An Improper Derailment: Chapter 1

Chapter one, where Mary receives bad news…

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Mary sat, perfectly poised. The crumpled telegram in her fist, and the white knuckles rimmed with red, strained skin were the only clues to her anger.

If the message had been delivered an hour earlier she would have taken to her bed, at least for a few days, maybe longer. But she had already endured the ritual torture of being laced in and dressed. Besides, if she took to her bed now she would miss lunch with Mr. Peterson, a cousin to the Washington Porter. Mr. Chicago fruit himself. Her grandfather should be pleased she was making such prudent and profitable connections.

Janey at least was thrilled that Mr. Peterson began calling on her younger sister. They had a constant delivery of fresh fruits, thanks to the Porter family connection. She told Mary this at every turn.

“Was Mr. Peterson to be expected today? Do you think he will bring us some oranges? Would it be rude of me to ask if he could get us grapes? They ship wine don’t they?”

She always asked Mary with a mischievous wistful air, but she never once spoke of fruit or wine to Mr. Peterson directly.

Mary breathed through her nose slowly. She had to calm her nerves or she would do herself a grievance. This corset was laced a bit too tightly. That was for the benefit of her lunch companion. He had stated he was taking them to the Palmer House, and then a stroll afterward.

Janey and her husband Charles would accompany them to lunch. And then the chaperones would ever so discreetly walk a distance behind them during their stroll so they could discuss matters privately.

Mary anticipated a declaration of some form this afternoon. A request to speak to her grandfather, maybe even an actual proposal, after all, Mr. Peterson was a bit daring when it came to the rules of proper society. He had already insisted that Mary refer to him by his nickname Py. She couldn’t even bring herself to call him by his given name of Pythagoras.

But this telegram changed everything.

“Mary I do believe—” Janey stopped abruptly as she swept into the parlor. “Well, this won’t do. We both can’t wear green.” She coughed delicately into a handkerchief. “You need to go put on that lavender dress.”

Mary did not suppress the glare she gave her sister. If anyone should change it was Janey. She looked dreadful in green. Almost as if she too took on a verdigris pallor emphasized by her color choice.

Charles languidly strolled in after his wife. “I say, that telegraph was inconveniently early.”

Mary wanted to scoff at his complaint as if he were the one to open the door and shoo the poor boy away. At the time Charles was barely awake and in a dressing gown.

“What telegraph?” All thoughts of almost matching dresses gone from Janey’s head in a blink.

The longer Mary stayed in Chicago, the longer she realized how well matched those two were. Selfish to the core. Charles may be self-centered, but he was ridiculously wealthy, and that’s why grandfather allowed Mary to visit for so long.

Grandfather was a forty-niner, and he struck gold. But everything for him became about hitting the next vein of wealth. Mary knew he was living off the remaining dust of his fortune, and he expected his granddaughters to keep him elevated in the financial ranks.

The easiest and only way for this to happen was for them to marry wealthy. Mary was ahead of the game. A match with the Porter family, even a cousin of the Porter family should make the man happy. But he was an interfering bastard.

Mary felt her eye widen and her cheeks flush with the rude thought.

With as deep of a breath as she could manage, she handed the crumpled paper over to her sister.

Janey stumbled as her knees weakened.

Charles led his wife to the settee next to Mary.

Janey gave Mary a look of pained pity.

“I guess lunch is canceled then?”

 

@2018 Lulu M Sylvian

Find out what the telegraph says next month…

Longing Release day! Happy Book Birthday!

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Longing, Legatum 4

Lucy has a dangerous past, one she thought she left behind. She abandoned every element of it except for one, her best friend Shane. Now the life she has created is shattering, and Lucy finds herself clinging to Shane for support.

Shane hates everything about his past and prefers to live as if certain events never occurred. Except for one, meeting Lucy. He can’t let Lucy go, he can’t have her either.

A chain of events puts Shane in Lucy’s presence in time to be there for her while her marriage falls apart and as her troubling past weaves its way back into her life. In order to have a future with him, she goes in search of closure, only to discover her past holds more deceptive secrets than she ever imagined.

 

Now available

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Complete, now available for pre-sale

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Complete, Legatum Book 5

As far as Bobby is aware, he is the only one of his kind—a true lone wolf. He fills his days with running his bar, and his nights with emotionless encounters. After all, hooking up with him, the self-proclaimed town man-whore, is as easy as crashing into his buggy in the grocery store. Everything changes when he sees an angel.

When new math teacher Ramona moves to town, Bobby sees a glow around her and is convinced she’s the angel he can finally trust with what he really is. He just has to get her to trust him first…

Ramona is no angel; she’s run away from a relationship gone bad in the big city, to a small town where football is king. The last thing she needs or wants is the town playboy pursuing her. She doesn’t want a man. Doesn’t need one. Her focus is on making sure the star quarterback passes high school math. Her plans fly out the window when Bobby makes an oddball request.

