
“Despite what I just said, I wish you didn’t have to go, too.”
He bowed his head again, this time to press his brow to hers. He sighed. “Please don’t go looking for trouble while you’re here.”
She frowned. “Why do you say that?”
“Ha.” He straightened. “As if I needed to explain.”
“I’ll have you know I never go looking for trouble.” Her attempt to look indignant was halfhearted at best. “For some reason, trouble has a habit of looking for me.”
“Indeed.” He swung the umbrella to the ground and reached for her again, pulling her close. His lips nudged her chin upward and then covered her mouth, deeply and filled with promise, just as the rain misting their faces and the park around them promised to bring the fresh life of springtime to the island. It wasn’t until the breath left her entirely that he eased away. “We’d best get back to the hotel before someone comes looking for you.”
About the Author
Alyssa Maxwell knew from an early age that she wanted to be a novelist. Growing up in New England and traveling to Great Britain fueled a passion for history, while a love of puzzles of all kinds drew her to the mystery genre. She and her husband reside in Florida, where she loves to watch BBC productions, sip tea in the afternoons, and delve into the past. You can learn more about Alyssa and her books at www.alyssamaxwell.com.
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