A Marriage of Convenience by Krystin Hussain (Kryzme) Here's another sneakpeak, of one of our many famous author's books. Hope you enjoy!!! (:

                                            A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE

Chapter 1:

            It was raining again.

            The rain pelted the window pane relentlessly as Katherine stared out at the gloomy scenery. She wasn’t disheartened by it at all. Contrary to the fact, as she was dripping wet from just running amok in it herself.

            Her Aunt Abigail scowled at her from the doorway, tapping her foot impatiently as the maid prepared a hot bath. “You know better than to just gallivant out in weather like this. Gallivanting at all, in fact! A lady does not take part in such things.”

“Well, maybe I don’t want to be a lady.” Katherine drawled, placing her hand sadly against the glass. Her sad reflection stared back at her with long dark dripping hair falling into her even darker eyes, sticking to her narrow set face. The cold of the rain had made her look pallid, giving her a ghostly appearance.

“Don’t say such rubbish. Into the tub now.” Abigail snapped. “To think someone your age is acting in such ways. You are to be presented to society and I won’t have the ton thinking you’re some kind of uncivilized child.”

Katherine huffed, but obeyed nonetheless. She let out a long sigh as she dipped into the steamy water and began to soap herself. She was far past the age of coming into society, and being presented was something she had not been looking forward to but her aunt had insisted once they’d brought Katherine into their home.

Katherine had lived with her parents and brother in the country, far away from the ton and all of its drama. Her mother had been her teacher and mentor, instructing her in the basics such as arithmetic and literature of course. She was also adept at the pianoforte. The only thing she had really struggled with was the dances because her brother had always teased her as her dance partner.

It was a terrible accident when both her parents were caught in a fire that started at their estate in the Americas. Katherine and her younger brother Samuel had made it out, but her parents hadn’t been so lucky. Her mother’s sister and her husband had graciously taken them in, but that meant moving to an entirely different country where she knew nothing of the customs. She had come to the age of eighteen now, still unmarried and unprepared for what she knew was coming her way. She was about to be thrown into unfamiliar territory and she feared bringing any kind of disgrace to her aunt’s family. England terrified Katherine, but she resolved to face it head on. How different could England really be from America anyway? Katherine’s parents had raised her to be independent and free-thinking, not exactly the first qualities one calls for in “a lady”. Not what her aunt classified as a lady, at least.

“Try not to sigh so, dear. It’s quite a depressing sound.”

“How shall I sigh then?” Katherine replied, eyebrow cocked and Abigail narrowed her eyes in distaste.

“Don’t try those smart remarks with me, Katherine. I’m not the same as my sister and I don’t believe in the same things as she. She was far too free with you.”

“I don’t know. I feel she allowed my mind to flourish while others are held back. Quite sad actually.” Katherine continued nonchalantly, still washing her body.

“Katherine, you really should think about what you say before you speak.” She lectured, before going to the door.

“I do think about what I say. I believe that’s the difference.”

Her aunt let out a small sigh before continuing. “I’ll see you in the morning. Try to get some sleep tonight. We’ll be going to Lady Devitt’s for tea and to discuss when you are to be presented.”

After her bath, Katherine sat in her window seat, one cheek pressed against the window watching as the raindrops streaked their way down. She let out a soft breath, watching the window cloud from her breath. “I don’t want to be presented.” She whispered. “I just want to be free.”

Hugh Wakefield detested the long ride down the dirt road to his sister’s husband’s house on this particular morning due to the thick mud that had formed from last night’s rainstorm. The horses pulling his carriage trudged through the sludge, only barely making it to the house. Not only did the horses look worse for wear, but the carriage had taken a beating as well. The mud had made its way up the side almost up to the window of the carriage. Hugh wrinkled his nose in distaste from how his usually pristine carriage appeared before turning and making his way up to the door.

“Hester!” He said lovingly when he saw his sister gracefully gliding down the stairs toward him.

“Hugh!” Hester’s eyes lit up as she almost ran the rest of the way, her long golden plait trailing behind her, before meeting her brother in a tight embrace. “It’s been so long!” Hester exclaimed. “Eli said you’ve been in Germany with Maxwell. How was that?” He took her arm as they headed toward the parlor.

“An absolute waste of time.” Hugh grunted as he took a seat in the large armchair. He shifted his weight a bit on the stiff cushion before finally giving up.

“What were you two doing there in the first place?” Hester asked, taking a seat as a maid began to serve tea to both of them.

“You know as well as I that Maxwell should be thinking of marriage. He has been too reckless with his endless drinking, parties, and whatnot. I was determined to put an end to it and find him a wife. He found them all unsuitable and left on his own accord before we were supposed to leave.”

“Oh dear,” Hester replied, sipping her tea with a worried glance into the cup. “But you know that Maxwell has never been one to do what is expected.”

“That is why I am glad you have you, little sister. Look at you, just sixteen and already married and settled. Should I be expecting a nephew anytime soon?” Hugh asked with a smile.

“We will see, dear brother. Only time will tell.” Hester answered with a shy smile and a blush reddening her cheeks. “So how long will you be staying then, Hugh? I’m sure the house is in a state after you being gone for so long.” She asked, successfully changing the subject.

“I’ve only been a year, little sister. And I plan to stay for a while. I’m tired from traveling. For once, my own bed sounds quite satisfying.”

“I’m glad to hear it. Perhaps you’ll stay long enough to meet my mother-in-law’s guests. They should be here in the next hour or so.”

“Who are these guests of yours?”

“You do remember Peter Stanbury?” Hugh nodded in response as he drank his tea. “His wife’s sister passed away recently, so their niece and nephew have both come to live with them at their home. From what I hear they’re a set of ragamuffins, raised in the country. Not even English, mind you.”

“American?” Hugh said, regarding the word with distaste.

“Exactly. The daughter is already eighteen and not even married. No prospects. The son at least has a chance, he’s only 16 and they’re arranging for him to marry his cousin, Julia Stanbury. But that’s why she’s coming over here. They’re looking to my mother-in-law for help for the daughter.”

“I’m sure Amelia will have some helpful words of wisdom.” Hugh cleared his throat. “I don’t think I should stay around too long though, Hester. I have some other business to attend to. I just wanted to see how you were faring.”

“I’m flattered. Be sure to visit again soon.” Hester stood and kissed her brother. “You know how I’ve missed having your company.” 

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