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74691388 Jessica Steele Her Hand in Marriage

74691388 Jessica Steele Her Hand in Marriage

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Published by anom1983

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Published by: anom1983 on Sep 17, 2013
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Her Hand in MarriageJessica Steele
CHAPTER ONERomillie opened her eyes to a bright sunshiny morning and knew it was going to be agood day. Wrong! Well, perhaps not totally. Her mother, a poor sleeper, was alreadyup and about when Romillie went down the stairs.'Any plans for today?' Romillie asked gently. Eleanor Fairfax had suffered forsome years with general low spirits and feelings of inadequacy, but of late therewere more good days than bad.'If this weather holds I thought I might do a spot of weeding or...' she hesitated'... I might take a sketchpad outside.'Romillie's spirits soared. Her mother was a professional artist—portraits mainly.She was truly gifted but had not so much as picked up a sketching pencil in anabsolute age.'The forecast is good,' Romillie answered lightly, taking a quick glance at her watchand getting up and taking her cereal bowl over to the kitchen sink. 'Better be off.Don't want to be late.'It was not far to the dental practice where she worked. But because she liked toreturn home in her lunch hour, and since her mother had given up driving, Romilliemade the journey in hermother's car.They lived in the village of Tarnleigh on the Oxfordshire and Berkshire borders.Her receptionist-telephonist job with Yardley, East, and—now—Davidson, was wellwithin her capabilities. It was not a job she would have chosen to do, but it wasconvenient.
Five years ago she had intended to go to university. But everything had suddenlygone catastrophic at home. She had been coming up to eighteen, her place atuniversity assured, when her grandfather Mannion, her mother's father and a manwho had never had a day's illness in his life, had suddenly died.She had been upset, her mother distraught. It had not ended there. They hadalways lived with Grandfather Mannion. Romillie's father, despite his frequentabsences, had lived with them, too.Her mother had adored Archer Fairfax and had put up with his womanising, hisidleness, his spendthrift ways, making excuses for him whenever GrandfatherMannion would frown in his direction.Romillie had known her father had other women. She had seen him driving along onetime with a pretty blonde by his side. And another time, when he was supposed tobe in Northampton for ajob interview, and she had been in the school coach somemiles from home after playing in an away game hockey match, she had seen him armin arm, with a brunette this time.He had returned home the next day, having not got the job but related that, aftera very detailed and extensive interview, it had been felt that he was too wellqualified for the job. Her mother had swallowed it all and Romillie just hadn't hadthe heart to tell her that he had been nowhere near a job interview.But it became plain that Grandfather Mannion had been wise to his son-in-law inthat when Archer Fairfax was of the opinion that he would now rule the roost, hediscovered that his well-to-do father-in-law had left him not one penny. The bulk ofhis estate had gone to his daughter, Eleanor, with money left in trust for hisgranddaughter until she attained the age of twenty-five. The house, the largerambling house, had been left to Eleanor during her lifetime, or until she no longerrequired it, when it was then to be handed down to her daughter.

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