logo
GALATEA
(30.7K)
FREE – on the App Store

The Laird’s Marker

Fate intervenes to save Ally from her abusive husband… but then she finds herself in a completely new world. Transported back in time to the 1700s, she’s mistaken for Emily, a ward of the King. When she’s sold off to be the wife of a former Scottish Privateer, does another marital nightmare await her? Or will she finally succeed in finding a new life all her own?

Age Rating: 18+

Note: This story is the authror’s original version and does not have sound.

 

The Laird’s Marker by Sorcha McAllister is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.

 


 

The app has received recognition from BBC, Forbes and The Guardian for being the hottest app for explosive new Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy novels.
Ali Albazaz, Founder and CEO of Inkitt, on BBC The Five-Month-Old Storytelling App Galatea Is Already A Multimillion-Dollar Business Paulo Coelho tells readers: buy my book after you've read it – if you liked it

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

1

Summary

Fate intervenes to save Ally from her abusive husband… but then she finds herself in a completely new world. Transported back in time to the 1700s, she’s mistaken for Emily, a ward of the King. When she’s sold off to be the wife of a former Scottish Privateer, does another marital nightmare await her? Or will she finally succeed in finding a new life all her own?

Age Rating: 18+

Original Author: Sorcha McAllister

Note: This story is the authror's original version and does not have sound.

The mirror had to be wrong. It was that simple. Ally may have not been happy with her life and wanted more, but she was not the kind of woman to build a fantasy world to get it.

She was a seasoned ER Nurse for God’s sake. She lived in cold, hard reality every day. There just had to be a logical explanation.

She reached up and touched the reflection in the gilded mirror in front of her. It felt like glass as a mirror should feel, but she was looking at someone else.

The person staring back at her was a person, not some picture filter or funhouse reflection. The woman was quite striking.

Ally watched the reflection do the same actions she felt herself doing as she pulled the long, golden blonde braid forward so she could see with her own eyes what the mirror was showing her.

Yep, exactly like the mirror. That could not be right. Her own hair was dark brown, not this. She wore it short and spiky because it was easier to take care of every day.

Once she finished it in the morning, she did not have to fuss with it again. Long hair was such a bother. She looked up into the mirror again.

The eyes staring back at her were blue, light like cornflowers. The eyes she had looked at every day for the last thirty-one years were a cognac-brown and more almond shape.

Her lashes only looked that long if she applied about a pound-and-a-half of mascara. These looked bare. Her face was round, not the heart-shaped face she was looking at. What. The. Freaking. Hell.

There were four choices here. The first was that this was real, and she was someone else. She immediately discarded that with a shake of her head. Two, she could be insane.

She was generally level-headed, in control of her surroundings and her emotions. She had to be, or people in her care died. She supposed that she could have totally given up on reality.

Lord knew she had enough scars, inside and out, to have made her leave reality behind, but if he had not broken her before as hard as he had tried, why would she break now when she had gotten away from him?

It just did not seem probable. She did not feel like emptying the bathtub by hand. She had to chuckle to herself about that old stupid joke used to diagnose a crazy person.

You would fill a tub with water and then offered them a bucket, a teacup, or a teaspoon. If they took one, they were nuts. A sane person would simply pull the plug. So not crazy, she decided.

Three, it could be a hallucination, but that did not seem right either. Hallucinations, whether vocal or visual, always addressed the person directly.

They accused, seduced, humiliated, or jeered at the person. The hallucination interacted with the person. She did not see the blonde in the mirror making fun of her.

She walked through the health problems that typically contributed to hallucinations, and she did not have one of them. She did not do drugs.

In hallucinations everything changed as soon as there was a thought, no matter how crazy.

She looked at the image in the mirror and willed it to turn into that big red-headed comedian with the birth-control glasses who made a career about being Jewish.

This seemed like the weird situation that he would get stuck in. She stared for several minutes, hoping she would see an enormous woman with birth-control glasses. Blue eyes just stared back.

Okay, hallucinations were probably off the table, too. That left option number four, a dream. The reality train had long left the station, that was for sure. What was she supposed to do about a dream?

Not much, she rationalized. She would wake eventually. Either that or she was in a coma and it did not matter. It was out of her hands either way. She sighed. She felt better already.

Nothing bad could happen to her in a dream.

***

“M’lady?” said the young woman standing behind her had such a concerned look on her face, it drew Ally out of her reverie.

She looked at the young woman who stood there patiently waiting on her. She wore a monochromatic floor-length gray dress with a white apron. She stuffed her wild curls into a white lace cap.

She thought she saw petticoats peeking from under the edge of the skirt. The texture of the fabric that she could see seemed somewhat rough. “Who are you?” Ally asked.

“M’lady?” she asked with a very confused look on her face.

“Who are you?” Ally asked and then scowled as she realized her voice sounded funny. That notched up her anxiety. It was more than just roughened from non-use. There was a definite accent.

