on July 11th 2017
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If only Lady Ophelia Fletcher—quiet, reserved, with her nose always stuck in a book—had witnessed the death of her friend that fateful night. Now she writes a column, Mayfair Confidential, that she uses to expose men with unsavory pasts to make amends for holding her tongue the night her dear friend was murdered. She is more than willing to never call attention to herself. But when a handsome stranger arrives to meet with her father, Ophelia can’t help but do a little investigating for her own benefit. At last, Ophelia has stumbled upon an adventure of her own—but does she possess the skills necessary to solve the mystery without the assistance of her friends?
It is with great pleasure that this writer speaks for the young women of the ton. Ladies who will not be taken for granted nor misguided by men of unsavory character. And with this article, this writer will no longer glorify the misdeeds of men, but celebrate the accomplishments of young, bright, charming females.
It is this author’s opinion that lords far and wide heed th knowledge imbued by this column, as there is little doubt there will be postings regarding.
-The Mayfair Confidential
A scream pulled her eyes from the author’s description of Xavier’s bare, hair-covered chest.
Thump, thump, thump.
“Edith!” Luci’s blood-curdling scream stopped her in her tracks. “Ophelia!”
A sob escaped her as her book slipped from her grasp, hitting the polished floor with a resounding thud, unlike the hollow noise from a moment before. Her slip of personalized stationery drifted across the floor, coming to rest only when it partially slid under a closed door.
Tilda lay sprawled at the bottom of the staircase, her head turned at an odd angle, her eyes open wide.
Ophelia blinked several times.
She waited for Tilda to move. Or Luci to help her up. Or the floor to open and swallow them whole.
But nothing happened.
She blinked again when her sight blurred with tears.
Suddenly, time started again. The distant tick-tock of the mahogany clock in the room they’d just departed could be heard. Edith appeared at her side, and Luci crouched over Tilda, her black hair cascading over her shoulder to—mercifully—block the sight of their friend.
“Luci.” Edith stepped around her toward Lucianna. “What is it—“
Edith’s words cut off.
“No, no, no,” Edith sobbed as she hurried forward. “This cannot be—“
“He did this.” Desperation laced Luci’s tone when she pointed toward the top of the stairs.
Ophelia looked to the darkened landing above them but saw nothing of consequence.
“Who?” Ophelia asked, swallowing the sob that threatened to escape if she opened her mouth again.
“That is not important at this moment,” Edith scolded her, hurrying to Tilda’s side. “We must wake her up, make sure she is all right and call for the duke—and a physician.”
How is it not important, Ophelia longed to ask. However, she pressed her lips together and remained silent—as was expected of her.
If she were Lady Daniella, Ophelia would lift her chin until she stared down her slightly crooked nose at her friends and demand to be heard and answered. However, she was not Lady Daniella, a woman abducted from her village on the Scottish coast by a pirate most fierce. She was merely Lady Ophelia, a passably comely, reticent, self-professed bookworm. The women before her were beautiful, clever, and captivating. Everything the heroines in her novels were. Not red-haired, freckle-faced, and rounded.
“…he pushed her. I swear it.”
Ophelia shook her head, feeling guilty at the continued wandering of her thoughts when she should be listening to Luci and attempting to make sense of the scene before her. She’d studied many novels where the hero, a shipwrecked man, had been forced to do battle. She’d read of blood-thirsty Amazon natives and murderous clansmen laying claim to neighboring villages, but witnessing the prone body of a friend was much different.
Actually, it was in no way the same.
Never could any tales have prepared her for the sight before her.
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