Calamity Claresta [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Irene Estep
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: To lure Drake Lockwood, Earl of Norwood, into the parson's mousetrap, Miss Claresta Huntington strikes a bargain that she cannot possibly fulfill.
eBook Publisher: Awe-Struck E-Books/Awe-Struck E-Books, Inc., Published: 2007, 2007
Fictionwise Release Date: July 2007
24 Reader Ratings:
"Calamity Claresta is a humorous romance dealing with two caring people looked down upon by society for being more interested in business and the welfare of the people who work for them than in the dictates of their status. They have major obstacles to overcome in Claresta's family, and in Drake's problem with establishing his identity. Author Irene Estep mixes charming characters, humor and suspense in a Regency romance that will keep you reading until the end."--Robin Lee, Romance Reviews Today
No stranger to adversity and scandal, Miss Claresta Huntington knew a marriage of convenience--the sort she'd decided to pursue--would involve both. But with only two months to fulfill her obligations, what choice did she have?
"I must find a husband, Nan."
The robust housekeeper snorted, as was her penchant to do more often than not when expressing disapproval. She pounded life back into the feather pillow Claresta had slept on and said, "'Tis a pity you can't see fit to go about acquiring one in the traditional fashion."
"Yes, it is a pity," Claresta mumbled. Sometimes her housekeeper's honesty took on the form of impertinence.
While her dresser, Lizette, twisted her strawberry blonde hair into a coronet about her head, Claresta contemplated how to go about her mission. For certain she could not go into the dockside taverns alone. She would need Nan to accompany her to find a ne'er-do-well suitable for her purposes. But to get the woman to go along with the plan, Claresta first had to convince her of the necessity to take such a drastic measure. Over the years, she had come to rely on Nan for advice. She was more than a servant. She was family--a distant country cousin on her mother's side, but still family. Nan wasn't required to perform the duties of housekeeper, but she insisted she must earn her keep. Since the age of seven, Claresta had had no other mother figure to turn to.
"I have to do what is necessary to keep my inheritance. And, even you must admit that marrying up to salvage my tarnished reputation is no longer a possibility."
"What of your cousin, Lord Westhaven?" Nan asked as she smoothed down the linen pillowcase.
"That toad-eating imbecile! At Vauxhall the other evening, he called me a sorceress."
To the first Nan could find no argument, to the latter she said, "Uh-huh."
"I tell you, he fell into that fountain on his own. I never laid a finger on him."
Nan lifted her nose as if to emit another disapproving sound. Instead, she said, "Well, you are not to be faulted for having clumsy suitors. Young bucks these days fall into fountains, stumble down stairs, and overturn carriages all the time." Nan tsked. "And, who could have known Lady Chelsworth's brother had a bad heart?"
"Enough, Nan." Claresta didn't like to remember the elderly gentleman's head plopping like a stone into his bowl of soup at Garraway's. She had been able to overlook the unlucky events that had squelched her other marriageable prospects, but none had ended with such finality as that of Sir Pedigrew.
"Well, 'tis none of it your fault," Nan insisted. "If not for the Morning Post quoting Sir Pedigrew's sister when she called you Calamity Claresta--"
"I said enough, Nan. Now, are you going to help me carry out my scheme to find a husband or not? Edwin said if I caught the lot before they became too deep in their cups, I may find one man in a dozen worth a farthing."
"I cannot believe your cousin would encourage one of your antics," Nan mumbled. "He always seemed so much more dependable and levelheaded than his brother."
Edwin had given her information on the best time of the day to catch a quarry only after she had made it clear she was determined go through with her scheme, with or without anyone's help. To point out her younger cousin's better qualities in comparison to that of Lord Westhaven's would be easy as comparing daylight to dark.
However, if she went off on a tangent of defending Edwin they could be here all day. She signaled the maid to quit fussing over the few strands of her hair that defied confinement and said, "Lay out the yellow gown, Lizette, and then you may go for now."
After Lizette closed the door behind her, Nan picked up the yellow frock and exchanged it for a gray crepe from the wardrobe. Then, no doubt, she hoped a guilty conscience would work where disapproval had not. "Mr. Huntington, God rest his weary soul, would not have been pleased by what you're thinking to do."
Claresta lifted herself from the dresser chair in a towering passion. "If not for my dear papa's final decree, I should not be in need of a husband to begin with!"