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Authors: Tamara Ternie

Bittersweet Endeavors

Bittersweet Endeavors
Tamara Ternie
An American Historical Romance (2012)

Lady Myra’s idyllic life is taken away when her uncle slays her parents and claims her father’s title of Lord Brunnington. To guarantee she keeps his treacherous secret, he forces her into indentured servitude and holds her sister captive.

Seth Preston, the son of a wealthy plantation owner, obtains Myra’s bond. Seth’s fondness grows for the new servant girl and thwarts his father’s plan for Seth to marry the local woman of wealth and status. When his father sells Myra’s bond to a man who can help her return to England, Myra has to decide whether her love for Seth or her thirst for vengeance will guide her.

215

 

 

 

 

 

BITTERSWEET ENDEAVORS

by
Tamara Ternie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2012 Tamara Ternie
All rights reserved worldwide.

CH
APTER ONE

-England 1661-

 

“Shall I slit her throat like the other two?”

“Certainly not
!

 
Sir Ashton’s
mouth gaped opened and his mustache tweaked in indignation.  Sweat
bead
ed
on his forehead when he pulled
her
from the man who held the knife
at
her throat.  “This
is but a child.

Myra
recognized the man who held her tight
against
his chest. 
It was
Sir
Ashton
, the uncle she
met briefly
,
and many years ago.  She looked at him
and hoped
that
she’d
find a semblance of kindness—a familial likeness
as
the warmth an
d compassion her father
beheld, but
n
ot a whit of warmth
was
found
in his ice-
cold
,
gray
eyes. 
Shivers ran down her arms by his intens
e stare.

“A
s I
, s
he is also
a
cousin
to
The King.  He’ll not
forgive such a mal
ign act upon an innocent if we
are
caught.”

T
he man, who doubled her uncle’s size in width
and
nearly
height
, pointed his
finger
at her face and scoffed.  “
I’ll wager that
innocent
is
of
a woman’s age
,
eighteen
years, mayhap even older.”

Her uncle waved his hand
and
silence
d
the insolent man.  “The consequences of her murder
could
be
ruinous
.  I’ll not risk it!”

“Then what
would
you
suggest
?
We certainly cannot let her go.  Look around you,
Ashton,
we’ve slaughtered her
parents
and
she
’ll
go to The
King as soon as we set her free,

his accomplice pressed impatiently.

“Do you think I not know that, you fool?”

Myra
raised her head
,
and
Sir Ashton
met her stare
when he looked
down his slender nose
and glared
.  He snarled and abruptly
faced
the
other
man.
Myra worried
that
t
hey
would
kill her
, too.  Seeing what little mercy
they
had given to
her
parents
as they slayed them
didn’t
offer
Myra much
hope
that
they
’d
be swift with the task.
She swallowed hard.

“You were supposed to run their c
arriage over the cliff
!  It was to look like a misfor
tunate accident
!  If you
had
listened to your orders, we
wouldn’t
be in this predicament!” 
             

Her uncle
shoved
her
into
the other man’s arms and
Myra
looked for any means of escape, but
the larger and more undignified of the two men captured her
tight within his arms.
  His foul odor

a mixture of
sweat and
stale ale

churned her stomach. 
Her
breaths
came
deep and unsteady and she fought the urge to cry. 
She prayed for
enough
strength to
escape
the man who held her and
find her wa
y back home to her sister. 
Despite
the
efforts
she made
,
she
wasn’t able to
overpower him.

Her uncle p
aced the
desolate
road
.  H
is aristocratic nose loomed high in the air and
his gold tipped cane swept side-to-
side
and slashed
through the cold night air. 
Myra didn’t understand how
the blood that coursed through his veins
came from
the same lineage
as
her father. 
S
he wondered h
ow
two brothers
were
so contrary in
disposition.

Myra
cringed when
the man’s grip tightened around her arms.  Tears teetered at the corners of her eyes
a
s
she
nervously
awaited her uncle’s decision.  Seconds ticked away, but
her
anticipation s
lowed
time into what
felt
like agonizing hours.

His brows furrowed and her uncle squeezed the sculpted lion’s head on the crown of his staff until his knuckles whitened
and
expos
ed
the knotted, brittle bone
that laid
beneath his pasty skin.   He locked his gaze on her.
  The moon’s fleeting light heightened the intensity of anger in his stormy gray eyes, and
Myra
’s heart pounded wildly
with
in her chest. 

She
raised her chin and
a
ppeared
composed, dauntless. 
She silently remind
ed herself that if she panicked,
it wouldn’t do her any good.
Yet, when
Sir
Ashton walked to
ward
her father’s
mutilated
body
,
she
wasn’t
capable of continuing
the facade.  Tears flooded her eyes and she struggled
to get away
when
the man
forced her
to
view her parents’
slaughtered
bodies. 
He
tightened his grip and
she
yelped out a cry.  His
rancorous
laughter grew louder when his hand seized her chin
and he assured himself that
she
v
iew
ed
the
gruesome scene
before them
.

Father!
  Her dear and loving father
had been
cut down like an animal in the middle of the night.  Damnable cowards, she
inwardly shouted
at her uncle and the man who loyally followed
him
, but the w
ords
of thought
didn’
t pass her
quivering
lips. 

The moonlight blazed over her father’s still body
and illuminated
the puddle of blood that formed beneath him. 
Myra looked
towards the
open carriage door, and she
saw
her mother dead inside
,
her
hands
were
still splayed in front of her in the futile defense she
had
made aga
inst her attackers.
 
Myra
retched and sputtered shamelessly
,
and
releas
ed
the contents of her stomach
on
to
the man’s boots.
He pushed her aside and
cursed in
a
language
that
she
wasn’t
familiar.
 
She realized it was her
chance
t
o run
, but before she
made
her
attempted
escape,
Sir Ashton’s
long, narrow
ed
fingers
fastened
around her arm and
pulled
her
against his side
.  Freshly
sheared
nails
pierced
deep
ly
into her flesh
and caused
a sensation
that
burned and
ran
down
the length of her
arm.
She winced
out in pain but
it only succeeded in him tightening
his grip
.

“Throw their bodies and the
carriage from the cliff.

 
Sir
Ashton
waved his
arm
towards her parents when he gave his order.

He
turned to
Myra
.  “Do you know who I am?”

Gripped by fear, s
he recoile
d at the intensity of his voice

Although he
didn’t
shout, the authority in his tone demanded
her
attention. 
Afraid to answer,
she didn’t reply, but
yet
she worried
about
the consequences if she
remained silent

After t
aking a deep breath
,
Myra
gained
enough
courage
and she nodded her response
.

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