Why did she have an accent? She was from California.

“My name is Sally, M’lady. I am your maid. Are you not feeling yourself again this morning?”

“Most definitely not. Where am I?” she asked, noting the maid’s use of ‘again’. Maybe Sally could shed some light on this strange situation.

“Your home,” she stated. “Charlton House,” she added when she noticed the confusion on her mistress’ face.

“Charlton House? I have never heard of it. Where is that?” Ally felt her heart rate speed up. This was getting weirder by the minute.

She did not think she could dream of a place she had never heard of

“Charlton House is in Wiltshire, just outside of Malmesbury, M’lady,” she said.

“Malmesbury?” Ally parroted. Realizing what she said, she had a moment of pause.

Sally noticed the confused look on her face, and said, “Yes. Malmesbury, England, M’lady,” The chipper young woman headed towards the wardrobe on the side wall.

“This has been your home since you were born.”

England? That just could not be right, Ally marveled to herself. She had never traveled abroad in her life. “I know this sounds insane, but who do you think I am?” she asked the young woman.

“Emily. Lady Emily Howard. You are the daughter of the late 6th Earl of Suffolk.

“Are you having trouble with your memory again, M’lady?” the young woman questioned calmly, as if she had experienced her mistress’ confusion before.

“I poured the wash basin for you. The linen is right next to it,” Sally said cheerily as she reached into the wardrobe. Apparently, Sally rolled with everything.

She looked to where Sally had pointed. There sat an actual wash basin. She had seen them on TV, but it was a little different when it was sitting right in front of her.

She leaned back from the wardrobe and gave Ally a kind smile. Ally knew that look. She had given it a thousand times in the ER, to people who just were not themselves. She guessed she really was not.

“Do you need help, M’lady?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.

“No, I have got it,” Ally responded. She had the PTA bath down pat. She pulled off the cotton dress and dropped it on the floor next to the basin stand.

She had long ago shed her shyness over nudity after playing high school sports. She squeezed out the cloth and began giving herself a sponge bath. She sighed as she washed her chest.

The Itty-Bitty-Titty Club. Fabulous. She no longer had the swell in her lower abdomen from the pregnancies she had lost. Well, that was a plus.

She could forget her losses if she did not have to look at the reminders everytime she took a shower. Her thighs and arms were thinner.

On the positive side, at least she got to enjoy not having to look at the hated cellulite she had battled for years. If ever she had a cherished dream, that was it.

She stopped rubbing her skin with the cloth as she moved over her arm. After she lifted the cloth, her breath caught.

The scars from the pins placed in her left arm after he had broken it were missing. She looked at her bare legs. She did not see a single scar on her body, not even the ones she got as a child.

She laughed at herself for being surprised, especially given that everything else physical was different. She also noted that she obviously weighed less.

Not that she was that big before, but she could not be more than a hundred pounds soaking wet right now. Ally smiled at that.

Take that, you stupid ten pounds that refused to leave no matter how hard she worked out. Then she realized that she was in a dream.

Of course, the extra weight would be gone, and the scars had disappeared. They had bothered her for a long time, and her subconscious must have eliminated them.

***

“M’lady, what would you like to wear today?” Sally prattled on as if nothing were amiss.

“Sally, do I seem more confused than usual to you?” she asked.

“No,” Sally answered. “You get confused every now and again.”

Ally understood confusion. When she had tried to leave that bastard after he had broken her arm, he had hit her hard enough to cause a concussion. Abusers never stopped.

She knew this from taking care of domestic violence victims. She never gave up trying to get away. It had been exhausting hiding, always wary that somehow, he would find her.

All she had ever wanted was to be safe and loved by a man who would cherish and protect her. A man who would take on the world to keep her safe from harm. She chastised herself for such naivete.

Disney did not write real life or real men. They wrote male characters who did not exist anymore.

She had been out of his clutches for almost five years now, and yet, she still looked over her shoulder.

“M’lady? Would the yellow be acceptable?” Sally asked again. Ally nodded as she watched her pull out a clean slip-like thing and stockings from the wardrobe.

After she had set them on the bed, she surprised Ally by bunching up the clean garment. Sally saw her expression.

“This is one of your new chemises, just arrived from Paris.” She then slipped it over Ally’s head. The fabric was silky and felt amazing against her skin. It fell around her shins.

Ally did not know it was possible that you could feel such sensations in a dream. She never had before. Sally held out the stays for Ally so she could put her arms through the straps.

The whole process of getting dress was ridiculous. Ally had no idea what any of the millions of layers were. Ally was grateful that she had help to get dressed.

Sally patiently explained the bum roll, the petticoats, the pockets, all the different types of gowns. The sheer volume for one outfit was almost as much as Ally had in her closet at home combined.

Sally slipped the yellow silk gown over Ally’s head. It split down the front of the skirt so it would reveal the pale blue overskirt.