Bobby finally finds a way to be with her—convincing her she can teach him how to be friends with a woman—he’s put himself in the worst position. He has Ramona, but not the way he wants. She’s learning to trust him, but his reputation is holding her back. Can Bobby trust her with the secret he’s managed to keep his whole life? Or will his past put Ramona in danger?

now available

Available now for 99 cent pre-sale!

AMAZON – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G758JRH?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420
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GOOGLE – https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Lulu_M_Sylvian_Complete?id=q1tnDwAAQBAJ

Complete: WIP-IT Wednesday

A pre-edited sneak peak at the 5th Legatum book.

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“Homework?” He asked, resting on the opposite bench for a moment.

“Yep, grading. I was hoping a change of scenery and some food would make this easier.” She rubbed the back of her neck.

“That sounds like it’s not working.”

“It’s not. I don’t know.” She rested her cheek in her palm, elbow resting on the table. She stared at the papers. “The students need an algebra brick upside their heads and I need a bubble bath.”

“The thing that always helped me with math, was context.” Bobby leaned back looking at the other customers, seeing if he was needed. He was. “I’ll be back.” He stood and left.

Ramona was still staring at the papers, she hadn’t moved when he returned with her french fries.

She popped a hot fry in her mouth, and chewed.

“As I was saying, context. I could care less about watermelons, but when Brad helped me he always put it into terms of the shop. How many cars how many parts, how to know what to order next. Have you tried that yet?”

“I need to. They were talking about that at my last school. How to prepare for the zombie apocalypse, food storage and stuff. How many cans of peaches to survive the first winter. How fast your gun shoots, how many bullets you need. That’s not a bad idea actually. I’m going to have to go over all of this again, why not. Thanks Bobby.” She popped another fry into her mouth, and smiled. “I’m going to need a burger for while I grade the rest of this.”

“BLT burger or you looking to branch out?”

“I’m going to live dangerously, can you add cheese to that?”

Bobby chuckled, “You are living dangerously.”

Ramona picked up the next paper in front of her. Teaching math with zombies, might actually work. She just hoped it wouldn’t get her into trouble with Principal Grover. He seemed to like to keep a tight reign on standards and how lessons were presented. The homework assignments seemed to get worse and worse as she continued grading.

Bobby arrived with her hamburger. “You’re still looking stressed.” He put the sandwich down in front of her, then reached behind her and began kneading her shoulders. Ramona felt like melting. Bobby’s hands were large and warm. His strong fingers dug into the tense muscles supporting her neck. “Your neck is like a rock.”

Ramona suppressed a groan, the massage felt so good. She felt like all of her muscles turned to jello. Bobby did know how to touch, okay this wasn’t the touch her friends seemed to seek out, but she would take it. “You need to go home and soak in a hot tub, that will help.” His thumbs continued to press circles next to her spine. Ramona could barely think.

“Ahh, I don’t have a tub, just a walk in shower. It sucks.”

Bobby continued working his hands over her shoulders.

“I think you missed your calling. You would make a killing as a masseuse.” Ramona almost purred.

His hands stopped, he patted Ramona on the shoulder. “I have a tub you can borrow.”

“What? Really? I don’t want to impose, but oh my God really?”

“Yeah, be right back.”

Ramona sat stunned. Bobby had a tub, and he was going to let her use it. Oh no, he’s hitting on me, wait Bobby never does that, he doesn’t need to. Her thoughts raced from the joy of a tub, to being worried if it was a come-on, and if she really wanted to be another notch on his belt or not. He was good looking, and nice, and that massage had felt so good. She wouldn’t mind a full body rub down. All the tension he had managed to work out of her neck returned. She shook her head, stop over thinking girl. She focused on eating her hamburger.

“Okay,” he was back. “I have an outdoor tub.”

“A hot tub?” Oh, that would be perfect she thought.

“No, just a tub. A really big tub. It has its own hot water heater, so it could be a hot tub, but no bubbles. I’m here all night, so if you wanted you could go over an use it.”

“Are you serious?” Ramona’s eyes were large saucers as she eagerly looked at Bobby. A tub! A bath!

“Yeah,” he chuckled. “Look my dogs will be out, but they won’t bother you. Just tell them to shut up, use their names so they think they know you.” He picked up the pencil she had been marking papers with, tore off a sheet from his order book, and scribbled down his address.

“I’m out on east 2280, dented white mailbox just past a red cattle gate. Una is the big brown hound, Deuce looks like a white pit, Tre is the gray mutt. They are all bark. Like I said, use their names tell them to shut up, and they will calm down. Tre might jump a bit, but they’re harmless.”

Ramona took the scribbled address. “Your dogs are named one-two-three?”

“And the cat is Cat.”