eBook Details

Fortune's Bride

Series: Heiress , Book 4.0
By: Roberta Gellis | Other books by Roberta Gellis
Published By: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc.
Published: Jun 18, 2009
ISBN # 9781419921209
Word Count: 145,775
Heat Index    
EligiblePrice: $1.49 $1.04 (after rebate)

Available in: Adobe Acrobat, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc), Epub

Categories: Romance>Historical Other Fiction

Description
Blush: This is a sensual romance (may have explicit love scenes, but not erotic level)
Fourth in the Heiress series.
Robert Moreton loved his life and duty in the army, it was all he ever wanted. He was happy to be sent to Portugal…until he came across Esmeralda Talbot, shipwrecked in a small Portuguese village and in danger of being forced to marry the headman’s son. Robert rescued Esmeralda, intending to send her immediately to England. Only there was no way he could do so, and to save her reputation from ruin, he married her.
Esmeralda could not believe her luck. She had been in love with Robert since years before when he had danced with her at the Governor’s ball in India. Married to her dream! Now all she had to do was keep him from fulfilling his promise to annul the marriage.
Robert knew life was brighter and better than it had ever been before—but he had no idea why. Esmeralda did not dare hint at her passion for him, lest her too-honorable husband send her to England. How was she ever to get Robert to realize he was in love and wanted to keep her beside him forever?
 
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Excerpt:
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An Excerpt From: FORTUNE’S BRIDE

Copyright © ROBERTA GELLIS, 1983, 2009

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

Captain the Honorable Robert Francis Edward Moreton strode along Harley Street in London quite unmindful of the attention he was receiving. He was accustomed to creating a stir when he appeared in the full-dress uniform of the Fourteenth Light Dragoons, the regiment in which he held his regular commission. Dragoon uniforms were always dressy, and the Fourteenth, its blue coat trimmed with orange facings, silver lace, and topped with a fur-edged pelisse, was brighter than most.

Robert had, in fact, never served in the regiment, having been a staff officer from the beginning of his military career, but he liked the uniform, especially the Tarleton helmet, which he thought much more sensible than the busby or the shako. It was one of the reasons he was still only a captain, for he could well afford to buy a promotion. However, Robert did not wish to change regiments, and no vacancy had occurred in the Fourteenth that would permit him to purchase higher rank. He did not mind that. Since he did not serve in the regiment, he was not subject to the occasionally erratic orders of its superior officers. Nor did he need the increased stipend of a higher rank, having a very generous allowance from his father, the Earl of Moreton, and being a relatively sober young man, free of the vices of excessive drink and gambling to which so many of his peers were addicted.

In fact, Robert’s character would have been as perfect as his features, which were better fitted for a Greek god or an idealized painting than for a young English gentleman, had it not been for an obsession deplored even by his affectionate family—his fixation on a military career. Nothing his worried father could offer had been sufficient to blunt this passion, and, in 1798, when Robert was seventeen, Lord Moreton, fearing that his son would join a line regiment as a volunteer or even be so desperate as to join the ranks, had agreed to purchase a subaltern’s commission if his son would agree to serve on Sir John Moore’s staff.

Robert had not been very happy about that. He had been very eager to fling himself into the war against revolutionary France, but Sir John was stationed in Ireland. On considering the alternatives, Robert had accepted the compromise and soon was delighted with his decision. Sir John was an active and brilliant officer and by 1799 was engaged in a more thrilling campaign in Holland. In 1800 and 1801 he was in the fighting in the Mediterranean and Egypt. Robert was delighted, though his family was not, and he came through both disastrous campaigns in which Moore was wounded five times, twice quite severely, with no worse damage than a saber cut and a crease from a spent ball.

Neither these minor wounds nor the dreadful mismanagement of the campaigns by the government and high command had the smallest dampening effect on Robert’s military ardor. Actually, he developed so strong a taste for action and for tropical climates that when the Peace of Amiens was signed in 1801 and Sir John went on inactive status, Robert requested and obtained a recommendation to transfer to Sir Arthur Wellesley’s staff in India. He did not inform his family of what he had done until after he was safely aboard ship.

Letters, alternately furious and pleading, followed him, but Robert ignored them, aside from writing soothing, and often quite false, reassurances about his health and safety. It had turned out that he need not have transferred, as Sir John was back on active service the next year. Nonetheless, Robert never regretted his choice. He succumbed neither to the weird diseases of the East nor to the desperate battle of Assaye or those that followed, and he enjoyed the strange culture and developed a deep admiration for his commanding officer.

Robert had been genuinely sorry when Sir Arthur, who was not well owing to the climate and some professional disappointments, had decided to return to England. Being a member of General Wellesley’s personal staff, Robert had accompanied his commanding officer home. He had given some thought to requesting yet another transfer, but decided he would not want to serve under any of the senior officers remaining in India. However, general officers and staff officers with specific assignments, such as quartermaster general, were not so fortunate. Their posting was controlled by the Horse Guards, which was what everyone called the bureaucracy, including the Duke of York, who was commander in chief, and his staff, who together issued the orders that ran the army.

Actually, Robert was thinking about the Horse Guards as he walked away from General Sir Arthur Wellesley’s house at 11 Harley Street. He was so lost in thought that he was quite unaware of several parties who were forced to step right off the walk to avoid him. Sir Arthur had just told Robert that he had new instructions from the government. The plans to invade South America were to be abandoned, and the force assembled at Cork was to be sent instead to Spain.

On a personal level the new orders were welcome. Robert had already been the recipient of a tearful lecture from his mother and an admonitory one from his eldest sister, both alarmed by the huge losses, largely from disease, that previous expeditions to South America had suffered. How they had heard of the proposed, supposedly “secret” invasion, Robert did not bother to wonder. In Robert’s opinion any spy with a modicum of sense would attend ton tea parties rather than skulk around military installations.

His father, who also certainly knew through government sources about the plans for a new invasion of South America, had made no remarks, having doubtless come to the conclusion that argument was useless and that Robert, at twenty-seven, was old enough to manage his own life. But it was clear that the earl was also worried sick. Thus, Robert, who was as fond of his family as they were of him, was pleased that his parents and siblings would have less cause for concern.

He was less pleased about the insecurity of Arthur Wellesley’s position as his commanding officer. The conservative and elderly officers of the Horse Guards who surrounded the Duke of York—equally elderly and conservative—did not like the brash and brilliant Arthur Wellesley. Sir Arthur had won his knighthood and his promotion, becoming the youngest lieutenant general in the army, by the brilliance and success of his campaigns in India. But he had won as much animosity for his stubborn honesty, his protection of the natives from the rapacity of the Indian and the English governments, and his fierce, unconcealed ambition. The response of the Horse Guards was to appoint one of their own favorites, who had seniority, to command over Sir Arthur’s head.

Robert was sure that it was only because Lord Castlereagh, a friend and great admirer of Sir Arthur, was now Minister of War that Sir Arthur had grudgingly been given the appointment to command the expedition to South America, and then only because no senior general was willing to go. But Spain was a different kettle of fish. Most of the doddering halfwits on the Duke of York’s staff would love an appointment to a command in Europe. Castlereagh had managed to get Sir Arthur the command temporarily on the grounds that only he and his troops were ready to leave immediately. However, could that last? With good winds, a fast ship could arrive at Corunna or Vigo in only five to eight days bringing a new, and probably incapable, commander.

Fortune's Bride

By: Roberta Gellis
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