When Dreams Come True by Cathy Maxwell - Romance>Historical Other
Everyone knew the Earl of Penhollow needed a wife, so one thunderous night the villagers gathered together to ask the ocean to deliver a bride to the bachelor lord . . .
When Pierce Kirrier rescues a mysterious beauty from the billowing ocean waves, he has no idea who she is or where she came from. But at first sight of this enchanting maiden, he knows he must claim her for his own. Taking her back to Penhollow Hall, he pampers her like a princess, determined to win her trust and her heart.
For Eden, awakening in an elegant bedchamber in a remote corner of Cornwall is like a perfect dream. In Pierces arms she has discovered true love, true joy, and a passion she never imagined could exist. Yet she knows in her heart that, once her secret past catches up with her, her dreams could be shattered . . . forever.
Theirs was a forbidden friendship. The vicar's wife and the whore. Two lives as boldly different as the sun from the moon, and yet, friendship thrived.
Now it was about to end.
From the safety of a clump of overgrown boxwoods that hid the secret door in the garden wall between the vicarage and the brothel, Eden watched her friend Mary Westchester, the vicar's wife, who sat on a bench in the dappled shade of her garden waiting for Eden to appear. Today, Mary had brought her elevenmonth-old daughter Dorothy, knowing the presence of the child would be a rare and welcome treat. She leaned back and held her babe high above her head. Dorothy giggled delight and, laughing, her mother dropped her down and hugged her close.
Eden stood riveted by the sight and sound of the child's laughter.
The door that separated the modest vicarage from the house where Eden lived was a reminder of the days when both houses had been part of the same abbey. Eden's home, a four-story Gothic structure built of stone and mortar located not far from the financial center .Of London, was now an infamous, but expensively discreet brothel ironically called the Abbey.
A wave of jealousy shot through Eden. She ruthlessly pushed the ugly emotion aside. It was not Mary's fault that their lots in life were so different, or that Eden's life was about to be turned upside down . . .
"Hello," Eden said, stepping from her hiding place.
Mary turned with surprise, and then smiled, holding up the baby. "I brought Dorothy. My mother-in-law wasn't feeling well and I was a le to sneak the baby out of the house. She hardly ever lets me take Dorothy anywhere. She insists fresh air is bad for children, but I know she is wrong."
Eden came forward. "She's beautiful." Reverently, she dared to reach out and lightly touch one of the baby's silver-blonde curls. She couldn't help herself. The baby's small, shell-shaped ears and perfect fingers fascinated her. Dorothy examined her seriously with wide blue eyes. "She looks exactly like you, Mary."
Mary laughed, obviously pleased with the compliment. "My mother-in-law insists that Dorothy takes after the Westchesters, but I think she is part and parcel of me," she said, nuzzling the baby proudly. "Here, do you want to hold her?"
Eden stepped back. "No, I couldn't."
"Of course you could! She's not going to bite you." Mary held the baby up. "But be careful. She weighs more than you can imagine."
Eden shook her head, shying away. "I can't." She wasn't fit to touch such perfection. She'd seen things and done things that made her feel soiled inside. None of that should ever touch a baby as sweetly loved as Dorothy.
Mary lowered the baby to her lap, her eyes filled with concern. "Eden, what is the matter? You wouldn't hold her the last time I brought her either."
"You wouldn't understand."
"Of course I would. I'm your friend. There isn't anything you should be afraid to confide in me."
Her words caught Eden off guard.
Immediately, Mary came to her feet and crossed to Eden's side, holding the baby on one hip. "Eden, what is the matter? You've gone suddenly pale. Did I say something wrong?"
Dorothy reached for the green silk bow on Eden's bodice. Eden watched the baby's chubby hands pull on the bow, untying it, before answering in a low voice, "I've been sold."
Mary stared at her blankly and then repeated, "Sold?"
Eden ached to kiss the top of the baby's head. She could smell the scent of milk on Dorothy's breath. "Yes. Madame Indrani has finally heard from the Sultan Ibn Sibah. He's agreed to pay the price she has asked for me." Madame Indrani owned the Abbey. Eden reached out with one finger and stroked one of Dorothy's soft curls....