A gap sewed into the gown lined up with the slit, given access to the pockets. Ally had worn nothing so fancy. She marveled at the feel of the silk between her fingers.

She expected the material to be smooth, not rough. Sally spun her around without warning again and cinched up the back of the dress.

She then spun her back and inserted the stomacher in front, displaying soft blue flowers on a field of white. Ally was getting dizzy from the back and forth.

She had Ally sit down and made quick work of the white stockings, garters, and slippers. She then motioned for Ally to sit in the vanity chair and face the mirror.

“Sally? How old do I look?” she asked Sally as she looked at the woman in the mirror. There were always several ways to find things out.

“M’lady? You turned 17 years on your last birthday. Why would you look like anything other than yourself?” she said mystified as she unwound Ally’s braid.

Ally sat there dumbfounded. 17? 17? Ally could not remember being that age. “Is my mother downstairs?” she asked as soon as she shook off her surprise.

No 17-year-old girl would live on her own in an era that had stays and petticoats.

“M’lady, your mother died when you were eleven. Remember?” she told her.

“No,” said Ally softly.

“My mother worked for yours. I was only but six or seven when she passed. I became your maid when my mother passed a couple of years ago.”

“I am so sorry, Sally. I am not feeling myself today,” she blurted, trying to cover up her gaffes. There was so much to learn!

“It is fine, M’lady. You were like this for several months after Lord Charles hurt you,” she said.

“Lord Charles?” Ally asked.

“Your uncle,” she whispered. She started brushing out Ally’s hair.

“Can you explain everything that happened again? I am having trouble remembering today,” she asked.

“Are you sure, m’lady? It is always upsetting to you,” she said.

“Yes,” she answered. Sally had her undivided attention.

Sally explained the chain of events around the succession of Earls through the males in her family after her father had died when she was a baby, finally ending in her Uncle Henry, who was the current Lord of Suffolk.

With him came his intended, Lady Sarah Inwen, who according to Sally was a shrew.

“Is she that bad?” asked Ally.

Sally sighed.

“She threatened to have both of us kidnapped and sold on the docks of London if we caused her any problems with Henry after he saw a bruise on your face from when she hit you.” Sally sighed.

“She threatened to have both of us kidnapped and sold on the docks of London if we caused her any problems with Henry after he saw a bruise on your face from when she hit you.”

Well, that certainly told Ally everything she needed to know.

***

Ally could hear the anxiety in her voice. And the anger. “Does she live here are Charlton House?” she asked.

“Sometimes. She goes to London a lot. She is always shopping for gowns,” Sally said contemptuously.

“Well, at least she isn’t here all the time,” Ally sighed. “Now explain to me about my Uncle Charles,” she said firmly, changing subjects.

Sally was quiet for several minutes, debating what to say. She finally whispered, “When he first came here, he ignored both of us. Which was fine. He was not Uncle Edward, so you really did not care.

“Uncle Edward was always good to you. He gave you Mirabella,” she explained.

“Mirabella?” asked Ally, scrunching her eyebrows. Great. More people to deal with.

“Your mare. She is so sweet,” said Sally. “Anyway, Uncle Edward gave you love, and education, even taught you how to read Latin. He took you to plays until Lady Sarah put an end to that.

“He let you read books from his library. You taught me to read and then would lend me the books. We both love Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. You even got to read Alexander Pope.

“Imagine a Lady reading such a subversive,” Sally giggled. She sobered immediately at Ally’s expression. “Anyway, Lord Charles was different. He gambled and drank all the time.

“He had a string of whores that came and went constantly, so we were never in his line of sight.”

“He came here when I was 14?” she asked.

Sally nodded.

It shocked Ally that he could be such a jerk, parading that kind of women in front of an impressionable young girl!

“Your governess had to explain a lot of things to us once he came here.

“The gossip from your governess was that Lord Charles’ wife, your Aunt Henrietta, left him to be the King’s Mistress, and they paid handsomely for him to look the other way.

“She only came to visit a few times after she left. She brought Percy when Lord Edward died to keep you company.”

“Who is Percy?” Ally asked.

Sally smiled a big grin. “He is your English Mastiff and nearly with you every moment. He is a beautiful dog. Gray with brown brindling. He has an exceptionally good temperament,” she explained.

“I bet he is big, right?” asked Ally, remembering how big mastiffs were.

“Most definitely. About 12 stones, I think,” said Sally, as she worked on Ally’s hair.

Ally racked her brain to remember the stone-to-pound conversion. Holy cow, that was nearly 160 pounds. “Where is Percy right now?” She had not seen a dog all morning.

“Sarah won’t let him in the house when she is here. He does not like her. She says his growling scares her, so Henry lets her keep him out of the house.

“He stays with the gardener, Mr. Hutchison, when she is here.” Sally said with a scowl.

***

“Sally, what happened? With my Uncle Charles?”

