Meet the Hero: Jeremy Dawes from The Lady Tamed
Jeremy Dawes had never been so far from London in his life. Or willingly remained so close to other human beings for so long, either. Jeremy escaped the close confines of the mail coach for the wide-open space of the Stapleton village square and looked around, uncertain of what he expected but filled with enthusiasm.
The little village was awash with new sights and sound that he drank in. There was a friendliness to the inhabitants that he found reassuring almost immediately. Jeremy quickly concluded that the fine people of this village were unlikely to steal his new hat from his head, or his expensive luggage, but he kept a wary eye out just in case. Thieves were everywhere…and he should know.
Jeremy glanced at the coachmen shouting out a spate of orders to everyone and returned to the conveyance. He was anxious to collect his trunk, aware the quality of workmanship was better than those of most who traveled the public conveyance with him, and that it had marked him as someone worth stealing from. In Jeremy’s experience, this had to be the first time ever he’d appeared more prosperous than his fellow man. It was quite a disconcerting situation to find himself in, actually.
Jeremy had been born poor and had expected to be so all his life. He’d scrimped and stolen to get by since he’d been orphaned as a boy, too young to remember he’d had a family once upon a time. He’d found employment at a theater in recent years and enjoyed modest success supporting the lead actors and understudies as he learned the craft of pretending to be someone else. But to get ahead in life, he’d learned that actors needed a patron.
He’d found his…Lady Fanny Rivers. Suddenly having coins to spare in his pocket was very much a novelty still. He had kept his first shilling, to remind himself of where he began. Now he was about to embark on his first role as a leading man in a very private play. His only regret was that no one in the company would ever see his performance.
As baggage was tossed down carelessly, Jeremy rushed to collect his new traveling trunk before it was damaged in the drop. He juggled it as well as the smaller case he’d been given to bring by Lady Rivers’ London man of business.
“When you’re ready, sir,” a man called out.
Jeremy jerked around for the location of that voice and spotted a sour old man watching the coach being unloaded from a nearby gig. Lady Rivers had promised he’d be met and conveyed to her father’s estate, rather than having to walk the whole way on foot. The fellow might look unhappy, but he was clearly an upper servant of some sort.
He drew closer to the fellow. No rings on his fingers. A pocket watch on a tarnished chain across his belly. Right-handed. “Are you from Stapleton Manor? Did Lady Rivers send you?”
The fellow paused to suck on his teeth before answering, assessing Jeremy in turn. “I am, and she did.”
Relieved he’d not have to wait all day to finish his journey, Jeremy strode forward, smiling. Time to act. “Mr. Jeremy Dawes.”
The old man raised a brow and then looked him up and down again. “Are you sure? You don’t look like one of her usual friends.”
“Yes. I am.” He frowned though, worried he hadn’t perfected his costume. “What do her usual friends usually look like?”
“Useless perfumed tulips, too lazy to wipe their own behinds,” the fellow declared.
Well that wasn’t him.
The Lady Tamed releases April 6.
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