Miss Redmond's Deception
by Sandra Cox
Captain the Honorable Richard Greyston, future Earl of Meade is on the road to a friend's house when he takes a wrong turn at a fork in the road. Instead of finding himself at Carnworth Hall, Greyston finds himself in an old cemetery in the dead of night, where he encounters three ghostly inhabitants.
After Greyston gets his mount—and his racing heart—under control, he discovers that his spectral apparitions are three young English women. At least two appear to be young, the third is much too sharp-tongued to be mistaken for a schoolroom miss. She's well hidden in an oversized mobcap and night rail, leading Greyston to the brilliant, if mistaken, deduction that the shrew is governess to the two young ladies.
The rake and the harridan squabble until it's abruptly ended, when the heavens open and the protagonists along with the fascinated onlookers must needs seek shelter, the closest being the Redmond Manor Five Oaks, the young ladies' home.
Seeing that Greyston is drenched to the skin the 'governess' insists that Greyston spend the night.
At breakfast the next morning, Richard is dismayed to discover that the light of day has done little to improve the shrewish spinister's looks. Quite the reverse.
After a hasty meal, where dishes are being whisked out from under his very nose, Richard is sent unceremoniously on his way.
At Carnworth Hall Richard begins to get an inkling that his prude-of-a-governess is not all, or possibly less, than she seems, when Tony Carnworth breaks into incredulous howls of laughter at Greyston's description of the she-dragon named Pembra.
With the unchristian hopes of seeing his friend's face when he encounters his nemesis for the first time without her disguise—oops, spectacles and mobcap—Tony piously suggests they return to Five Oaks and personally thank the inhabitants for their hospitality. Such as it was, Greyston thinks sourly.
On the way to the manor, a bedraggled deerhound darts in front of Richard's mount and is struck by the stallion's flailing hooves. It is love at first sight between man and beast.
Since Pembra's nursing skills are known throughout the parish they take the animal with them. As luck would have it, the eldest Miss Redmond is not at home when they arrive so they leave the injured dog in her stables and return to Carnworth Hall.
When Pembra finally arrives home late at night, tired, and out of sorts from delivering a tenant's baby, she is greeted with the less than pleasant information that thanks to Tony and his rakish friend her long day and evening have still to reach an end.
In the large cavernous barn, she not only discovers the injured deerhound but the arrogant Captain Greyston as well. Sparks fly as heated words end in fevered kisses.
Pembra is determined to have nothing more to do with the overbearing rakehell of a captain, but Greyston is of another bent entirely having abruptly decided to marry the tiresome sharp- tongued wench.
But the way of love is never smooth as Richard discovers, especially when both parties are too stubborn to admit to more than a passing attraction.
Throw into this Kentish bumble broth: an unscrupulous neighbor who also wants to marry the beauteous Miss Redmond and will stop at nothing to accomplish his goal including kidnapping. A cousin who continually puts his foot in Greyston's mouth. A bogus engagement. A former mistress. A duel. A gypsy. And a warning. Stir the simmering pot with passion and the bumble broth gradually turns into a seething caldron of emotion in the Gypsy's Warning.