“Fine, but do not say I did not warn you. You were so torn up by what he did to you, it took months for you to even come close to your normal self.

“After Lord Charles had spent all his money on whores, liquor, and gambling, he wanted the money your father and mother left for you. He even wanted the money that Lord Edward left you.

“The King controls it, not you. Even though you have lived with your uncles, you have been a Ward of His Majesty, King George since you were an infant. You had no power to give Lord Charles anything.

“The King had already claimed your lands you inherited from your mother so there was nothing even to sell,” the anger starting to show in her voice. An anger on her behalf, Ally realized.

Sally told the story so fluidly that Ally knew she had to have told that story many times.

Ally waited for her to continue. Sometimes silence works better than anything to get someone talking.

“He was furious when he turned up nothing.

“He beat you so bad trying to get you to tell him where the gold was, that your governess confronted him and told him she would tell the King if he touched you again.

“He ended her employment and had her put on a boat going to France. Then he started touching you, and cornering you, and sneaking up on you any chance he got. My mother kept him away from me.

“She tried to keep him away from you, too. Percy helped. He growled at him and made Charles keep his distance, but he just would not stop.

“He looked for every opportunity to grab you, particularly when Percy was not right at your side. But Percy always knew. He could smell him on you. This went on for months.

“Your letters to your Aunt Henrietta asking for help either never made it to her or were ignored.”

“Then?” Ally asked softly. She had a fairly good idea where this was heading. Only a few things made a healthy young woman lose her memory.

“Charles sent me on an errand to get me out of the house and locked my mother in the buttery. Then he locked you in the downstairs guest parlor with Percy outside the door.

“He snuck up on you from the passage hidden behind the wall. You said you would never forget how his breath smelled of liquor as he dropped on top of you.

“How he said horrible things you could not understand. You said you kept trying to push him off, but he was so big and so strong…” Sally paused and hugged Ally.

Tears were streaked down both of their faces.

Ally had not realized she had been crying, too. She understood the horror that this young woman had endured. She had lived it herself. Ally wiped her face and motioned for Sally to continue.

“He, he dishonored you,” Sally started before a sob broke loose. She got herself under control and continued. “Percy finally broke through the door, bit into his buttocks, and yanked him off.

“Percy then pinned him to the floor by the throat. You feared that Percy would get put down if he killed him, so you made him release that scoundrel.

“Lord Charles died a couple of weeks later from infection. Lord Henry came to live with us after that. Fortunately, you didn’t get with child.” Sally wiped away a tear that trailed down her cheek.

“We told your Uncle Henry he only tried to hurt you but failed. Lady Sarah did not believe us, of course.

“She was adamant that we had to not say a word about your being ruined or no man would want you since you were not pure any longer.

“She said just the possibility of a scandal could prevent any kind of match for you.”

“It is so unfair. You did nothing wrong. But we have told no one so you do not get saddled with a horrible husband,” said Sally sadly.

It was obvious why Emily frequently forgot her life.

Ally got up and walked over to the window. The gardens below were beautiful. They looked like something out of Versailles. The neatly trimmed shrubs and the lawns perfectly manicured.

Gardens like this did not exist anymore. That lead to another thought. “Sally, what year is this?” she asked, without turning around.

“Year of Our Lord, 1734,” she says solemnly. “June 23rd, to be precise,” she pointed out.

“1734, huh,” Ally repeated. Her dream had brought her to the past. That brought a whole new host of concerns, even if this was a dream world. She knew virtually nothing about this period.

Even if she did, why would she choose here? How could she even be here and imagine all of this? It was so different from anything else she knew. Even the silk was rough.

She had no reference point for that. She had thought silk was smooth.

How would she deal with being in this time? Having been at the mercy of the foster system since she was thirteen, she could think fast on her feet in a world that she understood. But this one?

But whose mercy would she be at here? She did not even understand all the players or any of the rules. The ways she knew how to protect herself did not exist now. She could not support herself. now.

Nursing was so different in the 1700s, not that she could work. She could not drive now. She could not vote or own property. She could not wear pants or even swear, not that she did a lot of that. now.

She could not even live alone. She was in a world of No now.

 

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

2

1734. She was not sure if she could bend to the expectations of this time. She had lived a life of independence, not one of submission.

The ramifications of knowing Even such basic things as choosing what exercise to do. Krav Maga would not be invented for almost two hundred years.

Yoga or running would not gain popularity for another two-hundred and thirty years. Woman in this time were more likely to faint when confronted.

Even if she could do those things from a social perspective, could she even physically do it in a corset? She could not even bend much when sitting down.

Not doing her favorite form of exercise was only one of the things she would have to give up. There were things she would have to do without. Things she needed.

To heck with frivolous things like cell phones and iTunes. She had to give up important things like coffee, hot running water, and toilet paper. This was worse than camping. Willingly give up coffee.

Seriously? She felt her panic rising. She could not be in 1734, even in a dream. This was just cruel.

