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The Duchess' Necklace

Author(s): Mariah Lynne

A kingdom for a horse? What would you give up for love?

Amelia Augusta Ethrington, eighteenth century Duchess of Abbington and fourth in line to the English throne, is considered by society an old maid at thirty-two. She refuses to marry and relinquish her authority to a husband. Instead, she finds romance in trysts with strangers. Amelia’s claim to her duchy is embodied in the form of an intricate and valuable necklace, The Abbington Jewels. But an unscrupulous time Traveler wishing to steal the jewels and sell them at future prices seduces her, catching her off guard, and snatches the necklace.

Amelia must risk everything to Travel with the aid of a gypsy seer to find the scoundrel, kill him, and retrieve her necklace before her jealous male cousins lay claim to her duchy. Complications arise after she meets Ryan Redstone, a museum appraiser sent to acquire the jewels. Amelia finally falls in love but knows she must focus on her quest to regain both her necklace and title. The Duchess is faced with the most difficult decision of her life. Love in the present? Or defending her honor in the past?

Excerpt


My lady. Are you all right?”
“Yes. Just deep in thought. Sorry.”
“No need to apologize. You carry the weight of our duchy on your shoulders.” Madeleine sighed as she helped me dress. “Arthur was just a bit older than my own boy. I shall miss him dearly,” she said, ready to leave me alone to finish my travel preparations. Before she left, I had two requests.
“Please summon Simon. He always took Arthur under his wing, and Madeleine, please take extra good care of my little Duke.”
Madeleine curtseyed.
“Will do to both. Now don’t you worry.”
Simon arrived promptly after Madeleine left. I tried to control my feelings of grief, but my eyes streamed tears at just the thought of Arthur’s death.
“Simon, I have written a message of sympathy for you to deliver to Arthur’s family. I know you were his closest confidant among my guards and am sure you will miss him as much as I.”
I folded my note and placed it in an envelope before handing it to him. His sad eyes said it all.
“Thank you, ma’am. Arthur would have appreciated your thoughtful words. He always told me how proud he was to serve in your guard.”
With that, Simon left. I knew I had to get down to business, remembering what the gypsy instructed me to do before. She herself admitted it could take as long as three hours for the winds of time to reach me. I looked up at the sky and called out, “Starr future! Starr future! Starr future!”
While I waited, I finished my preparations. I slipped a velvet pouch into my bodice. I removed a special drawing from my dresser top, folded it, and placed it in my skirt pocket along with a lace fan, and then put another important item deep into my other pocket. My timing was impeccable. As soon as I finished, I began to hear those eerie sounds of the winds of time as they approached. With the speed of a lightning bolt, the winds entered my room until…whoosh! They picked me up and whirled me around like the inside of a cyclone.
My manor house looked like a palace miniature as I raced through the clouds. Then suddenly…crash! I landed much harder than I had hoped. I wished for a moment there was an easier way for a lady of my standing to travel. I looked around. Yes, perfect aim. I had landed directly on Starr’s front lawn. As a matter of fact, I faced that familiar sign near her entrance. A bit of a marvel, that. I was relieved to read the pink pastel tubes of light once more:
STARR E. KNIGHT
SEEKER OF LOST PETS
FINDER OF TRUE LOVE AND HAPPY DREAMS
Straightening, I could hear Starr’s nosey neighbor shout from across the street.
“Hey Susie, did you hear that?”
I glared at the man. He was leaning over the front railing of his porch staring at me through a pair of field glasses. Probably never saw a proper royal before my last visit. This annoying commoner kept going, much to my dismay.
“Susie, do you see that lady over there?”
He fanned himself with folded newspapers, trying to attract any breeze he could. It felt quite warm for a spring evening. The woman, who I assumed to be his wife, put down her book to take a solid look at me, as well.
“Well, Herb, what do you know?” she answered. “It’s amazing that woman doesn’t suffocate with that long velvet outfit on. Gotta be in the eighties out here tonight. I bet she’s with that medieval festival at the river park. Starr sure does attract some strange ones. Oh, oh, turn around. That woman’s looking over here at us. Pretend you’re asleep. Don’t need any of Starr’s crazies bothering us.”
Crazies! Imagine the nerve of that woman calling me a crazy. Amelia Augusta Ethrington, the Duchess of Abbington, fourth in line to the throne, a crazy. Why, that woman would be locked up and sent to the stockade for less at home. Her husband yanked his cap down to cover his eyes while she closed hers and rested her head back against her rocking chair. I ignored them, brushing the travel dust off my garnet velvet skirt and bodice before marching up to Starr’s front door.
Pounding on it as hard as I could, I shouted, “Starr! Open this door now! I order you by royal decree. You swore to Alden when I lost Duke that you would help me with any problem I had in the future. I now have a big one only your skills can resolve.”
Still no answer. How dare that gypsy ignore me! Frustrated, I burst into tears. No one ignored me. I called out again.
“Starr, answer this door now! I shall continue to shout until you do. Your neighbors appear intrigued by me. Maybe I should tell them how I arrived here? Hurry. I’m melting in this dress. I haven’t ever felt this hot.”
I looked up at her stained glass window. I saw her lights come on one by one. Finally, I saw her approach and heard her heavy wooden door creak open. Starr looked a bit surprised.
“Why, Amelia, what on earth are you doing here now? Are you all right? You look anxious. Oh my, I must not have been paying attention to the right time. I was not expecting you for at least two more hours. I’m so sorry. I kept track of your journey on my kitchen clock. It must have stopped while I was creating a spell for another client. I must get that clock fixed. Please forgive my carelessness. Nevertheless, it’s wonderful to see you again.”
The gypsy looked deep into my reddened eyes.
“Starr, you more than anyone can understand the urgency of my visit. I’m on the brink of losing my duchy. Desperate, I seek your help.”

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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-1-62916-014-6
Genre: Historical
Date Published: 11/07/2013
Publisher: Taliesin Publishing

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