My father and mother worked hard for more than two decades to build a thriving draper business. My father’s death and my uncle’s interference ruined it all in less than two years. When Uncle Robert returned from his many years in the navy, my father had been glad to take him on in the shop. My mother and I weren’t so thrilled. My father saw the good in everyone and he wanted to believe his younger brother was still the boy he’d once looked after. Uncle Robert wasn’t. He was a selfish man only interested in his own pleasure. The sicker my father grew, the more Uncle Robert took over despite my objections and my determination to run the shop. When Uncle Robert couldn’t directly undermine me, he’d do it in more subtle ways by stealing inventory and selling it to pay for drinks or nights at Moll Topp’s. By then father was too ill to do anything about it and mother, after she broke her leg, couldn’t do much either to stop Uncle Robert. Then father died.
I tried to maintain the business, but the debts began to mount, thanks to my uncle’s spending. We were forced to move into successively cheaper lodgings in worse sections of London. Now we’re in Seven Dials, cold, hungry and on the verge of sinking even lower. Until this morning, I’d still held out hope of using the remaining inventory to rebuild the business and keep me and my mother from slipping into complete poverty. Then Uncle Robert dashed it all when he told me the inventory was gone. He’d put it up as collateral for a loan from Philip Rathbone, then wasted the money gambling.
Uncle Robert might have given up on the business and me and mother, but I haven’t. I’ll simply talk to Mr. Rathbone, explain my plan for rebuilding the business and hope I can make a convincing argument for why he should give back the inventory and extend the loan. If my words and my plan aren’t enough to convince him, then maybe the pistol will be. It has to be. Life on the streets is too horrible to contemplate. I don’t know much about how to use the rusty old pistol, my uncle’s weapon from the Navy, but I know enough to pull the trigger. I don’t intend to kill Mr. Rathbone, after all I can’t rebuild a business or take care of my mother from jail, but I won’t see us turned out into the streets to face who knows what humiliations. I hope Mr. Rathbone is a reasonable man. I don’t know what I’ll do if he isn’t. ~ Laura Townsend
More About A Debt Paid in Marriage:
Laura Townsend's plan to reclaim her family's merchandise backfires when she creeps into moneylender Philip Rathbone's house and threatens him with a pistol, only to find him reclining naked in his bath!
The last thing she expects is to see this guarded widower on her doorstep a couple of days later armed with a very surprising proposal. A marriage of convenience may be Laura's chance to reclaim her future, but she won't settle for anything less than true passion. Can she hope to find it in Philip's arms?
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Being a merchant in Regency era England was tough. The hours were long, the work hard, thieves a nuisance and the chances of falling into bankruptcy high. However, being a merchant offered many people and families a comfortable life. If you were to try your hand at a Regency era business, what would it be? I think I would be a bookseller. I’d love to read the inventory and first editions of Jane Austen of Byron. Let me know what kind of merchant you might be in the comments below.
Also, anyone who signs up for my newsletter will be entered into a drawing to win an ebook copy of my second Harlequin Historical, Rescued from Ruin. This is the book where Philip Rathbone makes his first appearance. Follow the link http://bit.ly/1uzeNCJ to sign up and then leave a comment below to let me know you did it.
More About Georgie Lee:
A lifelong history buff, award winning author Georgie Lee hasn’t given up hope that she will one day inherit a title and a manor house. Until then, she fulfills her dreams of lords, ladies and a season in London through her stories. When not writing, she can be found reading non-fiction history or watching any movie with a costume and an accent. Please visit www.georgie-lee.com to learn more about Georgie and her books.
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Thanks for stopping by, and thanks to Get Lost in a Story for having me and the Laura here today. ~Georgie