She hated being unprepared and looking like an idiot. She worked her butt off to always be prepared. She would have to watch everything she said. She was in a different country.

She did not know the history or the customs. Something stupid could pop out of her mouth and they would think she was a witch. They still burned witches in 1734, didn’t they?

She wondered if she could she burn in a dream. They had never scientifically proven that if you died in a dream that you died in real life. She sighed.

Shouldn’t a dream be happy or at least better than this? Or at least let her have coffee so she could deal with all of this?

She looked at Sally as she asked, “Am I married?” as she wrapped her arms around herself.

“No, M’lady,” answered Sally.

“Will I have to?” she asked quietly. She knew that marriage was an expectation of women in this time. She supposed marriage was not so bad. Well, for some people.

It could be good when you both love each other and trust each other and neither hurt the other. Her parents’ marriage had been happy, so she knew it could happen. Her luck with men had been horrible.

“There will be no choice in this. They already refused to let you take the veil,” said Sally.

Take the veil. Ally struggled to remember what that meant. Then it fell into place. It meant to become a nun. It figured they would refuse the only reprieve she could have from men in this time.

She was just a woman and her voice did not matter. Losing her independence was already starting.

“I have money to keep myself, don’t I? Do I have to do this? I won’t be a burden, I promise,” Ally bargained.

“It will not matter. You are ward of the King. You really do not have any money of your own. The King holds all of your inheritance at his discretion,” said Sally gently.

“You also have titles and lands through that same inheritance, but you don’t really own them because you are a woman. Your husband will own them once he marries you.

“Until then, the King collects the rents. You know this.”

Ally could not fathom why she would dream of being owned. Having already dealt with a possessive, controlling man, why would she dream about this? Could her mind be trying to work out hidden fears?

She had worked out her fears in intensive therapy. At least, she thought she had. Was her mind telling her in a dream that she really hadn’t?

It had taken her nearly two years to sleep with the light off or be able to take a shower without locking the bathroom door.

“The King will make you. The King will want it to his advantage, to reward someone for his service or force loyalty through bestowing your title. Men have killed for that kind of influence.

“Lord Henry cannot even select your husband without the King’s approval. You are too valuable to the Crown. The King will not let Lord Henry marry until you are settled.

“You know Henry won’t fight the King’s choice as long as he can marry that horrible woman as soon as possible,” said Sally sadly. “She has money and property.

“With her, Henry gains more titles and wealth. She is in the same situation as you are, really. Her father arranged her match. The King will arrange yours. It is how these things are done.

“I hate to say this, but maybe Lady Sarah has the right of it. She has Henry wrapped around her little finger. She always gets what she wants,” said Sally. Ally knew why she got everything she wanted.

She had the magic bean. The thought of being forced to have sex made Ally shiver.

Sally pulled Ally over to the vanity and had her sit down. She finished pinning up Ally’s hair. Ally stared at the reflection for a few minutes. “Can’t I wear it down?”

Sally just snorted and continued pinning. “A Lady never wears her hair down outside her chambers. You know this.” She finished the updo with a small lacy cap held in place with pins.

Ally sighed. Another decision taken it out of her hands. She had better get used to it. She would just shrug it off and focus on the bigger picture.

On the scale of things, it did not matter about how she wore her hair. There were going to be so many more things she would not like. Like the husband she did not want.

She needed to figure out how to stop that. It was her dream, damn it.

***

Once Ally was ready to head downstairs for breakfast, the chamber door suddenly swung open, and in sashayed a tall, curvy, blonde woman in a frilly pink silk dress, her hair piled on top of her head, and a scowl on her face.

She had not even knocked. Ally looked at Sally wide-eyed.

The maid just grimaced and made a face that said, “What do you expect?” then she mouthed, “Sarah.”

“Good morning, Sarah,” Ally said. Best to lead with kindness after what Sally had said.

“That is Lady Sarah, to you. How many times must we have this conversation? Are you just too stupid to remember?” she demanded.

Ally clenched her jaw and rolled up her fists. She already disliked the woman. Ally would hold her anger for right now. She did not understand how much power this woman wielded yet.

The one thing she had learned the hard way from working with bitchy women, was you had to know who held the power before you took one on.

“Why on earth are you not ready for the day yet? You have got to be the laziest creature in the world,” Sarah groused.

“I am ready, Lady Sarah,” Ally said, forcing her voice to be soft. She shoved her clenched her fist into her pockets to restrain the urge to smack the woman.

She had the odd thought that the pockets were already coming in handy.

Sarah studied Ally’s appearance from head to toe. “That hair!” Sarah shrieked.

She forced Ally onto the vanity bench before yanking the lace cap off Ally’s head without removing the pins holding it in place.

Ally grimaced in pain. She reached up to remove some remaining pins and Sarah slapped away her hands. Sarah then roughly grabbed chunks of her hair and started braiding.

