But she wasn't a wife and mother. And, Joey aside, she didn't want to be one. Her mother had spend every last minute cooking for Papa, cleaning for Papa, looking nice for Papa, entertaining for Papa, producing babies for Papa. The measuring stick she used to judge herself based on how pleased or displeased Papa was with her, their home, and her ability to raise their children properly. The very thought of being measured by that same stick horrified Billy. She couldn't think of anything worse. As far as she was concerned, domesticity was nothing more than a glorified jail sentence.
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He wants a fifteen thousand pound settlement." "Fifteen thousand!" "He says you're a great deal of trouble." She hesitated for one startled moment before choking back a laugh. "I am." "I thought so." He leveled Drew a look. "If I pay you the fifteen thousand, do you swear to keep her?" Drew reared back his head. "Forever?" Her father scowled. "Forever." "Oh, I suppose." He gave a long-suffering sigh. "If I must." She bit the insides of her cheeks to keep from laughing outright.
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She hated Mr. Meanie. But she'd gotten to know him and they'd reached an understanding of sorts. Now she was to have him for supper. "Don't tell me you're feeling guilty?" Breaking off a piece of the wing, she brought it to her lips and took a bite. It did taste good. Very good. "I wonder if all grouchy males are this palatable." Drew choked. She looked up, tilting her head. "Are you all right?" He turned a dull red. "Eat your supper, Connie.
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You next, " he said. "Out of those clothes and into bed." She nodded but didn't move from Sally's side. The thought of undressing exhausted her. Where would she find the strength such a task would require? "I'm filthy. I'll ruin the new bed." "I'll bring you some fresh water." "I've no clothes to change into." His grin was downright wicked. "I know." A short laugh escaped her.
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Where are you going?" "To get my Bible." "Right now? You can't get your Bible out right now! I'm, I'm, we're just about to... " She'd never be able to go through with this if he got out his Bible. She wiped all humor from her face. "I believe you. Proverbs 5:18. Rejoice, relish, and romp with your husband." He chuckled. "I'm serious, Connie, and I won't have you feeling ashamed or unclean over anything we do in that bed, tonight or any other night." "I won't. I feel unashamed and very clean. I promise. But please don't get out that Bible." "What? Think you that God can't see us right now?" Groaning, she slid off his lap and covered her face with her hands. He sunk to his knees in front of her, drawing her hands down. "I love you. You love me. We are man and wife. God is watching, Connie, and He is very, very pleased.
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Lord Randall barreled inside, brandishing his cane in Drew's face. "You beggarly knave, I was told this marriage was in name only! Who gave you permission to consummate the vows?" "Theodore Hopkin, governor of this colony, representative of the kind, and it's going to cost you plenty, for that daughter of yours is nothing but trouble. What in the blazes were you thinking to allow her an education?" Drew bit back his smile at the man's shocked expression. Nothing like landing the first punch. Lord Randall furrowed his bushy gray brows. "I knew not about her education until it was too late." Drew straightened the cuffs of his shirt. "Well, be prepared to pay dearly for it. No man should have to suffer through what I do with the constant spouting of the most addlepated word puzzles you could imagine." - "I require fifteen thousand pounds." Lord Randall spewed ale across the floor. "What! Surely drink has tickled your poor brain. You're a FARMER, you impudent rascal. I'll give you five thousand." Drew plopped his drink onto the table at his side, its contents sloshing over the rim. A satisfied smile broke across his face. "Excellent." He stood. "When will you take her back to England with you? Today? Tomorrow?" The old man's red-rimmed eyes widened. "I cannot take her back. Why, she's already birthed a child!" Drew shrugged. "Fifteen thousand or I send her AND the babe back, with or without you.
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Their daughter scrunched up her hands and legs, waving them wildly in the air. He opened his palm, allowing the babe to kick his hand. "Is she like a puppy?" Constance choked. "What!" He looked up. "Will she get her spots later?" Laughter bubbled up from within her as she playfully whacked him on the shoulder. "Yes. Yes, I'm afraid she will. As soon as the sun touches her skin, the freckles will appear." A delicious two-dimple grin spread across his face. "Good. I find I'm rather partial to freckled redheads.
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Oh, they'll never believe a woman could solve such puzzles. They'll just assume I'm humoring you by editing it myself and allowing you to put your name to it." She raised her eyebrows. "But you wouldn't be." He humphed. "They'll never hear me admit it." "I will, " she said, a smile curving her lips. He shrugged. "They'll believe me, not you.