A Very Merry Chase - An Old Fashioned Comedy of Errors Style Regency Romance Novel
Set in early 19th century Regency England, and harking back in style to the heyday of Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland, A Very Merry Chase is a comedy of both manners and errors that boasts empire fashions, dashing characters, verbal sparring matches and witty repartee mingled with just a hint of mystery, danger and intrigue.
The highwayman was tall, so much so that he had to stoop to see his worthy opponent...even through the coach's open door. He wore a dark cloak topped off with a wide brimmed hat and a black mask, off-setting large gray eyes, which glittered like steel in the moonlight. A sardonic smile played over his generous, well formed lips and highlighted the strength of his jaw.
"Would I be correct in assuming you to be the famous—or shall we say, infamous—Lady Sabrina St. Clair? She, who dazzles the male population of the ton with her beauty only to break their hearts, and who causes the ladies to bristle with envy as dark and as green as her own lovely eyes?"
Her look of disgust elicited a full throated laugh that only made her angrier—a state of affairs not in the least mitigated by his calm order for to the groom to gather up the guns and resume his seat on the box. She sat quietly enough; but her fury was unconcealed. He returned her pistol with a smiling flourish; but as he had carefully emptied it beforehand that also did naught to appease. She favored him with a look meant to freeze blood.
She was vibrant in her anger. The devil took hold of him, and he could not resist further goading her. "Before you so rudely interrupted me, My Lady, I do believe we were discussing compensation."
Sabrina grabbed up her reticule which she flung once more into his smirking face. "Take this and be done with it! Aye, and the jewels as well," she said, kicking the heavy case nearer to the door. "Take them all and be done with it. ‘tis a small enough price to pay to be rid of you."
"You offer your jewels most freely, my pet. Could it be that you do not cherish them overmuch—or could it be that you have other jewels upon which you set a higher value?"
“I am most certainly not your pet! And I am indeed most assuredly apologetic, sir, if you are disappointed in my meager supply of jewels." Her carefully articulated words slowly dripped with near deadly venom. "When next we meet, I will contrive to bring a better selection for your procurement."
"Ah, but you mistake my simple words, my p... my lovely Firebrand. Cold hard stones cannot hold a candle to the living, breathing prize I see before me. No...my love, I think I would prefer that which mere coin cannot purchase…a closer look at the emerald of your eyes, the warm luster of your pearly skin, and the touch of your ruby lips—that...that my dear lady would be prize plunder indeed."
He expected genteel fireworks; but received instead a heartfelt shock. His reward was neither ladylike blushes nor even a delicate swoon. Sabrina retaliated with a stinging slap and a veritable tirade of angry rants and furious imprecations.
When her angry diatribe finally wound to a breathless close, he laughed out loud before slowly, exaggeratedly applauding her most unladylike display of temper. "Well done. Well done, indeed, little Firebrand. Why I doubt not that the blowsiest fishwife on the streets of London could have performed better?"
Insulted and outraged, she started to speak, but he stopped her with a finger to his well-formed lips and a shake of his head. "Seriously, my dear. Tsk. Tsk. And here I believed myself in the company of a fine lady—showing you all the courtesy due to one of your supposedly elevated station."
"Bloody hell, you did." she replied, attempting to land another stinging slap.
At this point, Lady Bethany, shocked absolutely to the core of her gentle soul, could take no more and swooned dead away.
He pointed this out with no little enjoyment. "Now, my fine lady, look what you've done. You should be ashamed?"
Sabrina, not in the least contrite, began to call down curses on not only the man himself; but on all of his ancestors past and his descendants yet to be born.
"My dear, that really is quite enough. If you persist in acting like a strumpet, then, I fear, as a strumpet you shall be treated."
She gasped aloud and jerked away; but he was lighting fast and inside the coach with one foot even before he finished speaking. He laughed as he swept her firmly into his arms and out into the moonlit night.
And thus begins the chase....
The complete First Chapter is available for download in the "A Very Merry Chase" menu on the right. It is also available from Amazon for the Kindle and PC and Barnes and Noble for the Nook, PC and other ereaders.
Smiles and Good Fortune,
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