Without turning her head from her task, she berated Sally for doing such a poor job.

“Lady Sarah, not so tight. I don’t need them so tight,” Ally begged. “It hurts.”

The woman ignored her as she kept manipulating Ally’s hair. Sarah piled the braids on Ally’s head in an intricate pattern, replacing the pins within minutes. She did not replace the cap.

Sarah looked hard at Ally’s soft-colored gown. “Is that what you are wearing? That will just not do at all,” Sarah said as she stalked over to the wardrobe and started throwing things about the room.

“You must get dressed in your traveling gown and get packed at once. You are such a lazy chit,” she said shrilly.

“Why do I need a travel dress? Am I going somewhere?” Ally stammered.

An evil smile spread across her lips. “Oh, you most certainly are. We are going to Court and will leave within the hour,” Sarah chuckled.

“Why didn’t you tell me? That’s not much time to pack my things.” Ally could hear the panic in her own voice. She did not know what her things were, but she was sure she had some.

She then berated herself silently for just reacting. That would give Sarah too much satisfaction.

“The King’s missive came the day before yesterday. You must have forgotten again. You are such a silly cow. Pack whatever you want to keep because you will not be returning to Charlton House.

“You, little piglet, are finally going to be someone else’s problem. And that little gutter snipe maid of yours is being sold to Lady Andrews to give to her daughter.

“I will sell anything left behind to the tinker,” she snarled.

Ally stood there in dumb shocked. She could sell a human being? What the hell? She knew it had happened, but it was another thing to have it thrown in your face about someone you knew.

Sarah looked entirely too proud of herself. She tossed a dark brown brocade dress on the bed. With hands on her large hips she said, “Wear that, it will keep you warm enough.

“I do not want to listen to your constant complaints. Be ready to go at the top of the hour downstairs in the front hall.

“Do not make me come and get you.” With that, she sailed out of the room in a swish of skirts, taking her overpowering perfume with her.

“Sally…” Ally said. Ally felt as helpless as she was sure her face showed. Sally rushed over and gave her a quick hug.

“It will be fine, Mistress,” she assured. Then Sally sprinted to the door and shouted for the upstairs maids.

Once the young girls arrived, Sally started issuing orders like a drill sergeant to the girls as she spun Ally around, facing away from her.

Sally uncinched the bodice of the day dress and helped Ally out of it. She pulled the skirt off and then helped her into the traveling dress.

Ally sat down, while Sally switched the stockings to a heavier weight and then pushed on heavy leather boots that went to mid-calf.

Sally slid a dagger with a sheath into the side of Ally’s right boot.

Ally looked in the mirror as Sally cinched up the back. She liked the yellow gown better. The neckline shadowed the neckline of the chemise on that one.

This brown one was almost all the way up her clavicle. There were no sleeves until Sally slid them up her arms. Sally stitched them in quickly. The trim brushed against her wrists.

The stomacher was placed next, and then Sally tied the laces. Next Sally slid a small dagger in a sheath between the corset and the stomacher.

Was she being armed for war? Ally looked at Sally with the question in her eyes.

“Never again will a man hurt you without taking some pain for himself,” Sally stated flatly.

***

The room was a flurry of activity, sweeping Ally along for the ride. Sally handed the young girl stacks of clothing to fold. Sally gathered other items while telling Ally what to grab.

Ally did as she was told. She did not know what she needed or where it was.

A few small hand-painted portraits, a bible, rosary, dresses, several linen-looking items, several pairs of shoes, and a pile of ribbons went into the enormous trunk.

Sally pulled a satchel from under the bed, and in went the hairbrush, combs, caps, soaps, several chemises, and a bottle of perfume after Sally checked the cap.

She grabbed a jewel case and stuffed it in. Turning to the wardrobe, Sally had both Ally, and the maids help her move the lumbering piece of furniture away from the wall.

It took all four of them to move it only a few inches. Sally reached behind it and grabbed a dusty wooden box hidden there before the three of them moved the furniture back into place.

She pointed to the remaining items sitting on the bed.

“Get this in the trunk under the clothing and put the valuables into the satchel, including that box while I find Mr. Hutchinson to make sure Percy was ready to go with you, including his leather collar and leash.

“After that, I will run to the stables to have Samuel get Mirabella saddled for travel immediately.

“I do not want to think what Sarah would do to her if she got left behind.” Sally left the room in a flurry of skirts. The young maid started folding the clothing.

Ally did as she was told and stuffed the box into the satchel after wiping the dust off it and then looked around in a daze. She realized that she did not know if she needed anything else.

She added a few towels to the trunk and stuffed a couple in the satchel. Then she added her other brush and some decorative hair combs from the vanity to her satchel.

A few minutes later, Sally returned. She did a quick survey of the room. “Oh!” Sally dashed around the bed and pulled open the drawer on the bedside table to pull out a beaten and dog-eared book.

