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Lavender Lass Books - Thursday Newsletter 2
We’re a little late this week, but it’s been a busy few days. My very good friend Dianne Gardner (an amazing author and artist) offered to create a painting for one of my fairytales! I am so excited and the painting is lovely!! If you’d like to see it, here’s the link to the Kickstarter preview. I’m going to have a campaign in August to hopefully fund the new cover and some ink illustrations by Dianne. We’ll talk more about this when the campaign launches, but here’s the link to the preview.
And we have a Facebook group specifically for our Historical Fiction stories. If you enjoy the tea cups and vintage dresses at our party, please join the group!
Also a reminder that ALL our book are available at our Lavender Lass BookShop for 25% less than retailers…and a few stories are FREE this weekend.
Katherine has everything a young woman could hope for in 1849 Scotland, except the freedom to make her own choices. The last thing she wants to do is to get married…and then she meets James Spenser.
Can there be any future together for the outspoken daughter of a railway owner and the charming young man working on the project?
If you haven’t read the previous chapter, you can find it here.
Kenneth Rogers had financial statements in front of him, calculating the overall cost overruns on The Leviathan so far. His mind went back to the beginning of the project, when the dream had captured his imagination. He and his partners in the railroad company had been convinced this would be a great feat of engineering and an unbelievable benefit to Granton’s, not to mention Edinburgh’s, economy. He was supposed to be overseeing the progress on the South Shore, but now it seemed more like paperwork than anything else.
He reminded himself yet again that this would all be easier if his son-in-law hadn’t gotten involved with the project. Edward had been so insistent on being included, but now Kenneth’s partners were going over all the costs with a fine-toothed comb. And Edward’s standing, despite being a lord, was slipping as he failed to contribute anything new to his consortium. His group of investors had been interested enough to back the project, but Edward’s recent money problems were starting to taint the relationship. His talent as an architect was questionable, and his ability as an engineer was non-existent. But he had seemed a good match for their daughter, Julia, four years ago and it was too late to change anything now.
His mind wandered to his girls, when they were much younger. Julia and Katherine playing outside his library window at home, their treks to find a Christmas tree, the many trips to the pond. Smiling to himself, he remembered he was supposed to have met Katherine ten minutes ago. He turned to look out the window and saw all hell breaking loose down at the docks. A cable had snapped and was whipping back and forth, while the men were scrambling to capture it. He jumped out of his chair, realizing Katherine was down there.
As he ran towards the docks, he saw someone on the ground, and it looked like his daughter. His heart in his throat, he feared the worst, when he saw her being helped up by one of the men. He almost cried with relief; he was that scared for her.
“Katherine! Good God…are you okay my sweet lass?” he asked, rushing up to her. “I never would have forgiven myself if you’d been hurt. But what possessed you to come down here so close to the workers?”
Katherine looked at her father, then threw her arms around him and gave him a hug. “I’m sorry, Da. I thought I was far enough away. I should have waited for you.”
“Aye, you should have, but let’s make sure you’re all right. Have you hurt yourself? Your dress looks torn on the bottom and you’ve got some dirt on your sleeves.” He held her at arm’s length and looked closely at her. “Are you sure you’re all right?”
Katherine glanced down and wiped a tear from one eye. “I am sorry, Da. I don’t know what comes over me sometimes. It just seemed like such a great spot to sketch with the men working on the Beast like that. I didn’t realize the Beast would bite back.” She tried a small smile.
Her father shook his head. “Well, you saw it coming and got out of the way. We can be thankful for that at least.”
“No, Da. I didn’t see anything except that young man, who came to your office today. I was just going to ask him what he was doing, when he knocked me to the ground and fell on me.” Katherine rubbed her wrist. “I was quite shocked by his behavior until I realized he probably saved my life.”
“Which young man?” he asked, looking over at the crowd of men tying down the cable. “Can you point him out to me?”
“Not from here, but I’d know him if I saw him again,” Katherine replied. He realized she looked a little unsteady and guided her over to a bench along the promenade.
“Never mind that now,” he said. “We need to get you home. I want to have the doctor stop by and look at you. And we’ll have to tell your mother.”
Katherine rolled her eyes but said nothing. She and her mother didn’t agree on most things, but she knew her mum would treat her kindly enough tonight after such a shock. Then, give Katherine what for in the morning. Smiling slightly, Katherine nodded and took her father’s hand. “Aye, Da. Whatever you say.”
