An Unsinkable Love [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Terri Benson
eBook Category: Romance/History
eBook Description: Surviving the Titanic can be hazardous to your health. Bridget Barry has escaped her violent family and settled in as an employee on the magnificent White Star Liner Titanic. Two days into the voyage she has a run in, literally, with a handsome rake who seems hell-bent on seduction. Before his plan comes to fruition, the great liner plunges to the bottom of the ocean. Bridget finds herself penniless, and in a hospital. Malcolm DuMont is returning from touring the Continent with his mother and step-father on Titanic. He sets his sights on the petite Titian-haired beauty, surprised but undeterred when he finds out she is an employee of the White Star shipping line. When the ship goes down, lives are lost or irreversibly changed...among them, Bridget's and Malcolm's. Thrown together during this tumultuous time, they find a love that proves unsinkable. Until, that is, they discover that forces darker and stronger than the Atlantic Ocean have followed them home.
eBook Publisher: Lyrical Press, Inc., Published: 2012, 2012
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2011
Thursday, April 11, 1912. Queensland, Ireland
Bree stared across choppy water at the mammoth ship. Did she dare? She glanced over her shoulder, searching for signs of pursuit. It was only a matter of time before they realized she was gone. If she didn't make up her mind quickly she wouldn't have any say in the matter. She took a deep breath and stepped up to the ticket window.
"I'd like a third class ticket." Please, please let it not be too much.
A pimply-faced clerk looked down his long nose at her. "That'll be seven pounds, miss, and you had better hurry. They're loadin' the last tender right now."
Seven pounds! It would leave her with next to nothing. How would she survive in America? "Excuse me. I'll be right back."
"Like I said, you better hurry--White Star don't wait on the likes of us."
Bree stepped away from the window and brushed away tears threatening to overflow. What should she do now? She couldn't go back, wouldn't go back, not ever. But to start out with no money? Bree knew the foolishness of that, but did she have a choice?
She slumped against the wall next to a hedge of large yew trees, her small battered trunk leaning drunkenly against her thigh. There had to be a way. She closed her eyes, laid the tips of her fingers on the warm, gold cross at her neck and prayed, "Please, God. I beg of you, don't make me go back."
A sudden gust rustled the yews and between the branches she saw two men on the other side, arguing. The wind shifted toward her.
"Damnation, Jack. Why'd you let them off the boat?" The speaker, a burly, sunburned, middle-aged man, bent toward the other with a stern expression. He wore a black wool uniform with three rows of gold braid circling the cuffs, and a double row of brass buttons down the front of his hip-length jacket. A visor cap was cupped under his elbow, a word embroidered across the brim in gold thread.
The shorter man, dressed more casually in work pants and a dark Shetland sweater, snapped, "Well, if I'd known they had no intention of coming back, Reggie, I wouldn't have. But Thomas said he'd been told to help Martha carry some fabric, and I didn't see any reason to doubt them."
"Damn it, that leaves us in a tight spot. We can't make six days at sea without at least one competent tailor. Old Thorpe can't do the work anymore. I knew I should have replaced him before we left. These shakedown voyages are always trouble. And the hoity-toities we have on board are bound to make every sort of demand for alterations or last-minute fixes. I'd best start checking with the shops here. Perhaps someone with at least basic skills will be available on short notice. You get back to the tender and see to it no one else jumps ship, or you'll be doing their work and your own besides."
"Yes, sir, Mr. Purser, sir," Jack said with a grin, clearly not intimidated by the older man.
Reggie half turned and peered past Bree's hiding place, already searching the cobbled street. With another pat on her cross and the murmured hope she wasn't making a mistake taking the overheard conversation for an answered prayer, she did something she'd never have considered before today. Bree stepped into the man's path, chin raised, stretching her five feet two inch frame as tall as possible. He nearly ran her down before stumbling to a halt. Bree stuck out her hand. "Sir, I understand you're looking for a skilled tailor."
Confusion washed over his face then he frowned as it must have dawned on him she couldn't have been aware of his snap decision. "Might be. How did you know?"
Bree dropped her hand. "I'm sorry. I didn't intend to eavesdrop, but I was standing behind the shrubs resting for a moment and happened to hear you mention it."
"Well, and what difference is it to you, young lady?" he asked, eyes narrowed.
"I'd like the job, sir." She struggled to keep the quiver of desperation from her voice.
The man's lips squashed down at the corners and his head tilted. It was an expression she'd seen before. With wild auburn hair cascading in curls down her back and fair skin sprinkled with freckles, she knew she appeared all of about twelve years old.
He pursed his lips and shook his head. "I'm sorry. I need someone experienced. We're far too busy to allow anyone to learn on the job. And our clients are very demanding."
"But you see, I am very experienced." Bree quickly turned to her trunk, snapped the latches and pulled out several garments, laying them across the open lid before he could object. "This is my work. I've been seamstress for the Lady Rothberry here for nigh on four years. If you doubt my word, the millinery is up the way a piece and Mrs. O'Malley will most certainly vouch for me. And I'm nearly nineteen, even though I don't look it."
The man regarded her with disbelief, then shook his head and picked up a soft, forest-green woolen cape. He rubbed his fingers over the beaded border, turning a seam out. Bending close, he scrutinized the tiny, neat stitches. He laid the cape down and picked up a crisp white shirtwaist. The buttonholes were exactly matched, heavy lace graced throat and cuffs, and the topstitching ran perfectly straight. Bree knew he wouldn't find any flaws in her work. She'd spent too many nights under her mother's tutelage to make mistakes, and Lady Rothberry hadn't tolerated anything less than perfection.
"The lace is mine as well, but I'm much to slow to make it for anyone but myself."
He peered down at her, taking in the lightweight wool suit she wore, his expression thoughtful. Bree was glad she'd worn her best outfit. It was quite fashionable, pieced from remnants of Lady Rothberry's latest traveling suit. She'd planned to wear something old to avoid soiling her good clothes, but had changed her mind at the last minute.