It’s just two short weeks until the release of Miss Watson’s First Scandal. I’m busting at the seams to share this story, which has nothing to do with titles and rakes and everything to do with the value of friendship. So, without further ado please enjoy page one of Miss Watson’s First Scandal, a flirty regency romance novella coming July 1st.
~ * ~
David Hawke breathed a sigh of relief when the first sign of Brighton came into view through the grimy coach window. He marked his place in the latest K. L. Brahm novel he’d been reading and reluctantly closed the book on the wonderful tale. The journey from London to the seaside resort town appeared to grow longer each year and he longed to already be at his destination, at home in his snug terrace house. If not for his client’s witty novel, he would have drowsed the entire way or grown cross with his companion’s frequent jostling.
He pressed the heel of his hand against his thigh as impatience clawed at him. He was desperate to stretch his legs, desperate to escape the strangers seated opposite in the mail coach and their assessing glances. He’d dressed a little too finely to be completely ignored by his companions and his seat partner kept reading over his shoulder. Their curiosity compelled him to be vigilant of his possessions and he was weary to the bone.
The coach drew to a stop and he jumped out as quickly as he could manage. He should have hired a chaise for the journey but sitting in the large conveyance alone was a wasteful way to travel in his opinion. He caught his remaining possessions as a groom tossed them down from the carriage rooftop then he set off for his seaside home.
By design, his path took him the long way through the deserted streets of Brighton just so he might catch a glimpse of the dark waters of the channel before he went to bed. The gentle ocean breeze blew the stench of London from him; the scent of brine cleared his head and cooled his exposed skin. He drew in deep cleansing breaths and a smile broke free. It was good to be home again. He’d missed swimming each morning with his neighbors, if they still came here at this time of year. It had been a long while since he’d had a letter from any of them and he’d come with no illusions they would have time to see him.
But the destination itself still made any uncertainty worthwhile. He’d spent many years here as a boy and his pulse raced at the familiar sights and sounds. Returning each year for a week-long holiday had become a necessary pilgrimage.
After a time, he forced himself away from the water, making his way up Cavendish Place toward his home. Lights burned in the windows of several residences along the street. The Radleys appeared to be here, the Mertons, too. The George’s residence was dark and silent but that was not an unusual circumstance. The young Walter George preferred to go out and his sister was rumored to retire early.
He stopped outside the Watson residence, a three-story town house, second from the end of the street. Peter Watson’s front door stood beside his own, but their circumstances couldn’t be more different. His good mood evaporated.