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Lord Thomas and his Bride

Fiona Miers

Published by Fiona Miers, 2021.

This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.

LORD THOMAS AND HIS BRIDE

First edition. May 9, 2021.

Copyright © 2021 Fiona Miers.

Written by Fiona Miers.

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four.

Chapter Five.

Chapter Six.

Chapter Seven.

Chapter Nine.

Chapter Ten.

Chapter Eleven.

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Epilogue.

 

Thank you to Carolyn Shelley Depew of Write Right Edits for your editing talents.

And Fionn at Milktee Designs for my cover art.

Chapter One

The sun had barely lifted above the horizon and a pink sunrise glow was still present in the clear June sky. For Thomas Melton, it was the ideal time for him. His favourite time of day. The water was calm, as the tide was low, and it was the perfect opportunity for him to scale across the rock formations at the bottom of the cliffs. The exposed rocks were easy to navigate and there were small pools of water dotted around.

As the youngest of the Melton brothers, Thomas had always hidden his interests from his siblings. He believed his brothers would find his occupations... unusual.

Despite being outgoing and friendly, he enjoyed time on his own, especially when it involved rocks. He possessed a love for anything old in terms of nature, particularly relating to fossils and shells.

He’d collected many shells and fossilised sea specimens during his lifetime and had an extensive collection of them in his townhouse in Poole. He had his own small exhibition in the Bournemouth Natural History Museum, where his discoveries were displayed. Of course, he did visit the museum from time to time, adding pieces to the collection if the curator requested.

He’d spent most of his younger years dabbling in fossil hunting, and he was proud of what he’d accomplished. Unlike his older brother, Robert, who was a solicitor in London, Thomas did not have a full-time profession. But he enjoyed excursions to the countryside, the beach, and the mountains up north.

He occasionally enjoyed a formal event with dancing, as well as the theatre. Boxing matches and card games. He was very good at reading people, which made him an excellent  card player.

Thomas maintained his lifestyle as well as his townhouse in Poole, thanks to a generous allowance from his eldest brother, Charles, who encouraged Thomas to follow his dreams. At times, Thomas believed that Charles lived vicariously through his adventures.

Charles had married young to a lovely woman, Emma. But the marriage was an arranged one, and not without its problems.

His closeness to his brothers was unrivalled, and he spent the entire off-season in Weymouth.

The sky around him began to turn a bright blue. Morning had officially arrived, but he was still the only person on the beach, which was what he preferred. Hunting for fossils and shells was a personal interest, a solitary pursuit. He had invited his brothers along once. It had not been his finest moment.

Or his brothers’, for that matter. Robert had complained the entire morning of the sharpness of the rocks under his delicate feet. James had been nursing a headache from the previous night’s overindulgence. And Charles had consistently reminded Thomas of his distaste for the excursion.

He’d never asked them to join him again.

The texture of limestone under his feet was welcoming and he kept his eyes downcast, slowly moving along the rocks. For the first time since he had reached Weymouth this year, he felt at peace. Despite only arriving a few days ago, things were not how they normally were.

This year everything was different.

Emma had given birth to another baby girl, and it seemed as though she and Charles had worked through their three-year-long quarrel. They appeared happier and more content with one another, although it may simply be the atmosphere of having a new baby in their home.

Although he couldn’t imagine that having another child would make things easier and better. But for the moment, everyone was content.

James was now married to Abigail, who was expecting their first child later in the year. Of all his brothers, Thomas had imagined James would never marry. He had always enjoyed his freedom and dealt with his issues on his own.

Robert was both a besotted husband to Julia and the doting father of their newborn baby boy. They resided in London, in Robert’s townhouse, but made regular efforts to visit Weymouth as well as Cornwall, where her mother and father now lived. Thomas was not certain of the details regarding Julia’s mother, but he was told she had been ill.

Although his brothers had their own wives and families now, they still made it a priority to visit the estate on the off Season, as they had done every year.

Finlay Hall hadn’t been this lively since all four brothers resided there in their youth. They were pleasant memories, but those days were behind them. They were now grown and expected to lead different lives.

Everyone except Thomas, that was.

Of course, Charles had made it clear on more than one occasion that he expected Thomas to find a suitable wife and settle down. But such responsibilities did not feature in his plan. He very much still enjoyed his freedom, despite his love and adoration for his brothers’ wives and children.

At present, all Thomas believed he was able to offer was being an uncle to his nieces and nephews, and a brother to his siblings and their wives. A husband and father seemed much too outlandish to him.

Thomas scoffed in disapproval at his brother’s words chiming in his head and as he glanced down, he noticed something he had not seen before. His eyes widened and he nearly could not believe what he gazed upon. He had known that Weymouth’s beaches were a treasure trove in terms of shells and fossils, but he had not expected to find such a valuable.

He crouched down to lower himself between the crevices of rock. He could see a fossil of a rare seahorse, perfectly preserved. He grinned with excitement as he slid off the

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