“Robinson Crusoe,” she explained as she caressed the leather. “You cannot leave your favorite book. Your mother used to read this to us.” She stuffed the book in Ally’s satchel.

Sally walked over to the wardrobe and pulled out a thick wool blanket-looking thing. She then threw it around Ally’s shoulders.

By the time that Sally was tying the neck, leaving the hood down on her shoulders, Ally realized it was a cloak.

Sally slid leather gloves and a handkerchief into her left pocket through a seam in the side of her gown.

Ally liked these pockets more and more.

“Mirabella will be ready and so will Percy. I know you wouldn’t want to be without either of them since Mirabella is your only reminder of Lord Edward and Percy is so special.

“He will have to stay with Mirabella. Sarah won’t let him in the coach,” Sally said as she dumped the satchel on to the trunk and grabbed one side. Ally grabbed the other.

It took both to carry it to the front hall.

***

After they had set the bulky trunk near the door, Ally turned to her loyal maid. “Sally, thank you for everything.

“I am so sorry they are doing this to you,” Ally whispered, tears welling in her eyes.

“It is nothing to worry over, M’lady. At least it is in a pleasant house and not the colonies,” Sally said practically. “Be safe in God’s hands, M’lady.”

Ally nodded and reached into her satchel to pull out the book. She wrapped Sally’s hands around it. “I want you to have it. To remember me by,” Ally said as she blinked her eyes to clear the tears.

She did not understand why since she really did not know Sally even though she had been Emily’s friend for years. Sally did not look upset.

Maybe this was that stiff upper lip British thing she had heard about. They hugged quickly and then Sally hustled towards to kitchen as Sarah swished down the stairs.

Sarah stopped in her tracks halfway down the stairs, stunned that Ally was in the front hall before her. She clenched her jaw and kept coming down the stairs, annoyed that Ally had met the deadline.

“Take that, you bitch,” thought Ally to herself. She plastered a soft smile on her face just to further piss off the horrible woman. It was her dream, and she could damn well do whatever she wanted.

***

A well-dressed, slightly overweight man appeared from the library. His dark hair trimmed neatly, and his long face shaved clean. Ally figured this was Cousin Henry.

She curtsied and said, “Your Excellency” as Sally had reminded her to say as they had been coming down the stairs. She waited to rise as Sally told her she must.

She had played a princess when she was a kid. Thank God she knew how to curtsy.

“Why so formal, Emily? Am I not your cousin?” he asked in mock offense.

“Of course, my Lord,” she said as she stood up. She thought about the threat Sally had said that Sarah had made if she did not do as instructed and show Henry the proper respect he deserved.

She would never be at someone’s mercy again; societal expectations be damned.

Henry clucked at the formality, but Ally did not veer from her path.

“Emily, please. I have told you yet a thousand times to call me Henry, just Henry,” as he chuckled, giving her a slight hug.

She had to get used to being called Emily rather than Ally. There was just so much to remember. No wonder women did not work with all these things to remember.

She glanced over and saw that Sarah was watching her every move. Ally restrained herself from gloating. She did not know exactly how devious the woman was or how connected.

It was possible that Sarah could cause a lot of problems for her. It was the one thing that Trevor taught her – know who holds all the cards before you anted up to play the game.

Henry interrupted her thoughts by saying, “You look lovely, dear. Your suitors will not take their eyes off you. Your dance card will be filled”.

Sarah chirped in, “I am sure we can make sure that happens. After all, the goal is to find you a husband,” giving Ally a pointed stare.

Henry looked uncomfortable with the exchange. “Well, yes, yes. The King has assured me that only the finest gentlemen in the realm will attend Court.”

“Hopefully, we can find a husband that is not too much in his dotage yet,” sneered Sarah.

Ally’s anxiety increased. Sally had been right. They expected her to marry a stranger. A man she had no choice in accepting. Why would she put herself through that by dreaming it?

She had experienced horrible relationships with every man she had ever been with. Trevor had been a nightmare. How much worse would this get?

She had struggled to get away from the abuse in her own time. She knew that she had utterly no chance at escaping in this one.

Sarah grabbed her ear without warning and twisted, pulling her out of her dark thoughts, when Henry ducked back into the library.

She hissed in Ally’s ear, “If you dare to faint or cause any other grief, you will be on the next ship leaving port.”

The pain from the ear twist shocked Ally. How could she actually feel that in a dream? That made no sense. It then dawned on her it meant she would feel pain if her new husband was abusive.

Ally immediately got her panic under control and plastered a smile on her face. No point in giving Sarah any more power than necessary. She would figure out to deal with the new husband later.

***

Henry came out of the library, and Sarah pretended to be fixing a curl.

“Is that all you are taking, my dear? Sarah brings more than that, coming home from a shopping trip to London, much less going to get married!” he boomed, laughing at his own joke.

“It is the essentials, Your Excellency,” she said demurely, keeping her eyes on the ground. Henry offered his arm to Sarah to escort her to the carriage.

