Please enjoy some Berengaria Brown Free Reads
It was a bitterly cold winter’s night and Cora Ainsley was rocking newborn Sally to sleep by the fire when Fred heard a noise at the door.
He hurried over and switched on the porch light but couldn’t see anything.
“Who is it, dear?” asked Cora.
“No one there. Must be the wind.”
But he heard it again. A soft whining. He opened the door and looked out. No one. And not really much wind either, although it was damn cold out there.
Something damp touched his slippered foot. Fred looked down and saw a tiny bedraggled ball of black fluff standing on four very wobbly little legs.
“Oh my goodness! Who are you and where did you come from?” he asked picking the tiny puppy up and quickly shutting the door behind them both.
Fred hurried back to the fire and gently put the pup on the rug in front of it while he went to get a towel to dry it off. “Although a handkerchief would likely be big enough to do the job,” he laughed to Cora.
Dark liquid eyes shone lovingly at the man as he rubbed the tiny fur ball dry, and a rough red tongue licked his hand in gratitude.
“Likely someone will come looking for him tomorrow,” warned Cora as the pup snuggled to sleep on Fred’s lap.
But no one came looking for him, and when the Ainsleys asked around the neighborhood, no one reported a lost pup either, so he stayed.
His coat remained a solid black color but shaggy as if it needed a trim, so Shaggy became his name. And he and baby Sally were inseparable, although he grew much faster than she did.
“I swear that dog is smarter than the average person,” Cora and Fred would say to each other at least once a week.
About eighteen months later, Shaggy and the toddler Sally were playing in the backyard as Cora was hanging out the laundry.
Suddenly there was frenzied barking, and sounds of splashing. Cora dropped the clothes in her arms and turned and began to run to the lake. But Shaggy was there long before her, the baby’s diaper gripped between his teeth as he dragged Sally from the water.
By the time Cora arrived, red-faced and puffing with exertion and panic, both dog and baby were sitting happily on the ground, huge grins on their faces.
“I swim. I swim” laughed Sally. Shaggy’s big red tongue lolled out of the side of his mouth as he grinned at Cora.
“Shaggy, Shaggy, how can I ever thank you? The baby would have drowned before I’d gotten there. If it wasn’t for you…” her breath hitched.
Shaggy just grinned, his dark liquid eyes showing he would always be there for the family he’d chosen as his.
Berengaria Brown (c) 2010
The Earl’s story
Young Lady Caroline Eversley watched her father, the Earl of Blackshire. It worried her how forgetful he was becoming. Why, some days he seemed to have to think before he used her name, and on a few occasions it was almost as if he were talking to her mother, who had been dead these many years, rather than to her, their teenaged daughter.
More recently he had gotten lost on his own estate, turning his horse north instead of west, and likely to end up in the next county instead of at his home. His groom had been ordered to follow him in future, even if he declined the man’s services. But more worrying still was the earl’s propensity for wandering around the house when everyone else was asleep. Caroline was terrified he’d fall down the stairs and injure himself, or else wander outside and become lost.
But what to do? The earl was not so very old, only in his prime, and a big, strong man used to running an estate with more than one hundred souls in his care. And he was her beloved Papa, who had treasured her even though she was not the son he’d longed for.
Caroline watched as her father picked up a book, then put it down again, sat in a chair then stood up again, paced to the window then back to his game board where he fiddled with the chess pieces, before rising and pacing some more.
He needs companionship, she thought. Men of gentle birth who can talk to him intelligently on a broad range of subjects. Men who can play cards and chess endlessly without growing bored. Men who will care for him as a nursemaid would, but without treating him as a child or taking away his dignity.
But how do I go about finding such men? Men who can pass for gentility, yet who need to work for a modest living?
As Caroline watched him, her father stood yet again and moved over to the large looking glass in the corner of the room. He spent some time rearranging his cravat before turning to pace to the window again.
I wonder, thought Caroline. If the estate carpenter could attach a large looking glass to the door of his room would that discourage him from leaving the room? Would he look at himself, check his appearance, and be deterred from wandering? I do believe I shall speak to John Carpenter immediately and see if such a thing is possible. That would solve one of my worries at least!
© Berengaria Brown 2010
“Two Waters” Beach is very close to my heart. Anyone who has read my Torquere birthstone books, “Aquamarine: Courage and Comfort”, and “Emerald: Protecting You”, will notice that “Rocky Point” Beach is quite similar to “Two Waters”, excerpt that the lake side isn’t mentioned.
The beach is real. The sand bar is real. And yes, what is written about it has definitely happened! The rocky promontory and cliffs are all real.
The beach has been the scene of some absolutely awesome vacations. It’s no wonder at all that people like Edmund (“Aquamarine”) and Seth (“Summer Sizzle”) absolutely insisted on going there for their vacation too.
The beach is a mile-long stretch of pristine sand. The ocean is shallow at low tide to the sandbar, a couple hundred yards offshore, then very deep the other side of it. At high tide it’s a challenging swim out the sandbar, and even then a short person would still need to remain standing on it. But at low tide, ah, at low tide or mid-tide the sandbar invites all sorts of wicked thoughts. And actions.
Berengaria Brown (c) 2012.