The next morning, Katherine told herself she’d been right about her mother. She had helped her get to bed and brought her some broth without asking a single question. Just gave her a hug and told her to get some sleep. But this morning, she wanted answers.
“Katherine, I really don’t know what gets into you sometimes,” her mother said, walking back and forth, then turned and looked right at her, emphasizing her point. “What do you have to say for yourself?” she demanded.
“I really don’t have any defense for my actions,” admitted Katherine. “I wanted the chance to sketch what seemed to be a really grand moment in the building of the Beast. The light was perfect, the angle was good….”
Katherine stopped and looked at her mother, who was not amused. “I think we’ve had quite enough of this art infatuation. You know you’ll tire of it soon anyway. Why don’t you go back to writing? That at least, you could do from home.”
“Mother, you don’t understand,” Katherine replied. “I know I’ve jumped around a bit, first with ballet, then writing, now art…but I don’t think it’s fair to count the musical instruments since those were your choice.”
“A lady should be accomplished, Katherine.” Her mother shook her head. “If you wanted to sketch flowers in the garden…maybe that would be more appropriate. Or better yet, what about trying embroidery again? That would be more suitable for a lord’s wife.”
They’d had this conversation on a weekly basis, and Katherine knew there was no way they would ever agree. She simply did not want the life her mother so desperately wanted for her. She’d tried to explain it several times, but her mother did not understand.
Today, she decided to try another tact. “Maybe you’re right, Mother. Not about the embroidery, but about the flowers. There’s a lovely yellow rose bush blooming in the garden. I saw it yesterday and it would make a perfect subject for my watercolor, but I left my paints at Da’s office. If I could go back and fetch them, it would keep me busy for the afternoon.” Seeing her mother begin to soften, she added, “Maybe, even do a collection of flowers just for you?”
“Very well, but I can send someone to get your paints. You don’t have to go yourself, considering what happened yesterday.” Katherine saw her plan falling apart before her eyes.
“No, that’s all right,” she said. “I’ve been enough of a bother to Da lately…and I think I left my comb in his office. I would like to look since it’s one of my favorites.” She held her breath, waiting for her mother to answer.
“Very well,” her mother replied as she looked at her closely. “But don’t sketch all afternoon in the garden. I want you to rest before dinner. We’ll talk some more about this tomorrow.”
Katherine kept the smile plastered on her face but crossed her fingers behind her back. “That would be lovely, Mum.” She went up and kissed her cheek, then slipped by her and out the door before her mother could change her mind.
As Katherine scurried out of the room, her mother looked at the now empty doorway. Her thoughts drifted back to the conversation she’d had with her husband the night before.
“Martha, it’s not just these cost overruns,” Kenneth had told her. “The men have complained that the plans are not coming together as expected. I’ve had to have new engineers come out and redo all the specifications he worked on. Of course, Edward’s never been the main designer on the project, but the parts he’s been involved in are not working. I’ve put him off, telling him to start on the other side of the water…but truthfully, I think he’s over his head on this entire project.”
Martha looked down, disappointed to hear that the man she had thought an excellent match for Julia was now turning out to be such a disappointment. “We have to keep Julia and the children in mind. Can’t you give him something else to do?”
“The partners and I will have to find something,” Kenneth agreed, “but it won’t be easy. Edward is so sure of himself, and he believes he has a lot more talent than he does. I could move him into an advisory capacity, but even that has me worried. If I could find something else for him to do, maybe we could get him onto another project with less structural importance.”
Martha thought about it for a moment, then looked up at her husband. He was the love of her life and yet, she knew of no way to help him with his business. Walking over, she placed a hand on each side of his face. Looking into his eyes for a moment, she put her arms around his neck and kissed him. “I wish I could do more to help you with all this, but one thing I can do is provide you with a distraction. At least, for tonight.” She smiled up at him. “Let me take a quick look at Katie, and I’ll meet you upstairs.” With that she gave him one more kiss, then turned and left the room.
Kenneth just stared after her and then slowly smiled. He was lucky to have found such a wonderful woman. He would have to face these problems in the morning, but he’d spend this evening making love to his wife. She had been beautiful at sixteen, and she was still lovely, twenty-one years later.
Read the next part of the story on Thursday!
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