Ally followed a couple paces behind. The sun was shining. Too bad Ally could not enjoy it. Henry helped Sarah into the carriage and headed for his horse.

A footman rushed into the front hall and grabbed the trunk, adding it to the dozen already on top of the closed-top carriage. Ally patted Mirabella’s nose, murmuring kind words to the horse.

She noticed a leather bag tied to her saddle. She figured it must be all of Percy’s things that Sally had talked about.

She noticed there was a quiver and bow secured to the saddle along with the other items. Ally figured that Emily must do archery.

Good thing she had done it as well during college or that would have been embarrassing. Ally rubbed Percy’s muzzle and reminded him to stay with Mirabella.

Ally climbed up into the carriage after she checked Mirabella tethering to one of the guard’s horses.

She put the satchel next to her feet, under her skirt. No point in spiking Sarah’s curiosity. The carriage door closed, and the carriage jerked forward.

Ally settled herself on the opposite side of the carriage and as far from Sarah as she could arrange.

“Tis such a shame you made sure Mirabella was ready. I would have liked to buy a new hat with the proceeds from selling her for mucilage,” sneered Sarah as she looked out the carriage window on her side.

“At least you are taking the hulking beast. Good riddance.” She fanned herself.

Ally would have loved nothing more than to just smash her in her face. The guards would not be able to stop her before she did some serious damage. She reeled her temper in.

Sarah would probably have Percy killed if Ally went to town on her face. Spiteful bitch.

 

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

Share

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Falling for my Bodyguard

Harmoni, daughter of the wealthiest man in the city, lives a life of privilege, but her overprotective father is determined to keep his wild child on lockdown. Harmoni is a skilled escape artist… Until her father hires one last guard: William, SWAT sergeant and Harmoni’s worst nightmare…or is he?

Age Rating: 18+

Spring’s Seduction

Nineteen-year-old Spring was promised to Max when she was five years old. The wedding day has arrived, and, finally face-to-face, the two discover a glimmer of attraction. But Spring has a dark secret, and if Max doesn’t learn to trust her as well as lust for her, that secret may just swallow them both whole…

Age Rating: 18+

Note: This story is the author’s original version and does not have sound.

Confessions of a Naughty Nanny

When a famous music producer moves to Lake Starlight it can’t just be a coincidence. It’s the universe helping to move things along in the right direction so that Griffin Thorne can discover me.

I have to confess—I’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.

Confession #1: I may have overhead that he was in search of a nanny. What can I say? My brother has a big mouth.

Confession #2: It’s possible I helped along the assumption that I had nanny experience. Hey, babysitting my nieces and nephew counts, right?

Confession #3: There’s a good chance I oversold my qualifications. But my Grandma Dori backed me up, so it’s not completely my fault.

And it worked. He hired me. Only for me to find out that he left the business.

I guess it’s on to Plan B.

When he accidentally overhears me singing, I expect nothing from him. Then he asks to work with me on a song for our town’s Founder’s Day Parade and it feels like a dream come true. Until…

Confession #4: I’ve fallen for him.

Hated by My Mate

Aurora is just a lowly maid, she didn’t think she would be the destined mate of a handsome and powerful alpha. Her mate, Alpha Wolfgang thinks the same, Aurora will never be his Luna. He refuses to acknowledge their mate bond and sets out to make her life miserable. Unknown to Aurora, though, the Moon Goddess has a greater destiny in mind for her…

Age Rating: 16+

The Secrets of Sin

After Marcella Sinclair’s mother dies, she can’t help feeling like a burden to her eighteen-year-old brother. So when she gets an offer to make a pile of cash as a stripper, she does it. No one can know…especially not her brother, who is hell-bent on keeping her pure and innocent for the rest of her life.

Age Rating: 18+

Dream of Me

What would you do if the man of your dreams stood before you? Leila is shocked and dazed on discovering that the masked stranger from a Halloween party, Nikoli, is the same man haunting her dreams. A man who dreams of her too…a man with whom her connection transcends this lifetime.

Age Rating: 18+ (Child Abuse, Extreme Violence/Gore, Kidnapping, Sexual Assault/Abuse, Blood)

Dering Siblings

When Harper Dering turns eighteen, she leaves behind her ten siblings and finds work as a maid for Damon Grayson in Dubbury. Right away, she notices how handsome he is…and he seems to be attracted to her, too. Will they be able to make their romance work, despite the difference in their stations?

Age Rating: 18+

Caught up in Between

All Rebecca wants when she finally gets to college is to focus on her studies and nothing more. That is, until she meets the drop-dead gorgeous Logan and his equally hot best friend Drew. Now she’s caught between the college’s two star football players and neither will back down. Things are about to get very complicated…and very steamy!

Age Rating: 18+

Galatea Logo

Unlimited books, immersive experiences. Download now and start reading for free.

Social Links